Blog

What ‘type’ are you? New book reveals all!

As a copywriter and type designer I have had a life-long love affair with the printed word, so The Type Taster – How Fonts Influence You, a new book by Sarah Hyndman, had a particular fascination for me. Not, I hasten to add, because it’s just an esoteric work for typographical nuts like me. On the contrary, it’s simply...
Add comment

Read More...

What will 2015 bring? Strap on your jet pack!

Futurology is a hit and miss affair: where, for example, are the jet packs, flying cars and rocket planes that were confidently predicted would become part of our daily lives back in the 1950s? On the other hand, the February 1950 edition of Modern Mechanix also predicted we’d be shopping by picture phone, cooking on a solar range and...
Add comment

Read More...

Reaching new heights for Woodall Homes

When a client decides to work with a new local agency, it can represent a huge leap of faith. But it takes something extra special for a client to choose an agency that is based in a different part of the country. Woodall Homes, the Midlands Property Developer that specialises in building new homes in the Peak District, recently commissioned...
Add comment

Read More...

Are you a Cinderella, a Snow White or a Dorian Gray?

Are you a Cinderella, a Snow White or a Dorian Gray? If you don’t know what I’m talking about I’m not surprised because these are three business models I’ve just invented to describe the difference between brand perception and customer experience. So let me illuminate. Taking the worst case scenario first. If you’re a Dorian Gray your brand perception is...
Add comment

Read More...

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....
Add comment

Read More...

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,...
Add comment

Read More...

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...
Add comment

Read More...

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...
Add comment

Read More...

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...
Add comment

Read More...

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...
Add comment

Read More...

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...
Add comment

Read More...

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...
Add comment

Read More...

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...
Add comment

Read More...

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,...
Add comment

Read More...

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...
Add comment

Read More...

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...
Add comment

Read More...

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...
Add comment

Read More...

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...
Add comment

Read More...

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...
Add comment

Read More...

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...
Add comment

Read More...

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...
Add comment

Read More...

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...
Add comment

Read More...

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...
Add comment

Read More...

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...
Add comment

Read More...

Einstein and the new science of marketing

Remember the scene from Back to the Future when Marty drops into Doctor Emmet Brown’s lab on his way to school? Dozens of wall clocks explode in a chorus of chimes triggering a gimcrack machine that opens and dumps a tin of dog food in the already overfull bowl of Einstein (the Doc’s dog). You have there the future of...
Add comment

Read More...

Another safety first from the advertising archives

History repeats itself, and it often brings with it the fashions of its day: witness the phenomenal success of the ‘Keep Calm and Carry On’ poster from WWII that has struck such a chord with us in the stressed-out Noughties and Tens. It’s nostalgic and tongue-in-cheek, sure, but there’s no question that it taps into the zeitgeist and inspires...
Add comment

Read More...

I used to be a copywriter. Now I write my own slogans – for the Big Issue!

There’s a little ditty that’s often recited by advertising people which goes: ‘If the client moans and sighs / Make his logo twice the size / If he still should prove refractory / Show a picture of his factory / But only in the direst cases / Should you show the clients’ faces! It’s a reminder that, when all is...
Add comment

Read More...

KISS – The first law of successful copywriting

Now hands up those of you out there familiar with the terms ‘blastocyst’, ‘Bratt pan’ and ‘graphic filtering’. No? Neither was I at the beginning of the week, but they’ve all been added to my vocabulary over the past few days, and I gather exotic new specimens all the time. Such are the joys of being an advertising copywriter. It’s...
Add comment

Read More...

Nivea’s new face is as ugly as ever!

Do we love people because of their quirks and idiosyncrasies, or despite them?  I mean, you’ve got to love a woman a lot before you can tolerate the way she wears her hair curlers in bed or leaves her stockings to soak in the kitchen sink. On the other hand, as the old song has it (the way you...
Add comment

Read More...

Why we should be blogging

Why Blog ?

There are many reasons to create and develop a business blog. The key aim is to increase visitor traffic to your website thereby increasing visibility to potential customers.  This has to be one of the key objectives of any online activity when it comes to your company website. The greater the volume of visitors to your website also...
Add comment
Read More...