Our logo design wins praise from a truly innovative Shropshire business

Monday 26th November 2012   by Stuart Bickerton

Assist Animal Care Services

You know the old joke, never work with animals or children – well Yvette Greasley does both. She is pretty much the first person in the UK to offer a nannying service for both children and animals. And when it comes to animals, it’s not just your common and garden cats and dogs – we’re talking horses, cattle, sheep
and even lamas.

Yvette has worked, separately in the past, in childcare and animal husbandry, so had the brainwave of putting the two together. She has set up Assist Animal Care Services and Assist Child Care Services. She can still do both independently, but with the increasing number of families keeping larger animals and running small holdings, she sees a business opportunity in offering both services together.

Yvette needed a simple, yet flexible and effective, logo design to reflect the two sides of her business, so she turned to matm. She’s pleased with the results and the response she has had from customers so penned us this testimonial which we very much appreciate.

Assist Child Care Services

“The logo design service I received this summer (2012) from matm deserves recognition. My new micro business requirements were not straightforward, so having listened to my outline brief, staff at matm produced various options for my initial consideration.

“The designer, Neil, then patiently worked on the product, making various adaptations in response to feedback which matm invited. He then implemented these ‘tweaks’ with patience and a smile until I was completely happy.

“matm ensured that they met my needs and delivered a professional end product which I am proud to use as a key branding element for my new business. Result: a really satisfied new customer!

“I am pleased to be able to recommend the matm team to other new enterprises, and also to those requiring an image update or rebranding or who need a quality website.”

Thanks Yvette! And don’t worry, we’ll leave the real animals and children to you.

 

Nature’s graphic designers in Shropshire

Wednesday 17th October 2012   by Andy Comber

Sometimes you just have to say some graphic designers in Shropshire have all the tricks. And here at matm, we’ve been enjoying the display being put on by nature in recent weeks. Not sure what you think, but the autumn colours appear to be particularly vivid this year. Here are some trees I spotted on the A4169 between Shifnal and Madeley, Shropshire.

I didn’t happen to have my camera when I first saw one tree standing out, all shocking pink and red against the green of its neighbours, but made sure I had it the following morning. The colour had just gone off, but I hope you get the picture. The moon makes it a bit more special still.

Website development for global online success

Tuesday 16th October 2012   by Lindsay Crayton

It’s not just a saying, you can have the world at your fingertips – as we have proved! We’ve created a new website for Victoria + Albert Baths, makers of some of the world’s most sought after luxury baths.

The new site, built in WordPress, allows the Victoria + Albert Baths marketing team to manage 14 international sites, with five languages, from one content management system. Product images, colours and design elements can be changed for every site at the touch of a button, creating optimum flexibility and responsiveness to customer requirements.

I know I am biased, but it’s a beautiful website development solution for a beautiful product.

The new web pages designed by matm for Victoria + Albert Baths have larger images to display the products at their best

The new Victoria + Albert Baths website features easy-to-use menus that allow you to quickly get a good feel for each product

The science behind a press release service

Sunday 23rd September 2012   by Andy Comber

Why should matm offer you a press release service to you – and get your story published? Good question. One answer is: because your brain, my brain, every single person’s brain is pretty much bone idle. It’s a scientific fact.

I’m reading a book – an international best seller, no less – explaining how us humans think. It’s by Nobel Prize winner Daniel Kahneman. In his book, called Thinking, Fast and Slow, he shows how we like to make decisions that are easy. We do whatever we can to avoid complicated, rational decision-making. The reason? The brain is wired up to avoid hard work.

Thinking, Fast and Slow, by Daniel Kahneman, explains why using a press release writing service makes rational and irrational sense

It means that, when we think we are being rational, we are, in fact, often making decisions based on ‘fast thinking’ that draw much more than we realise from our irrational, subconscious mind than from rational conscious thinking – otherwise known as ‘slow thinking’.

It struck me that this is a fundamental reason why it is good for businesses to develop a media profile and get stories in the local papers, magazines and trade press. Let me explain.

Kahneman takes his readers through the concept of cognitive ease. When the brain is at cognitive ease, it can rip along doing its fast thinking like Lewis Hamilton storming along the Hangar Straight at Silverstone.

So, what puts our brains in a state of cognitive ease? It’s being presented with information in a form that is:

•    A repeat experience
•    Clearly displayed
•    Offering primed ideas
•    And encourages a good mood.

This leads to information (and decision-making) that:

•    Feels familiar
•    Feels true
•    Feels good
•    Feels effortless to digest.

The process is shown in the image from the book below.

Causes and consequences of cognitive ease - shows how having a news media strategy makes business sense

Let me show how that explains why organisations should have a PR strategy and develop a media profile.

Repeated experience – advertisers understand the concept of cognitive ease – that’s why they expect to have to run multiple adverts as part of a campaign to get the result they need. The same is true on editorial pages. If you can get articles published where your customers and prospective customers are looking, your business and offer will become more familiar to them.

Clear display – the key to good media coverage is to get your key messages across, shaped for particular target audiences. If this is done successfully, potential new customers will take note. The beauty of fast thinking, says Kahneman, is that the brain is clocking your message, even when you don’t realise it. This is as much a subconscious as a conscious process/

Primed idea – if your target audience is primed to treat your message with greater importance, that’s good. And having your story told as ‘news’ in key publications, does just that. It enhances your credibility so makes you more noteworthy than your rivals.

Good mood – you tell a story that explains how your product or service can help a potential customer, it is more likely to have a positive effect on their mood. Again, they might not realise it at the time, but their brains are taking it all in.
The upshot, your press releases will have had an impact. Whether they are read carefully, skimmed or just glanced at, the target audience – or, more precisely, the brains of the many people in your target audience – will get the message.

The accumulative effect is that your products and services will have a greater chance of being considered when your current customers, and new ones, decide what to buy.

They may think they are making a rational choice based, for example, on an agreed internal purchase procedure. But, says Daniel Kahneman, they would almost certainly be wrong. Look carefully, and it will be fast thinking that will have played the biggest part. And there’s plenty of research to show that’s true.

In-game advertising – a double-edged sword

Wednesday 18th July 2012   by Andy Comber

Matt Hughes is spending a week doing work experience with us here at matm. He’s 15 and an experienced gamer. So we asked him to look into an increasingly common aspect of the digital leisure world – in-game advertising. Here’re his views:

In the past 10 years, video games have developed exceedingly fast. This has perked the interest of many companies, including, Adidas, MacDonald’s and Intel to use these games as advertising opportunities.

However, the games industry have had mixed feelings on in-game advertisements, as it may be seen as ‘selling out’. This has caused some businesses to lose respect from customers.

Although a lot of businesses have gained millions of dollars from the revenue they have earned from the advertisements. One well known in-game advert was an advertising billboard for the Obama 2008 election in a game called Burnout Paradise.


This billboard was positioned on the side of a main highway, where the players would pass regularly and see the message.

Obama also appeared in NBA Live 08 where he featured on an advertising board with the same ‘EARLY VOTING’ message. It made a regular appearance next to the basketball court, which would have been viewed millions of times by players of the highly popular basketball franchise.

In my personal experience, I have never been put off a game because of it’s in-game adverts.

However if the development company were to extend the amount of adverts they add to their game even more, to the point that it may have advert breaks in the game, or if the game were to have advertising billboard on every available space, I would feel betrayed as a gamer, as I buy games to enjoy them, not to have corporate advertising rammed in my face every five minutes.

I feel that the addition of in-game advertisements adds to the realism as it creates a recognisable atmosphere that is relatable to the player of the game. However, if the developers were to abuse this, they may be criticized by the media, games reviewers and gamers.

Since in-game advertising has arrived in the last couple of years, a lot of game developers have had the ability to produce free-to-play games with no hidden costs or charges.

This has enabled them to use these games as a blank canvas for testing features to use on their new games, for example a game called Team Fortress 2 which was released in 2007, was originally priced at £8, however in early 2012, the game was made free to play.

This has allowed Valve, the game’s developers, to experiment with different features and create a better gaming experience for the future. They have used advertising in their game to help fund the development process and continue to produce new content for the game.

My view is that a lot of smaller, independent games companies could benefit from in-game advertisements because the extra income, which in some cases might be substantial, could offset development costs, making it easier to break into the market.

As well as advertisement, product placement has also become more popular in the gaming industry, with large businesses like Lynx placing their products in games, and well known characters taking Coca Cola from a branded vending machine.

This idea of showing the product in the game has proven very successful for many companies, for example, when Activision released Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3, Mountain Dew also released Modern Warfare 3 themed drinks in which were several collectable cards that gamers could trade for in-game items and ‘Experience Boots’.

This boosted the sales of Mountain Dew significantly, as many of the gamers that play Call of Duty will do anything to get ahead of other gamers.

On 15 July 2012, in an article about growing alarm at our increasingly digital world, The Sunday Times said the average British adolescent spends up to 5 hours a day online and 10 to 11-year-olds have access to 5 screens at home.

Advertisers have realised that to reach a target audience, especially the highly prized younger audience, they must place their products where the audience is, and that is increasingly in cyberspace, not the real world.

Advertising on Facebook and Youtube is now the norm, now the ad people are beginning to shift over to games, as they know that a large percentage of the people that use computers regularly in their spare time are gamers.

The upside, is that this new element of the advertising industry is creating thousands of new jobs. The downside is that it is clear we will never escape seeing something we never knew we wanted.

ŠKODA plugs “youthful” Citigo on Facebook

Friday 8th June 2012   by Neil Dicken

Skoda.uk - Meet Tiesto

ŠKODA UK is using the power of Facebook to make itself more attractive to younger car buyers with the launch of its new car, the Citigo.

It promoted a free concert by top international DJ Tiësto at the LG Arena in Birmingham through Facebook.

The  approach made perfect sense as ŠKODA is seeking to attract a younger buyer for the car.

“The new Citigo is youthful and fresh and this partnership with Tiësto fits perfectly with our positioning of this new car,” said Helen Bainbridge, ŠKODA National Communications Manager.

Users signed up to the competition through Facebook to win tickets for the gig. Winners could send friends details allowing them a greater chance of also winning tickets.

Winners printed out their tickets via the ‘meet Tiësto app’ on the ŠKODA Facebook page.

 

The app also allowed friends to organise to meet up at a certain place, and app users could win the opportunity to meet Tiësto after the gig.

 

I was lucky enough to win a ticket. The gig was great and more intimate than previous ones I had been to, maybe also part of the ŠKODA plan to make you felt you belong. As yet, though, I haven’t bought a Citigo.

Diamond Jubilee – an exercise in manipulation by the Monarchy?

Tuesday 5th June 2012   by Andy Comber

We have talked about how three’s a magic number previously in The Juice. It appears everywhere, including, I would argue, the communication strategising for the Diamond Jubilee celebrations. In a nutshell, the planning goes like this:

Day 1. Give them a spectacular show – to create a sense of awe and remind everyone of the power of majesty. This was done with the usual British sense of whimsy with the great Jubilee Thames River Pageant. Only the weather couldn’t be controlled.

Day 2. Give them a party – the centrepiece was the pop concert outside Buckingham Palace. Populist and fun. The Queen gets down with the masses, and even allows comedians to tell a few jokes at her expense.

Day 3.  Give the big message – the Queen is in charge and has God on her side. So we get the trip to St Paul’s Cathedral followed by the procession back through London to allow the masses to see their leader, blessed by the deity.

Days 1 and 2 prepare the population for Day 3. First impress them, then give them lots fun, then they will agree that you are still in charge and have the right to be.

All three days were shot through with military pomp. That is the ultimate power imagery. Sounds trite (I do hope I’m not locked in the Tower) but it’s a trick that’s been used many times in the past.

Roman Emperors used to return from biffing their opponents by parading their army through Rome, then giving the citizens several days off the go to the games at which, in the finale, he would slaughter all his still living enemies to remind everyone who’s in charge.

The corporate world use the 1,2,3 knockout in a similar way. 1. Establish a burning platform to get people’s attention, 2. Engage staff in conversation and ask their ideas to obtain their buy-in then 3. Tell them what needs to be done (often something that senior management wanted to do in the first place).

The Queen is an impressive individual who obviously cares about her public duty. Most British people also hugely respect her, support the Monarchy and loved the occasion.

But there is no doubt the Diamond Jubilee celebrations amounted to a carefully organised communication exercise to manipulate and set public opinion for the next 10 years and beyond.

There has already been a lot of comment about the slimmed down Monarchy ‘top team’ that appeared on the balcony of Buckingham Palace. And many noticed the picture of William and Kate promenantly displayed behind the Queen during her Jubilee TV message.

Time will tell, whether this exercise in brand positioning will succeed.

 

matm does some sustainable award writing

Thursday 17th May 2012   by Andy Comber

Congratulations to Sainsbury’s for winning Retail Development of the Year in the 2012 Sustain Magazine Awards. We were commissioned by construction company ISG to write the award entry for their development – Sainsibury’s new eco store at Dawlish in Devon.

Despite some stiff opposition from the likes of Marks and Spencer and Waitrose, the judges said Sainsbury’s Dawlish set a new benchmark against which future developments had to be judged. We’d like to think we played a part in making that clear. If you want to significantly improve your chance of winning a business award, give us a call. View our business award writing service brochure here.

Sustain Magazine Awards - winners celebrate at the end of the ceremony

Environmentally friendly invoices that arrive quicker – we’re loving that!

Tuesday 1st May 2012   by Eliza Kaniewska

With postage prices going up today, matm now sends all of its invoices via PDF – this means our invoices arrive faster, and are cheaper to send as we no longer incur costs for paper, printing, envelopes and postage. Below are the key facts and figures about the price increases from April 30th 2012:

  • The price of a first-class stamp for a standard letter – 46p to 60p
  • A second-class stamp for a standard letter – 36p to 50p
  • A first-class stamp for a large letter weighing up to 100g – 75p to 90p
  • A large letter sent second-class will cost 69p, rather than 58p
  • Parcels, franked mail, recorded post, redirection services and PO Box use will also increase accordingly

But perhaps most importantly, we can now say we deliver our invoices in an environmentally friendly way – by eliminating paper, printing and freight, we have reduced our carbon footprint and save trees. We hope that other businesses can follow suit and switch to faster, greener invoicing too – the only down side is that bills arrive just that bit quicker, but still, we’re loving that!

We’re loving that! Custom Chalk Lettering

Thursday 19th April 2012   by Neil Dicken

Aside from being a graphic designer, Brooklyn based artist Dana Tanamachi is becoming increasingly recognised as a custom chalk letterer. Dana has been commissioned by clients such as Rugby Ralph Lauren, Google and Adidas – and we think that her work is striking enough to warrant a ‘we’re loving that!’ So, see what you think – and if you want to see some more of her work, then visit www.danatanamachi.com

Banner for Kings County Jerky Co; drawn on chalk fabric.

 

The Wes Anderson, Brooklyn

 

Custom piece for a wedding reception

 

Wine label that Dana created for Nagging Doubt Wines; Art Direction by Bernie Hadley-Beauregard & Laurie Millotte of Brandever.

 

Awards just round the corner – let us do the writing!

Thursday 22nd March 2012   by Stuart Bickerton

Over the next few days we will put a blog post up about a client’s fantastic award win this week – and you guessed it, the submission was written my us!

But in the mean time so you don’t miss the boat, below are a handful of first class awards coming up that we can help you with:

  • Green Business Awards
  • Growing Business Awards
  • Sustainability Awards
  • National Sales Awards
  • First Women Awards
  • Personnel Today Awards

Winning business awards can be a very effective way to generate positive external exposure and to instil pride within your organisation. So to find out more about how we can help, please take a look at the matm award writing brochure: awards brochure.

If you want to find out further information about the above awards, or would just like an informal chat then please do not hesitate to contact Andy Comber on email: ac@matm.co.uk or tel: 01952 883526.

 

QR codes boost for tourism – and for taking a walk to the pub

Tuesday 28th February 2012   by Andy Comber

Here’s an example of how a bit of technology that, a year ago, was hardly heard of, is now so mainstream that it’s being used to help support the villlage pub.

QR codes, which can be scanned using a mobile phone camera to bring up a link to a web page, are being used to boost rural pubs by promoting walks in the countryside.

The Shropshire Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty Partnership has created 12 circular walks that have pubs on each route – and is promoting them using QR codes on posters and beer mats…obviously.

Tilt shift photography – we’re loving that!

Wednesday 22nd February 2012   by Neil Dicken

‘Tilt-shift photography’ is a unique, almost playful type of photography in which a camera is manipulated so that the real, life-sized subject look like miniature-scale models.

The phrase describes the use of camera movements on small and medium format cameras and also sometimes refers to the use of tilt for selective focus.

Sometimes the term is used when a shallow depth of field is simulated with digital postprocessing; the name may derive from the tilt-shift lens normally required when the effect is produced optically.

Why not have a go yourself if you have an Iphone:  Art&Mobile TiltShift Generator.

Below are a few of our favourite examples for you to have a look at. We’re loving that!


 

Creating mobile optimised templates in Coffeemail

Wednesday 15th February 2012   by Neil Dicken

With more and more emails being read via smart phones, it has never been more important to consider you mobile subscribers.

matm’s bespoke email/e-shot template, Coffeemail, now supports mobile browsing – allowing for more of your subscribers to enjoy your eshots just as you created them.

Below are examples of templates for a web based layout and a mobile layout:

Mobile Template Example

Hit the ‘contact us’ button above with any questions!

We’re loving that – QR Codes at the Bike Show

Monday 13th February 2012   by Neil Dicken

The Motorcycle Live show took place at the LG Arena, Birmingham – and the qr codes were out in force! Pretty much every corner of the hall had companies getting on the qr code bandwagon, including manufacture stands, bike product spec stands, retail outlets and competition forms. Below are a few examples of the various ways qr codes were used on the day:


Here at matm we are able to quickly produce qr codes for you and have generated a number for clients’ business cards. As well as holding personal information such as website details, email address and phone number, qr codes are being used more and more for product/loyalty marketing, as above. Lots of companies are using qr codes, so if you are not yet ‘scannable’ then click on contact us and let us help!

An eye for design and the stomach for pizza!

Thursday 9th February 2012   by Neil Dicken

Just a quick blog post especially for those of you feeling a little peckish!

We have just finished amending a menu we designed for Bridgnorth based ‘Peepo Pizza’. matm Designer, Neil Dicken updated the menu artwork to include the new dishes along with the new ‘Super 7 Pizzas’ offer.

So if you live in Shropshire, have an eye for design and the stomach for a pizza, click on the menu below and perpare to salivate!

 

 

Kia Facebook Like campaign – TV advert

Thursday 9th February 2012   by Neil Dicken

Many Companies have started to show Facebook links from their adverts over the past year. A major Korean Car Manufacturer is using its latest television advert to display the Facebook ‘like’ button, ending with the slogan ‘Kia, inspired by what you like’.

Matm Graphic Designer, Neil, spotted the advert. He said: “The use of social media in business is continuing to gather pace and I am building an increasing number of Facebook pages for Shropshire businesses. My only disappointment with the Kia advert is that their facebook page is geared more towards Kia owners, and not a generic customer experience, but i’m still loving that advert!

Facebook App for football fans

Tuesday 31st January 2012   by Neil Dicken

In late 2011, Arsenal Football Club introduced a Facebook app for its fans. Supporters are able to customise banners which show support for their team.  Designs are entered into a competition, with the lucky winners having their banners produced and displayed around the Emirates Stadium during certain home games throughout the season.

The campaign uses social media to allow Arsenal supporters from around the world, who are unable to attend a home game, to show their support for the London club.

Hal Stokes, of media agency Essence, said:

“A supporters commitment to their club is embodied in their thinking, communication and behavior, and is a passion that is often impossible to truly reflect in marketing activity. Capitalising on the social interactivity of the medium, the app harnesses the culture of Facebook to bring supporters together around the club online as well as offline. I think this is a fantastic initiative by Arsenal FC that will be widely embraced by their huge global supporter base as they try to create online content that comes alive in the excitement of an Arsenal home game.”


Maybe we’ll see a similar use of social media at one of Shropshire’s football clubs, Shrewsbury or Telford…?

A winning newsletter for Telford business

Monday 30th January 2012   by Neil Dicken

We have just finished the design, print and copywriting of the latest newsletter for Telford based company, IPS (Independent Parts and Services), who are Europe’s largest supplier of parts and service to the Access Industry. The A4 newsletter is 4 sided and uses the company’s corporate colours of black and yellow throughout.

With a nod to the Olympics taking place in the UK this year, matm graphic designer Neil Dicken used the silhouette of a sprinter on the front cover. The figure appears to be crossing a finishing line away from any visible competition – a representation of IPS’s position in the powered access parts and service market.

 

IPS Newsletter 2012 -Cover

matm has designed, written and printed newsletters, often to tight deadlines, for a number of companies – from small local operations through to large international companies.

Get in contact by clicking above on ‘contact us’ and we can discuss how we’ll help you produce a first class newsletter.