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Jules candidly explained how The Clearing had traditionally found it very easy to talk about how wonderful their work was, with the dialogue following a very linear process:

– ‘We were given this challenge’

– ‘We came up with this fantastic solution’

– ‘These were the results (increased sales / brand recognition etc)’

– ‘Didn’t we do well?’

She told me they had a tendency to talk about how much of a challenge the agency was presented with, and therefore how amazing the agency is for having grappled with, and overcome, those challenges. They are not alone; it is a scenario that is pretty common in the design and branding sector.

pensRecently though, The Clearing has completely changed the way it thinks about its work and what they do for clients. Says Jules, “We have reassessed how we do new business pitches, how we write our credentials, how we articulate everything about what we do.”

The light bulb moment for Jules and the team was their attendance at the DBA Design Effectiveness Awards ceremony in March. The ceremony is a showcase of wide-ranging examples of transformational design and it made them think; “what impact have we had on our clients’ businesses?”

The complexity in a rebranding project can lead you to forget that, actually, it all boils down to how you transform a business. The impact is not just found in the roll-out and increased sales; whilst the outcome is less about the development of a brand architecture and more about the change in the business itself.

“What goes into a project is complex, but the outcome needs to be simplified”, suggests Jules. “There is a beautiful simplicity in saying ‘Because of our involvement something different happened to that business’ – it takes away all the design and branding jargon.”

The new mantra at The Clearing is “What did we do? And did it make a change?” The aim being that they can confidently say of their work with past clients: “As a result of working with us these businesses changed.” They are able to talk to clients as business partners. As a partner capable of fixing more than just a particular project-focused need, one that can transform a whole business.https-cdn-evbuc-com-images-31718910-102399855273-1-original

This shift in perspective is being translated across the agency – The Clearing’s team are in the process of rewriting everything, including their website, to reflect their new found simplicity.

“This may all sound obvious, but it is something I feel very passionate about,” says Jules. “Our industry has a tendency to over-complicate things to maintain an air of “magic creativity” and promote how we solve complex challenges. We now think differently, and it has changed our business for the better.”

 

With thanks to Jules Griffith, Marketing Director, The Clearing.

The Clearing is an independent branding agency of approximately 25 staff based in Clerkenwell, London. Founded in 2010, they were named the UK’s best branding consultancy at The Drum Network Awards. They joined the DBA in 2015. 

Image credit: © Rawpixelimages | Dreamstime.com

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Image credit: © Gary Woodard | Dreamstime.com

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The increase in complexity of client demands and the continued search for transparency has transformed the art of account management.

Historically speaking, activities such as return on investment analysis, client profitability and efficiency reporting were all tasks reserved for the agency finance team alone. Nowadays as an AM, you are having to deal with these requests at the helm and often require answers on the spot. Your skill set has had to expand from largely relationship building attributes to include much more analytical and finance orientated tasks, adding meaningful input where the client sees value.

In addition to these varied reporting requests, you also have to deal with managing the delivery of a far greater breadth of offerings across a number of channels, as well as the stress of tightening client budgets and, more often than not, justifying to client procurement how the agency adds value. Couple this with managing internal agency functions such as looking after a team, providing direction on specific resource allocation and ensuring adequate capacity planning and it can all get a bit much!

The direct correlation between client satisfaction and efficient client service means the more complex client management gets, the heavier our reliance becomes on accurate and timely information being available to adapt to client demands. Given the amount of effort required to ensure the availability of this information after the fact, it often becomes tiresome to prepare and removes us from working on the things we love about the job and those things genuinely making a difference for our clients. Double entry, the manipulation of dumped data in Excel and pulling together comments from various different systems are all unnecessary additions to the daily workload and run the risk that you’ll lose control of the data. But there is a solution.

dreamstime_m_50040060

As my colleague, Les Parry Managing Director of Pegasus Systems, alluded to in his article for the DBA last year “The Importance of Information”, one of the magic ingredients to achieving seamless access to job information is to ensure everything is in one place and one place only, your core system.

With the right system in place, job level and client related information should be ready at the push of a button at the end of the process. This will put you firmly in control of your data, whilst the headache of using Excel and multiple other tools to prepare estimates, create revenue forecasts, allocate resources etc. will be a thing of the past.

Performing a review of your job management processes is often the first step to making any clear changes for the better – something we at Pegasus Systems ensure is completed during the implementation phase of introducing a new system. This provides you with a full understanding of what information you’ll need to ‘get out’ and therefore importantly what needs to be inputted first, so that when required, you’ll seamlessly have all the information you need.

With your data for the 2017 DBA Annual Survey now submitted, and the Report eagerly awaited in a few months, it’s an opportune time to ask ourselves how we can best use this internal information to win more business, make our current clients more profitable and gain meaningful ground on the war against unnecessary admin this year.

Partners for the DBA Annual Survey Report 2017

pegasus pegasus

Pegasus provides a specialised marketing services software solution focused on exceeding our clients’ expectations, developing the system with our user base and building long term relationships through innovation and exceptional client support. Our clients include all major international groups, plus a growing number in the UK with notable agencies such as JKR and Droga5 amongst them. Supporting over 130 clients with 6,000+ staff globally in London, New York, Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, Malaysia, Hong Kong, Philippines, Japan. We are a private staff-owned company with over 30 years focused solely on the advertising and communications industry. All directors are previously agency FDs, all client service and product delivery staff have worked in agencies in senior financial roles. Our in-depth understanding of agencies’ processes is our strength!

About: Daniel Hogan, Consultant, Pegasus Systems (UK)

Daniel Hogan is a CA qualified Consultant at Pegasus Systems UK with an extensive history in operational and financial management of Advertising, Design, Creative and Digital agencies. He specialises in agency platform transition management and is committed to growing the presence of Pegasus in the UK.

Not a DBA member?

If you are interested in benefiting from access to the DBA Annual Survey Report – the most in-depth benchmarking report in the design industry, analysing the fees, salaries, utilisation, income, recovery rates, benefits, and trends of DBA members – please contact adam.fennelow@dba.org.uk for membership details, or take a look at our membership benefits.

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The new Directors appointed to the DBA’s Board are:

Aileen Geraghty, Managing Director, 999 Design London

Vicky Bullen, CEO, Coley Porter Bell

Nanna Ulrich Gudum, Vice President, Design, LEGO Group (co-opted to Board in October 2016 and formerly appointed at AGM)

The Directors reappointed to the DBA’s Board are:

Jim Thompson, MD, 20.20 and DBA President

Erika Clegg, Founder, Spring

Jeremy Lindley, Global Design Director, Diageo

Details of the full Board can be found here. 

The DBA is the design industry’s trade association and champions the transformative power of design, promoting its strategic and economic value to business and government.

Against an unparalleled backdrop of political and economic challenges as the UK moves towards its exit from the EU, the government must continue to grow its recognition of the vital role the UK design industry plays in our nation’s competitiveness.

British design is not only world leading, but is also central to the economy, helping to drive innovation and improve productivity. The design economy alone contributes 7.2 percent to the total UK economy and currently employs more than 1.5 million people. Design impacts all sectors of the economy and touches every aspect of our lives through the products and services we use.

For the future prosperity of the UK and ongoing growth of the design industry, the DBA is focused on securing support and recognition for the sector in the government’s long-term plans so that design is rightly seen as a major contributor to the British economy in its own right, as well as a driver for growth in terms of both commercialising innovation and manufacturing.

Says DBA CEO Deborah Dawton, “This is a vital time for our industry, which presents both opportunity and challenges. Our highly experienced and dynamic Board of Directors, drawn from leading design consultancies and design-driven businesses, play a fundamental role in developing the strategy by which the DBA will continue to drive design ever further up the agenda in business and government over the coming years, as well as developing the frameworks by which we can support the industry to keep pace with change as the sector grows its influence and impact. We are delighted to welcome our new Board Directors whose extensive experience will be vital in this important, industry shaping work.”

Aileen Geraghty, MD 999 Design London

image002-convertimageThe impact of design on business has never felt more relevant – it’s the lifeblood that helps differentiate – so let’s use these difficult times to drive it up the agenda and convert the unconverted. I’m looking forward to the journey.”

Vicky Bullen, CEO Coley Porter Bell

149813373124342

“As we head towards Brexit the DBA will play a key role in helping our industry face into the path of change, and with 30 years in the industry, I am looking forward to bringing my experiences of adapting and changing to the table. The battle for talent will also continue to intensify – we need to attract and keep great talent. The DBA is a strong voice to government and is uniquely positioned to emphasise the need for funding and support to ensure our industry continues to thrive.”

Nanna Ulrich Gudum, Vice President Design LEGO Group

Nanna Ulrich Gudum“During my 20 years at LEGO, my focus has been on attracting and retaining international design talent and building a strong innovative team with a global creative mindset – experience I believe to be highly relevant to the DBA membership in growing their own businesses at this time of change for the UK, and which I am happy to share with the DBA network.”   

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What put the sparkle back into this classic?

orangina-line-up-a-72dpiClever and stunningly effective design; design that was about best practice evolution rather than radical reinvention and which unlocked Orangina’s playful personality and heritage, reawakening a forgotten icon.

The new positioning and sophisticated livery by BrandMe harnessed the brand’s equities to communicate a premium and vibrant personality. Orangina no longer competes on price, emotional value has been built back into the brand and consumers are willing to pay considerably more for the soft drink – over 60% more for in fact, in the case of their slimline can multipacks.

There’s much to learn from LSR’s design investment and its pivotal role in restoring Orangina to its iconic status and premium positioning.

Now, more than ever, design is a sound commercial investment. In an increasingly complex world where customer experience is everything, design can elicit the response you want in your consumer. It is the common denominator in businesses whose products and services stand up and out from the crowd.

At the DBA we’ve been rewarding designs that have had a tangible and measurable impact on business success for over 25 years through our Design Effectiveness Awards. In the words of one of the Awards’ judges, Dragons’ Den’s Deborah Meaden, “There’s been a huge change in the way the businesses that I deal with see design. It used to be the kind of money they couldn’t afford to spend. It’s actually fast becoming money that they know they need to spend. It needs to take priority because when you don’t have good design you don’t sell a product.” It’s as simple as that.

Take a read of Orangina’s Gold winning DBA Design Effectiveness Award entry, along with all of the Bronze, Silver and Gold winners go to effectivedesign.org.uk

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