Giles joins Cultural Enterprise Office’s team of Industry Associates

Cultural Enterprise OfficeGiles Etherington has been added the Cultural Enterprise Office’s team of Industry Associates as their Brand Creation and Branding specialist.

The Cultural Enterprise Office (CEO) supports Scotland’s creative businesses.

They offer a range of services to help creative micro-businesses and individuals build the skills and knowledge they need to succeed. CEO provides creative businesses with specialist information and advice, as well as training and networking opportunities.

They have a team of over 30 Industry Associates, with specialist knowledge representing the full spectrum of the creative industries, from architecture to games & app design, and a cross-section of business areas, from crowdfunding to gallery curation.

Taken from the CEO’s website:

Our Business Support team are experts in exploring your needs and will be your first port of call as you begin your journey with us.

We dig in from the word go with an informal discussion to understand your needs. This will ensure you receive the right support for you and your business. Help us, help you.

We’ll discuss your roadmap through our service, which could involve any of the following:

  • Space for you to reflect on current challenges
  • Tailored advice and direction to specific resources
  • An appointment with one of our In-house Advisers
  • An appointment with one of our Industry Associates
  • Referrals to CEO programmes
  • Direction to other helpful organisations

Brand Satellite create ‘Q’ branding concept for Charlotte Square Partners

Charlotte Square Partners - Brand IdentityBrand Satellite has created a new brand identity for Charlotte Square Partners.

Charlotte Square Partners marks the coming together of the expertise and experience of two of Edinburgh’s most renowned financial services firms; Newton-Barr Ltd and Castle Cairn Ltd. It provides financial advice to private individuals and small businesses.

The brief for the new identity was very specific. One of Newton-Barr’s partners, Brett Investment, is a client of Brand Satellite.

For Brett Investment, we created the ‘Bettr’ branding concept. We were now being asked to create a similar branding concept for Charlotte Square Partners.

The gauntlet had been thrown down. Obviously Brett and Charlotte Square Partners are two very different challenges. But, we were up for it.

Charlotte Square Partners - WebsiteWe presented the ‘Q’ concept.

A smaller ‘Q’ was inserted into the logo, to represent the ’Square’. Being situated in Edinburgh’s Charlotte Square, with its reputation for the highest quality financial institutions, was considered extremely important. This concept helped to highlight that.

Charlotte Square Partners - WebsiteA smaller ‘Q’ was also inserted into IFA to create IQFA – Intelligent Financial Advice. This allowed Charlotte Square Partners to talk about a service all financial advisors provide, in a unique and instantly superior way.

Charlotte Square Partners - WebsiteAnd a ‘Q:’ was used on the website, to ask questions. This allows Charlotte Square Partners to ask the kind of questions a visitor to the site is likely to be asking about what they want and expect from a financial advisor. This gives the visitor the impression that Charlotte Square Partners empathises with them.

Along with the new brand identity, we designed and developed the new website and designed and printed a new range of stationery.

csqp-stationery“We like using Brand Satellite for a couple of main reasons.” explains Gerry Seydak, Managing Director of Charlotte Square Partners.

“1) They listen to us. And 2) They came up with good ideas which added a nice twist to our appearance without trivialising the work we do.  That’s an important balance to strike in the financial services sector.”

Brand Satellite

The people make the brand: The John Lewis interview

John Lewis interviewWhen the Edinburgh Chamber of Commerce put on one of their Premier Business Dinners with Andy Street, Managing Director of John Lewis as the keynote speaker, I was going.

John Lewis is a brand I very much admire. And it’s not just me. John Lewis has remained one of the UK’s most cherished brands, even through the huge changes that have occurred in retail over the last couple of decades.

I went to the dinner with high expectations and I was not disappointed. Andy was entertaining, informative and inspirational.

During the evening I engineered myself into a seat next to one of the other John Lewis attendees at the event. He very kindly answered my barrage of questions and put me in contact with Barry Blamire, the Head of Branch of John Lewis Edinburgh. In turn, Barry very kindly agreed to be interviewed by me.

The John Lewis interview

Armed with a few dozen questions, I made my way to the Customer Services department at the St James Square store.

I was very keen to find out about how they indoctrinated new staff into the culture of John Lewis. I asked how the brand was articulated? Did they have a staff handbook or brand guidelines? I was expecting a three inch tome to be dropped on the table. I didn’t expect the answer I received. They don’t have any sort of brand induction. The brand is so deeply rooted in the culture of the business, new staff, or partners as they call them, are immersed in the culture on the shop floor from day one.

Barry stressed how important recruitment of new partners was. Getting the recruitment right. And recruiting people with the right values was paramount. If they got that right, then getting them to ‘buy into’ the culture was easy.

The power of partnership

Another benefit of the right recruitment and the right culture is staff retention. The partnership culture creates a bond between people. By providing a working environment that is based on the importance of individuals, you have a work force that a) want to do the best for the business (after all, if the business does well, they do well), and b) want to stay.

Barry has been with the company for fourteen years and Andy Street had been with John Lewis for over 35 years. Paula Nickolds, the incoming and first female Managing Director, has been with the company for 20 years. Andy has decided to leave the company run for mayor of the West Midlands.

To hear someone talk about their primary purpose being to create happiness for the people working within the company makes a refreshing change. Most retail businesses mantra is the customer is king. At John Lewis they understand that if their employees are happy, they will make the customers happy.

We talked at length about the relationship between the management and the partners. How important is was to keep them informed and, equally, how important it was to listen to them. They have Partner Voice meetings four times a year, were the agenda is set by the partners.

This posed another question. Why don’t more businesses work this way?

Our conversation also included how they review their branding roughly every 10-12 years, how they review their brand messages every 4-5 years, how they have recently introduced paid-for advertising and printed catalogues (while many other retailers are doing away with them). We also talked about their huge success moving online (the UK’s fourth largest online retailer with £1.5bn revenue – Source: RetailWeek) and, of course, the John Lewis Christmas ads.