Author: Emily McCunn

Small Changes Can Make a BIG Difference To Your Marketing You might not have the time nor the resources to do a full on redesign of your website or completely revamp your social media channels. However there are quick wins that you can achieve in a few hours, whether doing it yourself or asking a professional to help. Here’s a few ideas that we’re undertaking at the moment for both ourselves and some of our clients: Refresh your logo - visual branding is often created at the beginning of your business’s life when you’re keen to get something ‘out there’ to get the ball rolling. Several years down the line and you’re still using the same one but times - and your business - have moved on. If you’ve built good brand recognition you won’t want to waste that credibility, trust and awareness so, rather than throwing the baby out with the bathwater and ditching the existing logo, why not go for a refresh?  With a successful logo refresh, you can continue to reap the benefits of the brand awareness and trustworthiness of your ‘old’ logo but demonstrate your currency, dynamism and forward-thinking approach with a new look.    Revisit your website content - like your logo, you may have created your website when you were first looking to tell people about your business, and it’s been left like that for some time. For some of you, a redesign and rebuild may be necessary but an update of images and written content (aka copy) could work in many cases. For example, is your ‘about’ page up to date with any staff featured? Is your portfolio showing your most recent clients and work? Perhaps some of the language you used doesn’t reflect the tone you wish to convey?  Take some time to read through the copy and change the bits that don’t fit with how you now see your business. There may also be references to past promotions or events that have taken place and are no longer relevant. Similarly, perhaps you used stock images at the start but now have (or are in a position to get) images of your actual products or services? Small changes can make big differences to customer and client perception and is great for enhancing your Search Engine Optimisation (SEO). Google especially loves new content and even making slight changes to existing copy will mean that Google improves the ranking of that page.   Update your social bios and headers - In the same way that website content needs to move on to reflect any changes in the business, so too do your social media bio and ‘about’ information. Similarly, you might like to change the header image on your Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn business page. Perhaps you’re now offering a new service or product that you’d like to highlight? There is also lots of free or good value design software out there that offers exact match templates for specific header sizes to ensure you get the maximum effect. We love Canva (you can check it out here) which is super easy to use.   Icons and thumbnails These are often ignored in design, which is a huge mistake as icons are often the first thing someone sees about you. Does your logo actually work when used in this small format? If not, can you focus on a part of the logo? Can you simplify it in some way? When designing the Seaside Creative branding, we realised that our 5 beach huts would not work across our social media icons so we developed our single beach hut which is now equally recognised along with our main logo.  [caption id="attachment_17281" align="aligncenter" width="600"] Our full Seaside Creative logo (left) and our versatile icon used when a smaller image is needed[/caption]   Consistency across all channels - consistency is a key aim in marketing. You want people to recognise your brand and what it represents easily and quickly. The best way is to keep your branding consistent, that is imagery, tone of voice in your copy, typography (the fonts, colours and sizes you use), any uniforms, signage or livery, customer service, or anything else that represents your business.  This won’t always be possible down to the tiniest details but you can certainly take an overall look at your website, any literature (brochures, adverts, leaflets), your email signature, etc to make sure that each one looks broadly the same. Are you using the most up to date logo? If you’ve chosen to use a certain font, is it the same in your emails, your website, etc? If someone looked at your website, would they know it was the same business as when looking at your brochure or any other aspect of your business?   Remove or update out of date stuff - this ties in with the previous point as it’s very easy to change logos, a point of contact, or a page on your website, without ensuring that it’s been updated everywhere it needs to be. Did you pin a post to the top of your Facebook page when you had a promo on and have left it there months after? Perhaps you’ve got printed literature featuring old price lists? Save yourself awkward moments by making it a regular task to check everything is current. Customers and clients will either be confused by out of date information - creating more work for you when they contact you about it - or get the impression of an inactive, stagnant business and this won’t help you win new customers.   Set aside a morning or one day to take a look at each of these ideas - in fact, some may be achieved alongside each other. If there’s anything you’ve got questions about do get in touch.    If you decide you need expert help - perhaps with your copywriting, new images or a branding refresh - do get in touch with us. We’re here to help....

We've met Martin and Alison, and now is the time to meet Kelly, co-founder and director of Seaside Creative and all-round PR and marketing expert. What do you do at Seaside Creative?  I’m a joint Director in the company and head up the Content and PR side of the business. Have you always worked in this type of business? Well, I had a Saturday job working in a specialist tobacconist when I was a teenager (hated selling cigarettes but loved weighing out the black forest pipe tobacco) and then I worked in a dementia care home while I was at university studying PR and English Literature (I could tell you some stories!). I got a job in PR almost as soon as I finished my degree, which then led to roles at full service marketing agencies and I’ve not looked back! Do you have any workplace rituals?  Not really, I think I’m fairly laid back when it comes to that sort of thing. Although I'm not sure the rest of the team would agree! Tell us an interesting but little known fact about you…  Quite a few people know that I sing and that I played rugby at a high level for a few years, but not many know that I’ve done what was then the highest bungee jump in the world when I travelled round New Zealand in 2001. You have to get a cable car out to the pod that’s suspended between two cliffs 134m above the river Nevis and jump from that. You freefall for 8.5 seconds. Yes it was scary!  [caption id="attachment_17273" align="aligncenter" width="219"] We do not want this to be our next team building exercise![/caption] Where do you see yourself in five years time?  If you’d asked me this a few months ago I would have said working with a larger team at Seaside Creative. However, the way 2020 has gone so far I’m just grateful we’re still here! I think it’s good to have plans and goals as they give you something to work for, but I don’t like to make them too rigid as it can just lead to disappointment. Have you read anything good recently, whether for fun, work or both? I’ve been reading The Testaments by Margaret Atwood; I’ve read many of her books and love her portrayal of women, especially when I was a teenager. She is an amazing role model of our time. I want to read Difficult Women by Helen Lewis too. I’m pleased to say that I’ve been described as one myself quite a few times during my working life so I’d like to find out more about my role-models! What’s your greatest achievement, whether at work or personally?  That’s a hard one! Personally I am super proud of my kids and the people they are becoming. Being a parent is tough sometimes, but there’s no feeling like the pride you have in your own children.  Work-wise I suppose I’ve achieved lots of things over the years. I wrote an article in a charity newsletter I ran that secured a donation of £100,000, which was pretty amazing. In recent years I’ve been really proud of my track record of helping clients to win business awards; I’ve helped to win over a dozen in the last few years,  across many different categories too. I’m also proud to have been running a small business for nearly 10 years now - it’s been a rollercoaster ride sometimes but we’re still hanging on! If you could invite four guests for a long lunch, who would you invite and why? Where do you go for your lunch? Only four? Hmmm, well maybe Dave Grohl because I bet he’s got some stories to tell. I love the Foo Fighters and he just seems like a really nice bloke - plus he can bring his guitar. I’d invite my Grandad Bill Beer (real name!) as I never met him and those I know who knew him tell me how lovely he was. Then perhaps a historical figure like Margaret D’Anjou. The Wars of the Roses is a fascinating period in history and she had to be an amazingly strong woman to do all the things she did during that time. Finally, I’d invite Joan Rivers. She would keep us all in our place and tell us to dress better and we would cry laughing listening to her do it - well maybe Margaret D’Anjou wouldn’t, who knows what Joan Rivers would say about her medieval outfit… I think I’d have lunch in the tiny restaurant I went to once in the beautiful old town of Taormina in Sicily. The food was delicious and we could sit on the terrace and overlook Mount Etna and the Roman Amphitheatre with the Mediterranean sea in the background - just breathtaking. If you could be transported to anywhere right now, where would it be (and without any quarantine restrictions!)? I have travelled a bit but there are lots of places I’ve not been to that I’d love to visit. I watched a programme about the forests of Cuba recently where the presenter visited the home of the world’s tiniest bird - the Bee Hummingbird. We saw it feed and build a nest the size of an eggcup. I’d love to see that for real. Thanks Kelly! We're all sitting here thinking how bonkers you'd have to be to do that bungee jump! Perhaps we'll stick to a nice nature holiday in Cuba instead...

Mark is not only a client of ours but also a fellow Worthing and Adur Chamber of Commerce member, so we're often found together at networking events or committee meetings! Despite having spent many hours in shared company, there's still things we've learned about Mark from his Client Chat answers below...

It seems you're all just as nosey interested as we are in finding out more about our fascinating clients! So you'll be pleased to spend a few minutes delving into the background of David Langley from pension and investment specialists Bluecoat Wealth Management. Over to you David! Name: David Langley Business: Bluecoat Wealth Management Ltd - pension and investment specialists Tell us in one sentence what your business does: Bluecoat helps people realise their aspirations, motivations and life goals; we then structure their finances to help facilitate their objectives.  Where is your business located? Worthing and Southwick but we have clients nationally.  Have you always worked in this type of business? No, before my financial career, I had a career in the military. Tell us an interesting but little known fact about you or your business: We now employ summer interns to help enthusiastic young people looking to gain experience in the finance sector.  Where do you see yourself and/or your business in five years time? Slightly larger (the business, not me), enabling us to help more people achieve their life goals.  Do you have any workplace rituals? A four o’clock finish on a Friday. Have you read anything good recently, whether for fun, work or both? I am currently reading a book called “Seven stages of money maturity” by George Kinder. Understanding how our client feels about their money is just as important as the technical knowledge to help them correct structure their finances for the future. What’s your greatest achievement, whether at work or personally? Probably walking across England in three days or climbing the three highest peaks in the UK in 24hrs. But, I am about to take on the challenge of 5000 press-ups in 12 hrs, which equates to one every 8.6 seconds to raise money for the Chestnut Tree House Children’s Hospice. If I complete it, that will be my biggest ever achievement. If you could invite four guests for a long lunch, who would you invite and why? Where you go for your lunch? That depends on whether you only count people that are alive today, if you meant throughout history, the answer would be very different. But alive today, I would choose Michael Jordan - one of the world best sportsmen. Warren Buffett – one of the world best businessmen. The Dalai Lama – one of the world’s greatest spiritual minds. Finally, my mum because I am sure she would like to meet them too. I would probably let Warren choose the restaurant because I am sure he has been to all the best around the world. If you could be transported to anywhere right now, where would it be (and without any quarantine restrictions!) and why? Simple: Mars, but I would want the correct equipment to keep me alive whilst I adventured around and an instant trip back. Why? Anywhere on earth is achievable with the right plan in place and who didn’t dream of being an astronaut when they were a child?   Some impressive answers from David. If you'd like to know about the next Client Chat, sign up to our mailing list. Of course, if you'd like to feature in our Client Chat and you're not already a client of ours, get in touch and become a client! We offer the full range of marketing services, all tailored to your business needs....

Welcome to the newest instalment of our interviews with the team here at Seaside Creative. Next up is Alison who may not be the newest member of the team but is certainly the youngest! Name:  Alison Thomas What do you do at Seaside Creative?  I am a marketing assistant specialising in Digital Marketing. I look after the social media accounts for our clients as well as email campaigns. Sometimes I help with other things too; such as writing press releases and providing website support. Have you always worked in this type of business? If not, what else have you done?  No, this is my first marketing role. Prior to this I worked in retail which I am still doing now especially during this time when supermarkets need extra people to help the running of the shop. Most of my time at the moment is spent on the front door and making sure there are a limited number of customers in the store.  Do you have any workplace rituals?  Not particularly. I'm probably most known for changing my desk around a lot as I like to change things up a bit every now and then! Tell us an interesting but little known fact about you...

Welcome to the second of our Client Chat interviews. Our first with Tony Hedger was very popular and we're sure you'll enjoy this one too! Let's say 'hello' to Becca from Warnes Projects. Name: Becca Dilnot Business: Warnes Projects Tell us in one sentence what your business does: Warnes Projects is a client-focused fit-out and refurbishment specialist, concentrating on the commercial, industrial and education sectors across the UK. Where is your business located? Ford, Arundel   Have you always worked in this type of business? If not, what else have you done? I started at Warnes Projects in January 2020 after graduating in July 2019 with a Bachelors degree in Geography from the University of Portsmouth. Have you read anything good recently, whether for fun, work or both?  I like to read self-help/motivational books such as Happy by Ferne Cotton and Eat That Frog by Brian Tracy. I have also recently indulged in some Martina Cole books, very gripping!  What’s your greatest achievement, whether at work or personally? I would say getting a First in my degree, I was so passionate about my studies and worked very hard, it was a great accomplishment!  If you could invite four guests for a long lunch, who would you invite and why? Where you go for your lunch? I would invite Leonardo DiCaprio because I would love to talk about his experiences as an actor and discuss his passion for the environment and climate change (like mine).  Martin Luther King would be my next guest, I feel that with the situation going on at the moment, it would be so insightful and informative to hear from such an important leader during one of the biggest civil rights movements.  Grace Beverley, otherwise known as Grace Fit, who launched gym equipment brand and sustainable fitness label while studying at university. She is very passionate about her businesses while ensuring sustainable and ethical practices in everything she does.  And finally, Jacinda Ardern, Prime Minister of New Zealand as I feel she is a great leader with such strong values.  I would go for lunch at an Italian restaurant with a lovely view of the countryside or the beach.  If you could be transported to anywhere right now, where would it be (and without any quarantine restrictions!) and why? It would have to be New Zealand – my friends parents live out there and have invited a group of us to visit. We have a plan to rent an RV and explore the islands. Fingers crossed we can go soon! Thanks Becca for another set of fascinating responses, and congratulations on your degree; a First is always an achievement worth recognising! To receive Seaside Creative’s newsletters for updates on our Client Chat interviews, blog posts, marketing advice and other useful information, click here.   ...

Name:  Martin Bloomfield What do you do at Seaside Creative? Make tea and be annoying?  Ok, I head up the visual content side of the team.  Having had many years in photography and, more recently, video production I still enjoy getting a buzz out of taking a photo or shooting a video.  I also get to work with a bunch of associates who have complementary skills, like drone photography, corporate video production, sound engineers etc.  I also manage and develop websites, working again with some very clever techy people for the more advanced sites our clients have asked for. Have you always worked in this type of business?  If not, what else have you done?  No, prior to setting up Seaside Creative with Kelly, I had my own business Bloomfield Digital, offering mainly photography and video.  In 2014 we became Google Certified Street View Photographers producing quality 360 degree virtual tours of business premises across the South East of England.  We started to do websites as clients liked the convenience and support we gave, along with running social media accounts.  Our expertise in visual content certainly does help with creating content. In 2016 Bloomfield Digital won the Adur and Worthing Small Business Award which just blew me away.  We faced a lot of competition with over 14 other businesses, some of which were quite established.  This gave me a massive boost of confidence to leave my home office and move into a shared studio space on Lancing Business Park.  Prior to Bloomfield Digital I worked for a short while at the Home Office as a specialist advisor for forensic science quality standards. I worked with Police Forces across the UK to gain UKCAS accreditation.  In 2012 I was made redundant from Sussex Police when the Scientific Support Branch merged with Surrey Police’s branch.  I had worked my way up to being Head of Imaging and Crime Lab at Sussex.  I worked with 16 very skilled and talented people using the latest forensic techniques from Lasers, Quasers, alternative light sources, to using cyanoacrylate (superglue to you and me), DFO, Vacuum Metal Deposition (VMD) using gold and zinc, Ninhydrin etc, for finding fingerprints and other forensic evidence on all types of surfaces that might have been handled by suspects and offenders of crime.  We used liquid latex to remove soot from fire scenes (to see if there was any types of evidence on the walls beneath) to using liquid nitrogen to freeze split number plates again for fingerprint evidence.  I had the best trained and equipped lab in the South East of England.    Do you have any workplace rituals? When I started my career with Sussex Police (1987) I was a photographic technician. In those days we had to handle some pretty smelly and dangerous chemicals to develop films and process photo paper. So every day the photographic team of eight would take a break at 10am and 3pm for coffee and tea.  Coffee in the morning and tea in the afternoon, quite often with a biscuit or cake.  Still can’t get out of the habit…  Tell us an interesting but little known fact about you.  I feature in two of the Peter James Roy Grace novels.  Peter came to visit the team and I showed him around the lab facilities and a few of the techniques we used for detecting fingerprints and other forensic evidence.  The VMD technique is good on surfaces that may have been wet and Peter subsequently used this in a story line of a submerged outboard motor.  First I was Mike Bloomfield and then in the second book I was Martin Bloomfield.   Where do you see yourself in five years time?  Good question!  I find my aspirations change on a yearly basis. A week before Covid hit the UK we were just about to put our house on the market; we had chosen and spoken to the estate agents about a live date.  This has now been shelved for at least a year to see how the market pans out.  I must admit I don’t plan that far ahead in life, I take life a year at a time.  It would be great to see Seaside Creative thrive and grow.  Have you read anything good recently, whether for fun, work or both?   I do have a stack of books on my bedside cabinet.  Currently there are four: The Miracle Morning by Hal Elrod, recommended by Gillian Fielding (Secret Millionaire and patron of the Worthing and Adur Chamber of Commerce)  Six habits that will transform your life before 8am. In fact my copy appeared courtesy of my youngest son, who’d bought it for his own development.   I’m definitely not an early riser, so this will be quite a challenge!         Make the most of your time on Earth  Rough Guide 1000 Ultimate Travel Experiences.  I always enjoy a good travel guide.  I have the whole collection of Michael Palin travels. This is one of those to dip and out of.       Brain Rules for Aging Well by John Medina - my wife Alison bought this for me at Christmas… no comment...

People are the most fascinating aspect of any business, and we're lucky to work with some great clients who are interesting, inspiring and lovely to boot! We thought it would be fun to shine the spotlight on them in a new series for the blog: Client Chat. This week we're posing the questions to Tony Hedger, Managing  Director of A & T Business Associates. Tony is also Vice President of the Worthing and Adur Chamber of Commerce. Over to you Tony! Name: Tony Hedger Business: A & T Business Associates Limited Tell us in one sentence what your business does: It raises funding for business owners and property people (we're an independent bank manager but not an IFA). Where is your business located? Worthing but we operate nationwide. Have you always worked in this type of business? Always in Finance but was a Bank Manager for 20 years at Lloyds Bank before setting up my company. Tell us an interesting but little known fact about you or your business...

With many companies furloughing marketing teams and creative staff recently, or - let's face it - just having more to think about than the next social media post, we’ve noticed a lot of company feeds going dormant over the last couple of months.  If you’ve been either unable to manage your social media recently or have been concerned about saying the wrong thing, it’s never too late to get started (or re-started!).  For all of us, community has become even more important. We’re all going through this unusual experience, albeit in different ways. People still want to feel connected to their communities - whether family, geography, work/education or interest-based - and social media is certainly one way to achieve this. Think about what’s important to your audience (or community). As with any topical social media content, what you post should be in line with your company’s values and relevant to your business too. It’s imperative that whatever you say does need to be of interest to your audience. We know things are probably tough for your business at the moment but your audience doesn’t need to know that. Think about how you can provide a useful service to your customers rather than go in for the sell. This may not literally be a service you provide but something that gives your customers a happy feeling.  Try to focus on positive (but not smug) news. If you’ve been able to work with someone to help another person or set of people out, that’s great. Let people know. Now is a time to celebrate good news but also be mindful that there are lots of not-great things happening too. You don’t want to be rubbing people’s noses in it. Remain human and approachable. We’re talking social media here, folks. Don’t copy and paste your corporate statement. Imagine you’re delivering this information face-to-face; how would you say it to someone who was sat in front of you?  Be clear. Ensure you use easy-to-understand language and are clear in your meaning (ok:  this one applies all the time!). Do think about what you’re posting. Take a few minutes to go through any messages that may have been scheduled earlier this year to make sure they’re still appropriate. With changes to what we’re allowed to do happening on a weekly basis, you’ll need to keep an ongoing eye on your planned content. Avoid giving your opinion. Whether on the latest government advice, statistics or on how others have behaved (except when it’s something clearly good. See above point about good news!). Opinions can be polarising. Sometimes this is good (for example if you’re looking for feedback on a new product or service), but you don’t want to risk offending or alienating people. We’re trying to build relationships and a positive brand experience here, not irritate and anger people! Online presence for many businesses has been moved up a level during the Covid-19 crisis. While you may not have the time or budget to be proactively marketing your business at the moment, it is essential that you do use your online channels to interact with your customers. That means keeping on top of all messages, posts or tweets, and answering questions and enquiries quickly and fully. Whatever your ability to manage your social media right now, do make sure you have made it clear what is happening with your business. Are you still operating? If so, what sort of service can people expect? Leave it at that, and update as and when the situation changes.   If you feel like you’re missing a trick on social media, and want a dynamic online presence for your business, talk to us. We have a variety of flexible ways we can manage social media for you, depending on your aims, audiences and budget.  We can even train your in-house team too. If you'd like to receive our newsletter, click here to sign up. It's full of useful information like this blog post and if it's not your cup of tea you can unsubscribe at any time. ...