- Gina Solanki
- Creative Strategist
- Manifesto Studios
For this edition of A Talent Point of View, we spoke to Gina Solanki, Creative Strategist at Manifesto Studios – a brand, design, and digital agency that we partnered with to reshape the Talent Point brand. In this exclusive interview, we spoke to Gina about Manifesto’s process, how they arrived at Talent Point’s new look and concept, and their hopes for the brand going forward.
Let’s start from the beginning; what were your initial thoughts when Anthony, our Sales & Marketing Manager, first approached you about the project?
We were excited! But to answer this fully, I think I should first go into a bit about what we do at Manifesto Studios. As a studio, we want to make sure that everything we do is making a transformational difference; to do this you really need to understand a business and their goals before commencing any design work. It’s about putting thought into the process and ensuring the results will be effective.
We always check out potential clients to determine whether or not they’re offering a project that’s the right fit for us – and by that, I mean a project that would benefit from our purpose-driven approach. Our motto is Creativity with Purpose, and that’s what we aspire to achieve in every project we take on.
So, after hearing Anthony describe Talent Point’s approach, we knew you would be a good client for us. We really resonated with the approach Talent Point takes to recruitment, and we wanted to ensure the wider public understood what Talent Point was trying to achieve too. Because, like you guys, we too get under the skin of our clients and really understand who we’re working with – so that we can better meet their needs. That synchronicity was really key for us.
We feel that Manifesto really managed to pinpoint Talent Point’s culture and overall vibe. How did you go about doing that? What was the process?
Our approach is always strategy-first. We never jump straight into design for the sake of drawing pretty pictures – there needs to be purpose. We start with the Brand Strategy (positioning, identifying gaps in the market), which then informs the Brand Identity (how this translates visually). That then runs into Brand Applications, such as your market reports, company website, sales presentations, and so on. The key thing is that it needs to be done right from the beginning – after all, there’s no point in leaping straight into brand application if we don’t have the positioning framework and company identity figured out.
How do we get there? Well, first we run a workshop; it helps us get to know the people who make the business what it is. After all, without people, the company wouldn’t exist; the people are the business. That’s why we consider it really important to understand the people driving the business forward – namely, where those people have come from, how the business has gotten to this point, and where it plans to go in the future.
The workshop allows us to capture all of that. We ask questions about what a company does that’s different, employees demonstrate the values of the team, and we then delve into the details of the business strategies and goals. From that, we start getting a feel for how we can communicate all of this – all of who these people are – into a brand. That’s the only way to be truly authentic – and I know authentic has become a buzzword that everyone's a bit sick of [laughs] but it's still very true!
So how did that workshop go with Talent Point? Did it impact the brand direction?
Massively. We really wanted to capture the energy of that room, because we found that Talent Point is doing things differently; you guys are really putting in the effort to ensure that both sides of that hiring journey feel looked after. Many recruitment agencies only look towards their customers, with the ‘spray and pray’ approach [laughs]. Talent Point take extra care, and that went on to become a pillar of the brand. We leveraged the brand name too, using rich data points and colour points to celebrate Talent Point’s USPs. The fact that every recommendation Talent Point makes is driven by data is a huge difference in the hiring space; you research the market thoroughly before putting potential candidates forward and this fully informed, data-driven approach gives you a reliable point of view.
And the tagline?
We settled on ‘Building Teams From Within’, because that is very much the crux of what Talent Point does. Talent Point go into a company, get to know the people and the process inside-out, then use that knowledge along with data from the market to help build teams. And that in itself – the tagline – is a conversation starter. It doesn’t tell you absolutely everything, but it compels enough to make people pick up the phone and ask the question.
So, the workshop gave you the initial ideas for the brand, but what comes next?
We then went on to start fleshing out the brand from what we had learnt, putting the impressions we got of the company down into rough design by way of moodboards. In the end, we ended up combining different aspects of several different moodboards, borrowing multiple elements and fusing them together into what would eventually become the final brand look.
In your words, how would you describe the final look and feel of the new brand?
Firstly, I’d say it’s purpose-driven. Because every element has a purpose behind it – whether it be data-inspired illustrations to represent your data led approach, or the image selections which aim to be more approachable or thought provoking if on the blog.
Overall, the new brand is approachable, in terms of the company voice and look, and is reflective of the Talent Point team and its approach – this is so important in a market that is so reliant on relationship building.
Finally, I’d say it’s bold. It stands out in the market and will one day change with the market. I think that, as the brand grows, it will change to reflect the market and the company’s own evolution. I’d say the colour choices are pretty bold too!
You mention the brand’s evolution. What are your hopes for the brand, going forward?
Personally, I get most excited when I see a brand being used after we hand it over. Because that means we’ve managed to create something that people are on-board with – something that’s flexible enough for people to start using and adapting as they go on. My worst nightmare would be if the design files are just left on a server somewhere, never being touched or seeing the light of day.
And that’s not even because it’s something we put work into, but because we build these brands to connect with people; both internally and externally. And it’s you guys that will be the living, breathing embodiment of the brand. So, if I get to see that – the brand melding with who you all are and growing with you – then that’s probably my favourite element of what we do at Manifesto. I’m a strategist, so I take a helicopter view on everything! I like seeing how things all come together.
Well I know one area that’s already captured my attention is the data visualisations. Those are very unusual and probably are my favourite element of the new brand. How did those come to be?
Oh, well those came very much from you guys, actually! Mainly, the fact that everything Talent Point does is so data-driven – from your market reports, to your applicant trackers, to the research bytes and blogs that you put out. So, we thought that finding a way to visually represent this closeness to data would be a fantastic way to showcase the unique aspect of Talent Point.
We kind of broke it down and created a beautiful system that can be used and flexed around the data to make it more aesthetically pleasing. But, also, useful… you want people to actually engage with the information that you have worked so hard to pull together. And you want people to actually understand why it's important and what it's telling you. Our task was to find a way to make it beautiful and engaging. And, importantly for the brand, unique and one-of-a-kind.
Finally, what would you say was the greatest challenge you faced, with this project?
Probably the timeline. That being said, it was a challenge we were eager to tackle!
We were very strategic about the way we approached everything, and we tried to work iteratively to get high-impact tasks done efficiently. We kicked off at the beginning of September and, six weeks later, the bulk of it was completed. Considering that was a full brand identity overhaul – including website and ready-to-use templates – I’d say it was pretty quick work on our part! [laughs]
That being said, it helped massively that the Talent Point team was so amazing, being quick with feedback and supportive with everything we needed. It really made our job so much easier. Now we just hope to see the brand live, adapt and grow with the business.
We would like to thank Gina once again for taking the time to meet us and provide such insightful answers to our interview questions; it’s always interesting to see behind the curtain at what other companies are doing!