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HOW TYPOGRAPHY AND PRINT BROUGHT A WELSH SLATE REBRAND TO LIFE

Attention to detail, with regards to typeface and print finish, was paramount in bringing the brand proposition for Alfred McAlpine Slate to life.

Welsh Slate is known for its incredible quality. Having a brand identity that reinforced this unique product positioning was considered to be essential and a full rebrand was undertaken.

Because slate is a product that can be used for multiple architectural or interior design applications such as cladding, roofing, flooring, and worktops, the brand design focused on these design qualities. A positioning statement was created:

DRAMA : TEXTURE : COLOUR : BY DESIGN

This statement provided a foundation for the logo design. Created using the typeface family Syntax, a beautiful chiselled font, reflected the raw material that slate is. The main corporate brochure featured a die cut on page 3, enabling a close up photograph of a slate tile to be visible next to a dramatic quarrying image, which provided the drama on the introduction. A beautifully clean design allowed the photography of the various products to shine through.

Available in 3 finishes, and 9 naturally occurring colours, a product brochure was also produced which featured specifications and  colour matched close ups of each product type, along with a ‘swatch’ of each colour.

A suite of sector brochures were produced. Each sector had its own Pantone colour chosen. They were printed lithographically to ensure maximum quality, using 4 colour and a Pantone. These then were housed in a custom designed and printed box file. The brochures were also printed using Stochastic Screening to remove patterns created by traditional print screening technique on the roofing images.

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

The Importance of Branding for B2B

B2B branding is everything, in part because 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. Firstly, it’s your identity. Secondly, it shows the world who you are and what you’re providing. Finally, it sets everything from tone, to target audience.

Logos are also great for their mobility. 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

B2B 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 even invest in B2B 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.

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: