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LINK BUILDING OR PR. WHAT IS THE BEST APPROACH?

For years a followed link on a popular site was seen as the ‘holy grail’ of digital marketing and SEO. This led to some people buying links by bribing publishers to link back to a website.

But times have changed and for the better. A recent Google update now states that citations (brand mentions) are equally as important as a link back to a site. The focus for Google is now on content and relevancy. A link on an authority site will send traffic to your website and, of course, help your SEO. But even without a link, securing a brand on a credible site will boost awareness, raise consideration and position a brand as an authority as well as being recognised by Google.

To secure a followed link is hard but not impossible. Still, sites like Forbes, Daily Mail, Daily Mirror, will not give a followed link, but they will provide a brand mention, especially if it is a good story.

So, do you need a link builder or a PR professional to secure links and brand mentions?

What you need first is a great storyteller, who understands newsworthiness, the media, SEO, and brand building.

The focus now is, the strength of the story and the relevancy of the content to the audience it will reach. So, whether someone calls themselves a link builder or a PR, if they are strategically thinking about how to achieve the above – they are the ones for you.

Before starting to write or create content to achieve coverage or links, you should be asking yourself, “Why would a site publish this content?”  Is it interesting, relevant or new! What assets do you need to create to accompany the story to make it leap off the page?

The best approach is to ensure you do your research and target relevant media and sites that are specific to your industry or subject matter.  Think about your audience, raising brand awareness and telling an engaging relevant story. Consider these and you can develop a story that secures coverage, links and most of all, gets your brand remembered.

 

 

HOLDING OUT FOR A HERO IMAGE

Holding out for a Hero Image

Big images have a big impact. Layer those with relevant, bite-sized content, and you’ve a hero image.

Websites usually display their hero images prominently, full-width across the viewing screen, so it’s the first thing a visitor sees, and really grabs their attention. It’s a way to communicate your purpose, present key information with calls to action and can sometimes be referred to as a banner, header or slider. It doesn’t have to be static either – you can opt for dynamic rotation, although we recommend no more than three or four.

The key to nailing this is to ensure your images are of the highest quality: sharp, beautifully shot and elegantly placed in the design to work with the copy that accompanies it. The text should be placed in close proximity to the image and they must be relevant to each other to ensure a consistent visual message.

What the hero image and its copy conveys is up to you – products or services, promotions, news – but it’s another marketing channel that can be used to excellent effect.

Your choice of hero image is customer-influencing. It takes mere seconds to make a first impression, so choose with your customer in mind. Try to imagine how the image you’ve chosen will make them feel about your business.

Does it alienate or polarise, or unite you with your customers? Are you using emotive images – smiles, cute furry creatures or the polar opposite – and are they the right images for the emotion you’re trying to convey? Does it stand out, or is it too vanilla to work on the big screen?

It’s a lot to THINK about, we know, but fortunately we’ve some everyday heroes who are ready to help you.

THINK Hero Image: Think Design: Call 0161 507 2410

GRAPHIC DESIGN IS AN INVESTMENT IN BUSINESS GROWTH

The importance of graphic design for business growth

Why should you invest in quality design?

Well…

FIRST IMPRESSIONS

First impressions count, don’t they? So it’s important to look your best when you’re representing your business. It’s equally important that your business looks its best, and that’s where graphic design comes in.

Your website is your virtual shop window, and it needs dressing with your brand. A brand is more than just a logo – it’s a persona that resonates with your business values, beliefs and professionalism. It’s what marks you out as different from your competitors, makes your company stand out in a world of imagery, and makes an emotional connection with your audience.

In fact everything you produce for your business should be in keeping with your brand, and consistent across every platform: internal and external; digital and print. Consistency demonstrates reliability, and reliability builds trust. And who wouldn’t want to work with someone they trust?

SECOND LOOK

You want your graphic design to attract customers and clients, and retain them too. Utilising your branding across every platform is one way to build brand recognition, but you want to do more than get people to look at you: you want to communicate with them.

Text heavy content can be a turn off. Visual content is the way to keep people engaged, and help them retain information too – present your information graphically, and your messages will get through to your customers. What a picture.

INFINITE OPPORTUNITY

Ready for your content to grow your social media presence tenfold? Us too! Graphic design is your key to boosting your social following and increasing your social presence: simply by creating shareable content. Design makes information, facts and statistics more interesting, and more memorable. Facebook posts with images get more than double the engagement that posts without pictures get.

Tweets that include images get 18% more likes than text-only. Image-based social content is 40% more likely to be shared than non-image content.

PRICELESS POTENTIAL

We know good graphic design is an investment, and that’s why we’re ready to help you find your style: we’ll create you designs that express your brand’s vision, values and personality. We’ll help you be different, individual and timeless.

If you THINK it’s time your business embraced graphic design, we’ve award-winning graphic designers who would be very happy to help. Get in touch today: 0161 507 2410.

WHY YOU SHOULD BE USING INFOGRAPHICS

See, scan, share: why you should be using infographics

Would you like to communicate information quickly and clearly? Of course you would! But there’s a limit on how much data we can commit to memory as we “scan” information, rather than read it.

SEE

Of all the information that is transmitted to your brain, 90% is visual. And of everything you see, your brain will process visuals up to 60,000 times faster than text. The human eye can register more than 35,000 visual messages in an hour. That’s impressive.

SCAN

In a world that operates at the speed of sight, designers have created infographics. These are literally informative graphics, short bursts of text alongside visual images that are designed to communicate brief messages that can be absorbed quickly, and committed to memory. Because it’s bite-sized, it’s not overwhelming, and when you consider that as many as 65% of the world’s population are visual learners, it’s a great way to share information quickly, globally as well as locally.

SHARE

Infographics are good for improving your SEO content too, getting that content shared, and growing your company brand and presence (providing your infographics are aligned to your company’s brand). Make them eye-catching, and you’ll increase engagement. Businesses that use infographics can see up to twelve times as much traffic growth as a business that doesn’t.

Put a picture on your Tweet, and you’ll score 18% more likes. Facebook posts with pictures get double the engagement than those without. You’re 40% more likely to get your image-based social content shared than text-only posts.

SOCIABLE

Infographics will increase awareness about your brand as they are shared across social media. Make the most of this organic engagement and link to your house style: design your infographic using your brand colour palette and typeface. Content is 80% more likely to be read when it’s colourful, and don’t forget to include your brand name and logo too.

STAND OUT

There’s so much to look at in this digital age, we know standing out can be difficult. Including infographics in your marketing plan and the application of engagement-generating tools will ensure you achieve cut through. Check out the interactive infographic we created for The LK Group.

If you THINK you’re ready to grow your reach, and your business, our award-winning graphic designers will be very happy to help. Get in touch today: 0161 507 2410.

BRAND NEW BEGINNINGS: WHERE TO START WITH YOUR NEW LOGO

New brand beginnings

We THINK a logo is more than a badge – it’s a mark of who you are and what you stand for. It’s your identity. It’s your brand.

It’s not easy to bring a brand into being. We’re not saying you can’t design a logo yourself, but there’s more to an identifying icon than weaving colour and your business name together.

When we brand, or rebrand, we get to know our clients and their businesses first.

WHO

Who your brand is targeted towards is an important factor in finding an identity. Your brand needs to be relevant to you – if you’re a nursery school, your relevant logo would be more teddy bear, less post apocalyptic zombie – and to your customers too. Most parents are likely to choose the teddy-badged business to look after their little monsters because the logo suggests it’s safe, gentle and child-friendly.

WHAT

There’s more than  a bit of psychology behind graphic design. Colours, styles and placement (centred, off-set, etc), and typeface can all communicate certain characteristics: green is often associated with nature, or environmental awareness; blue is used by a high percentage of construction firms to denote reliability and integrity; white space and a classic or contemporary clean font is regularly found on premium bands.

It’s clever, subliminal messaging.

We would love to help you find your brand. Whether you’re a start-up looking to stand-out in your chosen market, or a business with history that is embracing a new modernity, our award-winning graphic designers would love to work with you.

We THINK, we design. Get in touch today on 0161 507 2410 or click here to check out the services we offer.

GIVE YOUR MARKETING A BOOST WITH COMMERCIAL PHOTOGRAPHY

When it comes to building websites, pulling together collateral and promoting brand identity, there’s one thing every designer longs for – a library of great photography. Without appropriate imagery to choose from, your brochures can be bland and your signage so-so. That’s where commercial photography can help.

Commercial photography is everywhere – those pictures you see in magazines and on billboards and digital ads don’t get there simply by chance. They are the tangible output of investment by that brand, to develop a catalogue of images that pop, promote and perpetuate.

You see, unless you’re taking images for a specific event with timely references immortalised in the celluloid, a good commercial photography shoot will produce ever-green content that you can use again, and again. And again.

The importance of sourcing images

Yes, it’s possible to source images with which to illustrate your company collateral. Additionally, it’s a cost-effective way to procure images that work for your business. But consider if it’s something that:

Either way, Think Design Agency can easily help you with that. We’ll help you create a gallery of your brand in glorious Technicolor. If you prefer, we can portray your business in black and white. Or sepia. Or in full Andy Warhol-esque primary pop palettes. We’re pretty flexible like that.

There’s no denying that marketing and selling your business are boosted when you illustrate your products and services with images. Visual images grab attention, share information and invoke emotional reactions. Stand out on social media and wow with your website. If your pictures represent you and what you offer, you’re sharing your valuable messages in the blink of an eye.

High-quality commercial photography isn’t a cost; it’s a commercial investment: therefore, use it wisely.

For example, check out the photographs we took for Galloways Print, which show the printing process and the team at Galloways Print in action.

Galloways Commercial Photography

About Think Design Agency

We’re a full-service digital agency, and that means we can help you with commercial photography, and all the collateral to use it in. Get in touch today on 0161 507 2410, and we’ll help you smile for that commercial camera.

THE IMPORTANCE OF BRANDING FOR B2B

Branding is everything. It’s what sets every company apart. All companies that become household names have something that makes them stand out… but the importance of recognition and credibility isn’t just reserved for B2C businesses! All B2B brands need to recognise the importance of a well considered and consistent brand identity that reflects the quality of their offer and promotes trust.

What is your brand?

A company’s brand is the first point of contact with the customer. As soon as your customer comes onto your website, they can be greeted by the digital equivalent of a stunning mansion foyer, or a hotel you wouldn’t be caught dead in. First impressions count more than anything. It may sound cynical to say, but we are a superficial, impatient species. When you walk through the front door of a shop, a hotel, a neighbour’s home, you instantly make every judgement you can. It’s the same with websites. You need to make the best first impression that you can. By creating a brand identity that customers can feel confident in, with a good logo and some great web-design, you’ll be setting yourself apart from the crowd.

Start with your logo

The most obvious way to stand out is the logo. Your logo needs to be the exact manifestation of everything your company stands for. It is your identity. It shows the world who you are and what you’re providing. It sets everything from tone, to target audience. Logos are great for their mobility too. Logos aren’t just for websites; they can go everywhere; social media, printed media, packaging, and on company vehicles.

Make your brand aesthetically pleasing

Visual elements tell the customer exactly the kind of business you’re running. By crafting a solid brand identity, your customer will get a feel for your company and an expectation of what to expect from you. A strong brand will cultivate a strong connection with your customers. It even creates commercial value. Websites with a strong brand identity are more likely to earn more revenue too. Customers are more likely to place a higher economic value on your products/services.

Make your company recognisable

Branding comes down to recognition. It’s all about familiarity. I’ve been with the same mobile phone provider for almost ten years, I know other providers might offer alternatives, but I’m a creature of habit. Most people are. A recognisable strong brand cultivates a system of retention. After your nice website attracts people, you need your brand to keep people there, and coming back.

The buyer journey has changed

All too often we hear that a company’s main source of new business is through word of mouth or referral – so why invest in branding? This may be true… However! Times have changed and the first thing the referred buyer will do is check out peer reviews and your online channels. If these don’t immediately demonstrate that you are a professional and credible outfit then they will look elsewhere and you may lose your valuable lead.

With the plethora of businesses readily available online, standing out from the crowd is more essential than ever. To create the perfect brand identity for your business, get in touch with us on 0161 507 2410. Our team would love to discuss your business with you and help you unlock the perfect brand identity to help you stand out.

MEET FUDGE AND HER LOGOTYPE

Meet Fudge… Fudge is a classic 1976 campervan with a fresh but retro feel. Fudge also needed a logotype designing, a website building and some flyers and posters created to promote it’s availability for wedding or holiday hire.

We love working on these small projects where creativity is out right at the forefront of the requirements. The brief was to create an identity that summed up Fudge’s fresh but retro feel.

Starting with the logotype

As the model of the camper van was the more modern version that didn’t have the swooshing V on its bonnet, it was important to make sure the logotype design didn’t imply that it did. So the logo was designed with 1970s inspiration, and avoided any real references to the VW Campervan branding. Designed to work across desktop computers, tablets and smartphones the website was clean, easy to us, the website design was a straight forward brochure site, designed to showcase Fudge as a wedding car hire/prom night vehicle. With no actual jobs to it name, we arranged a photoshoot and a bride and groom to model for us.

Sadly, the owner of Fudge chose to sell her shortly after we launched due to other work commitments, but we still love the design of the logo, the whole brand identity and the website.

REBRANDING MANCHESTER BAND THE GRAMOTONES

We were delighted when the Gramotones came and asked us to look at rebranding their band after the success of the previous band rebranding – The Manyanas. We think it’s lovely when customers come back and commission us to another job, quite the compliment.

Why go through the pain of rebranding?

Typical of many small businesses, the Gramotones logo started life in Paint. There isn’t anything wrong with this! But with their growing Europe wide following, and with a few record labels sniffing around, the lads, Jake, Sid, Ryan and James thought it was time the bands visual identity started to look the part.

Having looked at evolving their existing logo for the rebrand, we all felt the finished design morphed into something that was too close to some other unnamed and rather successful Manchester band. So back to the drawing board we went and decided on a whimsically crafted typographic logo that seemed more in tune with the Gramotones lyrical music. The logo rebrand was then rolled out across a number of items that the band could use when communicating press releases such as Word templates.

Once happy with the rebrand, the lads asked me to look at their upcoming single release launch, associated tour advertising and some merchandising design. The single entitled ‘Corporate Whipping Boy’, an unusually political comment for them, is all about the way employees are downtrodden by the wealthy corporate businessman and women. With this in mind I commissioned the fantastically talented Ashley (AKA Fings) to create a wolf like character that could be used across various media. Typically, she got it spot on, and the Gramotones loved the creation.

Once this was sorted, we were delighted to be able to propose to them a series of designs based on this concept which included:

LOGO DESIGN AND WEBSITE FOR JAPANESE KNOTWEED PLUS

Japanese Knotweed Plus are a local business that specialise in the treatment of Japanese Knotweed, Giant Hogweed, and other invasive plants around Manchester and Lancashire as a whole.

And earlier this year, the business partners, Stephen and Igor contacted the team at Think to discuss the possibility of helping them and their business with a new website. After an initial meeting to discuss how we can help, we agreed to completely rebrand the business starting with a new logo. This was an important step for them. Having a logo that reflects the quality of the business lays the foundation for the businesses entire visual look and feel, or brand identity.

So, the first stage was to redesign their existing logo to make the business stand out in the market. With the second stage being the creation of a highly functional, responsive website, including providing Search Engine Optimisation (SEO).

A key piece of information provided by them was that they treat Japanese Knotweed with a precise application of poison, they do not remove it because this is currently against Environmental Agency guidelines.

The concept for the logo design was based on this value proposition that Japanese Knotweed Plus offer. The chosen design included a geometrically accurate leaf to reflect this approach to sit along with a custom abstract typeface which suggested the disappearance of the invasive weeds.

This was underpinned by using a gradient suggesting positive change, as the colours merge from a dark green to a light green.

Once the basic brand items, such as business cards and a van livery were completed, we rolled out the branding into the website. This reinforced the brand and will help to keep the online presence consistent with other collateral.

We continue to work with Japanese Knotweed Plus, currently focusing on improving the SEO of their website.

You can check out the website we created here.