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Archive for the ‘Coffee Break’ Category

One to watch – Dick Winters

Wednesday, December 4th, 2013

Dick Winters - designer Boxer ShortsIt’s rare that we use our Blog to blow our own trumpet, or that of our clients, but we’ll make an exception for Dick Winters.

Who is Dick Winters? He’s the iconic brand behind a new range of men’s designer underwear, proudly made in Britain

 

Why are we blogging about this particular client? Because first and foremost we had a blast working with them, and helping them get to this stage. It really was a fun brand to be part of, and a pleasure to be part of the process of launching not just a new business, but a new brand.

Secondly, we’ve got a strong feeling that in the world of retail and designer underwear, that Dick Winters will make a big splash in this sector, challenging some of the big players, and doing things a little bit differently. You’ve got to stand out and differentiate your business in today’s crowded marketplace, and this “Quintessentially British” brand aims to do just that.

You heard it hear first – Designer Boxer Shorts next big thing (and hopefully on your Christmas list this year – there’s still time!).

Say hello to Dick Winters!

Do You Really Need An App?

Monday, November 18th, 2013

An interesting chat with a business owner on our stand at New Start Scotland last week.

He began by telling us he wanted an app.
But after we listened to him talk a bit more, it became clear what he really wanted was a website that displayed properly on mobile phones and tablets, as well as laptops and desktops.
He didn’t want the design and layout to be compromised on mobile devices.
And he thought the way to achieve this was through an app.
It’s not.
We explained that what he really needs is a website built with ‘Responsive Design‘.
This is something more and more of our clients are choosing and unlike an app, which needs developed and updated separately for iOS, Android, Blackberry, Windows etc, websites built with ‘Responsive Design’ are built and updated once, and work flawlessly across every platform.
So you don’t need to replace your image rich website with a blocky button design for mobile devices. You can keep the same text and quality pictures and the website behaves intelligently, adapting its own layout to deliver the optimum performance no matter what platform it’s being viewed on.
There’s still a place for apps of course but if what you really want is a website that looks great across all devices, then ‘Responsive Design’ will often be the most appropriate solution.
Ask your web designer about it today.

A week with NSDesign (work experience in the digital marketing sector)

Friday, October 4th, 2013

Hello! My name is Ryan Harley. As you may have noticed from the tweets and blog posts I’ve made, I’ve been with NSDesign from Tuesday until Friday doing my 4th year work experience placement with them. As my final task of the week, of the series of tasks that I have been asked to do, is to write a blog post about my experiences over the week, so here it is.

On Tuesday I arrived at 9 o’clock and was led up the stairs to meet Gary. We had a meeting outlining the plan for the week, set out the tasks that I was to complete, and I went in to the office to meet the team. I was given a computer to work at and started to work away. My first task was to create a Prezi presentation. I’d never used the programme before, so it was a totally new experience, but a fun one at that. It was completely different to anything I’d ever worked with, but was really easy to get used to. I then presented my presentation to the team, and it seemed to go down pretty well. Midway through the day I sat in on a meeting with one of NSDesign’s Web Design clients regarding updates they want to have done to their website.  I then began the second task of the day, creating a blog post on behalf of the company, on a subject of my choice. I chose to do my blog entry on social media and it’s relationship with up and coming independent musicians.

On my second day, I came in and wrote the first of the tweets for NSDesign, that continued throughout the week. I also started working on my third task of the week, a research task on the decline of offline shopping and the rise in the online shopping business and technology that some shops are using in their stores. Gary needed facts and figures for an upcoming workshop that he is doing with shop owners, so as I am here he asked me to get him research on it. Next was to sit in another meeting with a company about to partner with NSDesign on an interesting Web Design/Social Media project.

On Thursday I conducted a brand review on NSDesign, outlining how they have construced their brand and how effectively it is working. Later on, I started to create a Prezi presentation, about myself and a short bit about my experiences at NSDesign. As well as tweeting throughout the day, I started this blog post just before the end of the day.

On Friday, my last day with NSDesign, I finished the Prezi presentation that I had started the previous afternoon, making it much more technical than the one I had created at the start of the week. Gary and I also took on a little side project of trying to get a previously not working piece of equipment to read out RSS feeds, play radio stations and move around, which ended up pretty successful in the end. My final task was to write this blog post.

I really enjoyed my week of work experience with NSDesign. The guys were really nice and were helpful whenever it was required. It was a great experience and I won’t forget it anytime soon. Thanks a lot everyone!

Ryan

@KerrfullRH
www.facebook.com/recklessabandonglasgow
Ryan’s latest Prezi:

We buy any car dot com – Even the Little Tikes Cozy Coupe Toy.

Saturday, September 28th, 2013

littletikescarI’m certain that when Lisa from “We Buy Any Car .com” (yes – the company with the really annoying theme tune) turned up at her desk today to (among other things) look after their official Twitter account, she wasn’t quite prepared for what was to follow.

Not exactly renowned for their Twitter activity – @webuyanycar typically gets half a dozen tweets a week (the past couple of days they’ve had no-one talk to them at all on Twitter), so clearly something happened today to result in them attracting over 600 tweets (and counting).

What happenned?  This:

 

 

In summary – Jamie tweeted the letter he received back from WeBuyAnyCar.com after he had ‘jokingly’ tried to get them to buy his “Little Tikes” kiddie car. It does say “anycar” after all.  A bit of playful fun it seemed, resulting in a not so playful response from a representative from WBAC (I’ve resorted to using their initials, as I keep reminding myself of the jingle) called Adam Jennings.  Booo Adam..  it was just a bit of fun, and clearly not intended to offend… so why the grumpy response.  Bad form!

People started Re-Tweeting Jamie, with many of them quick to berate WBAC for their lack of social skills, and “sense of humour by-pass”, many of them also taking the opportunity to “have a go” about other issues they had with the company.  Let’s be honest – WBAC probably aren’t the most liked company at the best of times.  Even @antanddec found it funny enough to RT, and with nearly 3Million followers, it didn’t take long for Jamie’s letter to go viral – with over 20,000 RTs!

Fast becoming a PR disaster, poor Lisa was at the receiving end of a barrage of Tweets.  I’ll admit myself to thinking that they’d made a monumentous cock-up, and had missed what could have been a fantastic PR opportunity – remember the Sainsbury’s Giraffe Bread story, or the Bodyform response?

How could WBAC not see the opportunity here, and why had their man Adam Jennings sent such a terribly unfriendly letter?

Actually – he didn’t.

The whole thing was a lie..  a fake..  a hoax.  Jamie had made the whole thing up.  He admited as much in a follow up Tweet – probably in the realisation that the reach of the whole story was becomming so wide that he maybe risked some form of legal action from WBAC for slander or copyright misuse or impersonation..  There was no Adam Jennings, it was all just for a bit of fun.  But was it fun at the expense of Lisa and WBAC?  After all – even after the admission that it was a hoax, people were still Re-Tweeting the original one, still poking fun at WBAC, and still filling up Lisa’s Twitter “inbox” with 100’s of messages, many of them not so flattering.

So what did WBAC do?  Did they get the lawyers on the case?  Did they demand the tweet be removed?  Did Lisa walk out and resign under the pressure?  No.  They played along.

They realised that Jamie’s tweet was not intended to harm the company, not real criticism or a hate campaign that some businesses see on Twitter..  no – this was just Jamie having a bit of fun.  On a personal level, part of me really admires the guy for his creativity (earning him over 2000 new twitter followers)…  The NSDesign team have done our fair share of Twitter windups over the years, so I kind of understand why he did it..  And so I’m guessing does Lisa.

From her first tweet this morning – “We’ve never had so many tweets! Thanks Adam, whoever you are!” to her witty one-liners, and RT’s of others, Lisa didn’t hide from this escalating story.  She certainly did us a favour with a RT of our own attempt at humour:

 

It didn’t take long for public opinion to sway… as people began to side with WBAC and turn what was criticism into praise, and to congratulate them on their handling of the whole situation.

While they might still not be the most liked company out there, I’m certain that the actions of Lisa, and her fun friendly chat on Twitter today, won’t have done anything to harm them – and I for one am now a follower!  Is this the end of the story?  Probably not… and I suspect that WBAC might continue to turn a negative into further positives in the days to come.  And good on them I say.

 

 

 

 UPDATE: 01 October 2013:

WeBuyAnyCar.com has just launched a new initiative – aimed at proving they DO buy ANY car! Well done on www.webuyanytoycar.com – a nice ending to the whole story.
WeBuyAnyCar-Logo-Toy_v1-2

 

Letter To Fletch

Tuesday, July 23rd, 2013

Norman Stanley Fletcher
HMP Slade
St Albans
Hertfordshire

Tuesday 23 July

 

Dear Norman,

Thank you for your recent letter.

I’m sorry to disappoint you but I am unable to help you hack in to Mr Mackay the prison warder’s Facebook account.

This would be extremely unethical, not to mention illegal, and in any event, I lack the technical knowledge to be able to.

I understand your frustration with your current situation in life, however, I would stress that the way to improve things is not to get yourself into further trouble.

However, should you be determined to cause Mr Mackay embarrassment and post rogue messages under his name, and as long as you accept that you proceed entirely at your own risk, there may be something you can do.

Should Mr Mackay possess a smartphone device, with the Facebook app on it, you may be able to access his account without requiring a password.

His phone will have a ‘pin lock’ function which he may not have enabled. Even if he has, it may well be something as simple as ‘1234’, ‘1212’ or ‘9999’. People are often very lax about leaving their phones lying around and it may be if you can cause a distraction and get your hands on the device, you might be able to crack the pin code and take full control of his phone and Facebook, without inputting any further passwords.

As I said, you proceed entirely at your own risk and I would urge you to resist the temptation.

It might also be worth reviewing your own security arrangements and implementing a series of secure passwords (not words in the English language, not the current month or day of the week) but a seemingly random series of letters and numbers which only you will know.

You are in the company of some fairly dishonest individuals and the fact that you have somehow managed to acquire a smartphone makes you a potential target.

 

Best wishes,

Colin Kelly
Head of Marketing and Training
NSDesign
colin@nsdesign.net

Email To Rodney

Monday, July 22nd, 2013

From: colin@nsdesign.net
To: rodney@titcoplc.co.uk

Subject: E-Commerce Website

Rodney,

Please see below some notes from my colleague Gary Ennis regarding your proposed e-commerce website.

This might prove useful in your efforts to persuade your brother to invest properly in this area.

Also, please note Point 4 concerning our accepted method of payment and Point 5 regarding the structure of your company.

Best,

Colin

 


Begin forwarded message: 

From: Gary Ennis
To: Colin Kelly

Subject: RE E-Commerce site for T.I.T. Co. Plc.

  1. Their existing eBay store does not do their range of products justice. It also costs them money every time they list an item for sale. Their own ecommerce solution would be more cost effective and look much more professional.
  2. I have no doubt that ‘Sunglasses Ron Web Development Inc’ will deliver a cheaper quote than us. But their portfolio of websites does not include any full ecommerce sites. They do however contain 3rd party adverts, do not display well on mobile devices and I would feel less than confident entering my credit card details in the online form their sites use.
  3. All our sites include a content management system which the client can take full control of and update anytime, how they wish. If Rodney has a basic grasp of computing skills and access to an internet enabled machine I’m sure he’d be able to make any neccessary changes.
  4. Regarding the invoice, stress to him that while we are always willing to be flexible and understanding of our clients, his suggestion of 18 months interest free credit followed by 7 monthly installments of £50 and the remainder paid in equity in T.I.T. Co. Plc would not be acceptable.
  5. Are you sure this company is a bona fide PLC? Companies House suggests otherwise.

 

Cheers

Gary

Letter To Paddington

Friday, July 19th, 2013

Mr Paddington Bear-Brown
32 Windsor Gardens
London
W9 3RG

Dear Paddington,

Thank you for your letter. As requested, here is some advice regarding using digital media to keep in contact with your relatives overseas.

It makes no difference to me that you have paws instead of hands although you may encounter difficulties operating a keyboard should you decide to fully embrace this technology.

I understand you are concerned that the letters you are writing take too long to reach your Aunt in Peru and the pace at which your life is currently moving is such that you require a quicker method of communication with her.

In the first instance, I would encourage you to use Skype. It is like a telephone but considerably cheaper – and often free – for international calls. Your local library will have more information regarding how this technology works and the equipment required if you wish to carry out research before committing.

I am fairly certain that the family you are living with in Central London will have wifi internet access in their house and computing facilities. Ask them to download and install Skype into the machine. All you would require on top of this would be a headset and microphone and I am sure your friend Mr Gruber that you mentioned would have several models available in his shop, or would be able to acquire them if not.

There may be situations where you do not require a real-time, 1-1 interaction with your Aunt where you actually hear each others’ voices. In this respect, I would suggest you join Facebook and add each other as friends.

I realise your Aunt has some reservations around this and believes it is ‘for the young folk’.

If we look at the data and demographics of Facebook users, this attitude, while understandable, is in fact incorrect. The 65 plus age group is the fastest growing on Facebook. It has a billion users worldwide and many of them are in your Aunt’s age group. You talked at length about your Aunt in your original letter and it is clear she is a very forward thinking and resourceful character and I’m sure she’d be able to figure it out and would enjoy being part of a modern communications platform.

Facebook would allow you to share pictures with each other and send short ‘status updates’ informing each other as to what you are doing. Some of your other friends – such as the Portobello Market traders – may already be on Facebook and you could add them as friends too or follow their business pages.

Please take care though as, without changing your privacy settings, much of what you say on Facebook could be accessed by the general public and I would hate for you to share private information unwittingly. I know how seriously you are about protecting your reputation. You might not want the market traders to discover your Aunt’s pet name for you and your already strained relationship with your neighbour, Mr Curry, might suffer further if he became aware of what you said about him in conversations with your friends.

You obviously enjoy travel and have a thirst for information about the world around you. So my final suggestion is that you consider joining Twitter. Again, this is free, and I must stress, 100% public.

It can be an extremely powerful way to find out what is going on, anywhere in the world. You choose who to follow and who’s updates you want to receive, or you can conduct searches on particular terms, for example, ‘marmalade’ and very quickly estbalish who is offering the best deals and then buy from them.

The company I work with delivers a very highly regarded social media training workshop and it would be great to see you at our next course. 100% of previous attendees said they considered it value for money and would recommend the course to a friend.

Give me a shout if you’d like me to book you a place.

Yours faithfully,

 

Colin Kelly
Head of Marketing and Training
NSDesign
colin@nsdesign.net

 

Letter To Basil

Wednesday, July 17th, 2013

From: ‘Colin Kelly’ colin@nsdesign.net
To: ‘Basil Fawlty ESQ’ mrbasilfawlty@geocities.com

Subject: Social Media Training

Dear Basil,

Thanks for your time last week and I am pleased you are willing to consider a social media presence for your hotel in Torquay.

I’ve had a look at the TripAdvisor website as you suggested and agree it needs urgent attention.

The overall tone is negative and some serious issues have been raised by your guests: a rat in the dining room, a supporting wall in danger of collapse, a couple forced to spend the night in separate rooms, some suspicious looking kippers and even a death on the premises. On top of this, there are frequent mentions of the owner treating guests in a rude and aggressive manner.

Your current efforts to repair this damage to your reputation are not working. Indeed, it appears whoever is currently posting replies on your behalf has only a rudimentary grasp of the English language and an even more basic understanding of customer service.

I suggest you take direct control of the situation and tackle the problem head on, as follows:

  1. Improve the hotel. Your success on social media will be severely limited until you solve the problems people are complaining about. As long as these problems persist, a Facebook page or Twitter channel simply gives them another public platform to criticise you. So, train the staff in customer service, improve hygiene, get the Moose’s head on the wall and consider a course in anger management to help you improve your treatment of the guests.
  2. Launch a Twitter channel. I note your concern about ‘riff raff’ booking stays at your hotel. This is the problem with a local newspaper advert – you’ve no control over who sees it. Twitter allows you to conduct custom searches to identify a particular type of person who is already interested in coming to Torquay to stay in a hotel. You can then read everything else this person has Tweeted recently and establish their social class. Their biography might explicitly state what job they do, or you can figure it out based on what else they choose to share. You can then decide whether to engage with them or not and offer them accommodation.
  3. Use Linkedin for recruitment. It was obvious from my visit last week that various members of your team are less than committed. The waitress seemed more concerned about her sketch pad than delivering bowls of soup, and the lad from Barcelona appeared very much to follow his own agenda. While I can’t condone your threats of physical violence towards him I can understand what drives you towards this. Linkedin allows you to post job opportunities and select people with skills and experience you require. In these tough economic times you might be surprised at the quality of person available for work. It is also worth you being on Linkedin yourself in order to help grow your business. By connecting with other prominent business leaders, you could, for example, win more business from the tour bus sector, or establish your hotel as a conference venue. I realise it has been sometime since you updated your CV but I could help you brush things up a bit.
  4. Improve your website. Your existing Geocities site is looking dated and I’m sure we could deliver something much more contemporary for you.

I think this is probably more than enough to be going on with for now and you will likely have some concerns around the costs of any work I do for you. I’m delighted to say that there is some funding available for a training workshop which I’d be happy to run for you and your team. It’s a simple form to fill out and up to 50% funding can be secured.

Do let me know if you’d like to explore this further.

I have some availability in the next 2-3 weeks and would be delighted to get a date in the diary.

 

Yours faithfully,

 

Colin Kelly

Head of Marketing and Training
NSDesign
colin@nsdesign.net

 

My First Spundge Blog – Yes Blog, Not Bob…

Sunday, March 17th, 2013

Hey everyone, it’s Thea here with my first-ever blog using a new platform called Spundge. I first learned of it via one the most successful social media specialists Mari Smith (ironically she’s a Scot in California!) I receive Mari’s newsletter and find that there is always at least one tip, link, video etc – worth an interest. Spundge was one of two tools she recommended, and it was almost exactly the type of tool I was after, so I checked it out.

Basically what Spundge does is aggregate your content in things called “Notebooks”. In that way way, it’s sort of like Pinterest where instead of pinning to boards, you “Spunge it” to “Notebooks”.

So if you are a consumer of content, who wants to be more efficient with all your links, or if you write a blog or newsletter, then I recommend you give it a bash like I am.

As I say this is only my first blog attempt. When deciding what to write about for this blog, I thought I’d attempt to do a weekly blog of some of the best things I’ve seen shared across the World Wide Web over the course of the week.

Working for a variety of NSDesign clients, as you might imagine, I consume a LOT of content for more than eight hours a day, so when something really catches my eye, that’s saying something.

The first one was shared by a friend Bob on Facebook and it is particularly interesting if you were around in the 70s and 80s (especially if you were say, a teenager). Even though I am a Californian, I absolutely loved (and recognized) almost all of it.

It’s called We Didn’t Own an iPad

Wasn’t that great?

Now, the other bit of viral content that I thoroughly enjoyed this week was a Disney spoof that follows on from Disney’s typical “Happy Ever After”….films. It’s “what came next” in a sense. The execution of this was pretty amazing. He recorded it over a month but man all his hard work’s paid off.

Here’s the After Ever After video.

I hope you enjoy it much as I did!

Well, as I say, this is just the first blog – of what will hopefully be many. Now I just need to work out how to connect my Spundge account to the NSDesign blog.

Oh before I go, let me congratulate my team at NSDesign for taking 2nd in the Glasgow Rock’s Sponsorship Tournament. I was out due to injury but was sociably impressed (and a wee bit surprised) by their brilliant efforts.

There is a great new cover pic on the NSDesign Facebook page so check it out!

UPDATE: Not as easy as I’d hoped to link Spundge to NSDesign’s blog but hopefully I’ll have it sussed by next week, until then…have a great week!

The Number 7

Tuesday, March 12th, 2013

Some of the NSDesign team. Colin and Martin were cleaning the boss's car.

We’re thrilled to bits about our 7 RAR* nominations, announced last week. 

Fingers crossed we bring home some silverware** on April 18th and in particular we would love to hang on to our ‘Best Value For Money UK Agency (under 30 staff)’ title.

If we do, it’ll be the 4th year in a row we’ve won it.

The Harry Potter books say 7 is the most powerfully magic number so rather than bigging ourselves up in a press release, we thought we’d have a bit of fun with the number 7 instead.

*Recommended Agency Registrar.
**Actually it’s a nice plaque

7 Things You Didn’t Know About NSDesign

1 Our designer Paul Elliot can run a 10K in under 38 minutes. Our team also includes a golfer that plays off a 1 handicap, a magician and juggler, someone who’s been inside Google’s ‘Googleplex’ headquarters, an accomplished guitarist and songwriter, and a former journalist who once stood in between George Clooney and Bono. And was too nervous to speak to them.

2 In our 15th year in business we’ve now worked with more than 20,000 clients across all our divisions.

3 Our Embrace The Space social media training started as a half hour talk to the local Chamber of Commerce and has now been delivered to more than 3 thousand businesses through a mix of free taster sessions, one to one consultancy and our famous ‘masterclass’ series at Hillington Park Innovation Centre.

4 We’ve been based at Hillington Park Innovation Centre for 7 years, with the exception of a 3 month break following ‘The Great Flood of 2009’. The building suffered serious damage but we managed to relocate to an office in Clydebank. Incredibly, because of our backup systems and use of cloud technology, none of our work was affected and clients didn’t notice any difference.

5 Our current office and our previous 2 office locations occupied were situated on preciely the same line of Latitude. (Weird).

6 Our very first client was Simon Howarth, from Preston, and he’s still with us today! www.theinformationedge.co.uk is his site and at our 10th birthday party he made a speech saying he remembers sending an email with a problem after midnight one night and getting a reply from Gary 2 minutes later. Simon reckons that’s really rare in business these days but it’s a level of service we strive to give every client, all the time.

7 We love sport and have worked with Greenock Morton FC, Braehead Clan ice hockey team and Glasgow Rocks basketball. We took part in their annual sponsor’s tournament last year and lost every single game.

 

7 Tips For Business Success on Social Media

1 Assume everything you say is 100% public.

2 Keep a folder of images on your computer which you can use to liven up your posts.

3 Read every message out loud to yourself or a colleague before sending it.

4 Do more listening than talking.

5 Practice explaining what your business does and what makes it special using as few words as possible.

6 Don’t let it overwhelm you. Find out which networks your potential customers use and concentrate on these.

7 Consider training. Particularly if you have staff.