A life lesson in (carbon) literacy

A group of CPL One colleagues spent a day learning how they can have a positive impact on sustainability in the workplace and at home.

How carbon literate are you? This was a question a group of CPL One journalists were encouraged to face up to when they took part in a recent training course.

The day course was organised by Lead With Sustainability, an expert group that focuses on helping businesses like CPL One reduce their environmental impact by helping employees raise awareness and take action.

“The day course was a really useful mix of presentations and discussions,” says editor Louise Parfitt, who took part in the training along with colleagues Ian Farrell and Helen King.

“We were all asked to think of two pledges – one professional and one personal – to take from the course. A professional ambition might be to research energy suppliers to find more environmentally friendly alternatives, or to consider what financial products your company uses to see if it could make more sustainable financial investments.”

Helen says that considering more sustainable options for business can also have a positive impact on the content CPL One creates for clients.

“Environmental, social and governance (ESG) is a major topic for pretty much all the organisations we work for. Carbon literacy training helps us understand the challenges their businesses are facing, and the opportunities available to them.”

Ian agrees: “As editor of Circular magazine for the Chartered Institution of Wastes Management (CIWM), I’m always exploring issues around sustainability and the journey to net zero, so I’m keen to learn as much as I can.

“In the workplace, that could be about how we can nudge colleagues into improving our collective recycling behaviour or ensuring we power down appliances at the end of the day. At home, it could be about switching to a green energy electricity tariff.

“The training was really valuable. It showed how we, as individuals working in companies, can really make a difference.”

Building on our commitment to digital advertising

By joining the Internet Advertising Bureau, CPL One gains a wealth of knowledge in a fast-evolving space.

CPL One is now a member of the Internet Advertising Bureau (IAB UK), the industry body for digital advertising.

Becoming a member underlines CPL One’s position as a content marketing agency with the skills and knowledge to succeed in the digital advertising space, now and in the future. 

As we join the IAB in its commitment to building a sustainable future for digital advertising, we also become part of its community of 1,200 members that includes media owners, agencies and brands.

Membership means CPL One employees can access the IAB’s wealth of resources, including research, reports, tools and insight, and benefit from its comprehensive range of training courses, events and networking opportunities.

“Digital advertising is continuing to grow at pace,” says CPL One managing director Mike Sewell. “We know that digital is increasingly a priority for organisations and brands when it comes to reaching, influencing and delivering for their customers.

“Becoming a member of the IAB means we can stay ahead of the curve as new digital channels continue to emerge and evolve, and ensure the advertising services we offer evolve at the same time.”

Starting conversations and connecting communities

Ian Farrell, editor of Circular magazine, chaired an expert discussion at our client CIWM’s latest sustainability conference.

At CPL One, we know that engaging membership audiences isn’t only about creating fantastic printed magazines or digital content, it’s also about developing trusted relationships and helping to build supportive communities in which useful knowledge and experience can be shared. 

For example, last week, CPL One editor Ian Farrell chaired a round table event at the Festival of Circular Economy 2023. The festival is a sustainability conference organised by our client, the Chartered Institution of Wastes Management (CIWM), for which we create the award-winning Circular magazine. 

Across the festival’s two days of virtual live-streamed content, changemakers and thought leaders from around the world gather to share their insights and expertise on all things to do with developing a circular economy to create more sustainable futures for us all.

This year, Circular was the official media partner of the festival and Ian, the magazine’s editor, was invited to chair a panel session on the role of technology in the circular economy. The expert panel consisted of: Chukwumaobi Ibe from Sheffield Hallam University, who has a special interest in the building and demolition industry; Dr Michael Groves, CEO of data aggregation and analytics company Topolytics; Philip Mossop from climate technology company Pentatonic; Matthew Gawn from waste management software company ISB Global; and Abi Heijgelaar from NHS Services Scotland, whose role is in the procurement of non-disposable supplies can improve the NHS’s environmental credentials.

Across the session, the varied discussion included topics ranging from waste crime and AI to big data and smart materials. 

“Exploring the interconnected ideas of expert contributors in different sustainability and circular economy roles is fascinating,” Ian said after the event. “Circularity represents a way to cut carbon emissions, look after natural resources and deal with pollution – all while protecting jobs and giving people a better way of life. 

“To get it to work, we need people right through the value chain to talk to each other, from product designers to retailers to waste managers. That’s why bringing people together at events like the festival is so vitally important,” he said.

For CPL One’s dedicated editorial staff, chairing discussions at conferences and festivals demonstrates their investment in and knowledge of our clients’ industries and specialist sectors. It also reflects our understanding that connecting communities is a foundational aspect of creating positive change for organisations.

You can read more about our work with CIWM here.

Content is king for CIBSE members

Research reinforces benefits of creating engaging and useful content as key part of membership organisations’ value proposition.

The excellent and engaging digital and print content created by CPL One’s team for a leading membership body has again been recognised by readers.

CIBSE Journal is regularly voted as one of the top three benefits by members of the Chartered Institution of Building Services Engineers (CIBSE).

Now new research reveals that 88% of respondents rate the magazine as ‘excellent’ or ‘good’, with nobody saying it is ‘not very good’ or ‘poor’.

A total of 69% of respondents said the accompanying content hub at cibsejournal.com was ‘excellent’ or ‘good’, while other channels such as webinars and podcasts were also popular among those who engaged with them.

Membership bodies’ content offering is an important part of their value proposition, especially when it achieves an industry-leading standard. This is certainly the case with CIBSE Journal, with 65% ranking it the best magazine for the built environment.

The commercial value of an effective magazine is also clear; 59% of respondents to the CIBSE survey have specified products or sought more information about them as a result of online or print advertising.

CIBSE chief executive Ruth Carter said: “We work in a dynamic, fast-evolving and forward-thinking industry, focused on ensuring our buildings are safe, healthy places for people to live and work. To do this, it is essential that our members are kept up to date with news, policy and guidance, and CIBSE Journal plays a pivotal role in this.”

CPL One managing director Mike Sewell said: “These results show that our team, led by editor Alex Smith, is continuing to create compelling content that is respected and valued by CIBSE members and the wider industry.”

To find out more about how CPL One can help create value-adding content for your members, get in touch.

Five tips to help kick-start your membership value proposition refresh

Reinvigorating your membership value proposition may seem like a daunting task, but it doesn’t have to be that way, says senior content strategist Martin Bewick.

Setting out to refresh your membership value proposition (MVP) can feel like a big, big ask. The same can be said when you set out to tackle other broad-based outputs of strategic marketing aimed at long-term transformation.

The goal is to demonstrate value for the membership fee. This means you need to question, from the outset, the link between the benefits you offer and the desires of your audience. Then you need to plan to create positive engagement around them. This is often when CPL One comes in to help an organisation test their insights, make recommendations, and develop and deliver useful communications around the MVP.

Ultimately, your MVP needs to give your audience a reason to join, and then stay as a member. But does yours do this? And how do you know? 

When you start asking these questions, you may see obstacles that can throw the transformation process off course. Indeed, refreshing your MVP might feel like opening a can of worms, but it doesn’t have to be that way.

From our experience of working with clients and hearing from membership professionals over the past year, here are our five tips to consider when starting to discuss your MVP refresh.

1. You’re not jumping off a cliff – even if it initially feels like it

First of all, don’t panic. Revisiting your MVP may sometimes feel like a ‘would like’ rather than a ‘must have’. It may leave you thinking: ‘The board hasn’t asked for it.’ ‘Our members haven’t demanded it.’ ‘Our team hasn’t the time.’ ‘Why make the leap now?’ In reality, however, reconsidering your MVP is rarely the daring leap it might initially seem. It’s simply a process of testing what you think you know about your services and your members, and adapting to or incorporating new findings. Think evolution, not revolution. It’s about building from the foundations and principles that delivered success in the first place. So don’t fear it. Which leads us to…

2. Transformation is a path you’re already on

If you’re reading this, you may already realise that the way you demonstrate member value is changing, or needs to. From here, it’s the route forward that you need to navigate. Which way is quickest? Where could you make the most impact? Which communications channels might prove most effective? With a little guidance, the answers to these questions can become clear. Remember, too, that your MVP is foundational, so don’t worry about finding all the answers in the next quarter. Instead, play the long game. The challenge you’re tackling was there before you began the work, and will not disappear once this project is completed. Your MVP is the organisation’s lifeblood. It needs ongoing care, and a refresh is part of that commitment. 

3. You can’t please all the people all the time

This is one we come back to again and again. Of course, you may encounter some resistance and scepticism from internal stakeholders. So, pick your battles and get the right people onside by explaining what the objectives are and why they are right for the organisation. Also, accept you won’t reach all of your potential audience at the same time, in the same way, achieving the same results. What is the most urgent goal? Is there a particular member benefit or career stage that needs attention? Perhaps you could prioritise that. Or concentrate on rearticulating your basic promise to members before starting to target specific, harder-to-reach, or harder-to-convert sections of your membership. 

4. Your call to arms needs to be clear

To take stakeholders with you on your MVP journey, your objective – and the way you communicate it – needs to be clear, consistent, inclusive and useful. This is imperative if the action plan is to cascade through the organisation and out to members. Your MVP rollout needs clear instructions for all stakeholders across touchpoints. Remember, what you’ve planned needs to be actioned and actioned again. That means it needs to be ingrained into the culture. Think beyond your stint explaining the MVP plan. Who will take it up? Can you pass on the baton? Who to? And what tools might they need to take it off your hands? This, too, needs to be part of the plan.

5. Data and insight are your allies

When your action plan is founded on quantitative and qualitative research it’s more likely to deliver. For example, quantitative data may tell you where the disconnects are, and qualitative data how to fix them. However you gain your insights, delivering a reinvigorated MVP is usually easier when you can fix on the one clear reason for the refresh. Anchor to that. This reason is the ‘why’ of what you are doing. Ensure your actions are consistent with it. From there, it’s about listening, acting on your knowledge, and ensuring the people to whom you have listened continue to be heard.

Find out how CPL One helped to create a membership value proposition for the Royal College of General Practitioners.

Relaunching a well-loved charity magazine for Versus Arthritis

The revamp of Inspire magazine reflects a strategic repositioning of the charity’s offer, with the aim of increasing membership and regular donations.

To paraphrase the Ancient Greek proverb: ‘You never step twice into the same river – because the river has changed and you’ve changed, too.’

Why do we mention that here? 

Well, when CPL One relaunched Inspire magazine for Versus Arthritis (VA) in 2023, it gained a bold, contemporary look. But behind the new design was a strategic repositioning of the charity’s offer, built on a new membership drive. The charity needed to adapt its offer to a changing world and an audience with evolving needs and expectations. The proposition for the magazine changed accordingly, staying in line with the charity’s refreshed objectives. Put simply: things never stay the same.

Membership goals

A strategic shift for VA in 2023 has seen the charity implement a membership proposition – with the goal of increasing revenue and building an engaged community of supporters. To do so, it needed to position Inspire as a key member benefit.

Doing this necessitated a complete reimagining of the product, increasing its size and quality. 

For the CPL One team, led by senior editor Tracey Lattimore, the challenge for the relaunch was to update a well-loved product for readers. This involved bringing fresh editorial thinking and vibrant design ideas to deliver a makeover with purpose – and potential to become a commercial proposition and tool for member acquisition.

A bold and modern new look

Creatively, the brief was open – CPL One was asked not to be influenced by VA’s brand guidelines, ensuring we could bring a totally fresh look to the magazine.

To do this, our design team reimagined the look and feel of Inspire from front to back. We referenced consumer trends in illustration style, typeface design and colour palettes to ensure Inspire would be seen as ‘something worth paying for’. 

The redesign brought a bolder, contemporary approach and a colourful, more graphic feel with imagery that delivered real impact and a playful use of typography and design.

Editorially, the new Inspire has also evolved. In response to reader surveys, more health-related features have been added within the mix of news, practical, lifestyle and real-life interview features.

CPL One has also adapted when it comes to format, taking a test-and-learn approach to whether the magazine should be saddle stitched or perfect bound. 

Although the latter was appropriate for the increased pagination and to increase the perceived value of the magazine, readers suggested that, in many instances, perfect binding caused practical handling issues for people with arthritis.

Delivering on our promise

For VA, the new magazine has delivered against early objectives. For example, in the first eight weeks after the soft launch of the paid membership scheme, 450 people signed up, well ahead of the target of 300.

The average amount paid by members is already £3.50/month, ahead of the recommended £3 a month target. On top of that, the cost per acquisition so far has been very low, with VA carrying out only limited paid-for advertising via Facebook.

Jack York, innovation manager for Versus Arthritis, said: “The launch has been ahead of all of our projections and the feedback from our community has been amazing. The magazine provides an invaluable source of information and support for people living with arthritis.”

CPL One managing director Mike Sewell added: “Versus Arthritis is a longstanding client for CPL One. We first created Inspire for the charity 10 years ago when it was known as Arthritis Care. Following the merger with Arthritis Research UK to create Versus Arthritis, the magazine was revamped to reflect the new brand and, in 2023, we’ve worked with the charity to reimagine Inspire once more. We know that over time clients’ needs change and so do the expectations of their audiences. Our job is to evolve with them, and with Versus Arthritis we’re proud to have done just that.”

Sign up and join Versus Arthritis’ Inspire community here.

Gold accreditation for CPL One in Best Employers 2023

Results from employee engagement survey among the best in East Anglia.

“It’s one thing to talk about ‘helping people belong’; it’s quite another to have the data to prove that you are doing it pretty well.”

Those were the words of director Sophie Hewitt-Jones as she reflected on the strong results from our 2023 employee engagement survey.

Carried out during 2023 as part of the Best Employers Eastern Region programme, which is organised by independent psychometric testing experts eras ltd and Pure Executive, the survey was the first to be carried out since CPL and Century One combined to create CPL One.

“Considering the amount of change in the past year, it was great to be recognised with a gold accreditation,” said Sophie. “It means that our scores are among the top 30% of all organisations taking part, which wasn’t the case when CPL first took part in the survey in 2018 and 2019. We have made great strides forward since then, earning a gold accreditation in 2021, and it’s lovely to have retained it in 2023.”

More than 100 regional organisations, with a combined total of 9,000 employees, took part in the 2023 survey. CPL One’s employee engagement rate was ahead of the overall average at 77%, while 91% of respondents said they would recommend CPL One as a great place to work.

CPL One’s business purpose is ‘We help people belong’. This applies to the audiences that read, watch and listen to the content we create for clients – and to our employees.

“Taking part in the survey helps us to benchmark how we’re doing in employee engagement compared with other organisations,” said Sophie. “Being recognised as a top employer also helps us attract and retain the best talent.”

The accreditations were announced in October at a special event in Newmarket attended by more than 100 business and HR leaders from across East Anglia. 

Our managing director Mike Sewell, who was joined at the event by colleagues Edwina Brewster (pictured above left) and Anna Cruickshank (above second left), was among the keynote speakers, along with CEOs from Jarrolds department store in Norwich, Arthur Rank Hospice near Cambridge, and Fortnum & Mason. 

Mike told delegates the story of how the programme had played a significant part in honing and improving our people strategy over the past few years. 

He talked about how CPL One’s three-year strategy is based on four elements: “Having the right people; working for the right clients; doing the right thing; and achieving the right profits – in that order.”

He stressed the importance of having the right leaders in the right places, highlighting how CPL One needs to improve if we are to earn the top platinum accreditation in the future.

“It’s all very well talking about your business purpose and writing lots of nice policies and strategy documents,” he said. “But actions speak louder than words. 

“So what’s really important is how everyone behaves on a day-to-day basis. That doesn’t just mean your board or senior leadership people; it’s teams and individuals at every level of your business demonstrating through their actions that they are committed to your purpose and values.

“We believe that helps us to grow a sustainable business where people are motivated to do great work for clients. There’s plenty still to do, but this accreditation recognises that we’re on the right track.”

A champion performance at Newmarket races

“The team at CPL One did a fantastic job in bringing our detailed brief to life.”

A special marquee devoted to two new Darley stallions and boasting interactive games and key promotional information was among the highlights for racegoers at the world-famous Dubai Future Champions Festival earlier this month.

Held at Newmarket’s Rowley Mile Course, the event is among the highest-profile meetings in the Flat racing calendar and a showcase for Darley and Godolphin, which are major CPL One clients.

Racegoers flocked to the special ‘Hall of Modern Games’, which promoted Darley’s exciting new stallion Modern Games along with Native Trail, another new addition to the spectacular Darley European roster.

The team at CPL One worked with a range of partners and our client to devise and create around 80 different pieces of promotional material, all with the goal of promoting Darley’s multi-million-pound superstar stallions. 

Treats included merchandise and branding across the racecourse, from the unusual (the Modern Games marquee and imagery that covered lift doors) to the more traditional. These included racecards, posters and graphics for private boxes and, of course, the winning line. 

A dramatic timeline showing Modern Games’ journey from Godolphin champion racehorse to Darley stallion was another highlight as was a dramatic 12m square display featuring Ghaiyyath, former World champion and current Darley stallion.

Alison Horan, head of global marketing for Darley and Goldolphin, said: “The Dubai Future Champions Festival provides a great opportunity to promote our stallions. It also reinforces Darley and Godolphin’s continuing commitment to the racing industry in Newmarket, charitable work and beyond.

“It was also a chance to show some real creativity in developing materials that would capture the attention of racegoers and television viewers. The team at CPL One did a fantastic job in bringing our detailed brief to life.”

CPL One works with the creative team at Black Type Ltd to provide a full range of marketing services for Darley and Godolphin across multiple digital and print channels.

One of the interactive games inside the marquee

Stallion wraps on the lift doors

The impressive image of Darley stallion Ghaiyyath on the grandstand
PPA awards montage image

We’ve done it again!

CPL One has been shortlisted for publications, podcasting and video at the PPA Independent Publishers Awards.

CPL One has been shortlisted for three more awards in 2023.

This time it’s the PPA (Professional Publishers Association) Independent Publishers Awards.

Our teams have been recognised for their top-class creative and strategic work in the following categories:

Managing director Mike Sewell said: “When it comes to industry awards nominations, it’s been a fantastic year for CPL One. It’s great to see a variety of our work being shortlisted again.”

The awards celebrate the businesses, teams, and individuals that are delivering standout work, seeking innovative approaches to best serve their audiences, and that have made a difference in their sector over the past 12 months.You can view the full shortlist here.

President’s commendation for CIBSE editor Alex Smith

CPL One’s CIBSE Journal editor receives prestigious recognition for his long-standing commitment to excellence in support of the building services organisation.

CPL One editor Alex Smith received a surprise birthday present last week. During CIBSE’s annual President’s Awards dinner, which took place at London’s Waldorf Hilton hotel, Alex received a CIBSE President’s Commendation in recognition for his long-standing work as editor of CIBSE Journal.

Alex has been editing the Journal since joining CPL One in July 2012. The nomination for his commendation noted his continued commitment and enthusiasm to keeping readers informed on the latest news, policy updates, groundbreaking projects, and interviews with leading industry figures – all of which made CIBSE Journal “a must-read monthly magazine”. 

“Alex’s passion, energy and enthusiasm for the subject matter shines through,” the nomination said. “He is well respected in the industry and has formed excellent working relationships with senior CIBSE staff, members and manufacturers, ensuring the magazine is not only an informative read but also is a commercial product.”

At the event, which took place on Alex’s birthday, CIBSE chief executive Ruth Carter told guests: “I am truly honoured to deliver a special President’s Commendation to someone who plays a pivotal role in shaping CIBSE’s presence on the international stage.   

“We would like to recognise Alex’s ongoing work and skill in championing, guiding and sharing CIBSE’s direction of travel.”

Making the headlines

In his time as editor, Alex has navigated several nationally important topics that have required sensitive treatment and journalistic integrity.

“In 2017, the Journal faced the challenge of covering the Grenfell Tower tragedy appropriately. Alex found the right tone and angle, avoiding sensationalism. His editorial column highlighted the failure of collaboration between disciplines and listed ‘must-do’ changes across the profession,” the nomination added.

“Since the fire, the Journal has continued its balanced and informative reporting on developments with the Building Safety Review, and building reforms.  

“With the COVID-19 pandemic, Alex ensured thorough reporting on the latest guidance and advice around mitigating the risk of infection and the spread of COVID-19.” 

CIBSE Journal is a flagship magazine for CIBSE and the wider industry and is consistently rated the organisation’s number one member benefit. Alex’s commendation highlights his continued hard work in support of the organisation and its members.

Congratulations Alex.