As a Digital Marketing Agency, you may be led to believe that EAOM focus purely on all things digital, be that web design, SEO, PPC, email or social media marketing. However, there are certainly more strings to our bow than that.
One key area we are very passionate about is the development of brands. Not just a logo for a website, genuine brands to work in offline and online channels. We are getting more and more work for brand development and offline marketing materials, to work in conjunction with websites that we are developing, so we thought that it would be good to share the knowledge of how we go about developing our brands.
Each project starts with a fact finding session (normally over a day), to allow us to really get under the skin of the client, their business operation, who they are targeting, what the culture of the business is and how they want to position themselves. At the end of the day you can’t sell a brand if you don’t understand the brand.
We then begin work on getting that ‘thing’ on to paper. This involves coming up with various different treatments, from the icon (mark), to the fonts that go with the logo and different colour pallets.
Our work then translates in to the use of supplementary fonts, colours, images, and tone language used in text and on the page. It is often this element that can really help to develop a brand, and can often be overlooked when considering how you want to position your business.
If you want to find out how EAOM can help develop your company’s brand then call us now on 01772 331830 or fill out our contact form.
Developing a Content Strategy for Start Up BusinessesLaunching your own business is an exciting time; long nights mulling over business plans, developing your brand and tweaking it to the nth degree, and prospect of being part of the start of something big.In theory there is nothing to stop you making a large impact with your new business. You may have a genuinely life-changing proposition, but success ultimately relies on getting the attention of people likely to benefit from your site, and hopefully compelling them to spread the word far and wide.Arguably, therefore, one of the most important considerations for your website must be content. Developing a content strategy for start-ups differs massively from an established organisation. You don’t have legacy content to consider revising or retiring, you don’t have multiple layers of management to deal with to make decisions, you don’t have reams of data to trawl through and analyse, and you don’t have time to be sat around in meeting rooms discussing how a content feature might impact your PR activities.Here are 7 tips to get you on your way1. Have Conviction in Your MessageThis isn’t a time to be timid or apologetic. If you don’t have faith in your business, nobody else will give you the time of day. Communicate factual benefits that you’ve identified, researched, tested and verified, not ones that you’ve plucked out of thin air. Use these messages to create a memorable message that you can relate to in subsequent communications. 2. Develop a Tagline and Use ItOnly use a tagline if it is going to genuinely add benefit to the brand, product or service. The overall mission of your business should be neatly wrapped up in a concise statement to re-emphasise people’s perception of your business.
You may chose to add this, in conjunction with a relevant search friendly term, within your meta data to help aid the natural search.3. Be SMART with Social MediaSocial Media is undoubtedly a brilliant tool to engage with your customer base. However, as with any other marketing channel you need to be SMART (specific, measured achievable, realistic, timely). You are likely to have performed the obligatory social sweep, setting up Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Pinterest and YouTube accounts to sit alongside your blog. This isn’t necessarily the best strategy. Make sure that the social media channels are relevant. If you are B2B then the likes of facebook may not necessarily be the best channel for you, similarly with Twitter and B2C.Social Media Channels take time to build, and even more time to manage.
Snapping up the usernames early on is a must, but you don’t necessarily have to use and publicise the platforms just because you own them; focus on one area in particular to begin with, then expand as you learn about your audience and discover what resonates with them. 4. Make Your Content ScalableMany start-ups create masses of content from the get-go. Invariably, things quickly tail off as other business priorities, development needs or marketing ventures take precedence, meaning the river of content becomes a trickle.
A sustainable and scalable approach to content takes into account the dedicated resources required for creation, and puts emphasis on continued learning of what works and what doesn’t.
There are also benefits to be had from an SEO point of view by maintaining fresh content on a regular basis on the site. 5. Create Content to Re-Engage Users
Try to develop something that is going to re-engage your users on a regular basis. This doesn’t need to be anything too fancy, but if you can produce something of use, value or interest at manageable intervals, you’ll start to develop real affinity with your customers. Whether it’s a weekly quiz or a quarterly ‘state of the industry’ infographic, build it, brand it and persist with it.6. Plan, Plan, PlanDuring your launch period you’ll hopefully be very busy; managing your inventory, fulfilling orders, supporting other marketing channels and inevitably ironing out the bugs in your website. This shouldn’t stop you consistently creating good content though during this period.
A good idea whilst you are in the start up phase of your business is to create a 12 month content plan and develop as much additional content, based on your research and marketing plan as possible. This can be linked to blogs, emails and additional website content (possibly for services that you are launching later in the year).
Plan in advance and get ahead of the game! 7. Share The WorkloadWe have a policy here where we try to encourage every member of the team to write a blog once a month on the basis that it really helps to generate fresh content with a different perspective on each article.
Why not try the same in your business? Each member of staff has a unique story to tell, and giving them an outlet is good practice. Make content development everybody’s responsibility as part of their job spec, with the necessary quality checks in place of course.
I've recently been working on a branding project for EAL and thought I'd blog about the process I personally use and why I think it's the best way to unearth the best ideas and ultimately arrive at the best most polished treatment. Looking around my desk (aside from being a bit of a tip) it's awash with sheets of paper covered in scribbles and anotations all experimenting with 'EA' or 'EA Fusion' trying to mould (or fuse) the E and the A into some clever mark. I generally begin by just writing down the brand name 'EA Fusion' and scribbling the (usually) crap first ideas down, anotating, scribbling what I think, the best ideas and ones that usually end up as the final treatment 99% of the time aren't the first ones you have, it's very rare this is the case.
I felt this particular brand wouldn't benefit from being to abstract and whilst a mark would have worked well I thought a logotype come mark might work well, the acronym of EA complimented with
text reading either 'EA Fusion' or just 'Fusion' it could work two ways with the EA still being legible enough to read but also being stylised enough to be a stand alone mark.
Obviously I wanted to focus more on the 'fusion' of the E and A, I also, as mentioned, wanted it to be legible enough to read and understand it was a fused E and A, to me it sounded industrial
solid, strong and corporate, the product was a multi channel management system similar to Channel Adviser
One problem we faced with the brand name was the constant comparison to Electronic Arts or more prominantly the EA sports logo, they use a joined E and A to forge EA and this proved difficult to
try and move away from, I identified the sharpness of the edges, the floating crossbards on the E and the red colour as the thing which made me draw a likeness, especially the sharp edges. I decided
to use the concepts I'd deigned but applied a softer, rounder edges to them (in part due to some input from the head honcho who said he liked 'curves') this moved it away from the key feature
of the EA sports logo, but it still needed to be less complex, easier to read, I sent a copy of the mocks I'd designed to a collegue who wasn't a designer to see how a none design mind might
interprate the logo, she said they didn't seem to look like an E or A, and as I said I didn't want it to be abstract I wanted legible but stylised.
Back to the pen/pencil/paper I went to try and thrash out a design that accomplished this without resembling EA sports, I then dropped the red (which was only a mockup colour) this helped to further
distance the brand from Electronic arts.
In the end the brand developed was still deemed too familiar to Electronic Arts and I do beleive it nearly impossible to create a brand around the letters EA that won't get compared to the world
renowned EA sports brand, I felt it distanced its self with the change in colour, corners etc and also think something more legible like this would have worked better, either way the importance of
sketching and drawing and experimenting with ideas I feel is essential in generating the right ideas and arriving at the best design.
We are proud to announce the launch of a brand new brand and eCommerce website for Gardening Specialists, YouGarden.
The branding project has been a key piece of work for EAOM, with YouGarden utilising a strong multi channel marketing campaign from launch, allowing our work to be seen UK wide throughout the National Press, Web and Television.
To supplement the branding work, EAOM have also developed a new eCommerce website for YouGarden, which incorporates a significant amount of digital media to help the sales proposition. The website has been developed to supplement the online ads that are running through the National Media with the overall objective of gaining high conversion rates on consolidated offers. So far, the website has been a roaring success.
The traffic drive has been helped by online marketing campaigns run by EAOM, including PPC and SEO, whilst direct traffic generated from a significant off the page campaign has also aided the traffic through the website.
EAOM’s parent company, Exact Abacus, has also developed the main back office software which is responsible for the stock control, order processing, distribution, purchasing and accounting functions of the business.
YouGarden are also operating a weekly slot on the TV network Bid.TV. In the coming months, YouGarden will be launching a number of white label versions of the YouGarden website in the coming months which will be utilising the 3ex.net platform, with the creative managed by EAOM.
Like many people I spent some time during December putting up my Christmas tree, which due to it being a real tree took a surprisingly long amount of time, which got me thinking about how blogs and Christmas trees are similar.
A good well-structured blog is often the cornerstone of a correctly focused SEO and social media marketing campaign much like a beautifully decorated tree is central to Christmas, so I thought I would see how you can compare the process of decorating a Christmas tree to setting up a blog.
Buying the Tree
The first, and for some, the most exciting part of Christmas is buying the tree. The same can be said for blogs, making sure you buy the right one is important, luckily most blogging platforms are free to download and install unlike Christmas trees. Principally there are two or three core solutions available depending on the type of server you website is hosted on: For Apache based websites Wordpress is often the best option as it has a large amount of free themes and plugins. Alternatively for businesses whose websites are hosted using Microsoft technology BlogEngine.net provides a scalable solution which includes a very simple and easy to use interface.
Shaping The Tree
Most people will argue that the key to a good looking tree is structure and shape. Blogs follow a similar mantra, as a well-structured blog means that both Google and your users can easily navigate it. When setting out your blog structure, think carefully about the post categories, using short and sensical names, and only have 2 levels of categories so your content isn’t so deep users and Google struggle to find it.
Decorating the Tree
Now are bare (all be it well shaped) tree is no good to anyone at Christmas, it actually needs to look good. With a Christmas tree you build layers and layers of lights, baubles and tinsel to get the right look but in some respect blog design should be the complete opposite to this, as any media that focuses on text should be easy to read. That means using a clean and simple design that puts your blog posts centre stage using legible fonts and uncluttered navigation.
Add Those Little Extras
Any good Christmas tree benefits from those little extras that really help take to the next level this such as candy canes, trains and crackers. This rule can easily be applied to your blog, with the most important extras being the inclusion of social media sharing buttons, RSS feeds, newsletter sign ups and author profiles.
The star is the pinnacle (Pun intended) of your tree and no tree is complete without it. Simply no blog is complete without blog posts. Good blog post are easy to read, have a clear purpose and add value to your proposition. Adding poorly written posts to your blog will have the same effect as adding a low quality star to a well decorated tree and will distract from the hard work that you put in to making your blog (and Christmas Tree) look good and easy to use.
I hope this little Christmas guide to blogging helps you set up your own blog the right way and I’ll follow up in January with my new year’s resolutions for write blog posts.
In order to make sure that our projects are implemented on time and on budget we use a range of project management tools. One of the core elements that we use is The Daily Scrum
The daily team meeting is one of the core concepts of Scrum. In the meeting the team members talk about just three things:
What I did yesterday
What am I doing today
What are my impediments
This is the core concept of the scrums to determine what the team is working on and whether they are focussed on the task in hand. Within this ‘scrum’ it will also bring the team together and encourage each member to have their say. The discussions shouldn’t take longer than a few minutes but the project manager should encourage communication and not squash and feedback which could affect the project or any other project.
One area which is up for discussion is who should be involved? Who needs to participate in the scrum? Generally this should be anyone involved or working on the project on a weekly/daily basis. Who should be involved in the discussions? Only people involved in working on the backlog which could be a programmer through to a tester. The other participants should keep their thoughts to themselves until they get a chance to talk to the Scrum Master away from the team.
Generally at the end of the scrum the scrum master will allow time for individuals that are close to the project but not working on the Product backlog to give the team any information that is valuable for the team.
General rule for scrums…... keep them simple fast and open to the team.
From a designers point of view designing a brand with an interesting or slick name is a real pleasure. Abbreviated company names like JVC or HTC can provide endless typographic experiments, however, slick or quirky names like Sony or Billabong can offer the chance to create an interesting play on words and graphical marks.
The problem occurs for brands when the company name is cheap sounding for want of a better word, a 'cheap brand' that sounds as though it was dreamt up by someone’s grandmother doesn't grab anyone’s attention or imagination. A brand name doesn't necessarily need to relate to what the company has to offer, for example 'Johns pen shop'(apologies to John if he owns a pen shop) offers little inspiration in terms of a brand mark and sounds like an aforementioned cheap brand, 'the pen store' however sounds a little more upmarket, as though it could be the PC world of pens.This isn't always the case, Millies Cookies shows you can have a successful brand which is or was personal to the original founder, but the general consensus is that a company name that is unfamiliar or a little different generates more interest and credibility and also provides a designer with more inspiration.
I personally find brand names that use 'shop' 'store' et al are a little off putting, they scream 'small time business' to me, and even if that's what they are, they can still position themselves as a more upmarket brand by considering the company name. 'Card Factory' for example sounds rustic and mechanical, as if they're actually card making machine, the ideas and concepts it makes me think of from a branding perspective are plentiful.I suppose a lot of it boils down to how you want your company and or brand to be perceived, you may wish to appeal to the bargain basement market and don't feel the need for a clever quirky title, but I think if credibility and a more professional approach is what you want to achieve, considering the name of the company and the impact it will have within different media and people’s perception are vitally important.