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October 23, 2014

Happy 10th Birthday Mzuri!

Filed under: 10 years of Mzuri,General,Miscellaneous — Tags: , , , — Katherine @ 2:12 pm

Happy 10th Birthday Mzuri

It was with a pride-induced spring in our step that we headed out last Friday night for a well-deserved celebration of 10 years of Mzuri Design. It was a great evening, full of champagne, wine, beer, cocktails, laughter, fun, gorgeous food and great company. We are really proud to be where we are today and thank all of our clients and all of our team for being part of the journey. Here’s to the next 10 years and to the adventures that they hold. Happy 10th Birthday Mzuri!

Happy Birthday Mzuri!

October 15, 2014

Welcome Naomi

Filed under: General — Tags: , , , — Katherine @ 5:49 pm

Welcome Naomi

NaomiWe are very happy to welcome Naomi to the Mzuri team as our new Marketing Assistant. Naomi is a recent University of Nottingham graduate with a degree in History of Art, and is excited to begin her career in marketing.

When she’s not doing her best to keep everyone organised here, Naomi loves to cook and visit art exhibitions.

Naomi is a very welcome extra pair of hands in the office at a very busy time for us, so we are thrilled to have her here to help. Getting involved in everything from making sure the office run smoothly, taking calls, writing blogs, helping with client projects and just generally turning her hand to everything we throw at her, she has soon made herself indispensible!

October 13, 2014

Philanthropreneurship Forum Website Launch

Website Launch: Philanthropreneurship Forum
We are proud to mention our recent collaboration with Cog Design, Summerhouse Media and Stars Foundation on a very exciting project; the launch of a vibrant and engaging website to promote the Philanthropreneurship Forum, taking place in London on the 13th December this year.

Philanthropreneurship is ‘an entrepreneurial approach to philanthropy’ that subverts the expectation that entrepreneurial efforts are ‘for profit’ alone. The aim of the Forum is to explore how creative philanthropy can go further to bring about innovation and social change. The Philanthropreneurship Forum is co-convened by Professor Rajesh Chandy of London Business School and His Excellency Amr Al-Dabbagh, the Founding Chairman of Stars Foundation.

The site is responsive, content managed and includes video and other features. It is also built with a complex database to support the event management of the Forum, including delegate communications and project management. You can visit the site here.

Philanthropreneurship Forum Responsive Sites

October 10, 2014

Don’t miss Prior’s Field Arts Fest 2014

Filed under: General,Marketing — Tags: , , , , , — Katherine @ 5:16 pm

Prior's Field Arts Fest 2014
This weekend Prior’s Field School will host its second annual Arts Fest, from Friday 10th to Saturday 11th October. The event is open to the general public, and promises an exciting array of music, drama and comedy acts as well as inspiring workshops in ceramics, drawing and painting. Tickets for adults and children over 10 can be booked online here.

The event reflects Prior’s Field’s philosophy of having a go and aiming high, with the school being excellent at creative arts.

We were thrilled to create the look and feel for the event, designing and printing an A5 programme featuring all the events and workshops, and producing a banner for promotion across Farnham’s Downing Street. It’s been great to work with Prior’s Field on this project and we wish Arts Fest every success this weekend!

Prior's Field Arts Fest 2014

Stand-out signage for Tremaines Accountants

Filed under: General,Marketing — Tags: , , , , — Katherine @ 11:09 am

Stand-Out Signage for Tremaines Accountants
Following our recent work with Tremaines Ltd Accountants on developing their brand and corporate stationery, the company have now moved to smart new offices in Horley, Surrey, so some impressive new signage was a must.

We advised the client on options available to them, provided design options and photographic visuals so they could see how things would look before committing to production, then oversaw the build and fit.

The new office now boasts a reverse printed acrylic sign with chrome fixes near the front door, as well as a large professional facing sign, giving the company real presence.

Tremaines Signage

September 22, 2014

Watch out for…National Open Art on Inside Out South

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We were really excited to hear that the Chichester Art Trust’s Towry National Open Art Competition will be featured on BBC One’s programme Inside Out South today, coinciding nicely with the 2014 National Open Art Exhibition at Somerset House, which launched on September 18th.

The BBC have been filming parts of the competition for the past four months in the run up to the exhibition and judging, and the programme is set to include an interview at Goodwood with the Duke of Richmond, founder of National Open Art, now in its eighteenth year. The BBC have also monitored the progress of the work of three South of England artists developing their entries for the 2014 National Open Art Competition, which received over three and a half thousand entries from artists from all parts of the UK.

Two stages of shortlisting have been filmed by the BBC, revealing the one hundred and twenty-three works that were selected for the exhibition at Somerset House, which is always free, and currently open to the public until October 25th. All works on display are for sale.Once judged by an esteemed panel that includes artists Norman Ackroyd RA and Chris Orr RA, the exhibition winners will be exhibited at Pallant House Gallery from December 2nd-14th, in addition to whole exhibition shows at The Chichester Festival Theatre’s Minverva Theatre from December 17th 2014 to January 3rd 2015. In addition to these, the Works on Paper Fair at The Science Museum, London, will also display artists’ outstanding works on paper, from the 5th-8th February 2015. A myriad of events, with something for every art lover to look forward to.

Don’t miss Inside Out South at 7.30pm tonight on BBC One South.

 

Slipping Sphere Space by NOAC Artist in Residence Chloe Leaper

Slipping Sphere Space by NOAC Artist in Residence Chloe Leaper

August 18, 2014

On branding

Filed under: General — Tags: , , , — Katherine @ 10:16 am

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We all know that carefully crafted and lovingly cultivated brands can underpin every area of a company, becoming a valuable asset and adding value to services and products.

If you say the word ‘apple’ to most people, they don’t first think of the fruit now but a certain international company with a simple yet evocative apple logo. This logo has gone through a series of changes over the years but at the core of this (excuse the pun!) is that Apple’s offering has been consistent and evolving – beautifully designed products, with intuitive functionality, great innovation and solid technical support. This has allowed them to charge a much higher price than their competitors – and people come back time and time again as they believe in and indeed whose lives are enhanced by their quality products and they have emotionally invested in the brand.

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Of course a brand isn’t just for large organisations – it is one of the most important aspects of any business.

What is a brand? A brand is what you promise to your clients. It tells them what to expect from your products and services – and what sets you apart from your competitors. A brand is directly linked to who you are, who and what you want to be and who people perceive you to be. Are you a cutting-edge industry innovator or a seasoned pro who is a reliable ‘safe pair of hands’? Is your product the low-cost/high-value option or high-cost/high-quality option?  Your brand needs to be based to some extent on who your target market wants and needs you to be – but you can’t be all things to all people, so clarity and simplicity is key. And in all of it, don’t forget the personality of the company! First impressions last.

Defining your brand can be a difficult, exciting (and at times uncomfortable) process of self-discovery, but this is an essential and potentially lucrative asset to your business.

Where to start? Grab a cup of coffee (or something stronger!), a pen and a pad of paper. Write down your company’s values and mission statement. Then list out the benefits and features of your products or services. Ask yourself what do your customers and prospects already think of your company? If you’ve not had any feedback up until now, then ask. Do their perceptions match with the qualities you want your clients to associate with your company? Don’t forget about your aspirations, this brand will be part of achieving them. Now set about making that brand brief a reality! If you are thinking of embarking on a branding project, contact us and we can send you a copy of our brand questionnaire to help prompt your thinking around this subject in ways you perhaps hadn’t already considered.

In summary, defining and developing a brand strategy, creating the brand and then managing the roll out and ongoing evolution of it can be complex and of course a challenge to fit around your day to day, but taking the time out to dedicate to this important task will be well worth it.

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August 11, 2014

Life’s a pitch!

Filed under: General,Marketing — Tags: , , — Katherine @ 10:32 am

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There is quite obviously something in the air – in the last two weeks we have been hard at work putting together 3 large pitch documents for our clients. We have definitely noted an increase in need for supporting our clients in planning and delivering pitches over the course of this year, which we take as a definite sign that business confidence and opportunity is on the up and up. While we can’t talk about the pitches in any detail, we are thrilled to say that one has already proved successful with a very large order being placed very quickly after the big day! Needless to say we are over the moon for the client in question and are waiting with baited breath on news of the others.

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It really does give us such pleasure to be able to help our clients successfully showcase their strengths in the best possible way. We really enjoy the process of working with clients to structure the document with the right page plan, write appropriate copy, choose images to tell the right story, and advise and deliver on the right print options for the task in hand, with quick (often overnight!) turnaround as standard. More often than not given the tight deadlines, there is often the requirement for us to burn the midnight oil on these projects, but all for a good cause! It’s what we love to do!

Pitches can be pretty daunting when you consider the usual combination of a tight deadline, the detailed submission required and the need to present a document that not only represents an organisation effectively, but stands out from the competition. Add into this heady mix that quite often clients don’t have the time (or the headspace) to plan and execute it amongst their other commitments, which is where we come in.

There is no doubt about it, everyone would love to win every pitch – but even if you’re not successful in one pitch and you’ve still managed to communicate your value well, and leave a compelling and enticing leave behind, that could very well open up doors later down the line. One thing is certain, if you are not in it – you won’t win it!

 

 

August 4, 2014

The changing marketing landscape (and how to navigate it!)

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If you were to carry out a retrospective on marketing practices over the past decade alone, it wouldn’t be hard to identify many, many significant changes. Ten years ago, companies could afford to rely on consumer loyalty alone to maintain a stake in the market. However, amongst so many other influences, with our lives now becoming so digital-centric with the almost unquantifiable influence of the internet, the advent and ever-evolving social media landscape and devices which keep blowing our minds with every new release, the routes to market have changed completely.

To have more (or should that be any) chance of success in this fiercely competitive global marketplace, as a business owner you can’t afford to ignore digital in your current marketing strategy – not only to attract new clients, but to actually retain a consistent market presence and communication stream to keep you on your current clients’ radar. If you don’t, your position can more quickly and more easily be swallowed up by your more proactive competitors.

This not to say that you have to go all-out and utilise every digital marketing channel available to you (unless you have unlimited funds!). Nor is it to say that the more traditional elements of the marketing mix, such as printed direct mail campaigns, networking and the face-to-face relationship building side of your business development activities to name but a few, are defunct – they are still an essential element to so many company marketing plans. In fact, if anything we are starting to spot that some traditional practices are enjoying somewhat of a renaissance, such as really targeted, clever direct mail.

So, the message here is don’t ignore any part of the mix really! Analyse all of the options and choose those which are right for your business and then consider how best to incorporate these activities, in the most appropriate way for your business and brand.  The key to success is a truly integrated approach, so reviewing your overall plan regularly is always a worthwhile exercise.

For now, I  thought I would leave you with some pretty mind-blowing statistics on digital trends found in recent reports online recently:

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July 7, 2014

Are your website presence and search rankings heading south? Panda 4.0 could be the reason.

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Have you noticed a drop-off in traffic to your website?  Or, when you search for your site, the result rankings are less than impressive – particularly in the last month or so?  Are you worried that as a result, you could be losing valuable website business – and ultimately contact with your current and prospective client base?

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The reason could be down to Google’s latest algorithm update, Panda 4.0.  This algorithm determines which pages will feature in search results as well as ranking positions based on content quality and relevance of a website.  This is all part of Google’s efforts to push poor quality websites with spam content right down the search rankings.  Which on the face of it is a good thing!

Unfortunately, Panda 4.0 – along with other recent algorithm changes – has affected many sites that are clearly not spam but still don’t manage to pass Google’s ‘quality filter’.  All of these sites experienced a deep decline in visibility as well as a steep drop in SEO rankings.  In extreme cases, they’ve needed to be completely redesigned to continue to work.

Here are some good basic principles that will help you stay on the right side of Google Algorithm updates:

  • Content is king – make sure you write great content and that any data included is from a trustworthy source.
  • Remove any low-quality or duplicated content – is the amount of useful information a little thin on the ground, or will the reader gain real value from what you choose to share?
  • Are the topics driven by genuine reader interest, or does the site generate content by guessing what might rank well in search engines?
  • Are there any spelling mistakes or other errors? A lot of spam will contain spelling or syntax errors.
  • Are the images relevant to the content?  If not, they should be.
  • Improve your technical SEO – do the words on the page match the ‘keywords’ in the search query?
  • Revamp internal linking structures and navigation paths to ensure the user is able to easily travel through your website without being bombarded with advertising banners or third party offers.
  • Create more mobile friendly pages or go responsive.
  • Avoid dealing with any risky affiliate marketing set ups and remove any rogue risky pages and subdomains.
  • Make sure your site is optimised for loading speed – slower loading is associated with the more ‘bloated’ spam pages present within ‘low quality’ websites

If you have noticed that things aren’t what they were when you review your latest analytics reports – then take a tip from the Google Webmaster Central Blog.  Keep the points outlined above in mind as you focus on developing high-quality content, merge and develop content on ‘thinner’ pages and remove any low-quality content that may be the cause of your dropping search rankings.

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