HARC Online Community

HARC logoHARC is a worldwide community of organisations and individuals dedicated to promoting and sharing research on HIV, AIDs and religion.

HARC members are scattered around the globe. I created a brand identity and built an online community allowing members to come together – a place where they can collaborate through private groups, forums and private messaging. The site was recently launched and has attracted over 40 members so far. I also design and distribute e-newsletters for HARC members and interested parties.

The HARC site is built with BuddyPress – a WordPress plug-in. There are loads of applications for BuddyPress. If you could benefit from an online community that is private and independent, unlike Facebook and LinkedIn, please get in touch to discuss.

ForecourtExpo

The PetroExpo brand underwent a name change to forecourtEXPO, requiring a new logo along with changes to the website. I created the new logo and redesigned the site. I would have liked to have implemented the site in WordPress for easier updating but the client felt this would have changed the site too much, which she is very happy with.

ForecourtEXPO-Directory2011I also created a set of marketing materials for the annual forecourtEXPO event at the Hilton Metropole, including a 76-page Delegates Directory which was distributed on USB sticks to delegates attending the event.

Sports Incorporated

Sports Incorporated Logo

It’s been a pleasure to develop a new brand from scratch. Sports Incorporated asked me to come up with a brand identity for their new sports training business which had to have appeal for kids aged 7-9. Having my own 8 year old helped. It’s amazing how brand-savvy children are even at this young age. Cute images don’t work – everything needs a thoroughly grown-up look.

The logo had to work on a variety of items including sportswear and flags as well as the usual stationery items. It also needed to look strong reproduced in black and white. I defined a set of brand colours and produced a set of logos using these colours. When these were approved I incorporated them into designs for posters, flyers and other marketing literature. At the same time I developed the Sports Incorporated website. The business is up and running and proving a hit – December sign-ups target was reached in September.

Here are some nice things David Emes of Sports Incorporated said: “The work that Ken has done for us has been quite brilliant. He immediately understood what we were trying to achieve and translated it, into the modern, young style that we wanted to portray. His friendly and easy going approach has certainly eased the stress factor, as his knowledge in IT, web design and copy writing, made our work a lot more manageable. We would certainly recommend Ken to any prospective customer without any hesitation at all, great value for money, but more importantly it is great to have the confidence when starting a business, to have someone with Ken’s ability to support you, whenever the need arises.”

SEO. So you think you know what it stands for.

It occurred to me that surely the best company offering SEO (or Search Engine Optimisation) must be the one that gets its own company listed at the top when you do a search on Google for SEO. After all, there are pages, pages and bloomin’ pages of listings, and what chance you’d choose any of those on say, page 45 or below – despite them all promising stupendous results for you?

So I tried just searching on the keyword SEO. The results were interesting.

Top spot (not counting the paid listings) was not a SEO company at all. It was Wikipedia. Which suggests to me at least that one possible way to promote your offering might be to get mentioned in as many Wikipedia articles as possible, though that may go against the spirit and probably the rules of Wikipedia. I don’t know.

But who came top, not counting the paid listings and Wikipedia?

Again, quite surprisingly, not a search engine optimisation company. It was Sponsors for Educational Opportunity (SEO) London, “a not-for-profit organisation that every year provides hundreds of outstanding undergraduate students from under-represented ethnic minority backgrounds the unique opportunity to gain summer internships at the most prestigious investment banks, professional service firms and corporate law firms in the UK.”

So who then, after the paid stuff and the Wikipedia and the educationalists, came top in the SEO search for a SEO company?

Stand up and take a bow, seoconsult.com – and surprisingly their web copy did not seem overly repetitive or screamingly dull.

Maybe there’s something to be said for SEO after all.

Still going at page 41...

Maybe.

Got kids? Watch this.

Brilliant animation. A rant from a different Ken – the highly eloquent Ken Robinson. Sorry, Sir Ken Robinson.

Well worth watching especially if you’ve got kids.

Weasel Word of the Week: Free

Free. One of the most annoying an over-used words in the marketer’s lexicon.

How can something be free when it’s inextricably linked to a purchase?

It gets worse. Here, this rubber ring packaging promised a free phthalate but the cheeky monkeys only forgot to include one.

When it comes to being lazy

Client briefs agency.’We need a radio spot, think of a way to tell them we provide the best quality radial tyres in Didsbury.’

Copywriter licks biro, furrows brow and hey presto! “When it comes to the providing the best quality radial tyres in Didsbury, just come to (client name).

Ker-ching!

When what comes to what exactly?

If you’re a client and your ad agency does this to you – time the account went elsewhere.

And when it comes to providing quality copy at an affordable price….

Weasel Word of the Week: Unlimited

Now, unlimited has an ‘un’ at the start – so it means the opposite of limited, dunnit. So if something’s limited, there’s a limit to it, but if it’s unlimited, there are no limits.

Oh look, O2 agrees with me.

It couldn’t be clearer could it? Unlimited data means no limits. Unambiguously.

Except for the excessive usage policy. So it’s limited after all. We’re back in the ad-world of ambiguity.

I have an iPhone and I really don’t have a problem if O2 say I can’t download silly amounts of data. But why do they go to all this trouble to spell out unlimited when they clearly mean limited?

It’s unclear, unhelpful and a pile of underpants.

LG poster hits the street and misses the mark

And what in heaven’s name is this all about then?

The ‘take-out’ of an ad – what you come away thinking and feeling – is not always the same as the intended message. This shot makes me feel bad about mobile phones because it looks like the phone is broken. But what exactly is the intended message here? “Small phone, big experience?” If this is basically trying to tell me the phone is not very large, surely there has to be a better way than this.

Raving, not ranting


For a change, a rave instead of a rant – I’m raving about this app at Wordle.net for the way it generates great typographic art in an instant, sourcing its content from any URL you give it. Here you can see one made from my jive dancing site www.jiveparty.com – I think you get some of the flavour of the night at a glance. Delightful.