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The 2013 thoughts archive

Back of the net

Yesterday saw Ady and myself don our cup final suits and head to Wembley for the launch of the Royal Mail's Football Heroes stamps.

We have been working on the project for the past year. Being a football-mad studio it couldn't have been a better subject for us to immerse ourselves in and being invited to the launch of the stamps was a fantastic way to cap it off. 

At the launch we were lucky enough to be in the company of seven of the players we featured on the stamps, Bobby Charlton, Denis Law, Gordon Banks, Jimmy Greaves, Dave Mackay, Bryan Robson and John Barnes. All of the players are more Ady's era than mine (sorry Ady!) and growing up football was all I wanted to talk about - I remember my Dad and Grandad always talking of these iconic players of yesteryear. So to be in same room and eventually meet these men, was a great honour.

The event was well organised by Royal Mail and held in the suite behind the Royal Box at Wembley Stadium. The room was choc full of journalists which was both amazing and surreal to see. The Sir Alex Ferguson news seemed to make the media a little more frantic, but luckily the stamps remained the focus for a couple of hours at least. 

After Dan Walker had introduced the players and shown footage of them, they then circulated around the media tables to give ther interviews. Myself and Ady walking round with big grins awaiting our chance to get our stamps signed. In the media scrum, Ady had his elbows out so we managed this successfully and even had the chance of a quick chat with the players.

Last to leave was Denis Law which gave us a great opportunity to ask for a cheeky photograph with 'the King'. We then made our way back down Wembley Way, autographed stamps in hand after an unbelievable day out. It's not everyday you get your work on the big screen at Wembley.


Thinkpiece 2 - Why love is more valuable than ever.

In the latest in our series of Thinkpieces, Planning Director Claire argues that love is more commercially valuable than ever.

Recommendation has never been a more important driver of commercial success and revenue growth than it is today, with recommended companies growing on average 2.5 times quicker than the category average.

But how do you encourage recommendation? What critical actions do marketers need to take to successfully create, cultivate and nurture the love of your customers?

Request a copy of the latest Thinkpiece to find out. Email Nick Morgan on

Latest work - The Wine Society website

New responsive e-commerce website for the Wine Society

We’ve just launched a new e-commerce website for The Wine Society

The focus for the design of the website was on UX design and content hierarchy, to enable the user to quickly and easily identify key product and membership information.

The new website follows the brand repositioning, new visual identity and tone of voice that we developed last year. The new site is the latest development as we work with the Wine Society and help them to attract and better engage a new generation of members.

We used the language of wine to make membership of the Wine Society more appealing to new audiences, and developed brand guidelines to ensure coherence across all customer touchpoints, including direct marketing to existing customers as well as key digital channels.

Claire Rigby, our Planning Director said “The Wine Society is a fantastic organisation with an enviable reputation for providing their members with great quality wine, at fair prices.  We’ve worked with them to help define and communicate more effectively their unique positioning, business model and key customer benefits to a new generation of members – online as well as off line.  The re-launched website is the latest work to be unveiled as part of the new identity roll out”

Our Creative Director Ady said “The new brand identity marries the heritage and tradition of The Wine Society with contemporary styling, whilst ensuring clear communication of the major benefits of membership.”

True North and the incurably curious Wellcome Collection

Following a competitive tendering and pitch process, we’ve been appointed by Wellcome Collection as their strategic communications partner, as they invest £17.5m to create new galleries and spaces to meet overwhelming demand.
We’ll be creating and delivering a strategic communications campaign that will run during the period of transition through to launch.

Major work on the building is due to begin in summer 2013 and finish in summer 2014, however Wellcome Collection will remain open to the public throughout, offering a flexible programme of events and displays.

Wellcome Collection, part of the Wellcome Trust, is ‘the free destination for the incurably curious’ and is one of the fastest growing and most unique cultural spaces in London. The development aims to create a truly interdisciplinary and curiosity-driven cultural destination dedicated to inspiring wider and deeper engagement with the connections between medicine, life and art. See here for more details.

Rachel Collins, Communications Manager for Wellcome Collection, said:
‘Through their previous work and at pitch, True North has impressed us with their experience of developing campaigns that enable cultural destinations to respond to strategic and creative challenges. Rather than telling audiences we’re expanding and why, we want to take audiences on the journey with us, building anticipation and curiosity over the coming 18 months until the re-launch.’

Claire Rigby, True North’s Planning Director, said, ‘We are absolutely delighted to be working with Wellcome Collection, and are very excited by the strategic and creative opportunities presented by the evolution of this fantastic venue.’

University Challenges

We’d hate to be accused of following popular opinion, but we couldn’t help but feel pleased when Marketing Week ran this story entitled  'Universities must take more commercial marketing approach'. This is a view we’ve held for some time, and we can prove that when Universities do adopt a more brand-centric commercial approach, the results speak for themselves.

Our work with Durham University on their brand proposition, followed by our subsequent rebrand, had the effect of enhancing perceptions of all stakeholders, in particular attracting applications from even better qualified prospective students (their average tariff score increased after rebrand from an already high base).

They have cemented their place in all UK league tables, as well as climbing global rankings, thereby helping to protect perceptions of the ‘value’ of an education at Durham University that are troubling competitors.

We believe that brand has never been more important and can demonstrate that brand strategy and successful communication of your brand proposition can help to successfully tackle the key challenges facing UK universities right now.

We know how challenging it is to deliver consistent applicant numbers in an increasingly competitive market and ensure offers become enrolments. It's a buyer's market.

We know that International students are an increasingly important income stream for most, but that there are political, ethical and financial challenges to overcome.

And we know how important new revenue streams and new relationships with businesses and prospective partners are. We are working with Oxford University on positioning and communicating their global development and fundraising work, and can prove that skilled proposition development and accurate positioning can help to achieve even the most ambitious of fundraising targets.

If you’d like to know more about our work with Durham University or Oxford University, contact Nick Morgan on

A Breakthrough in print design

We’ve won more than our fair share of awards, but it’s not often we get asked to design an award. So, when a brief came through from Breakthrough asking us to do just that for their 5th Annual Independent Living Awards, we leapt at the chance.

Especially when we learned that Breakthrough wanted us to do something a little bit different - this was to be the second year that the charity would be hosting a virtual awards ceremony.

Bringing together the three core strands of the brief - to demonstrate Breakthrough as a contemporary organisation, to reflect their aim to provide disabled people with a platform not just ‘spoon feed’ them, and to engage the end user in a unique way for a virtual awards ceremony - we developed an augmented reality award, developing a hard copy poster that was enhanced with Aurasma technology that could be activated by a smartphone, linking to a unique award film, with the moment each of the 8 winners were announced.

Senior Designer Sarah Dutton said “We love a piece of simple but effective print based design. By using Aurasma, we managed to transform the poster into an interactive and engaging virtual awards. It’s been a really interesting project.”

You can learn more about Breakthrough UK at

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