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The benefits of quality design are often lost because it’s so easy to choose the wrong designers to work with. However, if you choose wisely and get your design and marketing team right your business will communicate professionally, consistently and dynamically. The result of such a winning formula is what we all want – increased business. Follow our seven top tips to choose the right designer.
Follow these tips and you should be well on your way to finding the right designer to partner with on a long term basis – a designer who will positively affect your profitability. If you’ve got this far then, well, we tick all of the above so you can always choose us!
Shoreditch’s bustling café society is thought to be the first place to offer customers a disloyalty card in order to drum up business for local independent baristas and reward customers for trying new places in the area.
The loyalty card is a well-established consumer psychology tool but the idea of collecting stamps from eight different coffee houses in order to gain a free coffee was dreamed up by award-winning barista Gwilym Davies to combat the homogenised high street coffee culture.
The reason behind teaming up with fellow independent coffee shops arose due to the overwhelming demand and lengthy queues at Mr Davies' shop on the back of winning the World Barista Championship.
Initially he tried suggesting nearby alternatives that he recommended on a whiteboard, something that might be the last thing a small retailer might want to do in a very competitive and cost-sensitive industry. But as a supportive gesture for fellow traders and to help satiate the increasing lust for good coffee, it still wasn’t enough and so the disloyalty card was born.
Speaking to the Evening Standard, Mr Davies' business partner, Jeremy Challender, said: “There are a lot more places opening, and as prices are the same, it seems a shame a lot of people haven’t experienced high quality coffee. It’s totally different to what you get in a high street chain.”
The partnership has seen eight independent coffee shops join in with the venture which, if successful, could see the consumption of 45,000 coffees and a new culture of using local coffee traders and award winning baristas that are passionate about the content of the cup they vend.
As a retailer, would you try a similar scheme with fellow businesses?
People like to understand what they're buying into, and see if it fits their values and what they're all about. It could be quality, cool, innovation, value, leadership, surprise, luxury, expertise - the list could go on and for any one brand incorporate an appropriate combination of these.
That core brand promise and positioning sits at the heart of everything. We call it brand glue, and it drives many different business decisions and activities including your marketing. It knits everything together and is something that needs careful thought, so it reflects your brand truthfully and as far as possible is different from your competition.
Think BMW aligning behind a premium driving experience, Nike making sportswear for winners and Disney uniting behind a goal to provide happiness and magic. Things wouldn't be quite so effective or memorably unique if they positioned themselves to make expensive cars, colourful footwear and somewhere to take the kids with a good line in mouse hats.
Similarly, confused thinking and lack of clarity can reflect in a confused customer. Imagine if Tesco wanted to state they were the leading supermarket in the country, the best. Let's also add in great service and low prices. Ooo but lets not forget it's an innovative supermarket too for good measure, and the fact that they're pretty keen on the environment. Far easier to remember they want to do everything they can to help you with your shopping down to the tiniest little detail. Everything else is just features.
A well looked after brand will eventually become clearly understood and familiar, as well as something that customers are willing to spend their money on. That’s good brand positioning.
You can learn a lot from reviewing old advertisements. Sure, they may not be sophisticated but going back to basics is a good way to gain clarity on your own material.
Waterman’s Fountain Pens advertised as an independent company for nearly 100 years before being taken over by Sandford who still have the brand today.
By taking an overview of the headlines, you can understand how they can support the positioning of your company. Building credibility takes time and this is why it makes sense to consider the long term impact of headlines on your website, brochures, direct mail and advertisements.
By keeping in mind where you want your company to be in three to five years, you can create headlines supporting that desired positioning.
Now, Waterman’s used two types of headlines during their most successful period (1900-1920s). One was just the company’s name. This was acceptable as they were well known and had already been in existence over 25 years then. In today’s climate, this won’t really work unless you have a well known, internationally recognisable brand.
Now what is more important is their use of the short headlines. Here is a selection:
1900s The most important part of your vacation outfit
1910s Simple, Reliable, Durable, Inexpensive and Guaranteed
1910s The tool of opportunity
1910s An expression of intelligent appreciation
1920s Try Waterman’s before you buy
1920s A letter a day while you are away
1920s One of these will fit your perfectly?
In the 1910s, they also used one word headlines such as Speed and Self-Regulating.
The headlines highlighted what the user would experience if they used a Waterman’s Pen or, relating to the aspirations of those using a Waterman’s pen.
This approach is still valid today. By understanding the feelings of your market, you are able to appeal to their aspirations or the fears to grab their attention.
Dig out all your headlines. Read them in chronological order, what do they say about your business? Is it congruent with how you are positioning in the market place?
By doing this review, you are able to understand what is being received. You are able to change the words, the tone and the feel of the headline to fit with where you want to be in the future.
Remember, by maintaining true to the long game, you are building the future each day with every headline and every piece of material.
Some people do it, some people don’t: what is the right way to use the blocking function on Twitter?
On a Sunday afternoon when I’m mostly investigating the world of online gaming, I just saw a couple of tweets regarding blocking from someone I respect. She says that there’s no point in blocking people who you don’t want to follow, as they can still find ways to read what you are saying, and it is actually harmful in that blocking sends a red flag to twitter about the person.
I’ll deal with the second point first. Simply blocking a person from following you doesn’t raise a flag to Twitter; using the “Block and spam” option does. So if I block you, it won’t have any affect on your Twitter life, apart from not being able to follow me.
I block a lot of people, and I believe I have a strong reason for this activity. I consider my follower list to be the same as an email list: I use Twitter to publicise what I am doing in my business. So I want to have a good number of people in my Twitter following who are going to be receptive (or at least potentially receptive) to the messages I am putting out. I also want my Twitter following to reflect my values; as I consider MLM to be the wrong way to make a living, I don’t want to have a following which includes MLM “practitioners”, as I feel that it would reflect badly on me. So I manage my list; I block people who I don’t want to follow or be associated with.
In some ways, a friend of mine who runs the social media activity for an events and news website has taken this further: he has built up a Twitter following of close to a thousand, all of whom are within a certain distance of his home town. This means that when they use Twitter for a competition in association with a local venue, they know that everyone who sees the tweet directly in their stream will be able to attend the event. These competitions are now a regular part of their activity, and have lead to Twitter being an important part of their operations.
So blocking can be a useful means of managing your account, keeping it tidy, and of increasing it’s value to your business; don’t be worried about blocking people.
In his post “How small newspapers can make money from Twitter” on the Econsultancy blog, Ben LaMothe sets out a strategy for advertising on Twitter that will depend entirely on any newspaper following it using the block to manage their following, though he does not explicitly say this. If activities such as “sponsored tweets” – a polite way of saying advertising in your Twitter stream – take off in a big way, we will see more use of the block to control followings and make them more valuable to the advertiser.
The best way to increase profitability through your investment in design and marketing is for you to be consistent. There’s nothing worse for your bottom line than your image chopping and changing. The trouble is the damage from inconsistency is so subtle that many business owners are blissfully unaware of the negative effects on their target audiences. Brand irregularity includes conscious and subconscious confusion, distrust and irritation and can result in customers going elsewhere.