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Posted at September 22, 2014 by Marketing

Celebrating Creative Women: Isabel Serval, Head of Creative Communications

Week 8, Purple chat to Isabel Serval, Head of Creative Communications at Jelly London.

Jelly London service the global market with creative content across all platforms. They represent the cream of the crop of illustrators and animators in the UK and around the globe.

Isabel is a Creative copywriter and content strategist with a knack for voice and tone and brand development. Also very fond digital, tech, mobile and user experience design.

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What does an average day look like to you?
A bit befuddled in the morning (with Life, London transport and everything), fabulous come lunch time (one of my favourite things) and more creative throughout the afternoon. That’s when I get most of my writing done. Let’s not forget about the evening: a great time of day in which I’m very often out and about attending work-related events where I socialise with the people who make the creative industry move and often learn a bit on the way too.

What career path lead to your current role?
I’m a creative person, hence rubbish at sticking to paths. I’m a creative copywriter who started as a freelance journalist covering a wide array of topics, worked all over the place as a digital and print copywriter, as a translator, an editor, a social media manager, an English tutor and an ESL teacher – at times all at once. At the core of all this lies that I’m a creative writer. I’ve made versatility my strength and that’s what I need most in my current role at jelly London.

What has been the biggest struggle in your career?
Making choices. The choice of being freelance versus permanent, of working client side or agency, of working for a big brand you find ethically questionable because they pay well. Those choices are tricky and sometimes sticky.

What is your favourite thing about your role?
My favourite thing about being head of creative communications for jelly London is that I write about very talented artists and the beautiful work they create – and also that I own and get to develop jelly’s voice and tone throughout all our communications. It’s a constantly inspired environment to work in.

What advice would you give to a younger self?
Grow within a permanent role first, go freelance later. It’s easier than the other way around.

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Posted at September 19, 2014 by Marketing

Top Tips to Create a Kick Ass Folio

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There’s no such thing as perfect folio. They’re all different, one person will like it, another won’t.  It is very subjective and there is no right or wrong – it really can depend on many factors.

Your job is to captivate and engage the interviewer in a very short period of time and here are the top tips to do so.

Don’t take yourself too seriously; let the real you come out! Show the dog eared, coffee stained ideas that never made it but you’re proud of.

As well as the brand that made it onto the shelf, show the pitch you didn’t win but was an amazing idea – show the ones that got away but were brilliant!

The Appearance

Don’t overcomplicate it. Keep it simple! You don’t need to add colourful boarder or frilly bits, these just detract from the work itself. You don’t need to over design the portfolio itself, you want to let the work do the talking.

Ensure you have full bleed pages and large images of the work as these will create strong impact, rather than lots of small images crammed onto the page.

Don’t over-annotate the work. Bullet points are fine for prompts for yourself in interview but you’re there to tell the storey. You can explain the background to the work face to face, there is no need to fill the page with notes or comments, let your work do the talking.

How many projects should you show?

When it comes to how many pieces to add into the portfolio the general rule is anywhere between 5-10 projects.

Any more than 10 projects, the interviewer simply will not remember them all, less than 5 will not show the a big enough range of your capabilities.

The more senior you are, the less projects you will need to show, as you’ll have more depth to each project with more strategy to talk about, examples of  managing others and problems that you have overcome, the list goes on.

How do you cut it down?

One of the hardest things for a Designer is to be critical of your own work.

The easiest way to do this is to be a fly on the wall. Lay out your projects in piles on the floor, look at them and ask yourself:
“Do any of these projects do the same job?”
“Do any of these projects Look the same”
“Do any of these projects have the same end result”
“Do any of these projects answer a similar brief”
If the answer is yes to any of these questions, take out the weakest ones in each area.

The aim of the portfolio is to make yourself  look as diverse as possible by showing different projects, not the same thing over and over. Each project should have its own individual reason for being there that’s different from the rest – so avoid duplicates, similar execution, similar in style etc.

Is age relevant?

It is not advisable to show projects in your portfolio that is over 3/4 years old. You are a different Designer now than you were then, so the work becomes irrelevant. They’re not hiring you 5 years ago, they’re hiring you now so make sure the work in the portfolio is current. Work can look dated if it’s more than 3 or 4 years old – so keep it contemporary fresh and relevant to you now.

The Order of your Folio

Some people will tell you chronological, some will say put it in sections – some say start with strongest and some say finish with strongest. You can’t please them all………

While there is no right or wrong direction for the order of your folio, the best way to answer this problem is to mix it up – creating maximum impact!  Start and finish on your strongest pieces, or the ones that are most relevant to the client, as first and last impressions are the most important.

Be unpredictable – use the element of surprise to keep them on the edge of their seats with anticipation. Don’t group your work, for example 3 pages of web, followed by 3 pages of print can be boring because the interviewer will know what is coming next and will not captivate them.

What to show?

While the final piece of each project is great to show the client, you shouldn’t just show the end result because that was most likely a collaborative effort from the creative team and client decisions. What the interviewer will be interested in will be your sketches, the development work and ideas that are all your own work (as well as the end result).  Even if  the great idea you had didn’t get selected, it is still good to present the way the idea developed.  Discuss what you didn’t like about the end result as much as what you liked – it’s good to have an opinion if it worked or not. However, don’t show the whole process for each project – be selective.

How do you show it?

There are many wonderful ways to present and display your portfolio. Depending on whether you work on or off line may affect your choice but there is not right or wrong. More commonly now designers, are presenting interactive pdfs on ipads or full websites but it really is down to your preference and what showcases your work and your personality in the best way. The psychology of all of the above applies to each and every platform you decide to use.

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Posted at September 17, 2014 by Marketing

The Digital Elite: Winners Announced


Purple would like to take this opportunity to congratulate every agency who made it on to the most prestigious shortlist in the UK’s Digital Marketing world, the Digital Census 2014.

The passion, drive and cutting edge work that you do is changing our landscape and making digital the most exciting industry to be a part of.

As Purple specialise in digital marketing, we felt it was important to sponsor the Digital Census and are very proud to work with some of the best the digital agencies in the UK, many of whom made it onto this shortlist.

This morning the much anticipated results were announced at a breakfast briefing in London. The room was over-flowing with digital agency owners and representatives and Purple were asked to get involved with our MD Toby Thwaites opening the event with a few words about the digital marketing landscape, before presenting the awards to the winners.

The 2014 Census this year included 213 agencies who were split into categories according to their head a count (over 100 staff, 51-99, 26-50 and under 25) and were then ranked across three main areas; financial performance, client satisfaction and peer recognition.

It gives us great pleasure now to announce and praise the winners:

Peer Poll Winners

Digital Staff 1-25: Blue Leaf
Digital Staff 26-50: 4P’s Marketing
Digital Staff 51-100: JAM
Digital Staff 100+ : iProspect

Client Poll Winners

Digital Staff 1-25: The Agency
Digital Staff 26-50: Rawnet
Digital Staff 51-100: The App Business
Digital Staff 100+ : RGA London

Financial Poll Winners

Digital Staff 1-25: Bell Pottinger Wired
Digital Staff 26-50: Great Fridays
Digital Staff 51-100: Heath Wallace
Digital Staff 100+ : SapientNitro

ELITE Winners

Digital Staff 1-25: The Agency
Digital Staff 26-50: Rawnet
Digital Staff 51-100: Rufus Leonard
Digital Staff 100+ : RGA London

The full report is being published this month so make sure to get your copy. Visit for more information.

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Posted at September 12, 2014 by Marketing

The A List: Purple Meet David Shanks

The creative industry is brimming with talented individuals who are helping to shape our creative world. These industry A Listers have a wealth of knowledge and experience and Purple’s aim is to share their insights with our clients and candidates.

From CEOs, to Creative Directors, Heads of Technology to Talent managers, there are an array of professionals that are behind the workings of agencies and we want you to meet them! We will delve into what drives them, what challenges they face, their views on the industry and explore their careers, and we hope this will help to inspire the new generation of creatives.

This week Purple met the charming David Shanks, Executive Creative Director of Oliver:

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After being seduced by a JWT storyboard at Cambridge School of Art, David has enjoyed a successful creative career in Asia, US and the Middle East. He is now Executive Creative Director of Oliver, one of the fastest growing agencies in London.

Oliver’s unique model focuses on putting tailor-made agency teams at the heart of an organisation to provide a full end-to send service from planning to production.

In this interview we explore his creative career, how to differentiate your agency from the rest, the drive behind his first published book ‘The Special Brand’ and his advice for a successful career in creative.

To watch the full interview click here:
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Posted at September 11, 2014 by Purple Solutions

Why do you want to work for Google?


It’s all well and good that your clients brand is booming, but what about yours??

The first reaction I get, when I mention to someone in the brand or creative & digital marketing space about their Recruitment Brand is “we are a branding agency, we can look after that,” but this is where the problem begins.

You are an Agency and you are doing great… you’re winning clients and you’re delivering great work.   Meanwhile your clients are growing and pushing their brand into the market and engaging with their audience in an array of areas (some of which is down to your business). But, who is looking after your own brand back at base?

As you can imagine, being part of Purple, my specific point relates to people or talent and in a raw stripped down version, Recruitment. Your clients are enjoying great exposure in the market and their brand out there in the public eye, and whether intentional or not, they are strengthening their candidate pool (potential employees). They are driving the best talent in the market to recognise them as a potential employer (or even “employer of choice”).

So what about you? Who is shaping your business as an employer of choice? What about your brand and specifically your “Recruitment Brand”?

It’s often the case that the very industry or specialism we focus on to pay the bills is internally one of our weaker operational elements. Recruitment consultants are notoriously hard-nosed when it comes to negotiating fees and bringing structure to clients but internally they are as notorious for having bad practice recruiting their staff (obviously Purple are an exception to the rule)!  Likewise some of the best Design and Branding agencies don’t have a seamless social media presence, have dated marketing material and the offices and “think spaces” look like road side cafes!

One thing we can all agree on is that people are integral to a business so whether you have 10 or 10,000 employees every business should have a People Strategy. You can’t rely on attracting these people when your business requires them, you should be working throughout the year to have a recruiter brand that is robust and progressive.  Without a strong People Strategy in place why would a great Designer or Art-Worker want to join you over a competitor? How would the Talent in the market get information about you, your culture and all those integral  things to decide whether they would considering working for your business? Even if you use recruiters in the main to find your people then even they need a Recruitment Brand to sell.  You have to communicate business mantras and USP’s.

Your brand is being discussed in the context of Recruitment whether you like it or not. People in pubs are discussing the virtues of your brand and whether working for your business is a good thing or a bad one. Shouldn’t you control this or at least contribute to the story? Send out positives, justify and respond to negatives, engage with your Talent pool… build a recruitment brand. People and Talent strategy starts here.

I will leave you with this last thought. Google may or may not be the best company to work for in the world – the point is, everybody “thinks” it is as they have an amazing recruitment brand and many of the brightest most effective people want to work there; they may not want to end up there but the “Google effect” means they want a stint there for sure – imagine you’re talent, coming to you!

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