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July 2020

GDPR in a nutshell

GDPR in a nutshell

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GDPR in a nutshell
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GDPR in a nutshell

Not half as exciting as a hero in a half-shell… but extremely important. Here’s our lowdown on everything GDPR.

What is GDPR?

Back in May 2018 the data protection rules and regulations for the UK and EU changed. Essentially the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) modernised the laws around the protection of personal data.

In a nutshell, it meant that any company marketing (email, post, SMS, phone calls etc.) without proven consent could be fined up to 20 million euro or four per cent of the offending businesses turnover. Prior to this, the ICO could only fine up to £500,000… so just a bit of a step up.

Wired summarises the seven key principles laid out in article 5:

“Lawfulness, fairness and transparency; purpose limitation; data minimisation; accuracy; storage limitation; integrity and confidentiality (security); and accountability. In reality, only one of these principles – accountability – is new to data protection rules. In the UK all the other principles are similar to those that existed under the 1998 Data Protection Act.”

So if it was a law passed in 2018, why are you talking about it now?!

Great question! A lot of smaller businesses still haven’t taken the steps to ensure they are acting compliantly with this regulation. Probably a combination of thinking they won’t be pulled up on it and a lack of understanding of what needs to be done. But with fines like these, do you really want to risk it…

If we’re leaving the EU, does it really matter?

Yes. The ICO (Information Commissioner’s Office) states that:

“The GDPR will be brought into UK law as the ‘UK GDPR’, but there may be further developments about how we deal with particular issues such as UK-EU transfers. The GDPR will be retained in domestic law at the end of the transition period, but the UK will have the independence to keep the framework under review”

You can read about it in full here on the ICO website.

Ok, how do you prove consent?

Firstly, by making sure all sign up forms are crystal clear on what you’ll be doing with that individuals data. For example, if it’s an email database, you’d need to state frequency, content and if you share your database with any third partners.

Once you’ve done that, you’ll need to do the following:

#1 First and foremost, you must ensure all data is kept securely and only those who need to access the data can. As a company, it is also your responsibility to ensure your staff understand GDPR to minimise any violations.

#2 Set up your sign up forms to have a double opt-in mechanism behind them. Most email service providers will now have this as a standard practice, but some don’t. What this means is once someone submits their data on your form, they’ll receive an email asking them to confirm they intended to sign up to your database.

#3 Once they have confirmed their intent, your CRM or database should store the date and time stamps the sign up.

#4 Have a clear unsubscribe link in every communication channel. This also means an inbox that is monitored so if for any reason the link doesn’t work, you can be contacted directly. This doesn’t need to be a personal inbox but one that is monitored regularly.

What data can I collect?

Basically only collect what you need, and be prepared to explain why you’re using it. For example, if you’re collecting date of birth in sign up forms be clear as to what you’re doing with it. It might be to track a child’s development, send age appropriate nutrition recommendations for a pet or simply to send birthday discount codes.

If you can’t explain why, then you shouldn’t be collecting it. End of story.

What do I need to do to make sure my website is compliant?

So we’ve summarised what you need to do with data collection, but what about the legal statements you need on your website.

#1 Your cookie policy and consent banner

Over the last few years, you’ll have gotten used to seeing banners across the top of bottom of all compliant websites. They’ll ask for you to consent for cookies to be collected on your session and sometimes beyond.

The banner will link to your cookie policy, which will outline all the cookies you’re using on your website. This includes:

  • Essential cookies: these are required for the operation of the website, such as logins and sign up forms (e.g. direct data capture)
  • Analytical cookies: you guessed it, anything that allows the web team to analyse how the website is used. It helps them make improvements based on usage.
  • Marketing cookies: these allow the web team to personalise content for you, remember your preferences and log things like pages you’ve previously visited.

#2 Privacy policy

You’ll need to outline exactly what you’re doing with data you’re collecting, how you’re handling it if you’re sharing it with any third parties, why and who they are.

Basically, you need to be absolutely transparent about what you’re doing with any data and why.

How do I make sure my database is compliant?

Stop. Storing. Data. In. Excel. There. Ok, actually there’s more to it than that. But it’s a start! And yes, we know for a fact this still happens and it shakes us to the core.

You can do it in four simple steps:

#1 Store your data in a secure, cloud based CRM.

#2 Minimise access to only those who need to handle it. For example, finance teams will need to see customer data, but not marketing information. Sales and marketing teams will need analytical data and opt-in, but won’t need access to financial records. Simple.

#3 Don’t leave yourself logged in to databases when you’re not using them!

#4 Only send marketing collateral to opted-in subscribers.

Do I need a legal team to review my documents?

Probably. It’s not for us to say, but it’s often a good idea to have someone with a recent legal background or a data protection officer review what you’ve done and make recommendations if you’re not quite there. If you don’t have one, have a look for a legal team with GDPR compliance experience.

Summary

Any website designer/developer or marketing agency worth their salt should know how to make sure your website is compliant. If you’re working on a redesign or refresh, they should make sure that your new data collection forms, privacy and cookie policies all meet the regulations set. And if you have further questions on what you need to do, just ask them!

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Why brand guides are an essential marketing tool

By | Blog posts, Creative
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Why brand guides are an essential marketing tool

Chances are high that even if you don’t have your own brand guide for your business, you’re familiar with the concept. And while the concept of “becoming a brand” might not be something senior stakeholders are ready to buy into, let us assure you that brand identity isn’t just for consumer products.

What is a brand guide?

Exactly what it sounds like. A set of guidelines on how to apply your logo to any visual assets. What fonts and colours to use, and the tone of voice and language.

Put simply, it’s a dummies guide to creating marketing collateral. It should make your job much easier if working with a creative or digital marketing agency. Your brand guide should immerse them into your company.

What should it include:

  • An overview of your brand’s past, present and future, its personality and values
  • Your message or mission statement, plus examples of how to apply these
  • Tone of voice with examples of language and keywords to use in campaigns
  • Your logo and how to use it (e.g. on black, white, transparent backgrounds and spacing)
  • Your colour palette
  • Fonts and variations
  • Your buyer personas
  • Visual styles (photography, graphics)
  • Guidelines for social media presence (e.g. use of logo on images, any adaptations to tone of voice/language)
  • Design guides for email
  • Design guides for ads

Paradox Parlours visual tile brandingFour reasons why

#1 Build recognition, awareness and drive consideration

Recognition leads to awareness, which drives consideration. Yep. So it’s important that your brand looks consistent across all touch points, digital and print. If something looks off, it could erode the trust your leads were building and lose you future sales.

#2 Consistency: this is who you are

When a customer knows what to expect, they feel comfortable. And when they’re comfortable, they’re more likely to spend money. Imagine if a well-respected, scientific brand were to randomly use Comic Sans. Without good reason, it is jarring and something feels almost sinister.

#3 Maintain professionalism and identity

Visuals aren’t about creating a pretty picture. They build powerful campaigns. Trust. Authority. Recognition. Your customers and leads alike, will come to expect a certain standard from your business. That standard covers service as well as appearance.

#4 In-house or agency = we’re all in this together

If you work with a digital marketing agency or freelancers, time is money. You don’t want to waste anyone’s time with unclear briefs or leaving things open for interpretation. Not only will you have endless change requests, but a job that could’ve taken a couple of hours could lapse into days.

Working creatively with innocent

We work with the internal design team at innocent on their packaging. They send us their creative concepts, and we help make that into the finalised end result. Care, attention and understanding are crucial. A tight set of brand guidelines helps us achieve this without a disconnect between what’s created in-house and what’s created at our creative agency.

innocent packaging

Helping establish Mum&You

When we first starting working with Mum&You, they hadn’t yet launched in the UK. The project was about building an exciting, premium brand in the parenting category.

As a fledgling brand, it was essential to present a consistent image across all the touch points. We built their e-commerce website and a series of digital campaigns for Google Adwords and social media.

Summary

Branding is an essential part of your marketing strategy. It’s what sets you apart from your competitors and highlights your promise. If you’re stuck for inspiration and feel like your visuals could do with a boost, let’s have a chat. Our creative team has a wealth of experience working on a range of exciting brands, both established, spanking new and all those between.

Fill out your details below and we will be in touch

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brand design

Is it time to refresh my branding?

By | Blog posts, Creative
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Is it time to refresh my branding?

Refreshing or rebranding is not a small job. There’s finding the right creative agency who not only specialises in branding, but whose approach resonates.

Then there’s aligning and replacing all the visuals once the job is complete. And this is without even mentioning having to get buy in from senior stakeholders. Some of whom might be rather attached to the current branding…

Measuring your brands performance is similar to analysing your website. The two ultimately go hand-in-hand as the power couple of your marketing. It’s the face and personality of your business.

Before we begin, it’s a good time to ask yourself:

  • Why do I want to rebrand?
  • What don’t I like about my current branding?
  • What has to stay?
  • Could a brand represent us better to our customers?

Reassessing your brand can supercharge your marketing

Ensuring your branding is consistent across all touchpoints helps build your reputation. Having a strong reputation drives consideration. Simple.

Perhaps your branding hasn’t had any attention in a long time.

A few simple updates can transform future campaigns into powerhouses that deliver quality leads. Our clients at Grayce found this to be true, after we modernised their branding. This included reviewing their personas, tone of voice, logo and colour palette. Oh, and we rebuilt their website too, helping to making the migration from old to new, painless!

Grayce brand guides images

Refresh vs. Rebrand

When you’re looking at changing things up, there are two options: refresh or rebrand. But what’s the difference?

A refresh is modernising what’s already there:

  • Changing your fonts
  • Updating your colour palettes
  • Tweaking your tone of voice and messaging

All the while maintaining your mission, position and offering.

A rebrand is starting from scratch. Logo, fonts, colours, tone of voice, personas, visuals. Even what you focus on with your services and products.

A total overhaul is undertaken if the brand identity:

  • Isn’t generating leads
  • Has confusing messages
  • No longer represents the company’s mission

Either way, a new brand guide is necessary.

A creative agency will be able to audit your existing branding. This thorough analysis will include researching your buyer personas and your competitors. This is crucial to make sure you can work together to create something with impact but is still appropriate for your business and industry.

Google's logo over the years

Take the plunge

Perhaps some of these ring true for your marketing performance:

You’re not generating enough leads but you’ve already reviewed your strategy and website

  • You’re blending in with your competitors
  • The company has changed since your branding was last updated/created
  • It’s inconsistent across various marketing channels
  • You have reassessed and it’s time to try and attract different/new customers

Temporary updates

From time to time, brands adapt their logo and visuals to embrace an event, season or a company milestone.

It’s important that when these changes are made, even though temporary, they are still consistent with your brand.

If this is something you would want to take into consideration when refreshing or rebranding, discuss this with your design agency.

For example, you might want to celebrate:

  • Charity affiliation
  • Company milestone (e.g. 25 years in business)
  • Something seasonal that is relevant to your customers
  • Celebrating your staff, for example with Pride month

Pride logos 2020

What happens next?

It’s important to introduce your new branding to your customers and leads alike. It stops confusion and helps them to recognise you in the brand landscape going forward.

You can relaunch your branding in a few stages over many different digital channels. We recommend emailing your customers so that they won’t miss the update. If you have changed what you do or your focus, this is a great time to explain what and why.

A relaunch content strategy can be deployed via social media. Before changing your profile and cover photos, consider posting about the change. A digital marketing agency with experience in design will be able to make recommendations based on your audience.

Summary

You may meet some resistance along the way, but armed with research, you can prove your theory. If you can prove how your brand isn’t performing, it’ll have a much deeper impact than “it looks dated”. Which of course can also be reason enough.

Working with a creative design agency like us will help you scope out your requirements. Consider if you want to completely rebrand, or is a refresh enough?

As always, make sure you take into consideration your personas. Keep in mind branding is so much more than a logo! It’s colours, fonts, language and tone. And above all, your brand is your promise.

If you’d like to discuss your burning branding questions, leave your details below and we will be in touch!

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How to develop a winning SEO strategy

By | Blog posts, Digitisation
SEO strategy
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How to develop a winning SEO strategy

Behind every successful website is a thoroughly planned SEO strategy. Think of it as the central nervous system of your websites body. Without it, nothing happens. Come to think of it, without it, you’re kind of screwed!

It’s all well and good creating content and pushing it using inbound marketing, but if you’re not showing up on Google, you’re missing a trick. And yet many marketers don’t truly understand (or appreciate) how SEO works and try to get around it. This quick blog aims to help you develop a basic understanding to creating a winning SEO strategy, whether you want to do it in-house or with a content creation agency.

Who’s looking at your content and who should be looking

Personas should be at the forefront of every project. After all, there’s no use creating anything if you don’t know who it is for, and your website is no different.

If you’ve not created a persona before, consider it like this: who is your ideal customer? It can be based on an existing customer that you have the best relationship with (in terms of how well you work together as much as projects and value). You can find out more about creating them here.Flexgenius mobile responsive website

Once you’ve agreed on your personas, think about what search terms you want your business to be found with.

Start by creating a list of twenty words you would use in a search engine to find your business (don’t worry if you don’t currently show on the first page of Google for these!).

Next step: what are your personas searching for to find your business. Repeat the process but this time thinking of twenty words you think they’d use. Ask colleagues from other departments as chances are they will have different ideas.

Finally, pull them together side by side. You may find two very different list. Ultimately this research should help you link the two, creating a unified approach. We used this very process when working with our client Flex Genius, merging their top level keywords with their brand messaging.

When we’re working with our clients, we refer to this as what do you want to be famous for? Or rather, how do you want to be found online.

What are you currently ranking for?

Once you’ve made your guesses, it’s time to look at the data. This step will reveal what you are actually found for. SEO tools will help you do this, in particular you’ll want to analyse:

  • Search volumes for each keyword
  • Who is currently ranking for those keywords
  • How difficult it is to rank on page one for your desired keywords

While this can seem rather dry and uninspiring, the results may surprise you. You could find some really interesting keywords you’d not previously considered using. Or even that your personas are using completely different searches to find you.

Once you’ve had a chance to review, analyse and digest this data, it’s time to make note of what you’ve learnt. Is it the direction you want to take your website or is it time to start afresh. A full service marketing agency, like us, can be a great help to steer you in the best direction.

What’s next?

Your improvements can be split into two areas: content and technical SEO.

Content SEO

This is all about making sure all your web content is optimised for search. So this isn’t just blogs but literally every single page of your website.

Technical SEO

The clue is in the title here, as this area is the technical set up of your website. It covers page speed, mobile responsiveness, the way your website has been built, and much more. But all will affect your technical score for SEO.

The basics of your strategy

You’ll need to:

#1 Define your focus keywords for every single page on your website. Once you’ve done this, optimise the content on that page to include those keywords.

#2 Make sure all your pages have a word count of at least 500 words.

#3 Improve meta data for your pages and make sure all images have alt tags.

Next:

#1 If your keyword research shows users are looking for answers to questions, use this in your content plan. Write articles, create infographics and videos. Generally creating a good mix of content that helps answer the common questions.

#2 Similarly, if there are other keywords you want your site to rank for but they don’t fit into your core pages, content like this is an excellent way to start attracting users to your site.

Keep in mind that YouTube is the 2nd most used search engine in the world after Google. So video content which is optimised on YouTube can be a lucrative part of your SEO strategy!

Summary

In essence, good SEO work is continuous. You have to nurture your website, which means regular (read: monthly) reporting, health checks and of course, feeding it new content.

If you’re not sure where you stand with your SEO strategy, or perhaps it’s not your niche, drop us a line, we’d be more than happy to help.

Get in touch

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