Live creativity, breath creatively, and be authentic

Just last week I had a client return to us out of the blue after 5 years of a supposed ‘cost cutting’ exercise.  I didn’t need to pitch or tender or ever quote for that matter, which is even more weird knowing the client as I do.  We obviously did something right all those years ago.

I like to think it is because we had and open and honest relationship, we only delivered when the project was perfect and ensuring concepts were always hot, fresh and surprising.

Working creatively every single day we seek inspiration around every corner.  Sometimes we find it in the strangest of places as we constantly try to determine upcoming trends, listening to the whispers in the zeitgeist allowing us to be ahead of the curve.

Recently the whispers are repeating one thing, the phrase ‘authenticity.’  In an age of the curated lifestyle (fake news; post truth; corporate greed; corruption in trusted establishments; political unrest and financial insecurity), it’s no wonder people crave a slice of truth.

Authentic building blocks, cemented with creativity, capped off with a sense of humour.  Imagine that place…

Lets be honest – all relationships have a lifespan. So be authentic and gracious not bitter if they choose to move on. If you have done them proud they willcome back, it might just take a while for them to realise.

Preston's College marketing

Education – how to help staff understand rebranding

Change is never easy, even when it signifies an exciting new future. As part of the rebranding process, Preston’s College commissioned Apparatus to help staff to understand the investment behind the new brand.

Breakfast presentations and workshops talked them through the market research findings of December 2012. This helped staff to understand current perceptions of the college and the need to challenge them. The rebranding process and its testing phases were explained along with a vision for the future of both the college and FE Education as a sector. Takeaway documents designed, planned and written by Apparatus included an explanation of future direction and a simple corporate identity guideline for everyday branding issues.

Feedback from the workshops showed that although many of the staff team had embraced the new identity, those who had seen it as an unneccessary investment now appreciated that the process had been thorough and that the execution was already researching well  amongst both new and existing learners and stakeholders.


New wordpress website live for Preston’s College

Hurrah! Today sees the launch of the super-usable, beautifully designed new website for Preston’s College. Even we’re amazed at what can be achieved in a 10-week turnaround! It has been an intensive collaboration of web designers, developers, usability experts and the internal team and the results look great.

The brief once more (for a simple, well optimised website that was easy to update and develop internally) drove us to a WordPress platform. Investigation into user experience showed us that search was key. The target audience of 15-18 year olds want to find what they’re looking for quickly. If they can’t, they’ll go elsewhere. Naturally it was also important for the site to be dynamic so that it works well on mobile devices and in iOS.

The site is currently being launched in its first phase. Development will continue behind the scenes at a fast pace until we have created what we truly believe will be the UK’s most pioneering site for Further Education.

Apparatus latest outdoor advertising campaign

The marketing team at Preston’s College are relentless in their thirst for media. This week sees the outdoor campaign that we created for them go live throughout the city. 48 sheets, Adshells and Bus Rears will showcase our new ‘stars’ campaign.

Preston’s College wanted to prove that it offers more than just academic qualifications. In fact it focuses students on employment urging them to build a pathway for their ambitions. To communicate this we selected a range of 6 students past and present who have excelled in different ways. From ex-student, Rock FM’s Jordan North to current student Chhaya Udani who is working as a makeup artist to the stars, we demonstrate just how Preston’s College helps students to achieve their dream careers.

The campaign has this week been discussed on news programmes on ITV’s Granada Reports, Radio Lancashire, Rock FM and in the Lancashire Evening Post. Proof that it has succeeded in getting people talking about Preston’s College.

New prospectus for Preston’s College

Whilst others have spent August on the beach, we’ve been working hard to finalise a bold new prospectus for Preston’s College.

Working with the results of months of market research into the needs of the 15-16 year old target group and their influencers, along with their feedback on last year’s edition, we believe we have come up with a publication that is inspiring, informative and easy to use. It brings the college to life using personal stories from current and former students that are told in print but also, using augmented reality apps, via video.

Drawing on our wealth of experience in the education sector, we have included significantly more course information which covers useful tips such as the items that a student will need to buy for each course; work experience opportunities; qualifications needed and future direction such as career options or routes to further study.

All copy has been written in a simple, friendly, informative style and extra indexing along with regular signposting helps readers to find more in depth information easily, driving them to specific webpages or telephone advisors who can assist them in person.

It has been a huge project but we’re all really proud of the result. Next stop… getting the new website live!

Rebranding Preston’s College

As part of our very prestigious win of the Preston College account earlier this year, our first task was to develop a new brand identity that would encapsulate their emerging status as an enterprising college. Having just been accepted as the newest member of the Gazelle Group, we needed to make sure that they would stand out amongst the UK’s top 20 FE colleges.

With a mountain of market research to reflect upon, we needed to develop a brand identity that would have longevity, relevance and energy. It was a demanding brief for an exacting group of decision makers including not only the marketing team and the Principal and Vice Principals but also the governors and a group of stakeholders selected from the staff team, schools and the local community.

Our first proposal was to develop the name – the college is working hard to serve and integrate with the local community. As part of this message we suggested a subtle move towards Preston’s College before any design work began. The team agreed and so the creative process was underway.

Despite presenting numerous options, their decision on our final execution was unanimous. We’re incredibly proud to be working with such a dynamic group of people and to be playing such a big part in the college’s future.

Promotional goods for our favourite solicitors

As part of our ongoing relationship with law firm JWK, we are pleased to have delivered a full suite of promotional goods. Since the rebranding that we did for them in January, JWK has been keen to ensure maximum exposure for the new identity to reinforce their prestigious city centre location. In addition to bringing design into their office interiors and making full use of branding on the buidling’s exterior, we have now delivered a full set of brochures detailing their various lay specialisms, advertising formats, pens, banners, exhibition stands, umbrellas and even a race arch for use at the start and finish of sponsored events. We’re confident that prospective clients will certainly notice them around.

BASS Conference 2013

ISSA, the International Ships Suppliers’ Association awarded a 3 year contract to Apparatus to help develop the event at London’s Park Plaza. With a global audience of shipping companies and magnates it was critical that London put on a good show. The event included the creation of a British afternoon tea garden in the foyer of the hotel and a gala dinner. We also arranged for special events on the Thames via London duck tours, at the South Bank and at the Oxo Tower restaurant. We covered all events in a high quality souvenir brochure with a guide to London that was handed to every guest.

2000 product paint and finishes catalogue

Longstanding client Firwood Paints came to Apparatus with their latest project – a print catalogue featuring over 2000 options of paint and specialist coating finishes. The brief was for something that would be eye catching, easily navigable and cost-effective to distribute. It also needed to be created in an easy to edit format so that it can be rerun at a fast turnaround with price and product changes being simple to implement. It will be mailed at runs of 10,000, with a classic acquistition, conversion and retention objective of driving sales to the website as well as by phone.

B2B marketing agency, Lancaster

New website for Lancaster construction company

Pinington is a large Lancashire construction company based in Lancaster. They came to Apparatus with the brief for a new construction website that would be simple for the internal marketing team to manage and update on a regular basis. We recommended WordPress, and developed a creative theme which would help them to capture the attention of the architects, education providers and local government who award most of their contracts.

After a few straightforward WordPress training sessions delivered by us, the team felt able to take on the news and blogging capabilities of the site. They are now able to update it regularly with a portfolio of projects completed, new contract wins and testimonlals from satisfied clients.