Monday, 23 December 2013

fatBuzz Uncovered - What we do, what we really, really do - Social Media Podcast Edition 60


I started the first podcast of this year (No.50) promising to publish more podcast content in 2013 - I have failed to deliver my promise.  Once again, pressure of work and our commitment to our clients has restricted the amount of podcasts we have been able to produce.

In fact, this podcast started as a compromise but it has worked out remarkably well, I think it's a great insight into the workings of fatBuzz.  

Here we are on the 23rd December and everyone was too busy to stop for an hour to record a podcast so I decided to take the podcast to them.  I toured the office, a bit like Martin Brundle in the pit lane before a race and I spoke to every member of staff (those not on holiday) and I think the result is probably more interesting than any Grand Prix race this year.

2013 has been a momentous year for everyone in the office and this was a great opportunity to find out what each and every one of them do on a day-to-day basis.  Along the way I also managed to quiz the various team members about the particular challenges, likes and highlights of their year at fatBuzz.

It really is a most revealing insight into what we do for our clients every day of the year.

I also manage to cover a few social media and web development topics with the guys as I chat my way across the astroturf - yes, our office is completely covered in astroturf and even has fun things like golf chipping nets for clients to take our 'find the net' challenge!

It's not all social media and web design, I catch up with Brian, he heads up our accounts department and has had a busy year introducing new processes and procedures - none more taxing than the implementation of a new time sheet regime!!!

Here are some of the general topics we discuss in addition to the revealing chat about the daily goings-on at fatBuzz:
  • Design for Print and why its been much busier this year than in recent years
  • The emphasis on data driven social media and web development
  • Podcasting and the reasons for its revival during 2013 
  • Content plans - Why they are critical to what we do?
  • Face-to-face meetings - Why they are critical to what we do?
  • Facebook challenges - Why is the reach diminishing almost daily?
  • Facebook competitions
  • Facebook Stats - Are they really accurate?
  • Responsive and Flat Design web sites
  • Responsive Design HTML Email - Why do they continue to be a problem?
We hope you enjoy the podcast, if you have any comments to make or topics you would like us to discuss, please leave them here on the blog or on our Facebook Page.

Play the podcast here:






Would you like a presentation on social media and customer service?
We're offering a range of bespoke or generic presentations on the topic of social media and customer service, if you would like to find out more please go to the following link: Are you prepared to lose control?

Have you listened to the digital copyright podcast?
We continue to see people using images, video content and other files taken from the internet without consideration to potential copyright issues. We would encourage all of our listeners to download Social Media Podcast 50 which clearly outlines what you should and shouldn't do with images sourced online. Find it on iTunes now.

WHAT WOULD YOU LIKE US TO TALK ABOUT?

If there is a specific topic you would like us to cover in a future podcast please let us know. You can email gordon@fatbuzz.com or send us a message on Twitter @MediaPodcast or, you can post it as a comment on the Social Media Podcast Facebook page.


If you have found this post interesting please share it with your on-line community using either the Twitter, Facebook and Share buttons below. Thank You.


Monday, 16 December 2013

January New Media Breakfast - Influence Marketing

    

  

INFLUENCE MARKETING
How to identify and use key influencers to market your business

DATE: Friday 31st January 2014
VENUE: 29, 29 Royal Exchange Square, Glasgow

Using people to influence buying decisions is not a new marketing tactic; celebrity sponsorship and celebrity endorsements have been a central part of marketing for some of the biggest brands in the world for many years. It’s not only been a tactic for the big brands, you may have used customer testimonials in the past and that is a form of Influence Marketing.

There is little doubt that it works and people are swayed by what people who influence them say about a product or service. But, it’s not just celebrities who influence us, people within our own communities and everyday lives have as much, if not more, clout when it comes to even the smallest decisions.

The emergence of social media has put Influence Marketing within the grasp of even the smallest business; it is possible for every company to harness the power of word of mouth in new and extremely effective ways.

It’s not just about turning happy customers into ambassadors, although that can be an important element; it’s about identifying who can influence a buying decision and that may not always be people you deal with directly.

Like all marketing, it is important to identify the aims and objectives. There are many ways to use Influence Marketing; it needn’t just be about influencing a buying decision. It could be to raise awareness, change a perception, or to encourage you to support a cause, there are many ways to use it effectively.

At the January New Media Breakfasts, we will be exploring how the Internet, and in particular social media, is making Influence Marketing an important part of the marketing mix. We will explore the following:
  • How Influence Marketing works
  • Identifying your objectives
  • How to identify your key influencers
  • Methods of utilising influencers
  • Incentivising influencers – or not?
We will also offer some examples of how businesses, large and small, are successfully adopting Influence Marketing tactics via social media to find new customers and extend their reach.

SPEAKERS
The January New Media Breakfast will be presented by Gordon White, Managing Director, fatBuzz Ltd and Derek Howie, Social Media Manager, fatBuzz Ltd

HOW TO BOOK
Venue: 29, Royal Exchages Square, Glasgow
Date: Friday 31st January 2014
Time: 7.30am for 8am
Cost: £10 +VAT
BOOK FOR NEW MEDIA BREAKFAST GLASGOW HERE:

No.29 MEMBERS GO FREE 
If you are a 29 Member you can attend the breakfast free of charge. Please email fiona@fatbuzz.com with you membership number and she will add you to the attendance list.

We hope you can make it along to this event. If so, I look forward to seeing you on the day.

If you have found this post interesting please share it with your online community using either the Twitter, Facebook and Share buttons below. Thank You.

    

  

Tuesday, 3 December 2013

A genuine entrepreneurial exchange...

    

  

I attended the annual Entrepreneurial Exchange Awards Dinner at the Hilton Hotel in Glasgow on Thursday evening; as usual this was a first class affair with lots of opportunity to catch up with old friends, meet some new ones and generally be inspired by the stories told throughout the evening.

I've been going to this event for years and, even through the recent economic downturn, I've always come away rejuvenated and encouraged by the fellow members.  And, contrary to some beliefs, it's not about people selling out for millions, it's about everyday people in Scotland building businesses of scale, creating employment and contributing greatly to the Scottish economy. 


The member's businesses are diverse.  At my table was John Boyle who built and sold Direct Holidays and now runs Hamilton Portfolio, an investment company that supports many entrepreneurial business in Scotland.  Next to John was William Frame of Breamore Estates who was enthusing about his latest business venture - Cromars, a traditional fish and chip shop in St Andrews!  Beside William was one of this year's Entrepreneur of the Year finalists, Wayne Godfrey from Browns Food Group who own and operate over a dozen well known food brands throughout the UK.


But, this is what it's really all about...
Sitting immediately on my left was Tamlin Roberts from Mercurytide, a business providing services very similar to that of fatBuzz - in most circumstances people will view us as competitors but, as fellow members of the Entrepreneurial Exchange neither of us do.  In fact, we had a very interesting and open discussion about our respective businesses, the clients we work with and the industry in general.

Even more remarkable was the fact that on almost the same day that fatBuzz launched the new Dean's Shortbread web site and eCommerce store Mercurytide launch the new web site and eCommerce store for Walkers Shortbread!  So there we were, two people operating businesses offering similar services, working with the two main players in the shortbread industry.




I found it refreshing to be able to enjoy dinner with Tamlin and to share experiences with each other, I know the evening was beneficial to me for that single experience.  Here's what Tamlin had to say about our time together, “FatBuzz has really helped businesses get hold of the Social Media world and like us are passionate about ensuring our customers are highly successful in their respective industries. It was funny to think that we were working on similar projects for similar clients at the same time".

I also took part in a video interview with Lord Willie Haughey and the interviewer asked about the value of Entrepreneurial Exchange membership and I immediately recalled an event some years ago that summed up the value for me.  


I was scheduled to visit Walmart in Bentonville, a business well know to Lord Haughey.  As a fellow Exchange member, I called to see if he could provide any pointers and without hesitation he said come straight over as he had a spare half hour.  Fours later I left his office with my pitch tweaked and fully briefed on what to expect.  The subsequent trip resulted in an order for $250,000+ which was in no small way due to the advice he gave me.


I would recommend Entrepreneurial Exchange membership to anybody who is genuinely interested in sharing knowledge and helping fellow members, even if they are "competitors".


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Monday, 25 November 2013

We're delighted to announce YOU won!

    

  

We are delighted to announce that fatBuzz won the WeDo Scotland 'High Growth Company of the Year' award at an amazing ceremony in Edinburgh's Sheraton Hotel on Friday night. Without you, all of our valued clients, we could not possibly have won this award, so in reality, YOU won the award for us and we thank each and every one of you for contribution.

Traditionally, we don't enter for awards but on this occasion we were delighted to accept the nomination because we knew the WeDo Scotland Awards are independently judged by a panel of experts. We'd also like to thank the judges, Russell Dalgleish, Graham Langley, Alan Steel and Jack Ogston for recognising the hard work and progress made by the whole team at fatBuzz during 2013.


Thanks also for the hard work applied by Belinda Roberts, Chief Executive at WeDo Scotland and her General Manager, Gill Eastgate, not just for the awards dinner, but for all of the work and great events they host throughout the year.


We are very proud of our team at fatBuzz and thank you to each and every one of them for the hard work done throughout the year and for helping us to achieve this award.  


We are looking forward to 2014 and we have some great developments in the pipeline to extend the growth and the range of services we can offer you in the future.


An overnight success that took 27 years...
Many people don't realise the origins of fatBuzz go back to 1986 when I set up Design Matters which for 20+ years essentially operated as a lifestyle business. In 2007, we decided to completely restructure and develop a business of scale.

We realised communication was changing and the way people connect with each other was being revolutionised by technology and social media.  We set about creating an agency truly capable of meeting client requirements in the 21st century - a one stop shop for all of their marketing requirements.  The biggest step was the total rebrand of the company to become fatBuzz; this took place on the 17th June 2010 and we haven't looked back since.


Truly an agency for the 21st century...
Screen Shot of Deans Web Site
View Web Site
We are genuinely able to offer all of the support a client needs to promote and market their business. We continue to offer the original core services in branding, design for print and marketing. Interestingly, the design for print division of the business has been busier in 2013 than it has been for three or four years, a clear indication of our commitment to traditional forms of marketing as well as the increasingly favoured online methods.

The web design and development side of the business has been incredibly busy this year with some interesting and complex web and eCommerce sites going live for a wide range of clients.  One reason for our success in this area is the fact that we have a very good team of developers at fatBuzz; we don't outsource the web development, so clients can lift the phone and talk directly to the developer in the same time zone.  We will also be launching our own new website very soon but as the say in Scotland, 'the cobblers bairns are aye the worst shod' - hopefully our team will find the time soon to finish the site!


Video and audio play a big part in marketing today, and as with web design, we have our own in-house production for audio and video. 2013 has proven to be an exceedingly busy time for the team who have filmed all over the country from as far north as Huntly to London in the south.

It probably goes without saying that social media and brand journalism are essential to businesses in the 21st century and fatBuzz has made enormous strides in creating a truly first class team of content creators and account managers who help brands tell their story on a daily basis.  Our in-house journalists provide exactly what clients need today; engaging stories that raise awareness and build communities.


A real one stop shop...
Perhaps the biggest factor in our recent success is the way all of these services work together to form a total solution for our clients. Frequently, all of the departments work together on a single project or campaign, and this is something our clients really appreciate.

In 2013 we have been fortunate enough to have several clients ask us to manage all of their marketing activities; they genuinely appreciate the benefits of working with a single agency that has a range of expertise that can be acquired individually but increasingly they are using them collectively to great effect.


This is only the start...
Success to date has been largely down to our understanding of the requirements of modern business and we will continue to develop the business based on what you need. We have some exciting development to announce in 2014 and we look forward to working with you all in the future.  

If you have found this post interesting please share it with your online community using either the Twitter, Facebook and Share buttons below. Thank you.


    

  

Thursday, 21 November 2013

What a wonderful time of year for fatBuzz and our clients


      


It has been a fantastic year here at fatBuzz, and it could get a whole lot better tomorrow evening - as we are nominated in the High Growth Company category of WeDO’s annual awards ceremony.

We are absolutely thrilled to have been nominated for this award, and it is testament to the hard work and effort that our talented team have put in throughout the past year or so.

We are home to a creative and innovative team with a diverse range of backgrounds, including design, marketing, journalism, and PR, and without them, we wouldn’t be half as successful as we are.

As proud as we are to be nominated, we have been slightly overshadowed by our fantastic clients, who have been successful in various awards ceremonies across a range of industry sectors.

Last night, two of our clients scooped awards at The Herald Society Awards 2013; New College Lanarkshire won the Education Initiative of the Year, while The Scottish Guardianship Service, run by Aberlour Child Care Trust in partnership with the Scottish Refugee Council, won ‘Young People’s Project of the Year’.

The ‘Young People’s Project of the Year’ is one of many awards that Aberlour has won this year. The Scottish Guardianship Service won the highly prestigious Partnership of the Year at the SCVO Charity Awards 2013, Aberlour Options - Borders won an award at the Scottish Business Diversity Awards 2013, Aberlour Youthpoint Glasgow was presented with the Young Award at the Evening Times Community Champion Awards, and Aberlour Family Outreach - Dumfries & Galloway won the School and Learning Community Award at Nithsdale Community Achievement Awards 2013.

Just last week, two of our clients, Spectrum Service Solutions and Phoenix Car, were nominated for ‘Family Business of the Year’ at the Renfrewshire Chamber of Commerce Awards 2013. Unfortunately, they couldn’t share the award, and Spectrum were the deserving victors on the night. The success doesn’t stop there for Spectrum, as they have also been shortlisted for ‘Scottish Family Business of the Year (Large)’ at the Herald Scottish Family Business Awards 2013!


Our clients in the health and beauty industry have been particularly successful this year. Edinburgh-based beauty salon and spa, Zen Lifestyle, has been shortlisted in four categories in the prestigious Professional Beauty Awards 2014, while Glasgow barber, Rebel Rebel, was nominated for Men's Stylist of the Year at The Scottish Hair and Beauty Awards 2013, and Best Barber and Best Website at The INAA Scottish Hair & Beauty Awards.

The innovative Lustre Pure Light acne treatment technology has been selected as a shortlisted finalist for three awards at the Aesthetic Awards 2013-14, coming on the back of winning a prestigious Gold in the 'Best Product Innovation' category last year. Lustre has also been selected as a finalist for the prestigious award 15th Annual Medical Design Excellence Awards competition.

Saks Hair & Beauty is another client who has had a tremendously successful year. Among many other awards, Claire Denyer at Saks Kings Hill scooped the coveted title of Franchisee of the Year at the British Hairdressing Business Awards, and Saks Doncaster scooped the coveted Men’s Image Award at the L’OrĂ©al Colour Trophy Grand Final.

Away from the health and beauty industry, Excel Vending was Highly Commended for Best Local Operating Company and Vending Supervisor of the Year at The Vending Industry Awards, and Greenvale Farm Fresh all rounder potatoes won the Meal Accompaniment Category at The Grocer New Products Awards.

Moving northwards, Dean's Shortbread, whose website we recently designed and developed, were recently shortlisted for Exporter of the Year at the annual Food & Drink Federation Awards, and picked up a hat-trick of awards at the Grampian Food Forum Innovation Awards, including the Investing in Skills Development Award, bronze award for Best New Retail Product, and gold award for Best Packaging for their premium Mary Steele gift brand. 

Earlier in the summer, Mary Steele also won the best Bakery & Cereals product at the Scottish Food & Drink Excellence Awards. Mitchells Dairy, who are slightly closer to home in Inverurie, won Local Independent Retailer of the Year at the Grampian Food Forum Innovation Awards, and the Healthy Option Retailer of the Year at the first ever Scottish Grocers Federation Retail Excellence awards!


The Royal Yacht Britannia had a glorious year of celebrations in its 60th anniversary year, winning the TripAdvisor Travellers' Choice® 2013 award and TripAdvisor Excellence Award, and being nominated for Most Stylish Entertainment Venue at the Scottish Style Awards.

Britannia also achieved the highest mark ever awarded to a visitor attraction in VisitScotland’s quality assurance five star grading (95.85%), and the Green Tourism Gold Award which awards the most environmentally friendly businesses for good sustainable practices.

Last but not least, Club 29 won Scotland’s Nightclub of the Year at The Scottish Entertainment Awards, while 29 Managing Director, Lynn Mortimer, received the Bighearted Scot 2013 title at the Bighearted Scotland Awards 2013.


As we're sure you'll agree, 2013 has been a hugely successful year for fatBuzz and our clients, and we are incredibly proud of each and every one of them. Here’s to 2014...


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Friday, 15 November 2013

Work Experience Student Shows Hunger for Success

    

  

For the past four days, the fatBuzz team have been privileged to have Lex Moore, a fifteen year old pupil from Wellington School, in the office on work experience.

From social media marketing and video production, to web design and development, Lex has been involved in every aspect of the business.

But rather than us telling you what she’s been up to, we thought we would let Lex do the honour.

On the Tuesday when I arrived here, I spent the morning learning about what fatBuzz does and spent time delving further into social media.

After this, I began to write a blog post about a subject I personally like a lot called The Hunger Games. I wrote two separate articles, one about my favourite character, and the other about why I love The Hunger Games so much. (You can read Lex's blog posts HERE). 

It was interesting and I had fun testing myself on how to write in a way suited to the Internet. I enjoyed the writing aspect a lot.

On the Wednesday while I was here, I had the opportunity to go with Malcolm to film a piece of footage for a company and see how the system works. Later in the day, I set up my own blog using WordPress and was able to personalise it by choosing my own theme.



I also looked over coding using CodeAcademy which helped me learn about coding after I had only touched on it at school.

After lunch I also had a look at Photoshop and was able to edit a header for my blog with David. I learned how to use some simple aspects of Photoshop as I had never used it before.

On Thursday, I went over the blog posts I had written two days previously and edited them quickly to fit my blog.

After this I filmed a couple of videos, one being about my time here at fatBuzz, which you can view above. I edited the video after which was fun, and gave me a view on some editing skills and how to make a video look good.

After adding music and photos into the video we uploaded it to Vimeo. Later on in the day, Joanna and I put my previously written posts onto my blog and added hyperlinks for each post.

We then added my video I recorded about The Hunger Games into my second post. After learning this, WordPress seemed a lot easier to use, and I will definitely be continuing with my blog.

We certainly hope Lex will be continuing with her blog, because she is a terrific writer with undoubted ability. We have no doubt that she is well on her way to achieving her dreams of being a writer or journalist.

You never know, she might even end up working right here at fatBuzz...

If you have found this post interesting please share it with your online community using either the Twitter, Facebook and Share buttons below. Thank you.

    

  

Monday, 11 November 2013

Dean's: A Short and Sweet Process

    

  

As you may have noticed in various media outlets including The Drum and The Scotsman earlier this year, fatBuzz was enlisted to design and develop a brand-new website and online store for global shortbread brand, Dean's.

Last week, after less than three months of hard work and dedication, we were delighted to launch a site that is not only modern and visually appealing, but one which also maintains Dean's traditional heritage and identity.

One of our main aims when building the new Dean's site was to simplify the process for the admin staff and remove confusion for the customer.

Prior to launch, the site was split into three elements: content about the company, the shop, and the blog. The main issue was that each of these parts were completely different in look and feel, not to mention they each had separate domain names.

The old Dean's website: leading to inconsistent pages and sections

We wanted users to be able to land on any part of the site and navigate seamlessly from the main content to the online shop to the latest news section, all while having a consistent navigation.

It was also very important that Dean's personnel could log in to one central location that would give them control over all elements of the site; something that we've managed to achieve with great success.

Stand out from the competition

Before beginning our design process, we looked at the analytics on the previous site and noticed a considerable amount of traffic from mobile devices and from older desktop machines.

So, in order to cater for the right markets, we had to make it responsive and ensure cross-browser compatibility as much as possible.

Not only that, we had to ensure that the site was scalable; whether we had 1 product or 1000 products, the site should feel just as approachable and manageable.

Design - Meetings, moodboards and meticulous planning

http://www.deans.co.uk/
The brand-new Dean's homepage

With all these ideas in mind, the design process began by having a meeting amongst ourselves and meticulously examining the good and bad parts of the existing site, which gave us an idea of what to keep and what to improve on.

From there, we created wireframes of the site, so that we had an idea as to what the customer journey would look like. Having created some moodboards to help express our ideas and vision for the site, we presented a considerable number of different designs, which varied in colour, element size and position - once this was approved, work commenced on building the site.

Development, details and devices

Looking at the site, there are subtle details such as using different graphics for mobile devices compared to the desktop equivalent, but regardless of which device you're using, you won't miss any of the key content.

Once the core site was complete, we integrated the ecommerce side of the business, and started to build the responsive element.

http://www.deans.co.uk/shop/
Online store: Full range launching on 20th November

Testing the site then involved dummy purchases, awkwardly sized images, extra-long blog titles, poor networking conditions, and most importantly, feedback from Dean's.

Finally, we moved the test site onto the live server, which involved some more testing to ensure that all elements were still working as expected.

From an SEO perspective, we made sure that old links were being permanently redirected to their new site equivalent, which ensures that all the work put into Dean's SEO to date won't be diminished.

Now that the site was completed, it was time to let people know about it. As we're sure most of you will already know, we have worked with Dean's on their social media management for the past two years - so we of course utilised social media.

http://www.deans.co.uk/competition/
Facebook graphic for Dean's competition

However, rather than physically running the competition on Facebook or Twitter, we decided instead to run it on the website to drive traffic - thus far, we have received almost 3000 entries!

Thankfully, all the hours of hard work from both sides has thoroughly paid off, and we're sure you'll agree that the new website looks absolutely fantastic.

Please feel free to have a look around the site, and give us your feedback by either commenting on this blog post, or by getting in touch on Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn.

And don't forget to enter the competition to win a delicious Dean's hamper - just in time for Christmas!

If you have found this post interesting please share it with your online community using either the Twitter, Facebook and Share buttons below. Thank you.


    

  

Wednesday, 6 November 2013

Social Media Podcast Edition 59 - Is Facebook losing the teen battle to Twitter? And Gordon sleeps with Pamela Anderson!


Social Media Podcast No.59 has a fairly full team in attendance; Gordon White is joined by Kyle Murdoch, Cameron WilsonGraeme Geddes and Joanna Robb from fatBuzz.

It's been a while since the last podcast and, as we explain in the podcast, we've been extremely busy on client work.  In fact, we share with you some of the work we've been doing and some of the new clients we've won recently.


We also introduce the newest member of the fatBuzz team, Cameron Wilson who joins in on the podcast for the first time. And, Graeme Geddes got married since the last edition so we wish him and Lesley well as they start married life together.

As usual we cover lots of topics in no particular order with some light hearted banter along the way. Here are some of the things we discuss in the podcast starting with everyone's favourite example from the recent Social Media Winners & Losers New Media Breakfast presentation:
  • Gordon recounts when he slept with Pamela Anderson!
  • Hahtags and how they can play a part in extending your campaigns
  • Twitter is bigger than Facebook for teens?  Is it true?
  • Creative inspiration from STA Travel Go to STA Travel's blog
  • Meilee Anderson enjoys success through great content and engagement Visit page...
  • Facebook Promoted Posts, are they working for you?
  • 3 in 10 Americans get their news on Facebook but are they looking for News?
  • Merging Facebook Pages - some useful advice
  • Social Media Audits - do you know what assets you've got?
  • Some recent fatBuzz projects and some new clients
  • - The Governor of Punjab's new web site Visit site...
    - Dean's Shortbread get a new web site and eCommerce store
    - Camargue Group Visit web site...
    - Zen Lifestyle - Visit web site...
  • Video is getting more popular - have you considered using it yet?
  • Podcasting is gaining in popularity - don't overlook it for getting your message out 
We hope you enjoy the podcast, if you have any comments to make or topics you would like us to discuss, please leave them here on the blog or on our Facebook Page.

Play the podcast here:






Would you like a presentation on social media and customer service?
We're offering a range of bespoke or generic presentations on the topic of social media and customer service, if you would like to find out more please go to the following link: Are you prepared to lose control?

Have you listened to the digital copyright podcast?
We continue to see people using images, video content and other files taken from the internet without consideration to potential copyright issues. We would encourage all of our listeners to download Social Media Podcast 50 which clearly outlines what you should and shouldn't do with images sourced online. Find it on iTunes now.

WHAT WOULD YOU LIKE US TO TALK ABOUT?

If there is a specific topic you would like us to cover in a future podcast please let us know. You can email gordon@fatbuzz.com or send us a message on Twitter @MediaPodcast or, you can post it as a comment on the Social Media Podcast Facebook page.

Watch the Dove Beauty Sketches video here


If you have found this post interesting please share it with your on-line community using either the Twitter, Facebook and Share buttons below. Thank You.


Monday, 4 November 2013

Flat design, your target market and making your site more accessible

It has become something of a taboo subject in design recently: everyone is talking about it, Apple have designed their latest mobile operating system around it, and new websites are popping up every day utilising it (some doing it very well, others not so much). The subject, of course, is flat design.

At this point, we should probably give you a rough overview of what flat design is. No longer do we have thick gradients, heavy shadows and the idea of objects jumping off the screen, and gone are the faux leather books, mock notepads and glossy bubbles. All of this falls under the category of skeuomorphism, which in simplistic terms, is the anti-flat design.

With flat design, we’re treated to block colours, subtle to-the-point-of-being-almost-unnoticeable gradients, no shadows anywhere to be seen (unless necessary to give text a faint definition) and an emphasis on text and imagery to convey the user message.

So, what is our opinion on flat design? We asked fatBuzz web developer and former Apple employee, Jon Mills, the self-confessed loather of skeuomorphism for his (slightly biased) opinion.

Personally, when done well, I love flat design. I think it’s cleaner, easier to navigate and far more appealing to the eye. Equally, a lot of people find it too vibrant, and with the removal of indicators as to what an icon or section denotes, users are finding it difficult to get used to. Ultimately, like any change though, it will take time to adapt.

For me though, there are some understated benefits to flat design, and this was particularly highlighted by one particular client’s requirements.

At fatBuzz, we are managing a site for Superior Homes, a property developer in Kenya (where the infrastructure is still in its infancy regarding internet connections) so we’ve had to ensure that we can deliver certain content at a relatively low file size, so that it can be viewed on a Kenyan connection in reasonable time.

The same can also be said for mobile sites, which will sometimes be accessed on a mobile network that won’t always have the rapid speeds we’re used to here in the UK.

Flat design can help complement both these scenarios, by ridding itself of the code and images required to create a skeuomorphic environment.

For example, a flat designed pink block may only take 3 lines of code, whereas the same block with shadows and gradients could take upwards of 20 lines by the time you’re finished covering all browsers (read my blog on browser compatibility).

Extrapolate that into a full site and you could end up adding several hundreds of lines of code, which will of course take that bit longer to load.

When we’re in an industry where everyone wants information yesterday in the palm of their hand, you need to consider ways to achieve this - and improved loading times of 2-3 seconds could make all the difference to the user experience.

Of course, this does pose a few questions to consider about your existing website, and whether it caters for your target audience.

Do you look at the figures to see where in the world people are viewing your site, and do you consider the devices they view them on? Optimising your site is every bit as important as having a presence on the web, and making sure it’s suitable for your clients isn’t something that should be overlooked.

This is a topic that I could write 30 pages about though, so rather than overwhelm you with countless facts and figures, I would invite anyone with questions regarding flat design, their target audience and/or site optimisation, to get in touch with either myself, David or Stuart on 0141 427 0727.

I’ll leave you with a link to the very best of flat design http://fltdsgn.com/ - please let us know which site is your favourite and why by commenting on the blog or on Twitter or Facebook.

If you have found this post interesting please share it with your online community using either the Twitter, Facebook and Share buttons below. Thank you.


    

  

Monday, 28 October 2013

So, who were this year’s social media winners and losers?

    

  

For those who were unable to attend Friday's New Media Breakfast at 29 Private Members Club, you missed a hugely interesting, and at times extremely humorous event.

The topic of Friday's breakfast, 'Social Media Winners and Losers', was to look at a broad range of successful (and less successful) social media campaigns and explore what we can learn from them.

In front of a healthy crowd, complete with a welcome number of new faces, Gordon started off proceedings with Dove’s Real Beauty Sketches campaign.

Dove decided to conduct a 'compelling social experiment that explores how women view their own beauty in contrast to what others see'. The resulting video, which you can view below, has, thus far, amassed over 56 million on views on YouTube.


As one of our attendees, Thea Newcombe said, this emotive campaign was definitely a social media winner.


As well as Dove, Gordon focused his attention on Asos’s brilliant #DenimPairs campaign.
Essentially, this live, interactive Twitter campaign encouraged people to tweet in two numbers, and if they matched up the pictures on the cards, they could win their perfect pair of jeans

As the video below explains, Asos trended worldwide after just 11 minutes, and then for the duration of the competition. 5,971 tweets used the hashtag during the 32 minutes that the activity ran, with 2,362 unique users.


Of course, we haven’t got the time, or space, to fit all of Gordon’s presentation into one blog post, but here are some highlights (or perhaps lowlights?) of this year’s social media losers.

After British Gas announced a £120 increase to annual energy bills, some wisecrack in the marketing department decided it would be a good idea to launch a question and answer session on Twitter.


Unsurprisingly, the questions, some of which you can see below, weren’t quite what British Gas was expecting.


The biggest laugh of the morning came when Gordon discussed Conservative MP Gavin Barwell’s Twitter gaffe.

The Croydon Central MP was left red-faced after a plan to expose Labour for making money off a ‘date Arab girls’ link backfired and revealed it was actually a targeted advert for his computer!


Of course, these are just a select few of Friday’s winners and losers. Gordon also discussed IRN-BRU’s ‘fanny’ advert (which was launched by a randomly selected follower with just 329 followers), Tennent’s Lager’s SelfTie campaign, Tesco's 'hit the hay' storm, and Belvedere's questionable advert.

As always, we hope you enjoyed Friday’s breakfast, and hope that you can adapt some of these examples and make it work for your business.

Remember, as Gordon explained, we can learn as much from the social media losers as we can from the winners, and identify what not to do.

Do you have a social media success story that you would like to share with us? Or is there a particular social media failure that we didn't touch on?

If so, leave a comment on the blog, or get in touch with us on Facebook or Twitter.

If you want to come along to the November New Media Breakfast, and receive some Christmas tips from Craig McGill, you can click HERE to find out more.

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Friday, 25 October 2013

November New Media Breakfast with Craig McGill - Christmas Tips and a Peek at 2014

    

  

CHRISTMAS TIPS AND A PEEK AT 2014

DATE: Friday 29th November 2013
VENUE: 29 Member's Club, Royal Exchange Square, Glasgow

THE TOPIC
It's almost Christmas and if you don't have social and digital plans in place already then your goose is probably cooked! But for those doing a last minute social scramble, Craig McGill, Digital Strategist at Weber Shandwick is on hand to deliver some handy last minute Christmas tips that might help B2B and B2C get some last minute sales in.

And – as it's nearly that time of year – a quick look ahead with some predictions as to what 2014 is going to bring social and digital.

So for last minute Xmas advice or a sneak peak to 2014, the November New Media Breakfast presentation is the place to be.

THE SPEAKER
Craig McGill, Weber Shandwick will present the November New Media Breakfast.

Craig is one of Scotland’s leading social media consultants; working with companies throughout the UK, many in the whisky industry, he has built an excellent reputation as a social media visionary and practitioner. He is a regular speaker at business networking and training events and we look forward to his insight into one of the great Scottish economic success stories in recent years.
Craig on LinkedIn

HOW TO BOOK
Venue: 29 Member's Club, Royal Exchange Square, Glasgow
Date: Friday 29thth November 2013
Time: 7.30am for 8am
Cost: £10+VAT

BOOK FOR NEW MEDIA BREAKFAST GLASGOW HERE:

No.29 MEMBERS GO FREE
If you are a 29 Member you can attend the breakfast free of charge. Please email fiona@fatbuzz.com with you membership number and he will add you to the attendance list.
We hope you can make it along to this event. If so, I look forward to seeing you on the day.

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