As sponsors of the Transform Europe Awards 2017, we’re lucky enough to be involved in one of the most prestigious nights in communications and branding. Featuring some of the biggest names around, both agency and clientside, the Transform Europe Awards is one of the best opportunities to check out what’s going on in the industry and find out the strategies other organisations are deploying to ensure their success.
Perhaps the highlight of the awards was Moirae Creative Agency’s reintroduction of British Steel to the world. They pulled out all the stops to craft a distinctive visual identity that’s both classic and modern, delivering a brand that hearkens back to the name’s weighty history while also capturing a sense of freshness and excitement. No wonder they won so many golds.
Building character into copy
The most noticeable shift in tack in this year’s awards was a move from corporate to more characterful copy. Businesses, even larger and traditionally pragmatic ones such as law firms and banks, have realised the power of engaging with their audiences on a more human level. While difficult to achieve authentically, the benefits of building a genuine connection with readers proved profound, particularly as corporate-speak is increasingly seen as insincere and ineffective.
A key aspect of this shift was shying away from the almost ubiquitous phrases involving “solutions” and “services”, trading them in for more clear and simple explanations of what a business or a product does. While, as a copywriter, it’s tempting to use these words to sum up a complex proposition in a few syllables, customers need to understand exactly what’s being offered and too neat a package can undermine this.
Argos demonstrated the power of this approach with the rebranding of their Simple Value range, a collection of household essentials marketed as low on price but high on quality. They teamed up with agency, The Partners, to deliver on-pack copy that immediately engages with clear, functional and conversational language. Brilliantly simple and effective, the tone gave Argos brand a real sense of honesty as well as a hint of fun.
Pushing the personality
Another particular focus this year was building truly unique identities for businesses, really pushing the boundaries of personality and originality. A huge number of entries were built on the strength of a rebrand or reposition, carefully crafted to differentiate amid crowded markets and connect with a particular demographic.
In many industries, it’s no longer enough to simply be good at what you do; so businesses and their agency partners dug deep to identify what makes them special then forge a visual and written identity around that, shouting to the world that they have something to offer that nobody else can.
Selwyn’s, time-honoured purveyors of seaweed snacks, did just that with a hugely characterful rebrand designed to attract the attention of both customers and supermarket stockers alike.
For their new-look packaging, Selwyn’s leveraged their unique history and story to craft a contemporary yet classic aesthetic. Featuring a map of Swansea Bay, quirky etchings and sepia photography, the new packaging proved immediately recognisable on and off the shelf, a far cry from its previously junk food-style appearance.
Looking to the future
While nobody can accurately predict what lies ahead, it’s clear that content will be at the fore of business plans for many years to come and copywriting has a crucial role to play. To customers, what a company says is who it is, and by focusing on what makes them different, stronger and appealing, businesses are boosting their brand and expanding into markets that were once out of reach.