Category: bd2 news


A few of bd2′s staff been through the doors of Wigan College, indeed our two latest recruits Joe and Josh recently graduated with top-up degrees from Edge Hill and Salford respectively following a year or two at Wigan. Over the years we’ve built up an excellent relationship with the graphic design course leader David Beattie, who took it upon himself to approach us several years ago looking for any help from local agencies. Obviously we’re more than happy to support the College and its undergraduates so we’ve set briefs, attended the end of year shows, provided placements, given advice and critiqued work. Of these, critiques are without doubt the most rewarding and enjoyable.

I’ve just been through a two stage process with five groups who’ve been given the task of re-branding a leading brand. Their choices included BP, Easyjet, Puma, Wetherspoons and Boots Shapers. A few weeks back we had initial meetings in which we discussed the outline briefs, areas for consideration and general direction for each re-brand. Then I’ve spent the morning reviewing presentations of their work. The presentations combined visuals and mock ups with on-screen Powerpoints and videos talked through by each group member to explain their thinking and ideas – which is all good practice for the professional road ahead. And they were all very professional, both conceptually and in execution with some really good ideas across the board. BP introduced a great strapline ‘being positive’ which relates to the brand and tries to redress the recent damage caused by the Deep Water Horizon disaster through a CSR campaign. Wetherspoons sought to bring local identity to the chain by emphasising the pub first, using traditional fonts, woodcut illustrations and some nice ideas for customers. And the Puma brand was extended with ‘P-class’ a new street wear sub-brand fronted by Pharrel Williams and delivered with a striking new Puma head logo which was delivered with some very dynamic graphic treatments.

I was particularly impressed by ‘ESM Creatives’ [Emma, Simone and Melissa] obvious hard work and strong ideas for Easyjet in which they’d tried to move the perception of a budget airline from ‘cheap and nasty’ to ‘good value’ with a positive user experience, no easy task. A striking new logo was consistently and considerately rolled out across branded marcomms, liveries, uniforms, online and even boarding cards. And some fresh ideas to improve the experience for customers were proposed such as ipads for rental during the flight and a simple bag with water bottle, biscuit, pen and pad to bring back a little charm to the passenger’s journey. A series of really excellent bus stop adverts were proposed which used cutaway posters on the glass to suggest locations and travel.

Top of the class though has to go to ‘Three Peas’ [Hayley, Rachel and Heather] who decided to look at Shapers, Boots’ low calorie meal deal brand which seems to have become very tired and forgotten. The team approached the project very thoroughly carrying out in-store research before deciding on a complete re-brand as ‘Hello delightful’. The brand, logo, typography, illustrations, treatments, packaging, advertising and POS are all, well, delightful and would enhance any store shelf. The execution is exceptional throughout with near production level quality across many examples demonstrating real flair, professionalism and a lot of hard work. They even provided my lunch in the new packaging.

Recognition, as ever, has to go to David Beattie for both his mentoring of the groups and his infectious enthusiasm for engaging with industry, which I know is of his own volition. As is his customary ‘thank you’ Chateauneaf Du Pape!

It’s a long way to go for a job, but I’ve no doubt it’s worth it. Having built a new site for Crewsaver UK, part of the Survitec Group, we were approached by Crewsaver Australia to develop a new site for them based on the UK version and sharing the same product database. Discussions have been ongoing but when the opportunity to actually come over to finalise the deal came along, it wasn’t one that could be easily passed up.

I feel fully integrated, having taken the train from Sydney Central out to Auburn using my Oyster card style Opal pass, followed by a short stroll to Crewsaver’s offices in searing heat and bright sunshine – there’s a downside to everything. The meeting, with their Key Account manager went well and we’ve finalised the requirement with one or two options to consider.

Crewsaver Australia operates as a separate business but wants an essentially similar site to the UK’s with all the same product content. However, local control is needed over content as not all products are sold in Australia and there’s different company info, lifestyle imagery and local social media streams. Architecturally, the solution will incorporate its own content management system which will be populated by the UK product database and will allow the UK to update product info, specifications and imagery but Australia can edit or choose not to display as appropriate. This will avoid any duplication of effort and improve control.

It would be a shame to come all this way and not make the most of the opportunity, so from a business perspective I’ll be meeting up with a possible IT partner, an IT consultant we’ve worked with when he was at HP, one of the Australian based Directors of HP, as we’re an approved supplier, and I’ve already met up with an Account Manger from Fujitsu over in New Zealand.

And from a cultural perspective it would an equal if not greater shame to come all this way and not savour the local life. Sydney’s a fabulous city and I’m enjoying every minute of exploring the city, its waterfront, galleries, restaurants and bars – it’d be rude not to.

Expollent

Wigan’s first Expo was only 4 years ago but it seems like it’s been going for much longer having become a firm fixture on the business calendar. The inaugural Expo was also held at the DW Stadium but occupied only the third floor. Now it’s now reached capacity filling all the lounges on the third and second floors with so many stands it feels positively crammed in. Attendees built up throughout the day adding to the full to the brim feeling – but this only serves to create a really bustling and busy atmosphere.

As always there was a very friendly vibe too as, being Wigan, it seems everyone knows everyone and it’s as much an opportunity to catch up with old acquaintances as a place to do business. That said, it seems that plenty of that was going on as well. The overall mood was a very positive one with everyone seeming to sense that the good times were back, or at least on their way back. Everyone you spoke to seemed to be very busy and saying that business was good.

So it’s hats off again to Kevin Walsh and his team from the Council for staging and arranging the event in support of local business. Every year is bigger and better than the last so I’m sure, like us, everyone’s looking forward to 2015. The biggest challenge for next year is how to fit all the exhibitors in as the current venue is clearly maxed out. Nice problem.

It was great to see two of our clients appearing in the latest Sunday Times International Track 200, which lists the UK’s top 200 overseas performing business. With an increase of over 20% in the last year, leading Jewelers Boodles appeared at 174. We’ve just handed over phase one of an exciting in-store, tablet-based tool to Boodles which will allow sales staff to present the entire Boodles stock to customers wherever it may be in the company as it integrates with their back office systems. Phase two is due to commence shortly and will ultimately incorporate a new EPOS solution.

With an outstanding increase in overseas sales of over 50%, our longstanding client Ralawise has risen to 63 in the rankings. Ralawise are Europe’s leading wholesaler of promotional clothing, corporate wear and leisurewear. This exceptional growth has been underpinned by their multi-lingual, multi-currency website developed and supported by ourselves for the last 10 years, which handles most orders. The site recently reached a new benchmark when it handled over half a million pounds worth of transactions in a single day. We’re delighted to be part of their success of course and look forward to seeing both businesses climb further up the rankings next year.

We’ve worked with Ralawise for over ten years now building the e-commerce solutions mentioned in this recent Insider bulletin, see http://www.insidermedia.com/insider/north-west/111976-/index.html. The story outlines their progress towards topping the £150M turnover mark and their investment in the physical and virtual infrastructure needed to achieve this.

When we started working for them turnover was in the mid twenty millions so growth over the last ten years has been pretty impressive and e-commerce has undoubtedly played a big part in this as around two thirds of their sales are now online. We’ve been delighted to support this having developed their first e-commerce solution, then evolved it to integrate with their various back office systems, and then last year we completely rebuilt it as they move onto the next phase which will be focused on further expansion in Europe.

Development on the site is pretty much continuous as Ralawise look to provide further functionality and features for their clients, for example we’re currently working on a completely new version of their white label solution which is used by over 500 customers to present the Ralawise catalogue within their own branded websites which further expands their reach and sales.

It’s common knowledge, isn’t it? To survive and prosper in business today, you have to be digital with email marketing, social media activity. e-commerce, online advertising, blogging and a website, of course, with good SEO and an active Adwords programme.

All very commendable but what’s the strategy? Where does digital fit with more “conventional” marketing? And, which, if any, of the above tactics should your business be employing?

In order to maximise the ROI in digital, it is absolutely essential to have a clear and detailed strategy which identifies exactly where each piece of the jigsaw fits; how it relates and influences other parts of the strategy and what is meant by “success”.

To view the Prezi, click here

BD2 have developed a Prezi which identifies eight component parts and shows how they work together to inspire and engage across the whole gamut of a business’s target audiences and stakeholders.

Here’s a brief synopsis of the eight and how they integrate.

1. Content
“Content” is the current buzz word in marketing, along with “engagement”. It’s all about creating and sharing information that’s closely related to what you sell – but it’s about ‘telling not selling’.

A well-executed content strategy offers a much more long term, personalised and engaging customer experience with content that can then be shared, commented on and updated by the audience through email or social media.

2. Website
Websites have become the essential point of verification for any business, b2b or b2c. It needs to be very user friendly as it should never be forgotten that leaving the site is just one click away. The site needs to provide access to all relevant information in a way that is clear and engaging (there’s that word again).

3. Mobile
In the UK alone, 94% of adults either own or use a mobile phone [Ofcom], and by 2016 it is predicted that 80% of all internet access will be via mobile. Mobile devices are changing the way we use the internet, and mobile marketing provides one of the most effective, innovative and inexpensive ways to reach an audience. Websites must be optimised for mobile through the use of responsive design and should consider how users might interact with a business via mobiles such as location based services.

4. Social Media
Social media represents one of the biggest challenges for businesses and one of the most exciting and significant opportunities. It is important to understand that in social media, one size does not fit all and what works for one business might not work for another. The sheer pace of growth in this channel requires research and planning to ensure a well thought through, integrated and agile strategy is in place.

5. Search
There is little point in having an informative, inspiring and engaging website if no-one can find it. Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) is a crucial part of the overall marketing strategy and integration with other areas of the marketing is critical. Google has shifted the focus from keywords to ‘conversational searches’ and wants to see proof of engagement in the form of feedback, comments and sharing through social media.

6. Email
Incredibly, some people are saying email marketing is dead. It’s not; it’s thriving and can deliver higher lead conversions, increased sales and brand awareness for your small business. Email marketing is affordable, simple and powerful and mobile means that it is more potent than ever. Email is also very engaging (heard that before somewhere?) offering real interactivity, with hyperlinks allowing recipients to click through to websites, videos and other forms of rich content.

7 News Microsites
Blogging has become virtually a national sport and we’re all publishers now. News or information microsites offer the opportunity to become ‘a voice’ within your industry by putting your own editorial online. Meaningful content is again vital with the aim being to be relevant and (yes, you guessed it) engaging.

8. Microsites
Microsites deliver specific information to a specific target audience who are therefore naturally engaged. They allow marketers to focus on specific messages and to test creative treatments.

Just like a “traditional” strategy, your digital strategy should start with some SMART objectives develop the strategy, identify tactics and contain KPIs against which to measure success.

Oh, and it needs to be engaging (did we mention that already?)

BD2’s infographic is an extremely useful touchstone from which to work. It helps clarify areas which need focus and demonstrates the need for interactivity.

As marketers, we all have to be cognisant of what’s happening in our marketplace. More than ever before, we have the chance to interact and engage with our audiences in a direct and truly mutual way.


It was known as “advertorial” for a long time but then along came the internet and social media and it is now known as “native advertising” and is one of the hottest topics in marketing at the moment.

In essence, native advertising describes the process whereby an advertiser places an ad and its design is created to mirror the editorial content which surrounds it.

Publishers will tell you that there is no intention to deceive readers and, indeed, most publishers and editors are fiercely protective of their integrity and content. Having said that, user trust is key to native advertising success. The content should be clearly badged as an ad to ensure complete transparency. However, the content has to match the platform so it’s a fine line to walk.

Many see this approach as blurring the lines between editorial and advertising, arguing that
If the content looks too much like the editorial content that surrounds it publications can be accused of misleading the reader.

Native advertising is also now rife across all social networks, the most common being sponsored tweets on Twitter and sponsored posts or ads on Facebook. Not only are these tactics native to their host, they also carry the power of recommendation, with the sponsored content often implying that ‘Your friend likes this”. Some 65% of native advertising is made up of blog posts.

Social native is attractive not only for its impact, but also for the sheer scale of its reach. With Facebook now being used by well over 1bn users, the potential is huge.

However, the creative limitations are significant as social content makes it difficult to tell a detailed brand story. There are usually a few short characters and, if you’re lucky, a thumbnail image.

There is a worry that social networks might become victims of their own success with users being turned off by the amount of advertising with which they are bombarded. Many publishers, including Facebook and Twitter, have started to limit the amount of native advertising they carry even though it is an exceptionally lucrative revenue stream for them.

An interesting addition in the world of social native is what has become known as “display social”. In this, advertisers piggy back third party sites to increase interest and, hopefully, engagement. The ad becomes, ostensibly, a link to a site of interest such as a fashion site being promoted on a lifestyle site. When the user clicks through, the advertiser’s ad is featured on the fashion site.

The ad then becomes semi-editorial rather than a straightforward ad and the advertiser has his ad appearing alongside editorial relevant to both the user and his proposition.
There are currently no real performance measurements for native advertising because it is still such a new category. The advertiser can see how many shares, likes or retweets a post gets and, from that, extrapolate the amount of interest he is creating.

It is also possible to monitor the number page views the advertiser’s website is receiving and relate them to the appearance of a native ad. However, it is extremely difficult to measure the level of engagement engendered. And that is still the golden fleece of all marketing activity. Or, it should be.

Image is everything

Image is everything, or at least for a photographer it is, so the new site we’ve developed for one of the North West’s leading photographers Malcolm Birkett, is pretty much all image. The site delivers a selection of work from Malcolm’s portfolio at full screen on every type of device by using mobile responsive techniques. The site incorporates a very discrete menu, so as not to distract from the photography, which allows the user to view his work across various galleries – lifestyle, studio, interiors and location.

Take a look at www.malcolmbirkett.com to see the site and Malcolm’s fabulous work, not least of some amazing yachts.

The latest issue of our newsletter ‘brief distraction’ has arrived back from Clive, our Notts Forest supporting printer, who’s done a fine job as usual.

Amongst the usual mixture of projects is a follow up story from the previous edition on a b2b website we’ve developed for client Wax Lyrical which has surpassed expectations achieving real commercial successes.

Other featured projects include a recently developed e-commerce site for Crewsaver, a leading manufacturer of marine safety equipment and an awareness campaign around the recent Welfare Reform changes for Wigan and Leigh Housing Association. A new corporate website and brand refresh exercise for longstanding client Vision Commercial Kitchens is shown, user interface design project for Bunzl Retail, a multimedia DVD for healthcare client Vernacare and a preview of a new in-store presentation using Microsoft Surface devices for jewellers Boodles.

Taking centre stage though is our brand development work for Wigan Youth Zone, a multi-million pound initiative to support the young people in Wigan made possible by three of the town’s leading businessmen who decided to put something back into the community. It’s a fantastic development for the town and its young people and we’ve been delighted to help provide an identity which hopefully matches its ambition.

If you’d like a copy, please email vicky@bd2.co.uk and we’d be more than happy to pop one in the post.

Wigan Expo 2013

It seems that Wigan’s business Expo has become such an annual fixture it might be pre-printed in diaries along with  ‘Christmas’, ‘Easter’ and ‘Bank Holiday’. Even the word ‘Expo’, which somehow sits more comfortably alongside Milan, Zurich or Madrid, is sounding more at home with Wigan.

All 140 exhibition spaces were pre-sold, predominantly to local businesses and nearly 1300 people attended this year  – apparently an increase of over 25% on last year. As in previous years, the event was a mixture of exhibition, seminars, business advice and ‘meet the buyer’ one-to-ones but above all it’s probably a day long rolling networking event. Wigan businesses turned out in force to both exhibit and attend which leads to a local and very friendly vibe with so many recognisable faces to catch up with and chat to.

At bd2, we tried a little bit of a different approach this year with a pop-up marketing surgery rather than a stand. The exhibition space is always busy, but is essentially made up of rows of display stands with someone stood in front of each trying to catch the eye of wandering attendees or bribing them with sweets, cakes or the lure of a draw for a bottle of champagne in exchange for a business card. Our pop-up marketing surgery, which took up the space of 4 stands, was more inside out with enough space to walk into and have a chat, as such it was noticeably very different from the rest. It seemed to work well judging by numerous comments and visitors who received free advice from some of the experienced professionals on our stand – Chartered Designers, Chartered Marketers, Professional Photographers and Copywriters – across a wide variety of marketing issues.

It’s great to see Wigan MBC supporting local businesses, but it’s a real shame that two of the driving forces behind getting the Expo off the ground in the first place and organising the event year on year have sadly been made redundant as part of the Council’s latest round of cost-cutting. There’s no doubt that reducing head count is an essential part of this, but they’ve lost two dedicated, really good and quality people in Keith Molloy and Claire Gomersall.

There’s a mix of comment and images to be found at https://www.facebook.com/wiganbusinessexpo

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