As designers, we’re always excited about change.
When something is changing, or when something is new, that’s exactly when the creative industries are brought in. That’s our opportunity. Our time to shine. But for our clients, change can be intimidating – even scary.
Creative agencies always start a project with research. But Stand’s client engagement process is about more than just research. It’s also about bringing people along on the journey. Giving them a voice. Building buy-in for the changes we’re about to make and giving people at all levels in the client’s organisation ownership of the project.
We know that in complex businesses the only way to get things done is to bring everybody, from all parts of the organisation, on board with the idea of change. You have to do that before you can actually start changing things.
That sounds like management consultancy talk. And maybe that is part of the job we do, but it’s really just about having open and honest conversations with people – and showing them that their opinions count.
Our work with the University of the Highlands and Islands (UHI) started out as an identity project. The university is distributed – it’s a partnership of a dozen separate colleges and research institutions – and their logos weren’t working as a coherent family. Even just speaking with their comms and marketing team, we realised straight away that they needed more than just a lick of paint. The university needed a single story that all partners could support, before we could help them tell that story visually.
We started conversations with the teams at every individual partner in UHI, as well as the central leadership team. And yes, we ran workshops about their brand. But mostly about their partnership. We discussed their place in the partnership, what it provided them with and what it asked of them. We asked about their frustrations and about the opportunities they saw ahead.
By involving every partner in the creative process, we were able to move forward on strong, honest foundations. We asked about their individual goals and brought all of those into the brand story.
By genuinely listening to all the stakeholders we got them excited about change and the opportunities it would bring. We removed potential roadblocks, got the partners as excited about change as we were, and were able to deliver a game-changing brand identity for UHI.