If you’ve picked up a copy of the Sevenoaks Chronicle this week, you may have noticed yours truly featured on the business pages, with an interview about our involvement with the UK Start Up Loan Scheme. For those who missed it, the full article is below:
‘By her own admission, 26-year old Hannah Griffin has been fortunate in her professional life. Working with her father in the family business – Ditto in Sevenoaks – has provided her with a relatively safe haven in which to work, but it has still given her valuable experience of running an independent business in today’s testing economic climate.
It has also given her a deep appreciation of how difficult it is for anyone in her age bracket to start their own business.
For this reason, she has signed up to offer advice to any 18 to 30 year olds in the area who want to take advantage of the Government’s Start Up Loan Scheme – the initiative fronted by former Dragon’s Den star James Caan.
Through Ditto’s franchise agreement with Printing.com, one of the scheme’s delivery partners, she agreed to offer a ‘drop in service’ at her firm’s studio in London Road.
‘We are able to help with writing business plans, loan applications and business mentoring from experts’ said Ms Griffin. ‘Starting from scratch is very difficult for anyone, but I feel very strongly that supporting young people in enterprise is vital. I was lucky to learn alongside my father, but it is a very steep learning curve for young people starting out on their own.’
To find out more about our involvement in the Start Up Loan Scheme, email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit printing.com/entrepreneurs
Introducing Graeme Lothian
Graeme is an incredible artist, and has been a friend of Ditto for years (he’s even featured the team in one of his paintings, published in his book An Artist on the Thames). Most recently, Graeme has been working in the capacity of an official war artist, and has visited Afghanistan a couple of times for research. When he told us that he was due another trip out to Afghanistan, we put him in touch with a good friend of ours, Sophie Whittaker. Sophie is a serving war artist whose main job is to provide Joint Fires Targeting support to Task Force Helmand on OP HERRICK 18. As a member of 74 Battery (The Battleaxe Company) 39 Regiment Royal Artillery – attached to 1 Royal Horse Artillery, Sophie works in the Brigade Headquarters, Lashkar Gah, where she finds time between an often hectic schedule to put pencil to paper. I was so pleased to hear from Sophie that she’d met up with Graeme during his time in Afghan – you can read more about Sophie’s story and life as a serving war artist on the official British Army blog, where she regularly posts updates on her artwork.
After a lot of work from the wonderful people at Superfilm, ourselves and our clients, I’m delighted to reveal the first promotional video for Ditto
If you read my post about the filming of our video, you’ll know just how much hard work went in to preparing to film. Much tidying, primping and prepping went on behind the scenes, not to mention pep talks with ourselves and our clients! It’s a testament to Ian and Juliette of Superfilm that everyone had a really good time during filming – and I think that’s really come through in the finished item. We wanted to really convey our personality at Ditto; I hope you’ll agree that Superfilm have done a fantastic job at capturing the warmth that we aim to communicate. I truly believe that this video allows us to give potential clients a true feel of who Ditto are and what we can deliver in a more inspirational and authentic way than we could convey through copy alone.
I had very high hopes for the video; having seen Superfilm’s stunning portfolio, I knew we were on to a winner. However, their attention to detail went miles beyond what I could ever have expected – from identifying the moments where there were wardrobe mishaps (nothing that bad, you dirty lot) to the lighting, angles and beautiful product shots. I have to admit that I was slightly concerned that the video would jump around a bit, given the amount of segments that were filmed, but I needn’t have worried – the editing has resulted in a really seamless video that flows beautifully. Even the music is perfect!
Many of you have been asking to see the video, so without further ado, here it is! Enjoy.
There are so many ways of reaching out to customers these days.
A few years ago, a start-up business would have a decent logo, a set of business cards and letterheads (and possibly a leaflet or brochure), get a nice website designed and sit back, feeling pretty smug that they’d got the ‘marketing thing’ done. These days of course, it’s not so simple; the marketing mix of the modern day business consists of social media strategy, e-shots, video, SEO, guest-blogging and much, much more to capture the attention of today’s time-poor consumer. And that’s great; marketing has moved on as it should. But recently, there’s been something of a kick-back against all of the marketing noise that we’re exposed to on a daily basis – our inboxes are chokka with uninvited and unwelcome sales messages, we’re bombarded with a constant stream of adverts online and we can’t even log on to Facebook to see our friend’s wedding photos without being deluged with marketing fluff. And therein lies the problem – the marketing messages which companies have carefully planned, crafted, and deliberated over have become no more than an annoyance. So much so that many of us just block them out – we don’t even take any notice (here’s a challenge for you – I bet last time you checked your twitter feed there were several sales-driven tweets in there. Can you remember what they were? No, thought not).
So, as these things do, marketing has gone full circle. Direct mail is enjoying somewhat of a moment right now – a fantastic targeted way to achieve great results from your marketing budget. It’s quick, it’s measurable and it gets noticed – particularly if it’s personally addressed to the recipient.
Our recent Let’s Get Growing promotion was sent out in the form of direct mail; we posted our clients a pack of Forget-Me-Not seeds along with an invitation to join us for a complimentary brainstorm session. We’ve had wonderful feedback so far, with the most frequent comment being that ‘it’s so lovely to receive something in the post’ (one client told me it was ‘lovely to receive something other than sales nonsense or a request from HM Revenue & Customs for money for a new tiara for the Queen’). There you have it. And that promotion just wouldn’t have been as effective over email.
As with any promotion, you need to keep a keen eye on costs and ensure that you know what you need to generate in sales in order to pay for the promotion (we can always give you a hand with that) – and it’s wise to use a mix of platforms to promote the same message. Direct mail is definitely a trend to watch out for – and you should be thinking of how you can take advantage of it. Need some ideas on how to make direct mail work for you? Give us a call and we’ll show you how.
Image sourced from Pinterest
I’ll admit it. I barely slept the night before filming.
I’ve not done this sort of thing and the thought of spending a day being filmed is really not my cup of tea! Not to be deterred, I spent yesterday morning buzzing around our building, organising, tidying, making endless cups of tea and preparing for Ian and Juliette of Superfilm to come and capture our best side. We had a handful of similarly nervous clients who joined us for filming (thank you so much, you were all wonderful), and I have to say that Juliette did a brilliant job at making everyone feel really at ease. The day actually ended up being an awful lot of fun (did I really say that?!), with loads of laughter and jokes to get those happy smiley faces that the camera demanded.
I’d like to thank everyone involved personally; Rachael Hale of History Magpie (as the first in front of the camera you did brilliantly – and yes, I owe you!), Liz Anderson of Bit Spicy (totally unflappable – what a professional), Dionne Baron of Nurture Nannies (lending me your cardi and scarf so I had a change of clothes really was above and beyond the call of duty – I promise not to ask you to strip again!), Steph Harrison of Breast Cancer Care (I think a future career as a TV presenter awaits – the camera loves you, dahhhlling!), James Hoad of Hoads Shoes (see, told you you’d be great ), Chris Whiteside of Little Freddie Productions (bet you regret popping in now), Andy and the team at …Happen Web (sorry for all the noise!) and last but by no means least, Ian and Juliette from Superfilm. You made the day really enjoyable and the amount of care you’d taken over planning each shot was evident – I can’t wait to see the results.
Photos courtesy of Steph – thanks for stepping up as our unofficial photographer!
I have to admit, there have been times where I’ve cringed inwardly at the thought of a corporate promotional video. Many that I’ve seen seem so insincere, cold and sales-y that I’m instantly turned off and have to watch through my fingers. I’m pleased to say that my thoughts have changed vastly since meeting with Juliette at Superfilm.
Superfilm are a local group of passionate film makers who work with businesses to produce the most beautiful, aspirational promotional videos you could dream of. With the focus very much on telling a story, their videos capture the essence and personality of the businesses they work with. I was amazed by the ways in which the videos portray a really honest, genuine feel – so different to many of the staged, scripted corporate videos I’ve seen before. Their relaxed, story-telling style and aspirational finish produces videos which companies can be incredibly proud of. I’m very excited (if a little nervous!) to announce that Superfilm will be working with us to create a video for Ditto – I look forward to sharing more on this with you in the next few weeks!
To give a taste of Superfilm’s work, do take a look at the video below which was produced to document The Savoy’s Jubilee celebrations.
At Ditto, we’re passionate about helping businesses grow. Lots of businesses lay claim to this, but we really mean it
And just to prove it, we’re delighted to be selected as a delivery partner for the Start-Up Loan Scheme, a government initiative headed by James Caan (from Dragon’s Den) to help 18-30 year olds in England secure funding and mentoring to start their own business. As the Sevenoaks printing.com studio (which runs alongside Ditto), we’re looking to help local entrepreneurs aged 18-30 start their own business. As a previous finalist in the Young Entrepreneur Category of the West Kent Business Awards myself, this is something close to my heart!
Have you got a burning idea for a new business, which you need support to turn into a reality?
If this sounds like you, you’re aged 18-30, live within the UK, have a good-to-go business plan and require funding of up to £9,500, we’d love to hear from you. Find out more about the scheme by visiting the Start-Up Loans website, or email email@example.com
I’m really pleased to announce that the lovely team at …Happen Web Technologies have moved in to our London Road studio! This move cements the close partnership between Happen and Ditto, enabling both companies to provide a full and complete branding, marketing and development service as one cohesive team. We’re already working together on multiple projects for the ultimate benefit of our clients, which I’m very much looking forward to sharing with you soon.
Do pop in to see us – we’d love to show you around our brand new meeting room and have a chat to find out how we can help take your business to the next level.
I’m soooo pleased to reveal the final design for the Riverhill Himalayan Gardens 2013 Guide Book. After months of hard work and research, it’s wonderful to see that our effort has really paid off. The new Guide Book represents a new chapter for Riverhill, as yet more of their stunning gardens have been opened to the public, with the new Walled Garden being a huge attraction for 2013.
Riverhill has been in the Rogers family for generations, and one of the big changes from their previous Guide Book is the addition of the Rogers’ family story. The Rogers have quite a story to tell, and the new Guide Book includes previously unseen photographs from the Rogers family private albums, some of which pre-date 1930. It has been a real privilege to have the opportunity to view these albums, and I’m pleased we’re able to share some of them with Riverhill’s visitors. We’ve really focussed on giving equal weight to the beautiful photos of Riverhill as to the words which tell the story of the family and Gardens – and I think we’ve struck the balance.
The Rogers family are utterly passionate about learning, and believe that visitors of all ages have something new to discover in the Gardens. Before we began design work, Sarah and I debated the direction – should the Guide Book be geared towards Riverhill’s younger visitors, or to the keen horticulturists who regularly visit to see the rare species that live at Riverhill? We decided there was room for both, and have divided the page space to cater for all visitors. While the keen gardeners will enjoy the Garden Introduction by Riverhill’s Head Gardener, Guy Chatten, children will enjoy the ‘keys’ which unlock some of the hidden stories of Riverhill. And of course there’s plenty of space to introduce the mythical yeti which resides in the gardens…
To encourage visitor interaction, we’ve even included a QR code which visitors can scan to immediately land on Riverhill’s Facebook page, allowing them to share stories, post photos and keep up to date with news and events. Riverhill have a huge amount of events planned for the new season (which starts tomorrow, by the way!), so do take a trip to the Gardens if you can – I highly recommend it.
A big thank you to Sarah Rogers for all of her time in helping us piece together the family story – you’ve been a star and an absolute pleasure to work with!