Royal College of Art

When disruption meets purpose...

...change becomes possible.

The Royal College of Art is the world’s number 1 art and design university. Like all education providers around the world, it faces the challenge of brand recognition in a flattened marketplace, rising challenger brands and a changing product portfolio.

Our campaign strategy and media delivery has been led by two key principles – insight-led delivery and future-proofing the brand. As are the first strategic brand agency to be contracted to the RCA, we are working with them to help evolve their recruitment brand and support their international campaign work across broadcast, online and social platforms.

Beginning with extensive brand research, a process of internal workshops and the development of a brand story, we have the basis from which to support the RCA's full offer. This spans from engagement with the current RCA community of students, staff and academics, through to the delivery of editorial content and creative campaign guidance.

Services

  • Stakeholder alignment
  • Brand positioning
  • Campaign strategy
  • Messaging and editorial content
  • Campaign delivery

Harvey Nichols

Synaesthesia

A 360-degree immersive experience visualising the alchemy of perfume

Inspired by fragrance wardrobing, the Synaesthesia installation visualised the alchemy of perfume through the collision of two large format scent rings that engulf a user as they visit the space.

Situated on the fifth floor of Harvey Nichols, the installation created with Architecture Social Club invited visitors into two contrasting environments, the first, a space for collaboration with Memo Paris and Experimental Perfume Club, the second, a dark space that allowed the user to interact with the physicality of scent.

“Fragrance has historically been quite democratic, discount and gray-market-driven, but this really gives customers a unique way of experiencing it and elevates the category”
Daniela Rinaldi, co-chief operating officer of Harvey Nichols

Services
– Creative consultancy

Arts University Bournemouth

Bringing AUB to the channels our audience inhabit.

'We can’t say we are creative, we need to show it.'

This has been the driving force behind our relationship with Arts University Bournemouth, and having worked together for more than 10 years, we have had the opportunity to develop their brand and find new ways to meet the changing demands within the Higher Education sector.

As the number one specialist arts school in the UK, Arts University Bournemouth needs to communicate in a way that drives a sense of aspiration amongst students, parents, educators and industry audiences alike. This demands a balance between creativity and professionalism, and a seamless brand experience between on-and-offline communications.

Our most recent work was guided by the browsing habits of the University's younger audience, and saw us deliver a fully integrated prospectus on Instagram. Using the channel to actively reach as wide an audience as possible, linking all of the Foundation, Undergraduate, Postgraduate, Short and Evening courses together, enabled us to showcase a rich and heavily curated wealth of digital content.

Not simply a digital version of a printed prospectus, @aub_prospectus is a new way of looking at how to reach audiences in the spaces that they consume content.

A prospectus that is not confined by a print run

A prospective audience of 1 billion

Local goes global

@aub_prospectus

Alongside supporting AUB with specifically targeted campaigns and day-to-day marketing activity, we recently worked with them to re-design, build and launch aub.ac.uk.

Across a period of just 6 months we ran an intense process of stakeholder engagement, workshops and content creation, in parallel with the design and build of a new site from scratch.

The results;

  • 10% increase in pages per session (as we’ve also reduced user journeys, users are now viewing more relevant pages),
  • 46% increase in average session duration,
  • 47% decrease in bounce rate
  • 164% increase in order a prospectus
  • 15% increase in open day clicks
  • 332% increase in Open Day page conversion rate

The Siteimprove Digital Certainty index score has increased dramatically. The overall industry benchmark is 77.6/100; the previous website averaged a score of 64/100, our new website currently has a score of 88.4/100. We’re also now ranked 13 on the Skilltide leaderboard for accessibility, jumping 39 places.

Our work together has seen us awarded 5 Heist, 2 Chartered Institute of Marketing (1 Grand Prix), 3 Brand Impact, 1 European Excellence Award, 1 Drum, 1 BIMA and our latest work is currently shortlisted for 3 Heist awards.


Services

  • Stakeholder engagement
  • Brand identity
  • Web design
  • Campaign strategy
  • Messaging and editorial content
  • Campaign delivery
  • Print, digital and spatial design

With thanks to Simon, Helen, Charlotte, Lauren and rest of the team at AUB.

10% increase in page views per session

46% increase in average session duration

47% decrease in bounce rate

164% increase in order a prospectus clicks

15% increase in open day clicks

332% increase in Open Day page conversion rate

Pearson

Pearson are a multinational education publishing and assessment corporation. We work with them to help meet communication and brand demands that span across internal, academic, sales, and educator audiences.

Having worked on a range of projects within a number of different areas of the business, we have developed a relationship with Pearson that enables us to work as a brand partner, and an extension of their team. Whether it's shaping content with internal teams or understanding global audiences needs, we work with Pearson across their full ecosystem of deliverables from high demand campaign assets, to bespoke corporate events.


Services

  • Stakeholder engagement
  • Brand consultancy
  • Event design
  • Campaign delivery
  • Print and digital design

Breast Cancer Now

Corporate changes potentially put a 23-year partnership with Asda at risk. After merging the UK’s two biggest breast cancer charities into one, Breast Cancer Now needed to convey the benefit of the change to Asda.

Breast Cancer Now’s and Breast Cancer Care’s separate partnerships with Asda had been running for 23 years, which meant over £60 million towards groundbreaking, life-saving work. Now, as one charity, they needed to ensure the next phase of our partnership is stronger than ever before.

On top of this, the newly merged Breast Cancer Now was feeling the effects of changing corporate philanthropy. Corporates increasingly relate to charities as they would general suppliers, demanding more tangible impact and empirical evidence. This is a hard balance to strike when, for example, the results of funding medical research can take decades to surface.

Taking into consideration opinions from a broad range of internal stakeholders, from clinicians to marketers, the question was simply — how can we breathe new life into the partnership?

Process
We implemented our partner model to develop a clear vision that documented goals, where the funding will go, the overarching theme and campaigns that will bring the theme to life. We also focused on creating impact statements that Breast Cancer Now can work towards and Asda can point to, to evidence the great outcomes from the partnership. The process included —

  • – Stakeholder workshops
  • – 1-on-1 expert interviews with senior staff
  • – Competitor audit, including language analysis
  • – Iteration and copywriting
  • – Idea generation

Insight
By understanding the intricacies of the partnership from both sides, and unpicking where values and priorities overlap, we were able to unpick a focal point for the partnership going forward.

Asda is connected in some way with almost every UK community, including those who Breast Cancer Now can struggle to reach. We needed to build on this to create a partnership vision that will help every individual, from the well-informed to the underrepresented.

Outcome
We wrote and packaged a partnership vision document, alongside creating pitch materials to help BCN to communicate their goals to Asda. Within this, the focus was on creating impact statements that BCN can work towards and Asda can point to, to evidence the great outcomes from the partnership.

As a result, Asda and BCN renewed their partnership with a 3 year contract worth £13.5 million — a first for the long-standing partnership.


Kingston University

Kingston University experienced a rapid expansion both in terms of courses offered, and reputation as destination for Higher Education. As a hotbed of activity with no means of communicating their successes, Kingston needed a brand that could act as a window straight into the University.

Such growth meant it was easy for faculties to become disjointed – particularly in how they spoke to their audiences. This was confounded by the myriad slogans and sub-brands used in the University’s marketing and consequently the brand lacked a clear voice.

Alongside this, Kingston University's Faculty of Art, Design and Architecture was renamed as Kingston School of Art, reclaiming a long-established heritage and identity.

Home to courses that consistently top the league tables, the School helps to shape students that go on to become internationally-renowned designers, artists, architects, entrepreneurs… an endless list of talented outcomes.

In the process of re-establishing its historical roots, the School needed an identity that showcased the talent developing within its walls whilst maintaining a connection to the wider University.

We were asked by the University to help articulate their brand in a way that would enable individual course areas to capitalise on their successes, whilst ensuring marketing was equipped with the tools to benefit from the collective strength of the University.


Services

  • Stakeholder engagement
  • Brand identity and guidelines
  • Print, digital and spatial design
  • Campaign delivery



Building Societies Association

How do you explain the difference between a bank and a building society?

The Building Societies Association is a representative for the 44 building societies and 6 credit unions in the UK, helping them to prosper in the face of continually changing legislation. In doing so they continue to help put consumers and people first when it comes to handling their finances.

There is however, a lack of general understanding over what a building society is. They often get seen as being the same as banks, when in fact there are some fundamental differences. Can we help the BSA to highlight the ethos of building societies and position them as a different entity to banks, where their members take the role of shareholders?

Process
We began by looking at the methods different industries use to sum up complex explanations quickly and efficiently. We then held a workshop with the BSA which included people from across the organisation and representatives from some of their member building societies. Through a range of activities, we explored their existing brand and communications, to uncover what drives them as an organisation.

We distilled our findings into a core proposition, testing and iterating it with the BSA team to ensure it will work across different contexts.

Outcome: The result was a small statement aiming for big impact; 4 words — “For people, not shareholders. These four words set down the fundamental and ethical difference between building societies and banks, that the BSA could use as a starting point throughout their brand, comms and PR.

Impact
The “For people, not shareholders” statement was shared with all BSA’s members. It enabled them to convey a coherent message of why building societies are relevant in a modern world high in distrust of banks. As well as members starting to use it independently, it has become a part of BSA’s dialogue when they are addressing parliament and society in general. For example, the statement was used throughout the BSA’s 150th celebratory parliamentary reception, which took place earlier this year with MPs in attendance.

Pure Choice Partnership

We were approached by the team behind Skin Health Alliance – an independent dermatological accreditation for skin-safe products – to help them shape a new market proposition. Combining professional research and consumer engagement, we worked with them to bring their start-up accreditation to life in a way that has enabled them to strike up conversation with world-leading brands.

Consumers are taking an ever-increasing interest in what they are putting their money towards, in all areas, but are also progressively more focused on what they are using on their bodies. As well as this, there are increasing regulations around commonly used on-packet claims such as “hypoallergenic and” “free from…”.

The SHA team understood that there might be a gap in the market for a new type of accreditation but wanted to work with us to help them to uncover what consumers actually want. Our research, strategy and creative expertise, combined with their industry connections and sector-specific knowledge meant that we could craft a proposition for a unique accreditation that speaks to consumer and industry needs.

Challenges and process
During the process we were faced with a couple of complex challenges, the first being: how can we get to the heart of consumer needs?

By conducting a variety of in-depth user interviews, we were able to uncover what consumers look for in products (including must-haves and avoids), their knowledge of existing accreditations and their purchasing decision factors in general. In discussions with industry experts (from brand and marketing managers to dermatologists) we focussed on emerging trends and consumer demands.

From this wealth of information we were able to paint a picture of consumer landscape. We realised there was a lot of confusion about terms like “dermatologically tested” but this did not translate into a desire for allergen-free messaging. Instead, there was a greater demand for sustainable and natural products, with consumers seeing these a better stand-in for allergy-free claims. However, throughout all our interviews we found that people are overwhelmed by the amount of information they are faced with, and need something that will give them reassurance and certainty in what they buy. This was at the core of deciding the role the accreditation needed to play.

Insight
Ultimately, there was a gap in the market for a one-stop-shop accreditation that answers all key consumer needs; products that are good for the planet and for your body. This would help consumers navigate the products available to them, and empower them to purchase and explore new products responsibly. It would also allow large organisations to clearly communicate their sustainability credentials to their audiences in a clear and concise manner.



With a clear vision in place of the needs the accreditation would need to answer, the challenge was: how can we inspire trust in a brand-new authority?

With a fine balance to manage between looking approachable and associated with naturals whilst also evidencing expertise, we started by developing a name that would help to represent the principles behind the accreditation, and would facilitate a quick and easy understanding. Pure Choice Partnership works to tell new audiences what the accreditation is focused around, but also conveys a sense of knowledge and authority.

Developing the marque was a particular focus as it is the “product” that organisations are seeking, and is the visible face of the accreditation. We worked to create something that is legible at all scales, particularly focusing on small packaging, and that can also spring off into other creative formats.

Impact and next steps
Pure Choice Partnership has already had significant interest from large global consumer goods organisations. We are now working on innovative ways to launch the brand to a consumer audience, as well as continuing to support the growth of the company.


Services

  • Consumer research
  • Brand identity
  • Digital and campaign design
  • Messaging and editorial content

Coming soon