What do we mean by workable ideas?

What do we mean by workable ideas?

A lot of work is about generating ideas for clients and their campaigns to help them achieve a specific goal or desire. But it’s not enough to come up with some wild fantasy concept. The ideas need to be workable, but what do we mean by that? In short, they should be:

1. Objective
2. Truthful
3. Practical
4. Budgeted
5. Sustainable
6. Palatable
7. Accessible

Case study

A retained client expressed a desire to raise their profile and make more local businesses aware of what they do and the benefits of working with them. Web-based software developer, coding all the clever back-end stuff that makes websites work better and offer a more engaging user experience.

Objective – raise the company profile by attracting local businesses.

Truthful – the idea must connect strongly with their business values, experience and passion.

Practical – assess the time available to plan and prepare properly, plus how to effectively manage the time at the event (e.g. number of staff required, roles, set-up, breakdown, engaging with visitors, etc), and post show follow-up. Also understand and accommodate delivery and collection, venue access, stand size, displays, equipment, testing, etc. Fail to plan, plan to fail.

Budgeting – research all requirements, including stand hire, equipment hire, staff time, planning time, material costs, equipment purchases, etc. plus fuel, delivery costs, food and drink, accommodation.

Palatable – test the idea, pitch it to the client and several members of the intended audience to gauge reaction and feeling towards the idea. An idea that you think is great could have a negative connotation with someone else and end up unintentionally offending someone or generating bad publicity for your brand and business.

Sustainable – some ideas require significant investment to enable the most in return, so keeping an eye on opportunities to repeat, re-use or re-purpose the idea or any associated materials can be useful in securing the budget required to have maximum impact.

Accessible – no point having a great idea, investing in all the set-up if no-one in your target audience can find it and experience it. Similar to being practical, think about the customer’s journey and how they can be directed to your idea / campaign in order to get the full effect.

The idea – piggy-back a local trade show with a unique exhibition stand and presence. At the time of initial planning, several members of staff were avid cyclists plus the business had recently completed an eCommerce website for a local specialist selling bespoke bicycles. Out of this was born the message ‘Gearing up for online success’.

We then took the cycling theme and ran (or should that be pedalled) with it. Working with the bicycle specialist client who also ran a spin class, we set-up a virtual cycling course. It’s worth stating here this was several years before the popularity of Peloton and the like. Armed with a course and cycling set-up, we proposed a virtual cycling challenge on the exhibition stand, whereby visitors could set a time for the course and be added to a leader board. This gave us the opportunity to break the ice with them, discuss how we’d helped the cycle shop with their online business and also post social media updates throughout the event, tagging participants and their respective businesses to increase engagement and followers. The person with the fastest time also won an Amazon voucher – another nice tie in with online shopping and a great incentive for generating participants.

In an avenue full of stands with branded back-drops, table cloths and flyers, our client’s stand really stood out and was by far the busiest and most talked about during the whole event.

The feedback was incredible, so much so that it gave our client the confidence to book more trade shows. Over time the themes evolved to included other forms of virtual racing and experiences. One of the best pieces of feedback we received was from a stand visitor that recalled their experience well over a year later, remembering the client’s brand and waxing lyrical about how it made them feel.

But the icing on the cake came after the fifth trade show. The ice breaker introduced our client to a contact that went on to be their ‘golden-goose’ referrer. Within several months, our client had secured new projects with the likes of Samsung, Hyundai and Carphone Warehouse – doubling their turnover for the first time in over 20 years of trading.

In the words of Hannibal, from ‘The A Team’, ‘We love it when a plan comes together!’

Would you let your dentist cut your hair?

Would you let your dentist cut your hair?

If like me you are follicly challenged, then this may sound like a stupid question. But let’s just imagine we all have a beautiful and strong head of hair (I wish).

For many, their hair is a big part of their identity – in the same way that a company’s logo is a huge part of its visual presence and culture.

It’s no coincidence that the most successful businesses are also the most successful brands. As we’ve said many times before, people buy brands – not products. And the financially astute invest in brands, not businesses.

With so much at stake, whether it’s your luscious locks or your business’s logo, why do so many people and companies entrust the wrong professionals with their identity?

Similarly, why do others take the DIY route? Would you cut your own hair? Good luck with that (unless you’re going full buzz cut).

Canva’s messaging has a lot to answer for. Suddenly we’re all graphic designers, right? Yeah, right. Don’t get me wrong, it has its place – but it’s not a tool for professional design, it simply lacks the functionality for that, in the same way that most of its users lack the design training, knowledge, skills and experience. It’s like giving a professional hair stylist a pair of blunt gardening secateurs and expecting them to create something wonderful on your bonce.

Just like photography, anyone can take a picture but only the select few with the right combination of natural talent and training can create truly stunning imagery. Even those with loads of training and experience but without the ‘eye’ for photography’ never achieve the results of the very best photographers.

But the real challenge isn’t at the brands conception. The damage is done once the brand is created and company’s entrust the application of their new house style with non-design professionals – printers, sign-makers, web developers, etc. We’re not saying all of these are unaware of the importance of brand integrity, but the majority are just interested in getting another job over the line and getting paid.

So in the same way that your hairdresser is best placed to help you maintain your do, the originators of your logo should also be your ‘go to’ for building and maintaining your brand.

Now some of will say – ‘of course we’d say that’ because we’re too precious about our work or that we’re greedy and want all the future design work. Far from it, we’re not precious – we’re passionate about the work we do and want to see it fulfil its potential. That’s why we always supply a simple to use and reference guidelines document for brand application to help our clients check and police future designs. We even extend a FoC check of any designs to help identify any discrepancies yet few ever take us up on this – why?

Furthermore, history and experience show that those clients who do come back to us to check and/or apply their logo properly invariably are the ones that have the strongest, most recognised and engaging brands. And let’s not forget, building a strong brand is more valuable than just building a strong business. Some of the best business ideas don’t get the traction and success they deserve because their identity and branding doesn’t reflect them truthfully and/or hasn’t been used effectively in their marketing mix.

If you take only one thing from this blog, please let it be this…

A brand is for life, not just for the launch. If you go to a dentist to get your new smile, don’t trust your future dental hygiene and health to your hairdresser. Likewise, if your hairdresser gives you the ‘do to dye for’, don’t expect your dentist to be sympathetic or able to maintain it for you. You’ll just end up with a ‘don’t’.

How to ruin the perfect branding opportunity

How to ruin the perfect branding opportunity

Whether you’ve just launched or spent years building your brand, much of the good work can be undone or constrained by poor planning and application. 

We see so many missed opportunities, particularly among brands and companies that have worked so hard to gain a reputation for quality and service. 

Our heart sinks every time a decent brand or business opts for sticking their logo on the cheapest pen, sign or website. Or when they exhibit at a trade show with just a couple of pop-up banners, a table and two representatives who look more like bouncers than customer-facing brand ambassadors. They may believe it makes them look shrewd but externally they just look like their efforts – boring and cheap!

Part of our role is to advise and support businesses by coming up with and expertly executing clever and unusual ideas for building their brand. But rarely do they listen. Is it a trust issue? Some will do nothing with it, while others will compromise and cheapen the idea only to complain later that it didn’t work. Obviously it’s the idea that was bad and not the poor execution, right?

The few that commit fully to our ideas are the ones which have really benefited in the past. Our back catalogue demonstrates what happens when a client trusts and invests in our ideas. These are the ones that seize the moment and opportunity, planning and achieving greater awareness and engagement with their target customers. 

With that in mind, here are the 3 main recommendations to businesses and in-house marketers…

1. Budget better
It’s all too easy to think of marketing as an expense or overhead. In truth, marketing should be treated more as an investment with a long-term perspective. Think of the bigger picture. Budgeting time and money properly will result in better impact and returns from your efforts. Knee-jerk or last minute marketing initiatives rarely work and can be a huge waste of time and money.

2. Less is more
Do fewer things better, don’t spread budgets or timescales too thinly. It’s tempting to try and get the most from marketing budgets by focussing on volume rather than quality. For example, instead of buying loads of cheap pens with your logo on (most of which will either stay in the office cupboard or be discarded by the recipient because they don’t value them), consider something more useful and high quality. OK, so you won’t be able to buy as many of these items as pens, but item retention will be much higher, meaning your branding has much greater exposure with your target audiences.

3. Act on the advice
Why is it business owners hire experts in their respective fields, but instead of listening and trusting them end up telling them what to do? Apart from being insulting and detrimental to the relationship, where is the value? Why would you ask an expert for help, only to then tell them to do something different.  

We understand it can be a leap of faith sometimes, especially when it comes to marketing. But then why would a branding or marketing agency want to make you look stupid? Their reputation is just as important to them and they want to do a good job for you. Plus, they are more aligned to the external audiences of your business, so next time they come to you with a considered and creative idea, grab it with both hands and see what happens. It’s easy and human nature to think ‘what if this goes wrong?’ but what if it goes right?  It could be the opportunity that takes you and your business to the next-level.

Transforming complex into compelling

Transforming complex into compelling

A huge chunk of our experience is working with technical businesses, such as software developers, hardware resellers, engineers, manufacturers, surveyors and construction.

Their challenge is to convert ‘what they do’ into ‘what you’ll get’. Sounds simple, but not easy when you are too close to your business.

You see, clients and customers don’t buy features, they want benefits. Sure, features are important, but what is much more important is the time and money they’ll save or gain from using said features.

An analogy we use a lot in this instance is when buying a car. When was the last time you went into a car showroom and asked how the motor worked? And even if the dealer explained it, wouldn’t you rather know how the motor’s operation (or features) translated into range, efficiency, performance, reliability – and ultimately residual value?

In our experience, most technical businesses feel more comfortable in the features and jargon ‘zone’. They believe that spouting details, tech specs, acronyms and functionality will portray them as sophisticated and knowledgeable.

In truth, it only serves to confuse and baffle potential buyers. By concentrating on what they want to say rather than what buyers want to hear, businesses alienate and discourage buyers from engaging and purchased something that could ultimately provide the benefits and results they’re looking for.

By focussing on what the buyer needs and wants instead of what their product does, businesses are better placed to communicate with their target audiences and generate more enquiries and sales.

Sometimes a simple metaphor or messaging can be the ticket to attracting buyers. Other times, sharing stories about how you’ve helped a client or customer achieve their desired outcomes and benefits is a more credible and clearer way to get the message across, particularly when told from the client’s perspective. After all, they use similar language and have similar requirements to the reader, so it’s much easier to understand what they were looking for, what they got and how it benefited them.

So if you’re struggling to get your message across, or feel that you should be selling more of your technical product or service than you currently do, why not give us a call to see if we can help you convert the complexities into a compelling marketing proposition.

Bespoke Brands - Would you opt for an AI - Artificial Identity?

Would you opt for an AI - Artificial Identity?

Rarely a day goes by at the moment that our social and news feeds don’t feature another post about how AI is disrupting the creative sectors and making graphic designers redundant.

There are undoubtedly a lot of positives that this fast developing technology can have, but to rely solely on something that in the end, can’t create anything without copying or using something that already exists, seems to lack any creativity at all.

There is an age old question that asks, ‘is anything truly original?’. This is very true, especially with the internet and the vast number of designers out there having instant access to everything that has ever been created for all to see.

What we do for a living is produce creative and relevant solutions for clients, so it’s hard to see how software that can only produce something from what already exists can be a good thing.

This got us thinking about what would happen if we were to ask AI to re-design for some of the world’s most popular brands. 

We decided to conduct a simple experiment, tasking one of the ‘leading’ AI logo creation websites to rebrand a selection of the world’s most recognised logos to see what it could come up with.

The results are, well, see for yourself…

Bespoke Brands - Would you opt for an AI - Artificial Identity?

I think it’s fair to say that none of the logos produced by the AI ‘engine’ would see any of the brands enjoy the success that they have today.

So the question is, would you use AI or originality when it comes to designing your company’s logo?

The importance of SEO in building a successful brand

The importance of SEO in building a successful brand

What is SEO and why do we need it?

SEO or search engine optimisation has been around since the birth of internet search engines like Google and Ask Jeeves, who remembers that?

These search engines use bots called ‘spiders’ which comb the internet looking for specific keywords, phrases and different types of links in order to use this information to rank websites in order of relevance to an individual’s search criteria.

Over the years, it has become more and more complicated to get your website to rank highly, not only due to the shear amount of content now online, but also due to the search engines constantly changing and updating the way they list and rank sites.

SEO is crucial in helping websites achieve ‘the holy grail’ of finding their way to the top of the search lists by identifying new ranking factors and updating content to satisfy the constantly changing algorithms that search engines use.

The main motivation of having a website is to get traffic and to promote your brand and its associated services or products. It’s not just about generating any traffic, but traffic that is relevant to your business. If a site has no traffic, it isn’t going to generate any sales or enquiries.

Gone are the days where you could just throw together a website, change a few bits of text to describe a page’s content, also known as ‘metas’, then away you go. Obtaining backlinks to your website from other sites is more difficult than ever. Not only is the content important but ensuring the code used to build your website is clean and your schema (the language search engines use to read and understand the content on your site) is correct is vital too. The structure of your website and therefore the internal link hierarchy needs to be working as this all helps you to push the correct keywords and so much more.

At the end of the day, we need to look at the way we ourselves search online or more importantly, put ourselves in the position / role of our ideal customer. It is the role of Google to provide the most relevant information when we search and its algorithms are pretty sharp otherwise it wouldn’t be by far the most popular search engine out there. If we couldn’t find the results we wanted, we would look elsewhere. Imagine searching for information on an event and getting incorrect dates, times or locations.

So how do we approach getting your brand to the top?

We need to give Google exactly what it wants! Ensuring we put the right fuel in the engine so to speak! Everyone knows if you put the wrong fuel in, it just won’t work. Plus the engine needs to be regularly and properly maintained to perform at its best and that is where we come in.

Search engines require clean coded websites with relevant information with all the factors as perfect as possible. This is the importance of us creating the most relevant SEO.

This all starts with a good keyword analysis, why target keywords that don’t have traffic and waste time and money? A good keyword analysis is the key to bringing in visitors and not just the big hitter keywords, variations and long tail keywords need to be considered. The keywords need to be relevant, not just popular. We always tell people that focused traffic is always the best type, for example conversions need to be tracked and monitored to decide just how good your traffic is; a keyword that has 50 searches and 30 conversions is far superior than a keyword that has a thousand searches and 1 conversion so everything is relative. This can only be achieved by analysing the results on a regular basis which makes it easier to discover some gems that other companies aren’t targeting.

What about your site after the keyword analysis?

There are 2 sides to SEO: content and technical. The content side involves being honest and writing the best possible copy. It should be relevant and talk about your product, review it, create a video on how it works and focus on why it’s so good. Then, you should ask for reviews from customers and the list goes on and on.

The technical side involves making sure your site structure is correct such as your URLs being clean and easy to read. This means they contain only text that makes sense when a person reads it, not full of symbols and numbers. It is important to create a perfect internal linking structure and make sure all your meta tags comply to Google’s latest policies.

What about all the links in your site? Are they nofollow or are you just supporting the social networks with your hard work? Is your site fast enough, are you minifying all your scripts. There are literally so many tasks that need to be completed to make your site clean in the eyes of the Google spiders. Any issues can be brought to light and fixed with regular monthly maintenance and audits.
Your local SEO needs to be in place too, therefore optimising your location on Google maps is really important for people looking for you in your area.

SEO is a full-time job. If you are doing it yourself, it can be very overwhelming and time consuming and you may not have the technical skills to complete the tasks involved. This is why you need to look at the option of hiring an SEO company that is both honest and reputable.

SEO is something that we love, understand and we can maximise, in order to give you the best possible footing online, targeting the correct audience and generate the enquiries you need. Ultimately, it is important to recognise that SEO is an essential tool in growing your brand online!

The importance of SEO in building a successful brand

Rank Engine are a successful digital agency, supplying expert solutions in SEO, social media marketing and website development, helping brands to grow and fulfil their online goals.


The importance of professional website development in building a successful brand

If you’d designed an impressive ‘Grand Designs’ worthy building, wouldn’t you want to build it in a beautiful setting too? A location with a stunning view that encapsulates the architecture of the building. If the plot you had was in need of some major TLC, then it would certainly take away from the overall look and feel.

Yes, you could probably tidy things up a bit yourself, but you’d likely hire a professional landscaper to expertly cultivate the surrounding land so that the building and scenery work sympathetically together.

Well, the same goes for your business and developing a website. You might have a knockout brand and a great service or product, but if you don’t encapsulate that with the right website design, then you could end up detracting from it.

There is more to a well-designed website than meets the eye, that’s why professional website development is so important…

Bespoke design

When a user lands on your website, for better or worse, they are making judgements and forming an impression of you.

While it is totally feasible to throw something together using a prebuilt (cookie cutter) template on a DIY website builder, one issue is that many other businesses will be doing the same thing. Even with some customisations, your design can end up looking very similar to a lot of others.

A professional web developer will utilise the latest web technologies and trends to create an engaging website that is tailored to your business and brand.

Responsive design

With more and more websites being visited on a mobile device, it goes without saying that your website needs to adapt to all screen sizes. Testing across browsers and devices is an essential part of web design, and it’s something that takes time and know-how.

User experience

The cardinal rule of web design? Put the user first. A well designed website will be mindful of the user journey with easy-to-use navigation, functionality and a clear flow.

If a potential customer can’t figure out the benefits of doing business with you, or the functionality of the site makes it a struggle, then they are unlikely to engage with you.

Reliable support

Managing a business is already a lot to handle, so don’t add to your stress by maintaining your website too. And if something goes wrong, it can prove time consuming and costly.

Choosing a provider that will offer reliable, ongoing support is a must. Let the professionals take care of your site’s maintenance and longevity so that you can focus on doing what you do best, with the peace of mind that it’s all being looked after.


Search Engine Optimisation is an essential tool for business owners, and your website needs to be optimised to be able to appear in search results.

Often, the goals of web design and SEO are conflicting. A professional web developer will build a visually engaging design that still works well within search engine friendly frameworks.

In short, working with a professional web developer will ensure that your brand and values are being authentically represented online. You’ll have peace of mind knowing your target audience is having a good experience engaging with you, and that there’s reliable support on hand should you need it.

Surf Up is a web design studio who create unique, fully managed websites. Big enough to have the experience and skills, yet small enough to give a really great personal service.

Make Waves Online – surfup.co.uk

The importance of professional videography in building a successful brand

Video has become an integral part of marketing for brands in recent years. From product demos and customer testimonials to brand storytelling, video has the power to connect with consumers.

Professional videography can give a brand a competitive advantage by setting it apart from its competitors and making it more memorable to consumers.

According to Wyzowl, 87% of businesses who use video marketing say it has increased traffic to their website. By incorporating video into your marketing strategy, you can attract new customers and stand out from the competition.

High Quality Content

Whilst any video content will work to boost a company profile or social media, high quality content is particularly important.

According to HubSpot, 54% of consumers want to see more video content from brands they support.

Although audiences respond well to “home-made” content, every brand should still look to have a few key ever-green video pieces on their website.

Generally this would be a company video, product or service videos and even meet the team-based content.

High-quality video content can also help to improve the perception of the brand among consumers by creating a professional and polished image.

Animoto reports that 58% of consumers consider companies that produce video content to be more trustworthy.

Social Media Content

Biteable reports that videos on social media generate 1,200% more shares than text and image content combined.

This means that by incorporating video into your social media strategy, you can significantly increase the reach of your brand and attract new customers.

When producing any content it’s always worth discussing with your video producer to see if they’re able to offer you packages that can include optimised social media content.

Professional videography can also boost engagement with the brand, leading to higher conversion rates and increased customer loyalty. Forbes reports that including video in email marketing can increase click-through rates by 200-300%.

Brand Awareness

Another crucial benefit of professional videography is its ability to create a strong brand identity and increase brand awareness. Wyzowl reports that 81% of businesses who use video as a marketing tool say it helps them increase brand awareness.

This will prominently happen through social media channels, especially ones with a high virality for posts, such as TikTok.

Regular content on social media and other platforms will help keep your brand at the forefront of your consumers’ minds.

In conclusion, professional videography is crucial for building a successful brand. From increasing visibility to improving brand perception, video has the power to connect with consumers on an emotional level and effectively communicate the message of the brand.

By incorporating video into your marketing strategy, you can create a lasting impression in the minds of your audience and build a loyal customer base.

Scopic are videographers and photographers with the passion and skill to help organisations strengthen the relationship with their target audiences.


Bringing brands to life

Animation. It’s not just The Lego Movie and Shrek.

It’s a lot more than cartoons.

Animation can – and should – be serious business. An essential part of your marketing.

If you want to tell your company’s story, if you want to get your message across, there’s no better way than animation.

It’s short, it’s sharp – and it grabs the viewer’s attention.
My name is Bryony Catlow, and I’ve been animating for the best part of 20 years.

I’ve done animations for a host of household names. My animations have persuaded people to roll their sleeves up and have their Covid boosters. I’ve made the driest technical subjects interesting.

I’ve worked with clients like Bet365 and Trivago; Durham City Council and the NHS; the Alzheimer’s Society and SAGE. And, of course, Bespoke Brands…

The shortest animation I’ve done was five seconds: the longest was five minutes.

They all had one thing in common: they all said a lot in a short space of time. And in an age where the average attention span is getting shorter and shorter, that’s good news.

Animation can work for any business or organisation.
It gives the person watching a lot of information: animation educates, entertains and informs.

It makes complicated subjects easy to understand.
A short animated film will play on a PC, a tablet – or on your mobile. You can watch it once – or as many times as you like. You can pause it, re-wind it, play it an infinite number of times.

And it’s memorable.

That e-mail someone sent you? The PDF they attached? Too long, didn’t read…

But the short, sharp two minute animation with the 240 word voice over? You’ve watched it half-a-dozen times. And you’ve shared it. And now you’re going to phone them…

2 Bears are an animation studio who have worked with international brands such as SAGE, Lakeland, Honda, Inov8 and Trivago, creating explainer videos, social media content and commercials for online & TV.


Guest Blog Public Relations Andrew Thomas

The importance of professional public relations in building a successful brand

Creating, building and maintaining a brand is vital for any successful business or organisation. It is important that existing customers are constantly reminded of the brand – including its products, services and the values it represents – to ensure they continue to interact and spend their money with the company. The brand also needs to retain a high public profile to attract potential new customers and help the company to grow.

This is where a professional public relations expert can be of huge value. They have the knowledge and ability to keep a brand firmly in the spotlight. Good brands also have a good back story and a PR consultant can help a company obtain media coverage and use communications as great ways to share the back story so people can connect with it.

Companies can choose to use a public relations consultant on an ad-hoc basis. However, an effective way to build a brand’s public profile is to use the services of a PR expert on a retainer basis. This might involve the consultant spending a certain number of days each month working on behalf of the company. Alternatively, the retainer agreement might involve the consultant doing a set number of pieces of work over a stated period.

The benefit of using the consultant on a retainer basis is that it encourages both the consultant and the company to be constantly thinking of ways to raise the organisation’s profile and ensures that PR always remains a top priority.

How can a public relations expert help? One powerful way to raise and maintain the public profile of a business is to create positive press releases about it and send them to the relevant media organisations – be they local, regional or national online, broadcast or print publications.

Such releases can be about a variety of topics. It might be the business is expanding and taking on new staff. It might have moved premises, appointed a new senior member of staff or won an industry award.

However, don’t overlook the less obvious stories which might exist. Perhaps a member of staff has a particularly interesting hobby or is taking on a challenge for charity. These stories are also newsworthy and references to the firm they work for within the release can boost the company’s profile in a positive way.

PR experts know what news publications are looking for and have the contacts within those organisations to ensure the release reaches the right person to maximise the chances of it being published.

PR consultants can also help in other ways. They can write copy for advertising features; create content for web pages; and write case studies, for publication on websites or in other promotional material, which show how a company had benefited its customers.

They can also give advice about social media and, in some cases, manage a company’s social media sites. And they can help companies to devise effective communications strategies and deliver media training to managers and staff.

Andrew Thomas Media Consultant

Andrew Thomas has been a journalist for more than 30 years and was Editor of The Westmorland Gazette for ten years. He set up his communications company Andrew Thomas Media in 2020.