Friday, 25 June 2010

Fashion faux pas, friendly banter and Mr Simon Dover… it’s a funny business

Simon Dover - A very 'hands-on' style employer....
it's just exactly what his hand’s on that you have to worry about.
Steven Barnes, Production

I was first introduced to Simon back in '89 on work experience (when all this was fields). To be honest, at first I didn't quite know what to think. Funny? Yes. Welcoming? Yes. Good at his Job? Yes. Big 80's Moustache? Absolutely.  

But was he a mate I could have a great laugh with or was he my boss? The answer was both. I think that's what makes Simon so unique. I am always impressed how that 'friendly' approach forged many long-term client relationships, making dealing with clients easy as they feel relaxed and often become friends (well most of them!).
Darryl Akerman, Design Director

First impressions: "This man is a little bit strange"
And now: "Idealogy's best oddity!"
Shelley Crouch, Designer

When I first had the pleasure of meeting Mr Dover he was clearly a big presence (no pun intended) in the then Selling Ideas. He knew his stuff in business terms but brought in clients not just through the skill of the team but through his personable nature and attitude - we were fun to work with.

Little did I know that 11 years later he'd be one of the few people that I could randomly email about 'meeting me at a Harvester' and he would know exactly what I meant, replying 'only if the horseradish is freshly made'. Unique!
Paul Skinner, Digital Media Developer

 “Brown shoes with black trousers… do YOU think they go?” said Simon Dover  “Er not really my taste but fine if YOU like them.” said the interviewee passing him on a tour of the building.

That interviewee was me and little did I know that was my ‘impressive’ opening line to my new MD!

Rarely do you work for someone who believes in such an open door policy – in fact there are no doors and there is always an encouraging word when things get tough. An obsessive wordsmith, with good old fashioned typographic values Mr D is the person behind most of the words here at Idealogy. He knows a lot of things about a lot of stuff and what he doesn’t know – he’ll find out.

Under his guidance and amazing networking skills, the company has grown from strength to strength. And I’m still here… 6 years on, so maybe he values my wardrobe advice after all. Or maybe it’s my lemon drizzle cake!
Anna Ecuyer, Client Services Manager

A role model networker, who is passionate about pleasing customers.
James Surridge, Director, Demand Strategy

It's been so long since I first met Simon  and the only way I can actually remember what he used to look like before the worries of running a small business aged him, is by looking in the 20th anniversary book!! Not pretty.

Still, from start to finish Simon has been one of the most interesting, intelligent and different bosses I have worked for. Covering a wide range of disciplines cannot be easy and managing a group of 'creatives' can only make it harder. Through the ups and down of a growing business, from recessions to redundancies, boom time to bloody hell time he has always been there making decisions and steering the company in the general direction it should be going, and he must be doing something right as we're still here 20 years on.

I can't really fault much about my boss, not just because he'll read this but because being at this company has shaped my career path into something I still hold a great interest in -  and not many companies can do that for their staff - and that's one of the biggest benefits of a company like this, run the way it is. Well done Simon, shame you support the Saints! :o)
Simon Johnson, Digital Media Director

First impression: Entertaining, slightly mad, scary moustache
And now: Entertaining, slightly more mad, generous, starbucks/ bacon bap lover, copywriter extraordinaire. 
Charlotte Blake, Finance Manager

I met Simon 16 months ago on my first day at Idealogy. With his bold as brass demeanour tone he turned to me and said, "Hi Dan, do you like Santana?" In a fairly blunt manner I replied, "No I don't." and rattled off some artists I did like. I had killed that conversation dead and he moved on. As soon as Simon had gone I turned and said, "What does Simon do at Idealogy?" the reply… "He's the boss".

Every time Simon walked into the room there was a humourous verbal outburst and I soon realised how random and interesting life was going to be in my new job.

One thing’s for sure, he knows his onions and will go out of his way to help anyone. As Captain of this ship he’s obviously doing something right. May our working relationship stay on an even keel!

Here's a quick limerick that for me sums him up…

I met a wordsmith called Simon Dover
Turn to him when in wordy bother,
Asked, "Can you help me?"
He'll say "Sit on my knee"
Blink and he's sent the copy over. 
Dan Soutan, Designer

First impressions: "Really, he's the boss? /lol"
Lasting impressions: "It's your turn to get the Friday ferry beers in" - Simon. D
"WTF again?" - Richard.S
Richard Spinks, Developer

Simon is good at:
•    Getting stuck in to a project, warts an' all
•    Writing copy that's fresh, relevant and interesting to read
•    Motivating those around him to strive for better
•    Asking the questions every body else forgets
•    Inspiring trust in our clients
Simon is bad at:
•    Sitting on the fence – he just tells it how it is,
•    Resisting the urge for a bacon roll and a Starbucks
•    Choosing good music to replace Jeremy Vine's radio show
•    Giving up because it looks a bit tricky
•    Sensible office nights-out 
Nick Hart, Account Manager

Spring 1995. Oasis release Some Might Say. Take That were Back For Good and Bruce Willis was dying hard... again. The partnership I was working for went belly up and Take That swiftly followed suit.

I was 21, looking for a new job and soon an opportunity arose. An interview with one Mr. Simon Dover. The date was set and the venue… his house!

I was greeted by his lovely family, all in the middle of watching a Prince concert. Bravely I ignored the tittering and all 5’ 4” of me shimmied, in my black suit and purple shirt, through to their kitchen where a table had been arranged to have the interview. I say arranged, Simon had moved the condiments out of the way and used his cuff to give the table the once over. He introduced himself and gave me the rundown of Selling Ideas (as it was then). My first impressions were of a well-mannered chap with the sort of facial hair that would have given Bruce Grobbelaar ‘tache envy. A sort of Benny Hill - Inspector Clouseau hybrid if you will.

As I turned the pages of my portfolio, I heard a sound that can only be described as a fox choking on a custard slice! “Sorry about that” exclaimed Simon “That’s my son Tom. He’s not feeling great at the moment”. I continued in the most professional a manner I could muster in the surrounding madness and it went well all things considered. Following an 'enlightening' visit to the studio, plus some gentle hassling from me, I got the job.

So here I am 15 years later, still trying to work in professional a manner amongst the madness. Simon is still the same old lover of great typography and lasagne sandwiches that I remember. The hairs a little greyer the ‘tache is now a Frank Darabont goatee but more importantly he has always been someone who continues to give a damn in this cynical industry, putting people first at every level of the business.

Summer 2010. Oasis release their greatest hits and Take That ARE in fact Back For Good. I also hear Bruce Willis will indeed be dying hard again. Some old guys just don’t know when to stop. Including Bruce Willis. 
Dave Birch, Senior Designer

When I first met Simon, he seemed to be a cool guy and made me at ease with his smiles.

All I can say is that I am very lucky to have him as a boss, although he hates when I say that!! He is very kind, friendly, caring and generous but most of all he always knows when I don't understand something, explains it again to me and always makes me laugh!
Karine Djivanian, Client Liaison Administrator

And finally…

The A – Z of words I associate with my friend and colleague Mr Simon Dover.

Danny La Rue
Eggs & Bacon
Norwegian Music
Red Funnel
Xmas Party
Paul Wright, Operations Director

Posted by all of Idealogy

Friday, 11 June 2010

Simple Simon says you’re gonna be No.1!

Simple web site helps brand to No.1 UK OTC skincare position by becoming powerful charity, recruitment and partnership campaign promotional tool.

Simple is, today, the UK’s No.1 Over The Counter Facial Skincare brand. Built on over 50 years experience in caring for all skin types, this journey to market ascendancy has been a potent combination of teamwork, product development and powerful market and audience awareness.

Simple takes as much pride in using the right ingredients for your skins’ needs, as it does in creating all the relevant building blocks to help it reach this remarkable achievement.

One of the cornerstones of the program has been the use of as a powerful communications, commercial, recruitment and partnering vehicle. In recent months extraordinary effort and creativity has gone into generating some ‘best-in-class’ campaigns like SkinTrition™, Search for a Simple Star and the Simple Challenge.

As a key part of the Simple Brand team, Idealogy’s Director of Digital Demand, Simon Johnson, and his team were asked to turn these campaign concepts into natural, user-experience driven, on-line environments by using to it’s fullest extent and incorporating a vivid, memorable and valuable web experience - at the same time providing advice, nutrient knowledge, healthy eating recipes, games, the opportunity to make important charity donations, and a social-media style recruitment platform.

Technically, the front-end campaigns were simple enough (no pun intended) but the back office was a functional minefield. Getting all kinds of publishable data to link and be searchable, from ingredients, nutrients and recipes. Acquiring personal data, encouraging 3rd party voting and behaving like a Facebook style social utility by matching Simple brand characteristics to personal attitudes, values and lifestyles. Using a viable e-commerce model to generate £50,000 of donations for MacMillan, the UK’s best-loved charity, to help improve the lives of people affected by cancer.

And, on the face of it, we did a great job. Such powerful and emotive communication and technical competence has helped push Simple’s brand awareness and, ultimately, it’s market position to the top of the pile.

But don’t let anyone tell you that it was simple getting there!

Posted by Idealogy

Monday, 7 June 2010

Rabbit, rabbit, bunny jabber, yup, yup!

A psychologist might say that a young lady who spends excessive time playing with her little bunny, and with a track record of many midnight trips with a prone Oscar (the Dwarf Lop Rabbit!) to Pet A&E, is a strong indication that things are not all well in the hutch.

Despite her lapine tendencies, one of Idealogy’s newest recruits, Shelley Crouch, is hardly ‘hopping mad” – which is exactly the point! Getting her to come out of her shell has been the biggest challenge.

Her work, as one of our cross-media designers, is high, high quality. Her willingness to learn new disciplines, such as web based design and HTML and CSS coding – no worries! And her strange passion for Trance music makes her fit right in with the, let’s just say, eclectic musical oeuvre of the Idealogy Design team. And she loves the slightly ‘bloke-ish’ humour that glues the whole thing together.

But now, well into her 2nd year, things are changing – she’s become a strong defender of her design principles and a regular contributor to a broad range of digital matters. And we’re waiting for the moment when she tries to recruit a few of the lads to dress up in wigs and prance around the IOW Bestival. Perhaps more to the point, she’s not afraid to have a dig at her managers. In fact, to quote Chaz and Dave, “now I don’t mind ‘avin a chat, but you have to keep givin’ it that”

So, to put the psychologist in his place, we’re all very happy that Shelley is now well and truly out of her shell.

The problem we’ve got is getting her back in it!

Posted by Idealogy