This has been the year when the public seized control of the news, once and for all.
Social Media networks spread the big stories before the papers had the chance to get hold of them, with everything from the Libyan revolution to the sad end of Amy Winehouse tweeted and spread on Facebook, virtually in real time.
Dual screening led to comment on public events, from the X-factor to the Royal Wedding, often replacing any formal newscasting. The media had to adapt, and adapt fast – and some didn’t survive the new era.
But what’s been happening at Spring? Here’s a little run down of the high points of the last year.
The year started well with Spring featuring in Design Week – oh those heady days of print! Southwold’s status as a cultural mecca took one step closer to being sealed, courtesy of Lynda Relph-Knight.
Spring’s work with other East Anglian cultural icons kept us busy in January, including Dance East’s academy packs, a campaign for Wayne McGregor’s ‘Far’ and the start of working with Bury’s Theatre Royal on Dick Turpin and The Georgian Horse Challenge.
A Heritage Lottery-funded tourism project, Threads, kicked off this month too, with Spring creating a walking tour around West Suffolk’s wool towns. The book of maps also includes a fascinating history of the area created by a leading Cambridge academic, David Dymond.
The month ended with a hat trick of wins: Spring was commissioned by neighbours Southwold Pier, Suffolk football leaders Ipswich Town Football Club, and for a second year by Champagne Bollinger.
And on the last day of January we said goodbye to green, blue and our little tick, and hello orange and a blurring of the lines between ‘i’ and ‘n’ – yes, Spring’s gorgeous new brand image launched.
The shortest month, and the month of love. And we loved Suffolk Business magazine, who kindly gave us a cover and a double page inside spread to introduce our new senior players: ex-Fitch MD Ian Cochrane and planner Melanie Welsh.
We took the Spring message to the Barbican, delivering workshops to London brand managers on Social Media. And on the subject of Social Media, our work for Belvoir Cordials went from strength to strength, with their Springy new website combined with hugely successful competitions causing Pev Manners to have to recruit more staff to manage orders from the site.
Our work for British-built catamarans company, Broadblue, saw us launching a brand new website and marketing campaign to support their expansion. With innovative new vessels launching at boat shows across the globe, owners Mark Elliott and Mark Jarvis are riding out the recession in style.
And the month ended with happy news for our much-loved clients Nursey who, following our submission on their behalf to the Daily Telegraph Countryside Alliance Awards for Best Traditional Manufacturer, heard that they’d made it to the finals.
…or more appropriately run – the month started with Spring’s Olympics ad campaign launching for Choose Suffolk and National Express. With trains from Stratford to Ipswich taking just an hour, county tourism chiefs were keen to advertise the fact, and this campaign featured across the rail network and tourism destinations throughout the rest of the season.
March also saw the launch of 2011’s Suffolk Short Breaks guide, which Spring designed, artworked and printed on behalf of Choose Suffolk, and a new Spring brand for Ipswich Waterfront.
Flagship, East Anglia’s largest social housing provider, continued to keep us busy with press, radio and digital advertising and technical artwork employing our project management, copywriting, design and evaluation skills for the fourth year in succession.
We were delighted to be commissioned to provide press and digital comms by society fashion designer Beshlie McKelvie, whose ethics and design have earned her rail space in top fashion stores like Browns. We secured her coverage in industry and lifestyle fashion press including Marie-Claire and Drapers.
Towards the end of the month, Spring hosted Britain’s most easterly twestival event – a coffee morning and quiz at Southwold Pier. A cold but sunny day created the perfect backdrop to a really fun morning, well attended by East Suffolk’s twitterati. The event was live blogged throughout and with prizes kindly donated by joint-sponsor, Adnams, everyone had a fabulous time in a good cause.
In other community news, March saw the first concert in 2011’s Southwold Concert Series – the third outing for this fabulous classic music series of which Spring is patron.
March also ended on a high note for Nursey, whose visit to the House of Lords resulted in a win. Nursey was crowned best Traditional Manufacturer by the Countryside Alliance and Daily Telegraph – we couldn’t have been more pleased.
April saw the Springers getting our heads down and ploughing through some serious work.
We solicited content for the crowd sourcing site MySuffolk from such local luminaries as MP Therese Coffey, and submerged ourselves in the briney North Sea for Southwold Pier, as we conceived, developed and built their ‘Lovely Day’ campaign, website and supporting materials.
Our work with George East, which from its Leiston base is one of the UK’s leading non-food suppliers to major retail chains, continued throughout the year. The Springers have been developing packaging for the Tala brand and own-label products for nearly every major British supermarket and department store. This is an exciting, growing East Anglian brand and again proves the region’s quiet entrepreneurialism.
The Drum published an article by Erika’s dad, whose years as a board marketing director of food companies Buitoni and Princes left him with useful insights about agency behaviour as relevant to the digital age as the long-lunch ’80’s. He developed a fan club in Leeds on the back of the article.
Clearly we’d learnt our lessons too, as we found ourselves finalists in the Marketing Industry Network awards, as Marketing Services Agency of the Year.
O&C Butcher, the wonderful Aldeburgh outfitters, took delivery of their first Spring-produced catalogue, a thing of beauty and great statement of the company’s modernisation and growth.
Further down the coast, the Heritage Lottery-funded Woodbridge Tide Mill commissioned Spring to undertake the huge and wonderful task of designing and building their beautiful, interactive new visitor centre. This is a mammoth project which has kept Simon, Bex and others busy for the rest of the year in preparation for its launch next Spring.
The Pier’s ‘Lovely Day’ campaign launched, with everything from advertising to menus to staff badges, showing the character and appeal of this wonderful seaside destination. The conversation continued across social media, buses, the website and sandwich packaging – and let’s face it, once you know your waiter likes guitars and cats, you’ll never be short of small talk again!
Springers hit the lifestyle press, too. George’s dad’s cinema, The Electric Picture Palace, provided the backdrop for Lizzie’s Red feature, and Erika had spent a frugal February living on vouchers and online discounts to grace the pages of May’s Prima. Glen’s dad became an honorary Springer too, celebrating his 60th by setting off from Ness Point on a bicycle and kayak journey round the coast of Britain.
Bollinger’s Hay Festival competition soaked us in a wave of playground nicknames. We invited followers to submit their name as Bertie Wooster’s girlfriend – an amalgam of their childhood sobriquet and town of birth. Many indecorous replies ensued, and our sympathy votes went to Nutter, Moocow and Spotty.
Some very exciting new Spring clients for May included The National Trust and wonderful Suffolk light maker Jim Lawrence, for whom we undertook a rigorous marketing and web sales audit. At the same point we also recruited Nikki Barker, who joined us as an Account Director following a life tour of some of London and Cornwall’s most exciting agencies.
The end of the month saw us launch a complete marketing package for Smart, and create a wopping new product catalogue and website for sports kit firm Mark Harrod. Both of these companies manufacture their product in the UK and are run by visionary entrepreneurs – testament to the quality of work and business that we’re lucky to find in East Anglia.
This was events season, and many of the Springers’ partners became football widow/ers as the Mark Harrod project team accompanied him to Birmingham and other venues for exhibitions. Armed with video cameras and branded clothing, we joined Mark in interviews, sales and celebrity engagement, including (soon to be) Strictly Come Dancing star Robbie Savage.
Suffolk hit the underground in early June too, with our ad campaign for Visit Suffolk gracing escalators the length and breadth of the capital. Spring’s twitter account went wild with Suffolk expats thanking the team for some wonderful photos of home to enjoy during the rush hour.
Notable East Anglian launches includes TV airfield Bentwaters Park’s new website and print campaign and The Theatre Royal’s launch of the Georgian Horse Challenge – and Anderson ran an ‘Everything but the Cat’ offer at Amwell Mews, Stanstead St Margarets, in which Spring launched a campaign to sell houses equipped with literally everything their new owners could need.
Spring’s big win for June was Ten Lifestyle Concierge who commissioned us to conceive and manage a London membership recruitment campaign during the summer months. Ten is the largest global provider of lifestyle concierge services, and is building its relationships direct with clients in addition to its traditional platform of customer loyalty schemes.
Summer saw our home town explode in the colour and bustle that is the tourism season. We always love this time of year, it brings renewed vigour into Southwold – though it admittedly makes the queues far longer at the sandwich shop! There was no rest for the Springers though, as we launched Ipswich Town’s new ‘Suffolk Punch’ business club identity, and covered The Open on location, in real time for Bollinger.
Ipswich Town’s thoughts were also turning to Christmas, and as temperatures soared we were busy creating the ‘Party Pledge’ marketing programme. Christmas party bookers were encouraged to ‘take the party pledge’ to give their colleagues a great Christmas party, and in exchange become the ‘Party Hero’. Their reward was packages containing party packs of Santa hats, balloons and chocolates.
We were joined by Comms Executive Lucy Aldous, fresh from her classics finals at Cambridge. She was immediately immersed in The Suffolk Coast, a content-rich website devised to attract the well-informed, knowledge-seeking off season crowd.
We also launched new cloud computing brand, two10degrees, at the Microsoft Worldwide Conference, Los Angeles, an exciting occasion for us and for our client AWS.
Sexy highwayman myth shattered! Yes, the eighteenth-century tale of dastardly Dick Turpin came in for a Paxman-esque drubbing courtesy of playwright Daniel O’Brien and director Abigail Anderson, and Spring created a compelling ‘exploding horse’ campaign to support this hugely entertaining production at Bury’s Theatre Royal.
Meanwhile our internship scheme was in full swing. This year we invited two interns through the formal process, one a designer and one a copywriter. It was, as always, wonderful to see them develop within a studio environment. We also invited our old friend Jack Howson, for whom it was the third year with Spring before heading off to university.
New commissions in August included the wonderful new boutique Spear and Hubble, for whom we created a knockout brand with simple upper case typography imposed on an acid yellow backdrop. This branding continued across the interior design as well as bags, gift vouchers and ads, and as I write Spring’s studio is working on a stunning new website for the high-end Norfolk brand.
The arrival of autumn saw us in farmer mode. Maybe it was the influence of the fifth annual Aldeburgh Food & Drink Festival but we found ourselves immersed in great East Anglian produce, most notable of which was Havensfield Happy Hens. Spring’s photographic studio became home to a flock of beautiful red hens for a day or so, whilst we learnt their foibles and good sides. End result was egg box packaging, vans, lorries, signage and a website covered in gorgeous, clucking, happy hens. They even won a prize for being the best hen photos in the British egg producer community!
Other wildlife entering our lives this month included baby giraffes, who we fed at the launch of Visit East Anglia.
Back in the town, the Southwold Concert Series’s popularity grew and we were delighted as more and more Southwold businesses chose to sponsor the events. A classical guitar concert given by two Rolling Stones-sponsored musicians drew crowds on a warm autumn night. It’s always a privilege to attend these events and see such large numbers of people from around Suffolk and Norfolk gather to enjoy wonderful music in our town.
Meanwhile Nikki Barker’s promotion to Client Services Director was another clear sign of Spring’s dedication to our clients’ welfare and the quality of the service we provide. She’s certainly proved a hit with the Eastern Enterprise Hub, for whom we launched a new suite of printed marketing materials in September to support their ‘Superstars’ campaign.
As Autumn drew in, we launched Nursey’s new sheepskin catalogue. This year they have focused on their iconic slippers and snuggly hats, all of which are handmade in Bungay, in the same workshop which has housed Nursey since Mozart’s days.
This month we launched an exciting programme of events and activities to reward the Springers for their hard work and broaden everyone’s horizons. From share schemes to a Mind Expanding Grant, the Springers found themselves working for quite a new type of company.
The replacement of Friday fish’n'chips with Friday Gym was surprisingly well received, and our grants allowing Springers to take their loved one out for a meal and an exhibition/ event/ performance in exchange for a production meeting presentation and blog post has seen gratifying take up.
Our first Spring heroes – PR maven Sam Denny-Hodson and our own Non-Exec, Ian Cochrane – visited to talk to the team about their experiences, dispense advice and answer questions, providing some indispensible tips for creativity and innovation.
On the subject of expansion, Spring opened a second office, in Lowestoft’s Orbis Energy Centre. A useful additional space for meetings, breakout sessions and brainstorming, Orbis is also at the heart of East Anglia’s coastal energy economy and provides easy access to Spring for clients across the two counties.
Design Week contacted senior designer Bex Spillings to gauge her thoughts on investment in community focused design. Bex put up a convincing case for the merit of good design in relatively deprived communities to create motivation, ambition and broad-mindedness.
New clients for October included our local public school, Saint Felix, which has retained Spring to create a full marketing programme and outsourced marketing department to support its growth under innovative and charismatic new headmaster Dr Simon Letman.
We were also tasked to create brochures and an ad campaign for two new developments by Anderson in the wealthy Essex suburb of Loughton, seeing us branding, dangling out of helicopters and researching the history of this fascinating area.
Saint Elizabeth’s Hospice, who had commissioned us earlier in the year to support their expansion across the region, this month saw the fulfilment of their plans as they launched across the coast. Spring created a community engagement marketing programme, including extensive door drops, a widespread radio, print and bus ad campaign, and community hub information posters and leafleting.
The fireworks brought with them one of East Anglia’s most exciting growing brands – Signs Express. Based in Norwich, the company now has 85 franchise operations across Britain.
We started off with a brief for their 2012 calendar (this involved a bespoke photo shoot for every month of the year, each image disguising an S and an X, and strategic use of social media for monthly competitions), and next year Spring’s work with Signs Express is due to continue across some very exciting projects.
On the coast, we were delighted to be commissioned by Suffolk Coast and Heaths to write their winter newsletter, which filtered neatly into our work on the ever-growing Suffolk Coast website.
Luxury Suffolk retreat Bruisyard Hall, an established Spring client, set about a radical refurbishment, which is due to project it firmly onto the national stage; and Spring’s work with them has extended to the development of a complete marketing programme and all creative and strategic elements contained within it.
Our account management team was augmented with the arrival of another Nikki – Nikki Palmer joined us from Burrows, where she had been managing six-figure global accounts.
The festive season launched with an exuberant client party, held on the Southwold Lights Night. We were happy to celebrate with clients new and old the successful passage of another year for all of us.
In addition, Spring was rejoicing at the success of the Bollinger advent calendar, a Facebook campaign that within just three days saw Bollinger’s Facebook following increase by 300% and the level of conversation about them on line by a staggering 4,000%.
December will also see the launch of the new Bollinger website, a beautiful site whose layout is entirely based on user experience analysis. Our commission has just been renewed for the third year, launched with a days’ planning session at Quo Vadis, testament to the strong relationship between Spring and this wonderful Champagne brand.
The Advent season is still young as this resumé of 2011 nears its close, but has seen us start work with an exciting new music brand, host an extraordinarily successful Southwold Concert Series Christmas Concert (over 250 people attended) and make serious headway on the new Spring website. We’ve got some exciting news to share with you early in the new year, too.
So may we take this opportunity to wish you all pleasant reflections on your own 2011, and a wonderful 2012.