Blue Moon Creative is a branding agency that does things a little differently from most. But more on that in a moment.
Having been a client of the agency for many years, managing director Michael Taite took over the Pershore-based company back in 2012. Since then, they’ve won a host of awards and have an impressive portfolio. Clients including PSA Peugeot Citroen, Laufen and Wacom, as well as smaller Worcestershire-based companies.
After the Brexit vote in 2016, the agency’s two biggest clients – based in Spain and Switzerland respectively – were badly hit by the drop in the pound. These clients needed to cut costs and, as often happens, the marketing budget took a hit. Blue Moon’s ‘artwork for big catalogues’ business went from being profitable to making a loss. With no sign of a recovery in sterling in sight even after two years, redundancies followed, cutting the headcount to four.
This was not in the plan, but it did prompt the team to rethink their value proposition and take a good, hard look at their positioning. This is something Michael and his team do for clients every day – but it’s another matter trying to do it for yourselves. An outside perspective was needed, which is where BizSmart came in.
Louise Blunt from BizSmart visited the agency’s Pershore offices in late 2018, and again in February. Michael explains, “We did the classic things – looking at mission, vision, purpose and values. Louise was really helpful, and we came up answers which looked good and were right, up to a point. But we knew in our hearts that we weren’t fully convinced and that Louise wasn’t either. We weren’t quite there with the killer value proposition.
“The work with Louise triggered us going much deeper and working more thoroughly through the process which we use with clients. We talked to our customers and other stakeholders (just as we do on client projects) to help us figure out what we do, that no-one else does. Things we might be taking for granted.
“We ask difficult questions such as, ‘What are you hiding away?’ Surprisingly often, things which clients see as a weakness, their customers see as an asset.
“In our case, we behaved almost as if we were embarrassed to be in a small market town, even though clients love spending time with us here in our airy, plant-filled premises. So we’ve invested more in our space and we’re making more of it in our pitch.
“It was also pointed out repeatedly that our practice of talking to a client’s customers, employees, suppliers and competitors, is a massive differentiator for us. Very few agencies do this even though – as was the case with us – it often highlights hugely valuable brand assets that had been taken for granted, if not overlooked completely.
“Our sessions with Louise also highlighted a need to change the way we talk about what we do. Our trademarked brand process is called ‘Brave = Safe’. It’s deliberately provocative, but its meaning is too obscure for top-line communication, so we’ve moved it down the pecking order in our messaging.
“BizSmart helped enormously in confronting many aspects of our proposition and overall strategy. Louise showed us that, like so many service businesses, it’s a false economy to spend all of your time looking after clients, whilst ignoring your own needs. BizSmart advised us that we need to be disciplined about how much client work we take on so that we have enough time to devote to our own development plans. BizSmart has been an essential part of a reinvention which, in a hyper-competitive sector, is central to our future.”
The Blue Moon Creative team are now actively planning a relaunch in the autumn, which will help them stand out in a crowded industry. It’s all top secret right now, but watch this space: www.bluemooncreative.co.uk
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