Brand storytelling

New client alert! Orwell Design Associates join the Vivid family

Orwell Design Associates is a specialist consultancy providing world class refrigeration system design.

ODA provides world-class independent refrigeration design services that push the boundaries of current practices with rich, innovative designs supporting cutting edge technologies and the demands of the modern customer.

To reflect this new approach to design consultation, ODA worked with Vivid to create a cutting edge brand identity, new messaging, a responsive website and all client collateral.

See ODA's new website here.

Vivid content marketing orwell design associates

What marketers can learn from Aaron Sorkin

Vivid Content Marketing Aaron Sorkin

Aaron Sorkin is perhaps the best screenwriter in Hollywood today. He specialises in non-toilet-break drama – films and TV shows such as A Few Good Men, The West Wing, The Social Network and Steve Jobs that are so dense and compelling in story and dialogue that you have no choice but to 'hold it in' for fear of missing something. 

Isn't this what content marketing should strive to achieve? We know all about the importance of storytelling in marketing, but frankly most brands stink at it. Perhaps the advice of a true storyteller is a good place to start...

When a character is shoved against a wall, shove them against the wall harder.
— Aaron Sorkin
“Don’t be afraid to be guided by simple curiosity.”
— Aaron Sorkin
Smart people surround themselves with smart people who disagree with them
— Aaron Sorkin
Don’t ever forget that a small group of thoughtful people can change the world, it’s the only thing that ever has.
— Aaron Sorkin
Decisions are made by those who show up.
— Aaron Sorkin
Trying to guess what the (mass) audience wants and then trying to satisfy that is usually a bad recipe for getting something good.
— Aaron Sorkin
There’s a great tradition in storytelling that’s thousands of years old, telling stories about kings and their palaces, and that’s really what I wanted to do.
— Aaron Sorkin

The opening scene to Aaron Sorkin's The Newsroom is simply gripping.

Hunter Selection, the UK's leading specialist recruitment service, selects Vivid for new identity and website!

Did they hunt us or select us? Let's just say they chose us.

Did they hunt us or select us? Let's just say they chose us.

The Hunter Selection team find exceptional candidates for employers with specific, exacting requirements. A couple of months ago they had some exacting requirements of their own. Hunter Selection tasked Vivid with retooling their messaging, creating a new identity and designing/building an all-new responsive website with an innovative job search.

And here's what the Vivid team came up with >

New client announcements are coming thick and fast this week! And clients don't come much nicer than this one.

Watch this brilliant new documentary – The Story of Content: Rise of the New Marketing

The Story of Content: Rise of the New Marketing, is a brilliant new documentary by the Content Marketing Institute and the first comprehensive film of its kind for this industry. It explores the evolution of content marketing through the eyes of the world’s biggest brands including Red Bull, Kraft and Marriott; and marketing influencers Joe Pulizzi, Ann Handley, Scott Stratten, Jay Baer and more.

Featuring case studies from early pioneers to today’s marketing innovators, The Story of Content: Rise of the New Marketing shows how content marketing has changed — and will continue to change — business and media forever. Great work and an essential watch...

Why 2015 is the year of authentic storytelling

Vivid Content Marketing Mission Impossible Rogue Nation

Last night was date night and rather unromantically I took my wife to see Mission Impossible – Rogue Nation. I know, I know, we're late to the party. Romance-appropriate or not, it's surprisingly good! Name another movie franchise where each sequel is better than its predecessor. It's also very 2015 somehow. Which got me thinking on the way home – just what makes it so 2015? And then it hit me. It's the lack of computer effects, the real stunts, the long takes – the sheer physicality of the action. It's old school. It's authentic. Like bearded Hipsters switching to vinyl because Spotify somehow doesn't match their craft beer, this year Hollywood is moving away from CG effects and building sets, strapping actors to things and generally embracing the dust and dents of the real world after so many years of computer slickery.

Just a few weeks before Mission Impossible premiered, another franchise was stealing the show at Comic-Con 2015 by showing a video with absolutely zero new footage of its upcoming movie. It was Star Wars Episode VII, due out this December and helmed by uber geek J.J. Abrams. The subject of the video that caused nerdgasms throughout the crowd? A real desert, a real Millennium Falcon, real latex, real robots, real dirt – it was focussed on how they're making the movie with as few computers as possible to accurately match the analogue universe created by 1977's 'western in space' original (rather than the plasticy, computery 1999 second trilogy).

Watch the two videos below...

Star Wars: The Force Awakens Keeping one foot in the pre-digital world, J.J. Abrams' Comic Con showreel teaser (above) for the most anticipated film of 2015, focusses beautifully on real sets and practical effects – "everything's changed, but nothing's changed".

Mission Impossible – Rogue Nation Why do the stunts look real? Because they are real! Watch the video featurette above to see Tom Cruise really hanging off an airborn cargo plane – eight times!

Compare that to...

Game Of Thrones  The infamous 'walk of shame' scene spliced actress Lena Headey's head with a naked body double.

Game Of Thrones The infamous 'walk of shame' scene spliced actress Lena Headey's head with a naked body double.

... the fanboy outrage thrown up by the infamous Game Of Thrones 'walk of shame' finale scene earlier this year. Fans felt cheated by the computer trickery that so convincingly blended Lena Headey's head with the naked body of a stand-in, as her character walks nude through the centre of town to atone for her sins. The motivation for filming the scene twice, first with the main actress (clothed) and again with a naked stand-in was actually honourable – Headey wanted to concentrate on her emotional performance (it is quite painful to watch) and not let the self consciousness of being starkers cloud that performance. Even with the best of creative intentions, the fans' reaction of "it's not real, we've been betrayed!" is fascinating. But what about when more than just a scene lacks authenticity?

The Fantastic Four  A festival of CG effects and the lowest box office opening of any superhero movie of the modern era.

The Fantastic Four A festival of CG effects and the lowest box office opening of any superhero movie of the modern era.

This year's computer effects laden The Fantastic Four has been the biggest superhero disaster since 2003's Catwoman. Costing $120m to make and $80m to market, it grossed only $26m in its first weekend which effectively killed it dead. Why? 'Soulless' has been the main theme of the critics' mauling. The sets, the scenery, the characters and the relationships all feel artificial and so, surprise, surprise – the audience couldn't care less.

So what does that mean for brand storytelling?

Well nothing – if that it is, it's being done right. This is just a case of Hollywood catching up with the power of authenticity. But if content isn't being true to its brand (yes, we're looking at you rival agencies!) this trend demonstrates the positive power authenticity can have in Content Marketing and all spheres of audience engagement. In short, keep it real people.

Summer 2015's essential content marketing reads

There's just something wonderful about Lego figures released into the wild

We just love this charming photography series by French artist Samsofy. Shot with childlike awe, Salsofy puts his tiny plastic Lego figures in real world environments with a geeky slant which begs the question 'how did they get there and what happens next?'. Beautiful storytelling.

Read more at My Modern Met or visit Samsofy's gallery

Why creativity is the most powerful force in business

VIVID BOOK CLUB : While we're on the subject of creativity fuelling profit,  Creativity, Inc.  is the best business book ever written according to our Content Director. Read a brilliant extract  here  or take our word for it and buy it  here .

While we're on the subject of creativity fuelling profit, Creativity, Inc. is the best business book ever written according to our Content Director. Read a brilliant extract here or take our word for it and buy it here.

For anyone who works in the creative industry, the video below, created by DDB is a lovely reminder of why you love what you do.

For those in content marketing, this is the gospel! It's why it's called 'content marketing'. Without creativity, imagination, flair, innovative storytelling and an editorial approach to brands, well, it would just be plain old 'marketing'. Creativity comes from ideas, but what value should be put on those ideas?

Without a creative idea behind it, a brand is the same as all the rest. You can't buy ideas. Hang on, I'm painting myself into a corner here. Of course, you can buy ideas. You hire an expert agency. An agency with a Vivid imagination (that number again is 07767 873074).

"Creativity is the most powerful force in business". Absolutely spot on. Finally, somebody said it!

Have a watch below...

THE IDEA CATCHERS beautifully sums up the importance of allowing time for true inspiration.

Feeling creatively inspired? Gooood. Here's how you stay that way...

vivid content marketing stay creative

50 minimalist movie posters show the power of colour. And stripes. We love them!


Colours communicate so much (hey, why do you think we called ourselves Vivid?). Red can make us more attractive, blue more alert, while pink can sap a man’s strength! But can, let's say, three simple colour stripes represent an entire movie?

Damn straight they can thanks to brilliant Argentine designer Tano Veron. Tano has cleverly distilled some of the world's most iconic movies down their most minimal colour essence. And the results are stunning.

Clever, thought provoking, beautiful – sweet fancy Moses we SO want to decorate the Vivid studio with them!! Our favourite? Jaws, thanks for asking. Check them all out below. 
And see more of Tano's work here.

Just how did Kevin Spacey become Content Marketing's Hollywood poster boy?

Vivid Content Marketing Kevin Spacey keynote
Anyone with a camera and an idea can create an audience... get your minds to work... there is but one rule: hunt or be hunted
— Kevin Spacey, Content Marketing World 2014

Late last year the unlikely figure of Kevin Spacey delivered the closing keynote at Content Marketing World 2014 in Cleveland to 2,600 enthralled marketers. And he smashed it! 

Securing Spacey was quite a coup for Joe Polizzi and the Content Marketing Institute team, and a stroke of genius following 2013's barn-storming Spacey turn at the Edinburgh television festival.

So why Spacey?

What do Hollywood actors know about Content Marketing (you didn't ask, but we thought we’d save you the trouble)? Well, it's all anchored around innovation, creativity and the importance of conflict and authenticity – all of which Spacey is no stranger to as the Oscar-winning actor who defied critics by successfully becoming Artistic Director at The Globe and played a major part in the TV chord-cutting, binge-watching revolution with Netflix's House Of Cards.


The link between Kevin's world and Content Marketing is that we all have audiences, and audiences demand compelling stories. And any compelling story contains three key ingredients:

1. Create Conflict
"A great story creates tension... without it there's no driving force, no passion, no involvement... our stories become richer and far more interesting when they go up against the settled order of things". Conflict creates engagement. Take Nike as an example, as Spacey did, their business is built around our desire to be better, stronger and faster and the tension in the effort to achieve this. They build great stories that dissipate this tension.

2. Be Authentic
"Stay true to your brand and true to your voice, and audiences will respond to that authenticity with enthusiasm and passion". Discover what's unique about a brand and exploit it authentically – Spacey referenced the 'Think Small' Volkswagen ads of the 60s as a great example of authentic storytelling focussed on what's unique (in the face of a trend for larger and larger American cars). Be honest basically, but present your honesty creatively.

3. Give People What They Want, When They Want it
We all know this, right? There's no shortage of choice for any given audience, so you'd better make content compelling, entertaining and useful, and make it available everywhere or it will be ignored. "Anyone with a camera and an idea can create an audience... get your minds to work... there is but one rule: hunt or be hunted".

Outside of those three, and one piece of Spacey advice that really resonated with the Vivid team (in a reference to the third golden age of television that we're experiencing right now) was "give the creatives more power." He knows his stuff! Meanwhile we've got a revolt happening in the office. Watch Kevin’s highlights followed by his brief Q&A below.


Keynote highlights and Q&A

The best bits from Content Marketing World 2014

Full (shakeycam) Keynote

Content Marketing World keynote in full

2013 TV Festival Keynote

2013 Edinburgh TV Festival keynote in full

9 brilliant brand storytelling TED talks every Marketing Director should see


We love a bit of TED here at Vivid. A few of the team worked for founder Chris Anderson in a previous life so we've always had a soft spot. And besides, the world's cleverest people sharing their insights, experience and inspiration for 15 minutes - really, what's not to love?  

After much debate, we've cherry-picked the nine (started off as five, but to avoid a saloon fight we had to expand) best brand storytelling talks that all Marketing Directors and Content Marketing types must see. Enjoy.

Master storyteller J.J. Abrams on how an unopened gift from his grandfather fundamentally shaped the way he tells stories from Lost to Mission Impossible 3 to the upcoming Star Wars VII.

The Super Size Me creator tells The Greatest Story Ever Sold with lessons learned from trying to engage with brands in order to get sponsorship for his movie all about getting sponsorship. 

The author of The Tipping Point and Blink amusingly explores the nature of choice and why one size doesn't fit all. Oh, and he says: "to a worm in a horseradish, the world is a horseradish".

Renny Gleeson on how the lowly website ‘404 content not found’ page presents an opportunity and demonstrates that little things done right matter because well-designed moments build brands.

What’s the pattern between all the great brands in the world? What is it that they and their leaders do, the exact opposite way to everyone else, that makes them so successful?

The writer of Pixar's biggest hits shares how making the audience care with a well told promise that delivers the '2 + 2' (while allowing the viewer/reader to arrive at the '4') is the key to true engagement.

Ad man Rory Sutherland’s spellbinding observations on how the most potent ways to have impact with your audience are often really small and inexpensive. Love the Virgin Atlantic example!

Dan Colby reveals how the rules of physics affect the marketing of brands including BP and Tiger Woods and David Cameron. Admittedly, that synopsis made this sound pretty dry. It’s not.

A clever, really short talk that quickly makes us realise that assumption we have are not necessarily true - from street names, to blocks, to the role of a doctor. The same can be said for brand ideas.