Creating the perfect image – using stock photos

Stock photography is arguably one of the greatest design weapons around. The sheer number of files available at the click of a mouse has revolutionised the way organisations are able to represent themselves. With image quality – for the most part – high and prices low, it is no wonder that providers such as iStock have millions of users worldwide (us included).

But let’s look at the flip side for a second. ‘Unoriginal’, ‘clichéd’ and ‘dated’ are all words that have been used to describe stock images by critics of iStock, Shutterstock and other providers. If used lazily, yes – designs using poorly selected, mismatched stock photos are at risk of living up to these negative labels. One look at Vince Vaughn and his co-stars posing in iStock parodies as a tongue-in-cheek PR stunt instantly sums up the current “cheesy” reputation some stock photos have garnered in recent years.

Selection, selection, selection

Getting the best out of stock imagery really is all in the selection – it’s that simple. Find a stock image that works with your campaign and you’re off to a flying start. However, with some campaigns demanding very specific images in order to perfectly complement the overall message, it is inevitable that stock galleries can’t always fulfil requirements.

The perfect image

So what happens when you can’t find the perfect image? You don’t have to settle for something that is just okay. Here at Bigwave media, our designers are able to take a number of high quality stock images and manipulate them to form a single, custom-designed image that is perfectly suited to your campaign and brand. The images below were used in a recent ecampaign to promote Exeter Business Games. In this case, the purpose was to show both metaphorical sides of the individual taking part – their business side and a more sporty, competitive side in relation to the games. Such images were too obscure to find in a stock gallery, so these were custom-created instead.

The result? A unique image that captures exactly what the campaign intends to communicate.

Bigwave media is a creative marketing agency working with clients across the UK to develop bespoke campaigns. To discuss ideas that we can help you progress, please get in touch.

Posted in Bigwave media, Campaign, Creative Design, Design, Graphic Design, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off

Google’s ‘mobilegeddon’ – are you ready?

As of this week, Google is prioritising mobile-friendly web pages in ranking positions of all searches performed on mobile devices. This means that many web pages which are currently highly ranked by Google (coming top in search results) could plummet if they are not mobile-responsive.

According to Google, websites that are ‘not mobile-friendly’ feature:

  • Text too small to read
  • Mobile viewport not set
  • Links too close together

Our advice?

Update! Google’s changes are as a result of growing mobile browsing trends, which according to StatCounter, continue to soar in popularity whilst PC usage is decreasing.

To ensure these changes don’t affect your website’s mobile SERP ranking, use Google’s Mobile-friendly Test to find out whether your web pages are likely to be affected.

Concerned? Chat to us. Here at Bigwave media, our bespoke web packages include fully responsive websites, compatible with all devices. For an informal discussion about your website needs, please get in touch.

Posted in Digital, Google, Mobile Marketing, Mobile Technology, News, Search Engine Optimisation, Web Development, Website | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off

The ‘This Girl Can’ Effect

The This Girl Can campaign was first launched in January and has since made waves across the nation, gaining support from a host of social influencers and garnering more than 7.7million views on its YouTube channel to date. As the organisation behind the campaign, Sport England, announces plans for the next stage of above the line advertising to further promote This Girl Can this summer, we explore what has made the campaign that aims to get more women into exercise so successful.

Far from taking the tried-and-tested “new year, new me” approach to January resolution marketing, many have praised Sport England’s decision to keep the campaign as realistic and relatable as possible, encouraging women to embrace exercise in all forms. Using insights which found that 75% of women say they would like to exercise more, but refrain from doing so due to a fear of judgement, Sport England opted to use non-airbrushed women to represent the general UK population of 14-40 year olds as opposed to the models and fitness professionals we are so used to seeing in high profile campaigns. This had a dramatic impact on the British public. According to the campaign’s creators, less than 1% of Twitter activity surrounding the campaign has been negative.

Leisure centres and sporting bodies across the UK are among those who have taken on board This Girl Can’s powerful message and acted, spreading the word further. Click on the icons below to see how some of our leisure clients including Soll Leisure, Impulse Leisure and Abbeycroft Leisure have taken inspiration from This Girl Can:

So what can we learn from This Girl Can?

“Real” sells. Sports marketing is evolving – we no longer want to see the “ideal” being thrust upon us with an air of superiority and glamour. This shift in approach has come across as radical and inspiring, making This Girl Can stand out from the usual sports campaigns that – for the most part – are pushing attainable goals and often having the opposite effect to what is intended.

As for the future of sports and fitness-related campaigns, we expect to see others taking note of This Girl Can’s rapid rise to success and following suit.

Here at Bigwave media, we offer bespoke creative and PR services, from graphic design to campaign planning and media management. To discuss our services in more detail, please get in touch.

Posted in Advertising, Bigwave media, Fitness, Leisure industry, News, PR, Social Media, Sports, Uncategorized | Comments Off

PR Key Calendar Dates April – June 2015

In order for campaigns to remain current, it can often be useful to base your ideas around significant events taking place throughout the year. We advise clients to start preparing for campaigns at least 1 month in advance – so we’ve put together a list of important dates to add to the diary for 2015, to help you stay organised and to ensure that you don’t miss out on any opportunities.

Please note: this list is not definitive and will be updated as and when new dates are confirmed.

 

April

  • 1st April Fool’s Day
  • 3rd Good Friday / Bank Holiday
  • 5th Easter Sunday
  • 6th Easter Monday / Bank Holiday
  • 23rd St. George’s Day
  • 29th International Dance Day

Sporting Events

  • 6th–12th Golf Masters
  • 11th Grand National
  • 18th–22nd Cycling World Track Championships
  • 26th London Marathon

 

May

  • 1st-31st National Walking Month
  • 1st May Day
  • 4th Early May Bank Holiday
  • 4th-10th Screen-free Week
  • 5th World Asthma Day
  • 25th Spring Bank Holiday
  • (dates vary)  Summer Half Term

Sporting Events

  • 2nd European Rugby Champions Cup Final
  • 4th May - 7th June Tennis French Open
  • 14th UEFA Women’s Champions League Final
  • 30th Football FA Cup Final

 

June

  • 13th-21st National Bike Week
  • 15th-19th Learning Disability Week
  • 15th-21st National Men’s Health Week
  • 21st Father’s Day

Sporting Events

  • 6th UEFA Champions League Final
  • 6th June - 5th July Women’s Football World Cup
  • 12th-28th European Games
  • 18th-21st Golf US Open
  • 29th-12th July Wimbledon

 

Bigwave media is a creative marketing agency working with clients across the UK. To discuss campaign ideas that we can help you develop, please contact us on 0845 643 2385 or complete our contact form.

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We did it! Team Bigwave finish RockSolid 2015

Laura Rogers (Digital Account Executive), Rebecca Cooper (Account Manager), Simon Beer (Digital Director), Luke Stone (Account Manager), Kelly Pritchard (Senior Account Manager), Justin Peppin (Senior Designer), Dan Tofield (Studio Manager), Erika Smith (Designer), Rosie King (Junior Digital Account Manager), Adam White (Digital Project Manager), Luke Simpson (Head of Operations), Lee Potter (Creative Director), Liam Furzey (Designer), Tania Dos Santos Costa (Cleaner)

After weeks, days, (and in some cases hours) of training, Race Day was upon us. Kitted out in our matching #TeamBigwave T-shirts and secretly wishing we had done a few more squats and press ups in preparation, all 14 of us were ready to take on the mammoth 10k assault course (which we had just been informed was closer to 13k) with no less than 40 obstacles between us and the finish line.

After a quick warm-up led by a very enthusiastic Scotsman (complete with kilt), a few team photos and a pep talk from our very own Mr. Motivator, designer J.P, we were off!

We had all watched the videos and studied the maps but I don’t think any of us were truly prepared for the amount of mud that was ahead of us. Some of us handled it far better than others with myself being the first to fall victim to the chest high sludge, all of which was of course caught on camera.

Spirits were high amongst the Bigwave team throughout, with everyone working together to make it a true team effort. We crossed the line in just over 3 hours, exhausted and a bit bruised but all in one piece and overjoyed to have finished as a team.

So far we have raised a brilliant £542.50 for Force Cancer Charity so a massive thank you to everyone who has supported us. If anyone would still like to donate, please visit our fundraising page - and don’t forget to check out all the photos from the day!

Bring on next year’s race!

 

Posted in #TeamBigwave, Bigwave media, Charity, Devon, Fitness, Fundraising, Leisure, Leisure industry, News, PR | Tagged , , , , , | Comments Off

The importance of keeping up with browser technology (and how it’s actually really easy)

Occasionally you’ll find someone who uses Internet Explorer 8 (IE8) as their standard web browser. The most recent version, however, is IE11 – making IE8 now 6 years old. To put that into perspective, IE8 was pre-smartphones!

In an industry that moves as fast as web and IT technology, 6 years is a long time but some people are still using IE8 to do their important business and work. IE8 is in fact being decommissioned by Microsoft and support is being suspended as of January 2016. All too often people leave the web aspect of their businesses in the shadows – the equivalent of writing emails on a type writer and sending them in the post – yet this web software is easily available, for free!

So, why is this the case when most of us work in a modern office, have a smart phone in our pocket and a SatNav in the car? Often the answer is either that the IT team are unable to update every computer in the building or the end user simply doesn’t hit the upgrade button. As of January 2015, 85.3% of online browsers are using either Google Chrome or Mozilla Firefox – both are excellent applications which we use here at Bigwave as primary browsers in our digital department.

Failing to keep up with technology is failing to fully utilise the best aspects of the web to reach the market. If your website is not kept up to date and fresh it can soon appear dated to potential customers. Our most recent Bigwave web designs incorporate the latest techniques; From side scrolling sites to parallax pages and even monthly subscription portals. We forward plan when we design and market sites, but sites don’t need to be and shouldn’t be complicated for users. Most Bigwave websites come with a straightforward Content Management System (CMS) for website managers, giving them the tools to update and refresh a site’s content.

From web design and build to social media content creation and email marketing, we can provide a wide range of digital marketing solutions that can put your business at the forefront of the online marketplace.

To find out more about how we can improve your online presence, get in touch or tweet us @bigwavemedia.

Posted in Blog, Digital, Digital Marketing, Social Media, Uncategorized, Web Development, Website | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off

Digital marketing trends, content and conversions

Here’s our presentation from the 2015 Quest Conference on Digital marketing trends, content and conversions. We take a look at the trends that have broken and those that are yet to break plus highlight four key areas to focus on in 2015 – with examples and suggestions.

View the slides below or view on slideshare here.

Bigwave media is a full service marketing agency offering specialist digital marketing support from web and social to PPC and emarketing.

For marketing support or to discuss how we could help your business grow through digital marketing please get in touch.

Posted in Devon, Digital, Digital Marketing, Email Marketing, Leisure, Leisure industry, Mobile Marketing, Quest, Social, Social Media | Tagged , , , , , , | Comments Off

PR Key Calendar Dates March – May 2015

In order for campaigns to remain current, it can often be useful to base your ideas around significant events taking place throughout the year. We advise clients to start preparing for campaigns at least 1 month in advance – so we’ve put together a list of important dates to add to the diary for 2015, to help you stay organised and to ensure that you don’t miss out on any opportunities.

Please note: this list is not definitive and will be updated as and when new dates are confirmed.

 

March

  • 1st-30th Marie Curie Great Daffodil Appeal
  • 1st Saint David’s Day
  • 8th International Women’s Day
  • 11th No-Smoking Day
  • 13th Red Nose Day
  • 15th Mothering Sunday
  • 17th St. Patrick’s Day
  • 29th Clocks Go Forward
  • (dates vary)  School Easter Holidays

Sporting Events

  • 14th-29th Cricket World Cup
  • 28th-29th 2015 World Triathlon Series #1

 

April

  • 1st April Fool’s Day
  • 3rd Good Friday / Bank Holiday
  • 5th Easter Sunday
  • 6th Easter Monday / Bank Holiday
  • 23rd St. George’s Day
  • 29th International Dance Day

Sporting Events

  • 6th–12th Golf Masters
  • 11th Grand National
  • 18th–22nd Cycling World Track Championships
  • 26th London Marathon

 

May

  • (date TBC) Exeter Business Games
  • 1st May Day
  • 1st-31st National Walking Month
  • 4th Early May Bank Holiday
  • 4th-10th Screen-free Week
  • 5th World Asthma Day
  • 25th Spring Bank Holiday
  • (dates vary)  Summer Half Term

Sporting Events

  • 2nd European Rugby Champions Cup Final
  • 4th May - 7th June Tennis French Open
  • 14th UEFA Women’s Champions League Final
  • 30th Football FA Cup Final

 

Bigwave media is a creative marketing agency working with clients across the UK. To discuss campaign ideas that we can help you develop, please contact us on 0845 643 2385 or complete our contact form.

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Bigwave does RockSolid 2015!

On 21st March, 14 Bigwavers will be running, climbing, crawling and wading around RockSolid’s 10K obstacle race at Escot Park, Exeter. Gallons of mud and buckets of sweat are sure to feature throughout – and since we are all going to be pushing ourselves to the limit, we feel it is only right that a deserving charity benefits from our efforts!

This year, we are fundraising for FORCE Cancer Charity, a brilliant local organisation offering help and support to all those affected by cancer in and around Exeter.

If you would like to donate, please visit our Virgin Money Giving fundraising page. Remember to keep an eye on our Facebook and Twitter to find out how we get on!

In the meantime, we would like to say a huge thank you in advance for any donations.

#TeamBigwave

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5 Ways to Gain Honest Customer Feedback

Honest customer feedback which can be absorbed, acted on and ultimately used to stay ahead of competition is one of the most powerful devices at an organisation’s disposal. Capture the true ‘voice of the people’ and you’ve struck gold. However, overcoming the obstacles associated with encouraging customers to open up can be challenging. Here are 5 key ways to acquire that all-important customer feedback:

1. Incentives 

Your customers’ time is valuable, so providing them with something in return will maximise interest. Whether you opt for a standalone prize – for example the chance to win a free personal training session, or something for each participant – for example a complimentary hot drink whilst they fill out a survey, both options are likely to sway their willingness to participate. Why not use it to your advantage and hand out company branded sports flasks for additional exposure? Whatever you choose, be creative.

2. Online Monitoring

You don’t always have to ask. The wonders of online conversations on social media platforms and review sites alike create a window of opportunity for a spot of eavesdropping. Do some digging: check up on your company’s Twitter mentions, keywords and relevant hashtags. What are people saying about you? This indirect approach is one of the easiest ways to gain truly honest customer opinions. Listing your organisation on TripAdvisor and using its Review Express email facility to pro-actively encourage visitors to write a review is also a highly effective method of gaining honest feedback.

3. Surveys

Whether your survey is conducted online or using feedback forms in person, timing is key. If you are planning to approach customers face-to-face, pick a moment immediately after a customer has experienced your product or service so that it will be fresh in their mind. If the opportunity to fill out a 10 minute survey arises on their lunch break when they have just walked into your facility, they are likely to be rushed and uninterested. Think about how you ask. Make the questions as clear and concise as possible, whilst also avoiding the use of leading questions such as “How have our personal trainer sessions benefited you?” – opting instead for, “What are your thoughts towards our personal trainer sessions?”

4. Customer-facing staff 

Your greatest source of information about day-to-day customer reactions, personal conversations and first hand experiences of situations involving customer satisfaction comes from the people who deal with them first-hand. By addressing the subject of customer feedback at regular staff meetings or keeping a record which can be updated as events occur, you are able to keep track of situations as they arise – straight from the front line.

5. Mystery Shoppers

If you can’t gain feedback from ‘em, join ‘em. Mystery shoppers provide a professional, impartial service, putting themselves in the customer’s shoes to experience the overall customer journey for themselves. This is the crème de la crème of customer satisfaction methods. The mystery shopper will operate as a critical friend and deliver thorough reports that will enable your company to find out exactly what you want to know, whilst bypassing any potential issues related to gaining feedback from real customers.

And don’t forget…

Combined Effort

All five of these methods carry great benefits for gaining invaluable customer insight. By varying your approach to include a combination of channels, feedback facilities and timings, you are more likely to gain a representative feedback sample – ultimately strengthening its credibility.

 

Here at Bigwave media we offer a range of services to help you gain customer insight and illicit that all important customer feedback including mystery shopping, design and business development.

To find out more get in touch, or tweet us @bigwavemedia. This year we are also launching Insight 2015, a new series of marketing and customer insight seminars, designed to provide attendees with the tools needed to enhance the customer experience decisions they make. Find out more here.

Posted in Business Development, Digital Marketing, Facebook, Graphic Design, Mystery Shopping | Tagged , , , , , , | Comments Off