Refresh, or reframe your branding?

Refresh, or reframe your branding?


It all starts off well. It’s just you and a dream, an idea for a company – a unique product or service, something that you are really passionate about.

You create a logo with a graphic designer, or maybe you even do it yourself, to describe your brand. It’s easy, you are ambitious; the idea is simple and you really know your potential clients.

You are up and away!

You put your logo onto all the social media sites. You can’t think of any mast images, so that’ll do for now.

From the logo you have the colours, and you match the font style of your logo for your stationery. You do it yourself, and why not – we all love Moo!

You find like-minded people to help you when your business grows, and it really takes off.

You have to create some presentations, so the new guy you brought in to shoulder some of the load creates a new PowerPoint slide set. He really likes a font that he found in the drop-down font list, so he uses that.

The new marketer you hired needs some leaflets. She has a contact from the last place she worked and gets something put together. It doesn’t look great, but all the right information is there, and the good news is that a nice graphic was created. The graphic gets picked up and used by the new person in IT to go on the website had them build – it’s got all the right information on and looks not too shabby!

Before you know it, you have branding evolved from your logo.

The trouble is, it’s all been done ad-hoc, and that’s what it ends up looking like – ad-hoc. Somewhere along the way, it’s lost something, and it’s hard to see how to fix it.

This is the time to do a design audit. Bring in a graphic designer.

A graphic designer can help to bring it all together – weed out bad typography, make suggestions on colours and fonts, add white space and update image styles. A graphic designer can create templates for Word and PowerPoint; review your website graphics and architecture and make suggestions on how it might look or work better. A graphic designer can review your graphics and infographics: do they make sense?

Crucially, a graphic designer can also create simple branding style guidelines, so that anyone in your company can create files that go to your customers with a consistent look and feel. Now the people in your company can concentrate on getting the content right – which is what your customers really need, rather than deciding on colours and fonts.

It’s not a branding refresh, it’s a branding reframe.

An audit is also a great opportunity to review all the pieces of marketing collateral that you have created. If you incorporated a way of measuring their success with a unique contact email, webpage or hashtag, you can see can also see if they worked – and how well they worked.

Style guidelines needn’t be a straitjacket. Instead they can be  a living document, providing a framework that allows your team to be constructively creative. By having at least basic principles in place, you can ensure that there is a consistency to your branding, and the image and ethos you want to convey to the world accurately represents your vision.

Please get in touch if your branding needs a reframe, it’s not rocket science   Call me, or email me

Designers makes the complex easy to understand. #designersmakeiteasy

The rise and rise of Snapchat!

The rise and rise of Snapchat!


Snapchat is no longer the app anyone past puberty couldn’t work out how to use, or if you did, couldn’t see the point of. How do I know this is true? Forbes has changed its Twitter profile image to its Snapchat avatar.

The fact is, in Social media you have to be where your customers are – and if they are young (13-34), Snapchat is where you need to be.

The attraction of the App is its immediacy. It’s like a Mayfly, just lasting for a day. So your message is honest (hopefully!), and it’s intimate. You can Snap to all your friends (also read as customers), some friends, or just one. You can Snap images (with your own captions/ graffiti/ filters), short videos or a message. It’s a real-time personal view on the world, reflecting who you are in the moment – to use the word of the moment for anything ‘brand’ related – authentic.

Major brands have their own place on Snapchat in the Stories ‘Discover’ zone. Buzzfeed, MTV, National Geographic, Daily Mail, and Cosmopolitan are the types of company there, and the stories are like mini-magazines. There is also ‘Live’, which curates community Snaps from live events like football, boxing, to Paris fashion week, and Mother’s day.

Let’s get cosy

Snapchat has one pretty unique offering – the Geofilter – free for communities (think University campus), or paid for by big brands. A Geofilter is a marked boundary identified within Snapchat using Googlemaps. You are effectively claiming your Snap real-estate, which you identify with an illustration that can then be overlaid onto any photos that are ‘Snapped’ while in that specific location. This feature was not affordable for small business until the new ‘on-demand’ Geofilters, where you buy time on a Geofilter location (hours, days, weeks). This is a great way for small businesses promoting events like a grand opening at their place of business, or for social events like a wedding party.

How big is it?

Last year Snapchat had a $16 billion (yes!) valuation and has just raised $175 million in fresh funding (2016/ Reuters). With 100 million daily users and the Snapchat main publishers attracting around 3 million viewers a day, the platform could start to look a little different as there is ‘duh’ incentive to sell ads with a wider reach. Relying on those millions of Snappers who just choose to watch the publishers channels to be afflicted with ads could be a thing of the past …

Thinking outside the box

Rania Kurdi, a Jordanian/ British performer and broadcaster, who for the last 20 years has been working across all digital media platforms, is now using Snapchat to broadcast her comedy shorts to her audience. Because you can save your own Snaps, she re-purposes them for her Facebook page as videos. What a great idea!


If you’d like to learn how to use Snapchat – Melissa Opie has a sweet little free intro course that runs through the basics.

Designed to… attract graduates

Designed to… attract graduates

graduate attraction

Does your company want to attract graduates for recruitment? If so, now is the time of year to think about how you are going to go about it.

Remember, a graduate is looking to start their career – not get a job! And you are most likely looking for someone who can grow with your company. You both need to make the right choice. It’s a long-term commitment for both sides – employer and employee.

Judi and I have been working with companies for many years now who attract graduates. We have found that although the method of graduate attraction changes – how much is online and offline – a number of constants remain.

It’s all about finding the perfect match

Because finding out about a person or a company is ridiculously easy now, as an employer you need to be up to scratch (OK – same goes for the graduate!). Nothing will discourage potential candidates, or customers for that matter, more than an organisation falling short of boasts or promises.

So what will a graduate be looking for? In our experience, to varying degrees they’ll typically be after the following qualities in a potential employer:

Graduates want:

  • to know what they will be doing day-to-day
  • an identified training programme
  • clear professional progression and future prospects
  • friendly orienteers, buddies or mentors
  • variety of work
  • to feel valued
  • to have travel opportunities
  • to join a company that behaves ethically
  • to join a company with a responsible environmental footprint
  • to make friends

Did you think money was going to be in the list? Surprise! Although it’s obviously important, that’s NOT always a top priority!


Tips on attracting graduates

Be honest – or you’ll be found out! If you are a small company, you most likely won’t be able to tick all of the ‘want’ boxes, but that’s OK – just be clear about what you are offering. And if you’ve had bad press, get that dirty laundry out and wash it in public – everyone makes mistakes.

Don’t try to be hip – unless you are a company of recent graduates and that’s just the way you are. It’s like dad-dancing – don’t go there!

Be concise – a graduate needs to be able to make an informed decision.

Choose the right media platform – you need to be where your graduates are. This isn’t being trendy, it’s about being accessible. Being on social media platforms means that you are open for dialogue and collaboration – honesty and transparency are what graduates are looking for.

Write well – match the tone of your writing to the graduate – whether that’s on your website, Facebook page or in a brochure or exhibition stand. Write with your reader mind. Think about what they need to know, not what you want to tell them!

Show them what your organisation is like – use real (not stock!) images of people at work. Pay attention to aesthetics because that may be what first attracts an individual to look at your company.

We have examples on this site of graduate attraction projects – most recently for Baker Hughes, and also BP. If you’d like to find out how we can help you attract graduates, please get in touch!

If this, then that – wow!

If this, then that – wow!


I first looked at IFTTT – ‘If This, Then That’ when a fantastic plugin I used called ’LinkedIn Include’ – which pulled your articles (not your profile or stream) from LinkedIn onto your WordPress site – was eventually blocked by LinkedIn (hey –ho!).

I discovered that IFTTT is quite frankly – brilliant!

IFTTT has a bank of prepared ‘Recipes’ you can use, or you can make your own. A Recipe is a connection between products or Apps. Recipes come in two types: DO and IF. DO Recipes run on your device triggered by personalized button – you can do things like; trigger a call to get you out of a meeting (US only); email someone to let them know you are on your way home; turn up the heating for when you get home! IF Recipes run automatically in the background and are connections between Apps, If this (ie a Twitter action), then that (ie a Dropbox action).

I wanted to do more on Instagram, and I’m not a great self publicist, but I am working on a long-term project for myself I’ve called #treetwoproject so that seemed the perfect way for me to use IFTTT. So I take a picture of a wonderful Oak tree on my morning walk – which I will eventually present animating to show how the countryside in that snapshot changes. From Instagram I run three IFTTT ‘Recipes’, one posts the picture I have taken as a native Twitter image (everyone should do this), one sends the posted image to my Dropbox, the last puts it onto Pinterest (this one is a bit flaky).

OK – that’s good, but what else can it do?

Well, pretty much anything when you have two Apps that are connected to you! For example:

  • Collect Tweets or blog posts from a particular user to a Google spreadsheet
  • Set up a Twitter search for key phrases like ‘I need a designer’
  • Your Google Calendar appointments can be sent as text alerts
  • If you are following a particular hashtag, when it’s used have that user added to a Twitter list
  • Send your WordPress posts to LinkedIn
  • Create scheduled and recurring Trello cards
  • Unmute your ringer in the morning (oh yes!)

LinkedIn in only works one way, so I cannot replicate LinkedIn Include, but I have streamlined a lot of my day!


20 x 20 PowerPoint presentations

20 x 20 PowerPoint presentations

20x20 Powerpoint
One of things we quite often get asked for, is help with a PowerPoint presentation. This can vary from setting up a template that reflects our clients’ – quite often new – look and feel, or translating complicated slide content into something visual and easy to understand, to transforming a ‘death-by-PowerPoint’ presentation into something the audience would find engaging. We have been given raw presentations of 50 plus slides (no kidding!). The client knows this isn’t looking right (thank heavens!), so comes to us for help. More often than not, the detail can go into the notes (or the bin). We then go back with a stripped down version – but all the creative writing the client has done is hard to let go, so we will end with a compromise. But – Hurrah!! – the audience gets to stay awake!
How to make a better presentation – think differently!
For those of you who write PowerPoint Presentations, have a look at PechaKucha – it is how you would want a PowerPoint presentation to be if you were in the audience. PechaKucha is a format devised by Astrid Klein and Mark Dytham of Klein Dytham architecture, and has grown virally into a global social phenomenon. The idea is simple – the PechaKucha 20×20 format – 20 slides, preferably as visual as possible, with an end-to-end story delivered by the host, each shown for 20 seconds. It is engaging and captivating. Go to the site and check out a few; PechaKucha, it could change the way you construct your next presentation!

Do you need help with your PowerPoint presentation? Does your PowerPoint template reflect your company brand? Having trouble distilling information into a graphic – for PowerPoint or anything else? Get in touch if the answer is yes!

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