ngd agency's blog

Here you’ll find, interesting links, strong opinions, weak opinions, stuff we're doing, things that interest us and more. Our main site is:

5 Tips for Companies Starting to use Twitter for Business

An image of the Twitter Bird

Recently I’ve done quite a lot of presentations to companies and business groups about starting to use social media for business. I have been surprised how many companies have avoided social media for so long. This is mainly for one or more of these reasons:

  • They’ve felt it’s all to complicated and techie for them to understand.
  • They’ve never struggled for business and so felt they didn’t need to use social media.
  • They don’t have the time to do it.
  • None of their clients use social media and Twitter in particular.

I find that these companies are now showing an interest because:

  • Their competition is using social media and so they feel they need to have a voice as well.
  • Through colleagues and peers, they’ve been told how easy it is.
  • The economy has hit them and whereas before they didn’t need to promote their activity, they now need to use all the tools available to them.
  • They want to adopt a holistic marketing mix approach to stand a better chance of reaching potential clients/customers.

Whatever the reasoning, Twitter seems to be the place they want to dip their toe into the social media water first. This is because they see it as less time-consuming (we could argue that point, but this is their feeling) and so it could be more easily crammed into their schedule.

Anyway having seen this knowledge gap I thought it would make sense to list a few tips for people new to using Twitter for business.

So here are my 5 basic tips to get you started:

  1. Make a profile. This sound obvious but many don’t fill it out completely. Also you may not be aware that Twitter has just introduced a new webpage layout on the 22nd April 2014. So if you’ve set up your page but haven’t really started using it, you should take the time to update your profile to the new format. Remember to get your logos and graphics designed to the right size to make you look the most professional you can. Remember first impressions count. Click on the earlier link or here to get information on the changes. If you need help in updating your social media profile, we can help, please get in touch.
  2. Listen and then speak. As you would do in a business networking event, first get the lay of the land. Don’t post much… just search for Twitter users in your sector, even your competition, especially if they they have a lot of followers and watch what they’re saying. Follow them, remember they’re trying to solve the same problem as you are, plus in a Sun Tzu way you should keep and eye on their marketing just in case you can counter it. Whoever you follow, try and keep them relevant, some will follow you back and you’ll start to build an audience you can interact with and speak/market to.
  3. Share & Create. Start retweeting interesting posts from others and join in on industry relevant discussions. Point people to interesting industry news to show you’re up-to-date and share news about your company without bragging. Realise if you just talk about yourself people will get bored. Show an interest in others.
  4. Use Hashtags.  Hashtags have become the way on social media to both organize your content and get it noticed. Even Facebook now allows you to use them. By simply including a hash mark (#) followed by a word or phrase your tweet content can be easily found by anyone searching for or clicking on that hashtag. This allows you to reach far beyond your immediate followers. Also use them to filter tweets for a common subject. For example use the hashtag #fifaworldcup2014 to only see tweets about this years World Cup Football Tournament.
  5. Promote it. Now you’re starting to use Twitter more, make sure you feature your Twitter name (ours is @ngd_agency ) on all your marketing materials. It should be on all your stationery items and email signature to help potential and existing customers stay in touch with you and build your following. If you need help in updating all your marketing material, we can help, please get in touch.


These are just the basics but if you follow these introductory tips you’ll have a solid foundation to start to build your social media presence. Please get in touch if you’d like me to come to your company to speak about social media for business.


Filed under: Business Advice, marketing, social media, , , ,

My God! A post about our business for once…

Like most builders who’s house is falling down, it must be said that for all the consulting we do on Social Media, it really is

“Do as we say, not as we do!”

We tell all our clients that social media isn’t about just broadcasting your message over and over again. It’s about creating networks and conversations while educating and informing your audience. It’s also about rounding out the experience and although never showing your clients your stag night pictures, you should let them know what your interests are outside of business. Well having reviewed our sparse postings it’s been more rounding out and less about business. I’m OK with that as that was the reasoning for the blog in the first place but I thought I’d do a quick summary of our business, just in case you or someone you know is in need of some design or marketing support.

We’re a professional, reliable and creative graphic design & marketing agency.

We help businesses get seen and more importantly, remembered.

In an age where we’re bombarded with information, you need quality, professional solutions to cut through all the clutter and get noticed.

We work across all media with budgets and clients large and small.

We have great experience in all areas of design and marketing, including social media.

With bags of integrity and top agency experience we’ll guide you through all the marketing and design options available in this ever changing market.

From logo design and stationery, to posters, flyers, brochures, packaging design and social media marketing, we can make sure you get the most value out of your marketing budget.

Based in Woking, Surrey, with collectively over 300 years of top agency experience to call upon, your brief will be in safe hands.

Get in touch, if you need any marketing of design support.


Filed under: Branding, Design, marketing, social media, , , , , ,

ngd Agency & Brian Wilson have it covered!

Brian Wilson Book Cover by  ngd Agency, Woking, Surrey

The wonders of social media can lead to new business opportunities

Social Media Bringing Companies Together

We consult on social media with many companies as part of the marketing solutions we offer.

Often clients say

“Aren’t you just talking to the same old people, we want new connections, new clients”.

Well the book cover shown above is a great example of social media bringing two companies together. These companies had no knowledge of each other before Google picked one of my blog images in a search about Brian Wilson. So if you ever had any doubts that social media can generate income as well as lots of images of cats on skateboards. Hopefully this is very modest proof that it works…

So if you’ve read some of my other posts you’ll know that away from the design job, I create and exhibit silkscreen prints. Something I studied for my degree many, many years ago.

A few months back I created a print about Brian Wilson, more info can be found here on the print.

Since then I’ve had quite a bit of interest from buyers and have sold some of the edition with the possibility of selling a couple more in the next few weeks. This wasn’t my intention when I started the print, hence the very small edition. It simply was an image in my head that I wanted to put on paper and I thought it would look good in our dining room! Not the loftiest of ambitions I know but I’m being honest…

Over the last year I’ve received quite a few mails from people saying nice things but about 8 weeks ago an Italian publishing house got in touch an said they wanted to use the image on the cover of a new book they were releasing. They said it was to be on music and Brian Wilson would be included so what’s not to love…

Anyway after a few discussions on image rights etc we came to an agreement and the book arrived this morning.

We didn’t design the cover!

I want anyone who reads this to know we didn’t design the cover, I just supplied the imagery. I’d have done it quite differently, I think is the polite way of putting it. Us designers are fussy folk at the end of the day…

If one more person looks at the silkscreen print on this blog as a result of seeing the book, it will have been worth it.

I’m onto other prints now but do have an idea for a very summery Beach Boys inspired print which I hope to do over the English winter. Whilst making the print on those cold evenings I’ll be thinking of Brian’s lyrics of surf, sun, cars and girls and how the genius of Brian creates a whole new world in your head. Something that as a child got me hooked in the first place… oh and the harmonies, those beautiful harmonies…

Filed under: Art, Design, Music, Silkscreen, Typography, , , , , , , , ,

Steve Jobs RIP. The man who thought different

Today marks the death of Steve Jobs.

A man who apart from the time I worked on behemoth Hi-end photo retouching systems, has supplied me with the tools that allow me to bring home the bacon.

The internet will, quite rightly be awash with tributes today talking about how to “Stay Young, Stay Foolish” etc etc but I thought I’d point you to a rarely seen video about Apple’s ‘Think Different’ campaign.

Their Ridley Scott directed 1984 Superbowl Advert has got most of the plaudits but the ‘Think Different’ campaign was so on-brand that it’s shelf life has lasted for decades. As long as Apple stick to their core values it will still have relevance for generations to come.

The video shows how Steve got Branding and goes to show that unless the client is completely onboard the chances of creating work of this quality are limited. This is a marketing masterclass discussing core values and speaking about benefits over features.

Steve Jobs, got design, got branding and could wrap it up with applying his products to our lifestyles… a rare breed and a tough act to follow.

Filed under: Branding, Business Advice, Design, marketing, , , , ,

Tesco Virtual Supermarket – Using QR Codes to completely change the market

Tesco homeplus's virtual grocery store in a south korea subway station

Tesco homeplus's virtual grocery store in a south korea subway station

This is a complete game changer. You have to understand that South Korea is ahead of Europe on take up of smartphones. The percentage of passengers with the right equipment and the understanding to use it correctly makes this workable. For this to work with the success experienced in South Korea it would take our mobile market to mature in my opinion.

image of a shoppers adding items to their online cart by taking a picture of the corresponding QR code

shoppers add items to their online cart by taking a picture of the corresponding QR code

The campaign was designed by the seoul branch of advertising agency cheil for tesco homeplus supermarket and created virtual grocery stores in south korean subway stations. Users shop by scanning QR codes on their smartphones. So no rent, you can open in new location with ease and even focus to your market, say putting baby supplies on a poster outside a nursery, or health foods outside a gym etc.
A large, wall-length billboard was installed in the station, designed to look like a series of supermarket shelves, displaying images, prices and a QR code. Purchasers scan the code of any product they would like, thereby adding it to their online shopping cart. after the web transaction is completed, the products are delivered to the user’s home within the day.

A shopper scanning a QR code

A shopper scanning a QR code

This convienience store (in every sense) makes productive use of commuters’ waiting time although in rush hour it could be an issue! It also saves them having to go to the supermarket. But most importantly for Tesco it’s a great way to convert customers from your competition. If they can use their waiting time to shop with you, they’re not shopping with your competition. The little film below explains the project. It’s a bit corporate but the key facts are impressive. Due to the lack of understanding of QR Codes within the UK’s general population, I feel it’s success would be limited but in the future I can see it having real benefits.

Would you use such a store? Would it be more convenient for you? Do you see the benefits or would it be too much hassle while waiting for a train? Let us know?

Filed under: Design, marketing, Posters, QR Codes, , ,

A letter to a younger me – lessons in marketing for a small business

The business market is changing everyday and the speed of change is mind-blowing. MySpace was the biggest thing, so was Friends Reunited, now in a matter of a few years most don’t know they existed.

Huge amounts were spent by companies on TV adverts. Now most people can choose not to watch them, making adverts almost redundant unless they become a cult hit on YouTube!

As we’ve all had to adapt to the changing landscape, I thought it would be interesting what you’d advise yourself to do if you had the benefit of hindsight.

So in a Marty McFly kind of way, I’m writing a letter to a younger version of myself, explaining the key lessons in marketing, to give me a leg up. This is what I’d say.

Dear Nev,

First of all relax… everything is going to be OK…. but

In a few years time a thing called the internet will appear on the horizon and a lot of rubbish will be written about how to use it to promote your business (You’ll be running a small virtual agency then).

Just remember these few things and everything will be OK.

  1. You will be told that you have to promote your business on all these different websites* and social media platforms•• just to stay on parity with all your competition. They are wrong! It’s better to do a few things well than a lot of things poorly!
  2. The people who will be telling you these things will appear after the internet has been in existence for approximately 3 seconds. They will call themselves “Social Media Gurus”. The one thing they’re not are “Gurus” (speech marks or not!) Stay well clear of the lot of them, your life will be a lot better for it and it’ll probably stop you biting you nails!
  3. K.I.S.S – Keep it simple stupid – don’t try and be too clever… a simple idea delivered well, will always out perform a more complex (and more importantly for a small business, more expensive) idea.
  4. Know your target audience. – Machine gun theory is for fools!
  5. Content is king! – It doesn’t matter how good your Google*** ranking is if when they get to your website or Blog**** it has nothing of interest. It’s will have all been a waste of time for all concerned…
  6. Meeting people is always preferable to internet communication – whatever happens in the future, meeting people face to face to do business will always bring you more success. People buy people!
  7. The cream will always rise to the top. Have faith in yourself.

Follow these rules and you’ll be fine…


The older you…

* for the sake of keeping this short lets just say that websites are a way of showing and communicating things to people worldwide at very little cost.

** again keeping it short social media is just another way of communicating on the internet.

*** They provide the best way of finding stuff on this internet thing. Whatever you do when Google goes public buy shares!
**** Another delivery mechanism of communication.. I won’t bore you with it now…


What would you write to a younger you to help you through the mire?

Let me know!

ngd Agency is a design and branding agency, we help businesses make more money by making them stand out from the crowd!


This is an entry into the JupiterJasper Marketing lesson blogging competition

Filed under: Design, , ,

ngd agency

Flickr Photos

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 1,550 other followers