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November 16, 2016
MadeKnown awarded Best Brand Logo Identity

MadeKnown awarded Best Brand Logo Identity

Big smiles around the studio after hearing we have received the award for Best Brand/Logo Corporate Identity at the recent Queensland Multimedia Awards 2016 held in Cairns. “The award is for our rebranding work completed for the iconic Townsville business, Butcher on Bundock, which you can see a little bit more of here“ MadeKnown would […]

Big smiles around the studio after hearing we have received the award for Best Brand/Logo Corporate Identity at the recent Queensland Multimedia Awards 2016 held in Cairns.

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“The award is for our rebranding work completed for the iconic Townsville business, Butcher on Bundock, which you can see a little bit more of here

MadeKnown would like to thank Lori Thomas of Lori Thomas Marketing and More for putting us forward for the project, for helping us get our heads in the game and also for the fantastic Townsville hospitality.

Thanks also to The Media Awards for their constant work spotlighting the high standard of work produced in regional Queensland.

We’re proud to add this award along side our previous win in the same category for Gracemere based business Big Z Hire and the two awards won for the retail website for HB&Co.

Lastly, a big shout out to Jamie Wright the owner of Butcher on Bundock for trusting us to create his new brand identity; a strong and unique look that mirrors the brand and business perfectly.

Now chop chop, enough said, back to work.

Trent Siddharta
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September 25, 2016
A quick brand analogy

A quick brand analogy

We get asked quite a bit at MadeKnown what a brand is, and invariably we describe it the same way; a brand is formed from a relationship. This more often than not is somewhat difficult for people to understand, eliciting comments such as “but my brand is my product or business?” or “my brand is […]

We get asked quite a bit at MadeKnown what a brand is, and invariably we describe it the same way; a brand is formed from a relationship.

This more often than not is somewhat difficult for people to understand, eliciting comments such as “but my brand is my product or business?” or “my brand is my logo”. To which we answer, no and hell no respectively.

If someone tells you they ‘do branding’ and then proceed to show you loads of logos, politely excuse yourself and then simply exit the building.

A brand is formed, moulded and ever changing through the interactions and relationships it has with its customers. An easy way towards understanding this completely is to describe it with an analogy.

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“A brand is like a person, or more rightly a friendship between people.”

You’ll likely agree that your idea or perception about who someone is, is formed from experience and affected and changed over time.

For example, you may form an opinion about someone when you first meet them. By how they look, their hair, their makeup, their style of clothes, their mannerisms, their physique, the car they drive and the music they listen to. This is their logo, a representation of who they believe they are and how they would like to be perceived. This image in itself has been formed, influenced and changed over time.

If you get a bad haircut or choose a new style of clothes, your friends soon let you know if it is right or wrong for you (or for who they believe you to be) and you may then make changes based on their opinions.

With this, we get closer to what a brand is.

You are obviously not only the sum of the clothes you wear, your haircut or your car… well, hopefully not anyway. Our perception of someone also comes from their personality, the things they do, they way they act, their culture, their values and beliefs, their morals and standards. From how they help old people to cross the street or to how they may steal candy from babies.

You can be the best of friends with someone and then one day they do something bad or wrong, and your perception of them changes. If they value your friendship they may take steps to redeem themselves, working to change your opinion of them.

Friendships are formed and made stronger or weaker through shared experiences, this works exactly the same for brands.  Which leads us to something very powerful.

A company can rarely dictate what their brand is, they can only influence it. Just as someone telling you they are your friend does not necessarily make it so, they need to earn the right, a brand needs to work to become positive in its consumer’s mind.

If someone is seen as being a good person it is usually because they have actually done good things, rather than simply by saying they have.

Like one of your friends, a brand is a perception you form about a business or product over time, purely from personal experience. This perception can ultimately only be changed through actions.

Although using how we develop friends is a great way to illustrate how brands develop, the role of people in actual brands is also incredibly strong.

To describe this simply, how many times have you been served in a store by a grumpy or non-helpful worker and thought, “I won’t shop here again”?

This is branding.

Trent Siddharta
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July 05, 2016
eCommerce – You can’t beat em’

eCommerce – You can’t beat em’

With over three quarters of Australia’s approximated 15.4 million internet users now making purchases online it’s of no surprise that a large proportion of local small to medium businesses are starting to feel the pinch. The rise of the online shopping juggernaut doesn’t look like abating in Australia either with sales on average increasing threefold […]

With over three quarters of Australia’s approximated 15.4 million internet users now making purchases online it’s of no surprise that a large proportion of local small to medium businesses are starting to feel the pinch.

The rise of the online shopping juggernaut doesn’t look like abating in Australia either with sales on average increasing threefold each year from 2011.

“In recent years there has been a definite mental shift with consumers turning away from the traditional form of shopping, dictated by the weather, parking, queues, product supply and throngs of other people. Far gone also are the days when consumers were uncomfortable using their credit cards online or giving up their personal details to cyber-shops.”

The money Australians spend online is projected to increase by about $10 billion (yes billion) within the next five years. Consumers may still be concerned about security online, but more and more are still prepared to buy from the web. Faster delivery, easier returns policies, and many sites offering free shipping all increase the desirability of online shopping.

Considering the current lack of economic confidence it’s understandable that consumers are shopping around or ‘Google Stalking’ as we like to say. With usually low overheads running an online business is also becoming a very desirable option for start-ups who are looking to make their mark by simply running an enterprise from their lounge room.

SMB’s (Small to Medium Businesses) themselves are using the internet more to research and find suppliers (84%) and to place orders for products and services (71%).

Online sales still continues to be, in the majority, small-ticket items with high-ticket items lagging far behind by comparison. That said, the research consumers now conduct online pre-purchase spans both high and low-ticket products. Knowledge is now a much more powerful sales tool for both seller and buyer and ignorance is no longer bliss, by a long shot.

So what does this mean to local and regional businesses that are seeing more and more of their client base turning to the internet to research and make purchases.

In short, if you can’t beat them, then join them.

The options available to businesses that traditionally sold locally in-store to now also sell online are great and ever growing.

A great place to start for even the most mildly tech savvy is often an eBay outlet or hosted eCommerce website such as on offer from companies like Shopify or BigCartel. Granted these options all take percentages of sales at different stages, have ongoing flat rate monthly costs or limitations in company branding and functionality but the pros of the larger shopper numbers they can deliver far outway the cons.

Of course, the more robust solution of a self-owned and branded eCommerce website is obviously the ideal, with sales going directly to your bank account and the order notification landing directly in your inbox ready to fulfil. While this option can often seem the most daunting it is definitely in reality far from the case.

Having a company website, whether simply a branded information resource or online shop, is now becoming a must for the majority of SMB’s anyway. While websites aren’t for every business, (Facebook and social media platforms are fantastic tools for businesses like hairdressers and coffee shops), they are now necessary tools that should be considered and built into business models of even the smallest start-up.

In the end though the only thing that is guaranteed, for not just the onliners but any business, is change. Embrace it or get left behind.

Trent Siddharta
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March 08, 2016
Spotlight on Queensland Creatives

Spotlight on Queensland Creatives

Story extracted from the interview by the very talented Lisa Herse about MadeKnown, as featured on the AGDA website. Creatives Fiona Booker and Trent Siddharta spent six years honing their skills in London for agencies such as Wolff Olins, The Team, Small Back Room and in-house at The Body Shop and Burberry. Upon returning to Australia, […]

Story extracted from the interview by the very talented Lisa Herse about MadeKnown, as featured on the AGDA website.

Creatives Fiona Booker and Trent Siddharta spent six years honing their skills in London for agencies such as Wolff Olins, The Team, Small Back Room and in-house at The Body Shop and Burberry. Upon returning to Australia, they saw potential in sunny Rockhampton with its nearby beaches and affordable lifestyle. In the scenic suburb of The Range, MadeKnown was born. Servicing over 40 clients within Australia and overseas, MadeKnown is a brand focused design agency proving that high calibre work can be done anywhere, regardless of location or time zone.

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 Fiona you’ve had a well rounded career as a designer, the last 10 years have been brand focused. Trent you’re highly experienced in all areas of design production, photography and retouching. You guys seem like the perfect team for running a design studio. Are there challenges to being both a couple and working together? What are the best and worst parts about it?

“We constantly find the hardest part is turning off our working life to have a ‘normal’ personal life. We’ve only ever worked in this industry and when we previously worked for other companies we gave ourselves an allotted hour after work where we ‘talked’ about our day and then got on with things. We now seem to be always on and the lines have definitely blurred.”
“It did take us a little while to get used to working together, mainly because Trent talks incessantly, but we’re really good friends at the most basic level so it’s quite a comfortable arrangement.”

Had you always intended to run your own studio or was it born out of requirement after moving to Central Queensland?

“A bit of both really. Having worked in loads of different agencies and seeing the different ways people operated their business and studios we each had our own ideals of running a studio. We always talked about running our own company but probably didn’t plan on doing it quite so soon upon returning to Australia. When we arrived in Rockhampton we soon found a large gap in the market for a quality brand focused agency – there just wasn’t really anyone offering it, mostly your regular website and local graphic design agencies.”

MadeKnown has been operating for 3 years now, what are some of the challenges you’ve faced as Creatives running your own business?

“Just the usual tape recorded reply of ‘wearing more hats’. We both already covered a lot of areas creatively but have had to also learn to be receptionist, telemarketer, accounts, sales, customer relations and PR. Trent is naturally good with people but crap with money so I got accounting, he got everything else. We really laugh about this all now and want to ring our old bosses to apologise for being painful as we understand realistically now the different pressures of running a business.”

You currently employ freelancers for specific roles as you need them, are there also opportunities to nurture young up and coming designers in Rockhampton and the surrounds? And how would you like to be able to do that?

“We both credit a large part of our current abilities to what we’ve learned in our previous roles, employed outside of MadeKnown, so appreciate the importance that sharing takes to grow knowledge and careers. Being thrown in the deep end is a cliché but one that fits, we’ve both learnt an amazing amount on the job and from mentors and would love to eventually be in a position to employ young talented designers to repay our pasts. We’re quite specific and particular about what we do though so it would be a character building hell trip for anyone we employ. Liking Metal music would probably be the first hurdle.”

Your clients are incredibly diverse – from distinctly regional customers to national brands like RID Insect Repellent and internationally recognised luxury fashion house Burberry. What is it about MadeKnown and the way you work that’s allowed you to design for such a diverse client list?

“Continually learning about different industries and new client businesses is what we enjoy the most, it’s one of our points of difference. We don’t hold much stock in peddling the same things to each client, they’re all different and so is our service to each of them. Burberry came about from Trent working in-house for them in their Westminster offices in London. They’re comfortable knowing we understand who they are and their standards so it wasn’t a leap of faith to send us work. The time difference is a great benefit as they can send a project at the end of their day and we have it ready when they arrive the following morning.”
“The majority of our work has come from word of mouth and recommendations, which is how we ended up working with RID. They’re based in Townsville and are zealous like us about the quality of regional work so it’s a good match.”

When working with regional clients, have you encountered any barriers around the value of design and brand?

“Definitely, but it’s more a lack of information around what constitutes a brand rather than not valuing it. We’re big on educating and empowering our clients about this, which is partly where our name stems from. We find there is a slow realisation happening in businesses everywhere now, whether metropolitan or regional, that the traditional standalone tactical forms of marketing aren’t as effective anymore. Educating people that branding is more about fostering relationships rather than slapping a logo on a letterhead is hugely important. The word ‘brand’ is greatly overused. We call it the ‘B’ word, our new swear word.”

Working for such high calibre agencies as you have done often exposes designers to new ways of working and thinking. What’s some of the best things you’ve learnt from your time overseas that you’ve been able to apply to your work at MadeKnown?

Fiona: “The confidence to do presentations, the best piece of advice given to me was know back-to-front the first couple minutes of your presentation and the rest will come.”

Trent: “Presentations as well, tell them what you’re going to tell them, tell them, then tell them what you told them.”

“For both of us; constantly revisiting ideas and situations to ensure they’re on track and they still apply, generally having a more critical eye for finer details and considering things from many more viewpoints.”

For many creatives inner-city life provides inspiration and a sense of connection. How does this notion fit with you, especially after living and working in a place like London? Where does your inspiration now come from?

“Regional living is culturally different on a local level but we definitely don’t feel isolated. London was fantastic and we still bounce ideas back and forth with friends and mentors there, as well as throughout Australia. We spend time every day catching up on industry news, trends topics etc online through sites like Design Week, AGDA, BrandNew and we get the usual barrage of industry blog newsletters in our inboxes. The biggest source of our inspiration has always come from the same place regardless of where we live, which is our clients and their businesses. It sounds wet I know but they inspire us to do more and that anything is possible.”

Can you tell us about any Queensland artists, designers, illustrators that have caught your attention lately?

“Driven in Brisbane are great story tellers and their work is really textural which we like. Tara Hale is a great illustrator and I always like to see what she is up to. One of our clients in Rocky, HB&Co, design and make the most amazing furniture.”

Do you have any advice for creatives considering the move to a regional area? And also to anyone who may be thinking about starting their own design studio?
  • Understand the area you’re moving to and have a business and marketing plan.
  • Be patient, smaller communities are very loyal.
  • Everyone knows everyone so watch what you say.
  • Face to face is best, email doesn’t always cut it. This applies everywhere.
  • Get a really good Accountant, they may be bean counters but they’re awesome.
  • Don’t skimp on the sound system, you can put on more socks when it’s cold but you can’t turn up tinny speakers.

FAST FACTS:

Your creative hero:
Fiona: Johnson Banks.
Trent: Anthony Peters IMEUS Design in Brighton UK, Antony Micallef.

Your ideal project: Any new brand.

Your favourite podcast/blog:
Trent: Designspiration.
Fiona: BrandNew Under Consideration.

Your hidden talent:
Trent: Patience.
Fiona: Working with Trent.

 

See the original article on AGDA here
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