Coffee & Juice - information overload

Information Overload, Croissants and Coffee

Sitting in a French Hotel

I’m drinking my morning coffee and checking my email. There is a recommended publication email from Amazon. It’s all about creating brand identity, something we work on almost every day. So why is this of interest? Is it just more Information Overload?

I click the link and order it on Amazon Prime. It will be on my desk by tomorrow although I’m on my way to the Alps for a two week holiday with family. The world is small and everything moves so fast these days.  I’ve got a 700km drive ahead of me and plenty of time to think while the family is in the car alongside me, watching their personal choice of movie on laptops and iPads or listening to music on phones or reading books on kindles. I’m listening to a podcast and of course the satnav as we head south through France.

There is nothing better than sitting down and learning something new that you can then pass on or help somebody with!

Time to reflect.

700km to ponder the fact that we are so readily surrounded by information, either digital or physical. So, how much do we actually take in or effectively use. Until maybe the last 20 or 30 years things have changed relatively sedately, probably due to the physical nature of the world but now in the digital age things change in an instant. The burning question is, are you keeping up?

I spent a large proportion of my career in the IT industry and I can tell you it doesn’t move much faster than that. Those work ethics are something that I carry on to this day and try to instil in the team at Visible Thoughts. Whether we are studying for NVQ’s, Google exams or reading a new book about something we already know about we are always on the hunt for new information, techniques, trends and ideas that allow us to create the best for our clients.

An old fashioned book full of new ideas.

In essence...

It’s over a week until I get my new book but in the meantime I’ve got some articles on SEO to read! After all, there is always an opportunity to learn and an opportunity to be able to give even more to your clients.

"I don’t think much of a man who is not wiser today than he was yesterday."

- Abraham Lincoln


Should your business look like your website?

Now don’t get me wrong

We have been working with a couple of clients on their branding over the last few weeks and both have a strange link. Both have had their brand dictated by their website or more accurately their web designer. Now don’t get me wrong, we work with some great web designers but the thing about them is that they recognise that their websites are built around a well designed, well defined brand identity that is created by a brand identity specialist to capture the uniqueness of their clients. And that’s all before they start building your shiny high performance website.

Your Brand Identity is about you and how you are different or unique compared to the others in your particular market place.

Time to reflect.

Let’s reflect on this as a concept – you have your £1 million house and decide that you need some more space for the important things in life like your full size snooker table, Olympic swimming pool, IMAX Home Cinema and garage space for 12 supercars (it is a concept). Do you go to a builder to design your extension or an Architect who will talk to you about your lifestyle, how you will use your extension and look at all the aspects of planning regulations. Who will then design you a specific layout that meets all your needs. In our industry, we are the Architects where the Web Developer is the Builder.

We spend a lot of time with our clients to find out about them and what they do.

Time well spent..

We spend a lot of time with our clients to find out about them and what they do, what makes them unique and what we need to portray to their clients. This allows us to build the extensive rules that dictate how they should appear to both their internal and external customers in order to capture that uniqueness. That “them” is then applied to every aspect of their business from printed material, workwear, printed media, advertising and yes their website.

So now we are in the situation where the web developer is able to represent the “them” effectively. Rather than them having a blue logo because the developers favourite WordPress theme defaults to a particular shade of blue or the logo is this shape because it fits nicely into a Facebook profile picture.

"If people believe they share values with a company, they will stay loyal to the brand"

— Howard Schultz, Executive Chairman of Starbucks

Building a Brand Identity.

Building a Brand Identity needs an investment both in money and time but it is the foundations of your business and how people perceive it. People talk about having a brand and ultimately this is what we all desire. Your Brand Identity sets out the rules of how you are depicted but the Brand comes from the way your customers and the public perceive you, the feelings they have towards you and how they expect to be treated by you. The question is do you want the way people feel about you to be based on a random website design or on a quality Brand Identity that defines what you stand for?

While we are answering questions lets go back to the original one – should your business look like your website? No, your website should look like your business. Don’t put the cart before the Horse. Speak to us and we will help you get things done in the right order and maximise what your business stands for. Remember you only get one chance at a first impression… don’t blow it!


Corporate Brand Names

Naming your business is like naming your Child!

Choosing a name for your Company?

It’s like choosing a name for your child. It is that important that you have to get it right.

You will brainstorm a whole list of possibilities with people around you, probably putting some very unlikely words together. You will start to notice what others have named their businesses.

The first thing to consider when thinking about a business name, is to consider your vision, values and passions. Your business name should reflect these.

What do you want to be known for?

  • What is your vision?
  • What are your values? Maybe it is your expertise,
  • affordability, quality or type of materials that you use, fun, handmade etc.
  • What are you passionate about?

Write down a list of descriptive words to do with your vision, values and passions. By working with these words, you will discover a business name that best fits you.

Think about brands that you really like. For me, they include Apple, Boost, Virgin. Also think about brands that don’t work so well for you.

It is that important that you have to get it right!

When you've decided.

When you finally decide on the right name, you will need to do a quick check:-

  • Is it easy to spell and pronounce. Avoid quirky spellings such as Innov8;
  • Is it easy to remember. You need to make it as easy as possible for people to find you online;
  • Is it future proof? Just like choosing a name for your child, consider how it will sound in 20 years time;
  • Is the name still available? Check Companies House. Your trading name can always be different to the registered company name if it has already been used;
  • Check if the domain name exists;
  • Check out the competition – who is already using this name?

Once you have your name. Test it out on friends and business contacts, but be thick skinned! Many of them will love it and many will hate it, but that doesn’t make it wrong. Your business name will be your unique choice based on how you see yourself and your company.

Now the fun begins with designing your logo – good luck and enjoy!

 


Hot Chocolate and Coffee

What's with all the coffee pictures?

Finding what makes you unique.

Here we are with our new website and the first blog I’m writing is not about Graphic Design, it’s not about Marketing and it’s not even about business growth – oh no, it’s about coffee! More specifically it is about the coffee related images that pop-up around our website.

Special places and special events usually involve sitting down and enjoying coffee in good company.

- Pierre Blanch, Les Coches, Paradaski, French Alps.

Uniqueness

This uniqueness and character is something we look for in our clients. We spend a lot of time chatting, especially with new clients, to find out what makes them different. More often than not this is over a cup of coffee, tea or anything else that you as an individual prefer.

We are all inherently different and unique but society dictates that we should all conform to the norm. We should follow trends and fashions. We should all buy from a pool of identical items which are mass produced, keeping productivity costs to a minimum and if they are “fashionable” will become financially lucrative. However if you take the time to look at people, businesses and products and truly look closely without prejudice or preconceived ideas you will find that they are truly unique. And, by definition, if you are unique you stand out from the crowd and if you stand out from the crowd you are more likely to attract attention from prospective customers. You don’t need to be loud and whacky or anything amazingly different, just different. This search for uniqueness in our clients is what in turn makes us unique as an agency. After all the work we do with you should be about you and for your benefit

Even a bike ride is a chance to enjoy time and a coffee with friends.

— Nostell Priory

What about the pictures!

So what about the pictures! Well, we like coffee and more often than not when we go somewhere and do something we stop for our favourite drink. The pictures, well they are of cups of coffee in places we have been while doing things we have enjoyed. So every cup is tied to a memory that we want to keep. To the casual viewer it’s a cup of coffee in a random picture but to us it’s the cup of coffee we had at the end of a great days skiing with the family in the French Alps. To us they are unique experiences but to the casual observer they are pictures of cups of coffee on a mountainside.

It may be a strange idea but to us it’s a unique way of remembering the things we have done and the places we have been with friends and family. Maybe we are a little odd or maybe just a little unique!