The Digital Agency Showcase has already featured some fantastic examples of work from agencies across the northwest. It is now the turn of integrated brand communications agency, Studio North.
Studio North is based in Manchester and specialise in branding, marketing and digital. The agency is known for creating compelling brand experiences, which spark genuine stand out interest and advocacy for brands of all shapes and sizes.
Over the years the team at Studio North have built a strong and supportive working culture which has maintained a team of like-minded people who deliver campaigns that create real business value for their clients. They are a down-to-earth and friendly bunch of people, who are always ready for a new challenge.
Nick has 16 years' experience in the creative sector and is well-known as a problem solver who thrives on creating brand and digital strategies that deliver tangible benefits and results. Nick's experience spans both digital and offline, and he has worked with some great brands, which include; Sage, NHS, Stagecoach, The Co-operative Group, AMEC and Sodexo.
1. Hello, and thank you for letting us interview you for our digital agency showcase. What is your main job role and responsibility within Studio North?
I'm the Strategy Director and Co-founder here at Studio North. I'm an ex-Creative Director who has made the natural progression into strategy. I see myself as a problem solver, helping our clients to develop brand and digital strategies.
2. Please could you pick a case study from 2012, and explain why you have chosen it to represent Studio North's work?
I have chosen our work for Brio Leisure (www.brioleisure.org) as I feel it's a good example of how you can build a brand from the ground up and accurately represent it online. We developed the project under both time and budget constraints, yet it has become a resounding success for our client and has really helped make a difference to their organisation.
3. What brief were you intitially supplied with, and what objectives did the Studio North team devise when briefed?
Our challenge was to create a new sports and leisure brand for Cheshire West and Chester Council, with a key objective to change people's perceptions of the public leisure centre experience. Our aim was to capture the essence of the offer, and win the hearts and minds of the public.
The strategy was to separate Brio Leisure from the Council and create a whole new brand. Our job was to develop everything, from the name upwards, accumulating into a new website that would include the integration of a leisure membership portal and events ticket booking system.
4. What strategy did Studio North devise to answer the brief and objectives that were set?
As this was a leisure organisation that consisted of many parts including sports, fitness, swimming, events and theatre, right through to corporate entertainment and weddings, we had two key challenges to overcome. Firstly, we had to find the best way to structure these services into a logical and evenly balanced offering. Our target audience was diverse, so whether you were wanting to book tickets for tonight's show or book a badminton court, the same three-click rule applied in our strategy.
Our second challenge was to change people's negative perception of council owned leisure centres. This was a multi-site community leisure organisation that needed to reflect a private health club.
We began by developing a brand positioning of 'At the heart of life', which unpinned everything that followed. The sentiment was to let people know they had a new centre at the heart of their community, which offered them everything they needed in terms of leisure and entertainment.
5. How did Studio North implement the strategy?
We developed the name 'Brio Leisure'(meaning vitality & energy), which gave them an identity, then went on to develop sub-brands in order to package the groups of leisure facilities. Once the identity had been developed we rolled it out across all of the organisation's marketing communications both on and offline. We designed and developed a new website on the Joomla CMS framework and worked alongside a third party software vendor to integrate a members bookings system and events ticket purchasing.
6. Could you tell us what results were derived from the strategy, and any positive feedback that Studio North received from the campaign?
Feedback from the community and leisure facility users has been excellent. People have been voting with their feet as membership numbers have increased month on month since the launch. The website was at 18,000 visits by the three month mark and now consistently gets around 30,000 visits per month with low bounce rates and excellent conversions.
7.Could you give a top tip to any perspective digital marketing candidates who would like to work in an agency like yours?
We're an integrated agency so we're always keen on candidates who live and breathe digital but have a solid understanding of branding. Digital in itself has an ever-growing amount of channels, but what's key for us is finding a candidate who understands brand communications well enough to know exactly which channels are most appropriate for the brand they're working with.
And finally, keep abreast of technology and trends. Never stop learning.
The Candidate's Summary:
We would like to congratulate Studio North on an excellent campaign with a well thought out and effective strategy despite budget and time constraints.
A great agency with a great culture and we would like to take this opportunity to wish Studio North the same success for 2013.