Like so many businesses, we have found the last couple of years extremely challenging. At times it has seemed like there has been a never-ending procession of obstacles placed in the way of business success, each threatening to defeat even the most battle-hardy operators.
The COVID-19 pandemic, the impact of Brexit, huge increases in energy costs and spiralling inflation have all conspired to impact consumer demand and business confidence. In previous economic downturns, we have witnessed the tendency for some businesses to turn quickly to their marketing budgets when looking for ways to trim costs. Indeed, we have been able to contrast the fortunes of companies that did cut marketing investment with those that continued to invest. In the main, those that invested performed better during the downturn, and came out stronger when the recovery began.
In these current, unprecedented times, continuing to market your business to your target customers becomes ever more important. And, of course, doing so in a way that also focuses on the scale of investment, ensuring a tangible return, and enabling a nimbleness to react quickly to changing circumstances, is especially valuable.
Which is where Rare can help.
During the pandemic, we were no different to many thousands of other businesses. We saw our revenues plummet as clients mothballed their operations or scaled back their marketing activity. We placed staff on furlough and cut our costs wherever we could. Our offices remained empty, even after the end of lockdown, with working at home and online collaboration becoming the norm. As the UK emerged into the new normal, we reflected on what the pandemic, and ensuing business challenges, had taught us. And we saw a way to channel that learning into a new way of working for the future benefit of ourselves and our clients.
We used our experience during the pandemic to create a lower cost business model so we could make client budgets go further. Work with Rare and you will get an experienced team, with proven expertise of delivering results across multiple industry sectors. Our teams combine a mix of remote and collaborative working, coming together when needed, utilising flexible meeting space arrangements. Our costs are focused only on those elements that are essential for success. So you won’t be paying for flashy offices and unnecessary overheads.
In our direct teams we have only the people that we need on a sustainable, full-time basis. Roles like designers, web developers, and client project managers. But we have a proven network of go-to partners that we work with whenever needed. People like video producers, animators, copywriters, PR specialists. All managed seamlessly as if they were directly on our payroll. We don’t have expensive “head office” functions, but operate with hands-on managers and lean support services.
The benefit of this model is that we can operate in a highly cost-effective manner, ensuring that your budgets can go further and work harder for you. We have also developed a flexible approach to client projects, recognising that in some cases it will be preferable to plan step-by-step phases to marketing campaigns, using the success of one stage as the signal to proceed to the next.
Most of all, we are resourceful. We have a core team of highly-experienced people that have delivered successful, award-winning marketing campaigns for some of the region’s largest brands. And many smaller ones too. We love to succeed but we are not ego-centric. No client project is too small to benefit from our expertise. We love what we do and would be delighted to explore new opportunities in a no-obligation chat.
At Rare, 3D most often refers to our unique and proven project design process:
Discovery > Development > Deployment
This highly collaborative process sees our teams working together with the client team, to produce a tailored, relevant marketing plan aimed at creating brand standout and driving business growth.
Whilst each campaign creation process is unique, and in essence has many steps, the guiding principles of our planning process groups each client project into 3 distinct phases, creating a valuable roadmap to steer the creation of individual ideas and campaign elements.
The initial Discovery phase is where we get under the skin of the client business, brands and market landscape. We will research the market and key competitors and talk to the client teams about the business history, successes and failures, challenges, goals and opportunities.
Most often we conduct a series of interactive workshops to enable us to fully understand the brand proposition and business culture. During this process we will discuss alternative options for branding, draft initial website concepts and site maps, and test different campaign ideas.
The final outcome of the Discovery phase is the creation of an outline project roadmap, with all elements loosely agreed and initial budget parameters set.
During the Development phase of the project the Rare teams will focus on creating the building blocks for the project launch. Depending on project scope, this will typically include branding reviews and creation, creative concepts for campaign applications, final website site maps and designs, and a detailed implementation plan.
As the various ideas and creative are developed, we schedule regular client sessions to present work-in-progress and gain feedback. This is used to shape the final direction of each element of the project.
With each client assigned a lead project manager, detailed and staged project timelines are developed and monitored to keep the project on time and on budget. As each element of the project and campaign is developed, it will be presented and reviewed, prior to sign-off and subsequent implementation.
The final phase of our process is Deployment. As its name suggests, this phase sees the various project elements and campaigns finalised and launched. But our work, and our responsibility, does not stop there.
Wherever feasible, we like to measure and monitor results together with our clients. This enables us to learn together what works, and to highlight any areas that might need tweaking for best effect. Often, we are already planning new campaigns or project extensions together, and early and continued market feedback is invaluable in guiding future planning.
We asked Steve Bellingham, Director & Strategic Marketing Consultant at Rare, to comment on the Discovery > Development > Deployment process:
“We have been using these techniques for a number of years now to help us adopt a planned and consistent approach to our client work. Whether clients come to Rare with a fully developed marketing strategy or no clear idea of what they think they need, it is our job to embrace the marketing landscape in which the client operates and to find the unique strategies and ideas that will help them standout. Only once this is agreed, do we start the all-important creative process or the development of digital assets and offline marketing programmes. This way, we create ideas that are grounded in common-sense and focused on business growth. And we deliver better results for our clients.”
If you would like to learn more about how Rare creates outstanding results for its clients or to discuss an upcoming project, we would love to hear from you.
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When The Ultimate Battery Company began to ramp-up the commercialisation of its breakthrough battery technologies it entered a competitive pitch process for the development of a new website. Little did the UBC team know at this stage, that appointing Rare as its agency partner would be just the start of a collaborative process that would see the creation of a complete rebrand of the business. As well as the design and build of the website, the application of the new brand has been rolled out across an extensive range of digital and offline marketing assets.
UBC are technology pioneers, formed with a vision to accelerate the drive to carbon net zero. UBC has developed patented technologies which deliver significant breakthroughs in lightweight, energy dense battery power and offers its customers opportunities to reduce CO2 emissions and boost performance. UBC battery solutions benefit multiple industry sectors including automotive, defence and energy storage.
First muted as part of its initial pitch recommendations, the new brand developed by Rare was designed to reflect these unique, breakthrough technologies and the innovative, entrepreneurial nature of the UBC business.
Utilising our proven Discovery > Development > Deployment process, the Rare team first conducted a series of interactive workshops with the UBC management team. This helped us fully understand the brand proposition and business culture. During this highly collaborative process, a number of options for the brand development were explored, with the chosen one developed into a comprehensive set of brand guidelines, messaging framework, and tone of voice.
Website design and development followed, with the Rare team also undertaking detailed content writing from information provided by UBC. We also explored potential product names together, with the final set chosen to fulfil the twin goals of adopting names that would reinforce the pioneering technology and also offer UBC robust trademark protection.
We also created video content to explain the core technologies and applications. These videos have been deployed on the website and for standalone use.
In addition to the website and digital assets, Rare applied the new UBC branding across a full set of supporting materials. These included literature, document templates, business stationery, business cards, presentation formats, emails and social media.
Designs were also created for the exterior of the newly commissioned manufacturing site, along with the design and production of a full suite of on-site and directional signage.
Commenting on the successful launch of the website, Maurizio Cunningham-Brown, Founder and Group CEO at UBC, said:
“Across multiple industries from transport to energy storage, our customers need to access increasing levels of digital information quickly and easily. Our new website is both modern and informative in meeting these needs. We are especially pleased with how video content has been incorporated into the site to promote our technology and products.”
Rare MD, Chris Bellingham, added:
“The new UBC web site has been built using latest digital technologies to provide tailored, and instinctively navigable, content to ensure relevance across multiple industry sectors and product applications. The new brand identity and web design seeks to create positive interactions between users and UBC, by reflecting the dynamic personality and culture of the business.”
Following the successful launch of the website in January 2023, the UBC and Rare teams continue to collaborate on the planning of website content extensions, further explainer videos and future projects and product launches.