Merry Christmas and a happy New Year from matm

Thursday 22nd December 2011   by Stuart Bickerton

Just a quick note from team matm – Stuart, Lindsay H, Jamie, Andy, Tom, Jem, Rich, Lindsay C and Neil – to wish each and every one of you a merry christmas and a happy New Year!

We have had a busy and enjoyable 2011 serving the Shropshire and Midland business communities with PR, marketing, graphic design and web design services.

As well as local clients, we have also been looking after national clients in a number of areas, ranging from construction to bath manufacturing, charities to computer technology and engineering to councils.

We are all looking forward to a great start to 2012 and wish you the same. In the mean time, we will leave you with a limerick from the New York Times, December 29 1910 – one to bring out if you have a particularly ‘festive’ break…!

Good new year resolves are in style

The bulk of them force us to smile

Were I making one now

I would certainly vow

I’ll only drink once in a while!

PPC v SEO

Friday 4th November 2011   by Stuart Bickerton

We were sent this link to a short piece on search engine optimisation and pay per click and thought that it was worth passing on.

SEO beats PPC & social media for generating leads, new industry report says.

Interesting point that stood out to me – ’60 percent of respondents (to a survey) said they plan to increase their budget for social media marketing in 2012′

What do you think?

We’re rolling out roller banners galore for autumn events

Wednesday 19th October 2011   by Neil Dicken

There seem to be a lot of exhibitions taking place during the autumn season as orders on our range of printed roller banners have definitely been on the up this month. The matm design department has been busy creating eye-catching designs for a range of clients throughout September and October.

Here’s a few examples of pull-up banners we’ve designed and printed over the last month – note the QR code added to one of the designs – an interactive feature that’s becoming increasingly popular.

We offer a wide range of portable roller banners, including the grasshopper, barracuda, mosquito, axis, orient and impact. We can also supply a wide range of other exhibition material.

We can usually turn around projects very quickly. Also, these banners are now very affordable. And, of course, they’re reusable.

 

 

Autumn SEO offer – get seen first online with matm

Tuesday 11th October 2011   by Stuart Bickerton

If you click on the image below, you will see that we have just launched a limited time offer on our web copy and web news services. Throughout autumn we are offering 20% off the first three months of your SEO campaign – so, if you want to get seen before your competitors and win more business, get in touch! find out more about our web news and web copy service.

Writing awards applications – with matm, you come first

Tuesday 27th September 2011   by Andy Comber

Doing something special is one thing. Getting recognition for it is quite another. Business awards are a great way to boost your reputation, win more work and get staff recognition they deserve.

matm has the expertise to help make sure your company is a front runner when the judges cast their vote. We have a six step approach to winning awards for our clients. Our awards brochure explains more.

With matm, you have a better chance of winning.

Creating windows into Shropshire’s history

Wednesday 21st September 2011   by Stuart Bickerton

We created these unusual images in August and September 2011 by carefully selecting photographs taken many years ago in the Ironbridge Gorge, then holding them up at the same location and taking a fresh picture.

By carefully matching the old with the new – the new photograph has the unnerving effect of inserting historical scenes directly into modern life. The ‘windows into history’ project is being displayed during celebrations to mark the 25th anniversary of Ironbridge Gorge becoming a World Heritage Site.

The Ironbridge Gorge Museum Trust was so impressed with the 16 photographs taken by matm’s creative team, Neil Dicken and Jamie Doran, that it asked to use them to help in their anniversary celebrations.

Neil said: “The images create a real visual and mental double-take. The beauty of the approach is its simplicity, though the trick is to select the historical photograph that creates the most vivid match in the modern scene. “The photographs are up to 150 years old, so allow the viewer to visualise what some of the Ironbridge Gorge looked like – hopefully they have provided a glimpse into the past.”

Jamie said: “We took both internal and external images of buildings. It is fascinating to see just how much some buildings have changed and in other cases, just how little they have changed. I particularly like the images with people in them, especially where you can see people walking from the present day, seemingly into the past.

“We were inspired by a project called ‘Looking into the Past’ by American photographer Jason E Powell www.jasonepowell.com. When we saw his images we realised straight away that the heritage of the Ironbridge Gorge here in Shropshire lends itself perfectly to a similar project.”

The Ironbridge Gorge Museum Trust lent photographs from its collection for the project. The images can be viewed in the Iron Bridge Tollhouse at the World Heritage Festival in Ironbridge which takes place on Saturday 24th September.

Paul Gossage Director of Marketing & PR said: “I was thrilled to see matm using our historic collection of images in such an innovative way. Publishing the images is a great way to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the World Heritage Site. I am sure they will be much enjoyed by residents and visitors alike.”

Details of the Festival are available at www.ironbridge.org.uk.

 

Thanks also for the help of MarionBlockley Heritage Management

Would love to know what you think or share your links in the comments at the base of the full post …

New PR brochure available

Monday 19th September 2011   by Stuart Bickerton

A good reputation is worth protecting, especially in this day and age when it can be lost in an instant. matm can build your reputation in the minds of the people who count – your customers, your suppliers and anyone else who can influence your success. Please click on the link below to find out a little bit more about the PR services matm offers.

matm public relations brochure

Public relations from matm in Ironbridge, Telford, Shropshire

We’re Loving That – yet more exploded objects

Thursday 15th September 2011   by Eliza Kaniewska

Recently we posted how we loved the exploded F1 car showing every tiny part of the vehicle suspended from hundreds of tiny wires.

Canadian Photographer Todd McLellan has gone that one step further. From an alarm clock to a 35mm camera, McLellan has shown his audience the inner workings of everyday objects.

Laying each one out in an orderly fashion, the Toronto-based photographer de-constructed the objects for his ‘Disassembly Project’.

Disassembled - Old Flip Clock

Disassembled - Old Flip Clock

Disassembled - Old Camera

Disassembled - Old Camera

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Each of the disassembled items were then dropped from a small height and photographed at high speed, with the flash duration set to a 12,000th of a second to capture the falling pieces in motion.

As a marketing agency we appreciate a good creative, but matm won’t be combining photography with falling printers or computers just yet – we’re definitely better at design than disassembly!

Take a look at the full set of pictures by clicking the link above to McLellan’s website and I’m sure you’ll agree with us in saying – We’re Loving That!

Free falling - Old Flip Clock

Free falling - Old Flip Clock

Free falling - Old camera

Free falling - Old Camera

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Launching Alexandra Vintage

Tuesday 6th September 2011   by Jem

matm has just completed a striking new website for ‘Alexandra Vintage‘ – a new online shop providing a base for expert vintage suppliers across the country to sell their goods.

Alexandra Vintage home page

Alexandra Vintage home page

I had a pretty tight deadline on this project. The site was developed using WordPress – an open source publishing platform powered by PHP – and also included WP e-Commerce customisation, extending out-of-the-box functionality.

The site has been integrated with PayPal Pro which accepts both debit cards and credit cards. PayPal Pro optimises the customer experience by letting shoppers complete the checkout process without leaving the website; it also allows payments by fax, phone or mail and will certainly make Alexandra Vintage’s life easier as the whole PayPal system is managed in one place. Payment online is safe as the site has SSL certificate integration ensuring maximum security.

I have also synced the Alexandra Vintage site with coffeemail – our powerful e-shot system that enables the user to send email newsletters to subscribers.

We also provided the design for the Alexandra Vintage website – Senior Creative Lindsay Crayton-Hardwick said: “We were actually provided with the Alexandra Vintage logo, but we made sure that different elements of the website, such as the background, retained a floral type style.”

New Access Alliance website

Tuesday 16th August 2011   by Stuart Bickerton

matm has completed a new website for Access Alliance – a collaboration of the UK and Ireland’s leading independent regional powered access sales and rental companies. It’s the alliance’s first website and has a number of easy-to-use features designed to help visitors and generate sales for members.

They include:

  • A depot postcode locator – providing a quick and easy way for visitors to find their closest access company
  • An interactive members map – providing visitors with information when they hover their cursor over a company’s name
  • Information on each member company with links to contact pages

Given our indepth knowledge of the powered access sector, Access Alliance asked our PR team to write a good deal of the content as well.

Click on the image to take a look at the site. And remember, if you ever need to hire powered access, you now know where to go.

 

 

We’re Loving That! Ironbridge’s very own Olympic Champion – at cuddling!

Wednesday 27th July 2011   by Stuart Bickerton

Ironbridge teddy bear maker Merrythought has launched its official London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games Commemorative Teddy Bear – exactly a year before the opening ceremony of the London 2012 Olympic Games on July 27th 2012.

The cuddly bear is based on a design from 1948 – the year London last hosted the Olympic Games – and is made from from the finest gold mohair.

London 2012 Olympic Games Commemorative Teddy Bear

The teddy comes with a choice of three different coloured ribbons – blue, green or pink, rather than bronze, silver and gold – and only 2012 bears sporting each colour have been made. So a limited edition of 6036 bears are available to buy.

That’ll make them almost as rare and sought after as an Olympic ticket.

 

Don’t get lost in translation – consolidate with multilingual design

Wednesday 27th July 2011   by Stuart Bickerton

International luxury freestanding bath manufacturer Victoria + Albert Baths sells its products worldwide. This means each piece of printed material has to be reproduced for each country in its native language. This is to ensure the V+A brand has a consistent message, tone of voice, and that the complex technical specifications for these luxury products do not get lost in translation.

Consolidating the technical specification sheets resulted in reduced print costs as we combined 5 languages English, German, French, Spanish and Italian into one universal sheet. Icons, technical diagrams & images replaced multiple descriptions, thus gaining valuable space to include the important native descriptions.

Multi language document benefits:

  • saving on print costs
  • save on setup costs – one set of plates
  • unified brand identity across the whole of Europe
  • ease of updating across multiple languages
  • single file update for European language web site
  • reduces carbon footprintless print runs

The recently completed overhaul of the European materials includes luxury brochures, specification & fitting sheets along with reusable e-shot templates through our bespoke e-shot system called Coffeemail. We are also working on a multilingual price list which includes Russian & Polish along with the 5 other languages above.

Matm can offer a complete translation service – all text is translated by people who speak in the native tongue, right through to recreation of artwork and websites.

Why not contact us today and find out how much you could save on print and artwork cost – Merci, Gracias, Grazie, Danke & Thank you!!

Going the extra mile for affordable leaflet design and print – that’s the YHA way!

Monday 25th July 2011   by Neil Dicken

Following recent refurbishments, YHA Coalbrookdale and YHA Coalport, both in Ironbridge, wanted to promote their sites with a joint leaflet giving information on the activities available within the Ironbridge area.

We were asked to produce the leaflets and, with a very quick turnaround for both design and print, supplied 2,000 finished leaflets on time.

Cath Young, YHA Manager Ironbridge, said: “We had a tight budget and an even tighter deadline, but the guys at matm really pulled us out of a hole and provided us with excellent customer service.

“The leaflet looks better than I could ever imagine, and I was really impressed considering the short deadline. The leaflet has received positive feedback from both colleagues and potential customers to our sites.”

 

 

 

 

We’re Loving That – Posters creating awareness

Tuesday 12th July 2011   by Neil Dicken

This poster was designed by London and Los Angeles based graphic design company, Binary & The Brain, in association with the Louisiana Wildlife Federation to raise awareness of the many critically endangered species which continue to be effected by the Deepwater Horizon oil spill.

38 of the coast’s most at-risk animals, some of which face extinction or have already vanished from the state are used to create the shape of the effected coastline and lettering, all are numbered for identification.

Designer Neil Dicken said: “I really like the illustration in this poster – the way in which the combination of animal silhouettes are used to create the shape of the affected coastline – so as well as being very artistic, the poster is very informative at the same time.”

All profits from the sale of this poster go directly to the Louisiana Wildlife Federation to help protect and conserve the endangered species. Visit lawildlifefed.org to find out more and to show your support for their great work.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Birds

This poster was designed in association with BirdLife International to raise awareness of the 52 UK birds on the endangered red list.

Again, each of the 52 birds were used to outline the lettering and are numbered for identification.

Produced by Binary and the Brain

Available from www.counter-objects.co.uk


Creative design + Web development leads to successful global product launch

Friday 24th June 2011   by Stuart Bickerton

We’re really pleased to have helped Victoria + Albert Baths, in Telford, successfully launch a new style of bath. We souces a new typeface best suited for the product name – Barcelona – and a special swirl design element for web pages and an international mini-brochure.

Our web developers then created the pages on V+A’s website and co-ordinated the online launch. We hope you agree, the results are pretty classy, just like the bath!

 

 

Facebook for business – get noticed, get liked and build relationships with matm

Friday 24th June 2011   by Neil Dicken

Facebook is the global social media powerhouse.

It’s the place more than 350 million people make friends, fall in love, chat, laugh, share ideas, tell people what they’ve done, are doing and plan to do, what they like, what they love and who they love. Oh, and what they spend their money on.

So Facebook is a great place for a business and show off your brand to be as well.

Which is why we’ve developed a range of highly effective and affordable design and function options for business Facebook Pages. If you run a business, charity, sports club, community group or public service, there will be an option that’s right for you.

 

matm - Facebook for Business

Game, set and match to matm – Shropshire LTA poster design

Tuesday 14th June 2011   by Stuart Bickerton
2011 Deloitte Shropshire County Closed

2011 Deloitte Shropshire County Closed

 

One we’ve just created – Tom Blockley, designer matm has crafted the latest poster for the Shropshire LTA, the 2011 Deloitte Shropshire County Closed.

This year’s county tennis event is running from 28th Aug to 3rd Sept at Weltis in Shrewsbury.

If you are a budding Andy Murray or Venus Williams why not join in?

 

Augmented Reality – does it have a solid future or is it a gimmick?

Thursday 2nd June 2011   by Neil Dicken

Augmented Reality was featured on the BBC national news on Tuesday May 31 providing an insight into new possibilities with smart phones and app technology.

As seen in previous posts we’ve brought you here in The Juice, Augmented Reality has been popping up all over the place in recent months:

  • Wordlens – a real-time AR translation service.
  • Audi and BMW – AR used to promote new car models.

Here’s the question though, is Augmented Reality just a gimmick that will slowly fade, or is it a powerful tool that’s here to stay?

The jury may still be out. But there’s no doubt AR applications will continue to multiply in the coming months, as we at matm believe it will have a major impact on marketing in the forthcoming year.

‘Unhindered’ and ‘Deadly Serious’ – here’s our approach to poster design

Thursday 19th May 2011   by Stuart Bickerton

We’ve just completed a poster for two exhibitions by Arty Party taking place in later this month and in June.

Arty Party is an independent company of artists with learning disabilities, based in Telford, Shropshire. Using a variety of art forms, they share their powerful work with the public through performance and exhibitions.

Why not go along and take a look?

 

Unhindered & Deadly Serious exhibition poster

 

Unhindered

A selection of work produced over the last 3 years from the Work+Play visual arts programme

Wednesday 25th May – Saturday 11th June 2011

  • Galleries Live, Hazeldine Square, Telford Town Centre.  Open: Tuesdays to Saturdays 10am to 4pm.

  • The Olive Tree Wine Bar, 29 High Street, Ironbridge. Open:  Monday to Sunday 10am – 7pm

 

Deadly Serious

An installation exploring Victorian life from a Learning Disabled viewpoint

28th May – 1st June 2011

  • Old Ticket Office, Blists Hill Victorian Town, Legges Way, Coalport. Open 11.00am to 5.00pm

 

 

Mr Moyden’s cheese is the star on ITV Central Tonight

Thursday 19th May 2011   by Andy Comber

This week we had the pleasure of persuading ITV Central Tonight to cover a story about the continued success of small food and drinks businesses and their growing importance to the rural economy.

At the centre of the story was Martin Moyden and his company, Mr Moyden’s Handmade Cheese. Martin was a farmer who started to make cheese six years ago as part of a longterm plan to diversify his business interests.

Late last year, that led to him giving up farming and concentrating fully on making his award-winning and utterly delicious cheese in a new dairy at the Shropshire Food Enterprise Centre in Shrewsbury.

In my opinion, Martin’s achievements make a great story in themselves. However, to tickle ITV’s news taste buds, we had to develop the theme slightly and show how his success was just one example of how food and drink companies are the new tigers of the rural economy (nifty eh?).

Heart of England Fine Foods, which runs the food enterprise centre, helped by providing some compelling region-wide facts and news lines plus a strong interviewee in Karen Davies, their chief executive.

Ivan Watkiss, owner of Cooper’s Gourmet Sausage Rolls, also based at the centre, agreed to let the cameras in to see his great success story too – and Battlefield 1403 farm shop, one of Martin’s customers, agreed to be featured as well – so reporter Katy Fawcett could cover the consumer end of the story.

The complete package gave ITV Central Tonight the reason it needed to cover the story – and Martin got the publicity he deserves, along with, to varying extents given the vagaries of television news, the other participants. So a great team effort that proves even the business minnows can get noticed by the media big fish.

Thank you to everyone who helped.

Martin Moyden is interviewed by ITV News reporter Katy Fawcett

Reporter Katy Fawcett films Beth Moyden as she salts cheeses

 

 

 

 

Search engine optimisation – get noticed first with matm

Tuesday 17th May 2011   by Andy Comber

“The figures speak for themselves. But, even without seeing them, this SEO campaign has clearly made an impact, with more customer leads generated. It’s definitely good for our business.” matm client.

It’s good to have a website – it’s absolutely brilliant to have a website that your customers and potential customers actually visit. Most people now always use search engines to go to information they need on the web – even if they know the precise web address they want to visit.

What that tells us is that, if you are in business, it’s vital your website is search engine optimised so when your customers use specific phrases to search for something they want – one of your web pages, promoting your service or product, pops up on the first page of search results.

Here at matm, we can help you optimise your website using carefully written web content and, if you choose, a web news service to ensure your services remain attractive to search engines like Google, Bing and Yahoo.

Click here or on the image above to see the results from a very recent example of our work. You can also view our Web Copywriting and Web News brochure.

 

 

PCT Calender 2011

Monday 16th May 2011   by Stuart Bickerton

matm has now completed two bespoke designed PCT (Primary Care Trust) desk top calendars. The most recent, 2011 calendar, was designed by Neil Dicken and serves as a reminder of the services that the Telford and Wrekin Health Improvement Team provides.

There is one initiative in each month of the calendar. A couple of examples of these include ‘Why Weight‘ in January, which is part of the weight loss scheme and, ‘High Five for a Happier Life‘ in August, which is part of the mental health scheme.

Each of the months also features an image supporting that specific initiative, along with an overview giving a bit more information on the scheme. Every month also has ‘dates to remember’ such as National No Smoking Day in March.

Neil said: “I made the desk calendar really easy to use. I had a bit of fun with the colours and each page is colour coded – the back page of the calendar is then made up of different jigsaw pieces slotted together, with each piece reflecting the colour of a different month.”

 


Capture your world in 3D

Wednesday 4th May 2011   by Stuart Bickerton

I was browsing around and came across this site Photosynth, how cool is that.

Take a look at the court yard outside matm, this a quick one that I took out side earlier, best of all its a FREE iOS app. Hover over the image and drag around to take a look.

To view online you will need to have  Silverlight Installed

Designing and printing raffle tickets is on the cards for Children’s Hospice UK

Wednesday 27th April 2011   by Stuart Bickerton

We were delighted to be asked by Children’s Hospice’s UK to design and print raffle ticket books for their forthcoming draw for Phoenix Trading’s Butterfly Tea Party Raffle 2011.

matm has a strong record of working with charities and their partners. Our designer Tom Blockley drew inspiration from Phoenix Trading’s extensive range of cards and gift items to produce the design of the £1 tickets.

The closing date for the draw is 1 August with a top prize of £2,000, and proceeds going Children’s Hospices UK, the national charity that gives voice and support to all children’s hospices services. Visit www.childhospice.org.uk for more information.

Tickets were printed and collated into books of 15 – full colour front and one colour reverse.

20110427-112719.jpg

Precision and accuracy are all important for barcode generation

Wednesday 27th April 2011   by Stuart Bickerton

With all this talk of QR codes and RFID tags, it’s all too easy to forget the power of the barcode.

The stripy monochrome label has become part of every day life since the first one was put on the side of a pack of Wrigleys Juicy Fruits chewing gum in 1974.

Here at matm we can generate accurate barcodes for reliable scanning – more than 200 types including UPC, EAN, ISSN, ISBN, Code 128, Code 39, ITF, PostNET, Royal Mail and Codabar.

We can then output the barcodes to your preferred image type and colour.

Simply supply us with details of the number, size and type of barcode required.

matm cleans up with a five star review for web design and development

Thursday 21st April 2011   by Stuart Bickerton

It’s always nice to get an unexpected pat on the back, don’t you agree? Our web design and development team was certainly pleased to see a website review in the leading trade magazine Essential Kitchen & Bathroom Business.

The magazine’s ‘web doctor’ was reviewing the websites of premium brand kitchen and bathroom suppliers, among them Victoria + Albert Baths, based in Telford. And you’ve guessed it, matm designs, develops and manages the company’s website.

In what is a regular feature, the websites of nine companies were reviewed, picked apart, praised or given a poke in the ribs for their shortcomings. The February edition saw V+A’s website the only one to get the top mark of five out of five stars!

The most discerning critic concluded: “Top marks for simple beauty, teamed with practical touches that mean the consumer will never feel overwhelmed.”

The website has been a labour of love for matm’s senior creative Lindsay Crayton and web developer Jem Turner.

Lindsay said: “We’re very pleased to get such a positive peer review. Our aim with the V+A site has always been to combine clean, high quality design and highly effective functionality – very much like the baths we’re promoting and, it looks like we’re succeeding.”

Indeed. Thank you Essential Kitchen & Bathroom Business – we love you too!

 

Five Star Website Review for V+A - matm

Look whats just been delivered…

Wednesday 20th April 2011   by Stuart Bickerton
Grasshopper Banner - Telford Mind

Grasshopper Banner - Telford Mind

We designed this little Grasshopper Banner Stand for Telford Mind – these budget banners pack a big wedge of impact for little cost. Give us a call to see our full range of exhibition banners and panels.

We’re Loving That. Augmented Reality

Tuesday 12th April 2011   by Neil Dicken

Here at matm, we not only like to keep up to date with the latest programming software, but also the latest innovations that create new ways of interacting with digital media.

Many of us have heard of the term augmented reality, as it has been around for many years, (much like the QR code featured in a previous post) but it has recently been re-introduced. With technology becoming more and more advanced, we now have the ability to use use both augmented reality and QR codes on a single device.

So what is augmented reality?

It is where the real world enviroment is augmented by computer generated sensors/triggers such as sound or graphics, and virtual elements are added to the real time environment, creating a real time virtual world.

Where have I seen it before?

Augmented reality has been featured in many well know films – most of us will have seen one of the below!

Robocop – Head mounted display to get into the details of a particular person or status

Terminator films – All the terminators had a realtime display also showing a particular person or status – and mission objectives.

More recent uses of augmented reality

Transformers 2 – Revenge of the Fallen

The sleeve of the Blu-ray disc features an augmented reality game where you move the sleeve around to reposition Optimus Prime to battle and complete his mission.

Also there is the facial augmented reality of Optimus Prime’s helmet, where the software tracks your face and regenerates the helmet in realtime to your every move.

Real world uses

As early as 2007, BMW prototyped an augmented reality headset which helped technicians by showing them how to remove key components in the engine.

BMW and Audi have also used augmented reality to promote their new models.

Audi calendar

The Audi calendar featured jaw dropping scenery from around the world, but where are the cars?

With your enabled smart phone, you simply view the scenes through the camera and the cars appear with subtle animations (lights flashing, sun rising).

See it in action

Most of the major car companies (Audi, BMW, Toyota) are now using augmented reality to advertise their new models, with the user being able to drive the car around their desk. Try it at audi.co.uk.

In games

The gaming world has brought augmented reality to the living room with games such as Eye Pet from Playstation, and Xbox Kinetic, with Xbox augmenting the user into the game.

Jamie’s top ten email gripes! Grrrrr…

Friday 1st April 2011   by Stuart Bickerton

Emails are a day to day necessity – but here is my top ten most ANNOYING emails list! Let me know if you agree…

 

Jamie at matm gets to grips with his latest email

1. Replying all when you really don’t need to

2. Sending me an email with nothing in the subject box

3. Marking it high priority with your red exclamation mark when it isn’t

4. Read receipts

5. WRITING IN CAPITALS

6. Using text speak

7. Sending me huge emails

8. Using emoticons

9. Using ‘LOL’, ‘ROFLMAO’ etc..

10. If you are a spammer – YOU!

Rant over,

Jamie

 

A whole new web development world opens up with WordPress

Thursday 31st March 2011   by Jem

Here at matm we like WordPress. As well as being the world’s biggest web publishing software, it’s:

  1. Coded in one of the most popular web programming languages (PHP) which is backed by a hugely knowledgeable worldwide community
  2. Open source, which means the core code is open to everyone and you’re not reliant on proprietary systems
  3. …and best of all, free! That translates to reduced costs for us which we can pass on to our web clients. Who can argue with that?

When Shropshire-based charity Severn Hospice approached us to build a multi-functional events “shop” into their existing WordPress site, I couldn’t resist the challenge.

Using extensive knowledge of the content management software, shared between myself and developer colleague Richard Pilsbury, we have tapped into user-control functionality built in to WordPress to develop a plugin that allows visitors to register for their very own ‘my Severn Hospice’ profile.

From here, supporters can sign up for events, manage their personal information, register as a team, make a donation, pay in sponsorship money and more. It’s all generated “on-the-fly” using WordPress ‘shortcodes’, meaning maximum extendibility with no programming required by Severn Hospice at all.

Severn Hospice Events Shop plugin preview

If you want to extend your current WordPress website with a bespoke plugin created specifically for your needs, or want to convert your website to WordPress, get in touch. We’re happy to talk through the options with you.

We’re loving that! Smart use of augmented reality by Word Lens translates into success

Friday 25th March 2011   by Neil Dicken

It can take time for cutting edge technology to find a useful purpose.

As the saying goes, inventions can come along before their time, says matm designer Neil Dicken at matm, the marketing, design, web development and public relations agency near Telford, Shropshire.

Well, here’s an exception. A clever idea, packaged with clever technology.

Word Lens, from Quest Visual, uses augmented reality to capture text that is placed in front of your smart phone camera and translates it in real time to make the text appear in your chosen language.

Just think, travelling abroad, you can tell instantly what’s on the menu, what the map directions say and which loo to use. Such a simple idea. Such a useful application!

Client collects prestigious national award after matm writes a “winning” submission

Wednesday 23rd March 2011   by Stuart Bickerton

Lavendon Access Services was last night was one of the winners at the Construction News Specialist Awards.

The company won the Access and Scaffolding section at the awards held, as they often are, in a posh London hotel. We’re delighted for the great people at Lavendon, but we’re especially pleased because the company is one of our clients and we wrote the award submission.

Lavendon Access Services is the UK’s largest provided of powered access to a wide number of industries, including construction. By powered access, we mean cherry pickers, hydraulic booms and those fancy-looking scissor lifts we are seeing in use more and more now, where before scaffolding or ladders would be used.

matm PR Executive Jamie Doran said: “We’re very pleased for Lavendon Access Services. It’s an especially important award for them because, on the shortlist, they were up against mainly scaffolding companies that traditionally do well in the Construction News Awards. This win is telling the industry that powered access is growing in importance and influence.

“It’s also very nice for us to know that all the thought, insight and hard work that we put in to preparing the award submission has paid off. In our experience, winners deserve their awards but it certainly pays to make sure your submissions are as compelling as possible – and getting the support of a company like ours can make the difference between winning and losing.”

Jamie is already working on plans to help Lavendon capitalise on its success. In the meantime,  he would be very happy to talk to anyone else about how we might help them get the recognition they deserve!

You can email him by clicking here or give him a call on 01952 883526.

 

 

 

Budget watch – good news for our charity clients on gift aid and red tape

Wednesday 23rd March 2011   by Stuart Bickerton

Chancellor George Osborne has, this afternoon, given a little cheer for charities by announcing in the budget that donations up to £5,000 can be gift-aided without filling in the usual large number of forms. More detail to follow, but budget watchers are already welcoming the move on Twitter. Mr Osborne said the move was, in part, a reflection of the Government’s support for its Big Society campaign.

 

 

We’re loving that! Great design that’s a real eye opener.

Monday 21st March 2011   by Stuart Bickerton

We love amazing design – and you don’t have to look far to find it. In fact, why not just look into the eyes of the next person you meet? Here’s a stunning close up of an eye showcased in Bored Panda, the online magazine dedicated to the world’s most quirky artwork. You’ll find more here.

Amazing close-up of the human eye captured by Armenian physics teacher Suren Manvelyan

 

Information at your Fingertips with QR Code Technology

Friday 18th March 2011   by Neil Dicken

matm designer Neil Dicken visited a car show at the Telford International Centre,  where he spotted a Shropshire-based company using QR codes.

A QR code is a specific matrix barcode (or two-dimensional code), readable by a dedicated QR barcode reader, camera phone or smart phone. The code consists of black modules arranged in a square pattern on a white background. The information encoded can be text, URL or other data. The company had three in total:

• Contact information (added all forms of contact to your smart phone)
• Video explaining the process and the benefits of using Black Code
• Link to the company’s website

Here at matm we are also incorporating QR codes in design. Most smart phones already have the software to read QR codes, or there are free apps available. Software to create your own QR codes is also available on the web.

Neil said: “I felt it was a great way to give information to visitors at the show, as there’s nothing I hate more than being handed endless leaflets that you later throw in the bin on the way back to your car. With the QR code, I was able to browse the company’s site, view specific information related to my needs and even request a quote.”

matm is already busy including QR codes in promotional material for clients and can also create branded QR codes for marketing campaigns, but if you fancy having a go now, the QR code below is the one from the show. The BBC QR code below is also a great example of how a branded code can look.

 

QR code used by shropshire based firm at exhibiton

 

 

 

 

Free email marketing templates from Coffeemail, making eshots simple

Friday 11th March 2011   by Stuart Bickerton

Coffeemail today released 74 free email marketing templates to make the best email marketing system even better value.

View all 74 free eshot templates here >>  Free email templates

Free Eshot Template 34

 

Coffeemail offers a great way to send eshots with no monthly charges and powerful tracking and reporting software. We’ll update you with lots more Coffeemail news over the next few weeks but thought you might like to know about the new free templates

For more information about coffeemail and how to make email marketing simple, contact the Web team at matm

We’re loving that! the F1 car exploded for art’s sake

Friday 11th March 2011   by Neil Dicken

With the Formula 1 season fast approaching, here at matm we’re impressed with this impressive installation of the Mercedes F1 Car by Dutch artist Paul Veroude.

It’s the second time the F1 nut has done it. In 2007 he suspended a Honda racing car in just the same way.

All 3,200 bits of Michael Schumacher’s car were supported on hundreds of thin wires.

Here at matm, we’ll be supporting Jenson and Lewis.

Formula One installation

We’re loving that … matm loves this art installation of a F1 car

F1 exploded via matm, design agency Shropshire

The Nose has it … the exploded Mercedes F1 Car

Great graphic design can be good for your health – especially when created by matm

Monday 7th March 2011   by Stuart Bickerton

Here at matm, we’ve built up significant experience in designing health promotional material for quite a number of clients, honing our skills in a wide range of projects, designs and approaches.

Key elements of this work are creating messaging that is creative and has clarity and impact within clear brand guidelines.

For example, in a recent project for for Telford and Wrekin PCT we created a range of promotional material for the Health Trainer service which provides personal advice to people who want to be healthier and fitter.

The promotional campaign, called “My Health Trainer”, sought to highlight the highly personal one-to-one support the health trainers give their clients.

Collateral included a four-page leaflet, a suite of posters (pictured below) were designed and printed as well as a number of promotional items such as printed water bottles, stress balls and pens.

Health Trainer Posters

matm gets heads turning and cameras clicking with our latest exhibition stand design

Friday 25th February 2011   by Stuart Bickerton

“The stripes got a lot of positive feedback. Students took pictures, the show organisers took pictures and a rug manufacturer on the last day asked if they could copy the idea!”

Some very pleasing feedback from Jonathan Carter, Marketing Manager at Telford luxury bath manufactuer V+A, commenting on some work matm did on the company’s latest exhibition stand. Thanks JC!

V+A needed a design for two 84″ x 24″ light boxes – something that perfectly matched a brand that’s both timeless and very fashionable.

Using industry-standard illustration software we created some classic organic designs, full of colour to fit the light boxes perfectly, says Tom Blockley, a designer at matm, the marketing, graphic design, web development, digital media and PR agency at Jackfield near Telford.

Here are the stripes in the proposed stand design.

V+A IDS exhibition stand visual

V+A IDS exhibition stand visual

And here they are in real life!

Graphic design from matm – a logo with a loud bark and brand bite

Wednesday 23rd February 2011   by Stuart Bickerton

RedHector Logo

At matm we believe attention to detail is everything in a new identity.

RedHector, a building, renovation and handyman company in London, approached marketing, design, web and PR company matm, at Jackfield near Telford, Shropshire, to create a logo for the start-up business.

Designer Tom Blockley created a bespoke logo, drawing inspiration from the owner’s red setter dog – yes, you’ve guessed it – called Hector.

A side on profile of the dog provided a sketch visual and then developed into a classic shape that would be memorable and instantly recognisable to new and existing clients.  The bespoke elements were created to give the typeface its unique identity.

RedHector logo design

So, the attention really is in the detail on this logo: bespoke typeface, handcrafted graphic & perfectly proportioned exclusion zones to give the maximum impact in any design.

matm is currently developing RedHector’s new website. In the meantime, why not visit (and like) RedHector on Facebook?

Mobile ads – right message, right person, right time. Sounds familiar, asks matm?

Monday 21st February 2011   by Stuart Bickerton

Here at matm, we found this BBC News report on the explosion of mobile phone ads an interesting video

With social media behomoth Facebook and search engine colossus Google just two players working hard to dominate the advertising dollars of the future, it’s going to be an interesting time.

However, of all the talk of a new era in marketing and advertising the main message is not a great surprise to Stuart Bickerton – MAKE IT RELEVANT

Fan boxes, fbml and branded landing pages, 5 ways to promote yourself on facebook

Wednesday 16th February 2011   by Neil Dicken

You have just created your facebook page, but what is the best way to promote it? Here are five great ways to attract followers.

1. Use FBML
FBML is Facebook Mark-up Language. It is web coding that allows you to customise your facebook page. Adding a basic static page that incorporates your company style can greatly increase the impact and attractiveness of your page. You can use regular SEO techniques here too.

2. Put a Facebook Fan Box on your blog
Initally this can be daunting when you have only a few fans, but once you have your first few, why shouldn’t you show how popular you are? By the way, would you like to become an matm fan?

matm facebook page

3. Post a tweet or two
With Twitter a major influence within social media, you will be suprised at how many new fans you will get.

4. Add a link to your email signature
A straightforward addition, but very often overlooked.

5. Submit your facebook page to bookmarking sites

With pages like Delicious, Faves.com becoming increasingly popular, you may attract followers who might otherwise miss you the chance to see what you have to offer.

Once you have 25 or more Facebook Fans, you can give your facebook page its own unique url. For example: http://www.facebook.com/team.matm

Doing these five things will be a good start to promoting yourself on facebook. And there’re a lot more things you can do. If you want to know more, get in touch with Neil Dicken, here at matm.

We’re loving that! No s@*t Sherlock: even matm’s in programming jeopardy!

Tuesday 15th February 2011   by Stuart Bickerton

Here at matm, we like to think that we are up to date with the latest programming techniques, such as HTML5 and the very latest WordPress developments.

Step forward Watson, the IBM Supercomputer taking on past champions of the US Quiz Show Jeopardy! in a fascinating battle in this legendary show.

Viewers can follow Watson’s thoughts on screen and even see when his mega thinking capacity has gone into overdrive

ps @IBMWatson if you want to follow him on Twitter

 

A classy slice of graphic design for Shropshire’s newest pizza restaurant

Tuesday 15th February 2011   by Stuart Bickerton

New pizza restaurant Peepo Pizza turned to Shropshire marketing and graphic design agency matm to create their new menus.

Simple, elegant design makes the menu easy to read and sets the Peepo Pizza brand apart in a market sector with plenty of competitors.

The design is being used in table mat menus in the Bridgnorth restaurant as well as a handy takeaway menu being distributed to homes via the Royal Mail Door-2-Door service.

matm organised the printing of the menus too. That’s a tasty take on design. And the pizza is great too!

We’re loving that! Feel the force of a top TV advert from VW

Tuesday 8th February 2011   by Stuart Bickerton

Every self-respecting six-year-old boy believes he has supernormal powers – right? VW takes this concept to create a super-powered TV advert to launch its new Passat.

VW plays on humour, family and the big kid in all of us as a mini Darth Vader tries to use The Force around his family home.

The company chose its strategy wisely (my son). It launched the ad first on YouTube, creating viral interest like a gathering storm. Then it gave it a first TV airing in the US during the Imperial sporting battle to beat all sporting battles that was Superbowl 2011 at the weekend.

At an estimated cost of £4m for the full minute.

Add the back story of the six-year-old Max ‘Darth Vader’ Page who was born with a heart defect and we think the team who planned the Volkswagen Passat advert deserve a hearty pat on the back.

VW’s ad is now fast approaching 20 million views on You Tube. It is interesting, in itself, that we are measuring the success of a TV ad in terms of how much it is seen on the internet.

Here at matm, we’re wondering if there’ll be a sequel…or even a prequel?


 

matm’s Freaky Friday – we’re loving the TV ad about the fish that can mend a broken heart

Friday 4th February 2011   by Stuart Bickerton

The British Hearth Foundation has launched its ‘Mending Broken Hearts’ appeal with a very subtle yet eye-catching TV ad. It’s a touching story in two parts – seen from the view of a woman and a zebrafish. That’s right – a fish!

Amazing facts about the zebrafish

  • Their hearts mend themselves – if part of a zebrafish heart is damaged, it is repaired in a few weeks, just like mending a broken arm (human, not fish…silly)
  • They are see-through – in their early development, they are transparent, allowing scientist to watch the development of their heart and blood vessels
  • Zebrafish are commonly studied by genetics scientists, looking to develop new medicines and therapies

 

Mending Broken Hearts Appeal – British Heart Foundation

Nick Radmore, BHF’s Head of Social Marketing and Brand, said: “The idea was to bring the science to life. The zebrafish helps people understand how complex regenerative medicine [on human hearts] could bring hope to millions of people in the UK.”

It’s not very often an ad such as this makes me want to go and google about it, said Neil Dicken, a designer at matm, the marketing, design, web development and PR agency, at Jackfield near Telford, Shropshire.

But as it came to an end, I already had my Iphone out, reading up on this amazing fish!

Find out more about this BHF’s Mending Broken Hearts Appeal.

Find out more about matm’s transparently effective and affordable video service.

Creative copywriting #2: Remember, remember the Rule of Three

Friday 4th February 2011   by Stuart Bickerton

Three is a magic number.

As great communicators from Julius Caesar to Barack Obama know, good things come in threes. In fact, there is the Rule of Three.

Constructing facts, ideas or expressions in three parts just feels natural. It is a structure that is pleasing to the eye, easy on the ear and creates the biggest impact.

There – two uses of it in one paragraph. And I wasn’t even trying, says Andy Comber, PR Manager at matm, a marketing, design, web development and PR agency in Jackfield, near Telford, Shropshire.

That is why being aware of the power of the number three in copywriting is so important. You may use the concept naturally. Sometimes it is good to deliberately make use of the dramatic benefit it brings.

The number three appears everywhere: there are three-line and three character jokes (think Englishman, Irishman and Scotsman), three picture comic strips (think Dilbert), three act plays and, often in news media, the three line factfile.

There is even a name for the concept. A constructed phrase such as “Veni, Vidi, Vici.” that has three grammatically and logically connected elements is known as a Tricolon.

Speech-writing author Dr Max Atkinson has analysed many famous speeches and says three-part lists almost always appear somewhere. He includes the technique in a six part (that’s 2×3) list of successful speech-writing techniques:

  • Contrasts
  • Three-part lists
  • Contrasts combined with lists
  • Alliteration
  • Bold imagery
  • Audience analysis

The two most important, he says, are contrast and three-part lists. Here are examples from President John Kennedy’s inaugural speech in 1961:

  • Contrasts: “Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country.”
  • Three-part lists: “Where the strong are just, and the weak secure and the peace preserved.”
  • Combining contrasts and lists: “Not because the communists are doing it, not because we seek their votes, but because it is right.”

Adolph Hitler is one of the most notorious users of the Rule of Three. Winston Churchill fought back – with blood, sweat and tears. Only he actually said, “blood, sweat, toil and tears” but the Rule of Three is so strong, most memories have deleted his toil.

So, whenever you write any copy or make any presentation, think of the Rule of Three. And remember, the reader or audience will only ever remember a maximum of three things you ever say.

matm’s Freaky Friday: so, who thinks they know the offside rule in football?

Friday 28th January 2011   by Stuart Bickerton

It’s been in the news all week. After Sky Sports football presenters Andy Gray and Richard Keys were both forced out of their jobs for doubting female linesman Sian Massey’s knowledge of the offside rule, we at matm thought we’d conduct a little survey. We went to Shrewsbury to find who really can explain the offside rule.

matm’s Freaky Friday: do you know the football offside rule? from matm on Vimeo.

So there’s a few thoughts from the good people of Shropshire …

for Video Blogging across the West Midlands contact one of Shropshire’s leading marketing agencies matm on 01952 883526 or email ac@matm.co.uk

matm’s Freaky Friday: whose phone would you like to hack into?

Friday 21st January 2011   by Stuart Bickerton

Andy Coulson resigned as Prime Minister David Cameron’s Press Secretary today over claims that journalists hacked into the phones of celebrities and politicians while he was editor of the News of the World.

So we went out to ask the public: “Whose phone would you want to hack into and why?”

The NoW did it – so matm asks, who would you phone hack? from matm on Vimeo.

So there’re a few thoughts from the good people of Shropshire …

for Video Blogging across the West Midlands contact one of Shropshire’s leading marketing agencies matm on 01952 883526 or email ac@matm.co.uk