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Using branded merchandise to market your business
Sep 30th, 2014 by contact@ignite

You probably associate branded merchandise with huge multi-nationals and large corporations such as McDonald’s and Nestle (think of the free toys that are often found in cereal boxes or handed out at restaurants) but promotional gifts can be a great way to connect with your customers, raise awareness of your brand and boost sales.

Even small firms can benefit from using branded merchandise and free gifts can be a great way to achieve specific objectives such as encouraging customers to visit your shop or to increase awareness of a new service or product.  However you decide to use branded merchandise, you’ll need to begin by setting a clear objective suggests the Marketing Doctor when talking to Leeds businesses. Investing in branded merchandise may well seem like an unnecessary expense but provided you choose the right merchandise and combine that merchandise with clear, carefully thought out objectives, you could generate a valuable return on your initial investment.

You need to choose the right merchandise to attract your target audience: free beermats handed out by a brewery are likely to be more successful than, for example, free key rings.  Choose something creative and it’ll generate interest and help establish customer loyalty.

Image courtesy of iwdonline.co.uk via sxc.hu

Image courtesy of iwdonline.co.uk via sxc.hu

Before decided which type of branded merchandise to go for, you’ll need to spend time weighing up the costs.  Pick a reputable supplier: any reputable supplier will ask you what kind of return you are looking for on your investment and the message you’d like your branded merchandise to convey. It’s worth considering that by making a handful of long-standing, loyal customers feel valued with a carefully chosen gift can have the potential to offer a return equal to sending out thousands of direct mailings or advertising in your local paper.

The rule of thumb should be that the more you spend on the marketing merchandise, the more targeted your campaign needs to be.  Send your carefully chose merchandise out to your carefully selected customers and then keep a record of the results to give a clear picture of the success of your campaign.  Remember that merchandise doesn’t necessarily have to be sent out: branded merchandise can also prove effective when handed out at conferences, your fave Leeds marketing networking events or to clients at meetings.  If you run a shop, you could display your free merchandise next to the till, ready for customers to help themselves when they make a purchase. Face-to-face distribution also offers the advantage of helping you gauge which contacts are really worth giving gifts to. For more information, please visit: www.marketingdoctorleeds.co.uk

Rather than ordering huge numbers of one type of branded merchandise, order small quantities at first and test to see which type is the most successful.  Ask customers where or how they heard of you or why they decided to buy your product and then place an order for more of the merchandise that’s offered you the best return.

The most burgled areas in Leeds
Sep 22nd, 2014 by contact@ignite

Leeds LS13 tops the most burgled areas list

Leeds LS13 tops the most burgled areas list

We’ve got lots to be energised and happy about when we talk about Leeds. Leeds is a brilliant centre of commerce and a great shopping centre, but there are a few things that residents might like to change about it. And one of those things is the high burglary rate of some of the areas around Leeds.

There’s been a documentary on Channel Four recently which highlighted the areas that were most likely to have insurance claims because of burglary (and by implication, the areas which had the most burglaries). It didn’t make for good listening, especially if you live in Bramley, Leeds LS13, or in Wyke in Bradford.

Leeds based EDT Security’s Dave Tilford said: “It’s more important than ever to make sure that your house is very well protected with regularly maintained burglar alarms in Leeds.” He added, “It’s important not to read too much into the areas that have been highlighted in the documentary, which stops short at saying that they are rife with crime. It just means that you have to be careful and take the appropriate precautions”.

Get in touch with Dave Tilford by visiting www.EDTSecurity.co.uk

Read more at the telegraph: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/newstopics/howaboutthat/9826026/Leeds-tops-list-of-burglary-hotspots.html

The Changing Face of Wedding Photography
Sep 11th, 2014 by contact@ignite

A Leeds Weddings Photographer Gives us his Perspective on Trends, Fads and Pictures that Stand the Test of Time

www.stevebootle.co.uk

Image credit shezita
www.freeimages.com

Wedding Photography has come a long way.  Remember looking at your grandparents wedding photos, or even your parents? Many are all formal stuffy lines of people or cheesy soft focus portraits, with identical size photos presented in an album.

Just as the clothing and styles of the day can instantly date the era of a wedding, there are often trends in the style of photography too.  Photographers have been slave to fashion and trend since the beginnings of photography in the 1800s.  However, the subtleties of style and taste dictate that what was once a clever style very quickly passes to a fad and soon becomes passé or a gimmick.

Take selective colour pictures, where one element is picked out in a vibrant colour and the rest is black and white? This was hugely popular with the advent of the new millennium,  but became overused and passé very quickly.  This was probably due to two things – firstly it was only “clever” while the technology to do it was new, and secondly the smartphone generation has allowed everyone to download a simple app and replicate it.  The 80’s saw sepia as the new style, and high end fashion shoots of the 90’s brought a trend for ‘tilt’ as well as deep saturation and highly vibrant photos.

“A retro look at the touch of a button and instantly a boring subject becomes interesting or ‘fashionable”. 

The most recent trends have been for ‘fake vintage’ and HDR (High Dynamic Range), but these are sure to pass as other trends have before them as the ability to replicate them by all the guests en-masse on their Smartphone with the help of Instagram or Hipstamatic increases.

There seems to be a misconception that a poor photo can masquerade as a passable one using a range of easy applied  ‘effects’ and that over exaggeration often conceals a lack of substance.  Don’t get me wrong, I love using many of these apps on my iPhone but in professional photography I try to steer clear.  I would of course always edit in a style agreed with the couple, but I would strongly advise also providing a “clean edit” set of pictures as well as the “styled”.

“Lasting fashions are unquestionably those that have the widest appeal over the longest time.”

A great photograph will stand the test of time providing a beautiful and timeless memory.   The best photography stands the test of time. You will want your photographs to be enjoyed by your children and probably your grandchildren some day. Other than your memories, these photographs are the lasting true record of your day. The old adage ‘less is more’ applies as much to photography as it does to so many things in life.

 

Have these predictions come true for offices across Leeds?
Apr 24th, 2014 by contact@ignite

In a blog post early in 2014, an office furniture company predicted the following: that kitchen and dining areas will become a prominent feature of office design, stating that as people congregate around kitchens and eating areas, so employers will improve conditions for workers. Well, insiders at Ignite Leeds have found that a nice shiny new kitchen for your office workers kitted out with all the right office/kitchen furniture might be a nice thing, but beware that it’s kept nice and clean as well!

A spokesperson said:

“Staff-run kitchen areas are a true horror story and a food poisoning outbreak waiting to happen. In many cases, we find that nobody’s sure who’s actually in charge of these areas, which means that nobody takes responsibility.”

The survey asked office workers when was the last time their staff kitchen was thoroughly cleaned. The results were alarming:

  • Within the last week 2%
  • Within the last month 5%
  • Within the last three months 11%
  • Within the last year 15%
  • Never 30%
  • Don’t know 37%
What document management means to Leeds companies
Dec 11th, 2013 by contact@ignite

If you run your own business, you’re likely to acknowledge that we’re still a long way from the idea of a paperless office!  A build-up of paperwork is something that most of us have to cope with from time to time, but if you’re struggling to deal with a huge backlog of un-filed paperwork, it would be time to consider using the services of a professional document management company.

Document management services usually fall into several different areas generally categorised as scanning services, data capture, document conversion and archive management.   Document scanning services are designed to help companies deal with paperwork, with the intention of improving productivity, freeing up storage and reducing business running costs.  Document scanning is the ideal way to safely and effectively address document storage issues, ensuring that essential documentation is stored either on site or in a web-based document storage system.

Document Management Leeds

Document Management in Leeds – image by jaylopez at sxc.hu

When looking for a document management service, it’s important to find a document management company that offers a flexible service which can be adapted to suit the individual needs of each business.  For example, you many have documentation which must remain on site and/or documents that can be removed for scanning so it’s important to find a company that offers both on-site and outsourced scanning options.

Data capture services are designed to extract data from a wide range of documents and for maximum accuracy, it’s important to select a document management company that uses both single and double key entry.  Highly skilled operators at www.pro-doc.co.uk can efficiently processes many thousands of data fields each day, enabling the return of data in as short a time as possible.

Document conversion services are designed to convert documents into a huge range of different media types.  Most document management companies in Leeds offer the option to return data to clients directly into their own document management software or though specially designed software, created to aid the successful management of a document archive.

Once you documentation and paperwork has been converted into the required digital format, files can then be returned to you on a wide range of different media types.   Most document management companies offer the option to import directly the files into your documentation software, whilst some also offer the facility to provide management effective archive management software.

So rather than feeling as though you are constantly battling with a paperwork mountain, why not consider using the services of a document management company?  Document management is becoming an increasingly popular option for many companies and is seen as an effective way to bring paperwork bang up to date whilst freeing up time and valuable storage space.

Yorkshire is a prime location for entrepreneurial growth
Nov 6th, 2013 by contact@ignite

power-1037003-sAccording to a study carried out by EY, entrepreneurs in Yorkshire and the North of England are capitalising on large opportunities to grow in the UK.

Companies led by entrepreneurs across the North of England have achieved a 24 per cent growth in their turnover during the past year, beating their counterparts in the south of England and London by 19 per cent, the Midlands by 12 per cent and Scotland by 17.1 per cent.  These figures are the results of an analysis of 128 businesses which have enjoyed fast growth.

The figures have been supplied by companies who made it to the final of EY’s ‘Entrepreneur of the Year’ competition which was split evenly across the United Kingdom.  The winner of the Entrepreneur of the Year award is James Lambert who is the chairman of R&R Ice Cream, a Yorkshire-based company which owns brands including Skinny Cow, Kelly’s of Cornwall and Fab.  R&R Ice Cream started out by employing just five people and now has a work force of almost 3000 with an annual turnover of just under £750 million.

EY Partner and UK Entrepreneur of the Year Leader said: “The importance of entrepreneurs in leading the economic recovery is clear, with their contribution to the growth, revenue and jobs vastly ahead of the economy in general.  It reinforces research by NESTA showing that 6 per cent of outstanding growth companies create half of new, high value jobs.

“The impact on regional economies and confidence cannot be overstated, with entrepreneurs providing a major boost for local innovation, pride and job creation.  Innovative and fast-growing businesses have helped the UK regions to become world players in many industries.”

Made-in-Yorkshire textiles set fashion trends around the world
Oct 24th, 2013 by contact@ignite

made inAccording to a report in the Yorkshire Evening Post on 8 October, Yorkshire textile companies are once again at the forefront of global fashion trends.

Many struggling textile mills have been bought out of administration by SIL Holdings, a company based in Bradford.  In the Yorkshire Evening Post report David Gallimore, managing director of SIL’s Luxury Fabrics division explained: “Yorkshire’s textile companies are trend-setters in the global fashion industry,” adding that over the last couple of years there has been a huge global rise in the popularity of ‘Made in England’ as a brand and not just in textiles.

SIL Holding’s textiles are a regular feature of the world’s catwalks, however the UK textiles market accounts for less than 10 per cent of their sales.  SIL Holding’s is a family-run textiles group and their customers include Louis Vuitton, Gucci and Prada to name just a few.  Founded in the 1970s, SIL Holdings has gone from strength-to-strength to become one of the biggest speciality fibre manufacturers and merchants in the world.

Wool Yorkshire is a campaign being organised by SIL Holdings to raise awareness of the excellent reputation that the West Yorkshire textile industry enjoys around the world.  The Wool Yorkshire campaign coincides with Campaign for Wool’s ‘Wool Week.’

The cloth manufactured by businesses in the group is exported to a variety of markets around the world including Europe, the Middle East and Far East.  SIL Holding’s managing director Andrew Seal the Yorkshire Evening Post that mill towns in Yorkshire are: “at the heart of a global fashion business which recognises the value of craftsmanship, quality, expertise and consistency – all things which derive from our textile manufacturing heritage.”

Leeds’ real estate sector shows real signs of growth
Oct 24th, 2013 by contact@ignite

sold-signAccording to a survey recently carried out by Deloitte Real Estate UK Cities Crane Survey, confidence is growing in the office development market in Leeds.

The detailed survey shows that the amount of floorspace under construction in Leeds has risen significantly – by 68 per cent – since last year’s survey, with 147,000 square foot across four development schemes.

The demand during the first half of this year has been high, with the take-up reaching 438,000 square foot which is eight per cent higher than the total reached during 2012.

Deloitte Real Estate’s head of Leeds, Angela Barnicle, said that new starts in 2013 were being led by office and student housing developments: “The rise in activity suggests growing confidence in the Leeds office market and we are seeing renewed optimism and vibrancy across the city.

“Despite the healthy level of activity in the regional office market, developers have thus far not rushed to develop new floorspace.  However, Deloitte Real Estate research shows we could be on the point of seeing a number of speculative schemes starting, aiming to attract tenants currently faced with little or no choice of currently-available floorspace.”

The survey also showed that things are looking up for Leeds’ retail sector; the opening of the Trinity Leeds development was followed by a refurbishment of the Merrion shopping centre with work on the city’s Victoria Gate development due to start next year.

However, residential developments in Leeds city centre appeared to be quieter: no new construction starts and zero completion of residential properties during 2013 means that residential property completion levels are at their lowest for a decade.

 

The shining stars of Yorkshire cuisine
Oct 24th, 2013 by contact@ignite

michelin

As any Yorkshire-man will tell you, the region boasts some of the finest cuisine you’ll find – from the legendary Yorkshire pudding, through to parkin, gingerbread and Wensleydale cheese, Yorkshire delicacies are pretty hard to beat.

However it also appears that the region is rapidly becoming something of a hotspot for fine dining as it’s recently been revealed that Yorkshire has more Michelin Star restaurants than any other county in England outside London.

The Michelin Guide 2014 was published recently along with announcements of the Michelin Star awards, naming five top restaurants in Yorkshire as having one of the coveted stars.  The restaurants are The Box Tree in Ilkley, The Black Swan at Oldstead, The Old Vicarage in Sheffield, The Pipe and Glass Inn in South Dalton and The Yorke Arms in Ramsgill-in-Nidderdale.

In addition to the Michelin Star awards, a further three restaurants received a Michelin Bib Gourmand; awarded by Michelin to restaurants offering good cuisine at reasonable prices.  The Bib Gourmand winners were Prashad in Drighlington, Vennell’s Restaurant in Masham and El Gato Negro in Ripponden.

The Michelin Guide was first published in the UK way back in 1911 and is probably the most highly regarded guides to restaurants and hotels in Europe.

The Chief Executive of Welcome to Yorkshire, Gary Verity, said: “It’s fantastic for our county to once again be recognised as a national leader in fine dining and indeed quality food across the board.

“We’ve known how good the food is here in Yorkshire for a long time, so it’s nice to have the Michelin guide acknowledge that too.  We have some of the best food producers in the country, and for Yorkshire to have so many Michelin Star and Bib Gourmand restaurants is great for tourism.

“This is also welcome recognition for the county as Yorkshire prepares to host the world’s largest annual sporting event – the Tour de France – next July.”

Yorkshire has ‘Reasons to be Cheerful’
Oct 24th, 2013 by contact@ignite

money-trading-2-1415240-mAccording to a senior analyst at one of the UK’s largest investment management and financial planning firms, Yorkshire is ideally placed to reap the benefits as the economic recovery begins to spread beyond London and the South East of England. Brewin Dolphin’s head of fund research, Ben Gutterdige, said that manufacturing and financial services firms based in Yorkshire were playing a part in helping to rebalance the UK’s economy. He made his comments after a seminar organised by Brewin Dolphin. The event was attended by around 60 business leaders and was entitled ‘Reasons to be Cheerful.’ Also included in the event was a speech on the arrival of ‘Le Tour Yorkshire’ in 2014. Mr Gutteridge said: “While I do think financial services in London are particularly well-placed to benefit from the global upturn, I think that it is spreading out and Yorkshire’s contribution from financial services and manufacturing is helping the UK recovery to become more sustainable, rather than just being a housing market story. “It’s helping with that re-balancing goal that George Osborne and David Cameron want to achieve. The Yorkshire economy, like many regions of the UK, is still benefitting from the accommodating monetary policy which is in place. “That will help underpin a strengthening housing market and that will put more money in the pockets of Yorkshire consumers.” Antonio Horta-Osorio, the boss of state-backed lender Lloyds, warned recently that the Help to Buy scheme put in place by the government risked creating a potentially dangerous house price ‘bubble’ unless it was matched with the building of more homes. Antonio Horta-Osorio called for a relaxation in planning and building regulations, along with more social housing projects, to avoid the rising numbers of mortgage approvals driving up house prices. Ben Gutteridge said: “There’s a lot of concern that housing market may trigger early interest rate hikes while the economy is still in a nascent recovery. “Our hope is that the clash of Help to Buy with the Bank of England’s own macro-prudential tools will allow the central bank to leave interest rates at a lower level for longer. “Perhaps the Bank of England will ask banks to park more capital to one side, if they’re doing too much mortgage activity, to make sure the housing market doesn’t spur any unnecessary early tightening of interest rates.”

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