All posts by Aimée

12 Feb

blog – brand building

- Coming Soon -

 

“The influence of colour, image and tone…”

 

What will this be about?

In a previous article I talked about the ‘what how and why of branding’ and how personality is the mysterious force that attracts us to certain brands/people and repels us from others. Colour, image, tone of voice and other characteristic are all your representations of your brand. They silently influence the decision making process.

In this next guide I will be exploring how design has an emotions effect upon us and can be used to open doors into the hearts and mind of potential customers and stakeholders.

Follow me on Facebook or Twitter to stay up to date with updates to my portfolio and for my latest guides to brand building.

 

12 Feb

blog – brand building

As a session host for an upcoming Brighton Chamber event I was recently invited to write a short article for the Brighton Independent, to share some tips for building a winning brand.

Close to twenty pages of initial notes were gradually whittled down to ten succinct points, however the information that didn’t make the cut has spurred me to create a series of blog posts about branding.

So here it is, ‘The what, why and how of branding’, the first of many in a series of new monthly articles on branding.

- Aimée

“An introduction to branding”

What exactly is a brand? What

If you have a great name, logo and strong visual identity then you’ll have a great brand, right? Well nearly but not quite. You’ll have a badge. You’ll have something to help people identify your product or services in conversation or by sight, but you’ll be missing a vital part. The part that answers the question ‘’What is this and why should I buy it from you and not from someone else?

Branding is also your reputation.

Why is branding so important? Why

Branding is what you say and what you do. It is how you market yourself and what other people think of you.  A brand occupies a corner of someone’s mind.

Good branding can help you win and keep customers. Good branding can help attract the right employees or investors. It can even help engage communities and bring about positive change.

How do you build a strong brand? How

There are many great books and articles out there to read on branding. Some have a strong design focus and some are heavier on the marketing side. Having had experience working in both of these areas I have created my top 11 tips for marketing your business and developing a successful branding program.

1.  Get your product and service right 

Try to beat the competition from day one by offering something meaningful to others that truly differentiate you from the competition. If you don’t deliver what people actually need or deliver what you promise, no amount of promotion will build a strong brand.

2. Keep it simple

Too much choice is overwhelming and dilutes the power of your message and your brand. People are attracted to specialist because they presume the quality will be higher, so aim to be known for being the best at one thing and then focus on marketing that one thing to the people who need it the most.

Screen Shot 2015-02-11 at 17.30.09

3. Pick a brand name that stands out

Most marketing is still by word of mouth so try to have a name that stands out in a sentence and try to keep it short to one or two words i.e. ‘Vimeo’ is a much better brand name than the more generic ‘Videos Online’. Also check the name isn’t used elsewhere before investing in design – just because you buy the domain name doesn’t mean you own the brand name. Consider trade marking.

4Know your customers likes and dislikes 

Personality is the mysterious force that attracts us to certain people and repels us from others. Start off by knowing your customer personas (archetype customer that represents a group type). What are their likes and dislikes? What characteristics do they like to be associated with? How do they like to be addressed, formally or in a really laid back and friendly manner?

Understand your customers first before investing in a professional logo and brand identity and pick someone who can demonstrate an understanding of how colour, image, tone of voice and other characteristic all influence our decision making process.  The aim is to look successful and attractive to your specific market. Design is your silent brand ambassador, it should be opening doors for you and not closing them.

Good Design

5. Be consistent and professional 

Invoices, headed paper, email signatures etc. everything that is customer facing should look professional and have the same logo and general feel to it. Inconsistency at best suggests laziness at worst suggests amateur, both attributes that might compromise the integrity of your brand.

6. Add oomph where there was on, and on, and on 

Today people seem to have less and less time so try to sell benefits through great content such as photography, case studies/storytelling, testimonials and visuals like info graphics. Visuals stick in people’s minds and help build that valuable reputation.

For example: A long paragraph about how ceramic hair straightners work is unlikely to grab attention, as quickly as a before and after photo of someone with frizzy hair and then sleek shiny hair. In less than a second the photos says ‘You stand for sleek shiny hair and making them look and feel good’ – sell the dream succinctly!

Investing in quality photography, graphics and videos content will be vital in helping to build your brand – remember too that this type of content is also very shareable on social media channels, as part of your inbound marketing strategy to build your reputation online and direct traffic to your website.

7.  Surprise and delight 

Everyone knows the phrase ‘under promise and over deliver’ but also think about surprising and delighting people. Being happy is addictive; it releases dopamine in your brain (in fact it is the same chemical rush as cocaine or falling in love). Go the extra mile with customer service or create a fun and delightful user experience and people will keep coming back for more, and in between will no doubt sing your praises to others.

Aimee Creative- brand-print- web

“People don’t buy what you do.
They buy the difference you make in their life”
- Simon Sinek -

8. Network, Network, Network 

Engage with your customers on and offline, get to know people in your community and industry. Contribute and get involved. Word of mouth is still the best way of building your brand and its reputation, people prefer to get recommendations from people they know, this now extends to the internet, hence the power of review sites and social media.

9. Publicity, publicity, publicity 

Befriend the press by helping them fill their pages with interesting stories, tips and case studies! Befriend bloggers and do the same! Run campaigns and offers to attract people to try your brand or come to your event. Establish a reputation for being helpful and people will help you… it’s called karma!

People have launched successful brands with little or hardly any paid advertising; some have had big budgets for advertising and not done any publicity, and have flopped as a result! Adverts to notify people of up and coming events and offers can be used to attract new business. Opinion makers talking about your brand in the press, online or in person is what will build trust and build your reputation. The general rule of thumb is that publicity builds brands and advertising maintains brands.  Use your budget wisely.

10. Make happiness a part of your culture 

Everyone in your company is a brand ambassador. You can hear when someone is smiling on the phone and in the age of the internet people know when employees love, hate or are indifferent to the brand.

Make it part of the recruitment process that you hire people who share the ideals and values as you, the founder of the business. You want your employees behind the values of your brand from the very start.  Make time for your staff to ensure that they feel that their contributions to the business is appreciated, they really are the back bone of your business, and your success.

11. The art of ‘Thank You’ 

Thank You

Make an effort to say thank you to people who praise you but also say thank you to those who criticise you. Make listening to feedback and learning from your customers and staff your company culture from day one, it will help you to constantly deliver excellence.  Involve people in your journey and show thanks for how they have helped you to deliver excellence, it will win you loyal fans and set people on the path to falling in love with your brand.

With branding don’t expect overnight success. Reputations take time to build. Whilst you’re in the thick of it you often won’t be able to see the woods for the trees… so occasionally take a step back, and have a look where you were a few years ago. Reward yourself (and those who have helped you) for how far you have come and carry on staying true to your brand values – and keep following the dream!

19TH MARCH 2015
I will be exploring all this in more detail in the up coming Ride the Wave session for the Brighton Chamber. The session will be adapted to have a strong focus on the unique needs of the Social Enterprise. For more information on this session and other events visit www.businessinbrighton.org.uk/events
COMING SOON!

MARCH  - How colour, image, tone of voice and other characteristic all influence our decision making process.

APRIL - Adding oomph in communications.
Follow me on Facebook or Twitter to stay up to date with updates to my portfolio and for my latest guides to brand building.
05 Jan

latest work – web

Website-Caroline-Brunswick-1-by-Aimee-Creative

The Caroline of Brunswick pub in Brighton approached Aimée Creative in 2014 as they were unhappy with the functionality of their current website. During the Fringe Festival in May, owner Cliff was finding posting events online time consuming and repetitive, and was looking for a new system. He was also keen to have a website that would be more ‘designed’ and that would better reflect the feel of the pub and its clientele; a mixture of students, rockers and metallers and those wanting a good stand up show – or just your average Joe wanting a pint and something to eat.

After talking with Cliff and getting familiar with his requirements it was concluded that WordPress might be the best fit for his budget. It was important that Cliff would feel comfortable using WordPress and so a demo site was set up for him to edit and get familiar with. Once clear that WordPress’s user-friendly interface appealed to him, I set to work finding the additional software (known as a plug-in) that would add the specific event functionality that was needed

 for the new website. One was eventually found that ticked most of the boxes and after careful consideration Cliff concluded WordPress was the route that he wanted to go. We then started the process of planning the layout and navigation of the site (called the wireframe) and began discussing the feel and design that Cliff was after.

One of the first things to consider for the new site was the absence of any photography. I demonstrated several examples of websites to Cliff to show how the use of good photography (or lack of it) could often be seen to make or break the appeal of a website. He agreed that it would be worth investing in a photoshoot and 

Toms Udis was recommended for photographer. Toms style of photography was deemed a good fit for the pub and the shoot was booked in to take place shortly after a quick pub refurbishment, to ensure that it would be looking at its best.

Web-Caroline-Pub-2-by-Aimee-Creative

Although the pub was known as Brighton’s rock and alternative pub, Cliff did not want to go too heavy with the feel of the site but he did want it to look ‘designed’. Cliff was particularly keen to have some custom illustrations. Inspiration came from some of the art in the pub, including the famous three headed dog statue above the bar. The final illustrations were used not only in the header/background but were subtly incorporated all over the  site in order to pull together the look of the new site. The illustrations were also used in the design of some printed drinks posters for the website and pub walls.

Illustrations Caroline Pub

Web-Caroline-Pub-3-by-Aimee-Creative

The colour of the website needed to reflect its existing logo and strong brand colours, without being overwhelming. Red was selected as the main colour of the site, while white and black text would provide contrast on the page. Icons were also designed to break up the red background and provide interest to the page.

The final photos from the shoot with Toms were used all over the site, and formed the main background giving an instant showcase of the pub. An Instagram account was also set up and all photos tagged and uploaded. These were then pulled over from Instagram into the gallery page of the website. This feature enabled Cliff and his staff to easily take phone photos and upload them to the site via Instagram. They could also search for other photos of the pub and add these to the gallery page by simply liking them on Instagram. and tagging also provided potential for building followers, and marketing the pub online – a simple weekly plan and tagging proposal was recommended to help Cliff build his brand online.

Web-caroline-pub-bt-Aimee-Creative

Web-Caroline-Pub-Instagram

Visit the Caroline of Brunswick Website:
www.carolineofbrunswick.co.uk

29 Nov

latest work – web

facebook_PR4_BVAM

Dan William and Jess Morris are well known faces on the London and Brighton antiques scene. They approached Aimée Creative in September to help them launch the Brighton Vintage and Antique Market (BVAM), at the recently refurbished Open Market near London Road.

Initially they were keen to have a website however, with the first market looming in less than three weeks and much work to do (including running their own antiques businesses) it was recommended instead to first focus all efforts on a new Facebook Page. This would enable them to use the platform to build an online audience, and use social networking to get the message out.

A strategy to provide engaging content for the page and to also increase audience size was then devised. This heavily focused on sharing information about the stall holders as they signed up to take a pitch. By posting original content (stallholder photos and information about them) and not just sharing the stall holder’s own Facebook pages or websites, this kept users from migrating away from the market’s Facebook page. It also created a Facebook page rich in content. This content could easily be migrated to a website at a later date.

As both Jess and Dan had a lot of work to do organising the event they commissioned Aimée Creative to set up and run the Facebook page for them for a month. This would set them up with a formula for sourcing and adding content to the page, and would hopefully fuel inspiration for additions to their content strategy when they were to take back ownership.

Upon talking with Lisa from the Open Market we were made aware that the Lantern Fayre would be taking place on The Level Park across from the market. Some promotion about the Fayre was used to invite people to the area for a great Sunday out. Breaking up the stall holder post were also intermittent posts sharing videos of classic songs to start the day off with, and sharable news about the Brighton area to try and expose the BAVM brand.

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facebook_PR2_BVAM

facebook_PR3_BVAM

Despite just three weeks to launch the event proved a huge success for BVAM, with crowds of shopper’s from beginning to end. Stallholders were keen to comment how helpful BVAM had been in marketing both the event and promoting their stalls online – this helped build trust in the new event and secure bookings for subsequent shows.

On the day of the first market the BVAM Facebook had over 200 likes, multiple post shares and a number of lovely reviews about the first market were left on the page. Since handing over the Facebook page Jess and Dan have done a great job keeping up momentum and audience engagement and by February 2015 had just under 900 likes!

> Related projects

Aimée Creative also worked on the branding for Brighton Vintage and Antiques Market Read more…

Banner_BVAM

> Related projects

Aimée Creative designed posters and flyers for Brighton Vintage and Antiques Market, together with adverts and press releases for the local and trade press Read more…

Poster_Flyers_BVAM

 

 

29 Oct

latest work – print

Poster_Flyers_BVAM

Dan William and Jess Morris are well known faces on the London and Brighton antiques scene. They approached Aimée Creative to help them launch the Brighton Vintage and Antique Market (BVAM), at the recently refurbished Open Market near London Road.

The decision was made to hold the market on the 1st Sunday of each month. This would provide both a memorable date and avoid the end of month ‘empty wallet’ syndrome. Having decided this, this then gave us just three weeks to promote and launch the very first market.

The first stage was to design the logo and visual identity. This also included a bespoke illustration to demonstrate the array of items that one might expect to find at the new market.

Banner_BVAM

We then needed to quickly get the word out around Brighton and Sussex. Postcards and A3 posters were designed and distributed around cafes, bars, antique shops and around the Open Market. As the event was brand new there was no photography available and so a vintage photo of the Open Market was hunted down. This photo drew attention to the location and gave an historic feel, in keeping with the brand. Together with the bespoke illustration these provided a much needed visual interest to the promotional materials and clearly conveyed what the market had to offer.

Jess and Dan also actively promoted the event at the Open Market in the Saturday’s leading up to the first BVAM. This was particularly important as the Open Market was known for being closed on a Sunday, and so work needed to be done to spread the word that it would be open. It also gave opportunity to introduce themselves to potential stall holders who might be interested in taking a pitch at BVAM.

Adverts were also designed for the trade and local press. A series of short and full length press releases were written and circulated in the run up to the events in 2014, for publication online and in printed press. Social media and online marketing also played a great part in promoting the event.

adverst_PR_BVAM

Due to the established reputation of Jess and Dan and due to the surrounding publicity and online promotion, the first market was a huge success with crowds of shoppers passing through from morning to close.

After the success of the initial launch and publicity, a proposal for creating seasonal posters and flyers for 2015 was presented. These would display 3 months worth of dates, and reiterate the frequency of the market. They would also make publicity more economical, by reducing both design and print cost, leaving budget for other forms of promotion. Having different colours for each season would provide a visual ‘eye catching’ change between each poster/flyer edition, to help them stand out.

Seasons Concept_BVAM

> Related projects

Aimée Creative also worked on the branding for Brighton Vintage and Antiques Market Read more…

Banner_BVAM

 

> Related projects

Aimée Creative set up the Brighton Vintage and Antiques Market with an online presence and ran a 3 week content marketing strategy, resulting in over 200 likes on the day of the very first event.  Read more…

facebook_PR3_BVAM

14 Sep

latest work – print

NICE Report Cover

NICE-Report-Alternative-Cover-idea NICE Report Beginning

Freelance writer Susan Bentley contacted Aimée Creative in Spring to design the 2014 NICE Citizens Council report. NICE (National Institute for Health and Care Excellence) provides national guidance to improve health and social care in the UK. Together with the facilitators Pete Spriggs and Mandy Sims, from Clearer Thinking, Susan worked with NICE and the NICE Citizens Council (a panel of thirty members of the public that largely reflect the demographic characteristics of the UK)  to produce a report from a two day meeting that explored a question on what societal values should be taken into consideration when looking at trade-offs between equity and efficiency.

As an observer at the meeting, Susan noted group conversations, individual comments and also interviewed Council members. She then worked closely with NICE to turn her meeting notes into a written report. This report was then sent for design.

The report would be presented to the NICE Board and shared on the NICE website. It therefore needed to look professional but also needed to demonstrate that the written/spoken ideas had come direct and unaltered ‘from the people’. To convey this report was given some depth and designed to look like the extracts  from the day (photos, flipchart notes, documents, slips of paper with definitions on them) had been physically pinned or glued within the pages of the report.

Picture 12 Picture 11

A hand drawn drawing pin illustration was used to pin elements to the page, whilst a speech bubble was created which accompanied individual quotes throughout the report. The same speech bubble illustration was used to create simple info-graphics that would collect together the ideas spoken by the group as a whole, on given subjects. These elements helped create clarity to the text and direct the eye to key parts of the text.

Initially the colour scheme for the report was inspired by colours taken from the NICE website (dark blue & yellow) but NICE wanted the report to be more vibrant, suggesting a series of bright colours to experiment with before finally selecting the purple and green option. A couple of cover designs were also created, before NICE selected their favourite version.

The report has now been published and is available to view on the NICE website

Collaborators / Credits:
Susan Bentley – Copywriting & Project Management www.susanbentley.com
Pete Spriggs and Mandy Sims – Clearer Thinking facilitation  www.clearerthinking.co.uk

 

05 Sep

latest work – web

Website_DarbyandDarby_byAimeeCreative

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Following the design of a logo and brand identity for Rod and Rebecca from Darby and Darby, aimée creative was asked to design a bilingual website for their specialist financial translation service. Having already worked with them I was aware that the site needed to appeal to elite clients such as Deloitte and KMPG as well as the major banks and insurance companies of Germany.

Unlike most websites Darby and Darby were unable to showcase or share examples of their work, and instead were to reply strongly upon the written word, in particular from testimonials from elite clients. From conversations with Rod and Rebecca it was clear that one of their USP’s was their specialism, and that this held many advantages over generalist translators. To highlight the value of commissioning specialist translators quotes about the art of translation were sourced and placed alongside testimonials.

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From the completed pre-project questionnaire and copy provided by Rod and Rebecca their key strengths were pulled out to design illustrated headers for each page. This created much needed visual interest on what otherwise would have been very text heavy pages, whilst avoiding the use of industry clichés such stock photos of people wearing headsets and photos of pie charts and documents. Boxes outlining the benefits of their service were also created to break up the text on the home page.

Language buttons

It was decided early on to have duplicate websites, one in German and one in English. These were to be navigated between using simple buttons at the top of the page.

The site itself was built using WordPress. This was because Rebecca was already familiar with the platform, and wanted the option of adding a simple blog/newsletter to the site at a later date. At the request of Rebecca and Rod the site was built in collaboration with a web developer in Germany, harnessing their strengths in setting up bilingual websites and in custom builds .The project itself was managed throughout by aimée creative who worked closely with the Darby & Darby and Tom the developer by Skype and email, pulling together a project with people, who were often, all in different countries and continents from each other.

View the live website here: www.darbyanddarby.com

Collaborators/Credits:
Web Development – Tom Whiston

> Related project

aimée creative also designed the logo and brand identity for Darby & Darby. Read more…

Business Cards  for German to English financial  translators Darby and Darby, white, navy and cyan brand colours

Business Cards

 

 

09 Jul

latest work – web

Web_EllieY_ByAimeeCreative_Home

Web_EllieY_ByAimeeCreative_Portfolio

Web_EllieY_ByAimeeCreative_About

 

Ellie Y Make Up approached Aimée Creative wanting a simple black and white website to really make her portfolio photos stand out on the page.

Ellie already had a substantial portfolio hosted on Flikr. She did not want to duplicate her workload and have to update her Flikr and website each time there were new photos. We therefore decided to embed Flikr slide shows into the website.

Whilst Ellie set to work organising the best of her portfolio into set albums and decided upon the order of pictures, I set about writing the copy for new website and building its basic structure.

Ellie decided that she did not want a blog and so it was even more important that her pictures were optimised for SEO. I therefore advised Ellie to look at her tags and meta data on Flikr to ensure her images were optimized. I also advised her about picmarkr.com/ which she could use to add a promotional watermark to her Flikr photos .

At the very beginning of the project I had set Ellie up with a simple blank WordPress trial site to help her decide if this was the platform for her. Rather than send an email to me with her directory information and bio/CV Ellie added the copy directly into the blank trail site.  This helped her to get familiar with WordPress and feel more confident about updating these pages in the future.

To help market her work it was also suggested that Ellie followed up after key projects with an email / facebook message with a link to invite clients/colleagues to like her Facebook page. It would also advise that she would be adding them to her directory page and invite them to share a link to her site from their website. She could also use this contact as an opportunity to ask for a testimonial and invite people to consider her for any future projects that they are working on.

View website here: www.ellieymakeup.com

> Related projects

Aimée Creative also designed Ellie Y Makeup’s logo and brad identity. Read more…

CardsConcept_EllieY_ByAimeeCreative