How David's ideas helped hit the spot with proud football fans
IT has worked with national brands as diverse as Sainsbury's, the Football Association and Carphone Warehouse.
In 2011, creative design agency Origination ran season-ticket renewal campaigns with both Derby County and Middlesbrough.
Despite neither side performing particularly well on the field in the previous seasons, they were the only two in the Championship that saw an increase in season ticket sales.
The idea behind both campaigns was to get to the heart of what those clubs meant to the fans and generate an emotional response.
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David Leatt, managing director of Origination, sees his work with Derby County as a blueprint for how he approaches every business with which he works.
His work with the club stemmed from being a life-long fan and an intimate knowledge of what it means to support Derby County, but he came to Middlesbrough as an outsider.
"I interviewed the manager, Tony Mowbray, because I wanted to find out what was at the heart of the club," says David.
"It was at a time when the club was doing poorly and there was a lot of pressure on the manager.
"I think he thought that I was just another reporter wanting to interview him and at times he didn't seem interested in the conversation but he came to life when we spoke about the area and what it meant to him, because he was brought up there."
Mr Mowbray's feelings about Middlesbrough Football Club were articulated through a video that went viral in Teesside, galvanised fans and reminded them of what the team meant to them.
The slogan "It's in the blood" – simple and straightforward – hit the spot and season ticket sales got a boost because fans felt more involved in the club and were more engaged.
David says: "There is a lot more competition out there for us now because the technology is so accessible but if you don't get the strapline right and make that message consistent throughout an organisation, if you don't get 'We Are Derby' or 'It's in the Blood', then you're not going to engage people and give them something to believe in."
Though Origination would claim no credit for Tony Mowbray still being in charge at Boro or for the club pushing for the play-offs, the Derby firm did its bit.
Origination has been involved with football since the 1990s when it started helping Derby County out with its match programmes and other publications, as David was ahead of the curve in terms of technology, having been an early adopter of the Apple Macintosh computer in the mid-1980s.
Prior to the club's move to Pride Park, Origination was even involved in discussions that took place about the name of the venue, originally going to be called the New Baseball Ground.
Origination is responsible for much of the branding around the ground.
"With branding it's about getting to the truth and that's why we need to speak to the people who are at the sharp end of running a business," says David.
Work with Derby County even led to a contract with the Football Association to produce packs for corporate guests while Wembley was out of action.
These included VIP passes, tickets and a cardboard pop-up stadium.
The FA was an organisation that had cash to splash but, even when times are hard, David believes that high-quality, professional marketing campaigns are an investment rather than a simple cost to a business.
Word of mouth and a strong client list is essential to win new work, as the marketplace for design work becomes more and more crowded.
"Technology has given people the capability to create but not necessarily the ability to be creative and to deliver what clients need – there's a big difference," says David.
"At the moment, trading conditions are undoubtedly the toughest I've known them to be in 25 years and just about everyone is feeling it.
"Rolls-Royce effectively throws an umbrella over our city and protects it from the worst of the economic conditions but things are not easy for many businesses.
"Our job remains to sit down with a client or a prospective client and understand how to maximise their potential.
"A lot of creative agencies will simply give a client what they want in terms of brochures or websites. It has always been our goal to give clients what they need, although to do that you have to really get to know a business or organisation. You have to find out what makes it function and what its unique selling points are."
One notable success in recent years was the work that Origination undertook with Orchid IT, visible from Origination's offices in Pride Park.
Back in 2008, the company was called Orchid Business Computing.
"In Brett Critchley and James Twigg, they had two very dynamic individuals heading the business so I met with them and they explained to me what they did and what their ambitions were," says David. "It became clear that they did much more than business computing so we helped them reposition themselves in the market and get the message out to potential customers."
Now that Orchid has been sold to GCI, Origination has been retained to carry out design work for the larger firm as it rebrands other businesses it has acquired up and down the country.
David says: "You can't tell people how to feel about a business or a product, you have to lead them, cajole them and excite them. It is our role to help educate. People are intelligent so you have to play on their emotions in order to convince them.
"When you talk to a client or a prospective client, they will tell you the right things but not necessarily in the right way. What we do is interpret what they say and get that message across to the right people at the right time."