Spotted: Ditch the gym, the FIIT TV app is here!

17 Jan 2019 | Culture

Spotted: Ditch the gym, the FIIT TV app is here!

By Nikki Burton

It’s January. Christmas is over, but those extra turkey rolls are proving a little hard to shift. So I’ve found myself looking for some active inspiration to give my regular yoga classes a boost… without the commitment of a gym membership which I’ll inevitably have forgotten about come March.

Enter FIIT TV. All I can say is YEY!

What it is

An interactive at-home workout with some of the UK’s most respected personal trainers whipping me into shape… with the added joy of their 30-day plan coming absolutely free.

There is of course a more advanced version with a heart tracker and fitness mat so you can actually monitor your progress and beat your own personal best… but that’s for later.

Right now, all I need to do is press play and make these workouts become part of a permanent lifestyle, which shouldn’t be too hard as the average session lasts only 20 minutes!

Why I love it

Whilst there are other similar offers out there, the website and app offer a great user experience. They’re both easy to navigate and the brand is really visually appealing with big bold headlines and bright gritty photography drawing me in.

Download the app and see for yourself.

Make it or break it: What are the secrets to start-up success?

22 Jan 2019 | Culture | Tips & Tricks

Make it or break it: What are the secrets to start-up success?

By Laura Giffard

90% of start-ups fail within three years.

That’s quite a daunting statistic from where I’m sitting, as Perq Studio gets ready to celebrate its second birthday.

It got me thinking about how we got here.

The lows, the highs, and inevitably, where we’re going.

What does it take to be part of that 10%?

So we’re launching a new interview series, in a bid to uncover the secrets of start-up success. Straight from the founder’s mouth. Or should I say keyboard. It will be a written blog after all. And we won’t be looking at the Richard Bransons of this world. Whilst I greatly admire those serial entrepreneurs, I’m interested in businesses who, like us, have chosen to stay small.

How did they make it? Did they ever come close to breaking it? What advice do they have for others?

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What happens when you have a great product, but terrible branding?

23 Jan 2019 | Culture

What happens when you have a great product, but terrible branding?

By Laura Giffard

There’s no doubt that marketing is having to work harder than ever to earn its place in the boardroom. Financial mindsets dominate businesses and as Rory Sutherland put it in his stimulating talk A World Without Branding – Why It Would Never Work, branding is often seen as no more than “reprographics with A levels”.

But this attitude is fundamentally wrong.

I get it. We live in a world where businesses obsess over product. Getting everything just right. Ultimately you want payoff after purchase and for people to be absolutely sure their latest acquisition was justified.

That’s all fine and dandy.

But tell me, just how is your product going to end up in people’s hands if you don’t prioritise your brand and marketing?

Is having a strong product really enough in itself?

The short answer is no.

The longer, and much more amusing answer comes in this brilliant demonstration of a great product (Ed Sheeran) being sold badly (Peep Show)

Quite simply, people can’t make sense of the offer. And when they understand it, they don’t trust it.

Seriously. FOR A GOOD TWO HOURS people turn down the opportunity of a reasonably priced, 30 second private Ed Sheeran concert. And when someone finally accepts the offer, it’s down to the good old urgency & scarcity sales techniques.

So there you have it. Marketing multiplies value. And you need to build, develop and nurture it just like you would your product.


Hooray for 2019 & body positivity

29 Jan 2019 | Culture

Hooray for 2019 & body positivity

By Laura Giffard

Well, we’re one month in and I just can’t get enough of 2019. We’re finally showing two fingers to bodyshamers and brands that fail to represent women beyond a single ethnicity and body type. Jameela Jamil’s @i_weigh movement continues to gather momentum, and our favourite influencers are leading us on the path to self-love and body positivity.

And now, this stunning menopause supplement advert from Holland & Barrett - not only starting the conversation about a little spoken-of aspect of women’s health (SPOILER ALERT: most of us will go through it), but also defying conventions with its choice of models.

And guess what naysayers? We find all these women powerful, beautiful and aspirational AF.

So stop feeding a single view of women to us.

It’s 2019. We won’t put up with your nonsense.

Brand is about looking at the bigger picture.

29 Jan 2019 | Culture

Brand is about looking at the bigger picture.

By Nikki Burton

The Zara brand refresh really has got a lot of designers’ knickers in a twist. Kerning aside let’s look at the bigger picture… There is definitely beauty in the bravery of this retail giant who has the balls to step away from the popular ‘safe sans-serif logo stripped of any heritage or personality’, that many big-boy fashion retailers have been recently defaulting to.

Taking a closer look at the brand (instead of focusing purely on the logo) reveals a strategic and deliberate move towards a more luxurious high-fashion positioning. Letterforms are broken free and used with plenty of white space, considered and playfully positioned alongside photography that is definitely hitting those high-end fashions notes. ‘Blending elegance with edge’ they say. I have to agree.

So instead of sitting on the fence Zara have taken the bold approach. And good for them. It may be a Marmite solution in the eyes of some designers out there, but I say well done Zara for being brave. Not sitting on the fence. Not following others. Wouldn’t this world be a boring place if we all looked and acted the same!

It’s all too easy to be negative without taking into consideration the journey that an agency and their client have been on. And only they truly know where they’re headed. Right now, they’re just laying the foundations.

Tapping into the spirit of the graduate go-getter

30 Jan 2019 | Culture

Tapping into the spirit of the graduate go-getter

By Nikki Burton

I popped along to Nicer Tuesdays last night at Oval Space. Speakers ranged from a superstar graduate illustrator, through to master puppeteers (everyone remembers the TK Maxx Christmas stocking right?) a design & art direction agency and a future-forward creative unit… it was a pretty good evening of ‘show and tell’ - lucky me!

The highlight of the evening was an absolutely captivating and eloquent speaker, fresh-faced graduate illustrator and animator Joey Yu, who took us through her artwork and collaborations with confidence and humour. Her illustrations fearlessly speak the truth of what she sees, experiences and stands for across the world. Joey has a sea of awards under her belt and has already worked with the likes of Girlboss, The New York Times and Tate (pretty impressive!).

Joey manages to get herself into pretty amazing places completely unexpectedly (like sitting backstage at Field day festival sketching the artists). And, like us, she’s big on collaboration. In her own words “Collaboration is one of the most inspiring things, by talking, and having conversations with the right people you never know where you will end up and what doors will open…” she says.

Thank you Joey for reminding us that we should never lose the spirit of the graduate. That go-getting drive packed full of hope and gumption. Her energy is infectious and she certainly has a bright future ahead go her. We could all do with looking at the world with her wide-eyed wonder.

Check out Joey’s work here.

Make it or break it: Joe Benn @ Ugly talks top tips for startups

04 Feb 2019 | Culture

Make it or break it: Joe Benn @ Ugly talks top tips for startups

By Laura Giffard

Joe Benn, Co-Founder and UK MD of Ugly Drinks lives in Stoke Newington, London with three friends. His happy place is an Italian restaurant in Holborn called Ciao Bella.

What does your typical day look like?
My days are so varied given the growth of the business and any given projects that are happening at the time. I can be visiting flavour houses one day and meeting major customers the next. But consistently they involve a lot of coffee!

What do you do after work?
Usually it involves eating! I’m either cooking something or hitting a restaurant. I spend all my money on food.

Tell us about you and your business.
I am someone who has always had a passion for food, drink and entrepreneurship and so starting a business in this space was an inevitability. When I met my Co-Founder Hugh (whilst we were both working at Vita Coco) it was only a matter of time before we split off to do our own thing. Ugly was born out of a desire to challenge the status quo and disrupt the drinks industry. We’re here to tell The Ugly Truth in everything that we do and consumers seem to really relate to that transparency.

They say year 3 is when you make it or break it as a start-up. Have you ever come close to breaking it? What’s your single piece of advice for making it?
Ha! We’ve come close to breaking it lots of times! I think most businesses have. If you’re not putting yourselves in a position where you’re challenging yourself and your business then you’re probably not moving quickly enough or disrupting enough. In terms of ‘making it’, we subscribe to the theory of ‘The Obstacle is the Way’ (which is a book by Ryan Holiday). Basically, all the most challenging moments in our story so far have led us to better outcomes and strengthened our resolve and our determination to keep telling The Ugly Truth!

Brands and our brains. Should we use neuroscience to validate creative ideas?

05 Feb 2019 | Culture

Brands and our brains. Should we use neuroscience to validate creative ideas?

By Laura Giffard

I spent a fascinating evening in the company of Dr. Sandra Murphy, Director of Neuroscience at Nielsen, who shared some great insights into how the brain works. Having graduated in psychology and completed a doctorate exploring attention spans before moving to apply her expertise in the commercial space, Sandra is better placed than most to shine light on the relationships between brands and our brains.

Sandra immediately showcased her knowledge in practice by opening the talk to images of ABBA, IKEA and what seemed to be pickled herring. Seeing a puzzled look creep over our faces she explained “We all know attention spans are short-lived and as you probably came here to listen to my talk, rather than trying to guess my accent, I’ll reveal that I’m from the land of flat-pack furniture, also known as Sweden”. Busted! But that definitely helped us all to better focus on the matter at hand.

What followed was an hour-long talk showing us the latest ways in which Nielsen is able to measure people’s engagement when exposed to brands and their creative. Sandra explained that the strength in neuroscientific testing really lies in providing a more complete picture than using traditional survey methods alone.

And this makes sense to me, because as David Ogilvy so rightly pointed out:

“The trouble with market research is that people don’t think how they feel, they don’t say what they think and they don’t do what they say.”

Essentially, technologies like eye-tracking, EEG, biometrics and facial coding help us account for some of those contradictions we display between what people say and what they experience and how they behave.

A great case in point was Puppy Monkey Baby, an advert that was largely responsible for a 34% spike in sales for Mountain Dew Kickstart. When surveyed on the creative, consumers said they found the advert disturbing and a turn-off. But neuroscientific testing showed strong engagement, recognition and a detectable positive ‘aha moment’ when the product was revealed. Had the brands listened simply to what consumers said, this could have ended up being the greatest ad that never was!

Which really brings me to what I find most challenging about this whole topic.

I find focus groups incredibly valuable in the information-gathering stages of a project, but I seriously question the overreliance big business places on using them to validate a creative idea and its execution. At the end of the day, we can monitor that a person is having a reaction, or is focusing, but the interpretation still relies on assumptions, and as such is unclear.

It’s our job as brand owners, strategists and creatives to understand our audiences and build a compelling piece of communications that resonates and delivers value for customers and the business.

We shouldn’t need to rely on these technologies to make us feel safe, because the truth is that great creative lies in taking risks. In showing people something new and sometimes in pushing people past their comfort zone.

It’s our job to develop marketing strategies and creative in a way that engages our audience and takes them on the journey with us.

So, let’s use market research to review, refine and plan our next move, rather than to tweak creative within an inch of its life.

Long live brave creativity.

Our creative features as B2B Marketing Magazine’s star campaign

12 Feb 2019 | Press

Our creative features as B2B Marketing Magazine’s star campaign

By Laura Giffard

The chemical market information provider has turned to paper cutouts to emotionally engage its audience and promote its new customer platform and mobile app.

ICIS – a petrochemical market information provider - is a truly B2B company. But that didn’t mean it shied away from taking on a more B2C aesthetic in an attempt to push the envelope. Its integrated campaign, launched in November last year, aimed to highlight the benefits of using ICIS while emotionally engaging its audience.

Laura Giffard, founder and client director at Perq Studio - the agency who developed the campaign with ICIS - said she was blown away by how forward-thinking ICIS was during the creative stages of the campaign.

For her, the challenge was to make the brand feel more relatable and human, while retaining the serious nature of the topic. “There has to be a serious undertone but you want to have some emotional engagement and that’s achieved through providing something visually new. That’s what is going to pique interest,” she says.

Something new, something blue

While the campaign is certainly a departure for the company, it still needed to be recognisable as the ICIS brand, so Perq Studio’s concept built upon the company’s existing brand typeface and blue colour palette.

This was where the idea to use paper cutouts - something most of us can associate with our childhood - was born. This gave the campaign a minimalist, contemporary feel.

Yet as Laura points out, it’s slightly ironic. “Their product is digital and we’ve made the communications analogue, but also tactile and really human,” she explains. “What we were trying to communicate is that while you’re accessing a digital product, actually it’s the market intelligence and expert insight of the people behind it that makes it so amazing.”

Among the collateral created for the campaign, which includes events, email and social, the stand-out is the paper cutout animation (which you can view at This has been created to target both existing clients and new customers, to reinforce the feeling that ICIS is their best partner. “The purpose of the animation was to draw in people who may not have considered ICIS yet, and create something disruptive that they can engage with,” Laura adds.

It’s you, not me

The attempt to resonate with the customer on an emotional level also called for a slight change in focus. ICIS’ brand strapline is ‘Driven by data and powered by insight’. While the brand still wanted to get across the quality of their product in its campaign, they realised they needed to acknowledge the customer within this. The conclusion resulted in the campaign strapline: ‘Power your decisions with’. “It’s about putting the customer in charge so they can make their best decisions,” explains Laura. “It’s only a tweak on their current communications but really makes a difference.”

Such a simple strapline has also proven to have longevity and the campaign is planned to continue long-term to advance its current success.

This article, written by Molly Raycraft, was featured in B2B Magazine’s Winter 2019 edition.

Packaging done to perfection

21 Feb 2019 | Culture

Packaging done to perfection

By Nikki Burton

I was actually having a cheeky Nandos with a friend when I stumbled across this little beauty. Excited that I’d spotted my favourite tea on the menu (The South African Rooibos - cold and in different flavours!) it had to be done… ‘One peach Rubro please’.

The packaging sealed the deal. I was in love. The stitched heart symbol stands for health and the raw energy of Africa, which when paired with bold colours denoting each flavour makes for a clean design with tonnes of personality. The information hierarchy was spot on with three eye-catching levels of copy: bold brand, secondary flavour and a Rooibos sign off. And what’s more, this design has been around since 2013! It just goes to show that good branding always stands the test of time.

Spotted: Show them what crazy can do

04 Mar 2019 | Culture

Spotted: Show them what crazy can do

By Laura Giffard

I cannot get enough of the brilliant Dream Crazier campaign from Nike.

I love how it celebrates women standing for something and pushing boundaries, categorically rejecting mainstream narrative of women as ‘hysterical’ and ‘unhinged’.

Granted, Always’ Like a girl and Pantene’s Sorry not sorry campaigns did a brilliant job in paving the way by challenging the vernacular.

But what I love about this Nike ad is that it pushes the conversation further. Not only does it challenge us, but it shows us multiple examples of women winning. Women being powerful. And women not taking ‘no’ for an answer.

I know these conversations are long overdue, but I am just so damn happy that they are happening. And I long for a time when attitudes will have changed enough for people to be treated with the same respect regardless of gender.

Until then, keep being crazy. It’s only crazy until you do it.

Spotted: Taking retail to the 13th moon

05 Mar 2019 | Culture

Spotted: Taking retail to the 13th moon

By Nikki Burton

If you’re looking for original retail, Gentle Monster have taken it to another planet – the 13th moon to be precise. Confused? Don’t be. This South Korean fashion eyewear brand seizes the experiential – all perfectly packaged for the high street consumer.

Is this the future of the Saturday morning shopping trip? I do hope so. This brave brand has fully embraced the simplicity of a sensory environment providing an experience like no other. The 4,840sq ft space in Soho is full of beautifully designed creatures by 3D artist Frederik Heyman that move and make sounds – totally interactive and awe-inspiringly unexpected. The eyewear is discretely interspersed throughout the store (no product crammed all over the walls, how refreshing). It took me a while to figure out what the space was for. But that’s just it, I stopped in my tracks and curiosity got the better of me. Keeping me browsing for a long time and considering my next pair of glasses. Bravo Gentle Monster, looks like you’re leading the way.

Make it or break it: Sam Nolan @ Eden Marsh talks top tips for startups

08 Mar 2019 | Culture | Tips & Tricks

Make it or break it: Sam Nolan @ Eden Marsh talks top tips for startups

By Laura Giffard

Sam Nolan, MD of Eden Marsh lives with her partner (and business partner!) Alex, daughter Eden and Russian dwarf hamster ‘Chewie’ in Surbiton. Her happy place is either at her piano or on the ski slopes.

What does your typical day look like?


6.30am – alarm goes off – snooze

6.40am – snooze again!

7.50am – now I’m gonna be late!

Mornings are always pretty stressful trying to fit in a school drop off with my daughter. Then, like most Londoners/commuters I have to battle my way to work on South Western Rail and head to the office (Farringdon) for typically a 9 hour shift of non-stop phone calls/emails/staff meetings and interviews. The day goes quick and is a roller coaster of highs and lows. Lunch time is usually a case of grabbing a sandwich and eating it at my desk. Although often I will see a client or take a member of staff for a quick lunch somewhere for a general wellbeing catch up.

I try to use my commute times as constructively as possible because I REALLY struggle with commuting: – I listen to a lot of audio books and I like to listen to Podcasts, which interest me and inspire me. This can be anything from philosophy, learning languages to just some funny stuff from my favourite comedians.

Thursdays is my work from home day, which is so important for me. It just gives me that break from the commute, extra time to balance kids/work/homework and allows me to breathe a bit.

Weekends – I try my best to switch off from work, spend quality time with my family, read, play piano, go for walks, see friends – it usually involves wine at some point and a run (not at the same time)

What do you do after work?

At the end of the day I might stop off at the gym. Often when you own/run a business it can be all-consuming and it’s easy to neglect yourself a bit and actually, that can have challenging consequences. If I get ill then I know it will impact my business big time.

Having said that – I really hate the gym! So I force myself to do it, at least 3 days a week and look forward to my nights off so I can go home and see my family.

If I finish at 6pm, I will get home around 7.30/8pm – trains permitting.

This is usually just enough time to bunker down with my daughter, chat about school, read with her (possibly a bit of homework), eat and relax.

I always like at least an hour in the evening to watch a bit of Netflix, or whatever, which helps me wind down and switch off. I should go to bed earlier than I do but by the time I get home and do what I need to do it’s already 9.30/10pm and I really need a good hour to wind down.

Tell us about you and your business.

I’ve been in recruitment all my working life (16 years). I didn’t intend to go into recruitment but after I graduated from Uni I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do, so applied for lots of graduate trainee programmes.

I was really lucky to find a job with an excellent agency who trained me well and gave me lots of opportunities, like moving to Manchester to assist in the start up of a new business, which then led to a move to Australia to start up an agency and run it. I stayed with this business for 11 years. I had a great mentor/friend (the owner of the agency) who also supported me in my own business venture.

I set up Eden Marsh just over 5 years ago – it is a recruitment agency for the creative industry. We recruit designers/artworkers/art directors and writers et. for design and advertising agencies but also marketing departments of brands. We are now a team of 8. Tia – one of our consultants - refers to us as a dysfunctional family; she’s probably right!

They say year 3 is when you make it or break it as a start-up. Have you ever come close to breaking it? What’s your single piece of advice for making it?

Yep – pretty much every week! No, realistically, I’ve felt the pressure possibly two or three times where I wondered if I could actually keep it up. We were lucky in that we have always managed to be financially secure (due to hard work on all sides). But it was mainly the everyday stresses which creep up on you and I think the impact of this is incredibly underestimated.

In terms of starting up the business and getting it off the ground - I had been part of 3 start ups prior to setting up my own so I think I was aware of the pitfalls but even then – it’s never a given you will be successful. I was also setting up a business in a saturated market with no real genuine USP. So I just hoped that my previous recruitment experience, passion, determination, honesty, integrity and hard work would just pay off. You have to get the staff, and quickly, otherwise you’ll burn out and again I was lucky to quickly find key people who worked hard and supported me.

The first few years are tough but to be honest, 5 years in, it’s still tough! It depends on the type of business you run. Recruitment is a very competitive industry.

For me – I found the hardest bit is transitioning from being an entrepreneur and focussing on yourself and your clients and doing what you are good at; to managing people, ensuring they are being productive, ensuring you have the turnover to cover your overheads and pay your staff! I went from just managing myself to managing a whole team of people and that calls for a different set of skills. That’s where I think some businesses can fail because as a manager, you need to be resilient and able to handle the day to day monotony and for most entrepreneurs – well, it’s just not fun!

You also need to learn to detach and not take stuff personally – and that’s hard.

My advice is: SHOW UP.

No matter how bad you think the day is going to go. Keep going, one foot in front of the other, just keep going and you will get there. YOU have to keep the business moving and growing and it’s easy to get complacent, especially after some successes. It’s also easy to think it’s never going to get easier or better. It does, but you have to give it a chance and if you give up – well you’d never know just how far you could have taken it.

Making your smallest asset King

13 Mar 2019 | Culture

Making your smallest asset King

By Nikki Burton

Last week I attended my first Glug event, where a magnificent mixture of creatives gave talks on everything from experiential through to visual identity & film.

I really enjoyed hearing from Christian Eager, CD at Turner Duckworth who showcased some of the agency’s best work and explained why their brand mantra is “Love the unmistakable”. Whether designing for large or small formats, their approach focuses on finding moments for the customer to interact with, like and share the brand.

One of my favourite examples was their campaign for Burger King’s seasonal holiday packaging. They took what Burger King are most famous for - their flame-grilling - and combined a Santa beard with flames to celebrate the season in a truly unique and ownable way. And customers loved it, they couldn’t get enough of taking and sharing selfies with the beard bag!

It’s amazing how the smallest asset can create so much buzz through the process of play, bringing the brand to life through a shared experience. I think this campaign just proves that even the biggest brands can find license to be playful and need to embrace the power of social, giving customers the tools to become brand advocates.

Make it or break it: Glyn Cartwright @ The Worshipful Company of Marketors talks top tips for startups

01 Apr 2019 | Culture | Tips & Tricks

Make it or break it: Glyn Cartwright @ The Worshipful Company of Marketors talks top tips for startups

By Laura Giffard

Glyn Cartwright, owner and major shareholder of four SMEs, lives in Shropshire with his wife, son, daughter, son-in-law, three granddaughters, a dog, a McCaw and a dragon lizard. Glyn is Court Assistant and Chair of the Knowledge Development Committee at The Worshipful Company of Marketors, the City Livery Company for leaders in Marketing. Glyn’s happy place is Thailand, famed as the Land of Smiles.

What does your typical day look like?

In addition to operating as MD for two of the companies I own, I am a non-executive director of a few other businesses, so I have to balance my time carefully.

Most of the organisations are within the building material supply sector, but there is one consultancy business focused on the development of sustainable growth which has worked on projects in partnership with Erasmus, UKCES, the European Regional Fund, the European Bank and the World Bank. Working across the different entities keeps my days varied, so in my world there’s really no such thing as a typical day!

What do you do after work?

I love sport, travel, food and wine, all of which are enhanced by great company.

Tell us about you and your business.

Having built extensive knowledge and expertise across a number of blue chip businesses in the building industry including CRH and Tarmac, I developed a clear, quantified and timed strategy for my own business.

Initially I had just one product, a roofing material with distinct USPs that I knew would stand out, but that was all I needed. In the first year I set up a separate export business, and I spent the next 3 years learning about product strengths and limitations.

Although it was successful, I always knew that scalability would be limited with just one product, so when the company reached a sustainable size, I put my faith in my business and invested in it heavily. I acquired businesses over the next two years so that I could offer four product ranges, and in the last three years we have grown like crazy!

Today all of the businesses are SMEs that have been operating and growing profitably for at least eight years. They are all UK based, but two of them operate
internationally. The export business now trades in over 30 countries globally, but it was extremely valuable to learn in the UK market before selling overseas and I think that was a factor in our success.

They say year 3 is when you make it or break it as a start-up. Have you ever come close to breaking it? What’s your single piece of advice for making it?

Failures are a fact of life, what’s crucial is to learn from them. I have been fortunate enough to only experience one failure in SMEs over 10 years ago, and while it was a very expensive lesson it turned out to be a great learning experience for me.

The key is in accepting that set backs are a part of normal business – you need to have a clear plan and stay focused on your goals, even when things don’t go the way you hoped. This becomes easier with the right team around you, as good people are the greatest differential.

There are so many things that can be done to improve the chances of sustained success in SME that it is hard to identify a single piece of advice, but I do believe that in order to be successful any SME needs an owner who has two essential ingredients – hard work and a commitment to the passion that led to the creation of the business in the first place.

Spotted: What’s your creative type?

26 Apr 2019 | Culture

Spotted: What’s your creative type?

By Laura Giffard

If, like me, you’re slightly obsessed with quizzes, you’re in luck. An absolute gem has landed. And no, I’m not talking about finding out which SATC mashup you are. It’s a little more serious than that. Although not too much. It’s still a lot of fun.

What I’m really so excited about is Adobe’s feast for the senses that is Creative Types. Using 15 questions based in psychology, the quiz aims to reveal the creative type that lives inside us. Not to label us, but to help us understand our challenges and unleash potential.

My favourite question has to be “Are you a fortune cookie or a birthday cake?” (I’m a fortune cookie, obvs!), but the most pleasing thing about it has to be the stunning animation and eerie sounds that accompany each question in the quiz. Go on millennials. Turn your sound on. Dare you.

So what are you waiting for? Go experience it for yourself. And if you happen to be a ‘thinker’ get in touch. My type is a ‘visionary’ and would apparently benefit from meeting you.

Happy quizzing.

Spotted: Innovation with purpose

30 Apr 2019 | Culture

Spotted: Innovation with purpose

By Laura Giffard

It’s great to see brands innovate to drive positive change in the world. Hot off the heels of last year’s plant-based plastic edition, Lego has now honed in on inclusive education.

Its new Braille bricks are designed to help partially sighted or blind children learn to read through play. Plus, because they’re printed with regular numbers and symbols, parents and caregivers can offer support and even learn Braille for themselves.

According to Philippe Chazal, treasurer of the European Blind Union, learning Braille is key to boosting independence and employment among the blind or partially sighted. And considering the 75 per cent unemployment rate of European adults with sight-related disabilities, it just goes to show the potential magnitude of this project.

There are 250 bricks covering the full alphabet, numbers and a selection mathematical symbols which are currently being trialled with associations for the blind globally. Watch the brand video here to find out more.

Make it or break it: Fiona Blades @ MESH Experience talks top tips for startups

09 May 2019 | Culture | Tips & Tricks

Make it or break it: Fiona Blades @ MESH Experience talks top tips for startups

By Laura Giffard

Fiona Blades, President and Chief Experience Officer of MESH Experience, lives in New York with her husband, Alexa, photos of her relatives, books and posters from her mother’s Indy nightclub In Manchester. She describes her happy place as being with her husband.

What does your typical day look like?

On a good day I pop down to the gym for 30 minutes before showering and getting onto calls with our teams In London and Sao Paulo.

Then a wonderful walk through Lower East Side to our office In SoHo, through cobbled roads, past graffiti, window shopping along the way. Meetings with the MESH New York team and client meetings In Manhattan or with our LG client in New Jersey.

Lunch is always a pleasure - there are so many vegan options, from salads to noodles, tiny cafés to Dean and Deluca.

What do you do after work?

About twice a week I might have a social or business drink with friends or work colleagues. I love going to art galleries and attending events, whether dance, cinema, music or theatre.

Tell us about you and your business.

MESH Experience is a data, analytics and insight consultancy, working with Fortune 500 companies like LG Electronics and Delta Air Lines.

I set up MESH to disrupt the market and fill a gap. Coming from a marketing and advertising background with Mercedes Benz as a client at the time, I wanted to know how every brand encounter, from seeing a TV ad to hearing it reviewed on Top Gear or seeing it parked outside a neighbour’s house, impacted on people’s perceptions of that brand. If we understood people’s experiences with brands, we could help clients to make quicker and better decisions about their marketing investment.

Back in 2006, I thought we could ask people to tell us every time they had any experience with a set of brands using their mobile phone. This generated excitement and scepticism from clients! But by 2012 Harvard Business Review called our Real-time Experience Tracking approach “a new tool (that) radically improved marketing research.”

Since then we have created a manifesto for Experience Driven Marketing, an Experience Growth Model and other tools and techniques, including using AI, to help our clients. MESH now has offices in London, New York, Sao Paulo and Sydney. It has provided me with some wonderful opportunities personally, such as working with people in different countries and cultures.

Over the years MESH has won many awards, but one that I feel most proud of was winning the Delta Woman Owned Business of the Year Award In 2017.

They say year 3 is when you make it or break it as a start-up. Have you ever come close to breaking it? What’s your single piece of advice for making it?

Yes, I have often come close to breaking It! David Ogilvy once said that you are always three phone calls away from massive success and massive failure. It feels like that almost every day.

When the recession hit in 2009, three years after setting up MESH, we were nominated for four awards at the Market Research Society annual conference at the beginning of one . week in March and by the end of the week only a quarter of the team was left due to the cuts I needed to make. I sent out a newsletter - “A Week of Highs and Lows”. Actually, I think this honesty paid off and by April we had lots of business again.

My single piece of advice for making it is to be resilient - keep going with a cool head, maintaining your personal integrity. It is fine to ask for help and when the going gets tough, it’s inspiring to see who responds positively. In 2009, I needed to tell our MD in Singapore (a new office) that we couldn’t send any more money out. 24 hours later he responded to say that the team could halve their costs - they would move temporarily to Thailand. I would never have thought of this! And we still collaborate today.

Remember that in the toughest times you can enjoy the most uplifting moments.

Perq Studio announces creative role with Mars User Centricity Movement

14 May 2019 | Press

Perq Studio announces creative role with Mars User Centricity Movement

By Laura Giffard

Brand & design consultancy Perq Studio has taken on a major new project working on an internal communications and change management initiative for Mars, home of international brands such as Skittles, M&M’s, Uncle Ben’s and Royal Canin pet food.

In 2018, Mars launched their global User Centricity movement – a mindset to focus their Associates on the human need behind every thought and action across colleagues, consumers and customers. The initiative is aligned to Mars, Inc.’s refreshed brand and mission statement: The world we want tomorrow starts with how we do business today, which was itself underpinned by a User Centric approach.

Over 11,000 Mars employees are already members of the movement and are embracing the design thinking led approach in their day to day roles. User Centricity facilitated the decision-making process behind the new look website, delivering dynamic mobile-first, bite sized content to over 30 markets. Design Thinking methodologies helped uncover the need for the website to work not only for those who were already a part of the Mars family, either as staff, customers or consumers, but also for prospective employees to engage with the company and its vision for the future.

Looking to amplify communications around User Centricity, Mars has enlisted the services of Perq Studio to help them grow the movement, engage the UC community and empower the members to find human focused solutions to benefit both their individual roles and the business at large in an agile way.

Laura Giffard, Founder and Client Director at Perq Studio says: “Where some large organisations may be afraid to challenge the status quo, Mars is bold enough to advocate for an institutional change. We couldn’t be prouder to be working with them on the User Centricity movement and are very excited to help them shape the next phase of their evolution.

Our first internal communications have already launched, with additional innovative approaches to emphasise the value of User Centricity currently in development. We look forward to bringing these into fruition over the coming months.”

Deborah Madelaine, User Centricity, Global Community Senior Manager, says: “Our User Centricity movement’s vision is a Mars made of bold thinkers and brave doers that’s user centred and ready for tomorrow.

It was very important for me to find a partner who shared a similar approach in their day to day and connected with our purpose. I feel very lucky to have Perq Studio on board and can’t wait to see what we will achieve together for Mars and for our 115,000 Associates.”

Spotted: The Anti-CEO playbook

10 Jun 2019 | Culture

Spotted: The Anti-CEO playbook

By Laura Giffard

Chobani. Delicious yoghurt, adored by healthy eaters, with a truly admirable success story (it’s the #1 selling strained yoghurt brand in the US!)

But until today I hadn’t realised what lay behind this brand’s enviable success: the CEO’s resolute belief in what employees can achieve when someone champions them.

Hamdi Ulukaya started up Chobani by snapping up a dairy factory that had recently been closed by Kraft and rehiring the original team. A fresh lick of paint signalled to employees and the world that this factory was back in business - and the rest, as they say, is history.

What really strikes me about the Chobani story is that big business had given up on its people, but Hamdi proved that the problem lay with leadership, not the team.

All too often I’ve seen people overlooked for jobs and promotions because of age, gender and differing abilities. Leadership making snap decisions that their teams are no longer relevant. But Chobani is proof that teamwork and a shared vision drive real success, for business and local communities alike.

In his inspiring TED talk, Hamdi invites us all to embrace what he calls the anti-ceo playbook: an uncompromising belief in people over profit. A world where employee needs come before stakeholder needs.

I’m in. Are you?

Forget B2C vs B2B… It’s all about B2H

12 Jun 2019 | Culture

Forget B2C vs B2B… It’s all about B2H

By Nikki Burton

I popped along to a very interesting talk at The Museum of Brands with Dean Aragon, CEO of Shell Brands International. Dean discussed his experiences of what it takes to humanise a brand and shift brand perception, so I thought I’d share my key takeaways from this fascinating talk!

Think of a brand as a person

Why do we connect with some friends over others? You may choose to hang out with this person, or they may simply be one of the many names in your Facebook list of friends that you don’t really pay attention to (note to self, do some culling). But we will give the most time to those we have the most in common with, because we share the same values and enjoy the same things and those bring us closer. Although we may not acknowledge it, we treat brands the same way.

Embrace continuous development

Humans are constantly learning and adapting to their ever-changing environment, and a brand must do the same. Avoid staying stuck in a rut, be ahead or on top of the game, be a future thinker and doer, a trail blazer and trend setter. Be thoughtful and meaningful. Shout loud about your moral code, put it in action so it is impossible for customers to ignore. Prove you stand for something; wow what an overwhelming list!

Be loud and proud about your purpose

A brand cannot be and do everything but finding purpose is a good place to start. We connect with brands that relate to us or have a purpose that we can buy into, something that is becoming increasingly important as we are all starting to give more of a damn about the world we live in and our own impact on society and the environment. Being aware of what’s going on in the world and what challenges your customers are dealing with on a daily basis is vital in opening conversations and building connection. As the saying goes – walk the walk don’t just talk the talk! Your brand is only a commodity if you sell it as such, it can’t be preferred if it’s not differentiated enough. It’s the same as when we pick our friends or life partners. They stand out to us for a reason.

Write a story together

A brand can’t speak to everyone, what a waste of time, energy and resource that would be (yet so many try to, especially when it comes to price point marketing). Customers today are much more interested in the ‘why’. Tell me why you do what you do! Why should I care? Why is it relevant to me? Focusing on a particular theme gets customers talking, discovering and innovating with you, and they become a part of the brand narrative. Being in the story together, writing the future together, means the brand can become a source of relevant relief through a constantly shouting digital world.

So, when it comes to engaging and communicating with our audience let’s not separate them into B2C and B2B, how about shifting our focus on B2H – business to humans. Let’s package personal connections off in as many different ways we can think of, building themes for the long term that will see brands engage with their audience making them part of the story and relevant AF!

Make it or break it: Jamie Shelman @ The Dancing Cat talks top tips for startups

24 Jun 2019 | Culture | Tips & Tricks

Make it or break it: Jamie Shelman @ The Dancing Cat talks top tips for startups

By Laura Giffard

Jamie Shelman, artist and owner of The Dancing Cat online print and stationery shop, lives in Baltimore with her husband Tom and their neighbour’s cat Brooksy, who has adopted them. Jamie’s happy place is in her studio, with the cat nearby.

What does your typical day look like?

Filling orders, creating new work and snuggling with the cat. My husband Tom helps with packaging, shipping, brainstorming new ideas and keeping me sane! My neighbour’s cat Brooksy also hangs out with us in the studio all day, he approves all the orders before they ship out with a head bump!

What do you do after work?

Read, watch cycling races and drink San Pellegrino.

Tell us about you and your business.

I studied painting at Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) and just consider myself an artist, which can encompass many styles and ways of being from how you draw to how you live. I always thought I’d be selling large abstract paintings but living in tight quarters right after graduating from school and having no access to a paint studio sparked new creative ideas and outlets.

I started The Dancing Cat ten years ago when I read an article about a then new online company called Etsy - it was a great small platform for us to get found and seen. Now I draw cats for a living - formally beautiful and functionally silly, I love the humour and beauty of cats.

As well as our direct sales, we’ve also worked with international companies such as Art Group, who have used some of our designs on their greetings cards. They contacted us after seeing my work online and I love that our art gets to reach a larger audience when we work with bigger companies, especially overseas. I was late to join Instagram but love the exposure and seeing all the great art peeps post - it’s a great platform to connect and get seen!

Growth comes with exposure, so finding your audience is key - in our case local craft shows have been a great supplement to our online presence.

They say year 3 is when you make it or break it as a start-up. Have you ever come close to breaking it? What’s your single piece of advice for making it?

You always feel close to breaking it! I think the biggest challenge so far has been self-doubt. I guess because I studied painting and not illustration, for a long time I still considered myself a painter and what I was making wasn’t serious enough or didn’t qualify as real art. But then after a while you just realise that’s bullshit. Art is what you love and what brings you joy, whether it’s a 10 ft. oil painting or a tiny ink drawing of a cat on a piece of paper.

Don’t let someone else determine what your value is. I often think of the E.E. Cummings quote when feeling down: “To be nobody but yourself in a world which is doing its best, night and day, to make you everybody else - means to fight the hardest battle which any human being can fight; and never stop fighting.”

The real achievement comes from feeling like you’re doing your best work, even if no one picks up on it yet, they will. My best piece of advice is to stay true to yourself, find your own unique voice and style and have fun!

Tuesplay. Wait, you’re doing what?!

25 Jun 2019 | Culture

Tuesplay. Wait, you’re doing what?!

By Laura Giffard

Yesterday I hijacked our Monday morning meeting. Rather than cracking into the schedule and looking at the week ahead, I told the Perqstars that I had something important to tell them. They looked back uncomfortably (I’ll add the evidence to our Insta shortly!) as I explained that I set up Perq Studio because I wanted to do things differently. I wanted to try new things. So I had made the decision that for July and August we were going to trial a four day work week.

Whilst it took a while to get over the initial shock, everyone agreed that, in Nikki’s words, “this is amazing”.

So why a four day work week?

To be perfectly frank, I’ve had it with hustle culture. This relentless glamorisation of working to burnout, fuelled by the endless regurgitation of the latest management popspeak that promises to deliver success.

Our office is fuelled by reading, conversation, creativity and good old fashioned graft. And for us, the key to creativity is actually giving your brain down time, letting it get bored. Allowing yourself to explore and experience new things.

So I set my sights on the 4 day work week. In a bid to give my team creative freedom, firmly grounded in the (possibly naïve?) belief that I could actually maintain team productivity despite reducing facetime by 20%

This article summed it up perfectly: “Strategies for increasing productivity must face the reality that productivity relies not just on the sheer number of hours put in, but on the wellbeing and overall health of the workforce – as well as on the level of investment in labour-saving technology.”

So, what now?

We’ve had a little brainstorm. We wrote down our fears, our excitement and our challenges. And then we committed to being extra productive. And to give ourselves Tuesdays off for July and August. We’re calling them #Tuesplays. No salary cuts. No required extra hours. Just an open mind and the will to make it work.

You can follow our journey on this blog and our insta as we share our experience. And come the end of August, we’ll decide whether this is going to be a permanent thing for us, and if so, how to make it work.

5 leadership lessons from P!nk

03 Jul 2019 | Culture | Tips & Tricks

5 leadership lessons from P!nk

By Laura Giffard

Last weekend I went to see P!nk’s Beautiful Trauma tour in Wembley. It was, as I had expected, a phenomenal mashup of teenage nostalgia and awe-inspiring talent. But what I hadn’t expected, is that I’d leave feeling inspired by P!nk’s leadership style. But I was. So here are five lessons I think we could take from her.

Lesson #1: Show us you’re human

P!nk has never shied away from telling her story. Whether she’s recounting childhood trauma or embracing a self-indulgent party mood, her human vulnerability and openness is so relatable, it’s impossible not to feel a shared connection with her and want to get behind the messages she shares.

Lesson #2: You’re nothing without your team

P!nk opened her concert by introducing her band. Each member got a shout out alongside large format graphics of their name. But she didn’t stop there. At the end of the concert she thanked every single backup dancer. It was such a special moment seeing her humility and gratitude to the team who make her incredible shows possible.

Lesson #3: Make people feel like they belong

In P!nk’s own words “I’m never going to win a popularity contest and be the prettiest — why start now?” and she’s made it her mission to get her views out through her music, however unpopular this could make her. It’s precisely this outspoken attitude that has won her such loyal fans. Seeing Wembley erupt to the tune of Raise Your Glass and each one of us embracing our inner dirty little freak was incredible. Her no bulls*** attitude helps people feel invigorated, part of something and ready to take on the world.

Lesson #4: Raise others up

One of the gig’s standout moments was when P!nk brought Wrabel on stage for their breath-taking song 90 days. Not only did she sing his praises as a songwriter, but she also told everyone to go and listen to his song The Village(it’s amazing BTW). Not only that, but when I googled 90 days at home I found P!nk had shot a video for the songwith one of her backup dancers who is an aspiring director. She uses her platform to help others build theirs. What a woman!

Lesson #5: Inspire change in others

Wembley fell into complete silence when P!nk shared a story of how she reacted when her young daughter confided that she didn’t feel beautiful. Aside from the admirable way she dealt with the situation, I was so inspired by her parting message: “We don’t change. We take the gravel in the shell and we make a pearl. And we help other people to change so they can see more kinds of beauty”. A great reminder to not let others dictate our paths, success lies in individuality.

So there you have it. Five leadership lessons from P!nk. And if you haven’t already, go check out her album Hurts2BHuman. It’s epic.

Spotted: ‘Flea treatment delivered straight to your labradoor’

04 Jul 2019 | Culture

Spotted: ‘Flea treatment delivered straight to your labradoor’

By Nikki Burton

It’s not often an advert on the tube catches my attention, but when it comprises of a big furry nose, doe-eyes and a witty play on words (I always love a good pun) it made me stop, double take and chuckle. The level of personality and distinct visual language injected into this campaign is a great example of being customer focused, whoever that customer may be. It’s really disruptive for the pet care industry and I love it.

Itch is a new subscription-based pet wellbeing brand that provides ‘Flea treatment delivered straight to your labradoor’ (and delivered for free). Your package can be personalised to the level of care your pet needs, wellbeing sorted and all very hassle free.

Keep your eyes peeled for FleazyE and his musical ‘scratching’ out of time to the discomfort of his owners. Another clever play on ‘scratching’ and how it can be uncomfortable for the entire family.

Event:  Perq Studio ‘7 seconds to nail your personal brand’ @ Museum of Brands

17 Jul 2019 | Culture | Tips & Tricks

Event:  Perq Studio ‘7 seconds to nail your personal brand’ @ Museum of Brands

By Laura Giffard

7 seconds. That’s all it takes for someone to make an assumption about everything from your economic status to your trustworthiness – and ultimately whether to work with you.

Join Perq Studio for a fast-paced talk to learn how we can apply our understanding of behavioural economics to build a powerful, authentic and consistent personal brand which will help you grow your business and take the next step in your career.

23rd September, Time: 18:30 – 21:00, Price: £26

Book your tickets here.

By booking a ticket for this event you are helping The Museum of Brands to continue with its mission. The Museum of Brands is a registered Charity no. 1093538.

Make it or break it: Anthony Goldman @ Noise Media talks top tips for startups

09 Aug 2019 | Culture | Tips & Tricks

Make it or break it: Anthony Goldman @ Noise Media talks top tips for startups

By Laura Giffard

Anthony Goldman, Co-Founder of social-first marketing agency Noise Media lives in Belsize Park London with his wife and lots of candles. Ant’s happy place is Matera, Italy – where he got married.

What does your typical day look like?

No typical day at work, the only thing consistent in my day is my black filter coffee from Pret.

What do you do after work?

Very low key, I usually have an early dinner and go for a walk to clear my head or watch a movie. I rarely socialise during the week.

Tell us about you and your business.

Noise Media is a social first marketing agency that helps brands grow using social media. We originally started out as a student community on social media many years ago, and quickly grew our student social channels to over 1 million subscribers. We saw our strength was helping brands speak to this hard to reach audience and soon grew other communities outside of just student. We now offer a range of services from brand partnerships, paid social, influencer marketing and social media management.

They say year 3 is when you make it or break it as a start-up. Have you ever come close to breaking it? What’s your single piece of advice for making it?

Many many times we’ve come very close to breaking, whether its cash flow strain, being over-reliant on a social platform or not being focused enough. I don’t think you ever really ‘make it’. Successful businesses evolve with their clients and market place. The most important thing I’ve found to our success is having a strong vision, understanding our clients and being agile. Modern businesses exist in a very fast-moving digital world, with tons of innovation coming from all areas, so keeping your client front of mind and being relentless in what you want to achieve has to always be a priority.

 Stanley Kubrick: Discovering the world and the man

22 Aug 2019 | Culture

Stanley Kubrick: Discovering the world and the man

By Nikki Burton

You might have noticed that since July Perq Studio has been working a four day week and rocking it! One of the many benefits of #Tuesplays has been that we have had more time to make the most of living in London by visiting the amazing museums and galleries our city has to offer that you don’t always have time to do on those precious weekends.

Laura and I are both die-hard Kubrick fans so popped down to the Design Museum to discover the role design played in his masterpieces.

While the aesthetic contribution of design is clear throughout Kubrick’s movies, we hadn’t really known much about his ethos and approach to his work.

I think there are so many ideas that designers could borrow from Kubrick, so the exhibition is definitely worth a visit, but here are my top three takeaways:

Believe in yourself

Kubrick loved going to the movies, but he felt exasperated by the number of terrible pieces he had seen. Armed with an unwavering belief that even with no experience he could produce something better than what was already out there, he embarked on his journey as a director. Lesson #1: believe you can do it, work hard, upskill and don’t let self-doubt get in your way.

Know your strengths

Kubrick always put his energy into enhancing existing stories and bringing them to life for film. And he always chose books that weren’t masterpieces so there was plenty of room for improvement. Lesson #2: You can still be super successful if you focus on what you add to the project and fleshing out your unique perspective rather than trying to author everything.

It’s all in the detail

Kubrick strove for excellence, taking a painstaking approach to research and recreating every minute element for filming. His ‘Napoleon’ is billed as “the greatest film never made”, given the 15,000 location photos and 17,000 slides of Napoleonic imagery he amassed to create the perfect historical epic. Lesson #3: Research, research, research! Learn everything there is to know about your topic, strive for authenticity and remember every tiny detail contributes to the big picture.

Stanley Kubrick: The Exhibition runs until September 17th at The Design Museum

Achieving success with Perq Studio

30 Sep 2019 | Press

Achieving success with Perq Studio

By Eve Cowan

Laura founded Perq Studio in 2017, having honed her brand, design and campaign management expertise in top agencies and qualified her aptitude for strategic thinking with an MBA in Entrepreneurship.

Her strategic focus, creative passion and dedication to client satisfaction form the ethos behind the Perq Studio brand.

Laura’s Italian heritage not only influenced the choice of name for the studio but is reflected daily in the warmth of her people-centred approach. As a hands-on founder, she oversees all client relationships; agreeing a vision and strategy for mutual success before nurturing each phase of brand, design and campaign development.

When not fastidiously working on client briefs, Laura is active in promoting marketing as a force for economic and public benefit through her charitable membership role as Liveryman of the Worshipful Company of Marketors.

Tell us a bit about yourself, background and your current role

I’m originally from Italy but moved to Liverpool for University, staying on to achieve my MBA in Entrepreneurship. After graduation I moved to London where I worked in top agencies across sectors such as B2B, tech, beauty and retail before founding my own integrated creative agency, Perq Studio, in 2017. As the Founder & Strategist I balance running the overall business with building client strategies across brand, communications and research.

Did you ever sit down and plan your career?

Yes, but I didn’t follow it! There’s a transition after University when you accept that your ideal version of starting your career is very different than the reality. I realised that so many decisions are actually based on how life shapes you and that you have to keep adjusting. Seizing opportunities and being open to change serves you better than blindly following a plan.

Have you faced any challenges along the way?

When you launch a business, you’re filled with energy and self-belief, but when things take time or new business goes quiet, it’s hard not to be filled with self-doubt. As challenging as these times can be, they are crucial moments of self-reflection and help me re-evaluate and set priorities, strengthening our own brand to hit the ground running again. The perpetual challenge is achieving balance. Juggling the demands of having a young child, a dog, a charitable role as Liveryman for the Worshipful Company of Marketors and running Perq Studio is a fine art, one that I’m still fine tuning at times.

What has been your biggest achievement to date?

Opening Perq Studio, without a doubt. I wanted the freedom to explore new ideas and ways of working, which wasn’t always feasible when I worked for other people. I love that if we believe in an idea strongly enough we can make it happen without hoops to jump through. To give you an example, I’ve always believed that allowing our minds to engage more outside of work will fuel our creativity and ultimately increase our productivity inside of work. So we trialled and implemented a four day working week, which has been a resounding success. Being able to implement initiatives like #Tuesplays whilst producing dynamic and celebrated outcomes for clients is everything.

What one thing do you believe has been a major factor in you achieving success?

My incredible team. Without a doubt. Having Nikki in place for Creative, myself for Strategy and Louise in Project Management is the key to Perq Studio thriving. I recognise that some elements of success will always come from being in the right place at the right time, and that any luck needs to be supported with a lot of hard work, but nothing is more important than having the right people to make things happen.

How do you feel about mentoring? Have you mentored anyone or are you someone’s mentee?

I think that for mentoring to be truly valuable both parties need an intangible understanding and natural chemistry born from similar experiences, I’ve learned from people I’ve mentored as much as the other way around. It’s essential to have set goals and the mentee needs to be ready to work – the mentor is a sounding board to help you make decisions, not someone to tell you what to do. I’m hearing a lot about reverse mentoring at the moment too and I find it a really interesting concept as I know that one of young people’s great advantages is keeping things fresh and bringing new concepts to the table, they’re not constrained by “this is how we do things around here”.

If you could change one thing to accelerate the pace of change for Gender Parity, what would it be?

What a big topic – where do you even start? Luckily, I’ve never had a boss who has made gender an issue, but when Perq Studio first started I found myself in many uncomfortable situations. These ranged from not being taken seriously to full blown business meetings turning into a dubious date, so I adopted a policy of no after-hours meetings and I’ve learned that when I command respect, I’m given it. I would invest in education – teach people gender does not define us as individuals and question your own bias so you take positive action to accelerate the pace of change!

If you could give one piece of advice to your younger self what would it be?

Just because somebody says something, it doesn’t make it real. Learning to follow my own intuition and dismiss limitations placed on me by others was a revelation, and I feel like I would have found my true calling sooner if I’d trusted myself more. I want to raise my daughter to know that she can be who she wants to be and find her own way in the world, without worrying about what others make of it.

What is your next challenge and what are you hoping to achieve in the future?

The next challenge will be surviving year three! 90 per cent of start-up businesses fail within the first three years, and I’m determined that Perq Studio won’t become a part of that statistic. Looking further ahead, I want to solidify our reputation as a creative powerhouse with boutique service and continue to make Perq Studio a business that brings joy, purpose and meaning to my team and their work.


Squire’s Garden Centre refresh

29 Oct 2019 | Press

Squire’s Garden Centre refresh

By Eve Cowan

London brand and design consultancy Perq Studio has announced its storewide brand and signage refresh for family owned Squire’s Garden Centres is underway across the company’s 15 locations. The project consists of a refreshed brand strategy and identity including new logo, typeface, colour palette and art direction as well as an improved wayfinding experience and communications across the customer journey in-store.

From humble beginnings as a family landscape gardening business in the 1930s to a modern day horticulturally-focused retail group with 15 locations across the south of England, Squire’s Garden Centres has continually evolved to meet the needs of the UK home and garden market. With multiple extensions to the core garden product including gifts, crafts, specialist pets and aquatics, as well as stylish Café Bars, Squire’s Garden Centres are now widely regarded as popular retail destinations in their own right, with excellent brand recognition within the communities they serve.

Customer insights gleaned by Perq Studio showed that while customers were loyal to Squire’s, many were unaware of the unique heritage of the family owned company and the rich history that underpinned the existing brand. Sold on the potential behind amplifying the family focus Squire’s Garden Centres contracted Perq Studio to finesse its brand and story and optimise the 15 premises through a consistent, modern brand refresh.

During interviews with the Squire family the phrase “modern garden centres with a tradition of excellence” was uncovered. Perq Studio felt this perfectly encompassed the brand story – one of family and traditional horticulture but also a modern retail experience enjoyed by all generations of other families. This informed the wider brand refresh which focused on the authenticity of the company’s long history of expertise, local ties and the emotional and meaningful connections made with its customers.

Informed by the brand pillars of ‘expert, welcoming and inspiring’ the updated tone of voice makes a commitment to effective communication; providing the right information at the right point in the customer journey. A new simplified logo ‘with an ownable Q’ was developed and the new typeface – classic British 1930s font Gill Sans Nova – is a nod to the brand’s date of origin, but is also timeless and legible, feeling at once storied yet contemporary.

The primary brand colour was updated from a traditional burgundy to a vibrant berry hue and complemented with a fresh, seasonal colour palette that promises a bright, positive and optimistic retail experience. Existing standard plant-related imagery was replaced with new innovative photography, developed to not only include the wider products on offer, but happy people and moments of interaction to better reflect the customer experience.

Through a brand immersion and discovery process Perq Studio identified each store had evolved organically over time, nurtured by the personal touches of their trusted and knowledgeable staff, yet resulting in some inconsistencies in the customer experience; namely challenges to wayfinding throughout the stores.

Perq Studio worked closely with Squire’s to streamline its mixed approach to signage and unify the customer wayfinding experience. A customer journey audit identified key signage touchpoints to deliver on brand impact and ease of navigation; from striking branded entrances down to the smallest ticketing touchpoints. The result was a professional yet approachable instore experience, creating the feel of a modern retailer staffed by trusted, friendly experts.

Laura Giffard, founder and client director at Perq Studio, says: “It’s so rewarding to see our two year collaboration with Squire’s Garden Centres taking shape. As a creative agency, it’s always exciting to assist a heritage brand with a contemporary vision position itself strategically for continued success. Bringing the family history and brand heritage to the fore in a modern way, driving meaningful connections with customers through a balance of contemporary retail experience and personal tone of voice, enables the quality of the brand and its products to shine through.”

Martin Breddy, MD of Squire’s Garden Centres, says: “One of our favourite things about working with Perq Studio is that they have taken the time to understand not just our current market position, but the value of our heritage. The materials they have produced have given all our locations a shared identity, and the opportunity to re-affirm to our customers that their trust in us as a reliable provider of quality products is well placed.”


Truly mindful retail

04 Nov 2019 | Press

Truly mindful retail

By Eve Cowan

Laura Giffard, founder of London integrated creative agency Perq Studio believes ‘truly mindful retail’ is the key to bricks and mortar brands achieving success in 2020.

A recent global study from Mood Media on the impact of sensory marketing found that 90% of shoppers are likely to revisit a store if it has a pleasing atmosphere, while 75% stay longer in stores with sensorial elements. While every bricks and mortar retailer should absolutely be optimising their customers’ in-store experience in response to such definitive insights, sensory overload has the potential to damage sales and in the long run, the brand. That’s why an effective mindful retail strategy is the key for brands seeking to weather the high street slump.

While big spending, but struggling businesses like Topshop opt to deliver one-off popups like its recent TSTM Sensory Room (where a sensory experience was installed for customers to take a break from their shopping) the real power of a mindful retail experience is when the customer feels ‘connected and present’ whilst they’re shopping, rather than separating the brand experience from the shopping function. Clever retail brands are luring customers back in-store and setting a leisurely, self-directed pace to product discovery rather than tacking on temporary, often frenetic and distracting experiences.

Few retail destinations do this better than the humble garden centre. Despite continued market pressure, the garden centre market in the UK has enjoyed consistent growth of over 1% a year since 2014*. By offering just the right mix of product and experience to cater for a wide variety of multigenerational visitors a trip to the garden centre is presented as a leisure destination in itself – a relaxing day out to be taken at one’s own pace.

Changes to garden centres have been a case of evolution rather than revolution to date. Innovations in visual merchandising and instore promotion are usually subtle, yet effective and always considerate of the overall retail journey. They have no need for gimmicky sensorial rooms as the entire experience is sensory, inviting us to reconnect with nature and our humanity.

To provide a truly mindful in-store experience, retailers must strike the most delicate of balances: delivering the brand promise through visual merchandising and quality customer service while providing an engaging experience to keep shoppers ‘in the moment’ without overwhelming the senses. This needn’t mean huge expense or a significant loss of floor space for a vast sensory installation. Carefully curated music, lighting, rest areas, even the use of a signature scent will go a long way to creating positive associations with the in-store brand experience.


Design: it’s all around us

08 Nov 2019 | Culture

Design: it’s all around us

By Eve Cowan

Hello everyone! I’m Eve, a recent graduate and Perq Studio’s brand spanking new Junior Designer and Animator! I have recently moved down to London from the Midlands, so there was a slight culture shock there. I have just about come to terms with the silence on the Underground, the unwritten rule that you must never, ever talk to a stranger and god forbid you stop for 0.5 seconds to check where you are going. That being said, the joy of living in London is that there are so many opportunities right on your doorstop, so, this #Tuesplay I decided my laundry could wait and headed down to the Design Museum.

Now, being the frugal gal I am (it’s likely I am still in student-mode), I decided to visit the free exhibits only – but I was not disappointed. It’s safe to say I have a strange fascination with the London Underground so when I saw a life-sized model of the new designs for the front of the Underground trains I began to fangirl ever-so-slightly. There was an accompanying video describing the proposed walk-through carriages, air-conditioning (finally!), digital adverts and LED lights - everywhere! The video explained how each train would likely be in service for 30 – 40 years so the design had to be timeless whilst still keeping in touch with its traditional roots.

Moving swiftly on from underground trains, they had a magnificent wall filled with objects people regarded as important designs, whether it be for their efficiency, beauty or because they held personal memories. They highlighted that for a design to work, having one of these qualities is essential. Included on this wall was a pair of scissors, flip-flops, an Oyster card, a violin, the iconic blue Ikea bag, a mop, Phillipe Starck’s juicer, and a Singer sewing machine to name just a few. I love that they presented the beauty in everyday, seemingly mundane objects. Of course, this can be related to everyday life itself – living in London allows you to do a lot of people watching, something that always brings a smile to my face.

Another exhibit I particularly appreciated was the display showing an array of electronic devices including laptops, mobile phones and TVs, from old to new, to show just how far technology has come in the past few years (a lovely photo op too!). Now, being the tender age of 22, chunky CRT TVs and life without easily accessible internet is only a vague memory so this really highlighted to me the advances in technology happening right under our noses. It’s always interesting to see where our current devices were born from and how they have developed, showing us both the turning points in their design and the not-so successful routes they have taken. Of course, older technologies can come back into fashion, namely Polaroid cameras and turntables, which is a whole other discussion in itself!

So, I have to say it was a rather enlightening trip. I realise I hadn’t truly appreciated the importance of creating recognisable products and brands before. Designs that become iconic for their beauty, efficiency and meaning. Gaining loyal customers is essential - they understand you and most importantly they trust you. This way they will be sure to keep coming back, time and time again!

We’ve got the podcast for you

11 Nov 2019 | Culture | Tips & Tricks

We’ve got the podcast for you

By Laura Giffard

I first discovered podcasts in 2014. I was heavily pregnant with my daughter Alessia and sleeping on a mattress on the floor in our new house and I was finding it impossible to sleep… Side note: we found out the house needed fully rewiring when we moved in, so I spent quite some time showering at the gym, cooking off a camping stove and sleeping on the floor…! Anyway, where was I? Oh yes, discovering podcasts! A colleague recommended Serial to me and I was hooked. From then, Podcasts and audiobooks became part of my routine and I love using my commute to venture into another world and learn about new thoughts and perspectives.

So I was delighted to hear our very own Deb Madelaine was launching a podcast, You are a Prototype. For those of you who don’t know, Deb is our client at Mars and we’re working with her and the team on a global change management initiative, User Centricity (more on that here).

Deb’s background is unconventional: a self-defined “prototype”, she built her career as a packaging scientist, until an unexpected gift in the shape of a journal provoked a journey of self-exploration that led to surprising results including a collaboration with the former prison guard of Nelson Mandela, writing a personal development book, dying her hair pink and an ambition to create her own job, to move the empathy needle in her workplace. You can find out more about Deb in her Ted X.

Her new podcast is conversations with people who, like her, are prototyping themselves. Who are discovering what makes them tick and how they can impact others around them. In the first episode, she speaks to Adel Awad, who has relied on his strong sense of curiosity to meet like-minded people and build creative communities. His fascinating story shows how important it is to get involved, and in his words, to marry your passions.

It’s going to be a fascinating journey meeting lots of interesting people, so get listening, and find out more about Adel’s initiative, Let’s.Knot, an initiative connecting creatives and building community in the UAE.

Appointment of Nikki Burton as Company Director

21 Nov 2019 | Press

Appointment of Nikki Burton as Company Director

By Eve Cowan

Integrated creative agency Perq Studio announced the appointment of its current creative director Nikki Burton as a company director.

The appointment highlights the agency’s strongly held belief in placing equal emphasis on strategy and design – an approach appreciated by clients like Mars, ICIS and Condé Nast International – while the move further consolidates the London based company’s position as one of the few female-owned and led agencies in the world.

Burton joined Perq Studio in 2018 with a BA in communications design and extensive agency-side experience in property, retail, beauty and B2B. Her combination of strategic thinking, creative vision and commercial acumen has directly contributed to the agency working with some of the biggest names in a growing variety of sectors.

Perq Studio founder and strategist Laura Giffard says, “Nikki’s commitment to the success of our business and her ability to balance her world class creative with a deep understanding of what makes our clients tick contributes significantly to our ongoing success. Both our clients and our team view this appointment to company director as merely formalising the important role that Nikki is already playing.

“Having recently secured new clients our growth forecast is strong and now is the time to ensure the right leadership is in place. I have immense trust in Nikki’s judgement and it’s clear that giving design and strategy equal emphasis is the path to continued success for the business. I could not think of anyone I’d want to share this journey with more than Nikki. We share the same entrepreneurial, ambitious and sparky values that drive Perq Studio forwards and I cannot wait to see what the future holds for our team.”


A weekend with After Effects

16 Dec 2019 | Culture

A weekend with After Effects

By Eve Cowan

As a self-taught animator it is inevitable a few bad habits have been picked up along the way, so it’s safe to say taking it back to basics wasn’t the worst idea. A few weeks ago, I attended a beginners’ course at Media Training for After Effects. Firstly, the interior of the building was pretty impressive - I’m a sucker for a fairy light and feature wall. I have to say the buffet was also delightful, bottomless orange juice and an endless supply of custard creams – yes please.

Two words: mind blown. I was expecting to know a lot of what we would be taught already, but oh how I was wrong. There are many shortcuts within the program that I would have never discovered otherwise. A highlight was finding out there was a simple way of creating mouth movements to go in time with a voiceover, a couple of clicks and you’re done – whaaat?! Even small things such as keyboard shortcuts can save time in the long run.

Another benefit is learning the correct term to search when I need to work out how to make something move in the way I want it to. This has always been a struggle as, unfortunately, Google can’t read minds – yet.

Our tutor made a valid point that it was best to use what we had learnt over the weekend before embarking on a higher-level course, and that is just what I have done. It’s a good feeling to know it’s not a lack of ability but rather a lack of practical knowledge that creates a wall between what’s in my head and the final product.

As a recent graduate, it was a nice, familiar feeling to be in a Mac-filled room with people willing to learn without the pressure of being ‘any good’. I was in a small group of 8 people which meant there wasn’t a chance one of us would be left behind and made asking questions easy. A lovely atmosphere all around.

So, would I recommend a course such as this one? Yes, absolutely! There’s no shame in admitting you need a bit of help, plus, who wouldn’t want to get better at what they do?

It’s not a shop. It’s a place you can #DoWhatYouCant

10 Jan 2020 | Culture

It’s not a shop. It’s a place you can #DoWhatYouCant

By Nikki Burton

Before we shut shop last year for Christmas, we hosted a retail safari for Mars, co-created with our client Deb. Our mission was to inspire User Centricity Champions across the UK business by getting them out of the office to experience what cutting-edge retail brands are doing to engage with their customers in new ways.

We explored 18 different locations in our action-packed day, but I wanted to share my takeaways from Samsung KX as these guys are so far ahead in the retail games its astonishing!

The store at Coal Drops Yard is like nothing I have ever seen, it’s the ultimate immersive brand experience for whoever walks through the door. It’s a place where people are invited to discover, interact with and learn new skills in a dynamic environment through a range of workshops, events and performances together with local community partners.

So what really stood out?

1. Don’t buy, explore – when you arrive, you’re welcomed by someone whose job is simply to say help and explain the concept store. There’s no pressure to buy, they just want you to explore. YEY! Although if you’re anything like me you’ll surely leave inspired for your next purchase!

2. Product as art – products are displayed in a gallery format, so when you browse you really feel like you’re admiring a piece of art, elevating brand perceptions.

3. Make it real – the beautiful kitchen allows customers to see products work in a space that feels like home, making products feel relevant and easy to visualise in their everyday lives.

4. Keep it fresh – a large portion of the store is dedicated to event space. Housing everything from Drag Aerobics to science talks and terrarium masterclasses, there’s something for everyone and keeps customers coming back for more. See what’s on here:

5. Quick fixes – there’s a dedicated area to troubleshoot products with technicians, making the experience as useful as it is inspiring.

There is so much more on offer too, from hotdesking facilities and a coffee shop with tantalising treats through to VR experiences… there’s no doubt this a place people will want to work, play and meet at.

Creating these stand-out experiences is key to coaxing customers away from one-click shopping and into a world of browsing and sensorial experiences that see brick-and-mortar retail thriving.

If you have time pop down to Samsung KX make sure you do.

It’s everything a shop isn’t!

We share our visual trends for 2020

17 Jan 2020 | Press

We share our visual trends for 2020

By Nikki Burton

1. How would you introduce Perq Studio and describe your aesthetics?

Perq Studio is an integrated creative agency. A client once said we’re the best of both worlds. A creative powerhouse with boutique service. We don’t have a fixed aesthetic. We believe that variety breeds creativity, so we’re sector agnostic, designing for all types of clients across all industries.

2. What is Perq Studio’s most famous project to date?

Making the iconic publisher Condé Nast Instagram-ready for digital-first audiences. Inspired by the brand’s iconic accent, we designed bold geometric patterns to create a monochrome visual signature for the brand. This allowed us to bring distinct content together under three streams:

1. #iamcondenast to spotlight employees and position the brand as an aspirational employer

2. #insidecondenast to bring new eyes to the page through behind-the-scenes content

3. #followfriday to showcase the global reach of the brand’s signature publications.

We’ve seen a 25% in followers in the first two months from launch.

3. Which project is the team’s favourite?

We’ve been working with Mars Inc. over the last nine months supporting the communications for their User Centricity movement. This initiative is focused on supporting Mars’ global digital transformation by empowering Associates to put the user at the heart of everything they do and use Design Thinking to solve their challenges.

We love the variety the project has brought for us. We started by bringing the identity to life across digital collateral with animations and emails and have now grown our remit to include content marketing and printed collateral such as guidebooks, posters, tote bags and even pin badges. The response from Mars Associates globally has been epic.

4. What are your thoughts on visual trends in general? Should designers follow them?

It’s important to keep on top of what’s current and what people are exposed to, but visual trends should never dictate the aesthetic of a project. Ultimately it’s about understanding who the audience is and what will resonate with them. It’s important to keep things fresh and take inspiration from lots of different areas, but we tend to focus on the customer mindset to inform our design aesthetic. We then look at trends to make sure our creative will feel relevant, but sufficiently differentiated. It’s great to know what’s coming but also add your own take or twist on this trend too, that’s how we keep evolving creatively and how we can keep our work exciting and fresh. That’s how the never been seen before is created!

5. What ideas, styles, or visual trends in regards to social media do you think will be popular in 2020?

Three key trends we are seeing on social media are:

1. Activism – we expect to see the current activist political and environmental mood spill over into creativity with a bold aesthetic, including clashing colours, diverse materials, handwritten typefaces and creative that breaks conventional rules.

2. Body Positivity – we expect the movement to keep growing and to influence all aspects of visual communications. From heartfelt slogans, to diverse models, this is a visual trend that embraces everyone.

3. JOMO – hot off the heels of the minimal movement, JOMO is all about celebrating the joy of missing out. Think minimalism with a bright gen-z colour palette and clean approach to typography and photography.

6. If you could single out a trend in visual communication that will be the next big thing, what would you call it and how would you describe it?

For us it’s all about JOMO. People are burned out by their always-on lifestyles, to the point that even social lives have begun to feel exhausting. Mental Health awareness is on everyone’s lips these days and we think brands have a big role to play in ensuring their communications make us feel good rather than overwhelmed. We expect communications to feel personal and direct, with real honesty and authenticity to messaging. While minimal was stripped back, this is more about nothing unnecessary but still embracing joy through bright colours and bold typefaces. As we will see people retreat to their homes as havens and embrace the joy of mindfulness and being present in the here and now we expect retailers to respond by creating environments for discovery-led browsing, sensorial havens designed to give us peace and make us slow down and spend time in-store.

Take a look at the full article here:

5 ways Lush delivers a 5* customer experience

24 Jan 2020 | Culture | Tips & Tricks

5 ways Lush delivers a 5* customer experience

By Laura Giffard

On our most recent retail safari we explored some of the best customer experiences London has to offer. We’d heard that Lush on Oxford Street had introduced a Quiet Shopping Hour – designed to make their stores more accessible to autistic people – and we were excited to understand how brands can adapt to become more inclusive.

We were initially disappointed to experience the sensory overload awaiting us. Bright lights, pumping music and sweet scents enveloped us whilst a Lush team member playfully blew soap suds at us as we entered. This was anything but quiet.

But it was not long before our bewilderment gave way to complete joy as we took in the incredible customer experience Lush offers its shoppers – no wonder it ranks 3rd in KPMG’s 2019 Customer Experience Excellence analysis report.

Here are five ways I saw Lush deliver a 5* customer experience while we shopped:

1. Listen and prototype

Whilst chatting to the store manager it emerged that the Quiet Shopping Hour had been scrapped because the team weren’t able to control audio and lighting in the environment as much as they would have liked to.

The manager went on to explain that embracing failures, and the learnings that come with them, very much forms part of the company’s DNA, since Lush’s founders built the brand from the ashes of their previous business which had bankrupted them.

What struck me was the autonomy store managers are given to listen to their customers and implement relevant local initiatives, keeping stores fresh and adapting – or scrapping – new projects based on real-time feedback.

Lush employees really make the shopping experience all about the individual customer. They get to know your needs, likes and dislikes and are able to recommend the best products for you because of their in-depth knowledge. When you’re browsing they take a soft sales approach, guiding you as you browse and encouraging you to touch and smell the products, asking just the right questions to help you find the best products for you. I left feeling like I’d had a bespoke personal care consultation and knowing exactly what I needed!

2. Make it personal

Hands down one of my favourite things in-store is the fact that there are test & play areas everywhere. Children gathered round sinks squealing in delight as glittery gooey flowery bath bombs were dropped into sinks, releasing a stream of fizzy bubbles that enveloped everything. Lush allows you to unleash your inner child and discover product through play, meaning you get real enjoyment from the product experience in-store, which will continue all the way home.

3. Make it playful

It really struck me to see how generous Lush is with product. I decided to try out some shampoo for my daughter, but rather than asking me to buy a full-sized bottle, the team gave me three samples to take home and try, so that when I came back I could buy the right one for her. And yes, I did come back and spent a lot of money not just for my daughter but for me too, as I was blown away by the results!

4. Be generous!

Lush is a pioneering force in the personal care market, trying to use business for good. Whilst they’ve been selling naked products for a while now, I was excited to see they’re leading the way in make-up too – calling out the amount of plastic rubbish generated by mainstream cosmetics. Lush’s solution to the problem? Slap Sticks – foundation wrapped in peelable, biodegradable wax. I love the way they make you reflect on the impact your purchasing power has, gently nudging you to make ethical choices. Minimising make-up packaging seems like a no-brainer now to me.

5. Kind to people and planet is kind to profit too

Lush’s customer experience turned me from lapsed customer to brand fan in one fell swoop. I’ve since been back twice and am slowly swapping out my regular, heavily preserved and packaged items, with their fresh and fragrant products. And it’s all down to their innovative and human approach to retail.

Where indoors meets outdoors

27 Jan 2020 | Culture

Where indoors meets outdoors

By Eve Cowan

I have to admit I didn’t quite stumble across this one when out in the wild, more so that I was mindlessly internet scrolling when it appeared on my timeline - ‘London’s secret conservatory’. How ‘secret’ it actually is, is questionable, but nonetheless it excited me - I’m always up for a good Insta pic opportunity.

The conservatory lives on the third floor of the Barbican centre, around the fly tower of the theatre. If you have ever visited the brutalist building of the Barbican you will appreciate how finding the second largest conservatory in London within its walls comes at quite a shock. But that’s what makes it so special, the concrete and brick and 1500+ species of plants living together in harmony.

There are two main sections to the conservatory, one filled with tropical plants, fruit trees and koi carp and the other for succulents and cacti (warning: the cacti are BIG and need to be dodged in some places!) There are a few benches dotted about which is great for when inspiration strikes and you just have to whip the sketchbook out.

I think it’s safe to say the Barbican conservatory reigns supreme in the ‘bringing the outdoors in’ category; it has certainly inspired me in the flat-decoration department. Apparently having 1500 species of plant in one 40m² flat is not practical, but I can definitely try.

So, if you fancy doing something that’s not too strenuous, I would wholeheartedly recommend this wonderful place. It’s free to visit too (just check their website for opening times).

3 ways Gen.u.ine is shaping the world for good

10 Feb 2020 | Culture | Tips & Tricks

3 ways Gen.u.ine is shaping the world for good

By Eve Cowan

We believe that brands have a role to play in shaping the world for good, so each month we look at those that inspire us to make things better for people and planet.

Start-up company Gen.u.ine Chemotherapy Cosmetics caught my eye because I’d never really considered the impact illness could have on a self-care routine I take for granted. It’s not some banal statement about self-confidence, this brand really does bring a much-needed boost at a time when people are at their most vulnerable.

Here are 3 ways in which they are shaping the cosmetic industry for good:

1. Helping customers feel like themselves again

We’re all used to glossy ads telling us we can find our worth in glamorous looks. But Gen.u.ine goes more than skin deep (as can be seen in their kickstarter promo video).

Their conversations with customers unveiled a striking insight. Mainstream cosmetics often contain chemicals that dry out and crack the skin, increasing the chance of infection. Coupled with weight and hair loss, this inability to ‘put their face on’ as they used to, can have a devasting impact on patient’s mental health.

Forget about glamour, Gen.u.ine’s mission is to help people feel more like themselves again, providing them with cosmetics products that are kind to their skin. And by letting customers explain the needs in their own words, they make this happen in a much more credible way.

2. Democratising niche markets

When products are launched to service new markets, pricing can often be inaccessible to everyday users. But Gen.u.ine recognises that using their product range isn’t really a choice, it’s a necessity, brought about by illness. So they want to make it truly accessible to everyone, irrespective of gender, race and spending power, becoming the obvious choice for anyone seeking a bit of normality during this distressing time in their lives.

3. Kind to the planet

As well as being kind to humans, Gen.u.ine is also kind to the environment. They’re fighting landfill by using recycled glass containers which customers can send back to be refilled at a discounted price, and they plan to keep manufacturing and distribution local to reduce delivery miles/emissions. A no-brainer amongst the steep rise in eco-conscious consumers.

Having successfully reached their target on Kickstarter, the first batch of products is ready to ship in March 2020.

Incredible work, Gen.u.ine.

Read more about their story here

Women in design.

19 Feb 2020 | Press

Women in design.

By Nikki Burton

Our Creative Director Nikki Burton has been featured in the current edition of Women in Design. A monthly magazine from the Design Calendar exploring the theme of failure.

The special edition is described as: ‘A collection of colourful stories from women in the community who are shaping and redefining what it means to be a Designer in this new decade. There is no single voice for creatives. There are women all around who can support, nurture and guide you…prepare for life lessons, laughs and seriously good advice from your design sisters.’

Here’s what Nikki had to say:

Where do you live and work now? How does it influence your work?

I live in North London, and work at Perq Studio in Holborn. We have the City, Covent Garden, Soho and the Southbank all on our doorstep – it’s a buzz of activity that’s hard to beat and definitely keeps my thinking fresh! Our studio is based in LABS, a beautifully designed space with lots of member perks like yoga, talks and socials. It’s a place where our creativity can thrive because all our creature comforts are looked after and it gives us the space to hold workshops and meet other like-minded people to expand our perspectives.

Tell us a bit about yourself and how you got to where you are today, and what you’re up to now?

With a BA in Communications Design and extensive sector experience across property, retail, beauty and B2B, I am that rare breed of versatile designer who doesn’t believe in set styles and pride myself on having the skills and vision that can flex beyond what’s expected in any given sector to give clients authentic, relevant and remarkable communications. I think my education really set me up for this, as they instilled the power of the ‘big idea’ in us, stressing that creative freedom comes first, channel and execution follows.

I’ve been with Perq Studio since 2018 and I use my strategic and creative capabilities to distil the essence of a brand and deliver it cohesively and consistently both online & offline across all touchpoints.

Every day I bring a passion for stand-out creative, with a relentless ambition to surprise and delight clients. The most important thing to me is finding the right solution for our clients, not necessarily what’s on trend from year to year as that doesn’t work for everyone. Even though it is always good to have an eye on what’s going on, it doesn’t mean you have to follow, you need to carve out your own path.

What three words best describe your personality, your work, your style?

My personality: sparky. I definitely like to get to know my clients and my team and have a good time while delivering outstanding work!

My work: surprising. I like to always push briefs further, giving clients what they didn’t even know they wanted, but that is just right for them!

My style: eclectic. I dye my hair ginger and float around in bold patterns, leather accents and pink suede boots.

What’s the best piece of advice you have ever received?

Be impeccable with your word, don’t take anything personally, don’t make assumptions, and always do your best. (The four agreements, Don Miguel Ruiz). If you live your life by these principles you can’t go wrong. But it’s really hard and you need to remind yourself daily!

What advice would you give to other women who are aspiring creatives?

Keep at it, keep pushing your creative to find those solutions. For example, if you are creating a brand logo, get away from your screen and sketch out every rough idea. 9 times out of 10 I surprise myself with the freedom pen and paper bring (and I am not an illustrator!) and the co-creation that can happen with clients using rough ideas. People always push things further when they can be part of the journey.

Who are your women mentors or inspirations?

Tough question because I draw inspiration and guidance from so many different avenues. I love reading personal development, spiritual/ philosophical books. The learnings from my yoga teacher training (and even attending classes) is something I always use in my day to day life. The universe and human nature fascinates me! I love to listen to podcasts, especially the directness of Mary Portas and the vulnerability of Brené Brown. And most of all friends, family and colleagues all inspire me in so many different ways, I surround myself with damn good people!

What are you most passionate about at the moment?

I have recently been made Company Director so it’s a hugely exciting time as we define our processes and articulate our culture. My current baby is creating our own brand handbook. It’s amazing to be building such a great company together, I often pinch myself!

What are some goals you have for your future work?

It’s not a cop out but I want to continue to do the best work possible for clients and win more awards! I want to do more personal branding workshops and write a book with Laura to really share experiences, tools, processes and help others!

What do you struggle with most?

Self belief. Yes, it’s true I suffer from imposter syndrome as much as the next person. I still get those jitters walking into a client presentation. Is this good enough? Will they catch me out this time? Am I a fraud? Luckily, I have the support of a great team, who constantly remind me I have the skills to pay the bills!

How do you keep motivated?

I genuinely love what I do, and I am surrounded by people who also extremely passionate about what they do, so this is great motivation. We support and lift one another up when we need to. At Perq Studio we have implemented a four day work week having every Tuesday off! We call this #Tuesplay! It’s a great way to refresh and enrich ourselves… better balance that avoids burnout. We all feel energised and work really hard 4 days a week.

Which books, podcasts or films would you recommend and why?

The Four Agreements. Whenever anyone asks me about books this is the one everyone should have in their bookshelf! I read it again and again as it’s the principles I want to live my life by, helping me to check in with myself, understanding that the whole world does not revolve around me. Everyone is going about their business in their bubble. If someone bumps you on the tube it isn’t about you, it’s not a personal attack, maybe they have a scary meeting they are running late for! They are not out to get you!

You can really draw perspective for human interaction and life situations from this book. And every time I read it I draw new inspirations and learnings from it.

This interview first appeared in ‘Women in Design’ 2020. Grab your print edition here.

27 Mar 2020 | Tips & Tricks

There’s no better time to… Remember why you matter.

By Laura Giffard

We’ve all been bombarded with generic Coronavirus “we’re here for you” brand messaging. From that gym you never signed up to, to your bank - everyone’s at it. The problem is, it’s just noise. It adds to consumer anxiety and fails to make meaningful connections.

There’s no better time to remember why you matter in your customer’s lives. Think about what’s going on for them, put yourself in their shoes, and figure out how to talk to them with empathy and relevance. Adapt your product/service offer and remind them why you deserve a place in their lives.

We’ve got a handy little template to kick-off your brainstorm. Get it here.

Happy April Fool’s Day!

01 Apr 2020 | Culture

Happy April Fool’s Day!

By Laura Giffard

So you may have noticed that we announced we’d changed our name to Werq Studio…

“We’re taking our fight against “the hustle” one step further and showing our commitment to the power of hard work by changing our name to Werq Studio. We’ve also changed our brand colour to green, signifying the success you can achieve with good old fashioned graft. Did your mama not tell you that “nothing worth having ever comes easy”?! Come on baby, let’s WERQ!”

Well a good few laughs (and a legal-sounding warning!) later, we can reveal that it was in fact an April Fool’s prank (although the message about believing in hard work still stands!)

We know Google decided not to celebrate this year and we can understand their reasons, but to us these laughs provided some much needed solace in these times that have been punctuated by deep sorrow. Laughter is a natural medicine that can help alleviate stress and anxiety and fosters bonding. So we hope you too can find ways to lighten the mood for yourself and others.

Stay home and stay safe!

02 Apr 2020 | Tips & Tricks

There’s no better time to… make a to do list.

By Laura Giffard

I’ve often found myself feeling overwhelmed and lacking brain space for all the things that need to get done… but also feeling frustrated by my ever-growing list.

We realised I lacked a simple prioritisation system, so we did what we do best and solved the problem with a beautiful piece of creative.

We’re finding our templates so helpful we wanted to share them with you too!

Get your printable To Do List template here.

06 Apr 2020 | Tips & Tricks

There’s no better time to… read a book.

By Nikki Burton

Just a little reminder to pick up a book to unwind and relax.

Whilst doing those online courses can seem like a great idea, the truth is you’re never getting away from your screen and that can’t be good for our mental health.

So here’s your little nudge to go and pick up that book you bought and never read… or if you’re feeling a little stuck we’d recommend checking out How to thrive in a digital age from The School of Life.

You could also try this great book finder from Penguin Random House.

09 Apr 2020 | Culture | Tips & Tricks

There’s no better time to… make a difference

By Laura Giffard

There’s no better time to…make a difference!

We’re fundraising for the NHS Charities COVID-19 Urgent Appeal and we’re inviting you to ‘wear and share’ your support with our #ThanksHealthHeroes t-shirts and totes.

100% of the profit goes to charity and you can see a transparent cost breakdown on the site so you know exactly where your money is going. Buy yours now:

23 Apr 2020 | Tips & Tricks

There’s no better time to… manage your notifications

By Laura Giffard

Ever find yourself distracted by the incessant pings of your email, whatsapp and now Teams and Zoom? Well me too. And it meant I was spending 24/7 attached to a screen. It’s so easy to do, especially now many of us are working from home. But worst of all, these continuous interruptions were making me feel frazzled and unable to focus. So I did a simple thing. I turned notifications off. I made checking my channels a conscious choice and I feel so much better for it. Give it a go. Get some freedom of mind!

01 May 2020 | Tips & Tricks

There’s no better time to… embrace improv

By Laura Giffard

​Improv can be surprisingly useful in the business world too. We share one of our favourite techniques… “yes and…” and explain why this holds the key to great creative sessions!

Why not check out Hoopla Improv’s courses? They’ve launched a whole online series too, so could be some perfect lockdown learning (and fun!)

We are the stories we’re told and the stories we tell

05 May 2020 | Culture

We are the stories we’re told and the stories we tell

By Laura Giffard

Last week I watched a stunning Ted Talk: Oliver Jeffers’ ‘Ode to living on planet earth’. In this celebration of the very fact that we exist - that we are alive - Oliver points out that the one truth about planet earth is that “people live here”.

And it moved me to consider how the Covid-19 crisis is something we finally cannot ignore, like those wars in far off lands, but rather it’s something that shows us we are all alike on this planet - we all share the same human fragility. He invites us to be kind to one another and reminds us that we are the stories we’re told and the stories we tell. It’s time to set the story of humanity on the right track again - focusing on the shared good - and inspiring change for the better.

Watch the talk here:

07 May 2020 | Tips & Tricks

There’s no better time to… have some fun

By Laura Giffard

Have a little fun with your next Zoom or Microsoft meetings by turning yourself into an alien, a banana, a pickle or even a potato! Download Snapcam and bring back a human touch to remote working!

15 May 2020 | Tips & Tricks

There’s no better time to… invest in mutual relationships

By Laura Giffard

The Covid-19 crisis made life very real for a young business like ours. We went from feeling ecstatic about making it to year 3, to being thrown into a deep panic as we know marketing budgets are always the first thing to be axed in a downturn. But we were bowled over to see our clients care about our success as much as we do about theirs! We have collaboratively refocused projects to ensure we are absolutely relevant in everything we produce.

Feel the fear and do it anyway

19 May 2020 | Culture

Feel the fear and do it anyway

By Eve Cowan


One could say I’m not a natural at languages – the friend I used to copy in German class would probably vouch for this. A complete lack of motivation coupled with major foreign language speaking anxiety (it’s a thing) was not a good mix when it came to GCSE German.

So why now at 23? The desire to learn Hungarian came about thanks to three Hungarians wandering into my life during university. The language was like nothing I had heard before, in fact it’s pretty much in a little language pool of its own with the closest dialect being Finnish (they share about 5 words). It’s also the second hardest language to learn for native English speakers, inconvenient I know – why couldn’t my uni friends at least have been French!

I started out, like many, using Duolingo. Duolingo is fine if you want to learn sentences such as ‘do you hear those apples?’ or a favourite of mine ‘the kindergarten teacher has lunch and sneezes’ – but these weren’t really doing it for me.

Fast forward a couple of years and a few awkward ‘meeting-the-grandparents-where-neither-of-you-speak-the-each-other’s-language’ exchanges later and I have finally signed up for a language course at the University of Westminster. I was on a mission to come out of my shell, meet new people and see what this brain of mine could do.

So, January BC (before corona) came around and I found myself in a room full of like-minded people. I was definitely thrown in at the deep end but found this to be significant in my (for want of a better word) – journey. Don’t get me wrong, there are often times where I want the ground to open up and swallow me whole (the anxiety-induced sweat patches are no joke) but still I somehow manage to carry on – my mother’s advice ‘feel the fear and do it anyway’ swirling around in my mind.

My opinion surrounding language learning has done a complete flip on its head. Being a native English speaker meant that I could fare pretty well in other countries on holiday and felt I had no convincing reasons to acquire another language. But recently I have come to learn the beauty in other languages and the desire to LEARN THEM ALL is pretty strong of late.

Language goes hand-in-hand with culture – you cannot truly understand one without the other and I think that is inherently important in stepping out of one’s own bubble and understanding more of the world. This is especially important in the creative and marketing industry where we are constantly striving to get a greater awareness and understanding of the consumer, which in turn allows us to communicate in a more effective way.

But really, I am not writing this to tell you to go out and learn a language; it’s more about doing something that scares you and doing it for yourself, whether this be big or small. It’s about recognising that the reason you may have failed earlier wasn’t because you physically weren’t able to do it but rather that the setting or situation wasn’t right – in my case at least. And ultimately, it’s not about being the best, it’s about saying you genuinely gave it your all and who knows, tiny steps may lead you to bigger and better things!

22 May 2020 | Tips & Tricks

There’s no better time to… fail fast

By Laura Giffard

​“Failing” is that word that has always held negative connotations, but we’re seeing a change in peoples perception of failure. We’re constantly being reminded that we are living in a time of “unprecedented change”. And it’s true. In order to keep relevant, businesses and individuals must adapt to our new reality. In finding the path forward, it is inevitable that we will make mistakes, but the key is to make them boldly and learn from them fast.

Elizabeth Day has written a fantastic book, How to Fail, in which she speaks to her personal failures and how she’s managed to reshape these failures into future successes.

Revisiting #Tuesplay

03 Jun 2020 | Culture

Revisiting #Tuesplay

By Laura Giffard

One whole year ago we took the leap. Fuelled by the belief that working a four day week was the future, we embarked on a 12 month experiment to see whether we could make it work.

Now, as all expectations for 2020 and beyond have been turned upside down, we felt it would be a good time to revisit the four day work week and whether it made sense to keep #Tuesplay going forward.

First things first, we thought about what we were trying to achieve this time last year by introducing a four day work week:

  • A rejection of burnout culture
  • Invest in wellbeing and overall health of the team
  • Time to read, explore and be inspired

… all while maintaining productivity!

Our biggest success has no doubt been maintaining productivity and increasing our turnover in line with our financial objectives as a growing business. That’s right, even with 20% less face time we were able to continue growing revenues. I attribute this to our collaborative culture – by having our clients working alongside us we work smarter and achieve our goals faster.

However, it did become apparent that we weren’t being as successful with achieving our other goals. While we started out using #Tuesplay by visiting galleries and getting out into the real world, this soon began to fade into the background and #Tuesplay started to turn into a time of Netflix and house chores, which didn’t really help us achieve our personal goals of growth and inspiration.

For us, inspiration is the lifeblood of creativity and it’s vital that we get away from our desks and actively invest in expanding our minds and growing our skills away from the time and budget pressures of client work.

So, we’ve decided to shake #Tuesplay up. We will still remain closed to clients, but we will use this time each week to consciously invest our time into upskilling ourselves, feeding our culture and carrying out the pro-bono work for our charity partners we hold so close to our hearts. This will then translate into added inspiration and creativity for our clients to connect with their customers. Win-Win.

Long live #Tuesplay and long may we continue to embrace changing, evolving, growing… and playing!

05 Jun 2020 | Tips & Tricks

There’s no better time to… set some goals

By Laura Giffard

All too often marketing gets viewed as a ‘nice to have’ rather than an essential strategic function of a business. So it’s our job as the experts to demonstrate the value we bring in our role of anticipating and meeting customer needs for the success of our organisations.

Our message is simple: start by setting your objectives before you choose which channels to activate. Ensure you’re aligned to commercial goals and only measure what matters.

Here’s a template to get you started!

12 Jun 2020 | Tips & Tricks

There’s no better time to… collaborate

By Laura Giffard

Collaboration is so much more than a buzzword - it’s about each person having a defined role and contributing their expertise to power innovation. Working as one team with our clients is our secret weapon to supercharging our campaigns!⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀

19 Jun 2020 | Tips & Tricks

There’s no better time to… make your space special

By Laura Giffard

Working from home has its benefits, but we know it also comes with unique challenges. Though many of us weren’t previously set up for working at home, we at Perq Studio have realised how important it is to make sure we take the time make a little space somewhere in the home for a proper work set up. You’d be amazed at the difference it makes! It not only helps you work better, it also helps you ‘leave’ work too.

Things what i like vol.1

23 Sep 2020 | Culture

Things what i like vol.1

By Eve Cowan

A monthly round-up of the best share-worthy creative stuff.

1. Animation

This bootylicious piece from Gunner animation oozes energy and movement, celebrating bums from big to small – power to the booty!

2. Packaging

Never before have I wanted a milk bottle on display, that is until I came across this gorgeous bit of packaging by Leo Burnett Design.

3. Illustration

This atmospheric piece by Tishk Barzanji is simply stunning with its use of three main colours and silhouetted figures. The use of horizontal and vertical lines draw the viewer’s eye in to the woman in red, very clever!

4. Marketing

Nike’s new campaign ‘You Can’t Stop Us’ by Wieden + Kennedy is a downright masterpiece in video editing – give me all their skills.

5. Branding

Floyd’s branding is confident and unmissable with its bright red (-dy/orange) and bold typeface, oh and their furniture is just as gorg (just less red).

Things what i like vol.2

13 Oct 2020 | Culture

Things what i like vol.2

By Eve Cowan

A monthly round-up of the best share-worthy creative stuff.

1. Animation

It’s weird. It’s very, very weird, but boy is it MAGNIFICENT. Be sure to turn the sound on for that full snog immersion.

2. Packaging

Dogs deserve all the nice things, including this gorgeous sustainable packaging for their supplements (yes, supplements). Choosing tin over the usual plastic used in pet food packaging makes it recyclable and reusable!

3. Illustration

As a long-term admirer of Mark Conlan’s hand-drawn style of work, it was inevitable he be included. Although regularly blessing us with stunning pieces of illustration, this one especially caught my eye due to its portrayal of inclusivity.

4. Marketing

This D&AD New Blood winning ad by Sandy Matta is not what you would necessarily expect to see on a billboard, which is why it works so well to grab someone’s attention. Pure genius.

5. Branding

This wonderfully vibrant bank branding is a delight. I quite fancy the billboard design as a poster on my wall! Can’t say that for every bank.

#TuesdayThinks: It’s time to practice emotional first aid.

20 Oct 2020 | Tips & Tricks

#TuesdayThinks: It’s time to practice emotional first aid.

By Laura Giffard

Every Tuesday we think some thinks and round-up some top tips.

Every kid reaches for a plaster when they get even the slightest graze (these Paw Patrol beauties stop tears like magic!). Kids know that if they get hurt, they need to clean and protect the wound to stop it getting worse.

So why don’t we teach emotional first aid too? Why don’t we spend time helping people understand how they feel and what action they need to take to practice self-care?

Psychologist Guy Winch explores this very question in a short Ted Talk, pointing out how much time we spend on our physical health while neglecting to recognise how emotional traumas are affecting us.

Did you know that social isolation, living alone and loneliness are linked with about a 30% higher risk of early death? That’s more than heavy smoking. Shocking really.

And as we hunker down for a long, socially-distanced winter we thought we’d share some tips to keep your mental health front of mind and take action to look after it every day.

Three tips for practicing emotional first aid:

  1. Recognise emotional pain: acknowledge how you’re feeling and take action. Look for resources to make sense of it all, or talk things through with a trusted friend. Look for signs in others too and offer a friendly ear.
  2. Protect your self-esteem: if you start putting yourself down, challenge those thoughts. Think about how you’d speak to a friend and write yourself some kind words to redirect your focus.
  3. Build good habits: just like you brush your teeth twice a day, make time in your routine for emotional self-care. This could be journaling, practicing meditation or taking time to savour a cup of tea. Find what works for you and build a moment of inner peace into each and every day.

Got any tips you’d like to share? Topics you’d like us to cover? Let us know, and we’ll see you next week!

#ConsciousCreative: Design, shaping the world for good…

21 Oct 2020 | Culture

#ConsciousCreative: Design, shaping the world for good…

By Nikki Burton

Every month we take a look into the world of conscious creative and how design can promote positive change.

It is becoming increasingly apparent that our world is in need of a break from our throw-away society. The disposable consumer behaviours we have all grown accustomed to in some form are putting an immense amount of pressure on our natural resources and the environment we live in.

There is no earth 2.0. It is up to us to do what we can to change the tide and protect for the future. Design is a vehicle for not only producing beautiful aesthetic but a deeper more emotional connection. Designing with purpose, meaning and a strong rationale, we can promote positive visuals and messaging that is not just good design but a way of ‘shaping the world for good’.

The very nature of design means that the variety of topics addressed can be extremely diverse. Anything from cultural stigmas to climate emergencies and beyond. Excellent examples of these types of projects are Pantone unveiling a new shade of red to tackle the stigma around menstruation and ‘Urge’ a creative collective aimed at enacting radical response to climate emergencies.

Slowly but surely companies are adopting this more ethical and progressive stance, evolving their tone of voice and brand accordingly. This can be seen in the redesign of the Twinings’ flagship store focussing on innovation and wellness and RSA’s brand refresh which turns their focus to ‘commitment to impact’ and ‘enriching social progress’.

By approaching issues that we are facing head-on, the potential for cultural and behavioural change is made real. Highlighting issues and providing a voice and a platform for change is a positive step towards creating a more sustainable and brighter outlook for the future.

Get in touch with us to see how we can collaborate together to shape the world for good.

#TuesdayThinks: It’s time to do better business.

27 Oct 2020 | Tips & Tricks

#TuesdayThinks: It’s time to do better business.

By Nikki Burton

Every Tuesday we think some thinks and round-up some top tips.

It’s become apparent, no matter what your business, being sustainable is something most customers today have at the top of their shopping list. We’ve been seeing an exponential growth in ethical consumption and this has only been accelerated by the COVID-19 crisis. Indeed, 61% of consumers are making more environmentally friendly and ethical purchases and 89% of them indicate this is likely to continue post-crisis.

You don’t have to look far to find all sorts of great examples of business’ doing their bit. Big boys like IKEA are doing it by buying back pieces of old furniture in exchange for customer credit or vouchers during Black Friday with their #BuyBackFriday campaign. IKEA are striving to economise resources by reducing waste and enabling millions of customers to live a more sustainable life at home (you can have a read of their ‘People & Planet Positive’ sustainability strategy for 2020 to find out more). A great take on the excessive consumerism Black Friday has become synonymous with.

And it’s not just brands getting in on the action. Berlin is aiming to become a zero-waste city by 2030, so the government have set up a ‘department store within a department store’ that only sells second hand goods, to fight throw-away culture.

Feeling inspired? Or unsure about what to do next? We get it, trying to figure out your approach to ‘better business’ can be daunting.

The good thing is, doing better business comes in all shapes and sizes, and no matter what your trade there is definitely a way you can shape the world for good. So, to get you started, we have put together 3 top tips to set you off in the right direction.

Three tips for doing better business:

1. Dig deep and embrace change: Take a moment to stop and focus on your value proposition. What do you stand for? What are your customers asking for? Use these insights to define what you stand should for now. Is there a single cause that your business can embrace or support to demonstrate your commitment? Start small and you won’t get left behind!

2. Understand your supply chain inside out: What are your suppliers doing in the way of better business? How do they make a difference (and if they don’t maybe it’s time to look for a supplier who does!). Make sure that everything your business is touching leaves the world in a better place than you found it. Working with partners whose values align with your own can have an exponential impact.

3. Constant reinvention: Keep your eyes peeled across all industries, you never know when inspiration can strike and what ideas can be built from seeing what other people are doing! A word of caution: make sure that any new initiatives are packed full of meaning and tangible impact that aligns with your brand values. This way they stand the test of time and can be fully ingrained into the core of your business.

How can you effectively ‘do better business’? Get your leadership team on board and make a public commitment to do better, even if it’s a small step. As Tesco would say – every little helps – and it does!

#BetterBusiness: Fighting stress and plastic waste…

28 Oct 2020 | Culture

#BetterBusiness: Fighting stress and plastic waste…

By Issy Switala

Each month we’ll be looking into some cool examples from brands embracing ‘better business’ and using their influence to have a positive impact on people and planet.

In a time where our health, economy and environment are being threatened, it isn’t surprising that people’s mindsets and behaviours are shifting and having an impact on industries across B2B and B2C. Consumers are becoming increasingly aware that their consumption habits are key to improving the state of the environment and society as a whole. They are searching for strong brands and businesses that are themselves making a difference to our world or can help individuals ‘feel good’. Keeping up with these ever-changing trends is so important, but it can be complicated and confusing… that’s why we’re here to help by sharing some inspiring ideas to spark your creativity!

Improving mental wellbeing

The COVID-19 pandemic has understandably caused a huge amount of stress in people’s lives and a symptom of this can be insomnia. PepsiCo have recently announced the launch of ‘Driftwell’, a new drink designed to help consumers unwind and fall asleep at the end of the day. The new beverage contains L-theanine and magnesium, both of which are clinically proven to relieve stress. This may be just a placebo effect, but if it helps, it helps!

Fighting plastic waste

In September 2020, luxury designer Tom Ford made a move to help clean up the ocean by creating a watch made completely of ocean plastic. The business removed large amounts of waste from the ocean using carbon-neutral transportation and produced the sustainably innovative product in Switzerland using solar energy. The brand has stated that each watch will remove the equivalent of 35 plastic bottles from the ocean, which is amazing and definitely should have been raved about more!

Want to find out more? Or have some interesting insights to share? Get in touch with us and let’s do Better Business together!

#TuesdayThinks: Designing a world that works for everyone.

03 Nov 2020 | Tips & Tricks

#TuesdayThinks: Designing a world that works for everyone.

By Laura Giffard

Every Tuesday we think some thinks and round-up some top tips.

One of the biggest joys of 2020 has to be my newfound TikTok habit. No, it’s not all cute dog videos (although I am pretty partial to this trend at the moment).

Hands-down one of the best things it’s brought into my life is a greater richness of perspectives. I love how candid people are, sharing the ups and downs they face as they live their lives.

All too often it’s highlighted how our world is far from inclusive. And I know that as a leader in the creative industry I have the opportunity to inspire my team and my clients to design a better world that works for everyone.

So here I am, with three tips to get us all started with inclusive design:

1. Let go of bias – assumptions can only get you so far. You only know what you know, which often results in exclusion because we simply don’t understand the challenges other people face. Looking for a quick shake-up of your mindset? Start following people on social who are different to you, you’ll see how many things you take for granted are a challenge for others. Not into social? Have a look at this Ted Talk: Why design should include everyone.

2. Listen to and learn from others – the beautiful thing about people is how varied our needs, capabilities and aspirations can be. It’s so important that we begin any project by including, listening to and learning from people with a wide range of perspectives. By focusing on user needs we can generate so many new ideas and opportunities beyond what we could dream up on our own. Go plan a co-creation session now!

3. Use boundaries to power innovation – as creatives we love a good brief. One that gives us firm boundaries to springboard from but enough space to innovate. So, start by recognising exclusion. Then set about making it inclusive for one user type. Once you’ve nailed that, create a series of project/product families that give you the widest audience coverage, but that are absolutely tailored to fulfilling particular insights you uncovered in research. Remember, design is only inclusive if it offers choice, so set about creating it!

Still worried about what this could look like? Just take a look at how GE is living out its purpose of building a world that works even on its website – the accessibility tool that transforms the user experience is utterly brilliant.

Ready to challenge the status-quo and develop exciting new solutions? We’d love to partner with you. Get in touch and let’s see what we can make together!

#ConsciousCreative: The future of design…

04 Nov 2020 | Culture

#ConsciousCreative: The future of design…

By Nikki Burton

Every month we take a look into the world of conscious creative and how design can promote positive change.

In 2020 the phrase ‘It’s not what you know. It’s who you know’ still has some truth behind it when it comes to employment in the design industry. In my experience though, this is slowly but surely being phased out and replaced with education and skill becoming the key factors in landing the right role. Although this is a positive step towards change, it does however pose new issues. The education and experience needed to have a ‘successful’ career are not always available to all. Currently, statistics show that the design industry in the UK is 76% male, with only 13% of employees being from BAME (black and minority ethnic) backgrounds.

How can we hope for a better future, if future generations are not being provided the same opportunities? How much talent is passing by and not getting the chances they deserve? How can we promote an inclusive environment if not everyone is being represented equally?

Luckily all is not lost! There are active projects and initiatives helping to tackle these issues and empowering the underrepresented. Providing students with a platform to earn valuable education and skills that can open up career pathways and ultimately bring diversity to the design industry.

Empowering underrepresented youth

Adobe Max saw a host of leading industry professionals giving live talks and pre-recorded learning sessions again this year, making knowledge available to all. My highlight of the week was ‘Designing a System for Social Change’ where Maurice Woods, the founder of the Inneract Project gave a truly inspirational overview of the positive changes that he is promoting within the design industry. The program supports youth who identify as Black, Latinx and/or of low-income backgrounds, helping them channel their creativity into viable career paths. To date they have reached over 20,000 people via their advocacy initiatives, with the vision to increase Black and Latinx representation and leadership in technology and design for good.

Gender parity by design

It is undeniable that there is an imbalance in gender equality across all levels within design. The article The women working to make design education more diverse’ helps paint a clear understanding of why this is happening - starting with a lack of visible role models and culminating in wide gender pay gaps and poor maternity support once women reach employment. It also explores current issues in diversity by highlighting key issues such as anglocentric education and the people working to improve things going forward - encouraging us all to get involved with pushing for change.

Lifetime of experience

It isn’t always the people at the start of their careers that often get loverlooked. Recent findings show that only 5% of staff within agencies are 50 or older. Thinkerbell, an Australia-based creative agency, recently launched the Thrive@55 initiative which provides internships exclusively to people 55 and older. Diversity comes in all forms.

I’m really encouraged to see all these initiatives taking place, particularly with future generations. As Nat Maher from Kerning the gap says “You can’t be what you can’t see, and if marginalised students don’t see themselves represented on their reading lists and in their curriculum, this in turn leads to a feeling of being marginalised in the discipline.”

We’d love to hear from you. What has been your experience of the design industry?

#TuesdayThinks: Making colour accessible.

10 Nov 2020 | Tips & Tricks

#TuesdayThinks: Making colour accessible.

By Nikki Burton

Every Tuesday we think some thinks and round-up some top tips.

As a designer, colour plays a HUGE part in my every day. But I have recently realised that I simply take for granted that my world is bursting with all the colours under the sun. This isn’t the case for everyone. In Britain alone, approximately 3 million people are colour blind!

When you start to think about how colour is used to navigate our everyday, it becomes pretty mindblowing to think just how many people may be missing out on valuable communications. Did you know that kit colours and equipment cause problems on the pitch for people with colour vision deficiency? The Football Association’s Colour Blindness Awareness Day campaign animation does a great job of explaining how widespread these challenges are – and offers some great solutions for us creatives to consider.

Yoav Brill, a colour blind designer/filmmaker created an inspiring short film narrating his first-hand experiences of colour-blindness. It’s stunning to see how the story can be told entirely using the dots from visual tests used to detect colour blindness.

My curiosity piqued, I began to explore how the tools I use in my everyday life were addressing colour accessibility. I was so pleased when I delved a little deeper to find Trello, (an agile project management system we use in-house) has a mode for colour-blind users that adds patterns to block colours. It’s such a simple function, yet so powerful for accessibility. And Spotify uses a small dot to show the state of the repeat and shuffle settings, which is a big help to the colour blind, who now don’t have to rely on seeing the green icons.

Part of me can’t believe that I hadn’t considered this sooner in my creative work, but the other part wants to take on the challenge to make sure I push the boundaries of accessibility for our designs.

Want to join me? Here’s where to start:

1. Use a colour blind friendly palette by default. The website has a wonderful feature for changing between colour blindness deficiencies.

2. Check that your colour combinations have enough contrast, your background-to-text contrast ratio should be at least 4.5:1. Colorable is a great tool for doing just that!

3. Embrace thick lines or large symbols to make it easier to correctly identify and map the colour to a legend.

4. Don’t rely on colour coding, in addition to colours, consider the use of patterns or labels to distinguish between categories.

5. Keep the legend that explains the mapping of the colours close to the actual data.

We have a responsibility in the creative industry to communicate to as many people as possible! My eyes have been opened!

#TrailblazingTech: The QR code Revival

11 Nov 2020 | Culture

#TrailblazingTech: The QR code Revival

By Tim Abayomi-Cole

Each month, we cut through the noise to share a curated selection of the latest tech innovations with the potential to positively impact your Today, Tomorrow and Them Days After That.

There’s never been a more exciting time to talk tech.

Whilst it’s long been the key driver behind us living longer, happier, healthier, and physically easier lives, the unique set of circumstances that 2020 has presented us with has seen the appetite for technological innovation increase more than ever before.

With every company in the tech space, from giant corporations through to small start-ups, vying for our attention to announce the ‘next big thing’, it’s increasingly hard to sift through every keynote speech, press release or launch event, to identify how, what and when the latest technology innovation will be implemented to better serve our lives.

So we’re here to help! We do away with all the jargon, embellishments and sales pitches to give you the lowdown on the trailblazing tech innovations that matter right now and in the future.

Today, Tomorrow…

The lowdown on tech that you should be gearing up to implement.

Has there ever been a better comeback story than that of the QR code? Piggybacking on the prevalence of the UK’s current Track and Trace program, the QR code is currently enjoying an unprecedented renaissance following its previous dismissal as a marketing gimmick only.

With supermarkets using QR codes in their migration towards cashless stores and Exxon Mobil implementing QR codes as a payment tool at fuel stations, you have to ask: what could the QR code do for you?

…Them Days After That

What does the future of tech innovation hold?

Through personal and wearable technology, everything from how ‘green’ we are to how healthy we are, both medically and in terms of fitness, is now being collected by our personal devices to create detailed profiles of who we are as individuals.

With greater societal pressure on governments and brands to do more for the environment and our quality of life, we predict an increase in our data scores across health and ecological impact being utilised by brands as behaviour tools.

With health insurance firms leading the way as early adopters, incentivising their users to stay active you should watch this space for more innovation…

If there’s a tech innovation worth knowing about, we’ll keep you informed.

Stay tuned for more Trailblazing Tech.

#TuesdayThinks: Multi-tasking is dead. Long live essentialism.

17 Nov 2020 | Tips & Tricks

#TuesdayThinks: Multi-tasking is dead. Long live essentialism.

By Laura Giffard

Every Tuesday we think some thinks and round-up some top tips.

Those of you who know me, will know how much I despise people who purport to be able to do it all: working 18 hour days, while maintaining a perfect social life, working out daily and sipping on asparagus water because ya’know, the body is a temple.

To me, this idolisation of the perfect routine promotes burnout culture and a makes for many unhappy people. I’ve long been a fan of Laura Vandekram’s 168 Hours: You Have More Time Than You Think because it first made me realise that time is a choice. We all have the same amount available and how we spend it is up to us.

Truth is, as much as I try to juggle sleep, exercise, nurturing my growing business and dedicating time to family and friends, there have been many weeks where I’ve found myself completely frazzled, holding on for dear life. Ultimately, I think this comes down to my penchant for multitasking.

Multi-tasking has been celebrated by those around me for as long as I can remember – all the best humans can supposedly do it. But I’ve come to realise that when I’m treating everything as a priority, I’m falling deep down the rabbit hole to burnout where I never feel I have time to take stock.

Thankfully my good friend and sales consultant Stephen has recommended the perfect antidote. A book focusing on ‘the disciplined pursuit of less’: Essentialism. This book has helped me realise that allocating time is not enough. I need to be focused. And I am already reaping the rewards in my life.

So, how can you get some essentialism into your everyday?

1. Learn to truly prioritise – did you know the word ‘priority’ used to be singular? And so it remained for 500 years. Somehow, we then decided to have lots of ‘first’ things to deal with. No wonder I often struggle to see the wood for the trees. Now, I look at my tasks and evaluate what is essential. I ask myself, “if I only get one thing done today, what will it be?” Anything else then gets delegated or moved to the next day.

2. Learn to say no – I’m an eternal people-pleaser. I always want to help. But I often end up overstretched and not giving my best. So, I’ve learned to say no (or: not now.) This simple act helps me keep on top of my priority, while still helping others achieve theirs in a time slot where they get 100% of my focus.

3. Make time to think – I used to be a slave to my diary, giving everyone free rein to book time in with me. Now, I make sure I take 1 hour for lunch and I go for a long walk. I either leave my phone behind for complete silence, or use the time to get into an audio book (having turned off all notifications!) It’s incredible how many challenges get processed and how many solutions appear simply through letting my mind wander, rather than being constantly distracted by screens.

I’m only at the beginning of this practice, but I’m feeling the joy already. Are you already practicing essentialism in your life? I’d love to hear all your tips & tricks so get in touch!

#BetterBusiness: Educate and Challenge…

18 Nov 2020 | Culture

#BetterBusiness: Educate and Challenge…

By Issy Switala

Each month we look into some cool examples from brands embracing ‘better business’ and using their influence to have a positive impact on people and planet.

It’s only been in the last couple of years that brands and businesses have started to speak out more on topics that are important to society, rather than the standard “no comment” response. It seems as though now, everywhere you look consumers are being educated, challenged and encouraged to stop and think and you can no longer get away with simply selling a product or a service to make a profit.

It’s clear that the younger generations, Gen Z and Gen Alpha, have signalled they value purpose-led businesses and actively select brands that use their platforms to start conversations, take a stand and shape a better world. Here are some examples of brands doing just that!

Build the Vote

Using your voice to vote is a human right, but not everyone makes the most of it. While we saw a promising surge in young voters in the 2020 US Presidential Elections, a large proportion of young people still missed the opportunity to make their voices heard. In the UK, we see similar stats with 1/3 of young people missing from the electoral register. This year, non-profit Rock the Vote joined forces with Minecraft to build an online platform called ‘Build the Vote’ within the game. It aimed to educate kids about the electoral system in the US and encouraged them to voice their opinions on a variety of issues (including gun control and education). They hope that if children are being educated from a young age, it will build a strong generation of voters and higher turnouts in the future! I think it’s a really interesting way of engaging kids; if they’re going to be using technological devices every day, why not make it educational and turn them into active citizens!

Sex Ed!

Now we all remember those extremely awkward, relatively useless sex ed lessons, taught by the most ancient teacher at school, right? Maybe it doesn’t have to be so…painful? The sex ‘experts’ at Pornhub seem to think so, anyway. After starting up their Sexual Wellness Centre a couple of years ago, they have now launched a new initiative to educate the young on subjects such as anatomy, consent and sexual health. Young people often find these conversations uncomfortable, so the aim is to open up the discussions and build a well-informed, healthy and safe generation. With more than 40 million people having visited the online Sexual Wellness Centre since 2017, it certainly has an engaged audience!

Want to find out more? Or have some interesting insights to share? Get in touch with us and let’s do Better Business together!

#TuesdayThinks: How I get balance working from home.

24 Nov 2020 | Tips & Tricks

#TuesdayThinks: How I get balance working from home.

By Nikki Burton

Every Tuesday we think some thinks and round-up some top tips.

It’s taken me until November, to finally get into the swing of a healthy routine. Back in March when we were catapulted into working from home, we were met with a bit of panic and a constant fear that the world as we know may just collapse (dramatic I know!). So being glued to my machine felt very necessary, although my body and mind became increasingly angry with me for all the neglect they were receiving.

Now that working from home feels normal, I have adapted. My days are busy and full of team calls which can lead to sitting in the same position for hours on end. So, when lunchtime hits, I make sure I grab my rain mac and wellies and head out for a 40 min walk at lunch, no matter what the elements are throwing at me. A change of scene, a difference in temperature, the wind blowing in my face is priceless. This time also allows me to turn on my latest audiobook.

This precious time with an audiobook inspires my mind, while making sure I hit a healthy step count (I previously had some days where I didn’t even hit 300 steps!). It lets me return to my desk refreshed and ready to tackle the afternoon.

Since we now know that in the UK lockdown tiers are likely to go on at least until March I thought I’d share some tips on how to make these winter months a bit more bearable:

1. Get out and have a walk at lunch: Whatever the weather wrap up and get out there. One Stanford University study found that walking increased creative output by an average of 60 percent. And here’s another 11 reasons to do it too!

2. Listen to an audiobook: Whether it’s a novel that tickles your fancy or a self-development angle that’s got you intrigued, there are huge physical and mental benefits to listening to audiobooks.

3. Make that coffee break count: Get up, put the kettle on turn up the radio/Spotify/Alexa whatever you have at home, get your favourite track on, turn it up loud and dance for 3 minutes like no-ones watching, it’s surprising how good that feels!

How do you look after yourself whilst working from home? Share your tips with us (and your dance moves!) we’d love to hear from you.

#CompellingCopy: Saying things imaginatively, originally, freshly.

25 Nov 2020 | Tips & Tricks

#CompellingCopy: Saying things imaginatively, originally, freshly.

By Dominic Oliver

The first in a monthly series in which we take a close look at compelling copy and the secrets to sounding fresh.

Copy can often be seen as an afterthought. I get it: your focus is on the eye-popping colours, the killer soundtrack, the slick videography or any other number of components of your campaign – while us copywriters melt into the background with our noise-cancelling headphones, tapping away until you ‘need a line.’ (Or the classic: “this just needs wordsmithing.”)

But humans are, in essence, a species of storytellers. Words have power. Words make us feel things. And in world of noisy notifications and endless hyperlink highways, words can still seize our attention like little else.

Put simply: good copy makes money; crap copy means your audience is already looking elsewhere. As the legendary Creative Director, Bill Bernbach memorably put it:

“The truth isn’t the truth until people believe you, and they can’t believe you if they don’t know what you’re saying, and they can’t know what you’re saying if they don’t listen to you, and they won’t listen to you if you’re not interesting, and you won’t be interesting unless you say things imaginatively, originally, freshly.”

So, what makes for compelling copy? Here are a few things that caught my eye this month.


I know ‘yawn.’ But it’s been a big year for Apple, and looking at their updated homepage – hot on the launch of their new M1 computer chips – it’s clear that their copy game is stronger than ever.

I’ve admired Apple’s writing for a while. They’re responsible for one of the most devastatingly effective, benefit-driven copy lines of all time, “1,000 songs in your pocket,” which to me, in 2003, seemed a minor miracle. And they still elegantly, effortlessly walk the tightrope between communicating complex technical details and maintaining their clean tone of voice (along with plenty of smart straplines).

Power. It’s in the air.” introduces their new MacBook Air laptops. So simple. Even more effective. Like all the best copy, really.

Harry’s Marketing Examples

Talking of benefit-driven copywriting, here’s how it’s done. Harry’s Marketing Examples do some great case-studies to help their audience create more engaging content. In this example, they reached out to businesses on social media, asking them to submit their home landing page for improvement. Then, they hired a professional copywriter to rework the copy.

Sure, “Peace of mind in a cup,” sounds snappy; but how much more appealing is “Your most restful sleep is just a sip away?”

This case-study demonstrates how important it is to keep your audience’s emotions and motives in mind when writing. It’s how you deliver clear value propositions, ensuring the customer knows exactly what they’re getting. And it’s the secret to creating copy that converts.


Remember when ol’ Bill said, “The truth isn’t the truth until people believe you”? He was underlining one of the most important – and powerful – principles in copywriting: honesty. Ultimately, people expect ads to bull**** them. They expect copy to be full of slick lines, selling a dream that doesn’t deliver. And so, a blunt, honest headline can startle your audience and get a firm grip on their attention.

This copy from Oatly is the perfect example. “This tastes like sh***,” their drink advert begins. Got your attention? Thought so.

Oh, and finally

This, from Smile At The World Orthodontics. Need I say more?

Want to create some engaging copy of your own? Need help turning views into conversions? Get in touch and let’s craft some compelling copy together.

Things what i like vol.3

26 Nov 2020 | Culture

Things what i like vol.3

By Eve Cowan

A monthly round-up of the best share-worthy creative stuff.

1. Animation

Another disaster 2020 threw at us were the Australian bushfires, in which many animals, and people, lost their lives and homes. Darcy Prendergast’s film, Tomorrow’s On Fire, was a powerful response to the crisis. Not only are the visuals stunning but it also features an exquisitely written monologue.

2. Packaging

Toilet rolls have also been a hot topic of 2020. However, if ever there was a better reason for stockpiling, this is it. These loo rolls are worthy of being displayed proudly for all to see (and read!)

3. Illustration

These delightful daily observation snippets from Hannah Jacobs are simply splendid.

4. Marketing

With the release of the new PlayStation 5, the Underground signposts at Oxford Circus were given a temporary colourful takeover. Taking the original iconic red circle and evolving them in this way – a little bit of genius that.

5. Branding

Obsessed with this clever application of the logo throughout this branding. All you need is a knife, fork and plate to make anything apparently (watch the animation for context!) Also, how sweet are the windows in the pasta boxes!

#TuesdayThinks: How to get new business in new ways

01 Dec 2020 | Tips & Tricks

#TuesdayThinks: How to get new business in new ways

By Laura Giffard

Every Tuesday we think some thinks and round-up some top tips.

The way people do business is changing, and it’s not just due to the pandemic. Covid hasn’t so much been the ‘great reset’ as the ‘great accelerator’. Everything was moving to the online world anyway – we just didn’t expect it to happen quite so abruptly.

Young businesses operating in this environment may think the best way to get new work is to cast the digital net as widely as possible and hope something catches, but this approach isn’t just unproductive; it can damage your brand. The best work you do is with clients you click with, or in collaboration with people you have a genuine connection with. No remote working revolution can ever change that.

So, if you want to get new business in new ways, here a few tips to navigate this digital world without losing the human touch.

1. Ask yourself why you want to work with them

New business should be like a successful courtship. You admire each other from afar; you chat tentatively about what you have in common; then you slowly start to build a beautiful relationship. But it seems that pitching has got a lot more impersonal. Take LinkedIn for example. I used to love using the network to build important relationships, get inspired and share ideas. But these days it seems like a platform for people to spam each other endlessly with poorly targeted messages, pitches and pleas that have no relevance to the other party. The spam switches us off; it definitely doesn’t make us want to ‘connect.’

My advice is to think about the brands you truly admire and businesses your values are aligned with. Then, send a targeted, personal message (after establishing a connection, if possible). If you’re genuinely a good fit, they’ll be able to tell, and it won’t just create new business, it’ll result in great work.

2. Play to your strengths

Don’t just offer prospects everything under the sun. Start by asking yourself: what are their needs? What are your strengths? How can you offer them genuine value? There may be lots of things you can do, but you need to think hard about the little things you do best and prove that you’re better positioned than anyone else in the industry to deliver exceptional value. Start small, prove yourself, develop a relationship and the big stuff will soon follow.

3. Give a bit of yourself away

Making genuine connections with prospects doesn’t just consist of saying nice things about them. You need to stand out. You need to prove that you’re exceptional. Copywrite something funny, send them a picture of your dog, ensure your genuine voice is heard. It isn’t about being wacky to get attention. When we are creative, or funny, it reveals something true about who we actually are. Don’t be afraid of trying something new and making mistakes. The prospects who don’t get it aren’t a good match anyway; and there’s plenty more fish in the sea!

Have you ever used any weird and wonderful techniques to get new business? How do you maintain a personal touch in a digital world? I’d love to know more, so get in touch.

#ConsciousCreative: How smart design and innovative thinking can create purposeful packaging

02 Dec 2020 | Culture

#ConsciousCreative: How smart design and innovative thinking can create purposeful packaging

By Nikki Burton

Each month we look into the world of conscious creative, exploring how powerful design can change the world for the better.

Packaging has long been a space for brands to show off their slickest design skills and make their products stand out. But in a world where young consumers care about values as much as products — and in which we’re all wary of single-use plastics — it isn’t enough for packaging to just be about products anymore. It also has to have a purpose.

In response to these consumer trends, brands are using smart design and innovative thinking to ensure packaging reflects their values and has a more positive impact on the planet.

Here are a few examples I’m loving this month.

Burger King

In a bid to increase its sustainability creds, Burger King has teamed up with the sustainability company Terracycle to produce Loop x Burger King. The concept is simple: customers pay a deposit on the box and cup, and then the deposits are refunded when the containers are returned to the restaurant. Burger King has piloted the packaging in NYC, Portland and Tokyo, as it works towards its goal of ensuring all packaging is made from 100% renewable or recycled sources by 2025. I love the combo of clean, retro designs with a very modern initiative!

Impact Snacks

Through green investments, Impact Snacks offsets 250% of the greenhouse gasses produced making its plant-based confectionery bars. In order to make sure its packaging reflects this carbon positive vision, it makes wrappers from a soy polymer that’s completely home-recyclable. The funky packaging also doubles as a ‘carbon credit,’ so customers can decide which sustainability solution they want to fund through the Impact Snacks app. It’s a perfect example of how sustainability is changing the way we think about packaging.

Stacy’s Pita Chips

I love this packaging from Stacy’s Pita Chips. As well as producing tasty snacks. Stacy’s is a female-founded brand that started the Stacy’s Rise Project, an initiative that seeks to address the funding gap faced by female entrepreneurs. Teaming up with illustrator Libby VanderPloeg, it created these lovely ‘Female Founder Finder’ bags. When customers scan the QR code on the front, they’re directed to female-founded businesses nearby. The artwork is brilliant, but the innovative vision behind it is even better.

Want packaging designs that stand out from the crowd and reflect your values in a fresh, eye-catching way? Get in touch and let’s put some purpose in your packaging.

#TuesdayThinks: How to create a cracking festive ad (with help from the ghosts of Christmas past)

08 Dec 2020 | Tips & Tricks

#TuesdayThinks: How to create a cracking festive ad (with help from the ghosts of Christmas past)

By Nikki Burton

Every Tuesday we think some thinks and round-up some top tips.

Truth be told, I feel a little bah humbug about most Christmas adverts this year (I’m done with Kevin the carrot, sorry Aldi). But there have been some outstanding gems that really do the trick. For me, those that successfully mix purpose-led messaging with festive nostalgia (think Coca Cola circa 1995) have found a way of softening even this grinchiest of hearts. So I thought I’d share a little round-up of my faves (and why I love them!).

Christmas can be an incredibly wasteful time of year. Did you know that 74 million mince pies get thrown out in the UK alone? That’s why I’m loving Ikea Russia’s powerful Christmas ad, which reminds us not to let our celebrations go to waste (Tupperware at the ready please!) I love how they thought about the little ways IKEA plays a role in our lives in the festive period. Plus, we millennials are bound to be total suckers for those Home Alone references!

We all know this year has been a little different, but the one thing that has brought us together is a sense of community. Co-op really captured these feel-good vibes with their Christmas ad, which shows two real-life brothers lifting their community with a brilliant rendition of an Oasis track. I love how they took a band famed for the acrimonious relationship between two brothers, then used their music and real people to underline the power of the festive period in bringing us together. Plus, Co-op has pledged to doubling the amount of funds they will give back to communities. A musical throwback and feel-good actions. What’s not to love?!

Don’t worry, I’m not getting all worthy on you. Sometimes purpose-led can be about having a bit of fun too! And Just Eat’s Christmas music video Doggy Dogg Christmas is the gift that just keeps on giving. Snoop has taken the original lyrics from the Just Eat jingle and cleverly tweaked them for this Christmas hit, rapping in that iconic drawl “Ain’t nothin’ changed here/Gettin’ sushi delivered by a reindeer.” Love seeing a brand bring joy and smiles through its communications. Can we get this to number one now please?

So, bearing all that in mind, here are my 3 top tips for cracking that standout Christmas campaign:

1. Think about the role you play in customers’ lives and opt for a less-obvious angle that stresses how your brand can affect their day-to-day in small, meaningful ways. IKEA could have gone with extravagant kitchens or ornate light fittings, but instead it opted for tupperware. When it’s Christmas, which is more relatable?

2. Focus on community spirit and the goodwill that human interaction brings. Co-op brought smiles to us all with its relatable message and feel-good music (possibly inspired by all the balcony singing during lockdown!).

3. Go glam! If your budgets can stretch far enough, grab a famous face and have a bit of fun with your brand. It could be the start of a beautiful relationship.

Ultimately, the Christmas ads that made me smile this year cooked up warm, human-centred messages mixed with a healthy dash of nostalgia. Here’s a roundup of other Christmas ads for your perusal. Which is your favourite?

Want to create some powerful ads of your own, no matter the season? Get in touch and see what our advertising experts can do for you .

#TuesdayThinks: Plus ça change – can we become what we want without changing who we are?

15 Dec 2020 | Tips & Tricks

#TuesdayThinks: Plus ça change – can we become what we want without changing who we are?

By Laura Giffard

2020. You’ve been a year. Not quite what I had envisaged, mind you.

Back in 2012, I remember working on a big beauty project, excitedly unpicking the client’s 2020 vision and working with my team to define the future of the instore experience. Clarity of vision leading up to guaranteed commercial success. One straight trajectory.

But that’s not really what change looks like. A slow and lumbering transformation over 8 years can only guarantee one thing: that a big environmental shake-up like Covid will force change upon you, and you’ll be dead in the water.

Business change needs to be incremental; it also needs to be happening continuously. It’s not an event, it’s a mindset: the ability to be alive to the direction of the wind and agile enough to adjust your sails.

Take how we responded in March 2020 when Covid first hit. Our swanky offices? Gone, we’ve improvised at home. Our client projects? Budgets redirected to more relevant activations. Teams drinks? Onto Zoom.

But does that mean the work we put out was lesser, or different? Not even a bit.

That’s why I have just the one tip for you this week. Consider what business change is all about.

Change requires insight and action in equal measure. And a resolute understanding of who you are as a business.

Remember that “Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose.” Covid has been a great reminder that although the outward appearance may change, fundamentals are constant.

So, focus on the things that truly matter: your brand, your team and your customers. These are the fundamentals that should guide any business change. Listen attentively to the needs of the people you serve, then use your brand values as a lens through which to identify meaningful action.

To face the challenges of change, brands need to stay agile, anticipate trends and break boundaries. If you’re ready to embrace change, get in touch and let us help you define a brand that’s built for the future.

#TrailblazingTech: Is This The Real Life?

16 Dec 2020 | Culture

#TrailblazingTech: Is This The Real Life?

By Tim Abayomi-Cole

Each month, we cut through the noise to share a curated selection of the latest tech innovations with the potential to positively impact your Today, Tomorrow and Them Days After That.

2020 has been a year to remember, a year that defied all prediction and at times hasn’t seemed real. With events so extreme that they’ve often felt like a glitch in the matrix, it is only fitting that the final Trailblazing Tech of 2020 shines a light on the growing market of reality distortion through technology.

Today, Tomorrow…

The lowdown on tech that you should be gearing up to implement.

Until recently, it was thought that computers would be incapable of generating novel and realistic human faces due to processing power limitations and an apparent requirement for original thought. Despite this, over the past few years AI technology has made such great advances that computers are now able to generate unique human faces which are near-indiscernible from real human portraits.

With the software behind virtual face creation making significant improvements, firms in 2020 have taken note and begun to embrace the technology like never before. In China, a Japanese-created digital influencer, Imma, fronted a campaign for Magnum to introduce the launch of a new ice-cream flavour to much fanfare, receiving praise for being ‘astonishingly real’.

But what does this mean for the businesses of today? Well, the potential uses of the technology are widespread, ranging from realistic virtual tutors to improving interfaces in healthcare and hospitality settings.

And for marketing departments who continue to invest heavily paying large sums to models/celebs?

Well maybe it’s time they considered a more ‘digital’ approach.

…Them Days After That

Virtual Reality — the creation of a simulated experience — and Augmented Reality — the computer-enhancement of reality — have long dominated the narrative around how technology can enhance everyday lives for both consumers and businesses. But you knew about those already right? Well Spatial Computing may not have hit your radar yet.

Spatial Computing refers to computers’ ability to learn and manipulate digital reference points in relation to real objects and spaces. Simply speaking, using physical space and objects to send input to, and receive input from, a computer.

Imagine the scenario: a medical sales rep pitching a new surgical chair to a medical corporation is unable to make a key client pitch due to travel restrictions. With Spatial Computing, they could post the device to the client and attend the pitch as a hologram that respects real-world principles.

This hologram would interact with the 3D space walking around the room, avoiding tables and people, interacting with the physical surgical chair while moving around it to point out its features and capabilities in a way that would never be possible through a video conference…the hologram would even be able to look the clients directly in the eye!

We are currently limited by hardware developed to date, however the future of spatial computing is immensely exciting. Check out Magic Leap’s early foray into this technology here.

Get in touch to see how we can use tech to digitally transform your business.

#TuesdayThinks: Forget resolutions. Here’s why you should set business intentions

22 Dec 2020 | Tips & Tricks

#TuesdayThinks: Forget resolutions. Here’s why you should set business intentions

By Nikki Burton

Every Tuesday we think some thinks and round-up some top tips.

“Intentions are the starting point of every dream—the seed of creation.” Deepak Chopra

It’s that time of year again: the time to reflect on the year gone by and to set ourselves goals for the New Year. Read a book a week. Work out daily. Drink kale smoothies for lunch. Have you ever stopped to wonder why we make New Year’s Resolutions so punishing? No wonder everyone struggles to stick to them!

Forget resolutions. The real key to self-improvement is intentions. Intentions give us a positive purpose without all that miserable pressure of falling short. So, instead of “work out every day and only eat green things,” an intention would say: “I have the intention of living a healthier life and waking up with more energy.” See how much more realistic that is?

Intentions allow us to focus on giving our best each day, with an acknowledgement that life happens. Some days you’ll be on point, some days you won’t, but by striking a balance and staying true to yourself, you can still work towards your ambitions.

I’ve been writing personal intentions for some time now. Each year I write a letter to myself summing up the year gone by, then use these reflections to set intentions for the year to come. I also make sure to read my letter from previous years to see how much life has changed – it’s always a fun thing to do on NYE with a few bubbles!

And now I’m a company director, I plan to use this approach for Perq Studio’s business goals too. Setting intentions is a powerful way to head into each year with a clearer idea of what you want to achieve and a better idea of how you can get there. And I’ll make sure to carve out some time to do this with Laura too – a joy shared is a joy doubled.

Here are my tips for defining your business intentions and setting yourself up for success in 2021.

1. Reflect on the year that’s been: Review the year your business has had and write a letter from your business to yourself! For example: ‘Dear Nikki, this year definitely threw a bit of a curve ball…’. Make sure to include 3 things you’re proud of accomplishing, and 3 things that could have gone better.

2. Set your intentions for the year ahead: Now you’ve reflected on the past, it’s time for your intentions! Write a short paragraph of what you hope to achieve in 2021. Remember, these aren’t resolutions, so it’s not a space for projected turnovers. We’re thinking more along the lines of ‘I want to grow my business by focusing on delivering value to my existing customers.’

3. Seal it up and keep it safe for next year: Or, alternatively, print it out as large as you can and stick it on your wall, so your intentions are there to keep you on track.

Don’t like writing letters? No worries. If, like me, your brain works more visually, why not create a vision board or collage to map out all of the things you’d like to achieve?

Good luck, and Happy New Year!

If you want to make 2021 the best year yet for your business, get in touch. From refreshing your identity to developing a new brand proposition and launching campaigns, we can help you bounce back better in the post-COVID world.

#BetterBusiness: The brands spreading charitable cheer (when the world needs it most).

23 Dec 2020 | Culture

#BetterBusiness: The brands spreading charitable cheer (when the world needs it most).

By Issy Switala

Each month we look into some cool examples from brands embracing ‘better business’ and using their influence to have a positive impact on people and planet.

Back in May I was supposed to be running the Hackney Half Marathon, in aid of the Phyllis Tuckwell Hospice, but due to the COVID pandemic it was postponed, postponed again and eventually cancelled.

I realised that with huge fundraising events like this disappearing across the globe, charities would start to suffer. Despite an increase in demand for charitable aid during the crisis, donations have dropped for 53% of charities across the UK and most say they wouldn’t be able to continue operating without financial aid.

So, how can we help? Embedding generosity into your product, service or experience is a really easy way to encourage consumers to donate and help fund worthy causes. Here are some examples of brands and businesses doing just that!


US-based payments platform Stripe has recently launched a new online tool to reduce the levels of carbon in the atmosphere. It encourages users to automatically donate a proportion of their revenue to initiatives that help permanently remove CO2 from the air, all in just a few clicks! Users can choose how much they donate, and the ease of the giving platform means people are far more likely to actually contribute. And Stripe puts its money where its mouth is, too, donating $1million per year to the cause. Perhaps users are more willing to contribute when they can see the brand and business also playing its part?

Increase the price!

We all love a good Black Friday deal and have done for years (since the 1950s!). Brands and businesses compete for the lowest prices possible to try and persuade consumers to stock up on everything, regardless of their actual need for the item! The only problem is, a lot of what is bought is left unwanted and discarded, contributing to the 50 million tons of electrical waste that we produce each year.

This year however, sustainable sneaker brand Allbirds is calling for people to ‘break tradition instead of the planet’. The business increased its prices by $1 which was then matched by the brand, donating a total of $2 per sold item to Fridays for Future, a climate strike movement founded by Greta Thunberg. This both captures the attention of consumers and makes it super easy for them to make a difference without breaking the bank. It’s these little acts that go such a long way and really make a difference!

Want to find out more about brands that are bettering the planet? Or have some interesting insights to share? Get in touch and let’s do Better Business together!

#TuesdayThinks: How a personal mission statement can make 2021 the best year of your career.

29 Dec 2020 | Culture

#TuesdayThinks: How a personal mission statement can make 2021 the best year of your career.

By Laura Giffard

Every Tuesday we think some thinks and round up some top tips.

As everyone’s poring over the resolutions they’re going to make or break in 2021, there’s never been a better time to talk about mission statements.

A brand’s mission statement is one of the first things you’ll learn about when you start a new role — the company vision you’re expected to memorise and embody. It reminds you what you’re working towards while keeping you and your colleagues aligned on a business’s wider goals.

But when you get to work and start dealing with the minutiae of your role, it’s all too easy to lose sight of the bigger picture. It’s even worse if you’re at a big company, where you may start to feel like a loose-end — too busy focusing on the specifics of your day-to-day to feel like you’re contributing to a greater whole.

But it doesn’t have to be like this. Business and career success come from a clearly defined purpose, matched with determined action. If you want 2021 to be the best year of your career yet, you should try writing a personal mission statement.

A personal mission statement doesn’t just help you measure how well you’re performing in your role; it sharpens your focus on how you can personally contribute more to your company’s prosperity, giving you a definitive trajectory to follow for career success.

Here’s how it works, in 3 steps.

1. Take stock of your skills, abilities and ambitions

First, write down the unique value you bring to your job role. What are you best at? What do you like doing the most? How do you work with others? Then, think about your goals: including what you want to achieve in your career and how you plan to make the next step.

2. Align them with your job spec

This is the important bit. Read through what you’ve written so far, then refamiliarize yourself with your job spec and company’s mission statement. Does it all match up? Are your skills, work-ethic and ambitions ticking all the boxes of both your job role and company’s vision? Make note of any gaps or areas you need to improve on. You’ll need them for step 3.

3. Set out how you can match and then exceed your job spec

Now it’s time to write your personal mission statement. This should reference at least one of your core abilities, set out an area of improvement to align with your job-spec, and then detail how you plan to exceed your job spec in the future (in line with your ambitions). For example: “To use my talent for communication to show greater leadership in my department, improving my team’s productivity and lead generation quality so as to increase our close rate by 5% by 2022.”

Writing a personal mission statement every year is a great way to keep on track and ensure that the things you’re spending time on are relevant to the success of your company. But more than that, it gives you a more emotive ownership of your job spec, setting a pathway for personal career success.

Got big plans for 2021 but need help achieving them? From business strategies to brand campaigns, get in touch and discover how we can make it your most successful year yet.

Thing what i like vol.4

30 Dec 2020 | Culture

Thing what i like vol.4

By Eve Cowan

A monthly round-up of the best share-worthy creative stuff.

1. Animation

This gorgeous collaboration merges Jasmina Zornic’s bold typography and Matt Fowler’s impressive animation skills. It’s jam-packed with motion design goodies that are sure to keep you mesmerised. In this case more really is more (within reason; let’s not go completely mad!)

2. Packaging

Do you also get that sense of guilt when having to throw away the mound of un-recyclable wrapping paper at Christmas? Well, Primark came up with this lovely idea to encourage shoppers to reuse their recyclable paper bags, whether it be for present-wrapping or decoration-making. Nice work Primark!

3. Illustration

Marylou Faure is known for her wonderful illustrations of women in all their curvy glory. Her work oozes confidence with its bold lines and block colours. Also check out these awesome figurines of her characters!

4. Marketing

Burberry took to the streets of London to create a ‘2020 rendition’ of the Gene Kelly classic; this time rain was swapped for giant hailstones (bc, y’know, 2020) and a sense of community was communicated by using four dancers instead of one. Engaging, relevant and current (and an ad I wouldn’t mind watching again and again!) Also, here’s a little behind the scenes video for your entertainment.

5. Branding

Check out this playful brand identity for the furniture company, Hem. Turning their products’ technical drawings into brand shapes is a lovely touch. I especially love the application of the shapes on top of the products themselves! Oh, and, primary colours ftw!

Let’s ace 2021

01 Jan 2021 | Culture

Let’s ace 2021

By Laura Giffard

2020. What a year! And though it hasn’t gone exactly to plan, we still don’t want to lose sight of all the good stuff. It’s the season of joy, after all.

Sure, we left our office and swapped travelcards for tracksuits. But we also continued to work on some seriously exciting projects with our remarkable clients. We even had the opportunity to grow our team.

So, on the whole, 2020 has left us feeling merry and ready to spread some festive cheer. That’s why we decided not to send out the usual gifts this year. Instead, we’ve sent donations to a Wandsworth-based charity, Rackets Cubed.

These guys run education, tennis, squash and nutrition programmes for disadvantaged kids across London, hosting the pupils in ‘aspirational settings’ such as universities and sports clubs to point out pathways to success. Their approach is based on a US-program that sees 97% of pupils going on to college. Since Covid has put many young people’s lives on pause, we’re excited to support a charity that helps children achieve their full potential.

So, here’s to Rackets Cubed, our amazing clients and to us all making 2021 ace!

#Tuesdaythinks: An ode to London, the city you can never write off

05 Jan 2021 | Tips & Tricks

#Tuesdaythinks: An ode to London, the city you can never write off

By Nikki Burton

Every Tuesday we think some thinks and round up some top tips.

London in a pandemic is a weird place. All the things that make it one of the world’s great capitals: its endless museums, galleries, ancient pubs and cavernous clubs, all gone, replaced by deserted streets and enormous empty buildings.

You read a lot about how the city will never be the same. No more podcasts on the tube, popping to Pret at lunch or nipping to Soho with some colleagues for a few drinks after a hard day’s work. Apparently, thanks to COVID, everyone’s had a suburban awakening and will flee to the countryside, where they can host Zoom meetings in their slippers and discover the joys of gardening, or something.

All the power to them. But that’s not us. At Perq Studio we feel a deep connection to London: we feed off its creative energy and cultural diversity. It’s a city that’s survived endless plagues and invasions over the centuries. And we’ll never write it off.

So, sure, we’ve enjoyed some of the perks of working from home (cooking hot lunches without making your colleagues hate you, for one…). But really, we can’t wait to get back. We miss the old pubs and new exhibitions, the comradery of after-work drinks and the spontaneity of last-minute gigs. Whisper it, we sometimes even miss the morning commute.

But, above all, we miss sitting in an office and bouncing ideas of each other, enjoying the sparks of human creativity that can’t be conveyed through a screen. In our little Teams rectangles, we’re like a gallery of replica paintings; pale imitations of the real thing.

So, we haven’t given up on London. In fact, we’re investing in its future as a hub of creativity and commerce. That’s why we’re so excited to have signed a new lease on a new home for Perq Studio, in Belle House, Victoria!

And so there’s just one tip, for this week’s #tuesdaythinks, but really, it’s more of a pledge. Once the vaccine rollouts return life to ‘normal’, I think all of us lucky enough to live here have a solemn duty to uphold. For London to be London again, we need to be Londoners again.

So, check out that Wednesday night comedy show even if you’re feeling worn out; tick off those tiny restaurants and weird bars on that long-forgotten list; digest all of the art, history and culture that the city has to offer. Support struggling industries in any way you can.

And through ideas, energy, creativity and collaboration, let’s reinvigorate a city that has survived hardship but can bounce back stronger than ever. It’s what Londoners have done for centuries, after all.

London will bounce back in 2021, and we think your business can, too. If you need sound strategy or dazzling design to ensure your brand is ready for whatever the future holds, get in touch. Grit gets glory.

#CompellingCopy: the 2020 COVID copywriting awards

05 Jan 2021 | Culture

#CompellingCopy: the 2020 COVID copywriting awards

By Dominic Oliver

The monthly series in which we take a close look at compelling copy and the secrets to sounding fresh.

“The new normal.” “In these unprecedented times” “Now, more than ever” “We’re all in this together” “We’re here for you.

If those phrases make you want to throw your laptop out of the window and never open an email again, you’re not alone. It’s fair to say COVID has rapidly reshaped comms in 2020, and whilst it’s understandable that all industries wanted to delicately address the situation and foster a sense of community with their audiences, did all the copy have to be so samey?

Fortunately, there are enough bright minds and talented copywriters out there who were primed to address the pandemic with a smidgeon of originality. So, in their honour, here are my 2020 COVID copywriting awards, with nominations reviewed by a rigorous panel (me) and awards delivered by an impartial judge (also me).

Bronze award: Nike – Play for the world

As always, Nike set the bar for emotive vids, and this short video was a masterclass in script copywriting. Inspirational without being fluffy; poetic without being longwinded – all building to an incredibly satisfying payoff that says: ‘we’re all in this together’, without resorting to that tired cliché. Lovely stuff.

Silver award: Netflix – Spoiler Billboards

This was genius by Netflix. Weren’t complying with government guidelines to stay home? Then you ran the risk of having your favourite shows ruined before you had a chance to catch up. With large billboards emblazoned with copy such as “Only two couples say: ‘I do’. And no, Kenny and Kelly aren’t one of them.’ Netflix then powered the point home with the hashtag #youshouldhavestayedhome. A great idea, brilliantly executed, encouraging us all to do what we did best back in March: get back on the sofa and stick on our favourite series.

Gold award: Be Lazy, Save Lives

Government comms came under scrutiny during the pandemic, and there were plenty of new phrases that entered the everyday lexicon: stay home, save lives, stay alert, eat out to save space and wash hands, or something like that. But in my mind, no one nailed it quite like the German government, with their Be Lazy, Save Lives campaign. The script was brilliant, written in the style of an interview conducted for a World War 1 documentary. And the payoff is both powerful and hilarious, showing how it’s possible to use humour and levity in a pandemic, as long as it’s done smartly. (In my opinion, it easily beats the false sincerity of ‘in these unprecedented times, we’re here for you.’).

Honorary mentions

Jennifer Baer- ‘Travel Posters’

I love these ‘travel posters’ by Jennifer Baer, emphasising the power of contrast between copy and design. Glitzy images in the style of 60s tourism boards are paired with rather less glamorous copy such as ‘Visit your one house plant’ and ‘Take a trip to your own bathroom’. In March we could all, agonisingly, relate.

The Staying Inn

This charity works to connect isolated disabled people, so they were ideally primed during lockdowns to provide an inclusive online space for disabled and non-disabled folk alike, hosting pub quizzes and workshops – all supported by a genius name and some brilliant social copy. (“Let’s party like it’s 2020”).

Tired of cliched comms? Need something to help your brand stand out from the crowd. Get in touch and let us help you turn clicks into conversions.

#Tuesdaythinks: Why grit is the secret to our success

12 Jan 2021 | Tips & Tricks

#Tuesdaythinks: Why grit is the secret to our success

By Laura Giffard

Every Tuesday we think some thinks and round up some top tips.

The pandemic has served a brutal reminder that, in business, even the best laid plans can be undone by forces outside your control.

But amidst the chaos and uncertainty, for Perq Studio 2020 was also a year of evolution and of celebration. We moved out of our office in Holborn, welcomed 4 new team members via video calls and virtual drinks, and recently signed a lease on our new home in Victoria. But along this dizzying journey of change and growth, I’ve been thinking hard about all the things that got us here.

Back in 2017 I founded this business with the ambition to do agency differently. And I think there’s one key driver that helped me achieve my vision and allowed Perq Studio to emerge from 2020 stronger than ever. It’s called grit.

The dictionary definition of grit is “courage and resolve, or strength of character.” But for us, it means so much more.

Grit is restless. It’s the power to roll up your sleeves and solve the thorniest problems with impeccable strategy and defiant design.

Grit is courageous. The guts to deviate from the well-trodden path and find extraordinary new routes to success.

Grit is transformative. The passion and drive to leave the world a better pace than we find it.

And above all, grit is the relentless pursuit of excellence. The resolve to never settle for anything less than remarkable.

And it’s our grit that turns our clients’ goals into glory.

Grit is all about resilience, and after the year we’ve just had, it’s more important than ever. So, what are my top tips for businesses looking to emerge victorious in 2021.

1. Dig deep and be resourceful.

First, figure out what defines you; the values that will never change. This allows you to spot the elements of your business that are changeable. You’ll need to evolve and adapt, but that doesn’t mean you need to let go of who you are.

2. Think long-term.

You may need to make sacrifices to ride the storm, but never sacrifice your core vision. The clouds will pass eventually, so don’t lose sight of where you’re going.

3. Celebrate the wins, whether big or small.

For Perq Studio, glory is sometimes about getting the big contract, smashing targets, achieving incredible growth. But it’s also delivering small pieces of delight for our clients, every single day, whether it’s through a remarkable piece of design or a compelling line of copy. Glory isn’t just the end-result, it’s the incremental successes that get you there.

Looking to emerge victorious in 2021? If you need impeccable strategy, daring design and the grit to turn your goals into glory, get in touch and let’s work together!

#TrailblazingTech: How will 2021 Deliver?

13 Jan 2021 | Culture

#TrailblazingTech: How will 2021 Deliver?

By Tim Abayomi-Cole

Each month, we cut through the noise to share a curated selection of the latest tech innovations with the potential to positively impact your Today, Tomorrow and Them Days After That.

Today, Tomorrow…

The lowdown on tech that you should be gearing up to implement.

Despite all the promise, 2021 is shaping up to be nothing more than 2020 in disguise.

And whilst that does mean spending even more time making zoom calls in our makeshift home offices and leaving the house masked and slathered in hand sanitizer, there is a silver lining to be found. There’s a renewed appetite for technology that enhances our lives at home – tech that’s made huge strides forward in the past year.

The home tech sector on many businesses’ radars is autonomous home delivery. With everything ranging from DIY restaurant kits to Amazon’s endless roster of consumer goods now being couriered straight to our doorsteps, it’s no surprise that the development of driverless delivery systems has leapt forward. In 2020 we saw the first widespread use of a residential drone delivery service be deployed to great effect, so the arms race to a courier-less future is well and truly upon us.

In California, Nuro just made history by becoming the first commercial driverless operation company to be granted a permit and begin trial operations. Whilst limited to speeds of 35mph and on city streets only, it’s a big step towards a driverless future which promises much: cost reductions and improved productivity to the businesses’ that employ them; a reduction in carbon emissions through the replacement of conventional vehicles that currently deliver; and improved food distribution to communities that are typically underserved.

So, what about the businesses of today? Well, the time is almost upon us where ditching your delivery clapper is the way to drive your business forward.

…Them Days After That

This week marked the return of CES, the tech festival that typically attracts the industry’s best and brightest to the glitzy Las Vegas strip but this year (yep, you guessed it!) it’s gone virtual.

Unsurprisingly, digital health takes a starring role this year at CES (somewhat ironic given that CES2020 was rumoured to have been a super spreader event). With over 400 digital health devices and over 200 wearables reputed to be unveiled, the event showcased what the future of health technology looks like.

And whilst debate rages over the legitimacy of digital health-focused trackers being medically sound, we’ve highlighted two of the most promising exhibits that could have big implications on how we take care of ourselves in the future:

1. PressureDOT showcased their pill-shaped wireless sensor that, once swallowed by a patient, can relay its 3D position in the body whilst also measuring and transmitting temperature and a patient’s intra-abdominal pressure. Does this herald the dawn of surgery that can be conducted from within?

2. Cove have released a vibrating headband that despite initial scepticism, is scientifically proven to be 90% effective at reducing headaches and stress. And if there’s one thing that the transition from 2020 to 2021 deserves, it’s a certified stress buster.

Get in touch to see how we can use tech to digitally transform your business.

TuesdayThinks: Why it’s time to rethink plus-size branding

19 Jan 2021 | Tips & Tricks

TuesdayThinks: Why it’s time to rethink plus-size branding

By Nikki Burton

Every Tuesday we think some thinks and round up some top tips.

It’s time to talk about the plus size fashion market. Did you know that it’s worth approx. £6.44 billion in the UK and set to increase to £9.03 billion by 2022? It’s not new to us that the average woman in the UK is plus size UK 16/ EU 44. As a UK 16 myself, the struggle is real. Despite the market being so huge, for some reason plus size consumers are ‘othered’ and excluded from the latest trends. Too many brands aren’t being bold enough in this space, and I think that needs to change.

I love fashion, I really do, and I believe clothes should bring us all joy and act as a canvas to express our personalities. Just because I’m ‘plus size’, I don’t want my choice to be limited to a shapeless smock dress, or a rectangle shaped top, thanks! I want the cool cuts and bold colours too.

Fortunately, there are some cool plus size fashions brands for women (if you look hard enough). The reason I love these brands so much is because they concentrate on the fashion, rather than the bodies that wear them. Less ‘plus size’ more ‘damn you look fine’ size please!

So, for any fashion retailers out there who want a share of this growing market, here are my 3 tips for getting your brand and positioning on point.

1. Listen to your consumers!

Take inspo from what your customers are saying. The view of what is and what isn’t ‘acceptable’ in the plus size market is far too narrow. Fashion is a choice and people should get to make that choice for themselves, no matter their size.

Get onto TikTok and see how creators such as Denise Mercedes are reclaiming the conversation. When you read the comments about her gorgeous outfits, you’ll realise that the industry shouldn’t be about making bodies fit fashion, it should be about making fashion fit bodies!

2. Your market may be broader than you think

Stop just creating frumpy, flowery clothes for a certain size and gender and think about the market more broadly. Take this example from Savage x Fenty, in which they debuted a new underwear capsule collection for men using a diverse range of male models.

After the brand’s LA fashion show, Rihanna launched their first size-inclusive underwear line for men. Broadening your target audience also allows you to be more expressive and create cooler clothing!

3. Plus size brands can be effortlessly cool!

Don’t think that just because your clothes are plus sized that you can’t embrace modern trends. Plus size fashion shouldn’t be exempt from cool factor. That’s why I love the work the guys at Henning are doing. The founder was so tired of being excluded from mainstream fashion that she ‘took matter into [her] own hands,’ and started creating beautiful designer outfits that follow trends and allow plus size consumers to access luxury clothing.

If you’re a plus sized clothing brand that wants to take the industry by storm, then get in touch and see how we can revitalise your branding, sort out your social strategy and set you up for success.

#BetterBusiness: Viva Veganuary! Here are the brands who know ethical eating can be big business

20 Jan 2021 | Culture

#BetterBusiness: Viva Veganuary! Here are the brands who know ethical eating can be big business

By Issy Switala

Each month we look into some cool examples from brands embracing ‘better business’ and using their influence to have a positive impact on people and planet.

We’re now 3 weeks into January and like previous years, we’re all desperately trying to stick to the resolutions we made in the New Year. It’s hard enough at the best of times and now with a new national lockdown, motivation is easily slipping away!

We’ve all heard of Dry Jan, but ‘Veganuary’ is the new trend taking the spotlight this year, with a record 500,000 people pledging to eat only vegan food this month (double the figure in 2019!!). It seems a lot of brands and businesses are doing their part this year to help encourage and motivate their consumers, with Tesco promoting the trend on TV and radio for the first time and other supermarkets such as Aldi and Asda showcasing vegan recipes on their websites.

Not only is this trend helping the planet by reducing our meat consumption, it’s an easy way for individuals to eat well and maintain a healthier lifestyle.

Here are some examples of brands and businesses supporting the cause this year!

No judgement!

One of the biggest issue’s meat eaters have with vegans, is their tendency to be a little brash and to push their beliefs on others. But, by taking a more light-hearted approach in our words and actions, we might be able to persuade others to join the Veganuary movement!

This year, UK-based meal service ‘All Plants’, created a humorous and entertaining campaign highlighting the challenges of going vegan. The TV ad shows Helen sneaking off to her car to eat processed cheese, while the voiceover reassures her ‘Relax, Helen – we don’t judge! We’re allplants, but you don’t have to be.”. They also created posters for the campaign, which read ‘Trying to be Vegan but … last night I joined the hallouminati’. Their choice of words and the humour it creates really takes the pressure off and highlights how we don’t all have to be ‘perfect’ vegans or vegetarians. Enough people making a small difference here and there is much more valuable. After all, I know I wouldn’t be able to resist my cheese and wine!

Remove the temptation…

Every year, billions of pounds are spent on junk food ads across the world, with the sole purpose to tempt you in and encourage you to indulge. And it’s everywhere you look, on the TV, on the streets, in the shops and on your computer. In fact, some research has estimated that in 2019 children under the age of 16 were exposed to 15 billion junk food ads online!

Fortunately, the sustainable food company Simple Feast are taking on this challenge and tackling the wave of ads. In a new campaign, they’ve launched an ad blocker that replaces unhealthy food ads with funny images/gifs of vegetables, wanting their audience to ‘get entertained instead of getting tempted’. The goal is to make consumers actively think about their food choices when online and to also understand the effects junk food advertising can have on an individual. This campaign isn’t going to eliminate junk food ads, but it gently guides consumers to become aware of healthy alternatives and how this benefits not only our own bodies but the planet as a whole.

Want to find out more about brands that are bettering the planet? Or have some interesting insights to share? Get in touch and let’s do Better Business together!