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Archive for July, 2013

New brand for Penrith Building Society

Tuesday, July 30th, 2013

After over a year of planning and consultation, Penrith Building Society launched its new brand at Penrith Show on the 27th July.

The Building Society, like any other business constantly reviews its strategy and over the past few years has had to contend with the global financial crisis and also a severe recession. In a tough market, the Society needs to remain competitive and attract new customers, but also embrace new marketing concepts, such as digital marketing.

One of the main objectives in the Society’s strategic review was to look at how the Building Society represents itself through its brand.  The old brand had served the business well over many years but it was felt that it didn’t fully reflect what the business was about. In order to begin the process of refreshing its brand, the team enlisted my help in mid 2012.  I began by working with the staff of the Building Society to develop ideas and concepts that they wanted to convey in the new branding.  Once a clear direction was identified, I enlisted the help of local firm, Jili Allen Creative to develop a range of graphic concepts to give a flavour of what could be achieved.

It was important that staff members of the Building Society embraced the new brand, that it got approval of board members and most importantly that it was appealing to customers.  Focus group meetings were held with a cross section of local people from school children, business people, parents and grandparents. The Building Society also held an open day during the Winter Droving event in the town and invited people in to look at the proposed concepts.  I analysed the feedback received and some clear conclusions could be drawn as to how the brand should be taken forward.

The approved concept is more contemporary and the original seal has been used incorporated into a logo which is more legible.  The strap line “Building Society for Life” has also been used to remind people that the Building Society provides a service for customers that can follow them through their lives from junior savings accounts, mortgages for first time and seasoned buyers, general savings accounts and insurance.   The Society wanted the brand wanted to appeal to a wider cross section of the community both new and existing customers who have been members of the Society for many years.

The new brand is reflected in promotional literature such as posters and new brochures, folders and forms as well as business stationery.  The launch will take place in several stages and will be rolled out from the 27th July.
Chief Executive Amyn Fazal comments,
“We are delighted with the results of our brand development project.  The new brand reflects our position as a modern mutual with traditional values and we hope all our customers like it as well.  It was really important for us to get this exercise right so we could attract new customers, but also still appeal to our existing and loyal members.  We remain open to new ideas, new ways of working and our aim is to continue to deliver simple, great value products with the kind of personal service that we are renowned for locally and we would like more people to know about us and what we can do.”

The next stage over the coming months is the launch of a new website followed by work to reflect the new brand in branch in order to create an atmosphere that is professional, warm and welcoming…watch this space!!

Third anniversary Jackpot for the Pride in Penrith Lottery

Tuesday, July 30th, 2013

A special draw of the Pride in Penrith Lottery took place on the 24th July, to celebrate the organisation’s 3rd year anniversary, with a cheque for £500 presented to a lucky winner at the Penrith Show.

The Pride in Penrith Lottery was set up in July 2010, with the objective of improving the town, ensuring local events continue to take place, helping local good causes and ensuring the community spirit of Penrith remains as it faces changes. The Lottery gives local people the opportunity to contribute to the town’s well being, as all the money they place on the Lottery goes back into the community…as well as making some people that little bit wealthier!

As well as the main draw which takes place each Wednesday, the Lottery holds special draws regularly to mark special occasions or events. As a celebration of their third year anniversary the board of trustees decided this was a good opportunity to give away some more money to a lucky winner. The winner drawn on this occasion was Vanda Shields who runs ladies clothes shop ‘Tillys’ in Penrith. Vanda was presented with a cheque for £500 at Penrith Show, where the lottery had a stand on the day.

Vanda has been a member of the Pride in Penrith Lottery since day 1, with her membership number actually being No.5. Without loyal members like Vanda, the Pride in Penrith Lottery would not function and the thousands of pounds, which are raised for local good causes each year, would not happen.

Vanda was delighted to win the prize “I never win anything” she commented to organisers as she decides what to spend her winnings on.

Lisa Coates, Marketing Consultant for the Lottery comments “We give away so much money to local good causes and winners, but it was really nice to give some winnings to someone who has supported the lottery since day 1. She was so surprised to have won, but was more pleased about all the projects her contribution to the lottery has made over the past 3 years”

Since it began, the Pride in Penrith Lottery has given over £35,000 in funding to local good causes, projects and events in and around Penrith. The trustees of the Lottery, who are all volunteers, urge more people to come forward to apply for funding as there is still over £30,000 in the bank waiting to be awarded. The Lottery is also urging more people to join up to support the lottery to ensure it continues to flourish. The Pride in Penrith Lottery was invited to the Houses of Parliament earlier this year to tell MPs more about the project and it was highlighted as a shining example as what can be done in small towns to help them prosper. It is not all about putting money into the lottery though, as the Lottery has many winners each week with over £20,000 of prize winnings being given out over the past three years.

Chairman, Rob Udale comments, “Not only do we do great things for the local community; but people forget that they can win lots of money in the Pride in Penrith Lottery. The odds are better than winning the national lottery, the prizes may not be as big, but members can win up to £5,000. At Penrith show we had 9 winners on our scratch cards and our jackpot currently stands at £3,300!”

It is really easy to join the Pride in Penrith Lottery. People can visit the Lottery website and sign up online, or fill out one of the forms which can be found in local shops and through the sales agents (Maggie’s Bakery, The Wine House of Penrith, Booths, Angel Lane Chippy, Sandgate Friary and Town Head Chip shop.)

The Pride in Penrith Lottery is a not-for-profit organisation and is run by volunteers from the town who are all passionate about making a difference to the local area and raising money for local initiatives.

Pride in Penrith Lottery serves up another grant

Tuesday, July 23rd, 2013

The Pride in Penrith Lottery’s latest grant of £1,500 has been awarded to the Eden Food and Farming Festival. The week-long event, based in Penrith, was anchored by the Penrith on a Plate event on Saturday 20th July – a celebration of local food and a day of education, exploration and fun.

The grant from the Lottery went towards funding for the festival’s key components, from facilities and infrastructure to the day’s entertainment. The Food and Farming Festival was designed to be a fun day out for all the family, whilst showcasing the best in local food and produce. Music, street entertainment and activities all provided a backdrop to a large number of local food stalls and related educational activities. It was the hope of the organisers that the whole community would benefit from the event and that a significant number of people would be attracted into the town for the benefit of all traders. The Festival also provided a critical educational element, designed to raise people’s awareness of local food and how it is produced.

Peter Ward, from the Food and Farming Festival, comments,
“The event attracted many people into the town, bringing many benefits to local traders as well as promoting Penrith as a destination of choice. All of this wouldn’t have been possible without the help and support of local organisations such as the Pride in Penrith Lottery.”

As well as providing grants to various charities and organisations in the area, the Pride in Penrith Lottery also gives lucky Penrith residents the chance to win fantastic prizes in their weekly draws and also in special draws throughout the year. The next special draw will take place at Penrith Agricultural Show on 27th July.

The Pride in Penrith Lottery only continues to thrive with the support of its members.  It costs less than £2 a week to join the Lottery and all the money raised helps support projects and events in Penrith.  You can join online at or fill out an application form which can be found in local shops and through the sales agents (Maggie’s Bakery, The Wine House of Penrith, Booths, Angel Lane Chippy, Sandgate Friary and Town Head Chip shop.)

Time for Vine: How can your business use video on social media?

Thursday, July 18th, 2013

This week I have been lucky to have a talented young man undertaking some work experience with me.  Lewis Ridley is a student at Ullswater Community College in Penrith and is currently looking at some future career options.  With an interest in Journalism I thought it would be great to get him to do some writing and a bit of an investigation into my latest discovery…Vine.  Over to you Lewis…

In January, Twitter launched a 6-second video sharing app called Vine. The app lets you communicate with the world using moving image – a huge breakthrough for social media, and the biggest since YouTube. In fact the statistics show that in its debut was more successful than that of YouTube itself, back in the dark ages. Vine is directly linked to Twitter, the app now seen as the leading social media network both for personal use and business. A Vine is basically a little window into the people, settings, ideas and objects that make up our day to day lives. However in June, Facebook reacted by adding a video option to their photo sharing interface Instagram. There has been huge debate on which app is the front-runner, with each boasting their own advantages and disadvantages. For example, each app is more smoothly able to embedded into its respective site from which it originated (Twitter and Vine, Facebook and Instagram) – basically, an Instagram post on Twitter shows a link which means the user has to open a separate screen to view it whereas ‘Vines’ can be directly viewed on Instagram.

In the blue corner…
So, for personal use, feeding your inner professional photographer and interacting with your friends – Instagram wins.
But, more and more of the top brands including Honda and Ben and Jerry’s are using newcomer Vine to spread the word about their offers and events. On 7th June, 4 days after Android released a version of Vine, Topsy Analytics, a company that gathers and analyzes tweets, reported that Vine had gained 2.86 million shares on Twitter. Let’s take a look at how exactly your business could benefit from some Vining (yes, that’s a word I made up)…

• Office Tour – People love an insight into the heart of a business. It makes customers feel more directly involved with the company and it can also help you give your business some personality and life! Here is HubSpot showing a new addition to the office.

• Interviews – They say that first impressions are important and they’re often made within a second of meeting someone, so imagine what you can do with 6 of them! For those staff that love the limelight (we all know who they are) and even for those who pretend they hate it, give them 6 seconds to explain what they do and their personality – it will make your customers recognise the people behind the business and may even prompt a few jokes from visiting customers.

• Customer experience – Ask one of your customers to sum their experience of either a product or a service in 6 seconds! This will not only help you interact with your customers but will surely prompt conversation in the streets – which is all more interest in your company.

• Broadcast the scenes from an event – You could record the moment as people arrive for the launching of a new product, a new location or an annual company event – get people talking and itching to join in with the masses!

• Be imaginative – A day in the life of a pudding, a member of staff, a treadmill, any object that has the potential to be a summary of the work you do or just downright hilarious. Let your creative side run wild. It’s amazing what 6 seconds of video could do for your business!

Remember, whether Facebooking, Tweeting, Vining or Instagramming – it’s important to stay professional. Read “5 tips for Professional Social Networking” for some advice on how to represent yourself and your business in the world of social media. Go to the aptly named site ‘Brands on Vine’ to see how the big names have used Vine!

Fitness App a first for Cumbria

Thursday, July 11th, 2013

Elite Fitness in Penrith is the first independent gym in Cumbria to develop an App to boost business via mobile phones and tablets.

The Elite Fitness app includes the latest offers, news, a loyalty scheme, up and coming events, fan wall and gallery.  There is also the facility to book classes through the app and check the timetable, shop through a device, download diet and training tips and also tune into the gym’s music playlists.  The app was officially launched on the 8th July and through I-tunes and Google Play stores has already been downloaded over 200 times.

According to research of global mobile statistics taken in 2013, analysts estimate 1.2 billion people worldwide were using mobile apps at the end of 2012 and forecast this to grow at 29.8% each year, to reach 4.4 billion users by the end of 2017.

With the increase of people using mobile phones and tablets to access the internet Elite Fitness developed a responsive website earlier in 2013, which can be seen whether the user is viewing the site on a desktop computer, laptop, mobile or tablet.  They also noticed that the amount of people accessing the Elite Fitness website from mobile devices doubled in 2012 compared to 2011.  There are various elements of the Elite Fitness website that are interactive and owners felt a mobile app would be another good way to make their business even more mobile friendly.

Steven Sharkey, owner of Elite Fitness comments,

“We found that lots of people were accessing our website through mobile devices, but there was so much more we could do on top of our existing website.  It gives members fitness tips, as well as offers, updates and the ability to book classes through their phones.   We want to provide an excellent service to our members and think about all the elements that might enhance their fitness journey.  We felt having an app was a good way to share information, but to also give them added incentives and motivation to achieve their fitness goals!”

The app was developed in association with Cumbrian based developer Jonathan Pickles, of Mobile Image.  Their aim is to create apps that look great, which people will want to download and continue to keep using; enhance a company’s image and help them win new customers and increase spend of existing ones.  It is hoped that the Elite Fitness app will develop and grow over time and become a pocket personal trainer for members.  The app can be downloaded in I-tunes for I-phones and I-pads and in Google play for android by searching for Elite Fitness.