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Author archives: Stuart Nimmo

Is being responsible the hardest thing?

All too many are abandoned.

For any of you that know me reasonably well. I do make the effort and pound the pavement or jog through the woods, in an attempt to stay reasonably fit in body and mind. The one thing which has struck an accord in the last week is the number of abandoned, discarded face masks. No matter where I am, walking Finn or out on a run, or even blowing around the car park outside the business, they are everywhere.

We’ve started to see them washing up on beaches, ending up in the canals we are getting consumed by these necessary but evil waste generating item. It is fair to say, as a business, my ethics lead the way for the tone of what we do. I use cloth masks, which are washable, instantly cutting down the waste mountain. It seems like naivety or arrogance leads the way, through least cost, quick win, the disposable culture we have bread ourselves into.

The commercial rush of Covid-19 has brought about some real nasties, in our lack of environmentally conscious solutions. The commercial quick win, make a quick buck culture, as seen grossly overpriced items, see some of the latest news which the government was stung with for the NHS. Equally, I’ve watched businesses in certain hygiene sectors, use the hype as a way of inflating prices (I’m privileged to see some of the supply chains), morality has dropped as the pandemic has edged into commercial greed.

I can reassure you, we still, use plastics only where needed/required, ensuring when they are used, they are for a long lifespan. We actively recycle, with our user to waste conversion taking place as locally as is possible. We encourage our customers and associates to be environmentally conscious and aware of what they are doing, with the best solutions to fit their needs.

Our banner pricing remains competitive and any solutions we prepare for Covid-19 measures enforcement match previous pricing policy where possible. We are aware of stock issues on certain garment lines, such as head tube scarfs/hats, but we will endeavour to do what we can, as responsibly as we can. 

It seems a very bazaar paradox, that the planet recovered slightly whilst we had less on the roads and aircraft in the skies, that we are now polluting the planet with facemasks.

Stay safe, be responsible, and we will all will catch up face to face soon.

Guest blog – Sarah Beedle

Apparently, I have a reputation for pedantry…

That may be my reputation. However, what I actually have is a desire for accuracy and the effective use of language. The English language is extensive and misunderstandings can easily happen if an ill-advised word is selected, or if punctuation is used incorrectly. 

Apostrophes are my major bug-bear. The so-called “grocers’ apostrophe” is guaranteed to make me reach for my red pen (or black marker if it’s a sign in a window). Apostrophes do not need to be randomly scattered wherever an S appears at the end of the word. Apostrophes are used for two specific purposes: to demonstrate that letters have been removed from a word (such as in don’t and can’t or it’s etc.) or to prove ownership of something. The art of deciding whether an apostrophe is needed is not dark; it is really simple. And, it is easy to over-ride your computer’s/phone’s desire to add in extraneous punctuation. 

Autocorrect often confuses “its” and “it’s”. The only time you need to write “it’s” is when you are contracting the words “it is” or “it has”. In times of yore contractions were never permitted in writing, and they probably still are not sensible in official documents. However, language evolves and contractions are acceptable (and possibly even encouraged) in social media posts and sales copy – but only when used correctly.

The other form of apostrophe that autocorrect appears to enjoy is the possessive one: that’s the true “grocers’ apostrophe”. Inserting apostrophes in words such as potatoes, tomatoes, cauliflowers, etc. is unnecessary. Where apostrophes should appear is in words and phrases that denote ownership. 

For example: “She was wondering where she had left her shoes. The girl’s shoes were found under the bed.” The pair of shoes belong to the singular girl, therefore the apostrophe goes before the S in “girl’s”.

I understand the confusion about whether the apostrophe should be placed before or after the S. Again, this is simple to decide: if you are talking about a group of people/things, then the apostrophe comes after. If you are talking about an individual, then it is placed before. There is only one word that breaks this rule (the exception): children’s. The word “children” is already a plural. However, as there is no such word as “childrens”, as I frequently heard from an old boss, the correct usage has to be “children’s”.

Hiccups can occur when a person’s name ends with an S. Where should the apostrophe be placed then? Where would James’ apostrophe be placed? “Jame’s” is definitely wrong. However, you can choose between James’ or James’s. I go for the former as it takes less space and copy often has to fit a specified area, and occasionally letter count.

No-one ever worries about apostrophes when they are correctly used. However, when placed incorrectly apostrophes make your company look questionable: one method of spotting a scam, other than an email originating from a Nigerian prince, is to look at the language and grammar and then decide…

PS: Yes, I have sat and pondered whether it should be grocers’ or grocer’s… I decided upon the former as many grocers have been known to make the error – and probably many other people too.

Sarah features in our Partners, we have had a long working relationship with Sarah, and have grown to appreciate each others skill sets, and thrive off the relationship it has created.
See more on our partners page.

How not to specify and design a flyer for a door drop.

Well if only the businesses knew what I did when they dare to deliver tat to my door.

One local estate agent canvassing for business sparked this, a poorly specified and equally un-inspiring single-sided flyer. So, what did they do wrong and what can you do to avoid doing the same mistakes?

1) It was a flyer! Flyers are not a product for door dropping. Flyers are for handing out and inserting into packages. The 130gsm gloss art paper just spanks of being cheap and nasty, which it is. The first thing which I think is they do a cheap and nasty service, so think about the specification, does it match your service or product?

2) Again, the specification let this down, as to get it through a letterbox, it had to be scruffily folded down to a stupidly small size, so again making the item look insignificant or worthless – I’m sure they don’t offer a service which matches or do they?

3) The most significant part of this campaign probably would have been the distribution, even if they had got their cousins’ son to walk the streets, it’s still a big investment in time and money. So why only a single-sided flyer! You have a second side to tell more of your story or provide another call to action point.

4) On scrutiny and a closer eye reading the flyer, there were 4-5 grammatical errors on the page. Yet again, if you are trying to get a high-value ticket sale, attention to detail matters. All these small points matter as your brand is at the heart of the message, if these small points add up, what is the message you are delivering?

So, what could they of done better….
1) Specified and designed correctly. Understanding how something is going to be used and received is essential to get your message across correctly. We don’t just put ink on paper, we ensure you your message right and it sits correctly for you and what you are doing. Using a thin card stock would have been better, equally, they wouldn’t have needed the A5 size, it could have been A6 or DL, which would have equally worked.

2) Relevance, there was nothing relevant about the flyer to me, or to where I was. Huddersfield is a big place, I could be in Holmfirth or Birkby and I would engage very differently to it. So, think about who is receiving it and what’s important to them. No imagery on the flyer created any sense of locality, you state Huddersfield, but you could be in a back bedroom in Leicester for all I know.

3) The offer showed no sign of being time-limited or restricted, so why do I need to act now. The call for action, was a non-call for action, why should I engage now?

We have many more tools for creating empowering engagements with customers. Estate Agents, we can help you more than you think, as we can bring locality, bring data to convince vendors to sell or let. Unfortunately, this Estate Agent was using a scattergun approach, which equally will not result in any significant return. A keyword in marketing is targeting, if you have a target audience, drive messages to them to convince them, the key is them.

So if this agent was feeling like they wanted a campaign which would have returned them good enquiries and leads we would suggest

–           Localisation, bring it down to the area, Almondbury, Netherthong, wherever. If you want to be more specific and the Estate Agent has a pedigree selling in the area, use the street name. This will further engage the recipient, create a value, show respect and understanding of the area and its properties.

–           Use statistics and facts. People like to know if they are going to put their biggest asset on the market, they are doing the right thing. Demonstrate any increase in value for the postcode, which reinforces their hunches. The estate agent needs to demonstrate their ability to sell the property, so the time from going on the market to sale completion. 

–           Use the right product if you are door dropping, you know the areas, what the values are, so be reflective in the product you door drop. Here we can help you with an array of solutions.

How do we do it, we are a digital print house, and thus can vary data on flyers and door drops. Even if they are short runs with specifics, we are set up to manage and control this. 

So don’t be like the un-educated, be smart marketeers, focussed targeting, use relevant products to engage your audience appropriately to create higher levels of engagement. Which result in better enquiries and sales. Start your smart print solutions journey with us.

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