Today was the launch of the Dorset Business Awards, a fantastic celebration of the best in our region. As the event website sponsor I had the opportunity to deliver a short speech. I thought it would be nice to share it with you!
“Afternoon ladies & gentlemen, it is with considerable pleasure and honour that I am here today. A particularly special day as on this day 13 years ago I began the RT journey. Setting up a brand design agency to help businesses communicate through intelligent design, right here in Dorset.
13 years ago, in the year 2000 the ‘dot.com bubble’ burst and the majority of ‘startups’ ceased trading after burning through their capital without even making a profit.
The year that AOL merged with Time Warner, which was described as the worst transaction in history, and within two years boardroom disagreements drove out the CEO’s who made the deal and AOL was dropped from the name.
• Boo.com the failed attempt to create a global online fashion store had gone bust, spending $188m in just six months.
• GeoCities bought by Yahoo in 1999 for $3.5billion was closed ten years later.
• Google began to sell advertising with associated keywords.
• Facebook did not exist for another 4 years, and YouTube another 5.
• There were an estimated 20m websites online in September of 2000.
Riding out the recent recession and experiencing the highs and lows of running a small business, it would be fair to say RT has grown up in the digital age and been part of the ‘revolution’.
Supported by a dedicated, growing, fun and experienced team we have been instrumental in countless projects for some of the globes biggest organisations, from Sony Professional, Thomson Reuters and Tetra Pak, to our very own regions best performers including C4L, Dovey and past winners Shape Technology, for whom we create rewarding, valuable and engaging activities both online and offline. We are delighted that for the second year running we have been able to develop the DBA website. It’s our small way to help recognise, support and celebrate the regions brightest and best businesses.
The site is the bedrock for almost all of the applications, and following your feedback from last year we have made some improvements. The application process is a detailed one and now features an ‘auto-save’ system, so the information you enter should not be lost even if your Internet connection drops out, you leave the site or keep your browser window open for a few hours. There is an addition of a progress bar to indicate which sections have been completed and which are still to finish, and also some subtle typography and layout changes which should help you navigate and enjoy the experience.
It’s a cliché to say we love what we do, but after 13 roller-coaster years I can honestly say I wouldn’t want to be doing anything else, being part of the RT team makes me proud. And I can’t wait to see what exciting projects the future brings.
Thank you to everyone here today for their commitment and support in making each year’s awards better than the last and good luck to all those who enter.”
With all the rush and excitement that the new year inevitably brings starting to settle, we thought we would take this opportunity to look back over the last year and reflect on our accomplishments and the successes that have made RT Media what we are today and the amazing developments we have seen not only within our company but also within businesses and clients that we have worked with during the last 12 months.
Prepare for take off
A fantastic start to 2012 brought a busy January and the launch of Spire Payments as a new, independent European player in the electronic payments vendor market, with RT at the forefront leading the creation of a strong brand to rival its competitors and helping to provide a firm platform for Spire’s strategic growth plans.
In less than three weeks from the initial meeting with the team at Spire, we had delivered the complete package – a new name, brand, brand messaging, a working web site in English and Spanish, signage, promotional and packaging materials, an extensive set of data cards, communication materials, stationery and other small details – right down to the signatures on staff emails and the packing tape!
Dave Millener, Managing Director at Spire Payments in the UK explains:
“From the outset we had a very good working relationship with the team at RT. They just understood what needed to be done and got on with it, whilst contributing with a good flow of ideas, which gave our thoughts and ideas positive direction. It helped that they were just down the road in Wimborne, as it meant we could provide the direct input dictated by the deadline, literally sitting alongside the designers. The outcome was that we achieved our goal and, given the deadlines set, were actually in great shape the day we launched the new company to the market. Our customers both here and in Spain were very impressed that so much had been done, in so little time.”
We are looking forward to a roll-out of activities in 2013 including videos, training materials and the next phases of web site development.
Another memorable launch in the early stages of 2012 came on January 25th at London’s Cloud Expo, 2012 when longterm client C4L launched Infiniserv, one of its new brands and offerings, which is ‘removing the limitations you inherit with off the shelf virtualisation products’.
Being used to working with fast paced businesses and meeting tight deadlines and the successful launch of new group brands for C4L, a leading data centre and connectivity solutions provider really put our responsiveness to the test and we welcomed the challenge!
Working in conjunction with C4L, RT Media provided a range of options, from which the final brand design was selected. We worked closely with the team at C4L to understand its core values in order to create a design which would convey the cutting edge nature of this technology. Intangible services, especially those which are ground breaking, such as Infiniserv, are often the most challenging when it comes to brand development. Since time was of the essence, the launch at a major trade show was critical in terms of ensuring the stand, website, marketing materials and literature would all be deliverable and we were all delighted that our hard work during this stretched and busy period paid off.
Stephen Dann, Group Marketing Manager at C4L, said:
“RT Media has created an arresting identity for Infiniserv at a time when image and identity are essential for ensuring differentiation in a crowded market. The team has fully grasped concepts which are sometimes difficult to convey; creating a brand which, in my view, is spot on.”
2013 will see us continuing to work alongside C4L to launch many other products into the global market.
Hitting hard with Social Impact
In February 2012 we launched ‘Get Social in 2012’; a program of Social Media Training courses and Social Impact Audits with the aim of helping clients and other businesses to meet their online and social potential. The aim is to strategically review campaigns, tighten content and ensure brand continuity across a business’ online presence.
Phase One, a training course covering an Introduction to Social Media, LinkedIn, Twitter, Better Blogging and Facebook for Business, was well received by businesses attending, scoring highly for value, content and detail.
Our ‘Get Social in 2012’ programme was a great success and was highly recommended afterwards by its delegates, Robert Bennet of Groveley Detection said:
“This course gave me a good insight into what is obviously becoming a very important area for any business to add to their marketing programme.” Dr. Monica Seeley of Mesmo Consultancy added: “Excellent – well-presented, clear, learnt plenty (even as an existing blogger). [This course is] a must for anyone wanting to improve their blogging.”
Phase Two offers companies who are serious about assessing and addressing their online presence a ‘Social Impact Audit’. RT Media examines the online social activity of a business to identify areas for improvement, provide techniques for generating good quality content, including points which can save time as well as money, whilst generating better returns.
Ruth Chester of The Little Knitting Company was pleased with the new insight gained and explained:
“Yet again RT Media came up trumps. They understood my brief so on arrival the supporting notes for our workshop demonstrated the thorough research undertaken in preparation. I left with a much clearer understanding not only of how social media works but of how it can benefit my business.”
Working to make visions into reality
As we entered Spring-time of 2012, we began our involvement in one of the biggest and most significant projects for Sony that we had previously undertaken and April saw us embark on the start of a 5 month journey which was the rebuild of the Professional Sony website for Europe.
The project was extremely challenging in terms of scope and timeline but we were confident we had the expertise to be able to provide the publishing and content management resources to help the website go live on a brand new platform with a completely new streamline and sleek design, in-line with the new creative branding. We collaborated with Sony to provide advice and support relating to new content, layouts, banner designs, copywriting and translations and also providing the man-hours needed to transfer all of the content across to the new system.
After participating in the website user testing in Istanbul we continued to support Sony as the website was put live and entered the on-going post go-live support period which came to an end on the 14th August 2012. It took a tremendous effort from all involved at Sony and RT Media, but the collaboration and teamwork was fantastic throughout. See what’s so special about the all new pro.sony.eu here.
Celebrations and Revelations
In May we had the utmost privilege of attending Pramacare’s 30th Anniversary event, where their new-crafted RT Media brand identity was unveiled for the first time. Prama was launched in 1982 by the late Dr Chris Moran with a vision to provide support to people within their own homes following hospital discharge to enable vulnerable adults and older people to enjoy independent living.
The Anniversary event celebrated 30 years of providing home care services for local people and the launch of the new logo coincided with this to demonstrate the Prama vision. We worked with Pramacare to make sure their new brand identity further emphasised their company values and their compassion and integrity.
Jeff Russell, Chief Executive said:
“Our new logo demonstrates that we aim to show Christian love and compassion in practical ways to bring a smile to the face of older people”.
June brought celebrations as the 12th anniversary of RT Media was upon us! The team enjoyed a BBQ despite the poor weather and we posted on Facebook to thank everyone who has been a part of RT over the years… glasses raised to the next 12 years!
Another exciting project came in June when RT was chosen by Tetra Pak, the world’s leading food processing and packaging solutions company to develop a revolutionary tool to help their Sales teams demonstrate the features and benefits of each of their different packaging options to better suit and taylor individual needs to their clients. Working closely with customers and suppliers, Tetra Pak provide safe, innovative and environmentally sound products that each day meet the needs of hundreds of millions of people, so being chosen was a big moment for RT in 2012 and we are thrilled to be part of the process to improve communication and sales for such a well-established and heavyweight company such as Tetra Pak.
As Late June approached we were delighted to announce that RT Media became the website Sponsor for the 2012 Dorset Business Awards by providing the site for the 2012 awards. The awards launched on 27th June and companies were able to enter from 2nd July. The Dorset Business Awards are on a par with any national business awards, receiving high level sponsorship support from regional and national companies, as well as a year-on-year increase in entries. Businesses throughout the county clearly value the status attached to being shortlisted or winning an award. The beauty of the Dorset Business awards is that they are judged by business peers across the County and have come to represent the rich, diverse and colourful range of businesses that our economic region has to offer and we’re so proud to be a part of it this year.
We redesigned and rebuilt the Dorset Business Awards website to assist with the online application process. We had a very tight timescale and an unmovable deadline but we launched on time and the response from the website was great. The guys at DBA were pleased with the application system we custom built along with the analytical data it provided and the way in which they could track and manage applications. We have future plans to improve the application process further this year in time for the 2013 awards which will make the user experience even better still.
Shirley Ewart from Dorset Chamber who organises the Dorset Business Awards said:
“We are so pleased to be working with RT Media on this project as without the support of Sponsors the year-long awards process would not be possible. We have some great companies across Dorset and we’re looking forward to once again finding those hidden gems via the entry process.”
On 27th July, Ross was ‘arrested’ for charity and issued with convict overalls before being paraded through Bournemouth to a cell in the square with nothing but bread and water (and an ipad!) to get him through the day. We would just like to say a massive thank you to everyone who helped raise his ‘bail’ and helped raise funds for the great causes: Lee-manning Hospice and The Wessex Autistic society. The grand total after the event was a fantastic £448.98 and one of the many highlights of our summer!
Innovative design, developments and support
In October the design for the weird and wonderful Cuckooland.com website was revealed and we were very proud to announce that their brand new website went live and ready for business.
Cuckooland.com offers luxury, original gifts for all occasions. Visit www.cuckooland.com for some fantastic ideas including their top ten gifts for women, babies, couples, lovers and even your furry friend! Since October we have provided on-going creative work with a unique twist to suit the brands quirky style including visuals for web, identity and branding, stationery, newsletter and banners.
Nathalie Davis, Director at Cuckooland.com said:
“Ross and his team were incredible, they made us dig deep and we brainstormed together. After a day of really listening to us, RT Media got us completely and a few days later came back to us with some logos and visuals for us to play around with. There in front of us, on a big white sheet, were our thoughts and dreams for Cuckooland – a brilliant, simple logo and the most beautiful images to back it. We are totally delighted with the result and see a long, enjoyable future between Cuckooland.com and RT Media.”
It has been a busy and productive year for our very own Original Mug For life! Some highlights include our Tea and Coffee Lovers gift packs which went on sale over the Christmas period and some nicely designed interactive emails which were sent out to our database of Mug For Life followers to give them more insight into the best Christmas gift!
The Original Mug For Life brand has gone from strength to strength over the last few months, and continues to provide sustainable, environmentally friendly and re-usable mugs for your hot drinks on-the-go, available to purchase through the Mug For Life website www.mugforlife.com or on www.amazon.co.uk/The-Original-Mug-For-Life. More and more people are seeing the benefits of having a Mug for Life instead of the traditional disposable cups. Our first little promotional video for Mug For Life was a bit of fun to show it in action in everyday life and showed examples of how you can use it to make a difference. We got some great feedback and even inspired a whole host of followers to post their own Mug For Life videos and positive feedback on our MFL Facebook page!
There are some exciting developments in the pipeline for Mug For Life in 2013 as the brand continues to grow and inspire people every day to think twice and about ‘sinning and binning’ and do their little bit for the environment. Watch this space!
Following on to 2013…
Our on-going support for Thomson Reuters, the world’s leading source of intelligent information for businesses and professionals continued throughout 2012. We provided support with their email communications and supported the transition when they migrated to new CRM software. We also redesigned their email and landing pages when they rebranded from World Check to Thomson Reuters. In addition, we redeveloped one of their speciality sites, FATCA, which went live just before Christmas and are continuing to work alongside them to improve, expand and enhance the site along with FATCA email communications.
We look forward to continuing to support their on-going monthly email marketing and website activity in 2013 and our professional relationship with Thomson Reuters is one that is developing year on year and one that is valued and thought highly of within the team.
Many new projects and ventures took place throughout 2012 that are still in progress in 2013. RT worked with Groveley Detection, a global manufacturer of fire and gas detection products for use in hazardous areas, to design, build and launch their Groveley Ultrasonic website. We are currently re-designing and re-building their main website which is due to launch in 2013. RT also helped develop an online gas leak detection simulator for Groveley Detection, an app to help advise customers of the advantages they will experience from upgrading their standard single point gas detectors to Groveley Ultrasonic Incus detectors. After a successful re-brand we are continuing to work alongside Groveley Detection to support their print collateral, stationery and datacards and look forward with anticipation to the up-and-coming launch of their main Groveley website.
We also had the pleasure of working with Nunet – a bespoke manufacturer of presentation, promotional and POS products. The success of Nunet is based on offering a wide and fully-customisable product range, together with the capability to develop conceptual designs into actual products and RT Media were delighted to be leading the redesign, development and the launch of the newly architectured promotional goods website including the shooting, editing and production of their new corporate promotional video.
Another project that commenced in 2012 that we are particularly proud of has just come to a head this February was for Autism Wessex, formerly The Wessex Autistic Society. A regional charity providing high quality specialist services for people affected by autism and associated difficulties across the counties of Dorset, Somerset, Hampshire and Wiltshire. The charity began a comprehensive rebranding in 2012 to better reflect its commitment to remaining current and relevancy to its beneficiaries in a changing world. We engaged in research and focus groups with the team which helped inform the headline change, the new charity name of Autism Wessex!
Hand-in-hand with this came a new brand identity and guidelines for Autism Wessex including the logo and the resulting sub brands of Community Wessex and Portfield School. The new brand was unveiled at a special event held at AFC Bournemouth recently attended by actress and entrepreneur Jane Asher, who is also President of the National Autistic Society.
Bob Lowndes, Chief Executive of the charity commented:
“The name Autism Wessex was chosen because the focus group feedback revealed these elements were important. They set us apart from other organisations by simply telling everyone immediately who we help and where we are. The new look of our logo is a modern interpretation of our new name.”
We are sure you can agree that 2012 was certainly a year of dedication, hard work and persistence for RT Media resulting in celebrations, and successes that could only have been brought about by the motivation and commitment of the team and all of our clients, colleagues and associates. We believe this has set the ground work for an even better 2013. Thank you to all.Read More
Don’t underestimate the importance of getting people to recommend you and your company products and services on LinkedIn…
More than 100 new members join LinkedIn every minute which is why it’s used mainly for intelligence, recruitment and networking – it works by building up your personal contacts and business associates.
Linkedin recommendations can have a massive impact on your ability to attract new business and can help to establish a foundation for a good, trustworthy reputation. Great recommendations make all the difference, but what’s the best way to go about it?
1. Make it easy
It can be difficult to broach the subject but when asking for a testimonial/recommendation; we suggest you make it as easy as possible! Remind them of the work you’ve done or the outcome that you helped to deliver. It’s often not too forward to even ask them to mention a particular skill or attribute. Of course, this may depend on the relationship that you have with that particular associate or client, but suggesting a starting point within a LinkedIn Recommendation request or sending a link to your profile may help the process along.
2. Ensure your recommendations reflect your brand
Ideally, the recommendations that you display on your profile should reinforce your personal or company brand and represent how you want to be known as to others. Remember, you don’t have to publish every recommendation you receive if it doesn’t show your very best side…
3. How many recommendations should I aim for?
10 is a good number of well-rounded reviews to shoot for (although obviously the more the better!). What’s really nice is when people are regular LinkedIn users and write you a recommendation without you even asking them – this can happen surprisingly often – just remember to say thank you!
However, not everyone is used to this practice so be persistent. Ask for recommendations personally wherever possible and explain why they are important to you, this shows that you are taking yourself seriously and you have put in the time and effort to get them.
4. Lead by example
And finally, there’s nothing to stop you making the first move – if you experience great service or receive valuable advice then tell people about it. It’s a nice feeling and you’ll make someone’s day!
Giving recommendations will increase your exposure and visibility in the industry, so you can also offer to ‘swap’ recommendations so everyone is a winner!.. Although, in order to maintain integrity ONLY recommend companies and individuals that you would happily recommend to your own family and friends!
Get in touch if you need RT Media to help with any aspect of your social media activity and Look out for our new refreshed LinkedIn profile before the end of this year.
So after Microsoft’s logo refresh last month, a number of other big brands have followed suit, redesigning their logo and re-adjusting their values in line with changing demands. eBay are the latest digital brand to unveil their new logo, and it seems that the quirky, irregular personality that was previously represented in the stacked lettering of the 1997 logo has been replaced by a sleek and simple new design which could be a reflection of the company’s transformation from start-up auction site to a multi-billion dollar buying and selling online experience.
In 1995 eBay was created as a new way for people to shop online. The logo was designed by Elissa Davis and embodied a welcoming excitement and a childlike energy. The baseline shift gave an unconventional and dynamic feel with its vibrant, primary colour palette and chunky lettering. eBay’s decision to change their well established and recognisable logo was not something taken lightly according to their online announcement last month:
“Our refreshed logo is rooted in our proud history and reflects a dynamic future. It’s eBay today: a global online marketplace that offers a cleaner, more contemporary and consistent experience, with innovation that makes buying and selling easier and more enjoyable. We retained core elements of our logo, including our iconic color palette. Our vibrant eBay colors and touching letters represent our connected and diverse eBay community – more than 100 million active users and 25 million sellers globally and growing.”
eBay worked with design and branding consultancy Lippincott on the refresh. Lippincott Senior Partner Su Matthews has said that the new logo is about change, but also retains an element of eBay’s heritage, which is equally important. The ‘visual harmony’ was inspired by today’s vibrant marketplace and sleek experiences and according to eBay president Devin Wenig it seeks to represent a new eBay: “a global online marketplace that offers a cleaner, more contemporary and consistent experience”.
There is a certain charm and personality about small start-ups that set them apart from the rest but as a company grows along with profit, it’s a frequently occurring pattern where technology brands such as AOL, Microsoft and Twitter have bowed to the pressure to appear more business-like and shift to a more professional logo with a more mature and established brand identity. Eventually, that quirky, characteristic logo becomes a polished corporate identity and suddenly it’s in danger of losing its charisma, it doesn’t seem so exciting anymore. eBay has become the latest digital brand to gesture its new-found adulthood with a simpler, more sleek logo.
For designers this is quite the conundrum. How do you maintain the values that built the business in the beginning without being a slave to aesthetics? The skill lies in finding the correct balance of visual expression, conformity and good design. Take Google for example the logo still retains the fun and naivety of the early days without the contemporary edge, but how long before it too feels the need to conform?
The new eBay logo will be officially rolled out across the websites, advertising and marketing campaigns by mid-October.
View eBay’s announcement page about their new logo here.
How important is the first hour of the working day to you? To most people this is probably not considered as the most productive or motivated point of their working day but in fact this is the time when everything should seem clearer! We should be aiming to tackle one daunting task that would otherwise be hanging over us until after lunch, and focus on the reality outside the realms of your inbox. Here are my top 4 tips that I have picked up from working in a successful and sometimes stressful office environment:
Get stuck in
According to Craig Newmark of Craigslist, David Karp of Tumblr, motivational speaker Tony Robbins and career writer Brian Tracy you need to schedule this period every day to get your head together and get stuck in. Write one important task down on a piece of paper before you leave for the evening and that will be the first thing you see in the morning. Prepare your workspace for the chosen task and make sure you have everything you need ready to face it head on when you arrive. That way it will seem a lot less daunting and often the people involved in the task will not yet be engaged, leaving you with fewer complications. Do this before wading into your email and you’ve got an effective system in place.
Don’t check your email first thing
Don’t do it! Although many of us automatically believe this needs to be done first thing, it’s almost a compulsion and can stunt productivity. Only proceed once your first task is completed, this is a great strategy to ensure that even on your most manic days you will end your day knowing you got at least one real job done. If you do need to make sure you receive important messages through at this time AwayFind can monitor your inbox and notify you if necessary. Otherwise, it’s worth letting your colleagues know that they won’t receive an immediate morning response to anything they have sent in your ‘out of hours’.
Work on yourself
Robin Sharma, one of the world’s top experts on leadership and personal success advises his clients to schedule in a ‘holy hour’ to kick start your day in a spiritual manor, focusing on motivating and inspiring yourself to achieve all possible success in your work day.
“The Holy Hour, as you know, is simply 60 minutes at the beginning of your day that you devote to self-mastery and personal development. If your outer life is really a reflection of the quality of your inner life, then it’s a brilliant move to spend at least an hour a day working on yourself. This simple idea alone has helped so many of our clients from around the world get to world-class in business and in life.
During my Holy Hour, I journal, I read inspirational books, I review my goals and plans and I simply make the time to think. Because clarity precedes mastery and the more clearly you can get on what you want to create in life, the more focused you will be in your daily behaviors. Every day can be a platform to get you closer to your mountaintop. And yet, too many people live life by accident.”
Deal with people
This may seem strange if your job is to deal with people, but what I mean is your own equivalent of customer service. You will almost certainly have bigger fish to fry over the course of your 9 to 5 but use this time to get back to reality. This might mean keeping in touch with contacts from year-ago projects, checking in with colleagues that you don’t regularly interact with, asking questions to your supervisor or mentors, and generally managing the human side of work that is quick to subside between task list items. Engage in your customer service time regularly, and you’ll have a wealth of relationships to call upon when the time comes.