Tips To Boost Your Brand. Beware of Brand Drift – Part 1.

Consistency is the cornerstone to building a great brand. One simple test to see if you are communicating your brand consistently is to grab all your stationery, print out your email footer, website home page, grab a snapshot of your signs (building and vehicles) print and online ads, and anything else where your brand is represented. Then put them all on the table and stand back and check that your logo, font/s and style are all the same across the table. The results may surprise you.

When we do this exercise with new clients the results can be a wake up call. Most businesses end up with brand drift over time. Small changes creep in and before you know every point where your brand is represented is slightly different. The risk is that you end up with weak branding that gets ignored and reduces your presence in the marketplace. Every item that carries your brand is another opportunity to build your brand. Is it time for a tabletop review?

I Can’t See Your Website!

If your business website can’t be viewed easily on a mobile device, as an iPhone user – I Can’t See It! – nor can the 800,000 other adult New Zealanders who own and use a smartphone.

Everyday, hundreds of thousands of smartphone users check the news, share information, do their banking and surf the net on phones and other mobile devices. But frankly, websites that display only in desktop-computer format are really not worth the effort to visit. These sites are tiny onscreen and trying to zoom in or fill out forms, is just too hard.  It’s faster and easier to switch to a competitors’ site that is smartphone friendly – one with responsive website design.

Responsive websites display differently according to the device it’s viewed on, without having to build multiple websites. The dimensions of the webpage adjusts to fit, and page layout alters to suit each device’s display capabilities. If you don’t know if your site is smartphone user-friendly, it’s probably time to find out.

Here’s a free tool that will show you how your current site displays on a smartphone.

Here are two examples that show how responsive web design adapts to each device but still ‘feels’ the same to customers wherever they view it:





If your website can’t do what those websites can, then on a smartphone – I Can’t See It! 

In January this year one third of visitors to TradeMe went there using a mobile device. That’s a shift in online habits that no one could have predicted even 18 months ago. Nor is it just a ‘mobile’ habit. According to Statistics NZ, 34% of NZ adults will choose their smartphone over a desktop computer for online browsing – even when they’re at home.

And here’s a real biggie: Google recommends responsive websites. Why? Because responsive sites offer a better experience to more viewers.  So much so that online shoppers on mobile devices are 67% more likely to make a purchase or request a service if the site they go to is responsive to their device.

What to do?

Existing sites over five years old
No-doubt you’ve been considering a website upgrade anyhow. Make sure that working with someone who fully understands how to create truly-responsive website design is a top priority.  Ask to see examples of responsive sites they’ve created.

Newer sites
If your website design is still fresh and the site is otherwise performing well, find out whether yours is a design that will easily convert to a responsive web design format.

Websites vary a lot so there’s no one rule, but at the very least you should be able to transfer your existing content and images into the new site.

Free Assessment
Downing Design offers to assess your current website and advise what it will take to make it responsive.  We can also give you a price to make the conversion – it may not be as expensive as you think.

So, if making your site user-friendly to customers on mobile devices is important to your business goals, please contact us as soon as you can.

References: 3 Reasons Why Responsive Web Design is the Best Option for your Mobile SEO StrategyWhat is a Responsive Website and Do I need One

Should you be advertising online?

What is online advertising?

Online advertising is an ad on a website encouraging a person to click on the ad, onced clicked the ad leads to a specific webpage. The most popular types of online ads are the following:

– Search engine advertising, like Google AdWords: These ads appear alongside search results when you use a search engine. Displayed ads are generated primarily on keywords people are searching.

– Social media advertising, like Facebook ads: These ads appear when you are using a social media site, and the types of ads displayed are determined by the information input into n individual’s social media account.

– Banner ads, like on These ads are often animated, and occupy the large banner along the top of a website or other assigned places on the page.


Why should you advertise online?

Advertising is most effective if it is noticed by the target audience; if your target audience is online then you need to be advertising online. With the rise of new entertainment and information streams online, and the decline of traditional media, people are increasingly turning to the Internet. If you are not currently advertising online, ask yourself ‘Am I missing an opportunity to communicate with my target audience?’


What benefits does online advertising offer that is different from traditional media?

Online advertising offers powerful tools to target your ads, in quite different ways than traditional advertising (newspaper, radio, etc.). Depending on the type of online advertising that is appropriate for your business you can target your ads specific to location, age, sex, interests, keywords they are searched and a number of other factors – all can influence how your ads are displayed.


Online advertising also gives you comprehensive reports and tracking systems, so you can see how people are interacting with your ads, at what times, from what locations, etc. This gives you the ability to tailor your ads, and improve their relevancy and performance.


What are the costs involved in advertising online?

Costs can be customised – you decide your budget and how you want it allocated. Most online advertising campaigns debit your budget when someone clicks on your ad. This means that you only pay when people who are interested in your product or service interact with your ad. This is different than the traditional scattergun approach of traditional media where an ad is distributed across a large area in the hope that your target audience is paying attention. Online advertising means only those who are interested and interacting with your ad are costing you money.


The ‘cost per click’ is determined by a number of factors including the level of competition for specific keywords and the budget you choose. We typically suggest a monthly budget starting from $300 for a single campaign, with an average 60c – $1 per click.


What makes a good online ad?

Know your target audience, get their attention creatively (our speciality!), make them a good offer, and motivate them to take action – this all determines a good ad whether it is online or elsewhere. With online advertising the path a person takes when they click on an ad needs to be considered – it doesn’t make sense to set up an online advertising campaign and then confuse your customer with an obscure landing page. Carefully consider what page you send your customer to and don’t expect them to take too many steps to reach the desired destination.


If you’d like to find out more about online advertising and how it can help your business then please give us a call today on 03 539 0003, and we can discuss with you how we can help you to get involved.

QR Codes and some simple things to be aware of

6 things about QR Codes you need to know

Used correctly QR Codes can be a powerful marketing tool. “What is a QR Code?” you might be asking: they are a square barcode-like mark that you might have seen around, and when scanned with a smart phone, they direct a person to a specific webpage, contact details or a message. This avoids having to enter a long website address and directs a potential customer directly to the page on your website that you want them to see. Here are six points worth considering before jumping on the QR Code bandwagon:

1. Is your audience using smart phones?
A good question to ask about any promotional campaign: “Who am I communicating with?” Before incorporating a QR Code into a promotional campaign think who is going to be looking at the ad and if they are likely to be using a smart phone.

2. Why should someone scan your QR Code?
Motivate people to scan your QR Code and then reward them for it. Too often QR Codes are placed in ads with no motivating text, in the hope that someone will scan the code, only to be taken to the company’s generic homepage. For instance, if they “Scan this code” they will get a “free coffee voucher” or “a sneak peek at our latest product.” Promise them something and then deliver on it!

3. Where does your QR Code lead?
Consider where you are sending people when they scan the QR Code, and tailor the destination to the message you are communicating. Your homepage may seem like a good place, but if you are communicating about a specific product or promotion then send people directly to that page. It is not ideal if the person has to rummage through your website; present the information you have promised in a clear and concise way.

4. Is your website optimised for smart phones?
This is a big one and a common pitfall. Is your website (or where you are sending them) designed to be viewed on Smart Phones? If they have scanned your QR Code then the website they arrive at needs to be easily viewed on their device, otherwise they may have just gone to the website on their desktop computer. We can help you design your website so that it displays appropriately on different devices (computer, iPhone, Android, iPad, etc.), this is called a ‘responsive website’.

5. What action do you want people to take after scanning the code?

Once someone has been motivated into scanning your QR Code and have arrived at a webpage that looks great on their mobile device – what do they do now? How can you convert this person into a potential customer? Do you want them to request a quote? Contact you for a meeting? Sign up to your email newsletter? Join your Facebook page? Deciding this will help convert potential customers into sales and provide you with clear goals to measure the success of your QR Code campaign.

6. Is there enough space in your ad, poster, etc. for your QR Code?

QR Codes need to be a certain size to work on most smart phones. The required size varies depending on how detailed it is, but we suggest a minimum of 25x25mm. Also, is the QR Code replacing information that would better serve the customer than a QR Code? Such as a motivating headline, contact details or images – be aware of what you are compromising to include a QR Code.

If you are interested in talking more about how your website works on smart phones, how QR codes can be incorporated into your promotion, or what motivation you could provide your potential customers then please contact us to discuss further.

Ideas to generate more customers

Most businesses are aiming to keep debt down and cash flow up. Keeping customers coming back for more is the best way to retain strong cash flow. There are thousands of ideas on how to generate more customers. Here are five simple ideas that will keep customers coming back for more:

1. Give a ‘return offer’ with every sale. This could be a voucher that gives a discount on the customer’s next purchase, when they next visit. You could offer a free service, a special treatment, or a gift such as a free coffee from a nearby cafe.

2. ‘Friend get a friend’ rewards. Give existing customers a voucher to give to friends.  The customer writes their name on the voucher and gives it to a friend.  When the friend redeems the voucher you send the customer a special offer as a reward. The existing customer gets a reward and the new customer gets a reward and you get a new customer – it’s a win win for everyone.  Make sure the offer on the voucher is enticing enough.  The lifetime value of a new customer needs to be factored into the offer.

3. Are your signs working for you? Have you got a sandwich board outside your entrance with a good offer? These are highly effective and say that you are open for business. Tony recently asked a café owner what their most popular item was, and the owner said it was whatever was written on the chalkboard outside the café entrance.

4. Get more clicks. Have you thought about online advertising? Google AdWords, Facebook advertising and other forms of online advertising are powerful marketing tools that many of our clients are discovering. It can remind current customers what you offer and can connect with new customers in your target audience. It is cost effective, specific to your customer base and trackable.

5. Gift Vouchers. These are a great way to get cash now without having to hand over the goods.  There is also a percentage of gift certificates that don’t get redeemed making them even better for cash flow.  Often people spend more than the value of the gift certificate when they purchase from you.

Do you have an advertising strategy?

We have worked with It’s On to create an advertising campaign to promote their website – which promotes events and activities in the Nelson Tasman region. We not only have created various ads and images, but an advertising strategy that includes bringing new visitors to the site and signing up to their email newsletter.

This has been a fantastic project to be a part of, which promotes a variety of events in the Nelson Tasman region. Talk to us today about how we can build an advertising strategy that works best for you and your business.

Difference between logo and brand

I have been thinking about defining the difference between logo and brand… Here’s a few thoughts …

If you were to liken the difference between logo and brand to a person then ‘brand’ would be the mind of the person and ‘logo’ would be the clothes they wear.

The mind contains the emotions, values and identity that make person unique. Great businesses are able to define their business and products at this level. Knowing who you are as a business allows you to tell a unique brand story about your strengths that will help you stand out in the market place and stand up to the competition.

The clothes a person wears says a lot about the person, are they young, old, vibrant or conservative. Are they work clothes, a fashion statement or a clothes for having fun in. Clothes say a lot about the person wearing them so should a logo. A successful logo is the visual expression of the unique values of a business or product or service.

Brand identity

‘A brand with no concept of its identity is left with no alternative but to chase after the latest trends. We must replace the herd mentality with a brand philosophy’ Professor Jean-Noel Kapferer, (Re)Inventing The Brand

One of the greatest things that we can do for your business or product is help define its identity. To discover who your busienss really is and then tell that story in public leads to more effective promotion. Just as every person is unique so is every business.  This journey of discovering your unique business identity starts with asking questions about your history, culture and the context in which you operate. We ask about your strengths, values and what makes you unique. We also like to  learn about people who connect with the business, customers, suppliers and staff.  We then use this information to form the brand story using words and images, symbols, colours, sounds and what ever experience we can deliver to enhance the brand in the minds of the audience.