STL smiley faces - ad -creative - graphic design
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Lathwell provides a rare blend of strategic business nous with graphic design and copywriting skills. Your redirection of our branding strategy has given us far greater market reach and recognition, and a much bigger return on our marketing investment.

STL Technology Solutions

Branding, strategic planning & messaging, PR, advertising, newsletters, digital marketing, Twitter

When we ask in our workshops what ‘branding’ is, we rarely get responses beyond ‘logo and messages’. To us, great branding is not just about what you look like and say, it’s also about what you do and how you make your stakeholders feel. The long-running BMW campaign ‘We make joy!’ was successful because it connected with audiences on a deeply personal level. The Black Farmer also gained traction in an overcrowded market by concentrating on how both he and his customers feel. His TV ad captivated his audience with an eccentric showcase of things that make him tick, inviting audiences to have a relationship with him, personally. Meanwhile, Sources Rosport managed to make audiences around the world feel the full gamut of emotions – and in the process even something about bottled water – with this incredible video, which went viral. By staying true to themselves, these brands won hearts as well as minds.

Similarly, albeit with a much smaller budget, Niki and Andrew helped STL Technology Solutions understand the value of authentic brand personality. Its original marketing collateral had concentrated on its technical capabilities and sector knowledge. It was the ‘new kid on the block’ and wanted to look ‘grown up’ so it created a polished image designed to position STL as an experienced business that offers the most professional and functional option to prospective customers.

However, this slick branding didn’t 'cut through'. Lathwell & Associates was brought on board to investigate and advise. Through customer and prospect interviews and some in-depth brand assessment work, we ascertained that in an effort to look as established as its rivals, STL also appeared to offer exactly the same. Its branding gave prospects nothing to differentiate it with, or to connect to - and that led to the inevitable: it could only compete on price, not on the superiority of its technology or service. In contrast, when we spoke to customers, we found they had chosen STL as much for its people as for its products.

After much debate, STL agreed to allow us to develop a more authentically playful brand image that reflects the company’s actual culture of fun, friendliness and cheeky banter. While understandably anxious about this ‘risky’ departure from its original image, the company was reassured that its adverts would still reinforce STL's core proposition (quality, functionality, professionalism, expertise, etc), while making the company stand out as the most interesting choice. It takes confidence to be authentic, and that’s infectious. The idea was to make customers feel confident and great about choosing STL. 

That redirection was a few years ago and we haven’t looked back. Over the years, campaign themes have included:

  • Lead the pack – a cheeky greyhound in STL’s colours leading a field of hounds in STL’s more established rivals’ colours
  • Smiley face – the only face smiling is the one who’s chosen STL systems to run their business with
  • Be a superhero for your company – choose STL (your company’s superpower)
  • Be the best/strongest/highest – STL: the choice of champions (fitting for the Olympic year)
  • Data defenders – presenting geeks as knightly heroes, to promote the rather dull and invisible yet oh-so-critical security services in a less techie, more charismatic, way

This strategy has certainly got STL noticed in a sector not known for frivolity, and this awareness has created more opportunities for the company. Our ‘superhero’ theme captivated the publisher of the leading magazine in STL's target market, who gave it an unprecedented free cover run, and editors now regularly offer STL free editorial space in the knowledge that it (or L&A, as its PR consultant and copywriter) will provide relevant and entertaining copy that will capture the interest of their readership. 

Importantly, because STL’s corporate image, tone and messages (branding) are now true to its actual culture, STL's staff effortlessly reinforce it with everything they say, write and do. This multi-layered consistency infuses the brand with a sense of credibility and confidence that customers can trust. As a result, STL's brand is no longer 'selling to' but 'engaging with' its audiences.

Activities include:

• PR: opinion pieces, case studies, press releases, round tables
• eBulletins, web stories
• Adverts
• Corporate and product literature
• Sales presentations
• Twitter