This piece first appeared elsewhere. Read it to find out why – and what it means.
I’ve been spending every spare minute of my downtime thinking carefully about the proposition for Formation London. I have a good idea of what I want to convey. However, I’ve not had a website in which I’ve actually had to articulate it. If you’re reading this, that’s changed.
As someone with a copywriting background, you’d think I’d find it easy to write my own copy, right? Wrong. It’s harder than anything I’ve had to write before, in fact. I’ve found it difficult to be truly objective. At first, I ended up copying some ideas from people I’ve written brand propositions for recently, or businesses I aspire to emulate; this has made it a struggle to differentiate from everyone else in the crowded market in which I’m pitching myself.
Recently, when people ask me what Formation London is about, I say that I “do interesting work with smart people’. It’s the principle by which I determine what to do with my projects that I’m involved in (through personal funding or via clients). It has to be fun and stimulating stuff, which smart people bring in spades. Interesting is the only work I like to do – and I’m lucky to be able to be picky about the brands and people I work alongside.
Hardly a proposition though; however, it’s a great foundation from which to build something.
The Why and the How
A good proposition tells people the ‘why’ of the business as well as the ‘how’.
I’ve been toying with the thought that the work I’m doing is helping my clients to do more, to carve out opportunities, win new business, or to build new services and products. They are thriving because of the work we’re doing together. I like that idea. It says a lot in one word. Thrive. It’s in the proposition pot.
This is the ‘why’ of my proposition. You employ Formation London to thrive. That’s an important thing to be able to convey.
After that I started to think about the how, which was a lot easier. Sort of.
I’ve always struggled to tell people what I do, and that’s because I don’t fall easily into a specific bucket. I am creative, but I am also quite good at being a planner or strategist (at least I’m told that’s the case). And I know my way around a decent piece of basic UX thinking and all the other things that people need these days for this digital stuff. I’m willing to have a go at just about anything, bringing in the skills I need as I need them. I know a lot of smart people after all.
Looking at the result of what I do, I realised that I haven’t been doing much ‘production’ and it’s something that I’m finding I don’t enjoy as much as I used to. I prefer to be at the start of the challenge, to get upstream of the problem, to articulate the strategy for thriving. To do this, I work out frameworks that others can hang their own ideas off. It’s more than a bullshit term bandied around – I look at how communications work as a system for an organisation, and the integral pieces of that system they need to use to fulfil their aims.
I also like a bit of BIG creative thinking, dreaming up organising ideas that people can draw campaigns from, and that help an organisation (or brand) realise its strategic aims.
And I quite like innovation – doing things differently, experimenting – making a shift from patterns of working to formations, so this is a huge part of what I can offer. It’s how the name of the business came about; there is a thought behind it!
Strategies, frameworks, ideas, teams of people, or new processes. That’s the ‘how’ I help business thrive.
And finally it’s come together in a website. You can view the perpetual work in progress. It’s (almost) all my own work. I hope it gets across what Formation London is all about.
Now that I’ve started this thing and I actually have a website, there will be changes. My blog, for example, may well slow as ideas related to how I’m working and what I’m doing and the thinking that’s going on in my head get put up here. I expect I’ll be posting on both – with further thinking out loud happening at ‘purplesime’s ponderings’. Deeper thinking, more considered versions will be here. Some things that are only related to what Formation London is doing will appear here.
The journey may well have started back in July 2014, when I first incorporated the company, but the real start is happening now. I hope you’ll join me occasionally. And if you think I can help you, your organisation, or brand thrive then let’s catch up over a coffee.
And don’t forget to point your Twitters this way.