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News and views

Here's a selection of our latest articles on marketing, design and digital issues, and our latest news. If you would like to add an opinion or join the debate please do leave a comment. If you would like to find out more please click the link to the author.

CIM Survey - Marketing Confidence Monitor results

CIM Survey - Marketing Confidence Monitor results

We have just received the results of a recent survey (carried out in October) from the Chartered Institute of Marketing tracking marketers attitude, sentiment and outlook.

It details the findings from their first quarterly survey on marketers views, from all sizes of organisation and across industry - making it the largest and most representative study of its kind in the UK.

You can access the results in four different formats, from video briefings to infographics, top-line results to in-depth findings:

It’s only a few minute video and worth a quick look, we noted that:

  • There seems to be increased confidence in business prospects, despite a relatively large proportion feeling that global economic conditions have worsened.
  • Measurement is becoming more and more important (at last! What IS the point of spending anything on marketing activity if you don’t put metrics in to measure how successful it was or how much return you got for your investment!)

What’s your views, do you concur with those of the 1200 marketers who responded?


Refreshing the Parts Others Cannot Reach

Refreshing the Parts Others Cannot Reach

Q. What links the Mars Bar, Hallmark Cards and accountants Ernst and Young?

A. As brands they have all celebrated their 100th birthday in recent years. And they are all successful and relevant to buyers today. 

Quick quiz
Can you put the following brands in chronological order from the oldest to the youngest? Some are over 150 years old and going strong! We’ll send a bottle of fine wine to the first person to email us the correct answer at hello@preview.co.uk

  • Santander
  • Hamleys
  • Cow and Gate
  • Douwe Egberts
  • Ikea
  • Ericcson 

And the bonus question…which brand used the ‘Refreshing the Parts Others Cannot Reach’ strapline?

In the eye of the beholder
Whilst beauty (and visual identity) is always judged by the beholder, it is also true that preferences evolve, almost unnoticeably over time as fashion moves on. You only need to dig out a few snaps from five years ago for you to see how clothes and hairstyles have changed.

When it comes to visual identity, branding and styling, we need to be confident that we still stand out from the crowd and that we are still communicating the messages and values we want our customers to hear.  Sometimes, a very simple refresh of a logo is all that is needed, other times, more radical changes are required.

Not just about the cosmetics
The need for a brand re-fresh can come about in a variety of different ways. Sometimes there is a strategic imperative, other times it is tactical. Perhaps the owner of the company has simply got bored with the current logo or your competitor has just launched a stunning new website.

We work closely with our clients to clarify the rationale behind a brand re-fresh, ensuring that it achieves their key objectives.

Here are just some reasons why our clients’ have asked us to update their visual identity:

  • Developing a new strategic direction
  • New competitors or existing competitors’ redesign
  • Wanting to reach new clients 
  • Serving a new market or new product development
  • Awareness that the branding is looking tired particularly versus today’s styling
  • Moving to a new technology platform e.g. a content management system
  • New name or ownership
  • Building a corporate image from which to conduct new PR and marketing 
  • Need for new signage, equipment or vehicles

And it can be helpful to have a third party involved in the process who is prepared to challenge the premise on which you’ve decided to go for a brand re-fresh. Sometimes we recommend research first, perhaps ascertaining your current position in the marketplace versus your competitors or what your clients currently think about you as an organisation and your service. 

Metamorphosis
The Starbucks case study is a great example of how a brand evolves. A radical early step followed by a subtle brand development, then recently, a big change with the removal of the brand name. This was a confident move on behalf of Starbucks, sending a clear and strong message (following Apple and Nike’s lead). 

If a brand’s identity is no longer determined by the visuals of the brand name, it has evolved to a state that is almost untouchable.

So if you identified with any of the reasons for a re-fresh above, whether it is strategic or tactical, we would be delighted to have a no obligation chat with you about how we can help design your visual identity and translate this onto any of your marketing materials.


Are you adapting to your audience?

Are you adapting to your audience?

In a recent survey conducted by EA, 6 in 10 under-25s thought Facebook founder, Mark Zuckerberg had a more important impact on history than Sir Isaac Newton and Martin Luther King. This clearly shows young people’s strong relationship with online communication and social activities.

The way young people interact with technology is constantly evolving:

With 500 new mobile devices and 100 new tablets being launched this year, so are their online attitudes and habits. Not only do they enjoy communicating with their peers, they’re also open to communicating with brands. Branded apps such as Barclay Card’s Waterslide app, with 10,000,000 downloads, are massive business and encourage repeated consumer engagement.

Engage with change:

Teens and those in their early 20s are a highly sought after target audience due to their relatively high rate of disposable income. Brands need to earn this audience’s attention and meet them where they already are: online and on their mobile devices.

  • The average student spend is £185 a week
  • Over 650 million people access the internet only with their mobile phone
  • 18% of iPhone users are on their handset for at least 4 hours a day

Soon, the Mobile Generation will have more buying power than all other generations combined - a fact your brand can’t afford to ignore. We can create an app to meet and engage your audience on a platform they are rarely without.

Make yourself available:

Apps are commonly used by young people as a method of passing the time, perhaps when there is a lack of Internet: on the train, in a lecture even. They can be practical tools aiding the user with tasks. It is estimated that approximately 125 years worth of Angry Birds is played every day and that 70% of consumers having already downloaded a branded app.

With this high level of consumer involvement with applications, it is clear that there is a large audience ready to be engaged. Through a functional or entertaining app, a brand can ensure a constant and positive association as well as a deeper relationship with its audience.

How an app can help your brand:

In education, apps can be used to assist in many aspects of student life, for example:

  • Providing an accessible and offline prospectus
  • Maps, timetables, jobs board, events and information for current students
  • Open day guides for prospective students
  • Near by attractions and offers, as the location can be as important as the faculty 
  • FAQs and a help forum directly linked to faculty staff

All of which will enhance the student experience, encouraging new applications and recommendations from current students.

Let us help you:

Young consumers are bombarded by many opportunities to explore and decisions to make. A branded app could ensure your target audience chooses you over a competitor by making you readily available in their preferred medium. Here at Preview, we recently created the Careers 4U App, commissioned by East Sussex County Council, which has been designed to get young people between the ages of 14 and 18 to start thinking about the wide range of careers available to them once they leave school or college. Take a look to see how we have engaged the consumer through this app and increased the presence of Careers 4U. Contact us so we can do the same for you.

Laura Hills by Laura Hills
posted on 15/06/2011


The Future of Connectivity

The Future of Connectivity

Recently I attended the 2011 Internet World show at London's Earls Court.  Among the usual array of stands from various SEO, hosting and email marketing software agencies, were a series of key note speeches from some of the worlds leading online technology businesses.  One that caught my eye in particular was a seminar by CISCO's CEO Phil Smith about the future of connectivity and 'the Internet of Things'.

As we steer toward a future in which all our objects and environments are connected we will eventually find ourselves living a technologist’s dream, with everything part of the network. But how will people experience and interact with it? Will users see it as a logical step in the evolution of the WorldWide Web? Or is it going to be understood as something radically different from anything we have seen before? In a modest way, the 'Internet of Things' is already here. During the second quarter of 2010, more than twice as many connected devices as people were added by carriers in the US. Different kinds of gadgets and gizmos are gradually turning into hybrid devices that are services, as much as they are physical objects.

These days, the pads and pods - in all their different shapes and forms - are also expected to be the portals to an integrated ecosystem of services and applications changing the way people work, learn and play. And the trend is spreading to devices such as TV's, hi-fi equipment and even cars. Is this the beginning of a new era of innovative, intertwined, combined products systems and services that utilize the power of the networks? Perhaps, but first there are some problems to address:

The Internet has run out of Internet addresses… sort of. Perhaps you’ve heard the news: the last blocks of IPv4 Internet addresses have been allocated. The fundamental underlying technology that has powered Internet Protocol addresses since the Internet’s inception will soon be exhausted. When IPv4 was set up with a capacity for 4 billion unique addresses, the technologists of the time could not have conceived they would need to revise the protocol within their lifetime. Now, a new technology will take its place. IPv4′s successor is IPv6; a system that will offer far more numerical addresses reaching units that sound like something from an Arthur C Clark novel (approximately 340 Undecillion*) or 3.4×1038. 'If you think of IPv 4 as a golf ball then IPv6 is the sun'.

*Wikipedia

So what does this mean?

The internet has undergone a series of revolutions in it's short history. A business revolution took place early in it’s inception, in which companies realised the potential benefits of an online presence. Next, the power and focus shifted towards the consumers with information instantly and freely available on an unprecedented scale. Now, with 500 million people moving into cities of the future, the world is urbanising and the internet is set to undergo a new industrial revolution. When you talk about the future, you can talk about smart, connected communities. Intelligent urbanization.

Such large scale urbanisation will inevitably lead to numerous social, economic, and environmental issues, but planning with the future of connectivity in mind will give us the opportunity to create intelligent cities with architectures that address everything from green initiatives, smart electricity, productivity, government services such as education and health care, intelligent transportation and smart buildings. 

Imagine a central command and control that receives information from an integrated Sensor Technology Network which connects every function of the urban environment. Data is combined and aggregated to produce information, which in turn is analyzed and inspected to derive knowledge and insight. This allows city management to collect data about everything going on in an urban environment and retain this information indefinitely.

Not only does this help the city to react in real time to situations and conditions, but also the amount of history stored enables continuous optimization of all city functions, giving the ability to predict the outcomes of events. This includes examples ranging from traffic control to climate and energy management to home automation.

Consistent architecture of information means new applications and features can be added inexpensively and conveniently. Extending the management of cities and service offerings to residents and visitors, these new applications leverage the information provided from sensors, mobile devices, and people interacting with systems in the city. This unlocks the creativity of developers, and provides for new revenue streams and business models to be generated on an ongoing basis.

There are examples of intelligent cities already in place in South Korea’s Sondo City, intelligent motor control in Lisbon, Portugal and intelligent electricity systems in Germany to name just a few.

This new industrial revolution is NOT set to take place in the future. It has already begun.


How to reach more customers via Facebook without buying an Ad

How to reach more customers via Facebook without buying an Ad

Launching a Facebook page for your company or brand is an extremely powerful tool to connect with new and existing customers. The easiest way to grow your Facebook fan base is with Facebook ads. These are powerful, specific and targeted ads that can increase fans tenfold. Facebook advertising can be very low cost, but if it's not in your marketing budget at the moment here are 5 easy tips you can apply to your Facebook channel immediately.

1. Promote your Facebook page
Make sure your social media is not only an online presence but that you promote it throughout all your traditional media, be that print, radio and TV or email marketing. Encourage customers to interact with your brand or business through these social channels. With social networking accounting for 1 in every 4 minutes spend online you can't afford to not be apart of the conversation.

2. Encourage sharing
We know that the most powerful method to increase growth is via word of mouth, so encourage your fans to share your page on their feed. This can be done by incentivising them with deals if your page grows to a certain number - update with content that will encourage others to share the news or offer. The reach through other people's networks is endless.

3. Engagement
This is key. Keep your page updated 3-4 times a week. Old news is no news. Make sure you keep the updates varied. No one wants to be bombarded with sales messages all the time. Ask questions, be helpful as well as giving fans news on promotions or sales. The most important thing is to be relevant so that fans 'like' or comment on your status - first and foremost to encourage engagement. When fans 'like' or comment on your update then this will be visible in their friends news feed. The more visibility your page gets the more potential customers will see your offers.

4. Respond
Your Facebook page needs monitoring. If someone comments, or posts on your Facebook page respond to it immediately. News on Facebook moves so quickly and you don't want to miss the chance for interaction with a customer or potential customer. If no immediate reply is required then at least acknowledge the post by liking it or simply thank them for the mention. This shows to your other fans that you are active and engaged with your page and you are listening to them.

5. Measure
As with all marketing activity, the most important aspect is the measurement. Make sure you measure and review your Facebook account regularly. Monitor the amount of likes and dislikes when making posts. Monitor the posts that work and don't work. With this data you can then adjust and fine tune your type of posts and the frequency.

Facebook is a great way of reaching new consumers, but social media also continues to grow in B2B markets too. In both arenas it's a low-cost route to reach new customers when used cleverly.

If you would like advice on which platforms are relevant to your marketing, creating content or managing advertising call us on 01273 834434.


Avoid missing out as more of your web audience goes mobile

Avoid missing out as more of your web audience goes mobile

Consideration of how your audience are using mobile devices is becoming increasingly important. In 2011 there will be 500 new mobile devices and 100 new tablets launched.

And, by 2013 industry statistics show that more people will view the internet on a mobile device than on a PC. By 2020 there will be 5 billion mobile devices in use worldwide.

Did you know that 20% of job searches are already performed on a mobile device?

Mobile has become an important consideration for all organisations, not just those targeting the youth sector. The need to ensure your site renders correctly and that your emails are delivered well on a mobile are as increasingly critical to business users with their Blackberry as they are to consumers.

Mobile users behavior is usually characterised by: 

  • Microtasking - Using the phone for short bursts of activity
  • Local - Finding out what’s around the user
  • Bored - Using the phone for distraction or entertainment.

When considering your mobile audience, remember that not all content may be relevant at that point in time, so getting this aspect right is vital. For example, does someone viewing your website on a mobile need to see your full company history?  Is the complete depth of site navigation available on your main site essential, when quick mobile viewing is important?

On your website, the intro and section pages are designed to move your customers into the pages where the content lives. On a mobile you need your customers to see these more valuable content pages as soon as possible.

One size fits none:

You should also consider the type of visitor who will look at your site on a mobile device; is it more likely to be a returning visitor or someone who comes to your site for the first time?

If you are a recruitment company it's more likely people will be coming back to your site to check new jobs, rather than to see your company history or credentials. On the flip side, if you're a doctor's surgery, people may be searching for you; in which case some content on your services, contact details and credentials are more important.

Keeping all these factors in mind, here are some specific mobile design and functionality considerations:

  • Simplify navigation
  • Reduce depth of navigation
  • Create a simple navigation home page
  • Make links obvious
  • Design for smaller screens
  • Prioritize content
  • Minimise user input
  • Keep form fields to essentials
  • Design for slower connection speeds
  • Keep page sizes small with minimal graphics

Statistical influence

We carried out some web usage analytics on our client sites and found the average number of mobile users to those sites is approaching 15% of the total.

Can you afford to miss out on these potential customers because they found it too difficult to find the information they needed?

If you have a smartphone, take a moment and have a look at how your own site appears, then have a look at Preview’s to see how a streamlined version of the same site is automatically delivered to your mobile. Our site has simplified navigation, reduced content, but also takes advantage of other features of a mobile, such as linking directly to the map or navigation software to provide pinpoint directions, and linking to the phone to enable a call to be placed without having to copy numbers.

Improving your own site’s mobile performance does not necessarily mean rebuilding your site or developing a parallel mobile version as we can often take much of the structure, coding and components from your existing site and a basic, workable mobile site can be delivered within a few days.

We can also deliver cost-effective, creative, promotional and practical mobile Apps (like the one we did recently for East Sussex County Council) for the iPhone, iPod and Android devices too.

Contact us now to find out we can deliver your website seamlessly for mobile users and unlock the potential of this growing market. If you don’t have a smartphone, we offer a free service to show you how your site or email marketing looks to users on various mobile devices. Please contact Wes for details.


How far do your twittering rights go?

How far do your twittering rights go?

In a recent story in the Guardian Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson has criticised the use of the social networking site Twitter over a comment made by star striker Wayne Rooney after he threatened a United supporter. Ferguson, who hinted that his players could be banned from using the site, went on to say "players are responsible for their actions... We as a club are looking at it because there can be issues attached".

We're interested in how you think Twitter should be approached internally? Do you think that employees should have their own accounts that represent the company or that a single account that is managed, monitored and authorised by a specific social marketing manager is the way to go? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.


Ridding the world of Internet Explorer 6

Ridding the world of Internet Explorer 6

We spotted an interesting article recently that highlighted the issues and dangers of using out of date browsers on computers. You may find it worth a quick read.

The article on Engadget caught our eye by including phrases such as 'horrible, out-dated web browser'. We were particularly interested to see the global user statistics, with 3.5% of users in the UK still using Internet Explorer 6. Compared with more modern browsers this is significantly low. According to statistics online, the current world leader with 29% penetration is Internet Explorer (IE) version 8, Firefox version 3 with 27% is second and IE v7 is in third place with 13%. IE6 falls short, globally, with only 7% of the share.

The advantage of making sure your browser is up-to-date is, first and foremost, security. Browsers do get updated for a reason - it's not just to annoy you with update requests just as you want to do something urgently! Using out-dated browser versions may have serious security flaws that allow malicious websites to read your files, damage your files, steal your passwords or infect your computer with viruses. Old browsers are prone to having bugs and limitations that may create problems when using modern websites. New browsers, on the other hand, are much faster and the creators are all continuing to improve the user experience. Some sites are only compatible with new browsers, especially technology heavy websites with video, movement or interaction.

In developing websites we aim to ensure that the site content is compatible and accessible by any browser; but there will often be certain modern techniques and functionality that aren't compatible with older browsers. Web technology is a fast moving industry and is always striving to be one step ahead. The older the browser used, the more limited or even basic the user's experience of the web will be.

For security and usability reasons we would encourage everyone to upgrade to the latest version of the browser you use. Your experience on the web will be significantly improved.

Have a read of the Engadget article and let us know what you're using.

 


New legal rules for websites

New legal rules for websites

As you may have spotted from their recent advertising campaign, from March 1st the Advertising Standards Authority's online remit will be extended to cover marketing communications on organisations' own websites. The UK Code of Non-broadcast Advertising, Sales Promotion and Direct Marketing (the CAP Code) will apply in full to marketing messages online, including the rules relating to misleading advertising, social responsibility and the protection of children.

It is worth noting that this applies not only to your own website(s) but also to other on-line space under your control (ranging from banner adverts to copy you have provided to go on other peoples' sites about your business) AND to your organisation's Social Networking sites - Facebook, Twitter LinkedIn etc.

If you have not reviewed your site recently now may be a good time for a quick bit of housekeeping, making sure that all the copy and messages are up-to-date and taking down any out-dated material.

Some further free advice is available at the ASA's http://www.copyadvice.org.uk website.

Given the new rules we will do our best to prioritise any changes clients need to make to sites before March 1st. Please call Wes or email wes@preview.co.uk as soon as possible if you require any assistance.

Ankur Shah by Ankur Shah
posted on 07/02/2011


Why Brighton needs a brand

Why Brighton needs a brand

Last month Michael Wolff, co-founder of one of the world's most iconic design companies - Wolff Olins – addressed the city of Liverpool in a lecture called ‘Branding the City’. Wolff’s decision to focus on the brand identity of a city is another addition to the list of high profile bids to capture the brand of a city, in order to attract tourists and businesses. The City of Melbourne’s newly unveiled brand has caught people’s attention worldwide, as did The Greater London Authority’s recent (disastrous) invitation to tender for the design of a ‘Brand for London’. With all of this recent attention on destination branding, we thought it was a good time to consider the identity of our city and soon realised that Brighton needs a brand.

[more]

Why bother with a brand?
With the recent recession driving more holiday makers to British tourist spots, now is a perfect opportunity for Brighton to address its identity crisis. Over the past twenty years Brighton & Hove has undergone a massive cultural change. Development work and local communities have grown exponentially since it achieved city status in 2000. Tourism is still massive part of the local economy and with more than 8 million tourists visiting each year, it's vital that the city is able to compete with other seaside destinations.


Brighton’s identity crisis
Brighton represents a melting pot of history and youth. You will find a blend of social and economic groups mixing together happily. However focus on the city's nightlife has damaged its reputation in recent years. From its middle class cafe culture, to its architectural flamboyance. From booming digital businesses to exuberant nightlife. There are many different sides to Brighton, but it strikes us that there is no powerful symbol that can unite these different aspects.
  
There are existing logos used by Brighton & Hove City Council, that have different amounts of success and recognition. However Brighton deserves an icon that can become internationally synonymous with the city. Something infectious, something worn with pride by the people of Brighton, something that visitors are drawn to.

What a brand can do for Brighton
If you want to see a city using branding to its full potential, then take a look at how the 'I heart NY' icon created an inspirational worldwide icon. By building a brand that people believe in, you can promote Brighton to businesses, domestic and international students, tourists and investors. All of which brings money in to the city council, which can be re-invested.

Engaging the people of Brighton
Here at Preview we are excited by the power that the web can give communities. By connecting with Brighton's digital culture there is an opportunity to let anyone in Brighton have a say in how their home is portrayed. We would like to use the deep pool of digital specialists to develop a system for residents to rate, share, comment, discuss, record and respond to the city's culture. A shared brand that everyone has a stake in.

Creating the brand
Creating a brand for Brighton is a unique challenge and it would take a unique process to be successful. It's the task of a branding agency to get as close to clients and their audience, as possible. This is where we exploit our experience of working with public sector organisations. Our clients like to think of us as part of their company, including us in their board meetings and seeking our advice on their strategies. Our studio acts as an outsourced brand department, allowing us to submerge ourselves in the task. Working in partnership with clients, from ideas and planning, through to design, production and presentation.

An open invitation
We love to talk branding. We also love working with clients who challenge us. So this is an open invitation to Brighton & Hove CIty Council, to talk to us about Brighton's future and how we can help to make it better.


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