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Decoding Digital: Jamie Kelly and ‘Brand purpose and performance’

  • Workshops

The next Door4 Decoding Digital event is fast approaching (12 November in fact – find out more or register here).

We took time to talk to one of our featured speakers, Jamie Kelly – founder and creative director at Studio Up North (SUN).

Hi Jamie, thanks for agreeing to take part in November’s Decoding Digital event – for those not familiar with your work, could you tell us about what you do?

Yes, Studio Up North, or SUN, helps clients with business strategy, identity creation and brand content – establishing a brand that reflects their organisational purpose and objectives.

We started almost five years ago as I wanted to develop a better way of doing great work, with great purpose for great people. We work with organisations that want to have an impact on people’s lives for the better, whatever sector that may be in.

And prior to that you presumably had a background in design/visual identity?

I studied design at Liverpool School of Art and after graduation worked for leading agencies everywhere from Shoreditch to Sydney, before moving back up north just over ten years ago.

After that I was involved in building the design function and subsequent rollout of the 2016 rebrand of the Co-op. So yeah, I’ve a good grounding in the power of visual identity as an integral part of brand strategy.

Is that the sort of thing you’ll be talking about on the day?

Yes, I think it’s important to show there’s an overlap between brand and performance, as a lot of people underestimate how much they can support each other. The best branded content will typically perform better than generic output – and conversely, the best visual design will go nowhere without the right performance partner.

I’ve got some great examples of businesses that have smashed KPI’s via a brand refresh. But I don’t mean a new logo – I mean strategic consultation from the top down that covers everything from how a brand breathes, walks and talks. Once you have that brand purpose nailed, the visual identity will be informed by that.

Do you do many industry events like this one?

We do plenty of guest lecturing at universities – sometimes recruiting graduates as a result.

We’ve also sat on panels for diversity and inclusion and hosted several webinars on high level brand strategy.

And what led to you speaking at Decoding Digital?

Me and Leon have known each other a few years and value each other’s opinions on our areas of work. As I mentioned, there’s crossover between both sectors and I was keen to highlight this to an audience that may not be familiar with just how much brand purpose and identity can impact performance results.

You mentioned recruitment earlier – with such a clearly defined company ethos, does that make it hard to find people?

What we look for is someone who can enrich and add to our culture, as it’s the people who define what SUN is, rather than anything else.
Obviously a strong design portfolio helps but just as important is a person who is bold, bright, passionate and embraces diversity.

And how about a strong digital mindset?

Not necessarily – we’re not a ‘digital’ agency strictly, we work on high level brand strategy. And digital content is just one of the delivery vehicles that can be used to communicate brand.

It can help to think of a brand as a person – the shiny new logo might look amazing, the same way someone’s eyes could be extremely striking or evocative – but that’s only an indicator. You won’t know what that person is actually like until you’ve talked to them, seen them move, noticed how they interact with other people, what they believe in and so on. Brand is the whole. And a fully developed brand can only boost digital performance.

Thanks Jamie!

Book onto ‘It’s good to be B.A.D!’

Dominic Harrington, Jamie Kelly, Mark Wolstenholme, plus Tom Morton will be exploring how brand, acquisition and data in digital performance ensures maximum beneficial outcomes from digital productions – register now.

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