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19 Oct 2020

Beinn An Tuirc

Beinn An Tuirc

From Barbados, to Campbelltown (with a small layover in Lochgilphead)

Written by Hollie-Beth McGregor Updated Oct 20 –

2020 has been a strange year for us all. At Midton, we’ve had to change and adapt to new projects. When a new opportunity came up to work with local distillers, Beinn an Tuirc, on screen printing bottles for their new venture, we knew it would be a great time to experiment and develop a new skill. I caught up with one of the directors, Emma, to talk about our partnership.

Much like us here at Midton, Emma explains that Beinn an Tuirc’s ethos is rooted in sustainability. Their gin is sustainably produced using the distiller’s own renewable energy, powered from a small hydro-electric scheme on the estate. Recognising their carbon footprint from processing and distribution, the distillery also has a dedicated tree plantation site to help reduce their impact.  

Before meeting the company directors at a course a few years back, Emma admits that she had no knowledge of Midton, or what we were capable of. Admittedly, she did not think that the company would be an opportunity for collaboration, with the use of acrylic holding a negative stereotype for damage to the environment. After a tour of our factory, however, Emma was blown away by how innovative the company was.

Emma was also surprised by Midton being a major employer of the local area. Beinn an Tuirc have an ethos of supporting local businesses, and keeping work local where they can, so this resonated with the distillers. Following this, they were excited to learn that we were a company that matched their thoughts on sustainability. We informed the distillers of the processes and projects we were undertaking to boost our sustainability and cut back our wastage during projects. Beinn an Tuirc respected our willingness to become sustainable, with Emma noting it’s always a journey we all have to continue to improve on. From this, a collaboration was formed.

Torrisdale Castle Estate Independent Bottling is an exciting new branding avenue for Beinn an Tuirc. Emma explained that while Kintyre Gin has been established in its own light, it is now time to showcase Beinn an Tuirc more widely. The thinking behind independent bottling was the opportunity to establish a new branch of the brand that brings both the Torrisdale Castle Estate and distillery together. For the team, this avenue is about tying together the family businesses.

The new project entailed the independent cask bottling of a small batch of ten-year-old Foursquare rum. The rum has spent 5 years in Barbados, 4 years in Europe, and has been spending its final year resting in the Beinn an Tuirc distillery.

Described playfully as a “Game of Thrones” design, the bottle was designed by Kenny, one of the founders of Beinn an Tuirc, to represent the family heritage. The distillers had used screen printing on their Kintyre Gin bottles and knew this would be a strong design to follow. Emma explains that for them, screen printing gives the bottle a smooth, tactile feel. When dealing with rum, it is important to see the richness in colour. When screen printing, this allows you to see within the bottle, with both design and rum working in harmony to create a simplistic, effective design. Emma also points out the longevity of screen printing. With the design printed on to the bottle, there is a reduced worry of damage. There is no worry of labels peeling, ripping, or tarnishing. Overall, using screen printing provided the best quality, and clearest visual impact. There is also a fun dual-purpose element to the bottle, once finished, you can always upcycle the bottle to make a decoration for your home!

Although a service we had not offered or attempted before, the suggestion was put forward for Midton to provide screen printing for the bottles. At Midton, we specialise in the rapid production of small batch screen printing, but we had not ventured into glass bottles. Working with a local company with a focus on sustainability and keeping carbon emissions low, however,  was too good an opportunity to let pass us by.

Working with Beinn an Tuirc was a pleasure for us at Midton. Being geographically close, with a good working relationship, meant that we could both go through the collaboration together and work efficiently to create the desired finished product. Collaborating with a local company allowed Beinn an Tuirc to follow their ethos of working locally and supporting local businesses. Working with a company like Beinn an Tuirc, who are so rooted in sustainability, proves Midton’s ability to embrace and encourage sustainable working.

Bottling the FourSquare rum is only the start of Torrisdale Castle Estate Independent Bottling. The new branch of the business intends to continue bottling new exciting spirits, so keep your eyes peeled!

If you want to get your hands on one of the 250 bottles of 10-year-old Foursquare single cask rum, bottled at cask strength (64.99% ABV), go to https://www.kintyregin.com/, or visit the distillery in Campbelltown. The distillery has a shop, tasting room, and runs both virtual and in-person distillery tours. Visit the website for more information.

Beinn an Tuirc was established in 2016 by two brothers, Niall and Kenny McAlister Hall, and Niall’s wife, Emma. Based on the Torrisdale Castle Estate, near Campbeltown in Argyll, the company produced their first bottle of their delicious Kintyre Gin in 2017. From here, the distillery has continually produced outstanding gins and is now moving into independent bottling.  

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09 Oct 2020

From Midton Acrylics to Midton: new vision, new brand, new website

From Midton Acrylics to Midton

new vision, new brand, new website

Written by Craig Cameron Updated Oct 20 –

Our Vision: design, make and deliver globally renowned product experiences

Our regular customers will have already noticed many of the changes here at Midton. We have redefined many aspects of the business and re-focused our company culture. We have taken the time to consider who we are and who we are trying to become as a company. We are very pleased with this renewed focus and we’d like to spend a few minutes to explain how we’ve changed as a business.

Creating a customer experience that inspires and delights

Allowing a customer-centric ethos to drive every aspect of the company

Almost all of the biggest changes here at midton are a direct result of our renewed focus on our customers — on providing a customer-centric service. Whilst we have always cared about our clients and tried to meet their needs, we have increased our focus, allowing this holistic perspective to influence and shape all aspects of our business.  

We’re aware that ‘customer focus’ is a bit of a buzzword at the minute, but we think it is trending for good reason and that it’s a great idea to allow this ethos to affect how we work and develop as a company. Our customers are the most important part of midton; without a diverse range of clients, we would never have made it this far! 

Our customer-centric ethos is perhaps best illustrated by our commitment to work to our clients’ schedules, as opposed to them working to ours. Sometimes this makes our lives a little more difficult… but we also know that it’s one of the reasons why we have such high rates of returning clients and the hustle and bustle these short deadlines creates gives the midton headquarters a strong drive and sense of excitement.

Defining our distinct services

Bespoke Manufacture, Custom Acrylics and Recognitions

Whilst our focus on our customers looks outward, we have also looked inward, reassessing and defining our different services. We felt it was important to understand the main aspects of our business and we discovered that almost everything we design and develop at midton can be organised into one of three distinct services:

Bespoke Manufacturing — Our unique manufacturing capabilities coupled with our in house creative team enables us to deliver a diverse mixture of high-concept products for clients across all industries. Specialising in small batch production Midton can support you in one off prototyping to projects of 5000 units +.

Acrylics — High-end acrylic manufacturing, acrylic embedment and bespoke materials for clients across a range of industries. Making materials from scratch midton are able to produce pantone matches, colour effects and textured materials at custom sizes.

Recognitions — Financial tombstones, deal toys, Industry Awards and Employee Recognitions. For 30 years Midton has been delivering unique and timeless recognition awards. Now using a wide range of cutting edge technology and working in a wide range of materials Midton continue to lead this industry.

Offering unique experiences

Nothing we do is “off the shelf”. Everything is unique. In fact, a dedication to our products’ uniqueness is perhaps the one thing the acrylics, brand tools, and recognitions sections of midton all have in common. Every client we work with is one-of-a-kind, so everything we design should reflect this. 

Our products as experiences

We have also redefined the way we think about our products. Rather than looking at them as just physical objects, we are instead looking at our products as experiences; we are paying attention to the reactions and emotions they evoke in people. This shift in perspective has added new insight into the power and impact our designs can have on their various audiences. 

Manufacturing: a change of mindset

We are still a manufacturing business, but we are taking a more holistic approach by expanding the information that informs our manufacturing processes. One way we’re doing this is by looking at the various stakeholders that interact with or rely on our products and finding ways to make their jobs easier — often by ensuring that our products meet each person’s needs along the way. Manufacturing is still a core part of midton’s brand, and we are trying to put even more thought and consideration into every aspect of the manufacturing process.

Responsibility is key to the Midton brand

While we have always been a responsible company, rebranding is a great opportunity to reassess and redefine our values and our processes. Responsibility is important in every industry, but the nature of that responsibility is also unique to each industry.  We think it’s important to recognise the duty we have to our clients — to recognise the effect our products can have on our clients’ advertising and marketing campaigns. Our products and services can greatly impact our customers’ businesses and it’s important to always be sensitive to this. 

On the topic of responsibility, it’s worth noting that we are also going to greater lengths than ever before to reduce our impact on the environment. Acrylic is an oil-based plastic, so we believe it is our responsibility to ensure that midton’s environmental impact is mitigated and that our behaviour as a company is responsible and sustainable. 

Greater understanding of physical marketing 

We have always been in the physical marketing industry, but our rebrand has prompted us to consider the nature of physical marketing in more depth and to allow these considerations to inform and inspire the work we do. 

We have also considered and developed our own knowledge of the way our customers will use our brand tools, recognitions, and acrylics to achieve their own physical marketing goals. There’s a tangible, tactile aspect to physical marketing that you don’t have with digital or even print marketing. This tactile quality can make a lasting impression on customers and it’s something luxury brands often go to great lengths to convey.

Marketing is about emotion, and physical objects can be more emotional and evocative than digital and print media. We are going to greater lengths to consider the emotions our work evokes in our customers’ target demographic. We believe that an enhanced sensitivity to the emotional aspect of physical marketing results in significantly better final products.

It’s an exciting time here at midton and we hope we’ve conveyed at least some of this excitement in this article. There is so much more happening and developing in the midton headquarters, so watch this space over the next few months if you’ like to know more. If you have any questions for us, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.

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09 Oct 2020

Employee Recognitions in the Modern Age

Employee Recognitions in the Modern Age

Why it pays to recognise and reward your employees

Written by Craig Cameron Updated Oct 20 –

Here at midton, we provide countless awards each year for businesses keen to recognise their employees’ achievements. Some companies come to us with a full appreciation of the importance of employee recognitions and others are only starting to understand the potential benefits recognitions can bring to their business. Taking the time and effort to recognise employees is a vital part of managing and maintaining a modern business and, with this blog, we’d like to give you a few reasons why it’s important to invest in employee awards and recognitions.

Recognised employees = Happier employees

Intuitively, it makes sense that recognising employees’ efforts, loyalty, and achievements makes them happier in their job. This much seems obvious, but it’s something many managers and bosses forget, as some management styles favour discipline and enforcing order over positivity and praise. However, several studies have been carried out that prove employee recognitions ensure employees are significantly happier and therefore much more engaged in their job.

David Sturt, of O.C. Tanner Co., wrote in Harvard Business Review that his company carried out a study on close to 1,000 employees from several large businesses and discovered that 70% of employees whose efforts were recognised by management where happy in their jobs. While only 39% of employees who didn’t receive recognition where happy in their jobs. This confirms the intuition that recognising an employee’s performance ensures they are happier in their job. The benefits of making employees happy are manifold as it improves performance, loyalty, and work-life balance (as people who are happy at work bring that happiness home). 

Recognitions aren’t just a one off

We hope most readers are convinced that it’s important to keep employees happy. It’s not just a nice way to manage people: it also makes a lot of business sense. However, if you think that a one-off awards ceremony will suffice, you may be disappointed, as O.C. Tanner Co.’s study found that it was import to refresh recognitions regularly. In the study, they found that 80% of employees who had been recognised within the last month felt fulfilled in their job and that only 42% of employees felt fulfilled by their job if it had been over two years since their employees had officially recognised their efforts or achievements. 

Greater recognition = Greater trust

It’s also intuitive that bosses and managers who recognise employees are much more likely to have a positive relationship with their employees. Perhaps the best marker of a good boss-employee relationship is trust; and it’s not going too far to say that trust is an essential part of any healthy, functioning workforce. 

It shouldn’t surprise you that 90% of employees who felt appreciated by their boss or manager have been shown to have high levels of trust in their superiors. 

What does this mean for you? If you’re high up in a company and you’d like to forge a better relationship with your employees and encourage higher levels of trust and job satisfaction, then employee recognitions can provide you with a simple, positive method of achieving this. 

Greater recognition = Smaller staff turnover

Staff turnover is an issue for most industries, but it can be extremely debilitating in highly skilled industries where the recruitment process is slow, arduous, and expensive. Rewarding staff above and beyond raising their salaries is the best way to improve staff retention rates. While it’s true that you are paying staff for their time and expertise, a good manager looks for ways to boost morale, improve job satisfaction, and ensure that the best employees aren’t looking for a new job in their spare time. 

From Midton’s perspective, designing recognitions is a really satisfying, positive industry to be part of. Interest in our recognitions service increases, year on year, as more companies realise how useful it can be. Consider employee recognitions (awards ceremonies, certificates, weekly positive emails) as an investment in the relationship you have with your employees. A positive, functional professional relationship will help you get more out of your workforce and it will earn loyalty that significantly lowers the rate of staff turnover. Our advice is to integrate regular employee recognitions into your company culture; this isn’t a difficult process to implement and there are huge potential benefits. If you have any questions about our recognitions offering, please feel free to get in touch.

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09 Oct 2020

Guide to Financial Tombstones and Deal Toys

Guide to Financial Tombstones and Deal Toys

Written by Craig Cameron Updated Oct 20 –

Businesses are always looking for ways to reinforce connections with other businesses and to celebrate their achievements. Gifting financial tombstones and deal toys can be an incredibly powerful way, to leave a lasting reminder of your brand in the offices (and minds) of the companies you’ve worked with. We’ve written this guide to help anyone interested in financial tombstones and deal toys. We’ll discuss the following in this guide: 

  • What financial tombstones are. 
  • Where they come from. 
  • The difference between financial tombstones and deal toys, between deal gifts and Lucite tombstones. 
  • The benefits of gifting financial tombstones to other companies. 
  • And the reason why midton puts so much effort and emphasis into our financial tombstone designs. 

Where does the term Financial Tombstones come from?

Try not to be too confused by the word ‘tombstone’, as this sometimes brings up bad connotations. Here, the word ‘tombstone’ comes from the late 1800s, when the printing industry referred to advertisements that had no illustrations and were the width of one column as ‘tombstone advertisements’. They were called this because some people thought that the adds, with their bold writing and lots of space in between the lines resembled tombstones.

This name carried over to the financial industry, when it became a legal requirement when completing a larger business deal with another company to print a tombstone advertisement in a newspaper to provide the public with the basic details of the deal. These became known as ‘financial tombstones’ and they were required to list the participants of the deal in order of importance, according to their role in brokering the deal. 

Over time, companies began experimenting with financial tombstones, looking for clever ways to transform them into mementos for all the key players in their various deals. A trend started where they were presented in acrylic and these are the financial tombstones or deal toys as we know them today. 

What’s the Difference between Financial Tombstones and Deal Toys?

There aren’t essentially any meaningful differences between financial tombstones and deal toys. The terms are usually interchangeably. It used to be the case that more people in the UK referred to them as financial tombstones and, across the Atlantic, in the USA, they referred to them as deal toys. But the term ‘financial tombstones’ has risen in popularity in the US in recent years. If there is any difference between financial tombstones and deal toys, it may just be that there is more emphasis on the ‘toy’ aspect of the design with deal toys. However, most of the time, deal toys and financial tombstones are exactly the same thing. 

What are deal gifts and Lucite tombstones?

If it wasn’t already confusing enough that financial tombstones and deal toys refer to the same thing, they are also sometimes called ‘deal gifts’ or ‘Lucite tombstones’.  They are called deal gifts because some companies would rather distance themselves from the term ‘toy’. The term ‘Lucites’ has been adopted from the Lucite brand — a leading producer of acrylic material favoured for its clarity, warmth, and weight. Lucite is the high-quality clear acrylic material most regularly used to make financial tombstones. Given that they can be referred to as many things, for the purpose of this guide, we’re going to simply refer to them as financial tombstones.

A Memento: Why give out Financial Tombstones?

Transform the finality of a closing deal into an ongoing relationship.

Now that you know exactly what financial tombstones are, you might be wondering what benefits they offer businesses who choose to give them to the individuals and companies they deal with. Different companies might have their own ideas about the benefits of gifting financial tombstones, but we feel that they provide companies with an incredibly powerful way to establish and maintain relationships with other companies. 

Financial tombstones are also a fantastic way to acknowledge individual talent and hard work — to reward various key people involved in a big deal. Not only is this great for morale, it’s also great for PR as this helps your brand connect with key professionals as well as the businesses they work for. If these individuals go on to higher positions, with greater influence, there’s always a good chance they’ll keep their financial tombstone and remember your company.

For hundreds of years, businesses and organisations have sent over tokens of appreciation to other businesses they’ve worked with. At one point, in Britain, companies were known to send grandfather clocks to other companies! Thankfully, most businesses today are more interested in financial tombstones.

The main reason to send any kind of gift to a company you’ve recently worked with is to consolidate your business relationship. After a deal goes through, companies usually go their separate ways. But we don’t think there’s any good reason to allow that business relationship to disintegrate.  If you make an impression, then there’s a much better chance they will want to deal with your company again. Financial tombstones can be the ultimate memento of a business deal and gifting the perfect design can give leave a lasting impression on them. 

Extremely elaborate, impressive business cards

If designed correctly, a financial tombstone can be a striking piece of 3D design. Most financial tombstones will have the names of the companies involved with the deal and a few other details; but, other than that, they can be incredibly creative and aesthetically pleasing works of art. It might be useful to think of financial tombstones as elaborate business cards that are usually kept in a display cabinet or set out in the middle of the office for the staff and visitors to appreciate. If you get the design just right, you can ensure that your company will be a talking point in another office for years to come! 

Design is so important with financial tombstones

Great design is crucial if your tombstone is going to be pride of place in your client’s or partner’s office. This is why midton focuses so much energy on our creative team. We put a lot of effort and emphasis on getting to know our clients’ brands and the brands of the companies they work with. We believe that the companies’ brands and the nature of the deals they make together should inform the design of each financial tombstone we create. 

Putting such emphasis on design helps midton’s financial tombstones resonate with people in a way that other financial tombstones won’t. We think it’s these extra details and design elements that really grab people’s attention and keeps our clients on their radar, and this is the whole point behind financial tombstones! We pride ourselves in our incredibly fast turnarounds, but we always ensure the brand identities and the nature of the deal are paramount. If you’d like to find out what kind of financial tombstone we can make for your business, please don’t hesitate to start the conversation.

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