All posts in Clarity Creation

BLOG: Firsts

by Wayne Stuart

This piece was meant to be written just after Christmas 2015, but with the weight of work and pace of life, here it is two months late, not too bad.

It’s fortunate that this piece is late because it was based on two ‘firsts’ for us, which turned into three. The first of the firsts was an installation at the fabulous Our Lady Immaculate Primary School. We were asked to create designs for a stained glass window for their new chapel at the school, something inspirational for the children, something calming and thought provoking. A unique and absorbing challenge! They didn’t want anything overtly religious but it had to have a religious feeling. We immediately thought of the stunning windows at Liverpool Metropolitan Cathedral. When a couple of designs were rejected we finally took inspiration from an act that takes place, shapes our everyday lives and can be called miraculous… daybreak. That early morning sunrise that is referred to as ‘heavenly glory’. The finish was created with a permanent vinyl which can be enjoyed inside and out. The effect when it captures the light is truly inspirational and thanks to the vision of OLI is something we are immensely proud of.

The second of the firsts was our first Christmas campaign for Merseyrail. Winning a competitive pitch is always a huge boost, but when the client has the same vision you have when faced with a simple sketch and a head full of ideas. It tells you that they have faith and trust in the agency. This was a true team effort, and thanks to the fantastic CGI work from Justin Metz, a simple sketch became quite magical and life like. We wanted to bring an old fashioned charm and Disney-esq magic back to Christmas and thanks to everyone involved we think it really worked.

Our third first was the creation and production of a child’s activity book. A simple yet effective piece of design that communicates important safety messages about the Merseyrail network. Colouring in, spot the difference and bespoke nursery rhymes are brought together with original illustrations and characters created to engage and inform a young audience, and with the added bonus of giving the Accounts team something challenging to do in their lunch hour!

 

Will 2016 be the year of Snapchat?

Source: The Drum

Snapchat may be on the charm offensive for ad spend but it is still relatively closed off to advertisers, planting it firmly in the test-and-learn arena rather than tried-and-tested at the moment.

The ephemeral platform has overcome its perceived immaturity and is set to tip from niche network to mainstream marvel this year. Its association with sexting and selfies wasn’t the easiest sell-in to advertisers but a growing list of influential brand and media partnerships with the likes of Coca-Cola, Burberry and the Wall Street Journal is allowing agencies to pitch Snapchat without a resulting snicker.

For most advertisers, the quickest win available to them on the social network has been to bypass its eye-bulging ad prices and get influencers to push messages out through their channels. It’s meant that many marketers are carefully considering Snapchat on a brand-by-brand basis as to the appropriateness, role and nature of content in this environment and indeed the reach opportunities.

However, Snapchat wants to be a premium media buy; a string of high-profile hires for its fledgling ad business and rumours of the arrival of an ad tech platform later this year highlight its bid to become more than just a messaging app to advertisers. Executives have been meeting with agencies in the UK since the turn of the year to discuss future opportunities around sport and music, both of which are pitched as big opportunities for potential advertisers, according to one source close to those discussions. Those meetings are also understood to have teased more meaty partnerships from Snapchat’s publisher network Discover and, interestingly, have been at pains to stress that it is not just the preserve of teenagers.

More than 75 per cent of Snapchat users are over 18 years old, said one agency source, making it a sensible media buy for those who can afford it. Unilever is one advertiser that can and is understood to be motivated by the prospect of an older Snapchat audience, with its chief marketing officer Keith Weed recently tweeting that “if Snapchat can capture the older generation, then even more revenue will follow”.

To read the rest of the article click here

Bag Wars

by Wayne Stuart

5p-ScandalTin hats on and get ready because it’s going to happen people!

During a recent visit to Debenhams to buy a gift I was asked would I like a bag? If so the cost would be 5p. Of course I said yes, no way was I showing the world and his wife my taste in gifts. But it got me thinking about the wider effects of this recent change in the law. As more and more people decide not to pay the 5p the retailers are faced with a growing problem, losing advertising space. Because that’s what bags are. Yes, they are handy for hiding or carrying your purchase but to the retailer they are a perfect way to get their brand out there and the all important sale message. The best example of this desire for a piece of plastic is when friends of mine children visited Harvey Nicks and bought the cheapest product they could find just to have the bag/status symbol. Now imagine the scenario where a hipster 20 something buys a must have item from, say, John Lewis, and decides to take his or her own bag, when asked would they like a branded 5p bag they simply smile and pop the item into a…Selfridges bag! Worse still it’s an older bag with SALE emblazoned on it! Now imagine the look on the face of the head of marketing when he/she walks out advertising to the world that they shop in Selfridges and they’ve got a sale on.

Hopefully this will create a stampede to create better bags with improved creative and, hopefully, clever design. Agencies will be inundated with requests for bag pitches! Shops will fall over themselves to tempt you to part with 5p and re-use their bag exclusively. We may even see adverts for the bag rather than the item that goes in it. Or we’ll just say “Yeah, what’s 5p eh?”

Not quite the Young Ones

If you are of a certain age you will, no doubt, fondly remember The Young Ones TV programme. Rick (with a silent ‘P’), Vyvyan, Neil and Mike who were all studying at Scumbag College and who lived together in squalid conditions. Their landlord, Jerzei Balowski, did little more than turn up to collect the rent. These days, students are a little bit more demanding (in the main) in terms of their overall student experience and especially with respect to where they live during their time at university.

Our work with a number of student accommodation companies, Downing Students, Yara Students and Axo Student Living, has given us a huge amount of experience developing marketing material (leaflets, signage, adverts, site hoardings, promotional items, etc) and websites specifically aimed at those looking for student accommodation. We have a clear understanding of the student recruitment cycle (from application through to their first day at college) and we know when money should and should not be spent on trying to get students into accommodation. Not only ‘when’ but how – we bring a whole range of techniques and tactics to bear when trying to get tenants into our client’s student accommodation including pay per click campaigns, email marketing (direct and via third parties) and traditional paper-based mailshots. Different tactics work at different times of the year, largely depending on whether it is term time or not.

The most exciting development of the past couple of years is the student accommodation system that we have developed. This system, quite simply, manages the students relationship with their landlord from initial enquiry through to the day they check out of their room. Our system makes it very easy for students to find and apply for accommodation, receive their tenancy agreement immediately, as well as making payment of deposits, rent and sundry items a very simple and seamless process. On the administration side, the student accommodation system makes it easy for the building owner or manager to control the relationship with their tenants and ensure tenants are up to date with all of their payments. The system we have developed works seamlessly with our websites and we are certain it will save landlords and tenants time and money.

So, if you manage 20+ student beds (across one or many buildings), then why not give us a call and see how we can help you fill and manage your accommodation more effectively.

Get your website redevelopment back on track

Over the past year or two, more and more, we have had new clients come to us to redevelop their website having had a bad experience with other website developers. Bad advice, bad design, bad customer service and bad application of technology are just some of the reasons sited for seeking us out to help. Often as not, the need to get the website redevelopment back on track is combined with a tight deadline that must be met. When faced with this for the first time, being honest, we were more than a little nervous about how we might tidy up someone else’s mess. Now, many months and many websites down the line, we have a clear process that is applied for all of these types of web jobs.

It helps that the web development team at Clarity Creation have, between them, delivered in excess of 200 websites and also that, on a number of occasions, we have never actually met our clients face to face but, instead, delivered them a website based upon email and telephone communication (particularly the case with many of our London clients). The fact is, that most websites are very much alike in terms of site sections, navigation and features and it is largely the design that differentiates one client from another.

Having said this, part of the problem is that a lot of web developers make the process more complex than it has to be and they try to justify their over inflated project management fee by asking irrelevant questions or undertaking pointless activity. Many fail by forgetting that, ultimately, they are their to serve the needs of the client and the best interests of their client’s target audience rather than proving their own intelligence.

So, there you have it, if you want to work with straightforward, honest and skilled web developers who really want your website to succeed then give us a call on 0151 293 0505.