Tripling turnover by telling the story of Taylor Nisbet's positive impact
I was Operations Director for 18 months, in that time:
- Yearly turnover tripled
- The company had it’s first six figure turnover
- The price of the average project quadrupled
- I delivered a brand message based in the value to potential clients
- Enquiries from national third sector organisations continued to grow
- The team grew two to five
What I did
Tone of voice
Taylor Nisbet is a business consultancy working with social enterprises. It delivers six services, with projects consisting of research, writing and designing reports. It competes in a busy market of experienced organisations with longstanding client relationships.
In 2018 I was asked to join the company as Operations Director to develop the brand and enable it reach the next stage of its growth.
A client survey showed clients could not define what Taylor Nisbet did and thought it was expensive. The company’s online presence needed information about how its services worked.
Researching the target audience, I found, in the 2015 and 2017 Social Enterprise Censuses, Scottish social enterprises identified their top concerns as:
- A lack of capacity to develop trading potential
- Insecure grant funding
- Increasing costs
A business owner, with decreasing funds and no capacity to develop a solution, will not pay for something they can’t define and don’t value.
By showing the value – the positive end results – of the work Taylor Nisbet does, defining it from its competition and making it known to its target market, I could make it a company that social enterprises aspire to work with.
To address the issues the research identified, I:
- Created a brand image that matched the personality of the business
- Brought the impact and value of the work to the core of the brand’s messaging
- Defined the company from its competition by showcasing its designs
- Built trust with potential clients by showing the company as an expert in its field
In defining the brand, I produced three adjectives – interested, enthusiastic and effective. Though Taylor Nisbet had always been these things, the outside world couldn’t see it. The company had to be seen to be doing.
I defined the brand’s verbal and visual style to show the personality and positivity of the people behind the company. To give the brand a consistent feel, I branded key places both online and offline where people would find information on the company.
I created branded templates for emails as well as Word and PowerPoint so the team could maintain a consistent style whenever they created something for the brand. The new image made the company look experienced and well established. In the eyes of potential customers, the development of the brand the company it to be trustworthy and reliable – key emotions we were looking to bring about to answer the challenge we had outlined from the start.
Building trust in the brand
Building this faith in the brand continued as we brought impact to the centre of the company’s marketing. Delivering impact is the main purpose of social enterprises, they generate income and use it to create positive change in their communities. Talking the language of impact allowed me to overcome the challenge of explaining how Taylor Nisbet’s six services work.
To show Taylor Nisbet’s impact, I directed the team to create case studies that showed the value behind the projects we delivered. The case studies were structured to explain how each project’s solution answered the original problem. The reader could quickly understand the challenges of a project, how Taylor Nisbet answered them and the outcomes that delivered for the client. This thread of challenge to outcome showed how the company’s services turn into impact and the value they created for communities.
A high value brand image
Competitor research showed Taylor Nisbet was almost unique in offering design as a service. Client feedback validated the decision, as post project follow-up often lead with ‘it looks great!’. I used design to further define the company in the market. I used photography and animation to showcase the company’s projects, presenting high quality designs alongside the impact led case studies. This gave the brand the high value image it needed to up its prices and begin charging on a level with it’s high-end competitors.
A year on from the first step up in quality from the company, I hired a Digital Creative (he chose his own title) and directed him to follow the Managing Director and capture the story of the projects. Examples from a projects in Gateshead, York and Kilmartin in Argyll showed the breadth of the work Taylor Nisbet was delivering. When being seen to be doing was a major factor in the original challenge we outlined, this step was key in solidifying the high value image the company needed. Photos and video from field visits (sometimes literally!) posted to the company’s social channels meant interested clients or funders had a full view of what we did, what we delivered and how it helped the communities we worked in.
Creating workshops and training videos to diversifying marketing
To reinforce the value behind what the company did, I created a series of workshops based on its six services. Participants saw what the company does, how it works and how it leads to the results they want. The workshops cost £250 to promote and run, they directly led to a £3,000 project and several opportunities to collaborate with organisations on Taylor Nisbet’s target list. A success by any measure.
The company was delivering more and more training sessions around the monitoring and evaluation of large scale projects. Clients required multiple on-site visits to train staff and update them on what they were required to do in order to fulfil the needs of their project funding. The workshop format was developed into a series of training videos which allowed the company to visit each client once, take them through the training and provide access to the videos workshops for new staff members or top-up training.
By the time my work with the company concluded in December 2019:
- the average cost of a project had quadrupled
- the team had grown from two to five
- the company was turning over six figures
- they were steadily growing their enquiries from national third sector organisations
The brand I developed for Taylor Nisbet was successful in every measure the company set. In January 2019 the company agreed projects for the year ahead that doubled the income on the previous year. Taylor Nisbet had a professional image backed up by the evidence of its impact. It had moved to a new location in Glasgow’s city centre surrounded by third sector businesses and the team are delivering projects from Aberdeen to York.
Orwell's understanding and expertise has left us in a better place
I really enjoyed working with Orwell, going through a pandemic and many uncertainties, he guided us through it and helped develop our brand and our voice. His understanding, expertise and organisation has left us in a better place. We now understand the importance of making strategies for various parts of our organisation and are still carrying on what we were taught. It was a pleasure to work with Orwell, I really appreciate what he has done for us and know he’ll do the same for others.
You're in good hands with this guy
Orwell's mentoring has been invaluable for me in the last few months as I continue to grow my business. He has a wealth of experience to pull from, he's eager to see his students succeed and he's generous with his time. You're in good hands with this guy - I can't recommend Orwell's services enough.
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Could not recommend Orwell enough! We went through the process to design the BioFitness branding in 2015 and haven't looked back since. Master Yoda with better banter!
Calm, measured, creative
Working with Orwell was a really pleasant experience considering the seriousness with which we all approached this project. He works in a calm, measured manner and his creativity reminded us why we were trusting it to someone who has the necessary talents we do not have.
The outcomes were exactly what we were after
From the start Orwell understood what we were trying to achieve. We worked on our messaging and explored different avenues to get that message out to staff on the ground. The outcomes were exactly what we were after.
Fresh thinking, new ideas and coherence to our brand
Working with Orwell has brought fresh thinking, new ideas and a coherence to our brand. The designs are more relevant and build the brand identity. Furthermore we have considered our “products”, how we package them and how we price them better. The branding process has helped us appreciate and re-evaluate our value and specialism.
We were able to be innovative, appropriate and impactful
Orwell took such a passionate interest in our work, learning about our activities and most importantly our outcomes so that we were able to be innovative, appropriate and impactful.
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