Hopkins Solicitors, which has five offices in Nottinghamshire, was one of the first clients to benefit from our design retainer service back in 2019. We’d been working for the firm for three years on a project-by-project basis. With growth in the volume and variety of the work that started with design, there was a better way to structure this relationship, creating new benefits and efficiencies for Hopkins.
The need for design across a wide range of brand marketing resources is consistent. It includes adverts, brochures, folders, posters, leaflets and stationery, reflecting different offices and the varied services Hopkins extend to their clients. We then print and deliver many of these resources, in bulk or through direct mail and door drop campaigns.
We had developed a clear and consistent brand style for Hopkins, which was a strong foundation for a design retainer; an agreement to provide creative support over an agreed number of hours each month, structured through a clear and consistent monthly investment for Hopkins. This arrangement remains in place today. The hours of support may be slightly over or under in any one month, yet over time, the average is aligned to the basis of the design retainer.
The retainer works well for both parties. Briefs go directly to our designers, who already have time allocated to deliver them. Alongside the automation that Hopkins Solicitors’ Marketing Manager Tammy Butler has access to, Tammy can pick up the phone or hop onto a Teams call and chat through a brief or amends with the team.
At least every six months, we’ll revisit the design retainer agreement. We talk with Tammy to understand the priorities in her marketing plan and allocate additional time where needed, such as when Hopkins open a new office. We keep all creative collateral for Hopkins on file and have a stock of key printed items within our warehouse, ready for picking, packing and delivery to individual offices. The Hopkins team can view and order printed items from this stock through a bespoke online order portal, which we created as added value for them. The order portal even allows the Hopkins team to populate template business card artwork, for added time efficiency and to preserve time within the design retainer for more creative projects that maximise their return on investment.
Tammy said: “Because I’m a team of one, having good suppliers who save you time is essential, and being on a design retainer makes my life a lot simpler. It’s all too easy to go over on budget, so paying a set amount for design work every month is really useful.
“My Account Manager Ben and the team are insanely good at communication and always get back in touch the same day. They know the brand and our values, and they know exactly what I’m looking for, so they just can crack on with it.
“I try to use Systematic for everything as they are so reliable, and they never miss deadlines. If, on the rare occasion, when a delivery goes missing, they always resolve the matter quickly. They’ve always been really good about that sort of stuff and I would highly recommend them to other businesses.”
We really value the loyalty of Tammy and the Hopkins team. As all things creative at Systematic evolve to ‘oodle’, the new brand within our family, we’ll be supporting the growth of the firm with even more energy and a growing range of creative services.