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Introducing: InfoFlex

December 4, 2018 Leave a comment

It helps to believe in the brand you’re building – especially in the healthcare sector, where product superiority really matters. Over the last year, we’ve been working on InfoFlex: an information management software tool used widely in the NHS. Our research showed that patients, clinicians, and trusts alike continue to be impressed and emboldened by InfoFlex’s capabilities, and the power it hands back to its users. These are turbulent times for our NHS and the wider healthcare community, and InfoFlex offers some stability, sense, and support to those who dedicate their time to looking after us.

We had to create a brand identity to match their (genuinely) superior product and team. InfoFlex was developed by NHS insiders with first-hand experience of inadequate systems – and their deep, multi-faceted understanding is often acknowledged by clients. Their experience and understanding influenced the product development: no other software provider offers the same necessary versatility or intelligence when it comes to managing patient care pathways. And when there are people’s lives at stake, that really should be advertised.

A big challenge came with learning just how many benefits InfoFlex provides – and to so many groups within the healthcare community, too. Although we established a messaging hierarchy, the brand identity still had to be able to unify and cope with lots of information, and work well across many different touchpoints.

So we created the ‘i device’ – SuperFit for purpose, just like the product. Here it is in action:

 

 

Alongside designing a host of documents for internal and external use, we created two  brand films to succinctly describe InfoFlex and its benefits. You can find them, and much more, on the new website we designed and built as part of this rebrand:

https://infoflex.co.uk/

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So we’ve been busy. But we couldn’t leave InfoFlex there… To fully support the new brand identity, we also created some ads to work across print and digital; these are now in action across various healthcare  publications. Here’s the print ad:

 

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We look forward to seeing InfoFlex gain the increased awareness and business that they deserve.

 

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“Fuck business”

Whether you’re pro- or anti-Brexit, I think we can all agree that Boris “These are my principles. If you don’t like them, I have others” Johnson has very much lived up to his his personal brand values this week; assuming that these values comprise hypocrisy, self-interest and perpetually demonstrating your utter unsuitability for any public office. You may have read his response to the anything but idle threats of assorted businesses (Airbus, BMW etc.) to do one in the event of a no deal Brexit.

“Fuck business”, said Boris. I thought his indiscriminate fucking days were over. These days, it seems Boris won’t lie down for anything; even the prevention of a runway being built next to his constituency. But I digress.

As a business owner, I particularly resent Johnson’s dismissal of business concerns, especially as his party has traditionally been regarded as the party of business. In truth, all parties are “the party of business”; until we stop measuring our prosperity according to GDP figures, they have to be.

And despite my personal antipathy to many of the excesses of present-day capitalism, I and my Breakfast colleagues couldn’t be more pro-business if we tried.

Every working day, we spend our time trying to grow our clients’ businesses – and our own – while hoping that our politicians do their best to make that task as simple as possible. That doesn’t mean removing red tape or slashing corporation tax: it means providing a stable, predictable and safe business environment where our innate optimism can flourish.

It means allowing us to advertise our clients’ brands to customers all over the world; to attract people here and enable them to move freely; to reduce barriers and borders rather than increase them, and to provide a progressive and inclusive society in which everyone enjoys the spoils of our undoubted wealth.

Is that too much to ask? According to Boris, it is.

 

 

The beautiful football index

On Tuesday 19th June, Ed and I attended the 2018 Brand Finance Football Forum at the Brand Exchange. It’s the event at which the ‘Football 50′ report is formally launched – the Football 50 being the annual snapshot of the state of leading clubs’ finances.

As a lifelong football obsessive, talking about clubs as brands used to irritate me – and to some extent still does. But the world moves on, and it’s clear that not only are many of Europe’s major football clubs brands, they are huge brands. Indeed it might be that in future I write a longer blog, requiring more thought, research and effort, analysing the similarities between Real Madrid and Amazon, for example. Bet you can’t wait.

Anyway, bookended by interesting talks from Brand Exchange Director Bryn Anderson (responsible for the football study) and Matthew Birchall’s fascinating study of stadium design, Nuria Tarre gave an excellent and genuinely eye-opening insight into the marketing at City Football Group. That’s City Football Group, who, if you weren’t aware, comprise Manchester City FC, New York City FC, Melbourne City FC and a couple of other affiliated clubs who don’t have City in their name. Yet.

It was immediately apparent to me that CFG are operating at a different level to other football clubs/ brands/ groups, mainly because they have created formal, transparent links between clubs without ruining those clubs and driving them out of business (yes, Arsenal, I’m talking about you). And, by taking an underperforming club who were lagging behind some of their rivals, they have had a relatively free hand to instil radical change on the back of their oil-money fuelled success.

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Here’s a picture of Harry Kane. No excuse required.

The group has clear objectives and is at the forefront of social media-led marketing and e-gaming initiatives, all carefully controlled and on message (compare and contrast with Roy Keane slagging off teammates on Manchester United’s own TV channel: awks!). Within Nuria’s slick presentation and accompanied by several pictures of Kyle Walker arsing around (I suspect there were cheaper right backs available last summer who are not quite so keen to laugh at themselves and generate valuable online content), the nugget that stood out for me was this: Manchester City use a “beautiful football index” to judge, after every game, whether they are playing in the style required by their Emirati overlords. Really.

On many levels, this makes sense. If you are truly creating a brand, you will have some brand values; if you have design on being a world-class brand, you’ll live by those values and stick to them – see my past post about Virgin removing the Daily Mail from its trains to see my thoughts on that.

But from a footballing/ sporting perspective, this is a real eye-opener. Next time you hear Fat Sam chuntering about fans wanting to “win games” more than anything, or Tony Pulis asking rhetorically what people mean by “attractive football”, refer them to the Beautiful Football Index. One day it might literally be in their job description to play attractive football. Their inability to supply this is, after all, why West Ham, West Brom and Everton supporters couldn’t wait to get rid of them.

Maybe the time is ripe for an enterprising club chairman to give Sam a 10-year contract and tell him to construct a “challenger brand” club, whose objectives are to stick it in the mixer at least 20 times a game and keep the grass in the corners longer, a la John Beck. After all, not all brands can be identical. This brand might attract the tiki-taka haters: Wimbledon were there years ago.

Is it time for Arsenal to revert to their true type and return to the ultra-defensive, cynical template perfected by Bertie Mee, Don Howe and George Graham? Or, more realistically, for Chelsea to sink into midtable mediocrity in front of a stadium at least a third-full of ignorant racists? They’re halfway there already. Some fascinating branding opportunities await.

Not all football clubs will be, or should be, brands. But some will have to be if they are to keep pace with their rivals. Their income, and therefore to a large extent their success on the pitch, will be dependant on attracting fans and revenue from places such as China and India, before those nations’ own leagues become so established that they don’t have to look to England or Spain for football. That might not be true for Enfield Town FC or even Swansea City, but it will be for those at the top of the Premier League.

Why? Because the other unstated but self-evident truth that emerged from Nuria’s talk is that a European league is inevitable within the next five to ten years – something  Sir Alex Ferguson also believes. CFG’s business model cannot possibly sustain the prolonged disappearance of its flagship club from the Champions League. The damage to the brand would be too great. Assuming they’re not permitted to continue spending with impunity or gaming the Financial Fair Play rules (and if they keep winning the Premier League by 19 points, the other clubs will make sure they’re reeled in), they, and the other biggest European clubs, will need some sort of guarantee that they will always be playing each other.

I suspect the Champions League as we know it will soon become a two division midweek European league comprising six clubs from England, four from Italy, Spain and Germany and the odd Ajax or Porto to keep the smaller nations sweet. The top two/four/eight will go into a knockout stage and the Champions League Final will still exist.

In the meantime, I will be at the new White Hart Lane, watching England’s best footballers play the entertaining, enthralling and exciting football that is at the heart of the Tottenham Hotspur brand; my enjoyment only tempered by their other distinctive trait: that of managing to cock things up when it seems impossible.

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Glory, glory…er…cranes

 

Torque of the town*

May 4, 2018 4 comments

We’ve been working with Torque, one of the UK’s leading supply chain companies, for two years now. After naming and branding Bzar, their online marketplace, and producing some striking and effective trade ads for the main business, we were let loose on their corporate website, which needed refreshing and bringing up to date.

We began by conducting in depth interviews with the various heads of department, getting direct insight from the people who really matter on what they’d like to see included in the new site, and, equally importantly, what they wouldn’t.

From those pearls of wisdom we crafted some copy that is sufficiently detailed to provide their customers and potential customers with all the information they need to know without being too verbose and daunting, then put it all together in a simple, contemporary design which reflects Torque’s dynamism and fashion industry expertise.

From start to finish, the job took just over three months and is, in the words of Torque’s Operations Director Stewart Firth, “Fresh, punchy and a significant improvement on what we had before”. Take a peek here.

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Some old media, yesterday

From our point of view, the demand for simple, templated websites with CMS that’s easy for clients to update themselves is great, but only if care is taken to ensure the brand’s values, tone of voice and identity are applied with care and consistency. Lots of agencies can build websites, but not all of them build websites that build brands.

*Torque don’t allow puns on their name, so don’t tell anyone you’ve seen this, ok?

All mouth and no trousers

February 23, 2018 Leave a comment

Don’t be misled by the length of Aisha’s last blog post – we’re rather busy here at Breakfast. Indeed we’ve rarely been this busy during our nine-year existence. Unfortunately, we don’t have much to show for it – yet.

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Some of the Breakfast team acting out a familiar phrase or saying, yesterday

Having signed various NDAs and the like, all I’m at liberty to tell you is that we are three months into an extremely large and exciting brand building project (and much more) with a famous global company, have completed the renaming and rebranding of a leading London-based executive coaching business, have renamed and will shortly be launching an exciting new attraction at the Portsmouth Historic Dockyard, are designing and building a new website for the lovely people at Torque and have completed the branding of an e-money and payment company.

Only that last example is live, so be my guest and take a look at koinefinance.com Hopefully you’ll like the brand, and, more importantly, the business it’s attached to. If you have a spare million pounds, they’ll be happy to welcome you as a customer.

Other than that, it’s watch this space, I’m afraid. All I can say is that an agency that has evolved to become what we are now – brand builders – is getting on and building some brands.

Fancy that!

December 13, 2017 Leave a comment

What with imitation being the sincerest form of flattery and plagiarism being legally dubious, we were delighted/ furious to see that the BBC’s graphics team have obviously started following our social posts for Moskovskaya.

Not massively dissimilar, we reckon. What do you think?

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Feeling social?

December 8, 2017 Leave a comment

Social media isn’t necessarily right for all brands. Certainly, as my old mate* the Ad Contrarian has loudly proclaimed, many of the claims made on behalf of Facebook and its fellow data thieves a few years ago have turned out to be rather empty.

It transpires that social is a little more like old media than many people once thought. Maybe that’s why it’s taken this long for Breakfast to produce its first (a brief dalliance with the Phone Co-Op aside) fully-formed social campaign, for our favourite vodka, Moskovskaya.

In partnership with hungry upstarts Studio Appetite, we have been producing some ads (there’s no more appropriate term) for two or three months now, and having some fun while doing so.

(You’ll need to follow the brand on Facebook, Instagram or twitter to see the animated bits, links and accompanying text. Sorry.)

Having avoided being too vocal on the merits or otherwise of social media for building brands, I have now progressed from interested observer into an advocate of treating these channels as opportunities. They offer brands without big budgets (or even medium-sized budgets) the chance to reach a potentially massive audience with a relatively small spend.

We’re not mistaking our ‘likes’ for customers, or expecting our audience to become evangelists (the world has more than enough of those at the moment). But we are (we think) producing good work for a genuinely distinctive, strong vodka brand. It might take us a while to conquer the world, and we might not achieve domination via social alone.

But we’re in the game. And enjoying it.

*He’s not a mate: I’ve never met him. But I’m pretty sure we’d get on.