Tagged: Branding

Illustrating our global branding capabilities.

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One of the amazing images created by the team for a new project that we’re working on. Stay tuned to discover the strategic thinking behind the project.

Mission Accomplished!

com_bottomABOUT: AS A MULTI-AWARD WINNING INTERNATIONAL ADVERTISING AND BRAND DESIGN CONSULTANCY, THE MISSION CONTROL COMMUNICATIONS AND DEDICATED SCIENCE AND HEALTHCARE STUDIO, THE MISSION DISCOVERY, WORKS WITH CLIENTS AND THEIR IN-HOUSE MARKETING TEAMS TO CREATE INTELLIGENT AND AGILE SOLUTIONS THAT EFFECTIVELY ENGAGE AUDIENCES IN TODAY’S DISRUPTIVE AND HIGHLY COMPETITIVE GLOBAL MARKETPLACE, ENABLING BRANDS TO THRIVE. WE WORK WITH BRANDS SPANNING SOME OF THE MOST TIGHTLY REGULATED SECTORS OF ADVERTISING AND MARKETING IN THE WORLD, WITH FORTUNE 500 COMPANIES RANGING FROM – LIBERTY MUTUAL SURETY TO PHARMACEUTICAL, BIOTECH AND LIFE SCIENCE GIANTS. OUR WORK IS ROOTED IN SOUND INTELLIGENCE SUPPORTED BY A STRUCTURED SERVICES ARCHITECTURE THAT COMPLIMENTS CLIENT NEEDS ACROSS STRATEGY AND POSITIONING, ADVERTISING AND DESIGN, BRAND ORIGINATION AND EVOLUTION, PROJECT AND CAMPAIGN PLANNING, ENGAGEMENT AND ACTIVATION, AND INTERNAL AND EXTERNAL CULTURAL ALIGNMENT. FOR MORE INFORMATION, PLEASE VISIT THEMISSIONCONTROL.COM AND FOLLOW THE MISSION CONTROL ON LINKEDIN, FACEBOOK AND TWITTER.
© THE MISSION CONTROL COMMUNICATIONS LTD., 2017.

Liberty Mutual Surety on reinforcing brand culture.

screen-shot-2016-12-20-at-12-59-55Liberty Mutual Surety is one of America’s most successful and iconic brands. Today – with offices and staff in more than 900 locations worldwide, the company has seen its ranking in the US Fortune 500 jump by 7 places.

Core to that success has been the on-going recognition by Liberty Mutual Surety in the importance of staff engagement and empowering its people with the knowledge, pride and belief that comes from being part of a brand that symbolises the American dream for millions of people and companies.

This collaboration and empowerment of staff has been a corner stone of the brand’s success for decades, but now we see the strategy being tipped by many in the wider business world and global branding industry as one of the top 10 trends to be aware of in 2017.

As always and one step ahead of emerging trends, we have been working in partnership with the Liberty Surety Marketing team in the United States for almost 2 years now to create and deliver the internal corporate culture that fosters this internal continuity.

Recognition of the success of Liberty’s work came in early December, when the director of Liberty Mutual Surety tasked us to create a retrospective of the year’s successes and key moments as a means of personally thanking everyone within the business for their contribution to the collective success of the company throughout North and South America.

Working once again in partnership with the Liberty Mutual Surety marketing team in the States, we created personalised video messages that combined live action footage and drone footage with staff originated shots from throughout 2016, that effectively let everyone see how their individual contribution fed into the wider success of the brand collective.

Not a bad way to finish up the year working with another global brand.

Mission Accomplished!

ABOUT: AS A MULTI-AWARD WINNING INTERNATIONAL ADVERTISING AND BRAND DESIGN CONSULTANCY, THE MISSION CONTROL COMMUNICATIONS AND DEDICATED SCIENCE AND HEALTHCARE STUDIO, THE MISSION DISCOVERY, WORKS WITH CLIENTS AND THEIR IN-HOUSE MARKETING TEAMS TO CREATE INTELLIGENT AND AGILE SOLUTIONS THAT EFFECTIVELY ENGAGE AUDIENCES IN TODAY’S DISRUPTIVE AND HIGHLY COMPETITIVE GLOBAL MARKETPLACE, ENABLING BRANDS TO THRIVE. WE WORK WITH BRANDS SPANNING SOME OF THE MOST TIGHTLY REGULATED SECTORS OF ADVERTISING AND MARKETING IN THE WORLD, WITH FORTUNE 500 COMPANIES RANGING FROM – LIBERTY MUTUAL SURETY TO PHARMACEUTICAL, BIOTECH AND LIFE SCIENCE GIANTS. OUR WORK IS ROOTED IN SOUND INTELLIGENCE SUPPORTED BY A STRUCTURED SERVICES ARCHITECTURE THAT COMPLIMENTS CLIENT NEEDS ACROSS STRATEGY AND POSITIONING, ADVERTISING AND DESIGN, BRAND ORIGINATION AND EVOLUTION, PROJECT AND CAMPAIGN PLANNING, ENGAGEMENT AND ACTIVATION, AND INTERNAL AND EXTERNAL CULTURAL ALIGNMENT. FOR MORE INFORMATION, PLEASE VISIT THEMISSIONCONTROL.COM AND FOLLOW THE MISSION CONTROL ON LINKEDIN, FACEBOOK AND TWITTER.
© THE MISSION CONTROL COMMUNICATIONS LTD., 2016.

Humility, hard work, brave partners and blazing trails:

The story behind The Mission Control Communications.

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By any definition of the word, 2015 has been a ‘spectacular’ year for The Mission Control Communications. But what motivates the agency that has blazed a trail for itself in recent months, picking up multiple international awards and clients on an almost monthly basis?

“I don’t think it was ever just one thing,” says Director, Patricia Killoran. “When we launched the agency, we knew we were going to have our share of critics, but in many ways that negativity drove us all the harder and it’s a testament to the character and resilience of the people that I work with that we were able to rise above all that and focus on creating the type of agency we always wanted to be part of.”

That agency you wanted to be part of, describe it? “Effective, Strategic, Collaborative, International and Brave,” says Patricia. Ten months on, have you succeeded in creating that agency? “I’d say we’re work in progress. I don’t think we’ll ever fully see ourselves has being done. There’s always something new to try and the agency that stands still gets left behind.”

You don’t refer to the brands you work with as clients’; you describe them as partners, why? “Client is a such a horrible word. It just suggests a cold financial transaction and that’s never going to be the catalyst for producing great work. When we partner with a brand and its in-house marketing team, we work together. We get to know them as people and that leads to a more open and honest relationship and honesty is key to creating effective work. The partner brand needs to be honest about not only what it’s looking to achieve, but why and we need to be honest about the work and if an idea isn’t working – kill it and move on.”

The Mission Control Communications has established a reputation for itself as being down to earth; do you see that as a problem when it comes to working with the more conservative types of companies? “Some people can find it strange at first. They have a perception of an agency and we don’t really fit into that cliché. But that’s not a bad thing. It causes people to open their minds more and that’s part of the process – challenge the norm and look at new ways of doing things.

The majority of your work originates outside the UK. Geographically how do you cope? “We’ve created a structure that allows us to work seamlessly with partners all over the world. Geographically, I don’t think it really matters where you’re based, what is important is being able to do work that get results and is relevant to the market you’re operating in,” says Patricia.

The Mission Control Communications has had a very successful time on the awards circuit. How important are awards to you as an agency? “Awards are always nice, but they need to be seen for what they are; a by-product of what we do – not the driving motivator. I read an article in one of the trade press titles recently that said: ‘We’ve all been witness to weeks and months of ‘strategising’ without a corresponding award winner in sight.’ I can’t believe that we still live and work in an age where for some agencies, awards are more important than campaign effectiveness. You can’t serve two masters. If your eye is on a night at the awards and not the outcome the brand you’re working with needs, you’re not doing your job. That’s why when it came to selecting the awards we would be entering; we chose those that were based on campaign effectiveness and not just pretty pictures solutions.”

What do you mean about pretty pictures solutions? “It’s a term we use to describe work that looks pretty but has no substance. It’s pointless. If we want to make pretty pictures, we’ll go to an art class. Our work is about making a difference.”

So how do you plan to top your achievements this year, next year? “Like I said earlier, we’re work in progress. Next year will bring a host of new challenges and we’re looking forward to coming to grips with those. We come back in the New Year to a lot of planning meetings and some rollouts, so that is going to keep us busy. But we’re fortunate in that we have work to be coming back to, so we’ll be focussing on looking after our existing partners, but if a new opportunity presents itself and it’s right for us, naturally we’ll look at it.”

That sounds like you don’t plan to be pitching in 2016? “It’s not a priority for us. We have some pretty great partners on the books already and they keep us busy. It’s easy to get caught up in pitch fever, but that’s when your existing work starts to suffer. So for us, we’d rather keep our existing partners happy than go off on a fools chase after something that might or might not happen.”

Despite the genuine down to earth and jargon free manner of the agency, The Mission Control Communications houses a wealth of industry intelligence that allows it to deliver effective and informed campaign strategies to brands working in some of the most complex markets world wide. You can’t help but feel an underlying confidence within the team in that they know their stuff. Looking forward to seeing what comes next from the team.

Mission Accomplished!

Shooting in the studio.

My mother always said I had a face for radio, but that didn’t stop one of the team from breaking out his caera last week and doing some on-the-fly shots. In addition to some really cool images of the studio, he captured a few nice shots of some of the team as well.

And for anyone wondering if our guys are any good at retouching images, just look how natural they made all my wrinkles and grey hairs look. Talented feckers!

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Mission Accomplished!

We’re in high spirits this Halloween.

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We’ve every reason to be in high spirits this Halloween at The Mission Control Communications. In addition to winning four, that’s right, four international effectiveness awards, we’ve also been adding to the team. And if that wasn’t enough, we’ve also added three new brands to the client roster – including one this week which promises to be really amazing.

Big thank you to the clients for trusting us and to the team for all of the hard work!

Mission Accomplished!

Meet the new bloods.

We’ve had some new faces join the crew at The Mission Control over recent months, so thought it was about time we got round to introducing them.

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Meet Zach McMordie. That’s Zach with an ‘H’ not a ‘K’. He joins us in the studio where he has already helped bring on board a new client in the healthcare sector and produced some pretty cool animations. I think we call that hitting the ground running.

In addition to being the proud owner of a new puppy and a pretty interesting looking onesie, he also has a very well kept and trendy beard!

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Next to the team is Fehin Quinn. Fehin doesn’t have a onesie or a beard. But since joining the studio, he’s created some really amazing work with the Liberty Surety marketing team in the United States and worked with a number of our clients across the sciences to produce projects that are helping to improve the lives of millions of people. Not bad for a lad from Tyrone.

Mission Accomplished!

The realities of a rebrand.

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Creating a new logo is not something you should decide to do lightly. It’s a massive undertaking that will impact your staff, stakeholders, customers and critics alike. We should know, The Mission Control has just helped roll out two global rebrands back-to-back across 50+ countries.

So before starting down the road of change, you really need to justify to yourself why you’re doing it. There are a lot of good reasons to do a rebrand, but don’t let boredom be one of them.

If you are set on rebranding, then there will be a very good reason behind your decision. The most likely reasons in our experience tend to be mergers, acquisitions, changing your core business model or entering new markets.

So where do you start?

Before reaching for the markers and sketchpad, it’s crucial that you get the structural framework in place. Be clear in your own mind what you are aiming to achieve through the rebrand. Preparing a brief will help you clarify these objectives and not just give the agency a launch pad.

We would also recommend conducting a brand audit before doing anything. This will give you an idea of just how many items within your company that will need to change and allow you to work out a schedule for change that is implementable and plan lead-times.

A brand audit is a great way of letting you see just how much branded content you actually have and it can often be the most unlikely of things that make the most use of it. We recently carried out a global rebrand and found that our client had more that 40,000 individual brand assets that would need changed. This included everything from business cards and stationery to forms, livery, uniforms, packaging, signage and exhibition stands. Then there are all of your digital assets, email signature plates, websites and social media platforms, templates and e-shots, not to mention audio-visual components including corporate videos and ads.

You very quickly come to realise the scale of a rebrand – not to mention the cost, as everything needs to be changed.

Naturally – if you’re just evolving your logo as opposed to radically redesigning it, you can for a time allow the old and new to co-exist.

When it comes to rebranding, don’t keep your staff in the dark. By engaging with them early, you control the flow of information and prevent misinformation from taking root.

Your staff will also be the people who are delivering on your brand promise, so involving them in the journey will educate them and give them a stake in the brand culture.

This is one of the most common mistakes companies make. They are so focussed on how customers will react to the new brand that they totally overlook the people who will be living it and delivering it on a daily basis.

Whilst it is important to involve your staff and focus groups can be a great source in intel, you really need to avoid entering into a process of design by committee. This process only ever results in a fundamentally flawed compromise that works for no-one.

In our experience, you need a very open and honest relationship between the strategy team, designers and the senior management. Yes you will have research to refer to, you will have viewpoints to consider, but eventually clear, hard decisions have to be made and that’s where you need to be brave.

Mission Accomplished!

The Mission Control. Think Different.

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It’s probably one of the best know logos in the world – yet when it comes to the design and marketing industry, perhaps one of the most misunderstood. When you look at the Apple logo – what do you see?

OK smartarses – yes you see an apple – well to be accurate, what you actually see is part of an apple. That’s right – there’s something missing.

Now – this is where I believe the confusion has crept in. Increasingly the world of business has come to see the Apple as a design solution as opposed to what it actually is – a tool – albeit a complex and expensive one.

So what’s missing? What is the Apple logo telling us if we take the time to study it?

I guess the short answer to that is – it’s missing ‘human creative input’ – that bit of inspiration that can only ever come from the neural circuitry and sparking neurons of a person that spends their life filling their head with ideas and asking questions. The person that thinks beyond the processing power of the machine and the limitations of the software coding.

For all of his creative wizardry and visionary design, the legendary Steve Jobs never managed to create that final piece of the logo. That little missing piece on the top right hand corner of every Apple logo that reminds us, great design comes from a person – not a machine. Then again – perhaps he always knew that!

Mission Accomplished!

We Understand Branding Inside Out.

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A resurging economy coupled with fresh optimism in the business community has seen many companies feeling comfortable enough to start investing in a wave of branding exercises. It’s one of the most common requests we get these days. But when you sit down with many companies, you often find that there can be a marked difference between your interpretation of a branding exercises and their idea of one.

The problem for a lot of companies is that whilst they start out with the best of intentions, they actually only want to paper over the cracks in their business and a token rebrand is often seen as the best way of doing this. They don’t see the value of investing in employee engagement projects that shape cultural change, focus management and align organisational thinking, attitudes and action around the core values critical to the successful launch and rollout of the rebrand.

Over the years we have worked with a diverse range of companies ranging from Silicon Valley start-ups to multi-billion-dollar global organisations. In that time we have identified some universal truths that are often overlooked in the excitement and rush by companies to get a new logo out there and in front of customers as quickly as possibly. Chief amongst these observations is  that inspiring and educating your staff to deliver on your brand’s mission statement/promise is of a much higher priority than the ascetics of the new logo and the size of the brand guidelines document.

One of the most effective ways of doing this is to involve your employees and create a multi-disciplinary team. Tap into the wealth of knowledge that already exists within your business and learn from it. Involve your HR and internal comms teams as part of the driving force in implementing and championing change throughout the organisation.

Introspection can be an uncomfortable and sometimes painful experience, but taking the time and having the courage to face and address internal issues is also a crucial step in creating a relevant and truthful brand that will be embraced by your staff. Talk with your people and be open to their ideas as to what it will take to live up to the promise you are making as a brand. We have found that workshops that involve all levels of management coupled with having teams create customer experience maps, aspiration books and involve them in strategic initiatives, setting achievable brand mile stones all help keep people motivated, focused and committed.

The challenge therefore for companies is to transform a rebranding exercise into a rebranding action that starts from within.

Take Taconic Biosciences for example. When the company rebranded last year, central to the strategy was a synchronized worldwide staff engagement campaign that set out to ensure everyone within the company clearly understood the core brand values of the organisation and their individual role in delivering those values in the real world on a daily basis in all of their actions and interactions – both internally and externally.

It was only then that the company introduced the brand to the rest of the world and Taconic’s external communications strategy was deployed – secure in the knowledge that each and every individual within the company, regardless of geographic location was fully embedded within the company culture and a motivated and informed brand ambassador.

Another example of a highly successful employee engagement strategy was the Kingspan Environmental ‘People First’ initiative.

As with the Taconic Biosciences rebrand, prior to the external roll-out, the Kingspan Environmental ‘People First’ employee engagement strategy engaged with staff at all levels of the company from the newest office junior to divisional director to foster and encourage a shared vision and commitment rooted in sharing and understanding the brand vision and mission of an organisation at the cutting edge of the sustainable and reusable energy technologies.

‘People First’ adopted and made use of a number of internal touch points including emails, workshops, information packs and a series of posters that were localized to each of the separate states throughout Europe, North America and Australasia that boasts a Kingspan Environmental facility. Key to the success of the campaign was the inclusion of employees at all levels throughout the organisation and the fact that they were educated and empowered to deliver the brand promise to all customers and suppliers.

So what’s our point? Well, that’s simple. Don’t cut corners. Yes you can do a 60-minute makeover and have a shiny new logo that may or may not get you a few lines in your local paper, but real and meaningful change starts within a company and is radiated outwards like the heart of a mighty oak with deep roots.

Mission Accomplished!

Making a name for yourself.

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Creating a brand name is a very personal and emotive process that can take months of research and introspection, not to mention a considerable investment.

But with an increasingly noisy digital marketplace and a shortage of words for brands to draw upon, many companies are going old school and opting for simpler naming conventions that connect with people in a more meaningful and straightforward way.

When Apple first introduced its “i” naming convention back in 2001, the world quickly followed suit and the cult of “i” everything swept the planet. In 2014 however – Apple quietly dropped the “i” convention for a much simpler product descriptor giving us Apple Watch, Apple TV and Apple Pay.

Another notable convert to a simpler naming convention has been Google – with its straightforward approach encompassing Google Glass, Google Play and Google Wallet.

What is perhaps most interesting about this new trend in naming is that the companies taking the lead in this brand revolution are market leaders who have historically always been ahead of the curve on the marketing circuit.

So as we move forward into 2015, the challenge for companies and brands will be to embrace this elementary approach to naming and navigate its integration across all audience touch points in a way that ensures brand stand out without falling into the trap of being generically bland.

Mission ADvice