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.

26/04/2020

The dangers of buying a cheap budget website

Nowadays it's easy to think of a website as a product that can be created for a budget price.

Template website builders are everywhere. At the end of a quick Google search are millions of budget websites - you're a few taps away from getting yourself a website at a bargain price. What could be easier?

And surely, it makes good business sense?

A cheaper website is a shrewd investment, right? It saves a huge amount of money. It does the job. It at least gives you an online presence.

Unfortunately, the dangers of budget websites can be so far-reaching that they undermine any benefits from their initial low-cost.

At best, you'll have a cheap-looking, basic website that will do little in the way of generating leads or revenue.

At worst you could have a website that will actively drive users away from your brand, lower your Google rankings, and damage your reputation.

The pitfalls of budget websites are not always immediately obvious. The allure of the bargain price will appear to outweigh every other factor.

But some serious problems can occur with these cheap sites that can have sinister and extensive effects.

Here are some of the dangers of cost-cutting, budget websites…

You won't own your website or any of the content

With a template website builder, you'll often find that the company will own your site and all the data on it.

This means when it comes to making changes or updates to your site, you will have little creative freedom. Moreover, transferring your site's data can be a huge headache.

Your data could be locked down, leaving you unable to access it, transfer it, or update it.

Template websites can be shut-down at any moment

A lot of budget website builders make their money from selling customers' personal details on to advertising companies.

Due to this, these companies have a habit of shutting themselves down rapidly when they need to.

These faceless companies are under no legal obligation to inform users who have a website with them that they are shutting down.

Your site could literally disappear at the drop of a hat, leaving you with an error notice instead of a homepage.

You could be locking down your data with an unknown company that can legally shut down their servers without acknowledging you, leaving you high and dry without a site or the data to transfer elsewhere.

You won't get support

If your template website has issues, who will be on hand to help you sort them out?

Often, companies who create cheap websites won’t offer on-going support, meaning when issues inevitably occur, you will get burned for it. This is how they are able to make their money. 

Basic necessary services such as email accounts, image hosting and website transfer could cost you - and companies will often charge through the roof for them.

You'll get a slow site and low rankings

If you're using a budget template builder, chances are you'll be sharing a server with many others.

Additionally, your template website could have malignant or unnecessary code. These factors can really slow down a site and cause loading issues.

A slow loading site will cause huge issues for your Google rankings. If users bounce from your site, frustrated with their slow experience, Google will penalise you accordingly.

In today’s age, users are ruthless. They are used to experiencing a good online experience and can tell instantly when their needs are not being met.

If you're not ranking well on Google, you're missing out on new inquiries, plain and simple. It can take extensive time and money to get your SEO back on the right track.

Cheap websites are hackable

Cheap template designs are often poorly coded, leading to security issues.

Owning a cheap website is the online version of leaving your shop door open all night.

Nowadays users are savvy enough to spot a cheap site and won't feel as secure leaving their details with you. if your website is hacked and goes offline, your credibility is seriously damaged.

In web development, it is really a case of you get what you put into it. If you want a better performing website, with a greater return on investment, it is worth spending more on it. When it comes to websites, you do get what you pay for. 

Essentially, buying a cheap website could not only be a waste of time and money, but a poor business move.

The damage that a bad website can bring about can take a substantial amount more money and time to put right.

Treating a website like an online brochure or a flyer can be a catastrophic oversight and one that is really outdated. The idea that a website should just ‘look the part’ is backward, to say the least.

A website can be your business' most significant commercial tool if created properly.

We can set up a website that won’t just sit dead in the water but will actually begin working itself. Our optimised websites are designed to capture lead information for you and grow organically.

02/04/2020

Does your website have everything it needs to pull you through COVID-19?

With the high-street an absolute no-go at the moment, your online presence is more important than ever before.

But it's easy to let issues pile up on your site that, over time, become harder to spot with an untrained eye.

Here at 22 Group, we're website experts and we can pinpoint the key areas where your website is falling short.

So, what things should I be looking for when optimizing my website? We’ve done the hard work for you...


Too many calls to action

A messy homepage, with too many calls to action, will confuse the eye. They say you never get a second chance to make a first impression and this is very true when it comes to your homepage. Too many options will be overwhelming, leading to a disappointing user experience that won't convert.

Not mobile-friendly

A responsive site - how important is it really? To put it simply - very. With mobile internet browsers surpassing desktop users, ensuring your site works just as smoothly on mobile is essential. If the content is reduced when you access the site via mobile, or if images don't align, or links don't work - face it, you're driving users away. 

Lacks clear communication

In this new normal we're living in under COVID-19, it's really important to communicate transparently with the visitors to your site. Your current clients and customers need information about if you're still operating, your prospects need to know how to contact you and your employees need to have clear, upfront information. Displaying direct communication about how your business has adapted to the COVID-19 circumstances will present as confident and straight-talking.


We can help you with all of these issues.

Our savvy developers would be happy to give you advice on how to make your website work harder and smarter for you. Remember, if it's not converting, if it's not earning you leads, then it's not fulfilling the basic function of a site! Call 0161 672 7822 or email robin@22group.co.uk for expert advice.

Need some clear and sensitive content? We are currently offering free content marketing to get you through these bizarre times! Email me at jess@22group.co.uk if I can help out in any way.

Stay home, stay safe.

Jess

Copywriting & Marketing

0161 672 7822

jess@22group.co.uk

27/03/2020

Weathering the storm of COVID-19.

Within the space of a week, a week that has seemed to span a year, it's already become a cliché to call these times 'unprecedented.'

COVID-19 has changed the landscape, politically, socially and economically, so dramatically that normal things like commuting to the office now seem like relics of the past.

I don’t think it’s alarmist to say real structural change is occurring during this period. Uncertainty is the new normal and change is the only constant.

What then, does this mean for business, for day-to-day survival? And, most importantly, what can we do to weather the storm?


Content and communication

If you haven't already, consider your content marketing strategy.

It may seem like a low priority task, but communication, now more than ever, will oil the wheels of commerce - or, at least, nurture those important leads for when the time is right.

Customers, prospects, leads, employees - all need clear channels of communication.

With the majority of the country now working from behind a screen, it is important to remain connected. Content marketing is a cheap, quick way to directly engage with your audience.

Communication during turbulent times is hugely important, but it may be overwhelming when you feel swamped. Maybe we can help. As our resident copywriter, I would be more than happy to create bespoke content for you (for emails, website, banners, social media) absolutely free. Email jess@22group.co.uk for more details.

Consider reinvention

It may be wise to throw away the rule-book. If your traditional ways of working are suddenly rendered meaningless, consider doing a 180.

The companies quickest off the mark have been those who recognised the necessity of changing direction, and did so swiftly.

Examples of this are LVMH, the French luxury goods company behind Louis Vuitton, making hand sanitiser free of charge for the use of French hospitals and public services.

More practical pivots include restaurants who have closed their doors, but who are still offering food via delivery.

Be mindful of your reputation

In unprecedented times, consumers will remember how companies acted. We’ve seen examples of this already.
CEO of Topshop, Philip Green, made the decision to let his workers go without pay. This provoked a social media backlash, with many calling for a boycott of all Green’s stores.

Mike Ashley, owner of Sports Direct, also faced criticism for refusing to close his stores, claiming they offer ‘essential services.’ His sudden, and already infamous, U-turn looks likely to tarnish his reputation – for how long is yet to be seen.

Reputational risk may not seem high on the list of short-term concerns, but its impacts will be long-lasting and potentially ruinous. Brand reputation can be nurtured through transparent communication and actions that are in line with company values.

For example, Marks and Spencer, the quintessentially British brand, have widespread customer loyalty spanning generations and a solid reputation. The M&S brand survived recessions and two world wars, always prioritizing their values above everything else. During World War Two they helped to patent the design for utility clothing and raise funds for the RAF. For more on the importance of brand values, read here.

Customer loyalty isn't a solution to every problem, but it can act as a reassuring life-jacket when the storm hits – and in the aftermath that follows.

Stay safe!

Jess


Jess Cawdron

Copywriting & Marketing

0161 672 7822

jess@22group.co.uk

16/03/2020

Our company culture.

‘Culture.’

One of the stylish, corporate buzzwords that roam around, and, when overused, can be as irritating as a wasp at a picnic.

Yet, this is jargon that we can’t keep batting away, as it directly impacts our day-to-day.

Company culture is essentially the personality and character of an organisation. 

It’s the environment of a workplace - how it functions, how employees communicate and how staff are managed.

Company culture can have a significant impact on your job satisfaction and productivity. It is one of the most important factors to consider when hunting for work.

Working out what sort of company culture works for you is very personal and directly relates to your habits as a worker. Are you an intrinsic team player? Do you work far more efficiently when left independently? Do you need clear targets to stay focused?

These elements are so important to establish, but can be tricky to figure out before getting stuck into a job. And, you may find out, too late, that a company's culture doesn’t align with your personal working style.

That’s why we’ve decided to be as transparent as possible!

We’re laying our cards out on the table and giving a thorough overview of our company culture so that we can attract like-minded people.

Our company culture is intrinsically linked to our values. We believe that working in a friendly environment - one of authenticity, integrity and mutual respect - is conducive to productivity and job satisfaction.

As a team, we’re a committed bunch. We’re dedicated to our work, but also to one another and we’re proud of our upbeat and supportive working environment.

We’re proud of our retention of staff and how the atmosphere we’ve created feels more like working with friends than colleagues. 


Here are 8 aspects of our company culture...

     1. We can wear what we want to the office. The relaxed and informal nature of our office environment means we don’t assign to the corporate world of suits and ties. We think being comfy is far more important.

     2. We have quarterly activities as a team. In the past we have been Go Karting and for a night out at Flight Club. Each member of the team gets their own turn to pick an activity of their choice.

     3. We have an Office Mum. Marcia, our officer manager, is the company’s unofficial, but kinda official, office mum. She looks after us superbly and brightens up our office with her sense of humour. She enjoys rating the cups of tea we make her out of 10 and offering us sage advice. We even got her a mother’s day gift last year!

    4. We have flexible hours. As a company we believe that we are all far more productive when we can work at our optimum hours. We have a combination of night owls and early birds in the office and our flexibility suits both.

    5. We can easily work remotely! Our jobs are usually done from behind a computer screen, allowing us that flexibility of work. We have the option of working from home a few times a week, whenever suits us. 

    6.  Our project manager Stephen regularly keeps the office well-stocked with all manner of sweet treats. Doughnuts, biscuits, cakes - you name it.

7. We sometimes like to indulge in Fat Fridays - a day where we explore the culinary delights of the Northern Quarter. This is a day completely free from calorie-counting.

   8. We have 25 days of holiday!


If you like the sound of our company culture, check out our recent PHP developer role.

10/03/2020

10 quotes that prove brand storytelling is the future of marketing.

Have you ever wondered what skyrockets certain companies into the stratosphere and not others?

Let’s focus on the big dogs, like Apple or Virgin.

What factors contributed to their meteoric success?

Luck, of course. A healthy dose of luck never harmed anyone’s chances.

But another factor to consider would be their single-minded, rock-solid marketing strategies.

These two brands are prime examples of establishing long-term loyalty. Loyalty that surpasses technological change. Loyalty that turns someone into an Apple customer for life, who scoffs at the idea of buying their tech from somewhere else.

richard-branson

‘We would be nothing without our story.’ – Richard Branson

How did they manage it?

In short, they told stories.

Richard Branson describes entrepreneurs as ‘professional storytellers.’ He says that Virgin’s story is what attracts people to their products and services, and also to work for them.

Business storytelling, or story-first marketing, gives your customer a compelling reason to work with you or buy from you. It humanises you.

And we all know, people buy from people. Moreover, people remain loyal to people they trust.


I’ve compiled my favourite quotes that connect business and storytelling:

1. ‘A great salesperson knows how to tell a story in which the product is the hero.’ – Peter Guber, Chairman and CEO of Mandalay Entertainment.

2. ‘And do you know what is the most-often missing ingredient in a sales message?  It’s the sales message that doesn’t tell an interesting story.  Storytelling . . . good storytelling . . . is a vital component of a marketing campaign.’ – Gary Halbert, marketing guru.

3. ‘Marketing is no longer about the stuff you make but about the stories you tell.’ – Seth Godin, author, entrepreneur. 

4. ‘People think in stories, not statistics, and marketers need to be master storytellers.’ – Arianna Huffington, founder of the Huffington Post.

5. ‘Successful organisations and companies share the stage with their best storytellers. Brands are a collection of narratives. Unleash your best stories.’ – Carmine Gallo, author and keynote speaker.

6. ‘You can’t sell anything if you can’t tell anything.’ – Beth Comstock, business executive.

7. ‘If your stories are all about your products and services, that’s not storytelling. It’s a brochure. Give yourself permission to make the story bigger.’ – Jay Baer, content marketing strategist and keynote speaker.

steve-jobs

8. ‘The most powerful person in the world is the storyteller. The storyteller sets the vision, values and agenda of an entire generation that is to come.’ – Steve Jobs, co-founder of Apple.

9. ‘Storytelling is by far the most underrated skill when it comes to business.’ – Gary Vaynerchuk, entrepreneur. 

10. ‘Logic makes you think. Emotion makes you act.’ – Alan Weiss, author and public speaker.


If the idea of storytelling in marketing is new to you, it could be the one approach that breathes life back into your brand.

For more ideas, or to discuss a story-based rebrand, contact me at jess@22group.co.uk

Jess Cawdron
Copywriting & Marketing
0161 672 7822

signature-jess

06/03/2020

5 incredible brand stories from Manchester businesses.

I can hear you sighing already.

‘More marketing buzzwords? Really?’

Of course, the idea of the ‘brand story’ isn’t new. It’s as old as marketing itself.

But never before have we been so submerged in misinformation, waffle and a daily drone of stuff.

In this landscape, authentic brands with a clean, clear message and honesty at their cores will stand out like a fresh breeze cutting through a sweaty summer day.

Storytelling connects. Always has, always will.

Here are 5 examples of Manchester businesses that harness the power of story-telling in their brands...


1. SpareRoom

Launched in Manchester in 2004, SpareRoom is the busiest flatshare website in the UK.

The founder of SpareRoom, Rupert Hunt, is a self-described ‘unlikely entrepreneur.’ He tells the story of moving to London to be in a band after completing a ‘Mickey Mouse’ degree called ‘Pop Music.’ In his spare time, he would make websites.

When he moved back to Manchester, he launched SpareRoom from a spider-ridden shed in his parents’ back garden. He funded it on his credit card and worried about it later.

Told with perfect self-deprecation, Rupert’s origin story humanised SpareRoom and made me see the business with different eyes. It’s a story of humble origins and unexpected meteoric success. More importantly, it's funny.

Check out Rupert’s brand story here: https://www.spareroom.co.uk/content/about-us/how-we-started/


2. Sweet Mandarin

When I was researching various brands and businesses, the story of Sweet Mandarin, Manchester's well-known Chinese restaurant and cookery school, really stood out to me.

It’s a classic tale of rags to riches.

The origins of this family-run business start with the CEO's grandmother, Lily Kwok, who worked as a maid for an affluent English family, the Woodmans.

She travelled with the Woodmans from Hong Kong to the UK. On this 30-day voyage, she began to practise and craft recipes in the kitchen of the ship.

The Woodmans treated Lily like part of the family. When Mrs Woodman died, it was revealed that she had left Lily a sum of money in her will. This became the seed capital Lily needed to kick-start her own restaurant.

Lily’s business grew in popularity. She served the likes of Cliff Richard, The Shadows and even The Beatles. Her legacy is now carried on by her grand-daughter, who runs Sweet Mandarin today.

Read Sweet Mandarin’s brand story here: http://sweetmandarin.com/our-story/


3. Cat Café

The brand story of Cat Café revolves around two sisters, Ellie and Sarah Close, who were inspired to start their business by the ubiquitous cat cafés of Japan. 

They stress the importance of spending time with animals for our physical, mental and emotional health.

The concept of their café is offered as a solution: ‘Cat Café can give you a new perspective, it can make you present, and it can refresh and heal an urban soul.’

Their brand story gains its strength from the powerful conviction of its mission. The sisters envision opening a Cat Café in every UK city. They just want all us urban folk to ‘be more cat’! 

Despite being a dog person, the strength of this brand and their commitment to their feline friends won me over. I’ll be paying it a visit.

Read their mission statement here: https://catcafe.co.uk/mission-statement


4. Northern Soul Grilled Cheese

Northern Soul Grilled Cheese, the UK's first grilled cheese business, has become something of a Mancunian institution.

Founded by Dan Place in 2015, the successful franchise started as a pop-up and has now expanded to a Northern Quarter site with a 70-cover unit and a smaller site in Piccadilly.

Dan's story is built on the adage 'do something you love and you won't go far wrong.' As a champion of Mancunian businesses, Dan was driven by the personal desire to give people secure, independent jobs in a vibrant area.

Location was certainly Dan's number one concern in the early days of his business. His original pop-up was a small site with basic electric, no running water, drainage and had no windows or doors.

But, what it did have was a lively location, right in the heart of the Northern Quarter.

From humble beginnings to local success, check out Dan meeting Man vs. Food's Adam Richman at Northern Soul Grilled Cheese here: https://www.northernsoulmcr.com/


5. Stockport Gin

Stockport Gin is a family-run business, launched by husband and wife Cheryl and Paul Sharrock and run from their home distillery in the village of Compstall.

Their brand origins begin simply with their love of gin.

The couple's passion for gin led them to sample local gins from everywhere they visit. When they realised Stockport didn't have its own gin, they leapt on the chance to create something unique.

Almost by chance, they made a deal with Selfridges. They managed to find the right person to speak to, sparking a chain of events which, Cheryl admitted, 'sounded almost too easy.'

Since then, their business has rapidly expanded, leading to a real juggle of the work-life balance as their distillery happens to also be their family home!

Read more about the story of Stockport Gin here: https://www.stockport-gin.com/pages/our-story


How does your brand story compare?

Here at 22 Group, we can curate your bespoke brand story for you.

To find out how we can transform your brand, drop me an email at jess@22group.co.uk

Or give me a call on 0161 672 7822

We'd love to hear from you.

05/03/2020

Learn a thing or two from the greatest business pitches of all time.

Peter Marsh of ABM, advertising extraordinaire and business pitch master, was known for his surprising presentation skills.

Learn a thing or two from the greatest business pitches of all time...


The pitch. That compelling moment in time. The pitch is the 100 metre sprint that stands between you and your business securing that deal. The art of the pitch is truly the art of persuasion and the number of ways we can go about this is infinite.

The components of a really unforgettable pitch appear straightforward: be clear, be authentic, be memorable. But to execute a pitch so audacious that it goes down in business folklore takes something special…

The year is 1977.

The setting is Allen Brady & Marsh’s (ABM) advertising agency.

ABM are the mavericks of the advertising world, headed by the charismatic directors, Rod Allen and Peter Marsh.

Marsh, or ‘Mr Showbiz’ as he was known, had the reputation of being a flamboyant performer who liked to surprise his clients mid-pitch, often with a musical number. With a background of performing on the stage, Marsh made sure his pitches would always stand out.

The office of ABM is the stage to one of the most theatrical pitches in business history. The key players are ABM and Saatchi & Saatchi. At stake is a significant deal with British Rail. Saatchi & Saatchi are the heavyweight champions of advertising; ABM are the wildcards.

When British Rail’s team, headed by chairman Sir Peter Parker, enter the office of ABM their first impression is of disarray. The advertising agency is off-putting to say the least: overflowing ash trays, filthy coffee mugs, newspapers strewn on the floor. They are greeted by a surly receptionist who files her nails and refuses to look up and greet them before she has finished the page of her magazine.

‘How long do we have to wait?’

‘Dunno,’ she replies.

The British Rail team are kept waiting a full 20 minutes, all the time being wholly ignored by the receptionist and passing advertising staff. Just as they are about to leave in disgust, a door opens and the director of ABM, Peter Marsh, and his advertising team finally reveal themselves.

“You’ve just experienced how the public perceive British Rail,” Marsh says, to surprised faces. “Now let’s see what we can do to put that right.”

Marsh and his team then launch into their pitch, outlining their plans to overhaul public opinion of British Rail.

They are hired on the spot.

Marsh’s theatricality was certainly his trademark, as displayed in another of his famous pitches in 1981. The battle for the Woolworths account was a high-stakes deal at which Marsh threw the full weight of his flamboyance.

For this pitch, Marsh took his clients to a theatre he had booked out for the day and performed a musical number that would become one of the most instantly recognisable jingles of the decade: ‘That’s the wonder of Woollies.’ Taking off his outer dinner jacket to reveal a sparkly suit beneath, Marsh intended his pitch to symbolise Woolworths discarding their old self to reveal their new, shiny future.

Appreciative of the show, Woolworths assigned them the deal.

By 1982, ABM were one of the top 5 advertising agencies in Britain.


As far as our business pitches go, we’ve never tried anything as bold as these approaches before!

Let us know what you think of Peter Marsh and his legendary pitches.

Would they win you over?


Let me know at jess@22group.co.uk

Jess Cawdron

Copywriting & Marketing

0161 672 7822

25/02/2020

22 tips for writing web content

Web content.

Just words on a screen?

Creating engaging web content is actually a challenge within itself.

On the web, we don’t read – we scan. We read only an average of 20% of a webpage and spend approximately 5 seconds before moving on. This means content must be instantly arresting and instantly attention-grabbing.

Web content is completely different from other writing styles.

Here are the best tips and tricks we've found for writing your web content...

1. As you’re writing for scanners, your layout is key.

Signpost effectively: use clear headlines and sub-headings to direct your reader. Your writing is like a path you want your reader to follow you down. Keep it clear, inviting and easy to navigate.

2. Consider white space.

Breaking up your writing into digestible chunks. This keeps your reader’s eye moving down the page, scrolling.

3. Punctuate with multi-media.

Images are essential to how approachable a page appears. They can also work hand-in-hand with your written content.

4. Hook your reader with the most important message first.

Remember - you are writing for a scanner, not a reader!

Try the inverted pyramid style. This is top-loading your content with the most important information first. A reader should be immediately hooked when they visit your page. Consider using a sub-level page for instances where you have a great deal of detail that you want to expand on.

5. Consider the listicle and bullet-pointed style.

Listicles have been done to death, but there is a reason they are so popular. Their titles inform us directly about their content and their linear progression is pleasing to a scroller or a scanner.

6. Keep paragraphs short.

A block of text may appear impenetrable and easy to scroll past. Shorter paragraphs, however, punctuated by blank space look far more inviting. They are also more navigation-friendly for those readers on smart phones.

7. Pull quotes can look appealing and break up text.

8. Write in a direct style.

The pronouns ‘you’ and ‘we’ will jump off the page to the reader and establish familiarity.

9. Adopt an active voice.

The active voice tends to be more direct, succinct and easy to digest than the passive.

10. Avoid run-on, or fragmented, sentences.

If in doubt, split up a longer sentence into two short ones to be more reader-friendly.

11. Get rid of jargon and insider phrasing.

Don't alienate your readers with niche and complex language.

12. Use specifics and data.

Numerical information stands out in a chunk of text and adds legitimacy to your page. It also supplies key information quickly to the reader who is hurriedly trying to check your credentials.

13. Keep key terms consistent across your site.

For example, don’t chop and change between ‘web design’ or ‘web development’ – pick one and stick to it. This consistency is vital to those SEO-boosting keywords.

14. Use analytics and metrics to assess the habits of your reader.

Know why your reader has visited your page. Bear in mind the tasks they will want to complete  on your website (e.g. make a booking, make a purchase, find information) and signpost accordingly.

15. Use internal linking to boost your SEO.

Avoid links that travel back to big pages that are easy to navigate to, such as the home page. Instead, link to pages that are deep in the network of your site and harder to find manually.

16. Know the difference between keywords and carewords.

Carewords are the words and phrases your reader will be scanning for once they reach your page, to confirm they have clicked to the right place. Carewords help your reader complete their intended task.

For example, a reader who has clicked on a page to book a holiday may scan for words such as ‘bookings,’ ‘prices’ or ‘rooms.’ Carewords need to be simple, clear and informative.

17. Find your voice.

The voice on your website needs to complement your brand and business. Ideally, your content should sound just like it is being spoken by yourself or one of your team members.

18. Align all content with your brand values.

Read here to discover why having clear and established brand values is invaluable to your brand and business.

19. Consistency is key.

For your formatting to look sharp and professional, maintain a consistent style. For your voice to resonate across your entire website, maintain a consistent tone.

20. Ensure your content is in fitting with your overall marketing strategy.

If you are engaged in a lively, attention-grabbing marketing campaign, your web copy needs to match this with the same energy.

21. Edit carefully and thoughtfully.

A great way to do this is to read your work aloud.

Are there any phrases which ‘catch’? Ideally, your writing should sound natural and authentic, like spoken language.

22. Include call to actions to finish off sections of writing and encourage a response from your reader.


We appreciate that words aren’t everyone’s speciality. Carefully crafting web content can eat into important time and energy.

So, let us take some of that pressure off your hands.

The content marketing packages we offer…

  • Your brand story – compelling narrative copy that encapsulates what makes your brand unique
  • Your brand values – powerful copy to define to keystones of your brand
  • Bespoke content for your website
  • Snappy and engaging copy for all your marketing campaigns
  • Quality blog posts and article

To discuss a content strategy, email jess@22group.co.uk

Jess Cawdron

Copywriting & Marketing

0161 672 7822

18/02/2020

PHP Developer role

We’re looking for a talented PHP Developer to work on innovative projects for a wide range of clients at our agency based in the Northern quarter, Manchester. We’re a friendly, forward thinking team who value innovation and provide an open forum for ideas and ways to improve.

We specialise in bespoke website builds for our clients and their critical business systems. You’ll be a key member of our development team and play a crucial role in the development of our new company products. 

The right candidate will care about quality, be a self-starter and have a real passion for development and progressing their skillset.

Experience:

— Object Oriented Application Design

— MVC framework experience - Laravel / Zend / CakePHP or similar

— Wordpress plugin development

— MySQL

— Caching (e.g. Redis, Nginx)

— Version control (Git)

— Property feeds

— Linux server administration (Debian / Ubuntu)

Nice to haves:

— HTML5

— XHTML

— CSS2/3

— Javascript / AJAX

— Node.js

Responsibilities:

— Development of back-end systems for a range of websites 

— Development of company products

— Perform coding to written technical specifications

— Investigate, analyse and document reported bugs

— Perform maintenance development and correction of identified bugs

— Create and document test plans, implement and manage unit tests and scripts

— Communicate regularly with project managers to provide understanding of technical requirements, processes and dependencies

Benefits:

— 25 days holiday

— Friendly and supportive team

— Christmas / summer party

— As much coffee as you can handle

— Friday beers

— Flexible lunch and regular breaks

— No dress code

— Yearly appraisal and pay review

— Convenient central Manchester office location [Post the COVID-19 crisis]

What to send us

— Your contact details

— A bit about you and what you’re passionate about 

— Your experience

— Examples of projects utilising the required skills

— Your reasons for wanting to work for 22 Group

Thanks and good luck!

Email us now

17/02/2020

Our values: the heart of 22

Maybe it’s our Manchester roots that make 22 Group friendly, straight-talking, and confident. We're committed to our responsibility to deliver incredible results, with heart.

There’s more to crafting an effective and distinct brand than a knock-out logo or a sleek website. Whilst important, these more tangible aspects of brand identity work best when combined with what already exists at the beating heart of any solid brand: its values.

Strong marketing is built upon clear brand values. Integrating the message of a company into its marketing increases engagement with customers who admire and align with these ideals.

Showing what the company stands for - its personality, so to speak - resonates with people and reaps results.

For example, think of brands like IKEA who celebrate simplicity and are known for their minimalist style and easy to build products. There’s Spotify’s playful spirit, easily pinpointed in their 'Listen Like You Used To’ adverts. Or Dr Martens, who recently captured both their long-standing rebellious image and product durability in the ‘Tough As You’ campaign. Good branding also has a ripple-like effect, sticking with customers and helping to build brand reputation.

Essentially: think of your values as your brand DNA.

Brand values show your ‘true north’ (no geographical bias intended) as they act as an orientating guide for both your clients and colleagues. They define the business. The blueprint the business. They also show us here at 22 Group what each individual client strives towards and what, together, we’ll focus on conveying.

Distinguishing the message of a company goes a long way. And, whilst it’s important for us to be attuned to the brand values of our clients, we also realise it’s probably important to outline the 22 Group team’s shared ethos — so you know exactly who you’re taking the dive with. Of course, communicating these values is also key so prospective clients can clearly identify connecting strands between our brand and theirs.

So, we’ll go first ... Here’s what our brand stands for:

Friendliness.

A cornerstone of our company’s culture, we put this shared value into practice daily. Cultivating positive and long-standing working relationships amongst ourselves and with our clients is genuinely important to us. It’s all about being our best selves and bringing out the best in each other.

Straight talking.

Honesty and authenticity sets us apart. In a world inundated with options, decisions and choices to be made, it’s nice to know who you can rely on to get the job done. We won’t set unrealistic goals or mess around with your expectations. Building open and honest relationships is always our aim.

Confident.

We believe in ourselves - and you should too. Our passion for each aspect of what we do shines through into our work and you can trust us to give it our all. We recognise our capabilities and are comfortable to try new things in order to make the most of our talents.

Committed.

We take pride in what we do. Loyal and long-standing client relationships are just as important to us as project details. Each and every one of us is dedicated and genuinely invested in our work - and to upholding our brand values.

If it sounds as though we’re kindred spirits, or you’d like to make your brand stand out in a crowd, get in touch with our team: jess@22group.co.uk 

Manchester

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

26 Dale Street, Manchester, M1 1FY
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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.

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