Oak Creative has been a long term creative partner to Kent’s prestigious Invicta Chamber of Commerce. The relationship began over 20 years ago and has gone from strength to strength, because our values align so clearly in helping Kent’s businesses to succeed.
The iconic Kent Invicta Chamber logo features the Invictus horse and was designed by Oak Creative, along with all kinds of external brand communications such as infographics, animations, membership materials and creative campaign design. We spoke with Deputy Chief Executive, Tudor Price to find out how the Kent Invicta Chamber have been operating through 2020.
Q: Tell us about your journey through lockdown:
A: In the weeks prior to the UK lockdown, Kent Invicta Chamber had already started to experience an increased number of phone calls with questions around Covid 19. National Helpline numbers published by Government were quickly overwhelmed and did not have the resources to advise, businesses themselves needed clarity on safety and there was much uncertainty for all. At that stage we knew that as a business support organisation, Kent businesses were going to need our support more than ever in the coming months. We approached Kent County Council with a solution to help the 13 local authorities in Kent and Medway, by way of the Covid 19 Business Support Helpline. When the government officially announced the national lockdown, we launched the helpline promptly on 23rd March in partnership with KCC and local authorities. In addition, we set up our teams to work remotely so that our premises was vacated by 25th March. It was a very busy week!
Initially, we anticipated opening the helpline for 3 months with a forecast of around 60 calls per day. On day 2 we received 275 calls! We quickly extended the team and the whole Chamber became part of the support team as we drew in staff from all departments at this crucial time. We are very proud of the operational data from the helpline – we didn’t miss one call. At a time when people needed to speak to someone about their livelihoods and their options, we were there. Unlike contacting the banks or HMRC, the fact that we were local to them and could give relevant advice was so important in helping individuals.
Q: What role has your brand identity played during the pandemic?
A: We did a market research exercise nearly three years ago and one of the outcomes described Kent Invicta Chamber an ‘important and necessary organisation’. The pandemic has only reinforced the role that we play within the Kent and Medway business community and our local economy. As a business support organisation, we strive for our brand reputation to be one of reliability and credibility. We knew that we needed to open our doors and help businesses, so we gave people certainty when the world was a very uncertain.
The Covid 19 Business Support Helpline has received praise as an exemplar model in the UK. The work put in by the teams at Kent Invicta Chamber has not only meant we’ve helped many businesses, but we’ve demonstrated our capabilities which has been recognised at government level. Some of the data gathered via the helpline will be used to help determine future economic trends. As a brand, this kind of recognition shows that we are an exceptional and pioneering business support organisation.
Q: What do next 12 months look like for your business?
A: Whilst the future has a degree of uncertainty, Kent Invicta Chamber are fortunate by virtue because our support will need to continue. We are well positioned to tender for government schemes and will remain busy guiding Kent’s businesses at what remains an unprecedented time.
Right now, it’s business as normal where we can. We’re successfully delivering regular online events and took our large annual construction conference online, with 325 attendees which was fantastic. Face to face events will return when the time is right. Our membership teams have taken their whole recruitment process online and will continue to do so for the foreseeable. We also launched a Business Recovery Support Programme, featuring online workshops and one to ones. This was hugely popular and gave businesses opportunity to plan their recovery, making use of relevant loans, grants and furlough schemes.
Finally, Brexit has been overshadowed this year but it is of course yet to happen! The Chamber will be a customs agent so we will be offering this new service early next year. Whatever next 12 months brings, I am proud and confident that the Chamber will provide a steadfast service to the businesses of Kent and Medway to help them navigate their way to success.
Q: How important has having a creative partner been for building your brand?
A: It has been so important for our brand to have the relationship that we have with Oak Creative. The fact that Oak developed the Kent Invicta Chamber core brand means that you handle all of our core branding items very efficiently. Having said that we frequently turn to Oak when we have a vague creative idea, or we know the problem but not the solution! Oak Creative proposed and delivered an outstanding illustrated creative style for our #AskPhil campaign in 2017 for the Kent & Medway Growth Hub, which is still in use today. Furthermore, Oak has produced videos and animations which deliver clear and succinct visual communications, all of which helps our brand to be a go-to resource for Kent businesses.
Oak Creative has been a creative partner to Kent Invicta Chamber of Commerce for more than 20 years now, which is a testament to the way our partnership works. We know exactly what Oak can offer us, you know the brand and you always deliver quickly.
Visit Kent Invicta Chamber of Commerce website to find out more details about the support they offer to Kent businesses.