Welcome to the first ‘marketing tips blog’

Welcome to the first ‘marketing tips blog’

Hello!

My name is Tracey Dingwall and I’m the Managing Director of Tadpole Marketing. I’ve been working in Marketing for over 15 years and 12 of those at a senior level. I’ve worked with the lovely team at InSync Creative for over 7 years and when they asked me to host a marketing blog on their website, I just couldn’t resist! During these marketing blogs, I’ll be sharing with you some tips and tricks to help you get the most from your marketing activities, whether you’re promoting a product or service. So next week we’ll kick off with talking about the cornerstones of marketing, the building blocks that help achieve our objectives. There’ll be lots of acronyms along the way to learn but don’t worry there isn’t a test at the end of it! See you next week! Tracey
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Two new brands for a startup coffee company

Two new brands for a startup coffee company

We recently completed a brand identity project for a new company selling high quality coffees and brewing equipment.

The Hessian Coffee Company is a new business venture started by one of our long-term clients to sell high quality coffee making equipment to consumers through an online shop, and high quality coffee through an online coffee club. Fuelled by the popularity of the large coffee chains and independent coffee shops on the high street, the market for interesting high quality coffees to drink at home is growing rapidly. The brief was for two brands, each with a distinct personality, but recognisable as part of the same family. ‘The Hessian Coffee Company’ is the main business, selling the hardware, with ‘Bean Delivered’ supplying coffee to members of the coffee club. The key selling points of both brands is quality, competitively priced, ethical products – targeted at individuals already know what they want, or who appreciate quality and are willing to be educated in the preparation and enjoyment of fine coffee at home. We’ve worked with this client on several other projects and they know the value of research when creating a new brand. Assessing your competitors’ brands, looking for common elements and themes is really important as a starting point. It allows you to make informed decisions about when to be different and when to use common design language that your customers associate with the product you’re selling. At the same time as the brand research, we gathered together a range of images that seemed to have the right look and feel. mood board The resulting mood board was extremely useful in creating graphic ideas for the logos as well as generating potential colour palettes for the brand. The image research sparked off several ideas for initial logo designs for the two brand identities. logo design variations Which after detailed discussion with the client lead to a definite direction in terms of the imagery and personality that we were trying to achieve – slightly quirky and playful for the coffee club, and slightly more corporate for the main company Referring back to the mood board led to a change of colour and some final development before finalising the two logo designs. Bean Delivered logo design In keeping with the slightly playful personality of the Bean Delivered brand, the website design that followed made use of parallax scrolling and several other CSS3 and JQuery scripts to create an interesting user experience in-keeping with the high quality and unusual coffees on offer.
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Direct Mail for Business Magnet

Direct Mail Design for Hertfordshire business

Direct Mail for Business Magnet

A stylish and fun piece of direct mail helps to make Businessmagnet stand out from the crowd.

Businessmagnet.co.uk is the UK’s leading business-to-business directory, and at the end of August they approached us looking for some exciting ideas for their welcome pack mailer aimed at new subscribers. The purpose of the mailer is to promote the range of value added services available from Businessmagnet, and to encourage customers to engage with their dedicated Businessmagnet account manager. We got together with the guys at their offices to discuss the format of the mailer and its content. They were keen to give away a magnetic toy that would sit on their customers’ desks as a constant reminder of Businessmaget, so the welcome mailer would need to accommodate the chosen item. We narrowed down the key messages of the mailer to a simple series of steps leading up to the final call to action – contacting their account manager to upgrade their Businesmagnet listing – and got to work on the design. The finished mailer shows how a clear goal and careful copy writing can pay dividends in the success of a direct mail piece – the whole design is geared towards guiding the customer towards contact with Businessmagnet. Add in strong typography, a reduced colour palette (red and metallic silver) and a playful use of the magnetic toy in the design and the result is a mailer with real personality. So much so that we were also asked to apply the same brand style to their rate card/brochure.
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Brand identity – a guide to how we work part 3

Billboard design

Brand identity – a guide to how we work part 3

Previously in this series we have charted the development of the Imagine brand design from its beginnings to the final logo. Now we will look at the application of the brand in preparation for the product launch.

The teaser campaign

Once the logo was finalised, the next stage was to prepare a teaser campaign in the run-up to the launch of Imagine at the BETT education show in January 2012.

The brief from Pearson Fronter was to create a press, website and direct mail campaign that would create a buzz around the name Imagine and attract education professionals to search for Imagine at BETT without giving away anything about the project, or even that it was a Pearson product.

We decided quite quickly that the learning content of Imagine gave the most scope for interesting visuals and set about working up some designs. A few ideas are shown here.

Brand design concepts

The unanimous favourite was the second, illustrated concept which, incidentally, through the use of the clouds and rainbow, refers back to some of the early logo visuals.

One of the reasons for choosing this idea was the potential to create an exciting web experience linked to the ad campaign – see the screenshots below.

Various direct mail pieces followed leading up to the product launch at Olympia.

The Launch campaign

The final stage of the launch has been to develop the brand ideas from the logo design and start to apply them to the post-launch marketing materials.

 

The launch brochure, advertising and web design is the first step in steering the visuals used in the teaser campaign towards something more explicit. Where the teaser campaign was all about exciting visuals and making people curious with veiled hints and promises, the next steps will be all about communicating the specific strengths and benefits of the Imagine suite of products.

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Brand identity – a guide to how we work part 2

Brand identity – a guide to how we work part 2

In the first post on the brand design for Pearson Fronter’s new product, Imagine, I  looked at the process of generating ideas. Now I’m going to show how those ideas were developed into actual logo designs for presentation to the client.

Getting on with it

Working with words and phrases, doodles and found images led to a number of ideas that seemed good enough to work up into some logo visuals for Imagine. Some of the initial designs are shown here. Each logo design had its own evolution through several stages, with each having several different variations – too many to show them all here. imagine logo concepts Imagine concepts Imagine concepts Imagine Concepts If you refer back to the mood board and mind map from part one, you’ll see several themes have been developed into the logo designs. And this is the one that Pearson Fronter chose to develop. Imagine concept designs Although all the ideas presented had one eye firmly on the brief, this was the one that was thought to be closest to fulfilling it. Firstly it was very different from logos used for other products in the school management or learning sector. And secondly it was seen to be readily adaptable to appeal to the very different target audiences that Imagine would be aimed at. Pearson Fronter particularly liked the idea that the logo could be used as a container for different photographic images – a good analogy for Imagine as a container for a suite of different applications. brand design for Imagine The shape of the letters, the shadow under the logo and the thickness of the keyline surrounding it were all careful refined over the next few stages. Finally we supplied the finished master logo to Pearson Fronter to be registered as a tradmark. Brand design The final instalment of this series will focus on the development of the brand design in the run-up to the product launch.
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Brand identity – a guide to how we work part 1

Brand identity – a guide to how we work part 1

Branding for Pearson

Throughout the second half of 2011 we worked with Pearson Fronter on the brand identity for a new product that was finally launched in January 2012. The following is not so much a formal case study, but more of a guide as to how ideas in a project such as this develop and how we got to the end result.

The brief

The product in question is a way for schools to put all the management and learning applications that they use in one, easy to access, online toolbox. Everyone involved with the school: teachers, pupils, parents, admin staff, can use the same online portal to access the tools that are appropriate to them. School management software and VLEs (Virtual Learning Environments) are big, complex pieces of software – they have to be because they do big, complex things, and Pearson Fronter’s ‘Project X’, as it was known during the development stages, is designed to streamline these software monsters. So in June 2011 we were briefed and given a name for the product – ‘Imagine’, and the work began… Mindmap ideas The brief from Pearson Fronter’s marketing department was that the brand identity should be flexible; Imagine would be bought by a school’s management team but also be used by teachers, pupils and parents. Being different was also an important criteria as Imagine would be the only product out there that unified management and learning tools. Armed with a thorough understanding of the product and a clear brief from the client it was time to start work.

Of mind maps (nearly) and mood boards

A blank piece of paper can be a daunting thing, so the first thing to do is to to put some marks on it to make it less scary. I usually start with the name and a few words to remind me of what the thing I’m designing for does. Then I can start to come up with metaphors, images, related ideas, doodles that spiral away from the starting point and lead on to new metaphors, images, related ideas and so on. The resulting page of free-wheeling ideas and scribbles is kind of like a mind map but without all the associated pseudo-science – it’s just a gentle shove to the old brain cells to get them moving. These pages of words and doodles are an excellent way to come up with raw material for the design; the client doesn’t always get to see it, but sometimes, providing that it isn’t too weird, it’s worth cleaning one up and presenting it to make sure that designer and client are still pulling in the same direction. Mood board Next up – the mood board. Used in all branches of design as a way of getting a feel for what you’re trying to achieve before you start to put pen to paper. In the olden days you’d need to collect piles of magazines and shelves full of photo library catalogues to cut up and paste together to get the look and feel that you wanted. Nowadays a quick trawl around the internet can get you all the inspiration you need. I’m not talking about ripping off someone else’s design, I mean colour, texture and general feel that you want to achieve. The next post will deal with how to turn all this preparation into a proper logo and brand identity.
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