Archive for wisdom london

Brand stories: Wisdom London – A Brand Is Born

Posted in brand with tags , , , on October 8, 2010 by wisdomlondon

By Kate Spiers

The story of how a new brand identity evolves is endlessly fascinating.  How a seed of thought, a vision and a set of messages can be translated into something beautiful, enduring and connective.

The branding process is especially exciting to me, because it forces you to take a whole new look at the business you are branding.  It makes you unpick what you see, look at it from all angles, find out what’s really at the core, and then build it back up again in a way that makes sense and makes the brand sing loud.

I’ve been fortunate enough to lead several re-brands and experiencing the change of perception in stakeholders of their own business – almost in front of our eyes, as they take a fresh view – is astounding.

We’re sharing a few brand stories this month, to show you the process of brand, Wisdom London style.  And where better place to start than our own?

Start with a vision

You might already know the story of Wisdom (see earlier post if you’re wondering) – the idea right from the beginning was “communications that connect” and was built around five mutually complementary offers: Strategy, brand communications, thought leadership, digital and creative copy. I described my vision to Elle Moss at Drew Creative Branding and we worked through the brand analysis process as a first step.

This helped me to really define the Wisdom London offer and ethos, and to distil that down to a few key words.  Elle was also (rightly) adamant that I needed to develop my mission statement there and then, to really anchor the brand proposition.

Setting the mood

Next up, we created moodboards based on visual themes that appealed and seemed to me to sum up what Wisdom would be about.  Looking back through our initial email discussions, I seemed to sum it up here in a mail to Elle:

“In visual terms I wanted to tell you more about what gets me excited and inspired.  A few things: I am prepared to be bold.  I also want to look a bit funky and individual and absolutely NOT corporate.  WL is never gonna be a huge agency and I think will always be niche – small, perfectly formed, brave and intrepid!  But equally a visual ID that can adapt and will age well is important to me.

I am very inspired by retro design – I like it because it suggests the humour / human factor but also because it can be comforting – a new brand identity in a retro style can look familiar and recognisable immediately….”

Love at first sight

Moodboard discussions drove the visual process and Elle then provided a series of creative directions for me to consider.  I thought this would be the hard bit.  But ironically, it was the easiest. Like a true love, I knew immediately when I saw the identity which would go on to become the Wisdom London brand.  It was everything I needed it to be: bold, confident, considered and visually suggested the blending of offers that is core to Wisdom London.  The final brand ID is actually very close to the original concept.

Palette, typography and treatments were figured out quickly from there.  Within the space of a month (this was a fast-track start-up) I had a beautiful brand which seemed to bring the concept of my nascent business to life in the most perfect way. I love it more every day and am eternally heartened by the positive feedback it elicits from the clients and contacts for whom it resonates.

The perfect brief

The key to success, I think, is in a great creative brief and genuine spadework before the creative process really gets off the ground.  Elle showed true rigour in her approach, by ensuring that this was the case.  We have since worked on a full re-brand for a WL client together and agree that the critical considerations are these:

  • Offer: What is ‘it’, in literal and value-adding terms?
  • Audience: Who is the audience?
  • Emotion: What do you want them to feel? What do you need them to believe?
  • Barriers: What might their barriers (cultural, professional or otherwise) be?
  • Personality: What is the personality of the brand first and foremost? Is it bold, safe and solid, innovative, trustworthy?
  • Competitors: What exists already in your space? How are you different?
  • Channels: Through which channels will the brand identity be employed?  Can it translate to all of those channels?
  • Future view: What is the vision? What will the brand represent in a few years from now? In 10 years from now?

Behind the scenes: Take a look…

You’ll see here a sneaky peak of the creative process, as the team at Drew brought Wisdom London to life….

Wisdom London

Kate Spiers is director and founder of Wisdom London

Follow Kate on Twitter



Ever Wondered About….Audioboo?

Posted in creativity, social media with tags , , , , , , , , on August 30, 2010 by wisdomlondon

What is it?

Where sound gets social. Why should video and written content have all the fun? Record, upload and share audio for free via mobile and fixed internet.

Tag and post your boo for all to see or only certain peeps.  Pay to create and customise streams with an impressive array of options: assign privileges to one person or a whole community.

As you would expect, photos, tags and location feature.  Check out the BooMap, a kind of heat map of boos.  This is an exciting place to be.

Why should I care?

Another game-changer?  Well, it could be.  The fortunes of voice data have not been exactly glittering over the past few years in the mobile sphere, but Audioboo plays to our current obsession with reporting and curating content rather brilliantly, and brings sound back to…well if not the forefront of social engagement, then a prominent position.

So beyond some interesting audio snippets, what’s the big deal?  Well, imagine this (with a little help from the Audioboo folks):

“A radio station can create a ‘phone in’ stream, whereby anyone can upload audio to a stream, which the admin can moderate, publish the best ones on their social networks and download the mp3′s directly for use on their show.

A family can share audio only between themselves…

A corporation can publish audio direct to their staff or named individuals…

Two people can have a private chat. Maybe about steam trains or noodles…”

There are some definite possibilities out there.  Our view? Internal communications for corporations, instruction guides for consumer products, as a social inclusion tool (where language and literacy is a barrier)…and it could be a genius and game-shifting move in entertainment too (snacksized soundbites).

Also one to watch due to the sheer passion of the Audioboo team.  This is a labour of love and is growing before our eyes, organically, technologically and exponentially.  Used mainly by the very tech- and social-savvy, it still feels like early days…but influential early adopters will surely change all that.

There are around 200 000 registered users right now, and over 30 000 listens a day. Equivalent to a successful medium-sized radio station.

Anything else I should know?

Audioboo is British born-and-bred. Used around the world. UK, Germany and US use is high, with Ireland also catching on fast. Even British forces in Kabul have been known to use it.

Loved by Stephen Fry, Robert Scoble and the mighty @documentally, among others. Stephen Fry’s boos get around 60 listens per second in the first hour of posting.

David Miliband is currently using Audioboo as a feedback and discussion tool in his Labour leadership quest.

More on the 2 types of paid accounts:

Plus is a basic subscription service similiar to Flicker Pro, costing £50/year. Unlimited recording length, queuing of uploads if you haven’t got 3G (upload later), ability to have 3 concurrent Streams, private messages and probably more once it’s invented.

Pro is a media solutions offering, starting at £3k/year for server-side stuff like moderation of boos from an audience (see enclosed pic), pre & post roll audio (stings/ads), loads of Streams and ‘stuff’.  Already used by British Library, Open University and Royal Opera House.

Use Audioboo?  What do you think?  Tell us….

Ever Wondered About is a new series on the Wisdom London blog, where Kate Spiers and Jill Ruthenberg aim to demystify and explore what’s shaping our social interactions.  Coming up: Ning, Klout and PPC.  Wondering about anything else?  Tell us and we’ll investigate!

Have you Ever Wondered About….Groupon? Click to wonder no more.

A Series of Experiments in Social Media

Posted in creativity, social media with tags , , , , , on August 23, 2010 by wisdomlondon

We all know that social media is powerful. But just how powerful is it?

Over the coming months here at Wisdom London, I’ll be grabbing my notebook and donning my khakis – not forgetting my pith helmet – to conduct a few of my own Experiments in Social Media, all in the name of science.

My mission: To test the limits of the exciting world of social media.

I’ll be reporting my discoveries and any pearls of wisdom to you here, so keep your eyes peeled for Experiments in Social Media #1: How to Win Friends… the challenge to gain 100 followers in 120 hours.

I’m gettin’ my Steve Irwin on.

I hope you’re ready.


Jill Ruthenberg is Communications Specialist for Wisdom London, a true blue Aussie and a wannabe crocodile hunter…

… This is probably as close as she’ll get.

Follow Jill on Twitter

Do You Know A Good Thing When You See It?

Posted in brand, marketing strategy, social media, wisdom with tags , , , , , , , on August 12, 2010 by wisdomlondon

True Fans, as described by Kevin Kelly and explored further by Seth Godin, are a Good Thing.  In fact, they could be one of the best things that ever happened to your business, so long as you know how to recognise them and what to do with them.

A true fan is not to be confused with a loyal customer, long-standing corporate relationship or your mum. True fans are motivated by a strong belief in your organisation or product, and the desire to share it – completely independently and without the promise of overt reward.  But they’re not completely selfless. They want to share the story because they genuinely believe that they, and their audience will benefit in some way.

Spotting the Good Thing

Who are your business’ true fans?  Who talks about you and your service or product positively? Who introduces you to interesting people, or offers valuable feedback, advice or ideas? Who bothers to read your blog posts, share them and comment on them? Who feeds back, helps expand your ideas by joining in the conversation and offering thoughtful perspectives? Who is cheering you on, displaying a genuine interest in your success?  Who is spontaneously and independently spreading the word, sharing your message? Who believes in you?

Nurture, leverage, reward

Whether you have one true fan or thousands, what’s vital is that you know what to do with them. True fans are a valuable asset to any company – perhaps more so that you realise.  So, it’s critical that you seize the initiative to nurture these relationships, leverage them and reward them.

Once you’ve spotted a good thing, here’s the very least you need to do:

  1. Say thank you. Acknowledge the value of your true fans’ support – individually (all true fans have different motivations and benefit you in varying ways) and honestly. They may not know they are a true fan, and may be unaware of their value. By acknowledging them as the hero they are, they have an additional motivation to continue supporting you.
  2. Ask for advice and opinions. Use your true fans as a testing board – and be prepared to act on their feedback. Here you have a ready-made community of people who care, are engaged and who know what they are talking about.
  3. Make it easy for them to share your story, and to add value to their own communities and peer groups. At Wisdom London, we’re big fans of creating content that we think our various audiences (including true fans) will find useful and hopefully like.  And if they find it useful and like it, they’ll share it. It’s a the perfect win-win.
  4. Don’t forget to take it offline. Relationships can and do flourish online and especially through social media (which is likely where you’ll be able to spot a lot of your true fans). But taking it offline, making it personal and real, is where even more value can be established and relationships cemented. They guy who often comments on your blog posts, the tweeple who consistently RT and Follow Friday you, the contact who emails you links to interesting articles – surely you owe them a coffee, or a phone call to say hi in person? And…
  5. Act like a true fan to others. You’ll see by now that a virtuous circle is easily created. You have nothing to lose by taking the time to support the brands, businesses and people you love by being generous with your comments, advice, contacts, ideas, content – and everything to gain.

Kate Spiers is founder of Wisdom LondonWisdom London’s true fans – whether they know it or not – are numerous, generous and hugely appreciated, every single day.

Wisdom London on Twitter

From “mass” to “micro”: When to take online offline

Posted in social media, wisdom with tags , , , , , , , , , on August 8, 2010 by wisdomlondon

So, by now we’re all becoming pretty adept at building relationships online through smart leverage of social media channels, embracing communities and participating in online conversations, en masse. But is online engagement enough?  And, if we’re honest, are we sometimes hiding behind it just a little bit?

It’s an interesting dichotomy.  On one hand, a lot of people are still unconvinced that the conversations taking place online could ever take the place of traditional face-to-face interactions and lead, somehow, to increased value for their business. On the other hand, we have plenty of believers who genuinely embrace the conversation and participate in the communities driving it, but who are not harnessing this energy to move their business forward.

Mass to micro

Failing to recognise the right moment to take the online conversation offline – to take mass communication micro, or one-to-one – is a major factor behind the lack of traction many businesses experience in their often carefully-cultivated social relationships. It’s here that we risk missing out on the opportunity to forge closer relationships, delve deeper into areas of mutual interest (and find out some incredibly interesting stuff in the process), have great conversations that are not limited to online formats – and ultimately, extend our sphere of influence.

It’s a matter of judgement …and of seizing the initiative.

Look around…

To start, we need to take a realistic look around.  Some connections are better off remaining online, or as part of the wider conversation. For example, when engagement is limited to passing and acknowledging information, the benefits of taking it offline can be hard to identify. But there are some factors which are tantamount to a flashing neon sign, signalling when the time is right for going offline, and for taking our communication from “mass” to “micro”:

When 140 doesn’t cut it anymore: Is someone commenting regularly on your blog or engaging in discussion with you on Twitter? If you sense a meeting of minds, let it flow. Whether or not the other party is a potential client is irrelevant at this point.  You have the opportunity to expand ideas and concepts further…and you’d be a fool to ignore that.  Hint: go for coffee, arrange to get together at a mutually-interesting event or meet-up, ask them personally (email/phone) for their take on a blog post you’ve drafted.

When you see a client engaging as a fan or ambassador for your product or service online: Online thank yous and positive comments on Twitter / Facebook, along with external blog mentions, should not be ignored. This person has an opinion about you and your service. They doubtless have plenty more thoughts to share on specific aspects of it, or would probably happily serve as a valued sounding board for new concepts…and of course, that will likely lead to greater engagement with your brand and enhanced word-of-mouth possibilities.

When it would be coy not to: You’ve engaged with someone for months or even years and view them as a true online buddy.  Don’t be coy – your relationship can go from strength to strength on the back of some occasional one-on-one debate and banter.

The great thing about all this social conversation is that there is a spirit of openness and community which provides endless potential for value to be gleaned. And it’s OK to tell someone you don’t know personally, or whom you consider to be ‘out of reach’ (an industry leader, for example) that you appreciate them, or that you have an opinion on what they are saying.  We don’t need to wait for introductions anymore. So don’t be shy (or lazy) about it.  There are brilliant people in your online who should become real-life contacts, with whom you regularly engage both online and offline, at a mass and micro level.

Kate Spiers is Director at Wisdom London and can vouch for the value of taking mass to micro.

Follow Kate on Twitter ..but feel free to mail me, call me or buy me a coffee too 😉

Want to know what we’ve been up to in the last 6 months?

Posted in wisdom with tags , , , , on July 22, 2010 by wisdomlondon

Working very very hard of course, and some great client work.  Take a look – we’re very proud!

Click image