Creative Heads moves to new premises

On 1st April 2017 Creative Heads moved to new premises just a few hundred yards away from our current location here in Canterbury – it is conveniently located within 100 yards of Canterbury East station. And as part of our ongoing development plans we will also have inhouse digital print services and a larger studio team. Our email and phone numbers will remain the same, but new address will be: The Granary, Dane John Works, Gordon Road, Canterbury, Kent CT1 3PP.

Mastercard’s Biggest Rebrand In 20 Years

Mastercard is one of the world’s most instantly recognisable brands that is seen almost everywhere in our daily lives – on TV, billboards, bank machines and even in your wallet.

In July 2016 Mastercard unveiled its biggest rebrand in 20 years and be will implemented over the coming months. This is a huge rebrand that will include a whopping 2.3 billion cards, all print communications, card machines/ATMs, websites, apps, head offices and advertising.

The new brand identity hasn’t had any dramatic changes but rather some subtle ones to keep hold of the brand familiarity while optimising the brand for better use in today’s digital world.

 

Mastercard Logo

 

One of the most obvious changes in the design is the move from the two interlocking circles to two overlapping circles in yellow and red. The idea behind this was to create a feeling of ‘connectivity’ and ‘seamlessness’ in the brand which is part of Mastercard’s main ethos.

The translucent orange centre is also to give a sense of ‘transparency’ from the brand while all the colours have been brightened making the brand feel more optimistic.

One of the less obvious changes is the font for the Mastercard name which has now been changed to FFMark. They have also dropped the uppercase “M” and “C” and removed the word “MasterCard” from the circles.

The new font isn’t just for the main branding but also for all print and communications from the logo down – this will be a big job for a company of this size to go through and implement the new brand identity.

 

Mastercard Brnad Timeline

 

So, after looking at the new Mastercard logo we can see that this new brand identity is more of a functional change for digital purposes rather than a fundamental design change – one of the designers has said “I don’t think anyone’s seen the new logo and thought, ‘Wow, that’s clever’, I think they think ‘Isn’t that what it already looks like?’”

The new design has had mixed reviews across the design world with some saying that they love the new logo and others that aren’t too keen on the look and accused the design of being lazy; either way the real point of interest is seeing how the rebrand is carried out over such a large corperation in the coming months.

 

Is your brand heading in the right direction?

The value of your brand

A powerful brand is one of the most valuable assets your business can possess. It’s more than a logo – it’s what connects you with the hearts and minds of your audience and is the perception of who, what, why and how well you do things. It can be expressed in four distinct ways – products/services, communications, staff culture and premises. Get these things right and you will reap the rewards. Get them wrong and you could lose sales and devalue your business. Take a look at your communications and ask yourself… “Does our ‘brand promise’ really match the perceptions our audience has of us?”.

Jim Collins, author of ‘Good to Great’ said “Good is the enemy of great – The vast majority of good companies remain just that – Good but not great”.

The foundations for success

In this increasingly crowded multi-channel world, recognition and credibility are vital. A powerful identity helps to cut through the clutter – to attract, engage and communicate with your target audience.  Start by observing the opposition and differentiating yourself. Once defined, your identity must be applied with clarity, strength and consistency across all communications for it to be recognised as a credible and trusted brand.

Consistency isn’t boring – it can still be creative, but remember to have clear guidelines on logo usage, size, position, fonts, colours, photography and tone of voice. This still leaves room to be different without damaging a brand’s effectiveness. Does your logo, website and printed collateral convey your brand in a positive, clear and consistent manner that brings credibility to your business?

Brands that deliver functional, economic and emotional benefits are more likely to achieve brand success.

The rewards in brand heaven

Trust leads to authenticity and loyalty, ultimately benefiting the organisation – so growing a brand is an investment with compelling economic advantages that deliver greater returns, company robustness and shareholder value. A trusted organisation held in high esteem is rewarded with increased sales and loyalty that drives repeat business. It is a well known fact that people rarely buy from a brand they’ve never heard of, even if it is less expensive, because there is a risk attached. But they are willing to pay more for a product or service that has earned their trust.

Here are some interesting statistics:

  • Colour increases brand recognition by 80% which directly links to consumer confidence.
  • Global brands spend 45-75% of their social media time on Facebook.
  • 50% of customers will try a new product from a brand they favour.
  • 63% of customers need to hear company claims 3-5 times before they believe it.
  • 80% of consumers are more likely to evaluate solutions from the brands they follow on social channels.
  • 89% of B2B manufacturing marketers cite increased brand awareness as a goal for content marketing, compared to 85% for sales, and 80% for lead generation.
  • 72% of marketers think branded content is more effective than advertising in a magazine; 69% say it is superior to direct mail and PR.
  • 80% of consumers say “authenticity of content” is the most influential factor in their decision to become a follower of a brand.

It takes time and effort to reach brand heaven but the rewards are worth it. No single approach will get you there, so the right mix of marketing communications is essential. A brand is your reputation – good or bad, it can spread quickly across all channels as people talk and it becomes self-perpetuating.

Remember: It is significantly harder to repair a bad reputation than it is to build a good one.

 

(Sources: Nielsen, Marketing Tech Blog, NJIT, CUBE, Content Marketing Institute, AdWeek, NewsCred, HBR, ClickFox, Smart Customer Service, VentureBeat, ColorCom, Landor, Pardot)
Social Media – What’s Right For You?

Every day we are all bombarded with the latest growth hacks for social media, but do these generic blogs cause more harm than good? Well, we thought we would look at the platforms themselves and some of the statistics behind them. We’ve selected the platforms below on the basis of popularity and how they are being used.

LinkedIn is very much a current and growing platform that dominates the world of professional social media, having recently been acquired by Microsoft for $26.2 billion. Launched in 2002 it has really stood the test of time, adapting to changes in technology and cornering a tough market.

With 400 million members and 3 million company pages, running a LinkedIn page is becoming crucial for businesses to have a corporate social profile – this platform is best used to target both business professionals and businesses themselves.

Facebook is the most popular platform with 1.65 billion monthly active users, meaning that 38% of the online population use Facebook and spend an average of 20 minutes per day on the site.

The platform is a good all-rounder but lacks access to business professionals of LinkedIn – Facebook is best used to engage with end users and consumers of products and services. Posts with video have the highest engagement but only make up 3% of the content. With 4 million ‘likes’ generated every minute it’s easy to see why so many businesses chose Facebook to advertise and engage with their customers.

Twitter has struggled financially recently and if they aren’t able to move with the times they may not retain their space as one of the top platforms. Having said that, with 310 million active users every month and 500 million tweets per day Twitter is still a powerful and popular platform.

The average user follows 5 brands and 77% are more positive about a brand when their tweets are replied to – but with only 140 characters to play with your limited on what you can do with each tweet, although images can increase your engagement. Twitter has recently changed its rules on ‘tweets’ and decided to remove “@name” and media images such as GIFs from the character count – this gives you a little more space to write some good content. This platform is mainly used to keep followers up-to-date on latest news or product information and allows anyone to engage with a business. Most businesses will tweet 3 to 5 times a day to maintain audience engagement.

Instagram is based on sharing pictures with a short description, the platform boasts a huge 400 million active users with over 60% that login daily. 90% of the users are under the age of 35 and mostly use mobile devices to access the platform. With over 40 billion pictures already shared and a whopping 3.5 billion ‘likes’ a day, no wonder the Instagram users have doubled in the last two years.

Engagement is 10 times higher than Facebook and 84 times higher than Twitter, but it relies on a visual product or service to gain such a level of engagement. Although Instagram has a character limit of 2,200 it’s a common belief that you should aim to use around 240, because everything after that gets hidden behind a read more tag so most people aim to get everything within the 240 characters.

Not all social media platforms support the use of hash tags but this doesn’t mean you shouldn’t use them – the hash tag has become a universal symbol for conveying messages, ideologies and beliefs with the use of one word or phrase, so it has been quite common to see them where they are not supported.

Next week’s Heads Up will be asking the question – “Is your brand heading in the right direction?”. We will announce the next Heads Up at the end of each issue to give you something to look forward to and we hope that if there’s anything you would like us to touch upon you will let us know.

Heads Up – “Not Just Another Blog”

It’s becoming more common nowadays to find that our news feeds and inboxes are full of blogs, articles, tips or ‘growth hacks’ often titled something along the lines of “10 things you must do…” or ‘10 mistakes that cause your social media to fail’. But how many of these articles are actually relevant to you, your business, or your audience?

The questions we want to pose are – What’s right for you? What’s right for your audience? And is it going to add value?

We’re taking blogs back to basics – well sort of. We’ve decided to create our own blog, but with a difference. Rather than overloading you with daily ‘top 10 dos and don’ts’ lists and generic information regarding social media that can be found anywhere online, we have created a 52 week plan with one new blog every week that will help you tailor the tools available to your business and not try to fit your business to the tools.

Starting in July we will release one ‘Heads Up’ blog every week, designed to not only be informative and engaging, but also to help you ask the questions that will drive your business forwards and get you focusing on the right tools and the right aspects for your brand.

So we have chosen a range of subjects from social media to branding and marketing and will be using the feedback to direct the course of our Heads Up blogs – this way you’ll get the best experience from reading our blogs and can focus on what’s really important to you.

We aim to touch on important subjects and keep them relevant to you, no matter your knowledge on the subject – we just want something casual and straight to the point so you can read it anywhere.

Next week we thought it would be a good idea to start with Social Media – Whats Right for You? and will be looking at the platforms, how they are being used and by who. We will announce the next Heads Up at the end of each issue to give you something to look forward to and we hope that if there’s anything you would like us to touch upon you will let us know.

Marc-Kelsey-Creative-Designer-Art-Director-Aylesbury-BucksTwo Heads are better than one…

Here at Creative Heads we are delighted to announce the opening of an additional satellite office in Aylesbury, Bucks.  Headed up by our Senior Art Director, Marc Kelsey, it is a proactive move to allow us to further meet the demands of our more centrally based clients in the UK.  As Marc explains, “With the onset of more and more business coming from beyond London, Surrey, Sussex and Kent, we were finding it increasingly important to be able to offer clients on the opposite side of the M25 from Kent the opportunity to liaise face-to-face with us more often.  As a relatively small creative agency, we understand the importance of providing the personal touch that so many of our clients love, no matter where they are.”

According to a recent study, rapidly expanding businesses in Buckinghamshire and surrounding counties like Oxfordshire, Berkshire and Northamptonshire are spurring economic growth and employment in the region.  As a result of this insight, we felt it was just the sort of location that could benefit from our ability to consistently deliver a quality service at a sensible value.  A sentiment echoed by one of our many clients – “The Creative Heads team have produced many innovative and effective campaign concepts for us over the past few years.  They are very easy to work with and always deliver on time and in line with our requirements.”

So whether you’re are a large corporate company, SME or start-up, and need help with your branding, online or offline marketing, we’d love to put our heads together to see how we can help.  To arrange a meeting or to find out more, please get in touch with Marc Kelsey on 01296 770051 or email marc.kelsey@creative-heads.co.uk

Video Content Marketing is taking off!

Online video is taking off – changing the world of content marketing, increasing conversions and satisfying people’s needs for information and entertainment.  The potential to reach new customers with video marketing has increased exponentially and the ability to capture dynamic aerial shots has become simpler with the use of drones.  The Guardian’s Chris Trimble writes that one in three Britons views at least one video a week – in other words, a weekly audience of more than 20 million people in the UK alone.  We have captured this opportunity for exposure, helping Southeastern reach some 150,000 views and over 450 social actions with their latest campaign “Days Out Ideas”.  The tools of social media and vlogging allow us to choose the location, gender, age, likes and interests, relationship status, workplace and education of your target audience – ensuring your brand identity receives the publicity it deserves and assuring you maximum return on investment.

Here are the latest video projects Creative Heads have worked on for Southeastern and West Kent College.

southeastern-vlogging-campaignWhat can you see or do on a day out around the Southeastern network? Well, there’s shopping, exploring, sport, history, food and drink, kids activities, student activities, beaches and art on offer.  We were asked to create a number of short viral videos to explore things to do, encouraging people to go out and have an adventure of their own.  We produced easy-to-digest friendly videos to showcase some “Days Out Ideas” offering people different experiences to enjoy.  We have been using drones to capture aerial shots in the videos giving a more dynamic, interesting spin on the opportunities that surround us.

west-kent-college-vlogging-campaignGetting students interested in further education can sometimes be quite challenging – even more so when the college marketing team is competing against so many other colleges and universities, many of whom have an established reputation.  West Kent College asked the Creative Heads team to get their hands dirty in the mechanics department and help to showcase and encourage people to enrol on their course.  We produced a viral video to show that a car mechanic course is not just about sticking your head under the bonnet, but it can also be extremely rewarding and great fun.

Generate sales leads for a genuine return on your investment – Website profitability doesn’t come purely from making a website highly visible in Google (whether through natural or paid advertising) – initially it comes from analysis and refinement.  There are many that claim to boost traffic and get you ranked higher in search engines – and sure enough they may do.  But how relevant are the visitors to your site and does it generate enough new business to justify the expenditure?  Do they tell you the actual names of organisations visiting your site?  Or do they simply send you pages of data and IP addresses for you to decipher?

At Creative Heads our analytics and web marketing experts specialise in stopping clients wasting their advertising budgets.  We help them to analyse how visitors interact with their website and more importantly, identify the names of the companies visiting the website.  If 100 people visit a website but only one makes contact then something is wrong. We will take you through the process from ‘poor enquiries’ to ‘too many enquiries’ – a problem occurs frequently.

RARawards2013-finalist-marketing-communicationsWe are pleased to announce two more awards to enhance our reputation for trust, reliability, quality and value…

2013 is looking like a good year already!  Since moving our office to Canterbury in January we have won another finalist award for Best Print Production Agency in the UK (Agencies under 30 staff) and also achieved a ‘Recommended’ status for a third consecutive year.  We are particularly pleased to win more awards this year as it reinforces our consistent record of high achievement, so clients can trust in us and have confidence that we can deliver effective marketing communications within realistic budgets.

This is partly due to the talent and commitment of our team, but also the strong working relationships we have with our clients. Unlike many other agencies our business structure enables direct access to the creatives as we don’t employ account managers – thus ensuring fast and accurate communications which have consistently proven to deliver a better return on investment.

We are a carefully selected team of associates with the flexibility to ensure creative diversity, value for money, quality of service and a rapid response for any size of organisation.  We work with large companies listed on the London Stock Exchange and the NASDAQ Stock Market, as well as small local companies too – made possible only by our flexible structure and high calibre of experts.

Creative Heads agency moves to Canterbury

canterbury-centre-communications agency

 

Having beaten the tough recession years Creative Heads has moved to a new studio in Canterbury, the creative heart of Kent.  Being an integrated marketing communications agency has enabled Creative Heads to continue to grow steadily over the last 4 years and has now made a strategic move to the city they believe is key to their continued success. 

Creative Director Paul Duckworth comments “Canterbury is one of the most inspiring and creative areas in the South East and provides a fabulous alternative to London.  There is a really positive vibe about the city when you walk through the streets – everywhere I look I see happy faces of people enjoying the numerous cafes, restaurants, shops, events and attractions.  And it’s not just because it’s a cosmopolitan city full of tourists enjoying themselves – I see business people everywhere looking upbeat and enjoying their place of work.  Canterbury is full of students and graduates looking for their first opportunities on the career ladder and there is also a very active creative community in the city with lots of events and network groups bringing creative and marketing people together to share their knowledge and swap ideas.

“The key to our success is our people and their state of mind, which we feel is further enhanced now that we are based in Canterbury.  Many of our team already live in or around Canterbury, making their local knowledge invaluable when it comes to advising our local clients.  Creative people want to be continually inspired and not just stare at blank walls or negative environments.  It is also home to several universities including the University of the Creative Arts – a rich source of new talent who have their fingers on the pulse when it comes to new trends and technologies.  We are always on the lookout for the best new talent.

“There is a misconception that the creative industry revolves around London and that Marketing Directors wanting a decent agency feel more confident looking towards the capital.  The reality is that many creative agencies in Kent have the best of both worlds – some designers may have learnt their trade in London and then moved to more local ones in order to reduce their commute, be closer to home and improve their quality of life; whilst others are more home-grown and bring additional qualities to the table.  With the ever-growing pressure for people to work harder it is critical for employers to ensure the state of mind of their employees is right – a healthy positive mind-set works smarter and delivers better quality in less time.

“We are really excited about the future now that we are based in Canterbury – it follows on nicely from our successes in 2012 when Creative Heads was recognised as the ‘Best Value Agency’ in Kent and in the top 10 in the UK, at the 2012 RAR Awards. We also achieved a ‘Recommended Agency’ status – giving current and prospective clients the reassurance that there is a proven high level of quality, service and value when they work with us.

Creative Heads is an integrated (full service) marketing communications agency built around a select team of experts with a flexible business structure that enables us to work with both small and large businesses here in Kent and abroad.  Branding, print and digital media are among the core strengths across most market sectors.

RARawards2012-finalist-Marketing-communications-agencyOfficially recognised as the best value for money marketing communications agency in Kent and the South East…

When times are tough and there is constant talk of recession, business owners and Marketing Directors want to be sure they are maximising the value of their investment with a communications agency.

Canterbury-based branding, print and digital design agency, Creative Heads, was been nominated as a finalist in the prestigious RAR Awards Category of ‘Best Value for Money’ agency in the UK.  There are thousands of agencies on the RAR Register but Creative Heads is the only one in Kent – in fact the whole of South East England, to be nominated for this category.  The outright winner will be announced April at an award ceremony in London.

This recognition reflects a business model designed specifically to provide value without compromising on quality or service.  The Recommended Agency Register (RAR) is like the ‘TripAdvisor.com’ or the ‘RatedPeople.com’ for the creative industries – identifying the best marketing, advertising, digital and design agencies based on feedback from clients.  Surveys are conducted independently and confidentially between clients and RAR to ensure a true reflection of an agency’s effectiveness.

Founder and Creative Director Paul Duckworth comments – “This nomination is fantastic news for us and underpins our core business objective. In 2011 we had already been awarded a ‘Recommended’ status with RAR, so receiving this nomination gives reassurance to clients that when they work with the Creative Heads team they are working with some of the best in the industry and at a sensible price.”

With over 20 years experience in large and small agencies, both as a freelance designer in the early years and at Director level for the last 15 years, he has seen many different strengths and weaknesses of agency structures.  So in 2008 it was time for a new approach. It has always been clear that value for money was a top priority for many clients, especially during a recession, but not at the expense of quality.  Creative Heads was specifically tailored to address the needs of the client rather than what agencies thought a client needed.  Paul brought together a core team of hand picked associates from the marketing communications industry that have worked with him at numerous agencies throughout his career – they are a highly skilled team of dedicated, trusted and reliable individuals.

Paul continues – “A few years ago I was talking to the marketing director of a very high profile business and I asked him why he commissioned so much work to my team.  And he said he was frequently up against tight timescales and he liked the fact that he could talk direct to our creative team who could quickly understand the brief and then take the initiative by grabbing the ball and running with it.”

Creative Heads has created a bespoke flexible business model to consistently deliver quality and service but at a sensible value.  They remove the things clients say they don’t need, give them what they expect and charge them only for the expertise they are using.  Clients have direct access to everyone that works on their account or they can have a single point of contact – either way the choice is theirs.  So there are no account teams, no big agency offices and everyone at Creative Heads has to achieve a certain level of expertise before joining to ensure that quality remains high and consistent throughout. Some of the associates work from small satellite or home offices throughout the South East to keep overheads down, but are all connected via an online network to ensure efficient workflow.  This enables the client to work with an Associate that is geographically closer and able to respond more quickly if required to attend a meeting at short notice.  And it also means Creative Heads are not limited to employing people who are only within a commuter distance of their office.

Paul says – “Back in 2008 the recession was biting hard, small agencies were going bust and larger ones were shedding staff.  It seemed an odd time to start a new business but there was clearly an opportunity to create something that could survive the typical peaks and troughs in our industry.  A recession helps to focus your mind, sharpen your pencil and look at the world differently – enabling us to successfully meet the challenges of the downturn by innovating a new business model that creates a win-win scenario for both client and agency.  Being short-listed as a finalist for the RAR Awards ‘Best Value for Money’ category is an important step in our growth and a clear indication that clients approve of our approach.

“Our business model enables us to provide the same level of service regardless of size – we currently work for a leading global technology client in the US, handling their branding, brochures and advertising campaigns in ten languages – but we also maintain a website for a small local health and safety consultancy.

“Of course the key to this strategy working is the quality of our people, careful financial management and understanding the clients’ needs.  If you fail to get these right then you will always come up short.”