news & views

Below are articles of general interest, items of news and clippings of content relevant to our design philosophy and industry. Turquoise Creative is a creative design agency based in Crawley, West Sussex, which specialise in Brand Design, Creative Design and Web Design. We are a team of talented people who are passionate about what we do.

How to conduct a Brand Audit

If your brand was a cup of coffee what type of coffee would it be?

Imagine stepping into your favourite coffee shop, where a welcome smile awaits and the familiar aroma reminds you this is the place where you are delighted to spend the next ½ an hour simply relaxing.

You know the coffee experience will be perfect, just as you like it because it always is.  The smooth, rich flavour sets you up for the rest of the day. One thing’s for sure, you’ll be back again and again and again.

Brand Audit Guide with a cup of coffee

 

But, life’s not always full of the perfect coffee experience, is it?

Along the way, you’re subjected to dishwater masquerading as coffee. At least you have a suspicion it’s going to be dire, so you can choose to refuse. Unlike the cup of coffee that’s full of promise, but the first bitter sip sends your taste buds into a frenzy of disappointment.

Just as your expectations are set from the ambience of the coffee shop, the design of cup, the look, smell and taste of your chosen latte, cappuccino or espresso, so do your customers have an expectation as they familiarise themselves and interact with your brand.

Where along the coffee scale does your brand sit?

It’s a serious question to consider. Depending on how eye-catching, inspiring and dependable the interactions your prospects and customers have with your brand will determine how successful your business is.

How do you know where your brand is on the coffee scale?

The answer: A Brand Audit

Conducting a brand audit is a worthwhile exercise. There are many benefits to gain. You can:

  • Double check that your brand accurately reflects the business as it is today (not how it was when you first started out)
  • Determine how outsiders perceive of your brand (it may be different to what you think)
  • Make small adjustments to correct misalignments and avoid misunderstandings
  • See how you stand up against your competitors. What do they do well? How can you counteract that?
  • Check that your brand will take the business into the future
  • Ensure your brand encourages loyalty from your customers
  • Retain and attract the best employees

Gather the evidence

The first steps of a brand audit are to gather and list the evidence.

Start with the obvious:

  • All tangible marketing materials including business cards, flyers, brochures, letterhead
  • Your business plan
  • Your business story
  • Brand guidelines (colours, fonts)
  • Website including a list of all domains
  • Signage

Then the less obvious:

  • Keywords
  • Email signature
  • Invoices
  • Vehicles (wrapped, clean)
  • How is your telephone answered and what is your voice message?
  • What is displayed when you pop up on the Internet? Check your Google account and online directories you registered with many years ago.

A useful way to build this list is to think about all the touch points a prospect has from first becoming aware of your business through to when they become a customer and a returning loyal customer.

Review your list

Having gathered the evidence, the next step is to review. You may scatter the hard copy marketing material on a table. What does it say? Dishwater or strong and robust? Is it consistent?

When was the content on your website last updated? Does it reflect an accurate image of the business? Are all other online instances consistent?

How do your employees perceive your brand? Ask your customers too, if you can?

Write a brief report of your findings. The framework of a SWOT analysis could be helpful here.

You may be quite attached to your brand, after all, it’s your baby, but it’s important to keep an open mind throughout the review.  This is when a third party’s opinion will be most useful. Of course, you can do a DIY brand audit, but when you consider the benefits that this review brings to the business the opinion and advice of a brand specialist completes the job properly.

We invite you to take the Brand/Coffee test?

By now you’ve probably realised we are just as passionate about our coffee as we are about creating desirable brands.

If you’re serious about creating a strong and trusted brand that will stand your business in good stead over the coming years, get in touch and let’s arrange a chat over a nice cup of coffee.

You can call us on 01293 886805 or email us ideas@turquoise-creative.co.uk.

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When is it time for a brand refresh?

What is a brand refresh?

Firstly, you are probably wondering what exactly is a brand refresh.

A brand refresh can be thought of as a facelift or renovation of your brand. It is not a total overhaul of your brand (that is always an option) but something far simpler.

Refresh_Rebrand

Why would you consider a brand refresh?

We all know that change is a fact of business life. Businesses evolve. New products may be introduced appealing to a new types of customers. So whatever size your business is you must adjust to reflect your changing business and stay one step ahead of the competition.

Branding is all about distinguishing yourself from your competitors. But in marketing, it’s not just about differentiation, it’s about setting your brand apart and standing out from the crowd. Is your brand an asset or a liability in that endeavour?

So, to change the way your company is perceived a few tweaks here and there to your branding will help.

By making simple alterations to your branding and positioning, you can:

  • Maintain your brand’s integrity
  • Inject a new energy into your business
  • Iron out any brand inconsistencies
  • Ensure your company’s image is current in an ever changing world
  • Generate a buzz among existing customers and employees

Many businesses are taking this route as it requires far less risk than a complete brand overhaul and can get you the results you desire.

Your business may already have a logo that works well, but things change with time and you need to make sure your business doesn’t become out-of-date.

How do you know when it’s the right time to refresh your brand?

If your business is facing one of these 5 scenarios, a brand refresh (or facelift) is definitely worth thinking about.

1. Is your branding out-of-date?

Your logo might have been revolutionary when you started your business, but now it has aged and your business’s image is suffering as a result. Take an honest look at your visual branding and assess whether it’s moving you forward or holding you back.

2. Have your products / services changed?

Is your brand messaging an accurate reflection of who you are and what you offer today, or is it outdated? Most companies grow and evolve over time to stay relevant. As an example, Starbucks originated in 1971 as a retailer of coffee bean roasting, and their brand identity up until 2011 featured the word “coffee” but over the years they have expanded their business to include espresso beverages, teas, ice cream, etc. which ultimately led to dropping “coffee” from their name.

3. Is your branding inconsistent?

Perhaps you use one version of your logo on printed materials and another on your website, along with all the various strap lines because you can’t decide which work. This can be detrimental to your brand. You need to be consistent or your clients won’t understand what you are offering and to make it worse, you may be seen as sloppy and unreliable.

4. Are you reaching your target audience?

Has your target market shifted since you created your brand, or maybe you have changed the audience your product and services are aiming at? In this case, a refresh will allow you to reach exactly the people you want.

5. Is your business preparing for growth?

If your business is adding in new product lines, or considering a merger, then this is a good time to reassess your brand and make sure it has the strength to carry your business through such changes.

If you recognise any of these scenarios and feel that it’s time to review whether your brand is a true reflection of your business, give us a call. We’d love to hear your story and perhaps we can help. Call on 01293 886805 or email us.

Click on the Alkira brand refresh to see more examples

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Graphic design – Stop! Think!

Graphic design is more important to your business than you think

Stop for a moment and think of some of the world’s most iconic brands.

What makes them so unforgettable? And what can business owners, of all sizes, learn from them to gain the impact we desire?

It’s usually standout graphics, powerful packaging, appealing advertising or well-written copy. These attributes are achievable for SMEs, even acknowledging that their budgets are minute in comparison to these giants.

apple-Nike

Apple, Inc. is known for their amazing packaging designs, use of large areas of white space, gorgeous product photography and beautiful typography.

Nike uses type in a different way and creates maximum impact, inspiring imagery and bold colour palettes which all portray the energy and lifestyle their brand requires. Apple and Nike aren’t just examples of powerful branding, but outstanding graphic design.

If you are a business owner, you may have hundreds of concerns to address during your working day, so you might be tempted to ignore the need for professionally crafted graphic design.

However, utilising a professional a graphic designer could be the integral step in the process of establishing and maintaining a successful business.

So what is graphic design, and how can good design help your business?

Graphic design is the process of visual communication, and problem-solving through the use of type, space, image and colour.

Graphic design helps you make a great first impression. Consumers tend to gravitate towards better-designed products, while providing a positive anchor in their minds. Good design gives you instant credibility, inspires confidence and trustworthiness, and clearly communicates its point to your audience.

Poor graphic design can have an adverse effect on your product or brand!

Have you ever visited a website that was hard to navigate, or an advertisement in a magazine that was hard to figure out?

Perhaps you left the website feeling frustrated and didn’t complete the task that brought you there.

Furthermore, an advertisement that is difficult to read or visually disorienting would fail to get your attention long enough to convey the message it was trying to. Advertisers spent thousands of pounds that fail to convert to a sale, and worse the design the costlier it can be for a business.

Good graphic design connects a marketing piece together.

Typography, colours, images, and the hierarchy are the resources a graphic designer uses to create a design that clearly communicates brand, information and value in an eye-catching way. Designers use these principles to minimise distracting, less-important elements and highlight the things that are important, allowing viewers to quickly see what they need to know to decide on a purchase.

Good graphic design make good business sense…

If you feel that your branding is inconsistent or elements of design are letting you down, let’s have a chat. Give me a call on 01293 886805 or email me.

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Children’s book design

Tuxedo’s Tales is a fun and informative book for children of all ages. Bringing wildlife and the countryside to life through the eyes of Tuxedo. This book will take you on a magical adventure as I tell you all about my year in the Sussex countryside. You’ll read about the new friends I meet and the adventures we have together. At the end of each chapter is a Pearl of Wisdom which will teach you good behaviour, respect and consideration, as well as a few of life’s ethics and morals.

The book includes lots of beautiful illustrations by Katie Tunn. Think of characters with kind eyes, soft coloured drawings; think of a modern day Beatrix Potter and you have Tuxedo’s Tales.
I am a real horse I do exist. I am alive and kicking enjoying my retirement being cuddled, groomed, going for leisurely rides and enjoying lots of carrots.

As Tuxedo was a rescued horse, a percentage of the profits of the book will be going to Horse Welfare so they can help other horses to have a happier life. I hope you enjoy reading the book
You can buy my book on this website here.  www.tuxedostales.co.uk

To have a look at our work for Tuxedo’s Tales please visit :
www.turquoise-creative.co.uk/portfolio/tuxedos-tales-book

 

Tuxedo-portf

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ACUMEN Launch Party

The Year of the Zebra

Commercial Solicitors Acumen Business Law work in Brighton, Sussex and the South East. Acumen Business Law is an award-winning, innovative and dynamic Law Firm, providing legal services in a way different to other law firms:

What a fun evening we had at the Gatwick Office Launch Party of ACUMEN BUSINESS LAW last night. It was held at the prestigious showroom of Mercedes Gatwick. Surrounded by the most amazing cars we were all entertained by a dance troop painted like zebras, free cocktail bar and food prepared by ASK Crawley.

Thank you to ACUMEN BUSINESS LAW for the evening and to Mercedes Gatwick for hosting the event.

ACUMEN Launch Party

 

ACUMEN Launch Party

 

Free legal MOT

In our Free Legal MOT session you will meet one of our Commercial Solicitors for approximately 1.5 hours (at no cost), to discuss with you all the legal aspects of your business, including using the law to your business advantage; Brand Protection & TM; legal essentials to secure your business; guidance on contracts with clients, suppliers and other parties; Employment Law issues; cost-effective dispute mitigation; and other specific legal queries you may have.

Fixed fees – no hourly rate charges

In a bold move in the legal industry, ACUMEN BUSINESS LAW scrapped the hourly rate system and operates a fixed fee-pricing model quoting fees at the outset (excluding contentious matters). This means you can get in touch as and when you need without the need to watch the clock.

Your own legal director

You can have your own legal director who is a qualified solicitor specialising in Business Law.

Your own HR solicitor

You can also have your own dedicated HR Solicitor who specialises in HR and Employment Law matters.

Commercially astute solicitors:

We are the only firm of solicitors in the area of Brighton & Hove in East Sussex who specialise in all aspects of Business Law and advise business clients only. We are genuinely interested in and enthusiastic about business. We particularly enjoy using our knowledge of the law to help our clients’ business and negotiate a great deal on their behalf.

Approachable accessible and unpretentious

We have broken away from the aloof culture that is so associated with the legal profession by ensuring all our people are accessible, approachable and unpretentious.

ACUMEN BUSINESS LAW – make sure we are on your side.

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