6 Useful Branding Tips

Creating and growing a brand can be quite a challenge. One of my first branding projects was Connect Insolvency Ltd, a firm of liquidators & insolvency practitioners based in Newcastle upon Tyne and I created a simple, clean and professional brand for them using vibrant colours. Years later, I still help companies with branding and I successfully do that by following the rules below.




Competitor Research


Competitor research is an important step in the whole process and it does not help you only with creating a successful brand, but with starting a successful business too. By doing this, you can get some interesting ideas, understand the market and find this unique touch that will set you (or your client) apart from the competition.


Understanding your target audience


Target audience is the audience that your brand should best speak to, so, understanding what they like, what they do not like, their age, goals, interests is very important – or let’s put it simply, you need to identify buyer personas in order to create a brand that speaks to them best.


Simplicity – Less is More


Yes, keep it simple, stupid. Creating a clean and simple style and following it through when creating all corporate materials is very important and you need to remember that simplicity is key to success. Do not get carried away and overcomplicate the logo – as much as this might seem interesting, it will confuse your target audience, trust me. If you are tempted or think about adding more elements to a logo, think about Nike, McDonald’s or any other successful brand that uses a simple logo.




So, creating a simple logo and following the style consistently will help your brand send a unique message and be recognized. Starting from the style, fonts and colour palette you will set standards that should be followed in order to ensure brand consistency. Creating brand guidelines is something you should do in this part of the process as this will help you immensely with managing your brand too.


Communicate with your target audience


One of the main goals you need to set for your brand is to speak with your target audience. Understanding your target audience is the first step towards this goal and after you have found out their age, interests, likes and dislikes, you will be able to use this knowledge and implement it when choosing the font, colour palette, mission, vision, values and slogan.


Brand Management


Managing your brand is an ongoing process that you should be actively involved in. Once you have created your brand, you should not stop there. So, how will you be heard, how will you share your story with your target audience and differentiate your products or services from your competitors? Managing your brand might lead you to rebranding even and do not be reluctant to do that is it turns out to be necessary.




Hope the tips above help you with your branding project. If you have any questions or need help with branding, contact me, I’d love to chat with you!

Air conditioning without external unit

Today I am going to write about air conditioning without an external unit, which I did not know was possible until I faced a problem with restrictions on my property. About a year ago, my wife and I bought our first flat and were so excited to start renovating it. My wife was particularly excited about buying new furniture and decorating the kitchen – her job was to plan everything, and my job was to make it happen 🙂 .


Both of us were facing different challenges – she liked different pieces of furniture that did not match well or fit in, and my challenges were mainly about structural changes – which walls can and can not be taken down, do I need a permit and what kind of permit do I need? A seemingly small challenge almost ruined my whole experience and joy of buying and renovating the flat – due to the restrictions on the building, we could not install an air conditioner with an outside condenser, which we thought was the only option available. At that point I felt like selling the flat and running away from everything – I could not imagine myself living in this new (almost) perfect flat, where everything looks just as we had always dreamed of, but feels extremely uncomfortable, especially in summer. I know this might sound like I am making a mountain out of a molehill, but this is exactly why I am writing about this. I was prepared for big challenges, I was even prepared for not being able to solve them and finding an alternative solution, but I was not prepared for this seemingly small challenge that could affect the quality of my life and time spent in my new flat so much.


Luckily, I came across the company called ACS Installations, offering air conditioning without external unit among other things. I called them and explained the challenge we were facing and their approach, the questions they asked me, their responsiveness immediately convinced me that I had nothing to worry about. Water cooled internal condenser installed by ACS Installations helped me regain the joy and excitement I initially felt and lost at the thought of not being able to have an air conditioner in our new flat.

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I know this might sound silly, but I am sure we all have our moments – we freak out over nothing, which at the time seems to be everything to us 🙂 .

Why is Customer Service important to your business?

I’ve recently had a chat with a business partner and friend and was surprised to hear his statement that it is more important to invest in marketing and product development than in customer service. I am not saying that marketing or product development is not important, I am just saying that customer service is as important as these two.

I agree that a business can not grow without a good product and that the product or services should constantly be improved and invested in. I also agree that marketing is crucial for establishing a brand and reaching new customers. But business growth is impossible without customer retention – who will be using your products and services that you are trying to build so hard?

Here is why I think good customer service is crucial to your business.




Adds Value

It adds value to your business and helps you build relationships with your customers. And it is not just about call answering, or problem-solving and similar – it is about exceeding expectations. I am sure that you, like every business, have many competitors, so building strong customer service can be a good strategy that can help you differentiate yourself from them and provide additional value to your business.


Helps Build Your Brand

I have come across a number of posts showing examples of well-known brands failing to provide good customer service. And instantly I started thinking less of these brands. It was unimaginable for me to think that a worldwide known brand can fail in this area. But they have. And it stained their brand and reputation, not only in my eyes. If bad customer service can compromise a company’s reputation, I am pretty sure that good one can help build it.


Grows Business

One of the customer acquisition tactics is word of mouth marketing. I know many businesses whose 20% – 40% of new business comes through the existing client recommendation. Providing good customer service and encouraging your customers to share their experience, rate your service and review your business help you win new customers and it is the most honest way of advertising!



So, think about what good customer service can bring you and start improving this area of your business. If you think you are not ready to hire a customer service representative, there are many other (no strings attached) options that you can use. For example, a company providing secretarial, administration and virtual assistant services, Executype PA Limited, also offers high-quality customer services at an affordable price!

Balancing work and family life – Is it possible to do?

Every post, article or advice one might come across about achieving a happy life will contain the word “balance”, I am sure about that. And it is true – balance IS everything. If we are talking about food, you will hear about nutritional balance and how important it is for your health or if the topic is related to other health or wellbeing issues, the message is the same – find a balance and keep it!

Things are pretty much the same with work and family life. Leading a happy and content life, both professional and private is possible only if you find a balance between your career, family, friends and the most important (and quite often underestimated) part of it – yourself. Quality time on your own, with yourself, is also crucial for finding a perfect balance in your life.

There are many books or articles offering advice on how to achieve a happier life through balancing work and family. Most of these recommend planning your schedule, your time with your children and partner, planning the time for your errands and of course taking care of yourself.







But is balancing your work and family and being happy with both equally really possible? I am wondering – can a person really achieve this and be happy, knowing that they have given to both of these areas of their life as much time as they really wanted to, and thought was right? Is there such a person?

If there is such a person, their job must involve their family and children and they could be doing something the whole family likes and enjoys. I have recently come across Ticket Rangers, a ticket comparison company owning a website where you can compare Florida attraction ticket prices – a Florida attraction ticket comparison site. They seem to be visiting a lot of fun places with their children, compare prices, rate the places they visit, write reviews, recommendations, etc..I was amazed by what they do and how beautiful this idea of a perfect job is, a great example of a job you need in order to achieve this perfect work and family balance!

Why your company needs content marketing

Content marketing, as a marketing strategy, focuses on the creation of content, its publication and most importantly, on its distribution to your target audience. The goal of these efforts is to drive more traffic to your website, resulting in more new business sales.

With content marketing, you establish yourself as an expert in the field and naturally, people buy from whom they can trust and see as an authority.




So, what do you achieve through content marketing? I will try to simplify and explain this as I explained and advised a client (Forklift Solutions, a company offering forklift trucks for hire and sale in Newcastle, Sunderland & throughout the North East) that approached me asking for advice recently.

Build a name for yourself

Building a name for yourself is the first goal you will achieve. If you know you’re the industry and common pain points of your target audience, you can easily address these through your content and therefore become an expert in the field. Additionally, through establishing a name for yourself, you will build brand awareness and demonstrate your skill at the same time.

Improve your organic traffic

If you regularly post fresh content on your website, this will help you improve your Google rankings. And if you focus on the relevant keywords when writing content, you are likely to show up in the top results, which will considerably improve your organic traffic.

Generate more website traffic

It is as simple as that – first, you build a name for yourself through great content, then your organic traffic improves, which leads directly to generating more traffic. Of course your website will get more visits if you appear in top 5 results for a given keyword. It does take time and effort, but you can get there!

Convert more

As you can see, each of these steps helps you achieve the next goal and the ultimate goal, of course, is to convert more. And you can convert more just by sharing your knowledge, your thought and expertise with the world!



So if you really know your job and love writing, this will be an easy task for you. It will take time, of course, but I can promise you’ll see the first results quite soon!


Voice Search is Coming!

Change is the only constant in our modern, digital world. Methods of communication are changing more rapidly than ever before, with businesses and consumerism driving the way, we’ve come a long way from hieroglyphics and smoke signals!

Two things that stand the test of time are the written word and the spoken word. We will forever be communicating using speech and through writing – what changes is our method of delivery.

There are subtle differences between written and spoken: the written word allows the reader some breathing room and time to think, the spoken word is more immediate and elicits quick, emotional responses.



Getting ready for the Spoken Word

In the age of Digitisation, where we are communicating mainly through our phones, written words are the currently the dominating factor. The next frontier is Voice.

Why is voice taking off? It’s quicker, and as a culture, we value our time enormously.

Consider a Google Search; we could speak out a search to our phone, or type it out…

The few seconds saved by from taking your phone from your pocket, unlocking it, finding your favourite search app, tapping the search box – AND THEN thinking of, and typing out, your search query, is invaluable.

Is your website ready for Voice Search?

Voice is flourishing with Search Engines. More and more people are searching using voice. ComScore predicts that by 2020, 50% of Google Searches will be performed by Voice.

Since the way in which we use Search Engines is changing, Search Engine Practices will change too. It won’t be as simple as ranking at the top of Google, there is more competition.

For example, I’m searching for an office space in Newcastle. I could type out “best office newcastle”. Alternatively, I could speak this into a Search Engine – where I’m more likely to say something like “I need to rent an office in Newcastle”, because that is more natural to say.

“Best office Newcastle” and “I need to rent an office in Newcastle” are different Keywords which require different optimisation.

So what’s different about Voice Search?

It dramatically affects your keyword research.

There is more opportunity as there are a larger variety of keywords to optimise for.

How much website traffic will you achieve optimising for “Best Office Newcastle” vs “I need to rent an office in Newcastle”?

Are you better off with a smaller percentage of the type-search results or a larger percentage of voice-search results?

The Key Separator with Voice

The key difference with voice is that the initial search result, rather than be displayed on a page of search results, will be SPOKEN OUT LOUD to you.

This is MUCH different from what we have had before.

Let’s consider for a second what it’s like to have a search result spoken back to you. One day the technology will allow an answer such as “There is well priced, modern office space 5 miles from Newcastle with free parking which has rooms available!”

If that works for you, you’re not going to go anywhere else!

You pay attention to the result

You are more attentive to the result of your voice search than you are a typed search. You are listening carefully, so that you can make an informed decision whether that would be a good office for you!

When results are displayed in list format, you scan over the results quickly. The space is highly competitive and the attention you earn is actual quite fleeting in comparison.

The value of having a potential customer paying attention to you is incredible. If your offer is compelling enough, the customer would have no reason to consider any other options. Hey, presto – you have yourself another customer – magic.

What are the search engines going to do?

Google, Apple and Amazon both have well-functioning, efficient voice search engines built in (as long as you speak clearly!).

Naturally, there will be a few teething problems, just as there was with SEO and PPC in the early years. It is the responsibility of the search engines to deliver to you the results that you desire. If any search engine stops doing that – you aren’t going to use them. It’s their business!

How any search engine chooses to do this is entirely at their discretion. Do they award this ‘voice result’ to the top organic search results? Do they let advertisers pay for the right to this space? Or will there be an entirely new mechanism for this? The decision made here will be massive for thousands of competing businesses.


Voice is fast becoming a key part of our marketing strategies and will be considered alongside website design, email marketing, classic SEO and PPC, as well as social media before too long.

Sleeky Web Design and Print is working closely with Metropolitan House Business Centre in Gateshead on their Search Engine Optimisation, ensuring they are at the top of the search results for highly relevant, targeted keywords. Sleeky will continue to optimise their pages for increased voice search when that becomes a financially sound option.

Why is photography so important in our lives?

We all get just a few big days in our lives, really. Of course, every day of our life is special, and these ordinary days actually make our lives extraordinary – because even the most ordinary day can stay in our memory forever, whether we want it or not. But these big, special moments, such as childbirth or wedding – we want to capture each and every second of it, we want to remember everything we saw and everything we felt on that occasion and then relive these moments again and again.


But we cannot remember everything forever, as much as we’d like to! This is why people hire a photographer for important days in their lives – to preserve those loving moments and the memories of the people that surrounded them.


Mini Bee Photography specialises in newborn, maternity & cake smash photography in Newcastle, Durham & throughout the North East. I am one of their happy customers and working with Sam has been a great pleasure! Sam has such a creative mind and the photographs have captured the love and joy of these moments I want to remember for the rest of my life. We first hired Mini Bee Photography for our wedding and when we got the photos we simply could not stop looking at them. And they even get more valuable in our lives as the time goes by! I knew I was going to hire Sam for our newborn photography a few months later and this was the most amazing experience for us as a family. Sam is great with kids – again, very professional and patient; her work is simply amazing!


mini bee

And this is my way of saying thanks to Mini Bee Photography and Sam. I am so grateful that she has made our special moments even more special with her talent and creativity. I can’t recommend her enough and all of you who live in Durham or Newcastle and are thinking of hiring a photographer for a wedding, maternity or newborn photography, believe me, if you hire Mini Bee Photography, you will get the photographs that you will cherish forever!

Why should you have a contact form on your ‘Contact us’ page

Contact us page is one of the most important elements on your website. Contact form is a window which visitors can fill in to contact you, so it saves their time and thus contributes to a great user experience. 


Connect Insolvency Contact Form



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Contact forms make it easier for the visitors to contact you. If your ‘Contact us’ page is easy to find, visitors will be taken straight to the contact form and will be able to contact you for any questions they might have without using their emails.


When potential customers contact via a contact form, you will make sure that their questions end up in the right mailbox, so the right person will be able to take over the communication. This will speed up the whole process and your sales cycle will go smoothly.


Your contact form will have clearly listed fields that visitors will need to fill in. Some fields might be optional, some will be mandatory, but the visitor will not be wondering if they have provided all the necessary details that you will need in order to help them.


As we all know, Google prefers user-friendly websites and tends to rate them higher in search results. So, user experience is not the only reason why your Contact us page should have a contact form.

A few other things…

Other than that, contact forms make your website clean and more professional. There is a number of tools and plugins that you can use to install a contact form in an easy and simple way and I’ll list just a few of them: WPFormsGravity FormsNinja FormsContact Form 7 and many others.

Form 7 is the most popular contact form plugin in the WordPress repository and that’s what we’ve used for building the contact for a number of websites we have built:  Connect Insolvency, Abbey Masterbatch Ltd and many others.

Designing a perfect website for your target audience

Why is it important to design a perfect website for your target audience? It is not just because you want your customers, prospects and website visitors to have a perfect journey when surfing your website or to help them easily find and understand how your services help them overcome their challenges; it is more than that – you want your website to ‘speak your customers’ language’, the message it conveys needs to be in sync with your brand, mission, vision and industry.

Therefore, your journey of designing for a target audience starts with getting to know your audience.



Identify your target audience

This step is about getting to know your target audience, knowing who you are building a website for. In terms of demographics, you need to know their age, gender, education level, culture and in B2B cases even a business industry of a typical customer. To put it simply, the most important task here is to find out who they are.

When the above questions are answered, you are all set and ready for step 2.

Research and Analysis

When researching and analyzing your target audience, you need to ask the right questions. The most important questions here are what they like, what they do, how to speak to them. You need to know what their values are and what is a typical behavior and preferences when surfing the internet.

To successfully complete the research and analysis phase, there are some questions about your product and service as well, i.e. what the main brand elements are – in terms of colour, font, styles, etc. Simply, what is the visual side of my brand and my future website?

Don’t forget to include competitor research in this phase! Try to learn from them, but also use this chance to differentiate your product and service. Turn their weaknesses into your own opportunities. There are so many advantages you can gain with this – both content-wise and design-wise.


Having gathered valuable information from the first two phases, you are ready to start planning. Planning is about incorporating what we have learned from the first 2 phases into your new website which is an extension of your business. It is about finding out how to answer your customers’ questions, how to respond to their (business) needs and of course – how to do it within predicted timelines.

Good planning saves you time and money and, in this phase, you need to decide on your website colours, style, fonts, etc. And don’t forget the images! It is known that human eye processes images quicker than words, so choose something that will look pretty and be relevant and interesting at the same time.

Think about the hierarchy of information since it is crucial for website navigation. What do you want your visitors to notice first? Is it a call to action button or is it your portfolio or recent projects that will help them find a use case? Whatever it is, make sure it stands out.

When planning is completed, you have come up with the content for your website. And you know exactly how this content will be presented – the visual side of it and the simplicity of website navigation.


When well prepared, execution is the easiest phase of this process. Now that you know who you want to speak to, what your audience’s preferences and behavior are, how you want to speak to them and what is the first thing you want to say to them – you are ready for the final step. If you have in-house designers and developers, don’t forget to involve them as soon as planning has started. If you want to outsource this project, make sure come up with a good plan for your website. A good webdesign company will be able to advise and provide some useful tips to make your website just perfect for your target audience.


We have been there and done it many times. This is not just pure theory, but a practice done many times and proven with a number of happy customers we have worked with. An example of one such project is the website we designed and built for J3 Building Solutions Ltd – a perfect example of a project well researched, well planned and more than well executed.

The difficulty of writing copy for technical subjects

technical writerSo, when it comes to writing about a complex or technically difficult subject matter, a certain level of research is required to ensure that the content you provide is clear, concise, and factually correct.

The technical nature of complex copywriting projects means that it can be extremely challenging for even the most competent and experienced copywriters to construct content that is fit for purpose, especially if they lack the technical subject knowledge and background.

The good news is there are lots of tricks of the trade you can use in order to produce high quality content that is accurate, engaging, and powerful.

Here’s our guide to the techniques you can employ to create content that inspires action, no matter what the subject matter. After all, a good copywriter should be able to write about anything.

Start by gathering all the facts

Before you start any copywriting project, you should always begin by gathering as many facts and information about the subject you are going to be writing about. Collect and review all source material for the project and highlight any major features or benefits of the topic, service or product you are writing about.

Go back to basics

If you’re writing about a subject that is difficult to understand or complex, children’s books or school-books can be an invaluable source of information. They tend to cover a whole host of subjects and are written in a way that is much easier to understand than adult text.

A high tech dictionary will also prove invaluable if you’re a copywriter that writes a lot about complex subject matters.

Interview your client

Before you put pen to paper, make sure you understand your brief inside out! Clarify anything that you are uncertain about and don’t be afraid to ask questions.

It can really help to get the information you need by interviewing your client.

This will allow you to get a clear idea of the service or product that your client is offering, and extract all relevant information you need to complete the project you are working on to the highest possible standard.

Oh, and although the majority of copywriters are perfectionists, don’t be offended if your client asks you to make amendments to the first draft. This is often happens when copywriters are working on technical content.

We have recently worked alongside The National Renal Complement Therapeutics Centre in order to design and develop their website from scratch and were responsible for overseeing the content creation for the website. This was one of the most challenging projects we have worked on due to the technical nature of the subject matter. The National Renal Complement Therapeutics Centre specialise in atypical haemolytic uraemic syndrome, eculizumab, C3 glomerulopathy and offer advice on the diagnosis and management of these rare conditions.

However, we have worked on a wide range of website content, for a variety of different sectors, so we were able to confidently adapt the style and tone of the content so that it was fit for purpose. You can check out our work here.