14/07/2021

Why reviews are important for your business

When was the last time you looked online for reviews before purchasing a product or service?

It was probably quite recently. With the increase of online businesses, the importance of online reviews has never been greater. 

But it doesn’t mean if you are not primarily online, it doesn’t matter. Think about going to a new restaurant, so many of us check on Google what their rating is or what people said about them. 

lady on her iphone

Industries most affected by online reviews are: 

  • eCommerce

Buying online can be a risk. You don’t get to touch and feel a product so is it really like how it is pictured? 

This is when you would turn to online reviews to check if the eCommerce website was legit and that the product lives up to expectations.

  • Restaurants

As previously mentioned, you’re probably going to look up a new restaurant and see what others think to make sure you enjoy your meal. 

With so many places to eat out there, having your customer reviews along with good word of mouth are going to be one of your most important marketing tools.

  • Services

This encompasses a lot of businesses, including beauty salons, estate agents and even web design companies like ourselves. These customer-focused, tailored services often rely on positive reviews.

Customers will often check if there are any negative reviews and the response made by that business. It says a lot about them. 

  • Hotels

Going away to a new place and with the variety of places to stay, travellers want to get their money’s worth and ensure where they stay will be what they expect. After all, it’s going to be their home away from home. 

Negative reviews can really impact consumer decisions. It’s important to monitor any mentions or reviews and respond to show you care and protect your brand. 

It’s never a good idea to just ignore negative reviews, your brand image is on the line. It will say more about your business so you want to come across as professional and respectful. 

From your Facebook reviews to Trustpilot, acknowledging and responding to all reviews are recommended, it’s part of reputation management.

At 22Group, we know the importance of reviews and the impact they can have on your business. We can incorporate it into your website or help you shout about the great reviews as part of your marketing

Ready to get started or want to learn more? Get in touch

15/04/2021

Top brands on social media

Social media doesn't just keep us connected with friends and family, but it also keeps us connected to all walks of businesses and brands. 

The top brands on social media have a powerful impact, authentic engagement from their followers and clearly showcase their brand identity.

Going onto a brand’s social media, whether that’s Instagram, Facebook or the other platforms, has become part of the shopping experience. People look for validation through pictures, posts, videos and even comments from other customers. 

With social media being a necessity for any business these days, getting some strategy inspiration from the brands that are doing it right is always a good place to start. 

Let’s take a look at the top brands on social media

screenshot of GoPro instagram
  • GoPro

Making the world’s most versatile cameras, GoPro not only showcases their products and how great their cameras are, but they also interact a lot with their followers. They use user-generated content to show the quality of their cameras, it acts as a review for potential customers.

screenshot of Nike's twitter
  • Nike 

Nike focuses a lot on people and athletes on their social media channels. They have attracted the audience’s attention by showing the people who make the brand rather than constantly plugging their products. Nike is also very good at jumping on current affairs and sharing their thoughts, from Black Lives Matter to recognising frontline healthcare workers during the pandemic.

Screenshot of Starbuck's Facebook account
  • Starbucks

Starbucks has managed to grab the attention of its audience by using engaging and colourful visual imagery. Another great brand for voicing and creating campaigns around current topics, they create a lot of relevant content and create products in line with trends.

Screenshot of Greggs twitter post with a girl running on a treadmill.
  • Greggs

Greggs is a well-established brand and often uses humour through its social media. Whether retweeting with a witty comment or using a punny one-liner, Greggs has managed to maintain their image and actively engage with their audience.

Screenshot of etsy instagram account
  • Etsy

Selling a variety of handmade and unique items, Etsy uses its social media to display the work by independent, creative designers. The pandemic increased the message to support small businesses and local independent shops, Etsy’s platform allows customers to do exactly this. The visuals and content posted shows off Etsy’s very warm, welcoming and authentic branding.

screenshot of Farrow & Ball Facebook post
  • Farrow & Ball

A brand inspiring people to use eco-friendly water based paint and handcrafted wallpaper, Farrow & Ball have become well-known. They create a lot of content that is useful, inspiring and gives their individual paint colours personality. 

Did having a look at these top brands help inspire some new and unique content for yourself?

Adding value is very important through social media, don’t just push products and promotions. Give them information that is useful and relevant - connect with your audience, relate to them and create relationships. You want to create a lasting impression.

Are you using your social media to showcase and build up your brand image? 

man on phone browsing through a business' instagram


22Group can help if you’re looking for branding, marketing or web design services. Make a splash! Get in touch, we’d love to help.

02/12/2020

22 days of Christmas

Welcome to our digital A-Z jargon-buster as we count down the days to Christmas. 22 is our take on 25 in our Advent Calendar 2020.

Check in every day on our website or across our social media to learn a new word or refresh your vocabulary for websites, branding and marketing - in alphabetical order.

‘Tis the season to share, learn and be merry and we would love you get involved in our Advent Calendar so please share, like and comment!

If your business needs help in unravelling the constantly changing digital world, let us know. Our expert team can help to future-proof your online presence and make a splash through awesome websites, branding and marketing campaign.

We hope you enjoy following our #22daysofchristmas countdown.  

Let's start at the very beginning, a very good place to start.

A is for Algorithm: Complex programs used by search engines (e.g. Google) to find, rank and return the most relevant pages for search queries.

B is for Breadcrumb: A text path featured at the top of a web page showing where you are on a site. Thanks to Hansel & Gretel for helping us back home.

C is for Canonical tag: Way of telling search engines that a specific URL (Uniform Resource Locator) represents the master copy of a page. Prevents problems caused by duplicate content appearing on multiple URL’s.

D is for Domain: Name used to identify a website’s unique online space e.g. 22group.co.uk Domains are purchased and registered.

E is for Email marketing: Don’t just email your clients – capture, nurture, convert, retain. Do it right and it can be very powerful.

F is for Favicon: A tiny custom icon displayed to the left of your web address in your browser to help give brand or service identity. We have 22 in a circle. What’s yours?

G is for Goal: A measure of  how well your web site fulfils your target objective and represents a completed activity, called a conversion. Do you have your goals set up in Google Analytics?

H is for HTML: Hyper Text Mark-up Language, widely known as the language of the web. HTML are tags or commands informing the web-browser how to present a webpage.

 I is for Infographic: A graphical representation of data or information. A great way of creating and sharing interesting content in marketing campaigns and on social media.

J is for JavaScript: Scripting language used to create and control dynamic website content - anything that moves, changes or refreshes on your screen.

 K is for Keywords: Specific words or phrases which describe your content. It’s what your customers or potential customers would enter into a search engine.

L is for Landing Page: A specific website page which will show up when a particular link is clicked. Just like the one in our caption!

M is for Meta Description: The small amount of text which is seen on search engines before a site is clicked on. It gives a summary of the web page content.

N is for Newsfeed: Where updates from people or brands you follow are shown. Typically on social media, it will show profile changes, new photos uploaded, etc. 

O is for Organic Marketing: When your customers are coming to you naturally without using any paid advertisements to attract them.

P is for Plug-in: An add-on software which brings new functionality to a program or website. It allows customisation, enhancing its capabilities.

Q is for QR Code: A quick response (QR) code is a type of barcode that can be read by a smartphone. Once read, this leads you to a specific website or content page.

R is for Responsive Layout: This is when a website is able to adjust its screen size depending on the digital device that is accessing it.

S is for SEO: Search engine optimisation is the technique of improving your website and its content so that it appears higher in search engine rankings.

T is for Traffic: In relation to a website this refers to the amount of visitors, also known as “sessions”. This is a great way to measure online success. 

U is for UX: User experience (UX) refers to the overall experience of the user’s interaction with a product, system or service.

V if for vlog: Instead of a traditional written blog, a vlog is a video blog. Involving filming experiences, thoughts and opinions to share with a wider audience.

W is for Wireframes: Like a blueprint, a wireframe shows the plan for a web page. It is typically not coloured and more to see the layout, features and spacing.

X is for X-Post: Short for cross-post this refers to posting content on multiple platforms, expanding the audience reach.

Y is for Yak Shaving: In programming this is the need to complete a task, to be able to proceed with the next. Like pulling your Christmas cracker before eating.

Z is for Zip File: A computer file that is compressed. By reducing the size it means it takes up less space and is easier to transport.


29/10/2020

What’s your branding style?

Finding the right branding style for your business is essential. It is the first thing people notice about your company, and often the last thing they forget.

As they say, there are no second chances at a first impression. So, let’s jump right into it. How do you find the right branding style for your business? 

Take stock of your competitors

First of all, it is helpful to look around you at what others are doing.

If you’re in an industry that has a very particular ‘look’ (for example, the established, corporate look-and-feel of the financial sector), it can be a smart move to go for something completely different.

Perhaps you see a lot of muted colour palettes around you, and you think a bold choice would give you a recognisable edge. This could differentiate your brand effectively. 

Or, it might work the other way. By adopting a similar style to successful competitors, your audience may view you as a brand that looks familiar to them, and brand loyalty could be easier to establish.

Your branding isn’t for you

This may sound wrong at first glance. Surely your brand needs to reflect you as much as possible?

Let me explain. Your branding needs to reflect your business. But not you, as an individual.

I think it helps to remember that your brand choices shouldn’t be purely based on your personal style and preference.

At the end of the day, your branding needs to capture your target audience. It needs to be all about them. 

Every branding decision you make needs to come back to the key question: will my target audience respond positively to this?


That’s why it can be helpful to distance yourself a little when choosing your branding style. 

Your absolute favourite colour combination might be neon pink and mustard yellow, but is that a choice that fully aligns with your business values and audience?

Shop around

If you’re struggling to decide on the brand style for you, it can be helpful to take inspiration from other sectors. 

What brands draw you in - and why?

Think about your first responses to certain websites, marketing campaigns, imagery and social media. And then think about what you want people’s first impressions of your brand to be. 

Should they feel at ease when they encounter your brand? Or excited by how different it is? Do you want to look conformist and professional? Or offbeat and quirky? 

Establish the type of brands that evoke similar feelings and then really analyse how they’re achieving that. Is it through their tone of voice, or maybe their colour palette?

If you're looking for some guidance or need help settling on the right branding style, give us a call on 0333 242 3990 to chat to a branding expert.

29/10/2020

15 powerful marketing quotes

These quotes can inspire your team and boost ideas about where you want your marketing to go!

Just 15 great quotes about marketing…

1.“Many companies have forgotten they sell to actual people. Humans care about the entire experience, not just the marketing or sales or service. To really win in the modern age, you must solve for humans.” - Dharmesh Shah, CTO & Co-Founder, HubSpot

2. “Do you have a product or service that people want? If you don’t have that, nothing else matters.” - Noah Kagan, Founder of Sumo

3. “Master the topic, the message, and the delivery.” - Steve Jobs, Co-Founder, Apple

4. “Spending energy to understand the audience and carefully crafting a message that resonates with them means making a commitment of time and discipline to the process.” - Nancy Duarte

5. "Whatever the status quo is, changing it gives you the opportunity to be remarkable." - Seth Godin

6. “The only way to outdo, to outperform the competition is to offer something unique and something better than they have.” - Tim Soulo, Head of Marketing and Product Strategy at AHREFs

7. “The best marketing doesn't feel like marketing.” - Tom Fishburne, Founder & CEO, Marketoonist

8. “Good marketers see consumers as complete human beings with all the dimensions real people have.” - Jonah Sachs

9. “Where we always start is: What’s the user’s itch? What’s their pain point that occurs frequently enough to build a habit around?” - Nir Eyal, Author of Hooked: How to Build Habit-Forming Products

10. “Marketing strategy will impact every piece of your business and it should be tied to every piece of your business.” - Brandon Andersen, Chief Strategist of Ceralytics

11. "Build something 100 people love, not something 1 million people kind of like." - Brian Chesky, Co-Founder & CEO, Airbnb

12. “Advertising brings in customers, but word-of-mouth brings in the best customers.” - Jonah Berger

13. “We not only need to understand the demographics of our customers, but we need to make sure that we create content for each of these different stages of the buyer’s journey.” - Kyle Gray

14. “Consistency is key. Whenever you start, give your audience something to look forward to.” - Julia McCoy, CEO at Express Writers

15. “Stopping advertising to save money is like stopping your watch to save time.” - Henry Ford

After some marketing advice or guidance? We can help. Call 0333 242 3990  to chat with an expert.

28/08/2020

What makes a great homepage?

Your homepage serves as the introduction to your site and, ultimately, to your brand.

It’s also a sort of contents page which should effectively signpost users around your site clearly.

As well as looking great and making a good first impression, your homepage should also prioritise converting leads. 

Take a look at how to get the most out of your homepage...

Make sure you clearly tell the world who you are, and what you do

Unless you’re a globally renowned brand, a good website homepage should effectively communicate who you are and what you do, to encourage your audience to stay on your site and find out more. 

It’s thought that you need to engage users within the first 16 seconds. And you know what they say, you never get a second chance at a first impression.

If you are unsure about your key message and what your brand is trying to say, spend some time refining this first. 

Include great design and strong images

The best content and copy in the world can get overlooked if your design and use of images doesn’t engage people.

A well-crafted homepage will combine graphics, text and multimedia in a creative way, to ensure the main purpose of the page is communicated effectively - but looks visually appealing. 

It is worth noting that images of your team are really important to include, and your own personal photography will tend to be more engaging than generic stock images. 

30/07/2020

Brand strategies for architects

The importance of specialised marketing and brand strategies for architects

Traditionally, architecture wasn't a sector that embraced bold marketing or branding strategies.

It was a sector that relied on word-of-mouth referrals and an existing reputation in certain circles.

The reasons for this could be that architecture services aren't immediately easy for the general public to grasp.

Marketing an unclear concept can be a roadblock to both architects and marketers. A lack of understanding in both sectors may have limited how marketing and branding were historically handled.

This seems to be changing - which can only be good news for architects and architecture firms.

Architecture - such a visual sector - has much to gain from bold marketing and branding strategies.

‘Sometimes, the resulting confusion over what the end product offered by architecture studios actually is - a built object, a service, or a spatial experience - leads to ineffective branding and marketing strategies.’ - Anca Mitrache, 'Branding and Marketing, An Architect's Perspective.' 

A brand strategy will inform every aspect of a business. From briefing clients to the company's visual identity, to communicating throughout a project, a cohesive brand strategy will maintain consistency at every level.

For architecture studios who want to branch out their client base, up-and-coming architects or for studios wanting to revitalize their services, branding and marketing is essential.  

In the past, architects tended to market to other architects. That involved displaying their portfolio proudly, using technical jargon and attempting to appear as impressive as possible.

Where this sector may have been missing a trick is through clear and easy to understand branding.

Translate services into simple ideas

Simple branding could appeal to a wider prospective audience, and disrupt the market by translating specialist services into layman's terms. The market reach of this type of branding could be huge.

Can we help with your branding? Call 0333 242 3990 to chat to an expert.

19/06/2020

The disruptive power of simplicity

There is power in simplicity. 

In the world of design, this is common knowledge. ‘Keep it simple’ is the mantra of many a graphic designer. Clean lines, minimalist shapes, stripped back visual identities - none of these concepts are new or groundbreaking.  

But recently the approach of ‘keeping it simple’ has moved well beyond the logo. 

Simplicity has become the key characteristic of disruptive brands. 

Branding experts Siegel+Gale are so fascinated by the concept of simplicity that they research brands every year for their World's Simplest brand report. This report surveys more than 15,000 people across 9 countries and ranks 800 brands. It’s a definitive understanding of the success of the simple brand.

‘Keeping it simple’ appears to be the one factor all big industry disruptors have in common.

Simplicity not just in design, but approach - at every level. The most successful brands were those that prioritised easy-to-use experiences or fulfilled certain functions that simply made life easier.

Siegel+Gale found...

  • 64% of consumers are willing to pay more for simpler experiences
  • 55% of consumers claim they’ll pay more for a brand that delivers a simpler experience
  • A stock portfolio of the simplest global brands outperforms the major indexes by 330 percent.

The top 10 world’s simplest brands were found to be:

  1. Netflix
  2. ALDI
  3. Google
  4. Lidl
  5. Carrefour
  6. McDonald’s
  7. trivago
  8. Spotify
  9. Uniqlo
  10. Subway

“The top performers in our study operate in crowded, highly competitive marketplaces. That said, their ability to consistently deliver their brands with simple, compelling experiences sets them apart,” said David Srere, co-CEO and Chief Strategy Officer at Siegel+Gale.

“Companies will benefit greatly by keeping it simple for customers…or suffer the consequences.”

We can see the effectiveness of the simple approach in our day-to-day lives. The ‘one swipe’ purchase bar on my Amazon app can testify to that! The simplicity of Amazon’s buying process prioritises a lightning-quick customer experience - making it all too easy to contribute to Jeff Bezos’ sprawling empire.

We see a similar user experience with Netflix - ranked the no1 most simple and successful brand. Their original tagline ‘movie enjoyment made easy’ still stands true today.

Netflix’s automation recommendations are designed intuitively so the next big thing is quick and easy for us to find. How many of us had to scroll endlessly to find ‘Tiger King’? None of us. It was one day simply there. We didn't have to think twice about it.

Netflix - as do the other most successful brands - remain committed to smooth, easy user experiences, instant accessibility and global brand recognition.

It’s simplicity done perfectly.

As Manchester businesses, what can we learn from these disruptors?

Key takeaways:

Empathise with your customer. I mean, really empathise. Getting on exactly the right wave-length as your customer allows you to anticipate their pain-points and experience their user journey. What road bumps stand between them and a seamless experience?

Embrace tech. People love easy-to-use tech. Think McDonald's self-service screen. A few taps and you're done! Without having to scream your order at a spaced-out server.

Streamline your services. Netflix offers one thing, done well. Amazon offers many different services, but keeps things simple with intuitive e-commerce tech that doesn't overwhelm their customers.

We'd love to help you out with a rebrand. If you're after something timeless, simple and disruptive - let's discuss! 

You can give us a call on 0161 672 7822, or drop me an email at jess@22group.co.uk

12/06/2020

The 10 steps that will establish your brand identity

Brand identity.

It all starts with a strong brand.

A strong brand needs to be more than just a flashy logo, or a well-chosen colour palette.

A strong brand is a brand whose values, culture and objectives are all aligned.

Branding is all about public perception - the knee-jerk reaction someone thinks when they see your name.

Brand identity is closely related to your visual identity. How do you present yourself?

If you haven’t updated your logo in years and it is beginning to age, you might want to consider how it showcases your brand.

If we think about your visual identity as clothing, then a sloppy logo and a tacky slogan are the equivalents of dressing your brand in nothing more than some faded hand-me-downs.

Not exactly likely to make a good first impression.

Your brand identity needs to go hand-in-hand with your values, your story and your culture. When everything is consistent, the strength of a brand really comes through.

The 10 steps that will establish your brand identity...

1. Know your values

Your brand values are your foundations. They should be guiding principles that will help define your brand to the rest of your team and to future clients. Your values are like your DNA, or your blueprint: they will determine every other decision you make.

A value could be ‘clear communication’ if your brand prides itself on the straightforward and direct way it shares information. The values you choose can be a combination of realistic and aspirational. Some values will be things you already pride yourself on. Others will be values to aim towards.

2. Create a customer persona 

Knowing your customer inside and out is almost as important as establishing brand values. A customer persona is a profile of a typical customer of yours. This should be as detailed as you can possibly make it!

Think about the age and gender of your ‘average’ customer, their hobbies and family life. Think about their income, their pain points, what motivates them. By understanding your customer, you can understand how to best market to them.

3. Set ambitious but achievable goals

An aspect of establishing a clear brand identity is thinking about where you see your brand going. Your brand should have a trajectory. Everyone should be working toward the same goals.

Setting these goals will help you make important decisions, such as how to approach a marketing campaign, or what new logo to choose. Your goals should inform your brand personality and identity.

4. Consistency across all touchpoints, both on and offline

Part of a quality brand is strength. There is a reason Apple is such a juggernaut of a brand. Their brand identity is very firmly established. Their aesthetic doesn’t budge. Their marketing and messaging are consistent across the board.

Another good example is Lush. Lush is a global brand with a fiercely loyal customer base. Their brand identity is absolutely consistent, with recognisably friendly company culture, cruelty-free values and a consistent ‘look’ in every single one of their stores across the globe.

5. Make sure your content marketing is ‘on brand’

Your content marketing is the voice of your brand. It is every email you send, every piece of social media you post and every piece of text on your website.

The content your brand distributes should have the same tone of voice and core message. This should always reflect your values. If one of your values is ‘warmth’ but your emails are consistently formal, your content marketing could be weakening your brand identity.

6. Establish a visual identity and colour palette

A large part of your brand identity is the visuals people associate with you. McDonalds instantly brings to mind that red and yellow, and those golden arches. Nike’s ‘swoosh’ is instantly recognisable.

Your visual identity is like the clothes of your company. You have to make sure you choose something that is a perfect fit and ‘on brand’ - after all, it will determine the first impression people have of you. 

7. Develop brand guidelines

Brand guidelines are style guides that determine the aesthetic visual identity of your brand. They ensure consistency across the board. Brand guidelines are a huge part of cementing your brand identity.

Once you have official guidelines set in stone you can begin to distribute them across your entire team. This ensures everyone is singing from the same hymn sheet and everyone is familiar with the essence of your brand.

8. Address and remarket the company culture

Your company culture is something that few businesses consciously think about. The culture of a company is all about how the team operates. For a strong brand identity, it is worth taking a long look at the culture of a company. Redefining the ‘essentials’ of how you work can help with your consistency across the board. 

9. Get the team onboard

Your brand identity is all about your team and the individual personalities that make it up. It goes without saying that you have to have the right people.

If you have a clear brand identity you're more likely to get noticed by like-minded individuals. Include your brand guidelines in any job advertisement you send out to ensure you’re attracting the right people. 

10. Work on a brand strategy to be used across the board

A strong brand is nothing without a strong strategy. Your strategy should cover how to boost your engagement, how to connect more with your target audience and how to nurture those leads and enquiries that you get.

Your brand strategy should focus on two core things: your brand and your customers. Working out how to get a connection, a relationship, between your brand and your customers is vital to your success. 

Here at 22 Group, we're brand specialists. We can study your target audience, research your market and develop a bespoke strategy for your brand.

Our designers are experts at crafting unique and impactful visual identities. We can write a compelling brand story for you and help you define your core values.

Give us a call to find out more.

29/05/2020

What makes a successful brand?

A brand is a number of elements rolled into one.

Image, symbol, language, name, design. All of these jigsaw pieces help make something recognisable and unique.

A brand is an identity, first and foremost.

Just like ranchers who branded cattle with their own recognisable mark to distinguish them from other herds, your brand is yours and yours alone - a unique trademark.

So, what makes a brand a brand?

Because there are brands, and then there are brands. The brands so huge they are recognised by young and old alike across all corners of the globe.

Their power moves beyond just a striking logo, or a well-chosen colour palette. Their power lies within their brand story, the associations of their brand - that unspoken public perception. 

A successful brand, then, is one that is considered as a whole.

Here at 22, we don’t just want to create brands, we want to create identities and experiences.

The products we create move beyond just logos and designs. We believe a whole is greater than the sum of its parts, which is why we take a holistic approach to our branding.

Our designers, developers, marketers and copywriters all work collaboratively at every stage of our process, resulting in a cohesive end-product that is consistent across the board. 

Investing in your brand is investing in your future.

A quality brand won’t have to be rebranded for years to come. A timeless visual identity will find relevance across a span of audiences and contexts.

A true branding success is marked by something that lives beyond the person who created it. An immortal creation. Just as the name ‘Disney’ has moved well beyond the individual, so too does a successful brand.

It generates a life and identity of its own.

Manchester

+44 (0) 161 672 7822
enquiries@22group.co.uk

26 Dale Street, Manchester, M1 1FY
Find us on Google Maps

Our partners

22 Group is the umbrella company for creative work.

Check out our specialised branches for work in the property and finance sectors: Property Stream | Finance Stream

22 Group is a proud member of The Pride, an alliance of independent creative and communications companies.

Copyright © 22 Group Ltd. 2020. All rights reserved.