Client: “We want a logo!”

August 11th, 2011 § 2 comments § permalink

I wanted to blog about something that I’ve noticed is becoming more and more common a request from our clients. The inclusion of a logo design with their website.

Now, that’s not an unreasonable request – in fact it’s something we’re happy to look at. However, what is worrying me is that the majority of clients are considering their logo/brand as an afterthought. Further more they aren’t always willing to put any extra budget behind it.

Common requests are along the lines of: ‘It just needs to be text.’, ‘Nothing too complicated – a quick logo’ or ‘I don’t care as long as it fits with the website’.

What really gets to me is the seeming lack of value people are placing in their brand/logo. Despite me giving most of them ‘the talk’ about the importance of branding the majority seem reluctant to attribute time or budget to getting it correct.

Anyway, I’ve always been of the opinion that you can’t skimp on brand, it’s the first point of contact a client will have with you and is how you’ll come to be recognised. I have to say that our design team has worked wonders with little/no budget - coming up with amazing logos time and time again. (Below are a few of my favourites – I must note that a couple of these did have a small budget behind them.)

What I really want to know is, from those of you who are business owners and have a brand of your own, where does it fit in your priorities (be honest!)? And to those of you who are designers/webbies – do you get similar requests for logos to be ‘included’ as an afterthought with other design? How do you deal with it?

Bath is a talented place!

June 1st, 2011 § 5 comments § permalink

This week was another 1st for Storm – one of our much loved family, Dan, will be leaving the team at the end of June, heading for the super-awesome Headscape. Whilst losing one of our family is a massive disappointment to the whole team, news of his departure wasn’t the biggest surprise of the day…

As you’d expect, we announced Dan’s move on Twitter and within 90 minutes, I had 5 CV’s in my inbox. The quality of the applications coming through was phenomenal, especially for people in their early 20′s, it really did open my eyes not only to the kind of people waiting to jump into our industry, but also to the amount of talent around the Bath area.

Having lived in Bath for almost 6 years now, and having been a part of the ‘tech / digital’ scene for about half of that, I was starting to feel like I knew / had bumped into / recognised the majority of people who live in Bath and work in our sector. How wrong I was.

Suffice to say, I can’t wait for the interviews – so watch this space. A new Stormtrooper will be joining our family shortly!

Update: For anyone reading this who wants to meet fellow Bath people, as Phil suggests below, Storm are hosting a tweetup on the 16th of June:

iPad 2 – first impressions

March 26th, 2011 § 0 comments § permalink

Well first things first, this post is being composed on my iPad, so this will be my first real test of the keyboard! So far so good :-)

I was very surprised with the apple queuing process… The 5pm launch was nice as people were able to queue throughout the day and quite a buz developed. Apple kindly supplied us with Starbucks coffee / drinks as well as snacks and supplies.

The bit that was most refreshing was that once I’d made it to the front of the queue, I wasnt rushed in and out of the store, i was greeted by an apple member of staff on the door – he waked me through the purchasing, unboxed the iPad to check it over, activated and set up the app store. There was no sense of a rush despite the huge queue still outside.

Finally onto my thoughts about the iPad. Well so far it’s superb. Light, slim, lovely to hold and use, crystal clear screen and superb speakers. I’ve only played with a few apps but already Garage Band and Flipboard stand out for me as excellent examples of polished products.

More to follow…

Storm’s first app!

March 11th, 2011 § 0 comments § permalink

I’m massively excited today as we’re designing and writing Storm’s first real web ‘app’.

I don’t want to give too much away, but suffice to say it has a super-cool .ly domain name, is integrated with all sorts of services, and will be FREE – at least to start with ;-)

Now, so that you don’t go away empty handed – I feel a clue is in order. So here it is:

Mmmm iPad2. But to 3G or not to 3G?….

March 6th, 2011 § 5 comments § permalink

Yeah yeah, I’ve seen the new iPad 2 and its not huuuugely different to the iPad 1 – But I want one, and as such am likely going to buy one.

The big question is 3G or no 3G?…. I’m a little stumped on this, it seems to be ~£100 more for the privilege. Does anybody have any experience using iPad with 3G?

95% of the time i’ll be using the pad at home, or in the office. It’ll be that small 5% when I’m and about that will really piss me off when I don’t have it.

Answers on a post card?

Best New Business, Networking and Friends

February 28th, 2011 § 0 comments § permalink

So it’s the last day of the month and boy what a month!! The big news being that Storm won “Best New Business” at the 2011 Bath Life Awards. Aside from it being an amazing achievement for all of the guys, it gave me a chance to reflect on everything we’ve done over the last 18 months and indeed to set my mind to 2011. Gotta say, I’m massively excited.

One of the reasons for this excitement is due to the FANTASTIC digital industry that is blossoming in Bath at the moment. February has seen the launch of Bath’s very own digital Umbrella network, Bath Digital (@bathdigital) which Storm have had a hand in setting up alongside Creative Bath, BathCamp and others. I was also delighted to attend the very first BathSpark which looks like its going to be an awesome meetup for tech/digital folk around the city.
With all the tallent that’s coming out of Bath I’m privileged to be a part of it.

And finally I’ve been having a pretty awesome time with friends over the month and managed to get out to Val D’Isere for some skiing as well has catch up with the parents and some friends at a wine tasting :-)

Gotta end with an amusing quote that cropped up on twitter this week:

“Facebook asks me what I’m thinking. Twitter asks me what I’m doing. Foursquare asks me where I am. Conclusion: the internet is my girlfriend”

New Office, Bath Life Shortlisting, Growing Team

January 13th, 2011 § 0 comments § permalink

Just a quick brain dump blog –

Firstly, Storm have just moved into our new Bath offices on New Bond Street. We’re dead center of the city now and it’s a pleasure being able to go out and wander the high street at lunchtime. We spend the better part of a week painting, decorating, building and cleaning, but the result is fantastic. There should be an office warming shortly, so pics online soon!

To accompany the new office is a new member of staff. Paul Leader will be joining us from Netcraft on a full time basis. He’s not only a lovely chap but massively talented coder so I’m delighted to have him on the team. He has a shiny MBP, Cinema Display and Apple Accessories waiting for him on Monday, his first day.

Finally, we have had the honor of being shortlisted in the New Business category of the Bath Life Awards. Apparently I have to be filmed next week :-o but look out for us in the next edition of Bath Life (I think it’s out tomorrow).

Rite-o, off to set the N64 up with the office TV for some old-school Goldeneye!

Creative Bath Online Marketing Workshop

December 11th, 2010 § 0 comments § permalink

On Wednesday evening Steve Thorne and myself held an Online Marketing Workshop with Creative Bath at the Bath Artists’ Studios for around 25 business owners and creatives.

We covered off some off great points about online marketing – and kept bashing home the importance of good content which is well shared & encourages interaction.

For any of you who didn’t have a chance to attend – I wanted to blog a very quick ‘content recap’:

In the beginning there was content. Lots of it. Sprawling across the interweb. And so, some clever folks invented search engines! The sole purpose of search engines was to connect people, to content.

Fast forward a little and those clever folks have now spend decades tuning their search engines to deliver the very best and latest content to the people who need it – and this, is the cornerstone of online search marketing. Anybody trying to succeed when marketing on the web has to keep this in mind. Search engines WANT to connect people to content and as such you need to make sure you give them what they want.

Without re-doing the entire 2h workshop online, we can cut straight to the point (and you can either take my word on this or not) – The production of GOOD, HELPFUL, TIMELY, TRANSPARENT and REPUTABLE content which is SHARED openly with people (via Social, Emails, RSS etc) and that ENCOURAGES INTERACTION  *will* provide your cause with visibility (you can top the search engines!) and will build trust amongst potential clients and peers.

The question that will really bug the majority of you, is HOW you create that content. Unfortunately, the answer is heavily based on your particular context. However, here are some general rules to help you:

  • Blog to create content (personal and company)
  • Keep your website, or any other resource you have online, up to date!
  • Where possible, get your staff or even customers to create helpful content (reviews, tips, tricks, helpful FAQ’s)
  • Share the content you’re creating on Twitter, Facebook, by RSS, by Email

Start with a blank word doc, and twite yourself a week by week plan of what content you have time to produce, how you’ll share it and what you can do to encourage others to contribute. Then the hardes bit… follow the plan!

Good luck :-)

Are business and psychology skills the missing link?

December 2nd, 2010 § 1 comment § permalink

On Tuesday night, I had the pleasure of spending an evening with Creative Bath at the Innovation Center in Bath. The session was a panel discussion on the topic of “How to value your creativity” – a topic close to my heart.

It seemed to me that the resounding response from of the panel (Mark Wood, Liz Brewer, Adam Haywood and Andy Braithwaite) and indeed the audience was – it’s tricky, there may be no perfect answer.

I felt that the reason a good number were struggling with an answer is because the question was slightly misleading – creativity, being intangible, cannot necessarily have value applied to it directly. Instead, I suggest that value is attributed to the trust you instil in a client. If you have the ability to justify a price to your promises – through showing passion, use of past successes, statistics (where possible) amongst other things, then you’ve indirectly valued yourself or your company as a creative asset. I could be accused of indirectly suggesting a “whatever you think you can get” (or Perfect Pricing) model is the best approach – so perhaps whilst considering the above it would be prudent to ask yourself ‘What am I worth to the client / how much will the client make from my ideas”. Once you have your answer, justify it to the client.

Rightly or wrongly, the above does somewhat indicate that business pitching skills, knowledge of business psychology and an understanding consumer behaviour are almost a ‘must have’ in the arsenal of any creative or creative company.

On a side note, business psychology is something I feel has really helped win pitches for Storm over the past 12 months. Anybody who is interested in a little further reading, I can recommend these:
How To Win Friends And Influence People – Dale Carnegie
Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion – Robert Cialdini

And for those interested in a look at the broader area:
Consumer Behaviour: A European Perspective – Michael R. Solomon

The face-to-face privilege

December 2nd, 2010 § 0 comments § permalink

Earlier today an interesting statement passed through my twitter feed:

“Everything is done in the pub in the UK.”

Interesting thought eh? I expect there will be a fairly 50/50 split of readers out there now – one lot thinking ‘Yep, That sounds about right!’ and the second ‘I bloody wish!’.

It occurred to me that perhaps given the quantity of communication that happens by phone and email, especially externally from a company, fave-to-face meetings are more a premium than ever before.

I’ve noticed over the past month or so that the most pleasant and productive meetings / catchups that I’ve had – have indeed been set in a social context. Be it taking a client for lunch or meeting with like minded people at events. I think it’s especially important for smaller businesses who spend perhaps a huge amount of their time ‘in the office’ working, to try and take the time to get out and see the people they speak to every day.

As a bit of an experiment, I’m going to coerce some of the Storm staff at a design and development level to go for a drink with clients/collaborators that they talk to frequently and get them to feed back on how the relationship dynamic shifts in the following months.

What are your thoughts on this? I’d be interested to hear.