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Simpsons Creative Quiz 2014

Thank you for entering our Mastermind Challenge competition at Bishop’s Stortford Means Business 2014. Some of the questions turned out to be quite challenging, but we were impressed by the general level of marketing knowledge! Why not have another go at our quiz? The ten questions below are randomly generated from our database, so you won’t get the same set of ten twice....
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Creating a social media plan – Part two

As we said in our last post on this subject, new users of social media have a bit of a learning curve to go through, but getting your approach right from the word go will save time and aggravation later on. In Part Two we take a look at the ‘Rules of Engagement’ (more preparation!) then, getting involved. Finally,...
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Want more media coverage? – Create your own!

With another royal birth in the offing, expect a rash of opportunistic advertising to cash in on the happy event. When Will and Kate’s first born arrived, our local pub landlord put a chalkboard outside his premises (an early form of social media) inviting locals to come in and wet the baby’s head. A nice touch I thought, and one...
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Creating a social media plan – Part one

As social networking goes mainstream as a marketing tool, many small businesses (and some not so small) have rushed to sign up with Facebook, Twitter etc. without any clear idea about why they need them or how to use them. They’re there because they’re there, so to speak, without a business goal or marketing plan in sight. Making social media...
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Of penguins, pelicans and toucans

When I was old enough to read anything more advanced than my ‘Janet and John’ primers, one of the first books I took down from the family bookcase was a Pelican (Penguin’s non-fiction imprint). I couldn’t tell you what the title was, but I do remember being puzzled by the fact that it didn’t begin (like all my other...
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A retail revolution that takes no prisoners

Last weekend my wife frog-marched me into Freeport, the designer shopping ‘village’ in Braintree, which bears more than a passing resemblance to the ‘village’ in the cult 60s TV series The Prisoner starring Patrick McGoohan. It’s all cutesy gingerbread architecture: the shops have gables and verandas, and I counted at least three turret clocks surmounting cupolas and other faux architectural...
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Marketing is poised to go ‘back to the future’

Remember Treets, ‘the sweets that melt in your mouth, not your hand’ and Polo, ‘the mint with the hole?’ Both slogans are examples of a USP – a Unique Selling Proposition – the marketing formula that depends on finding and promoting a key point of difference between your product and that of your competitors, even if it isn’t exactly...
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Refresh before you retweet

We are increasingly being asked to take on the management of an existing Twitter account for a client. It is not unusual for these accounts to be following a very high number of unrelated accounts that have been acquired by a mass untargeted ‘follow’ campaign. This in turn means that any followers gained are likely to have been as...
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Why you need a responsive website

More and more people are using mobile devices to access the internet which, in turn, has led to a large shift in the way we view content and how this content is delivered. This increasing trend of mobile use means that we must take these users into account when we set about designing a website. Mobile devices come in a...
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How can I attract more visitors to my website?

“If you don’t see what you want, please ask” is a sign you’ll sometimes see in shop windows.  For online shoppers it’s a guiding principle. When they don’t see what they’re looking for they drop a description in their Google search box, and the website that comes up with the best match will top the list of search results,...
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What happens if my website goes down?

So you’re almost ready to step out onto the World Wide Web. Before you go online however your web designer will ask you how you want to ‘host’ your website: whether you’ll handle it yourself or have him do it for you. To return to our car analogy, that’s the equivalent of asking you whether you want to join the...
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What should I include in my website?

Launching a website is a bit like opening an office or setting up shop. Probably the first thing you’ll want to do it put your name above the door or at the head of your home page in this instance. That’s why we mentioned the importance of taking a look at your company name and logo in Part One...
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What kind of website do I need?

So you want to create or update your website. Where do you begin? A good place to start is to ask yourself why you need a website, or to put it another way, to think about what kind of website you need and what you expect it to do for you. Commissioning a website is a bit like buying a...
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An A to Z of fonts: what’s what, what’s in and what’s out

Serif or sans serif? Roman or italic? Regular or bold? Display or text? Can you look at a font, recognise it, categorise it and, most importantly, specify it for any given application? If you can’t, don’t worry. Given the growth of digital typography – by the most conservative reckoning there are more than 50,000 fonts commercially available – even...
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Emerald is the new black: Pantone dictates fashion in the ad industry

Once upon a time ‘memories were made of Kodachrome’ and cinema’s latest releases were brought to you in ‘glorious Technicolor’. But with the coming of the digital age these famous systems of colour reproduction have faded into obscurity, even if, in Technicolor’s case, the name lives on as an old label for a new technology. Uniquely amongst them one colour...
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Social media is driven by passion – Not greed!

It’s a difficult lesson for businesses to learn that the most powerful and effective social media is not driven by commercial considerations, but the passion of those devoted to a cause. A case in point is that of author Lynn Truss, who became so incensed by the omission or misappropriation of the apostrophe that she staged a demo outside an...
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If you’re going to ‘be more dog’, get one for the blind!

For the past couple of weeks I’ve been baffled by posters in 0₂ shop windows exhorting me to ‘Be more dog’.  I’ve heard of a man being called ‘a bit of a dog’ – i.e. a scoundrel – and a woman being described more bluntly as ‘a dog’ – i.e. singularly unattractive. So it seemed a rather strange injunction...
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I didn’t go to university – gissa job!

‘Black’s white today and day’s night today’ as Cole Porter memorably phrased it, so perhaps I shouldn’t be too surprised that Rory Sutherland of Ogilvy, the advertising giant, has sent out a call to ‘pot head’ graduates to ‘finish your joint and come and work for us’ on the basis that ‘nobody has any evidence that recruits with first...
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Preserving Britain’s oldest brand: the traditional pub sign

English pub signs are probably the earliest examples of ‘branding’ in the country. In the days when the church and pub were the heart of the village community and the local populace was largely illiterate, stained glass windows depicting biblical scenes and pictorial pub signs – such as the Lamb and Flag or the King’s Head – were effective...
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This is how the world ends – not with a bang, but a wimpy

Whilst visiting some friends in Horsham last weekend I was surprised to discover, in the heart of this historic market town, an unreconstructed branch of the Wimpy Burger Bar chain, complete with its original signage, décor and PVC and tubular steel furnishings. I felt as if I’d walked onto the set of Life On Mars, transported back into the 1960s...
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