A small group of talented designers, recently established as a new agency, were finding it very difficult to get new business. The clock was ticking, they were nervous. You only get so long to make a business work. They wanted to make storytelling the heart of their message. How to break through? How to get any kind of traction? You wouldn’t have heard of them back then, and if it weren’t for a certain piece of writing, you might never have done.
What we did
Mike Smith, then creative director, had the idea to write a story. Something beautiful to put in front of people, so beautiful it could not be ignored. My response was that if you wanted to move people on the theme of storytelling, then it had to go back to the start, the essence of it: an archetypal fairy tale. The Allotment already had their brand concept of growing businesses, and their A-as-a-flowerpot logo. I suggested writing a modern day, tongue-in-cheek and knowingly adult sequel to Jack and the Beanstalk. As far as quick growth goes, the beanstalk is right up there.
The book was sublimely illustrated by Geoffrey Appleton.
What happened next
Business people read it. All of it. It changed their outlook, and it certainly changed their perception of The Allotment. Suddenly they had clients. Confidence replaced fear. Within a couple of years The Allotment were at number 13 in the UK creative charts, the year after that they were in the top 10.
I still collaborate regularly with Mike Smith, now the creative director of Clout Branding. One of the best, and I think this book is testament to that.
Apologies for the slightly grubby nails in the photo gallery below. Ironically, I had been doing some gardening beforehand. (Absolutely true.)