News

Lathco Manufacturing Ltd
 
 
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Based in Sheffield since 1979, Lathco Manufacturing Ltd offer a range of specialised services and manufacturing solutions in electroplating and silverware. They work with their clients to design, develop and manufacture artisan, bespoke, metal-based products to order. Customer focus, quality and attention to detail are their top priority.

When we met with Mark Latham, owner of Lathco, there was no messing around - the brief was simple and straightforward. Rebrand the company and ‘create something fresh and modern which will make us stand out.’ Fair to say we couldn’t wait to get stuck in!

We spent some time getting to know the company and their products, then went away and developed a branding concept which we felt reflected Lathco’s industrial heritage but with a more modern twist. We also aimed to emphasise the ‘Made in Sheffield’ stamp, which Lathco are rightly proud of.

The client was delighted with the overall concept, so the next step was to apply their new brand identity to a shiny new responsive website and marketing collateral.

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As the company work under strict NDAs, their products need to be kept under wraps. So when it came to creating imagery for the website, we faced a big challenge. How could we reflect what they actually do without showing the products? We solved this conundrum by working with our photographer to capture images that focus on the team working in the factory and that also represent the different services the company offers. 

We’ve thoroughly enjoyed working on this project for a fantastic client – take a look and let us know what you think?

lathco.co.uk

 
 
Stephen Delaney
Fantastic agencies (and where to find them)
 
 
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Whether you're just starting out on a new business venture, or you’re a seasoned pro looking to rebrand your company, your choice of agency will be crucial to your success. Effective branding (or the lack thereof) can literally make or break your business.

But in a market saturated with tens of thousands of freelancers, boutique agencies and global design houses, how on earth can you make an informed decision? Fantastic agencies - where are these mythical beasts, and where on earth can you find them?

Our short guide will help you navigate some common pitfalls and select the very best agency for your business.

Let them ask the questions

Working with a branding and design agency should never merely be a case of asking someone to design a logo for your business. Any agency worth their salt will take a step back from the Mac and ask as many questions as possible, before ever putting stylus to screen.

What do you stand for? What do you want to achieve?
What are your plans for growth? Who is your ideal customer?
What do you want them to understand about you?

A fantastic agency will ask all these questions and more, then take the information and use it to form a holistic view of your entire brand identity. Everything else will follow.

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Bigger isn’t always better

It’s tempting to think that the bigger an agency is, the better they must be at their job. After all, doesn’t size equal success? Not so. Many agencies choose to stay small and perfectly formed. They run an agency because they genuinely love design, and they may prefer to avoid the additional headaches that inevitably come with expansion. Bigger agencies need to take on more and more clients to cover their increased staff and premises overheads. Depending on your design budget, that means you may well be a small fish in a big pond. It also means you’re likely to be paying inflated prices to help cover those additional overheads.

What’s more, bigger agencies invariably employ account managers who’ll be responsible for taking your brief and passing it on to the design team, which can lead to important points being lost in translation.

If you choose to work with a smaller agency, your business will be supremely important to them. You’ll be a big fish in a smaller pond and you’ll be treated accordingly. There are no middlemen muddling up the messaging - when you brief in a project you’ll more than likely be talking directly to the designer who’ll be completing the work. And because they keep their overheads low, they’ll be able to pass that cost saving on to you, charging lower rates than their larger counterparts.

North vs South

As described by Tim Collins (The Northern Monkey Survival Guide) although the money used in the North & South looks the same, it’s actually very different! One northern pound equates to roughly four southern pounds. So if you’re considering hiring an agency in the South, a good rule of thumb is to look at your marketing budget, double it (then double it again), sell all your possessions and shove the money into a wheelbarrow before heading to see them.

The proof is in the….erm, proof.

Fantastic agencies are kept busy doing what they do best - first-class design and branding. In fact, they’re so busy that they may not always be top of the class when it comes to self-promotion. You know that design agency you’re always seeing all over social media and in the local press having won their latest accolade? They’re almost certainly great at what they do. But so are the agencies that don’t have the time to enter awards and post on Instagram every hour on the hour. So don’t bother counting the awards up. A far better test of an agency’s worth is to look at their work. Do you love it? Does it resonate with you and your business?

Great agencies offer solutions, not brochures

Most clients will go to a design agency with a specific requirement. An A5 leaflet please. A HTML email please. And they know you’re great at your job so most of the time they’ll deliver exactly what you’ve asked for, without question. But a fantastic agency will be genuinely interested in you and your business, so before they dutifully deliver what you’ve requested, they’ll ask you a few questions. What’s your objective with this piece? Who are you trying to reach? What business problem are you trying to solve? By bringing a fresh pair of eyes to the project, they just might give you a different perspective, or another idea to consider. Be open to that.

The people

Finally, and perhaps most importantly, the best test of a fantastic agency is simply this. Do you like them? Do you get a good feeling from them? Do they communicate well, and get back to you when they say they will? Are they straight-talking? Can you see yourself working with them? Do you have a good rapport? If the answer’s yes, you’ve likely found your mythical beast - the fantastic agency. Hang on to them.

 
 
 
 
Stephen Delaney
Celebrating 3 years in business
 
 
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This August, we're celebrating 3 years of the Backroom Agency - how time has flown!!! It's been a real rollercoaster of a ride so far but we've been lucky enough to work with lots of amazing clients over the years who have made the journey extra special. Thanks to each and every one of you...now time for a beer (or two). Cheers 🍻.

 
 
Stephen Delaney
A brand new look for CBE+
 
 
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Cooper Brown Enterprises is the parent company of four manufacturing businesses - BG Engineering, NiTEC, Pentag Gears and Spire Laboratories - all based in Chesterfield and offering a range of complimentary services.

They recently joined together into one multidisciplinary group, relocating to a single shared facility to expand their capabilities as a single supply chain. They came to the Backroom for support with the rebranding process. Group Chief Executive, Marie Cooper notes:

'We recognised the benefits of having a single brand, so we can more easily demonstrate the complementary capabilities that we can offer to the supply chain.’

This was a super project to work on, as we were involved right from the outset. This meant that we were able to plan and deliver the entire rebranding project, right from the naming workshop and developing the new identity, right through to the application of the new brand to the website, signage and all company collateral, ensuring consistency across the group.

We also managed a photo shoot and created a launch presentation and an animation to reveal the new brand.

The result? CBE+. A clean, modern identity which reflects the group’s ethos and values perfectly. By simply abbreviating the parent company name with the addition of a plus symbol we can now connect several processes or companies together visually as a single supply chain.

 
 

The companies are now known as CBE+ Precision, CBE+ Electroless Nickel, CBE+ Gears, CBE+ Beam Pumps and CBE+ Laboratories, respectively.

To mark the rebrand and to showcase the investment to customers and business contacts, CBE+ recently held an open day at their factory at Holmewood, Chesterfield, which was attended by over 75 delegates from the aerospace, defence and general manufacturing sector.

Fabio Cosenza, Group Business Development Manager at CBE+ said:

‘The rebranding was a resounding success and that’s all down to the Backroom. Thank you for working as an extension to our team. I don’t know when yet, but I’m buying the beers soon.’

We’ll drink to that!

cbeplus.com

 
 
Stephen Delaney
Polished to Perfection
 
 
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Camelot Silverware is a long established, Sheffield-based manufacturer of fine quality sterling silver and silver-plated wares.

The company was formed in 1973 with a commitment by the partners to produce a range of the finest quality sterling silver and silver plated products. They have always endeavoured to maintain these standards by keeping as many of the production processes as possible, in house, thereby ensuring quality and reliability.

The traditional skills of silversmithing, metal spinning, buffing, polishing and engraving are all carried out by their own team of experienced craftspeople.

Although the company has a strong sense of heritage and tradition, Camelot were aware that their identity needed to be brought right up-to-date, and their digital presence needed to be developed along with it. Their branding and website needed a full refresh, and they entrusted this process to our team at the Backroom.

 
 
 
 

We set about creating a new visual identity which would encompass those traditional elements of the company, but also have contemporary appeal. The look and feel is clean, precise and aesthetically stunning – just like their products.

We then applied the new branding to a fully redesigned website which allows customers to request quotes for a list of products they are interested in supported with stunning new photography showcasing Camelot’s product range in the best possible light.

camelotsilverware.com

 
 
Stephen Delaney
Got your back!
 
 
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We were delighted to be featured in this month’s UnLTD magazine, a bi-monthly publication connecting businesses across Sheffield City Region.

5000 copies of each issue are distributed and hand-delivered to more than 750 companies across the Sheffield City Region – focussing on company culture, the economy, new business, health and wellbeing, technology as well as after work…it’s well worth a read especially this month!

Grab a your copy today or read our interview online at;

unltdbusiness.com/got-your-back/

 
 
Stephen Delaney
Deeper connections with our firefighters
 
 
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Hainsworth Technology is a specialist textile company based in West Yorkshire. They’ve been a market leader in the provision of cutting edge Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) fabrics for over 150 years.

They approached the Backroom with a brief to overhaul their brand. They were looking for a refreshed identity that makes a deeper connection with the modern day firefighter and reflects the core values of the company.

One of the core values they wanted to draw out was their commitment to listening and responding to the specific needs of those who wear PPE daily on the frontline. The new identity needed to project this ethos as well as demonstrating Hainsworth Technology’s unrivalled knowledge in the market and commitment to continuous innovation.

Hainsworth’s mission is to keep firefighters safe, and this is achieved through a process coined by Hainsworth as Fibre Positioning Technology. Over the last 150 years the company has built up an intimate knowledge of the properties of different fibres and yarns, and how they must be placed, positioned and woven together to produce fabric that is stronger than the sum of its parts. This results in the highest levels of protection, comfort and quality when it is needed most. The client was also looking for a way to convey this technology and showcase the strength of the fabric.

 
 
 
 

We spent some time getting under the skin of this project as we felt it was crucial to gain an in-depth understanding of the product range. We then drew on our network of talented suppliers and collaborated with an animator to produce a series of hard-hitting animations showcasing the Fibre Positioning Technology and the benefits of the product range. We also set up and managed a full photo shoot with multiple models.

We then designed and developed a brand new website and refreshed their marketing literature. The new identity was launched at Intersec 2019 in Dubai, the world's leading trade fair for Security, Safety & Fire Protection.

The client was extremely happy with the outcome of this project and we're excited to now be turning our attention to other aspects of this forward-thinking business.

hainsworthtechnology.co.uk

 
 
Stephen Delaney
Revamping Chimo Holdings
 
 

When one of the UK’s premier cutlery and silverware manufacturers needed to revamp their online presence, they turned to the Backroom for help.

Chimo Holdings is the Holding Company for Chimo Sheffield (Manufacturing) Ltd, a premier British manufacturer. They blend traditional Sheffield craftsmanship with modern technology to produce an impressive range of the finest quality cutlery, gallery trays, silver and giftware plus promotional merchandise, which are sold in various countries throughout the world.

The group was established in the 1980s, uniting a number of independent Sheffield manufacturers, including one dating back to 1750, with the common purpose of creating quality products for a modern world, whilst preserving traditional values and practices. This has continued into the 21st century as other companies have been acquired and many new products developed.  

Following our initial consultation it become clear needed to address to their online presence. The website was in need of a full overhaul in particular to facilitate online quotations.

It had to bring together all the various brands and vast product lines in a coherent and consistent way. It also needed to incorporate e-commerce quotation functionality for the first time and convey the sheer quality of the products as well as the company’s core values.

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We created a clean, modern look and feel for the site, with a monochrome colour scheme to reflect the cutting edge precision of their products. To help compliment this new look we were asked to look at the branding which was in need of an update.

We then spent a long time adding products to the website, in order to get the level of detail and functionality in the online shop just right.

We also injected warmth with stunning portraits of the team, which showcased the high levels of craftsmanship and suggested the long history, prestige and heritage of this impressive Sheffield company. 

We think the result is simply stunning, and we’re pleased to report that the client is as pleased as a silver punch bowl too!

chimoholdings.com

 
 
Stephen Delaney
Pastures New at Kelham Island
 
 
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At the Backroom, we’re celebrating more than just the festive season. We’re also embarking on the next, exciting chapter for our agency.

Although the Backroom is just over two years old (and therefore a mere whippersnapper!) we’ve already reached the point of being ready to move on to pastures new, in the form of our brand new premises in Sheffield’s vibrant Kelham Island.

The past two years have been phenomenal for us. We’ve been lucky enough to work with some fantastic clients and brands, and tackled a huge variety of projects. We’ve worked flat out, delivering everything from full rebrands and website launches, to photo shoots, event planning and even the odd bit of Chinese translation!

We hope that our clients have come to think of us as an extension to their own team – the backroom working tirelessly behind the scenes to make their marketing objectives a reality. A well-oiled machine, helping their business to thrive.

Our first studio, in the leafy Sheffield suburb of Dore, we were literally housed in a backroom – a creative space behind a popular coffee shop. We loved the concept so much that we named our business after it.

So when we starting looking for our new premises, we knew the space somehow needed to fit in with the backroom concept. Happily, that’s exactly what we found. A creative retreat right above Gaard Coffee, an awesome Kelham Island hideaway to drink great coffee and sample the finest patisserie and pastries.

Our move puts us right at the heart of the action. There are so many exciting developments in the area, and lots of up and coming new businesses. There’s a real buzz in the air and we’re excited to call it home.

We’re really looking forward to making new connections, working with more clients and delivering even more creative work in 2019.

If you’re passing by, why not pop into Gaard Coffee for a coffee and a pastry? Or visit our neighbours The Brow Project, The Mill Hair Studio, Moss and Clover Kelham.

And if you’re looking for help in growing your business or want to chat about your marketing, come and say hi. The door to the new Backroom is now open!

nypr.co.uk
facebook.com/GaardCoffee
mossandcloverkelham.co.uk
facebook.com/themillhairstudio
thebrowproject.co.uk

 
 
Stephen Delaney
Spreading the word for ICD Europe
 
 

ICD Europe Ltd are experts in the procurement, processing and supply of a wide range of specialised metals and alloys. They supply customers in a variety of industrial sectors including the aerospace, medical, petrochemical, automotive, electronics and industrial gas turbine industries. Launched in October 2016, as part of the ICD Group, and they have enjoyed rapid, yet sustainable growth over that short period.

When the time came to move into their new premises, they came to the Backroom for help with organising the launch and spreading the word.

We put together an event proposal alongside an 8-page, ‘tabloid’ style newspaper to give away to guests. This acted as an introduction to the team at ICD, as well as their products and services. To help support the event we produced invitations, pull-up banner stands, a corporate presentation, managed the press, social media and photography, and even organised a coffee van!

The event, which took place on Saturday 4th August, was a great success and the client was thrilled with the outcome. Guests were given a guided tour of the facility, before a ribbon-cutting ceremony and speeches by Wayne Hawkes, MD of ICD Europe Ltd, and The Right Worshipful the Lord Mayor of Sheffield, Councillor Magid Magid before being treated to a day of first-class corporate hospitality, including a day at Doncaster Races.

We thoroughly enjoyed working with the great team at ICD to deliver this fantastic event, and we hope the relationship continues to go from strength to strength.

 
 
Stephen Delaney
An innovative approach to waste
 
 

As a nation, the UK drinks 55 million cups of coffee each day, creating 500,000 tons of waste coffee grounds every year. Most of this ends up in landfill, which is a costly form of waste disposal for businesses and is also very damaging to the environment.

At the Backroom, we love to see UK businesses taking innovative approaches to solving environmental problems. So we were delighted to be commissioned by Roadchef, the UK’s leading motorway service operator, to produce a short video about their innovative partnership with Olleco and bio-bean – the first ever business to recycle waste coffee grounds into biofuel on an industrial scale.

Before we even put pen to paper, it was important for us to understand how the process worked, so we spent some time getting under the skin of the project. 

In a nutshell, used coffee grounds are collected from 28 Roadchef sites by transportation company Olleco, and taken to bio-bean’s factory in Cambridgeshire. They are then cleaned, dried and recycled into products for industry and homes, such as heating pellets and coffee logs for woodburners.

We created the initial storyboard to agree the content and overall look and feel. The video uses a combination of existing and new footage taken at Norton Canes, Roadchef’s flagship motorway service area. The three companies were keen to promote the recycling message, and we worked closely with all parties to deliver a great end result.

Roadchef welcomes more than 50 million motorists through its doors every year, and sells around 7 million cups of coffee. Roadchef and bio-bean estimate that over 200 tons of waste coffee grounds will be collected through the new scheme by the end of 2018, saving 112 tons of greenhouse gas emissions compared to landfill disposal.

To find out more about this great initiative from Roadchef, Olleco and bio-bean, take a look at the video we created above, and visit Roadchef’s sustainability page here.

 
 
Stephen Delaney
BG Engineering - since 1988.
 
 

Chesterfield-based firm, BG Engineering is a leading subcontractor for precision-machined components. With a milestone birthday looming, it was the perfect time to update their brand identity. 

They approached the Backroom Agency in the months leading up to their 30th anniversary. They were looking to invest in their future by refreshing their branding and website, ensuring consistency and bringing everything in line with the company’s new vision and direction.

The project covered everything from branding, guidelines, exhibition graphics and company brochure, right through to a new, responsive website, photography, branded workwear and signage.

As part of the creative process, we spent some time getting to know the company, and what really shone through for us was their confidence in the expertise of their workforce and the services they provide. We wanted their branding to embody this, so we created a bold and engaging photography style, showing real employees in their everyday environment.

The new website has been designed with a fresh, contemporary look and provides detailed information about the range of services BG Engineering offers.

The new, contemporary logo features a nod to the company’s heritage incorporating a strapline ‘thirty years since 1988’.

The result? A brand that has truly come of age. Happy anniversary BG Engineering!

bgeng.com

 
 
Stephen Delaney
RAR Recommended until April 2019
 
 
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We're delighted to maintain our Recommended Agency Register status once again thanks to high ratings from our clients for criteria such as Customer Service, Creativity, Effectiveness, Value for Money and Deliverability On-Budget. 

The Recommended Agency Register (RAR) an industry benchmark, helping to highlight trusted agencies, uniquely, by measuring a company's level of customer satisfaction through anonymous client ratings of each service bought from the agency.

Only companies who score above the RAR threshold become 'recommended' and included in the register. Nothing is more important to us than satisfied customers, so a massive thank you to everyone who took the time to provide such fantastic ratings.

 
 
Stephen Delaney
Helping fly the flag for the Sheffield City Region
 
 
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Representatives from Sheffield City Region travelled to the South of France last week to fly the flag for our region at the 2018 MIPIM property conference in Cannes. The event offers UK regions the opportunity to showcase development schemes and opportunities to potential investors from around the globe.

At the Backroom, we were thrilled to be asked to contribute to what was clearly an important event for our region.

We were tasked with creating a suite of literature for the conference, including the crucial ‘pitch book’, as well as designing and installing the exhibition stand and producing pull-up banner stands – all delivered on time and to budget! In addition, a short promo video was produced to play on a loop throughout the day (also used in the UK Government pavilion to promote Northern Powerhouse opportunities!!).

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We knew that the creative had to stand out against the ‘competition’ and help cement our region’s reputation as an exciting and profitable place for investors.

The conference was judged to be a great success, with Sheffield City Region enjoying an "exciting and fruitful week", according to Sir Nigel Knowles, chairman of Sheffield City Region Local Enterprise Partnership. He went on to say,"there is real evidence that the Northern Powerhouse is increasingly pulling together, giving confidence to international investors and making our region an even more attractive place in which to invest, work and live."

C’est formidable, n’est-ce pas?

 
 
Stephen Delaney
A fresh new look for Roadchef
 
 
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Roadchef operate at 30 motorway service covering the length and breadth of the UK serving the needs of the travelling public for over 50 Years. Famously, Roadchef are the proud owner and operators of Watford Gap, the first and most iconic Motorway Service Area in the UK, which opened its doors on 2nd November 1959 and in 2009, celebrated its 50th Anniversary.

Operating an impressive portfolio of leading catering brands, including well-known brands such as McDonalds, Costa & LEON, we were recently commissioned to shoot food photography for one of their most popular dining outlets - The Fresh Food Café. Our brief was simple. To create a fresh, new photographic style which reflected the quality of the freshly prepared produce for their Autumn/Winter 2018 Menu.

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The shoot took place at our photography studio in Sheffield. All the dishes were carefully prepared in our fully equipped kitchen facility by Emma, our expert food economist, and photographed by our award-winning photographers Joanne and Andy.   

We thoroughly enjoyed sampling a few of the dishes afterwards, and more importantly, the client was thrilled with the resulting images, which are currently being used on the Fresh Food Cafe menus and point of sales boards at all Roadchef sites across the UK.

roadchef.com

 
 
Stephen Delaney
Bringing Horasis to Life
 
 
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Did you know that just a couple of short weeks ago, 300 Chinese delegates descended on Sheffield for the biggest business event of its kind ever to be hosted by the city?

The eagle-eyed among you may have noticed the (rather lovely) posters and banners dotted around the city centre. The International Horasis China Meeting, which was hosted in the UK for the first time, took place on 5-6 November across a number of venues including Sheffield City Hall, Sheffield Cathedral, the Cutlers Hall and Chatsworth House.

In order to help bring the event to life, Sheffield City Region Local Enterprise Partnership enlisted the help of the Backroom Agency. The extensive project kept us busy day and night for weeks leading up to the event. It was such a whirlwind of activity that we’ve only just recovered enough to tell people about it! 

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The aim of this prestigious event was to demonstrate Sheffield’s cutting-edge research and innovation and showcase potential investment opportunities through a packed two-day programme of discussions, debates and networking. It was our job to ensure that all aspects of the event were impeccably designed and presented, ensuring a professional and business-friendly image. And of course, we also worked tirelessly with translators to ensure that the content was exactly ‘on message’ and right for the Chinese delegates. 

The event was deemed a huge success. Founder of Horasis, Dr Frank-Jürgen Richter said more than 300 senior business figures attended because Sheffield was a centre for Chinese investment and a key part of the Northern Powerhouse.

He added: “The response from China has been amazing. They want to discover more about Sheffield’s transformational story from the steel city to a green, ‘smart’ city of innovation.

We were proud to have played our part in bringing to life such an important event for the city, and we’re looking forward to seeing the many positive developments that will surely result from it.

Now excuse us while we go and lie down in a darkened room…

sheffieldcityregion.org.uk

 
 
Stephen Delaney