James Kirk, Managing Director outlines our values here at Kaleidoscope and why they are important to our business:

“When I joined Kaleidoscope in 2015, we had a small team of just four people with a shared understanding of what was important to us – a progressive mindset, a commitment to keep things simple and acting with integrity. We didn’t write any of it down or call them ‘values’ – we just used them as an informal guide for everything we did.

Seven years later and we’ve now grown into a more complex company of 10 people, delivering work at a bigger scale across a range of disciplines. It is at this point of expansion, and a desire to build a strong creative community within the company, that we’ve recognised how a defined set of values will play a crucial role in our shape and growth in the future; and it is vital to clearly articulate them for ourselves, our clients and everyone that we work with.

Of course, Kaleidoscope draws on a rich heritage of business since the 1980s and with that comes a great wealth of how to do business ‘the right way’ – an inherent set of guiding principles and fundamental beliefs that enabled the agency to become one of the most respected in the Liverpool city region. 

So we set out to combine the best of those unwritten values that had delivered a highly successful 30+ years of commercial performance, along with our ambitions for the business of the future. Through a series of interactive workshops across the team we defined a range of authentic, simple and easy to understand values that build on the past, but have an eye on the next phase of our growth”.

The result? We have five values. Each represents what we expect from one another, our principles for decision making and our framework for performance. Take a look below.


Honest and open

With ourselves, our team and our clients.

We know our strengths and what we’re good at, but we are comfortable talking about things that are challenging or out of our comfort zone. We approach every task in an objective and rational way, providing the right advice regardless of whether it is in our interests or not, keeping others up to date for good or bad.

Committed to quality

In the way we work and the things we make.

We drive ourselves to work to the highest standards and quality in everything we do – whether it is our creative ideas, the systems we use or how we communicate with each other. We invest in our space and tools to provide the very best environment for our team to work and thrive.

Working together

Strengthening the team and collaborating with others.

We recognise and respect our colleagues and the value they bring to the team regardless of which department they work within. We support one another, we share and engage at the right times and never leave a teammate on their own. We work together with our clients, listening and learning. We are open to ideas and suggestions from all and recognise the vital role that we all play in developing creative solutions.

Pushing boundaries

Growing as individuals and elevating others.

We are never satisfied and always see room to grow and improve – ourselves, our colleagues, our work and the business. From actively looking at new ways of working and personal development through to new tech and communication channels…it cuts across every part of our day-to-day lives within the business.

Agile and responsive

Embracing change and being fast on our feet.

We embrace change and roll with it. We operate in an environment that is always evolving and nothing is set in stone. We learn fast from our mistakes and consider change as an opportunity to improve and move forward.


So what next? We are conscious that its all too easy to define your company values, put the words on a wall and just sit back and think ‘job done’. So we have begun the process of embedding the values across our business – from everyday systems and processes, personal development and team meetings through to team events, employee awards and more. Oh, and we do have the words printed on our walls too!

This week we welcome Jay Devine, our new Digital Developer, as the latest addition to the expanding Kaleidoscope team.

Andy Malone, Kaleidoscope’s Digital Director, comments:

“It is fantastic to welcome Jay into digital team. His passion, energy and personality, combined with excellent problem-solving skills and a logical approach to work, will make him an invaluable member of the team as we continue to grow. I’m excited about him meeting clients and jumping into delivering their projects very soon.”

As Jay begins his time with us at Kaleidoscope, we wish him every success for the future.

This is the second interview in our ‘what matters to the team’ series (you can read the first one here). We’ve created this blog series to help you understand the people behind the campaigns. So this week, it was our Creative Director, Mike Danher’s turn.

Mike, how did you end up at Kaleidoscope?

A lot of people don’t realise just how long the agency has been running, we’re currently 34 years old. I joined Kaleidoscope in the 90s — I joined when I was 25! But how did I get there? 

After Uni, I took a job at a small design agency in Manchester; here, my passion for design really kicked in. After a few years, I moved down to London to immerse myself in the advertising world. After a couple of years I realised it was a scene that didn’t suit me – and that you don’t need to be in the capital to create brilliant campaigns.

So I moved back where I’d started, to Liverpool. The day I landed I saw a job ad in the Echo for Kaleidoscope for a Junior Art Director, so my fate was sealed. I quickly rose up through the ranks to become Creative Director. It’s always been a place I’ve thoroughly enjoyed working down to the wide variety of projects we get involved in, and the pride we always take in what we do.

I’m always driven by the quality ideas we put forward, and I’m lucky that Kaleidoscope has always had the same thought process. Emphasis is always put on the calibre of the concepts — it’s the foundation of every project we do.

What does your typical day look like?

Every day is different, and that’s how I like it. Alongside normal workflow, I might have a client meeting or a board meeting to discuss how the team is getting on, but one thing that remains constant is our morning scrums. These are vital when it comes to clear communication — our creative team meeting consists of our team of four — me, our project manager, Andrea, junior designer Daniella, and senior designer Milena. Plus we are always open to collaborating with external professionals in their field – from illustrators to photographers. A big part of my role is matching the right expertise to the right project.

After our scrums, we’ll have individual discussions about particular projects throughout the day. As the Creative Director, I focus on the bigger picture — getting involved with jobs in the initial stages to shape their direction and then at key points along the way to make sure they are on the right track. I thrive off working with the team and supporting them to be the best they can be.

I enjoy working here, I like the team, and it’s exciting. I can see how the business has been revitalised over recent years with new faces, and a new office — we’re like a new company.

When it comes to client work, what matters most to you?

Collaboration with everyone — clients and team members. Getting clients involved in the initial stages of concept development is so beneficial to the outcome of the project. It’s crucial clients feel like they’re on the journey with us — it’s their brand, after all.

Aside from getting the client involved early doors, it’s important to me that our concepts aren’t fixed, we leave room for flexibility, and that’s why we don’t just present one polished concept; we share several rough layouts. It’s important the client doesn’t just focus on graphics and colours and instead focus on whether the proposition is on point.

I think this is the secret to Kaleidoscope’s longevity — we don’t deliver a set solution — every client campaign and project is bespoke and tailored.

What’s your favourite project you’ve worked on?

Over the years, we’ve had the pleasure of working a lot with Alder Hey Children’s Hospital, and every time we work with them it’s really enjoyable. In particular we’ve worked with Liverpool FRESH CAMHS, which is part of the Alder Hey Trust — a mental health service for children and young people up to the age of 18. 

We initially held some creative workshops with young people and through working together with them we created the name, logo and brand; they loved getting involved, tearing up magazines to develop a visual approach. The result was an award winning project that had a really positive impact on everyone involved. You can learn more about the great work FRESH CAMHS do here.

Any tips for anyone looking to get into the creative agency field?

In my experience, it’s important to have a conceptual mind, a mind open to exploring concept developments. But having said that, it’s equally essential to have good design skills and a good understanding of the software used in design would be advantageous — but you will develop this in time.

Being able to show that you look at things differently is important, too. For example, it doesn’t look good if you have a portfolio where all pieces follow a similar in-house design style. You need to show that you’re led by the client and that you take their ideas on board and apply your design skills to bring them to life. 

If you’re intrigued by a career in a creative agency, we welcome anyone looking for work experience with open arms. Get in touch

Find out what we’re doing to improve employability and skills in the North West.

Research by Project.co found that communication has become more challenging for 33% of people over the past 12 months. And it’s understandable to see why — over the last few years, we’ve collectively gone through a major shift in the way we communicate with everyone from colleagues and clients to end-users. 

Even without the pandemic, communication preferences and how we receive and process information changes constantly. And that’s why it’s crucial to use a framework when developing a solid communication strategy. Without structure, your strategy lacks direction, which means it’s kind of pointless. 

At Kaleidoscope, we use the below five framework elements as a tool to plan comms campaigns, ultimately delivering impact and making a change for good. 

Set objectives

Marketers who are goal setters are 377% more successful, so there you have it, goal setting gets you places! Without clear objectives and goals, your team isn’t on the same page — no one knows the campaign’s overall aim, so the strategy becomes lacklustre and directionless. 

So start by thinking about the objectives you want to achieve as an organisational team. We don’t just mean simply focusing on the outputs, but what do you hope to have achieved at the end of this campaign?

Focus on behavioural changes 

As a result of your campaign or project, what do you want people to be doing? What are you trying to influence? You want to focus on the positive behaviours you’re hoping to achieve from this campaign, and you’ll want to be specific. 

Let’s say it’s a social change programme about green transport initiatives — you want to drill down into the smaller details of the behavioural outcomes, such as wanting to get more people to take the bus each morning or recycle their plastic bottles.

Clearly identify your audience

Everyone harps on about the importance of understanding the audience you’re trying to reach, but it’s essential because if you don’t, who are you communicating with? Your objectives will never be met, and your campaign will never be propelled forward with this crucial step. 

Analyse data to find audience segments and dive deeper into audience segmentation — build an understanding of who they are, what they do, how they work, and what you know about their existing choices. For example, if your campaign is a green transport initiative, how are they currently getting around the city? Are they driving?

Understand audience motivation

Understanding why someone does something helps you climb inside their mind and deconstruct the barriers they have to usage or purchase. Be single-minded in your approach to this step; focus on just one or two motivators to ensure your campaign is streamlined. For example, let’s go back to the green transport initiative — if you find they’re driving to work in the morning, why are they driving? Maybe it’s convenient, or they have a lack of knowledge when it comes to other transport options.

It’s important to start colouring in any gaps you might have about your audience and the reason for the choices they make. This is the only way you’ll unpick how you can influence them positively with your campaign.

Figure out what action you should take

Always leave this until last because you truly don’t know the best way to communicate your campaign to your audience until you’ve done all the above. At the start of your research, you might have thought a poster might have done the job, but really, it turns out, to reach them best, you need an outdoor campaign to raise awareness of the issue or to create a new digital tool.

This is where you determine the appropriate set of actions. It’s crucial to understand that communications don’t exist in isolation — they need to work robustly alongside other tactics. 

That’s why at Kaleidoscope, we work open-mindedly — we make sure all our team members follow each part of the framework to answer the questions in full to achieve true clarity before taking action.

Interest to learn more about our work? Check out who we work with.

We have recently welcomed two new members to our growing Kaleidoscope team. Daniella Brooks has joined as a Graphic Designer after a period at the Uniform Group, while Harry Huntington has taken on the newly formed role of Digital Designer following two years at Studiowide.

James Kirk, Kaleidoscope’s Managing Director reflected on the new appointments: “I am delighted to welcome Dannii and Harry to our team. They bring a real level of energy and freshness to the business – something that is vital to us as we look to scale our impact as a communications partner for our clients. I’m excited to see both of them excel in their new roles.

The appointment of Dannii and Harry comes off the back of a recent move to our new workspace which provides us with a fantastic environment to deliver creative communications of the highest level.”

We wish Dannii and Harry every success in their time with us here at Kaleidoscope.

In the health sector, it’s essential to create meaningful connections with patients and service users. So if you’re wondering how your brand can help you do that, keep reading.

At Kaleidoscope, we work with a variety of sectors, including health. From crafting communications campaigns to building unforgettabke brand messaging and activation. That’s why we feel we’re well positioned to share some advice when it comes to curating a strong and effective brand got the health sector.

Why your brand matters in healthcare

A brand isn’t just about making money; it’s about creating an impact – the right kind of impact. And in the health sector, where a brand can define a patient experience through everything from signage and uniforms to appointment reminders and patient portals — there’s no sector more important when it comes to creating a brand that understands its audience.

You need to build trust and credibility amongst patients at every turn, and to do this, you need a brand that’s easy to connect with, identify with, and, most importantly, a brand you can recognise. 

So here are three key things your health brand should zero in on.

1. Focus on co-creation

It’s important you work alongside stakeholders to map out what the brand should stand for — stakeholders could be anyone from patients, service users, health professionals or regulators. 

Give stakeholders the opportunity to collaboratively design a narrative and identity that is robust and evidence-based. Nothing is guessed or assumed. Instead, you’re gaining multiple perspectives from the people who matter most.

2. Establish a trusted brand with partnerships

When it comes to making a decision, whether a professional, patient or commissioner, this decision isn’t determined by just one person or one organisation alone. There are many different touchpoints, all of which play an important part in the process. The health sector is a complex one, and all these different players have value; that’s why building effective partnerships are vital to the success of your brand.

You want a trustworthy brand that has the reach and impact necessary to be successful — and partnerships are what help you achieve that.

3. Make your brand flexible

Regardless of sector, your brand needs to be flexible to change, but in a healthcare setting in particular — an industry characterised by change — your brand needs agility at its heart. Whether it’s changing systems, processes or regulations, your brand has to be ready to move quickly when opportunities arise, ensuring it remains relevant. 

To achieve this, your brand has to be underpinned by a clear and comprehensive brand narrative, which provides the spine for your brand to work from. 

Before you go

Making any changes to your brand, regardless of how insignificant it might seem, can impact the way your brand is perceived.

We’re experts in communication and all things branding. And just over the last few years, we’ve helped many healthcare brands reinforce their trustability through carefully crafted communications. Let us help you too — get in touch.

Read about how we created a new brand for Liverpool University Hospitals Foundation Trust.

We are delighted to announce that Kaleidoscope is now an accredited Living Wage employer.

This means that every member of staff working for the business will earn a real Living Wage – now and in the future. Although all of our current team already earns more than the Living Wage, this commitment underlines our belief that our long-term success will come from operating in the right way as a responsible business and our people are at the very heart of that.

The real Living Wage is higher than the government’s minimum, or National Living Wage, and is an independently calculated hourly rate of pay that is based on the actual cost of living. It is calculated each year and is announced by the Living Wage Foundation as part of Living Wage Week. It is currently £9.90 in the UK, with a higher rate of £11.05 for London, reflecting the higher costs of living in the capital. 

Over 9000 organisations, including us, voluntarily choose to pay the real Living Wage. You can find other organisations who pay the Living Wage here: https://www.livingwage.org.uk/living-wage-map

The way we communicate in business has changed, 62% of companies are still using three or more video calling platforms in 2022, and we have Covid to thank for that. Covid has forced companies that have never considered remote communication before to embrace it, and it seems it’s a hard habit to shake.

No longer is it reserved for international client calls; instead, team catch-ups are happening via Zoom, and daily briefings are taking place on Teams. But what does this shift mean for business communication going forward?

Has communication lost its human touch?

Non-verbal cues are crucial when building relationships. How often have you misconstrued an email because of a full stop or one-word answers? It’s easy to read too much into simple punctuation choices or behaviour when it’s not in-person.

Sentiment is easier to gauge when sitting right in front of someone. But we can still connect as humans via technology. Technology facilitates quicker, more direct communication, which is great in certain situations. For example, to clarify a point or to follow up after a meeting. Where we lose the interaction is on a personal level, building relationships, checking in with coworkers, daily chit chat, idea sharing etc.

So how can we bring back the human touch when communicating post-covid? 

Meetings are longer and we’re getting tired quicker

You’d think not travelling to the meeting itself would mean you’re raring to go. But, apparently, that’s not the case. Yes, they’re more convenient, but video calls are getting more frequent, too frequent — they’ve become the go-to choice for a quick catch up. This means “Zoom fatigue” — probably a term that’s haunted your dreams over the last two years, is real, and it’s affecting staff productivity.

Some companies, like Allianz, have introduced Zoom-free days in a bid to address these fatigue issues and restore the work-life balance. Although this might address the volume of meetings on a particular day, what does that mean for the other days?

Maybe it’s time for these meetings to be more deliberate and slimmed down. Because 42% of employees on video calls say they dial in and contribute nothing, having meetings that produce actionable results where everyone involved is relevant and can contribute effectively could be the way forward.

We’re able to become more efficient (and greener)

Remote communication opens a window to a more efficient and productive way of working; there’s no doubt about that. It means you can stay in the same frame of mind — it fits seamlessly into your working day with no upheaval.

Remote communication offers us the chance to save money, petrol, time and energy. It helps lower the carbon footprint of businesses. Client communication can be instant; you’re not searching for weeks to find a convenient calendar opening. You can share documents and screens and annotate collaboratively as the meeting progresses. There’s no arguing that it isn’t a better use of time.

But there’s still a place for in-person meetings. Building rapport is crucial to the success of a campaign or a project. That’s why adopting a hybrid comms model is how most businesses will function going forwards. It matters how we use these tools to communicate for the better. Just because they’re there doesn’t mean they should be overused.

At Kaleidoscope, we highly value communication and collaboration, here are 3 ways collaboration improves the client-agency relationship.

 

We’ve invested time over recent months to refresh the foundations of our business and give ourselves a platform for growth. Early on in this process we knew we needed to find a new work environment. So we set out to find a space that reflected our company values and supported us as we moved forward, reconfiguring our team structure and bringing new team members in — we needed a space to take us into the future.

We’ve finally said goodbye to the space we’ve called home for seven years…and moved 15 steps down to our brand new office space! Yes, really, 15 steps down the corridor.

A brief office history 

We won’t bore you with the minute details, but our evolution of office spaces has seriously piqued with our new one. Our previous office played a huge role in the business since our MD James took over, and before that, we were located in Rodney Street — which was our base for 25 years.

Our Rodney Street office was split level, so collaboration wasn’t free-flowing. Up and down the stairs to talk with colleagues — not great. And our most recent space, although much better suited to our needs, simply doesn’t fulfil the modern hybrid working criteria. 

Our needs changed

As we grew and the team expanded, we realised we’d become more sophisticated as a business. There wasn’t any private meeting space in our old office, just a bookshelf to separate areas — short story, it didn’t work for anyone — employees, clients, whoever. There was no confidential space for clients; you couldn’t take personal phone calls easily or have a chat with employees without unintentional earwigging.

It was doable with a team of four, but a team of 10? No way. The number of video calls we’ve had over the past two years caused distractions. People in the same room were on the same call on different laptops, and the sound quality was poor; the experience was jarring.

With Covid, we’ve become accustomed to sitting on a couch or a bed to work from. People want to make their own choice — that’s why most staff members now choose to work from home one to two days a week. But when they’re in the office, we need to offer a better environment. 

So, what’s the new space like?

We’ve got collaborative spaces, different types of seating, and a proper functioning kitchen with a high desk area. We wanted to create a space close to the home environment. An environment where employees felt comfortable and relaxed and had a say over how they worked — whether that was from the kitchen, in a noise reduction seating booth, on a couch or at their desk.

We’ve got a brand new 100% confidential meeting room, all kitted out in the best video conferencing software. We can easily facilitate remote meetings without all crouching around one laptop screen.

We wanted to create a space that encouraged collaborative approaches. Employees can sit and chat, plug their laptops into one of the many TVs at their disposal and quickly illustrate a point or present an idea. 

Our employees can now use any space for socialising, meetings, eating — it’s completely flexible. The changes we’ve made will help us deliver a better service and a better employee experience.

Check out our image gallery below. 

We’re still in the Cotton Exchange, which is perfect. We love the building, and it’s a great location for staff and clients — it’s central to the business district. Don’t hesitate to pop in for a coffee — we want to show off our new kitchen!

Get in touch to discuss your project. 

Many young people don’t know what they want to do with their lives when it comes to finding a suitable career path. So, if that’s how you feel, too, you aren’t alone. 

With youth unemployment figures rising to almost one million in the UK, having dropped by a massive 107,000 since the impact of covid alone, assisting our young people into sustainable employment that suits them and their skillset needs to be a priority we all share. Lack of entry-level positions, rise in retirement age, lack of experience, and generalised perceptions of young people are just a few barriers standing in their way.

Young people crave not only a wage but also positive early interventions from employers, providing opportunities to build their self-confidence to stave off emotional problems that may stunt their lifelong earning/career potential. 

At Kaleidoscope, we believe that we must help young people wherever we can. Whether through advice and guidance, work experience or developing communications campaigns and tools, we want to help develop their skills and self-confidence.

Finding what motivates you 

It’s easy to get stuck on the career conveyor belt, jumping from job to job with no real direction. Most people tend to stay in the industry they first fell into at a young age, which is alarming considering 85% of the global workforce are unhappy in their jobs.

With this in mind, it’s crucial to get in tune with what motivates you. You spend, on average, 35% of your waking life at work. So discovering what genuinely motivates you will make you feel better about giving a third of your life to your job. 

Finding your motivation can be hard, especially at a young age, but there is no greater strength than understanding yourself; this will influence your career choice, CV, interview confidence, and ultimately your future happiness. 

Not sure what motivates you? Sometimes it can be good to talk to those who know you best, to hear what they believe your greatest strengths and skill set could be. You could also check out the fantastic resources available on the Windmills Foundation website.

Useful resources

Here’s a list of some great free resources that may help you brush up on your CV, hone your interview skills and find work experience/apprenticeship.

CV support

Having a strong CV is the first step towards landing the job you want, so it’s important that it speaks to the employer and shows why you’d be a perfect fit. Check out the support available on the National Careers Service website. They also have a freephone line where you can speak to a specialist advisor.

Interview skills 

Offering a freephone telephone number and live chat options with an expert, the Prince’s Trust has some good tips on the do’s and don’ts when sitting the dreaded job interview. Check out their website for plenty more advice and guidance around employment. 

Work experience

Volunteering, internships, work shadowing, and part-time work are all great ways to enhance your skillset and try out various career paths before prioritising one. Many companies also offer paid work experience. Check out Prospects for a wide range of work experience options locally and across the UK.

Apprenticeship scheme/search engine

Check out ‘Be More’, part of the Combined Authority’s apprenticeship and careers portal for Halton, Knowsley, Liverpool, Sefton, St Helens and Wirral. With almost 500 apprenticeship vacancies currently available, it might be worth investing a little time scrolling through to see if anything stands out.

How we help

At Kaleidoscope, we believe, as an agency, that supporting our young people is increasingly important, and we like to do our part when providing opportunities to young people in our region. 

We’ve enjoyed working with the University of Liverpool Career Studio project, which aims to assist young people in finding exciting employment opportunities. It’s a flexible student-led space where students can talk with an experienced peer-to-peer coach to discuss their career aspirations.

We also enjoy working with Agent Academy, delivering a session each year where we provide an insight into the comms agency life. Their next programme launches on 14th June 2022.

Over the years, we’ve enjoyed working with many young people keen to learn more about agency life. We’ve offered them work experience and helped them figure out whether or not our industry is for them. We might even come out of it with a new hire. If not, no worries; we’re happy to hopefully give them a little more direction than they had before. We’ll always try and point anyone in the right direction whenever possible.

If you’re interested in seeing agency life in the flesh, don’t hesitate to drop us a message, we’ll work out something.