The Business of Creativity - The small Welsh companies creating content with a big impact
CREATIVITY is in the DNA of Wales. At heart, it is a nation of storytellers with a rich history from the tradition of the Eisteddfod to the poetry of Dylan Thomas and the ever-evolving Welsh language music scene.
But how does this innate creativity and tradition translate to the way Wales does business?
The creative industries are certainly booming in Wales – whether it’s specialist art installation providers, gamers, digital agencies, PR and comms, production and sound, marketing and more, a whole raft of companies, both large and small, established firms and start-ups, are pushing the creative envelope, both at home and internationally.
In Wales, working collectively is also as natural as speaking two languages and this collaboration between creative businesses is reaping rewards – and awards – in the Welsh creative sector and beyond.
With a host of creative businesses working in hubs across Wales, exceptional collaborative content is being produced for major Welsh, UK and international brands. You’ll frequently see the likes of Doctor Who and other well-known TV faces popping into independent post production company Cranc’s Llandaff-based HQ, while in mid-Wales, the Creative Studios Project is thriving – developing Aberystwyth Arts Centre's role as a creative hub for arts businesses, arts development agencies, artists and craft workers to realise their economic and creative potential.
BANG, based in Cardiff Bay is another small creative company having a big impact, providing sound, post production services and ADR for the likes of Game of Thrones, Sherlock and Broadchurch.
The 2018 CIM awards in London was a showcase for some of the best of this original Welsh resource when a truly collaborative campaign for Dwr Cymru/Welsh Water scooped three awards at the high-profile event celebrating the best in UK creative marketing.
The integrated campaign, “For Wales. Not for Profit”, impressed the judges who said it “showcased the importance of their water services in people’s daily lives and also served to emphasise the company’s not-for-profit status – with no shareholders – meaning it can prioritise listening to its customers, which is of increasing importance to organisations across the sector.”
Behind Dwr Cymru/Welsh Water’s successful campaign lies a network of creative Welsh businesses, working together under the direction of Morgan Lloyd, the organisation’s Head of Marketing and Brand.
Cardiff and London based branding company Heavenly acted as a key partner in the campaign along with Cardiff Bay creative designers Brand Sixty Eight and advertising company Orchard to create a campaign that centred around the thought ‘If not for profit then what for?’ This idea was developed and became the campaign line ‘For Wales, Not for Profit’.
The campaign was broadcast across a range of media with a TV advert at the centre of the campaign. Radio was also widely used along with digital advertising and a range of other complimentary media from vehicle graphics to promotional water bottles to create a campaign that stirred a positive response from customers, which lay at the heart of the creative collective’s aims.
Speaking about the strategic vision behind the creative, collective approach to the multi award-winning campaign, Morgan Lloyd said:
“We like to do things differently here in Wales. So when it came to telling the unique story of Welsh Water through a major advertising and public engagement campaign, we charted a distinctly Welsh course.
“The thing about Wales is that we have creativity in bucket loads. We’ve got a thriving creative sector, from broadcasting to composing, performing to writing, acting to innovating.
“And with 3 million people – our nation is well connected and fleet of foot - able to form nimble creative collectives that can deliver world-class work.
“This is the approach we took, bringing together over 10 fantastic Welsh companies to form a formidable multi-disciplinary collective. We wanted to show two things – creative excellence and sector-leading innovation.
“Heavenly developed our creative approach with Orchard producing the advertising campaign and staging our experiential events. Ernest Studios, now part of Working Word, provided additional campaign video content and Carbon Studio developed bespoke design and animation.
“Musician John Hardy scored a musical track to complement the dulcet tones of one of Wales’s best exports, Hollywood actor Matthew Rhys, and Gorilla, Bait and Cranc fine-tuned the sounds and pictures. Finally, Cardiff tech firm We Build Bots helped us develop an industry-first Facebook Messenger chatbot.
“And the result?
“Awareness of Welsh Water’s unique not-for-profit model increased 30% with customer trust in the company increasing by an impressive 10%.
“The work didn’t just shine in Wales. We scooped major UK awards beating off competition from major household brand in industries far more visible that ours.
“A team Wales approach that didn’t just deliver, but delighted.”