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WATCH OUT! There are some emerging technologies for all brands to keep an eye on!

We all know that brands have a lot of tools at their disposal, and designers can make work in many forms from posters to websites to experiences to technologies as well as much more.

What if brands could come up with creative solutions that take in to account ‘the future’? The future we are all entering, where everything around us, from the sidewalks walked on daily, to the cities we live in, and the hats on our heads, it can all be used as communication and engagement. The reality is that creative solutions are changing completely.

The best thing brands can do is to stay relevant in this time of change and realise that the designs they create fundamentally impacts everything, just like everything impacts their designs. By taking ‘the future’ into account when designing, their designs can become something relatable, and bespoke.

4 Technologies that brands should watch out for are:

1. Autonomous Vehicles

Autonomous Vehicles are also known as ‘driverless cars’ that have the ability to navigate without relying on human input. Toyota has unveiled their Concept-I vehicle at CES this year, where drivers are made to feel as if they are playing a video game. If the driver want’s to just sit back and relax they can enter “Chauffer Mode”.

For brands the means of engagement with an audience has been limited to billboards, and exterior signage. With autonomous vehicles comes new means of engagement and interaction, as distraction becomes less of a concern for safety. This will allow brands and marketers to exploit the attention of those with driverless cars, and it will result in new means of engagement. The opportunities to explore creative ways to fill the time could include a suite of reading interfaces, augmented reality games, advertising experiences, and entertainment platforms, but these are just a few ideas.

2. Chat Bots

Chat bots are automated systems that allow customers to engage with a chat interface, which enables businesses to help respond to queries without any human assistance. They are normally built within messaging apps. Facebook Messenger already has more than 30,000 active chatbots built within it, and some of these are being used by retailers to help their customers with any queries or even allowing them to make purchases through these chat bots.

Brands have to communicate with clients on a daily basis and Chat Bots are going to change the way brands engage with clients. Once Chat Bots are embraced, they will become a leading method for quick communication, which will also allow brands to train Chat Bots to present their work to clients on their behalf in order to collect feedback from several clients at once. This could present a new set of challenges, and will increase the need for brands to learn to efficiently and effectively communicate their ideas.

3. Blockchain

Blockchain is a record of transactions that take place digitally, which are tracked and organised by time-stamping each transaction, whilst categorising them in a linear, chronological order. As digital media develops and continues to expand, brands are going to find they are facing issues of privacy and ownership that hasn’t been experienced yet within the design industry. Blockchain can help brands “mark” what is deservedly theirs. If designers can grasp the power of blockchain technology, they can try to prevent a future where the ownership of all their digital portfolios and files are completely untraceable.

4. 3D Printing

3D printing also known as ‘Additive Manufacturing’, is an emerging technology that allows the printing of three-dimensional objects by layering materials that take the shape of a computer-generated rendering of an object. 3D printing is going to be a huge new form of communication. Traditional graphic designers work will no longer be two-dimensional, or just screen-based, there is going to be a growth in appreciation and nostalgia within the design industry for the creation of tactile artefacts.

Here at Mooch we will be keeping an eye on these emerging technologies because we know the impact they are going to have on the design industry. But we do know that these aren’t the only emerging technologies out there, so make sure to look out for more!

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Did you know that Brexit is going to affect designers?

On the 13th March 2017, Parliament passed the EU Withdrawal Bill, which means that Brexit will definitely begin at the end of this month. Whilst Theresa May’s Brexit plan aims to be empowering, the outcome for designers looks gloomy.
Theresa May the UK prime minster outlined her plans for carrying out Brexit on the 17th January 2017, where she delivered a speech, which promises a “global, outward-facing Britain”. The speech indicated more certainty rather than ambiguity around Brexit, which was the most positive outlook since the referendum result on 24th June 2016.
With the independence May is promising for Britain, there has to be a trade-off, which will result in strict rules on exclusion from the EU. As a result there will be stronger curbs on immigration, no membership of the free single market, and reduced membership of the customs union, which at the moment allow restriction free trading between all EU countries.
Whilst May has vowed that the UK would invariably want “highly-skilled” immigration, she said: “The message from the public during the campaign was clear – Brexit must mean control of immigration coming from Europe”.
So how will his affect designers and the creative industry?
Currently, in the UK design and technology industries we utilise the talent that has come over from abroad. This could be what May was referring to as “highly-skilled” immigration. The Office for National Statistics (ONS) research shows that the IT sector sponsored 42% of skilled work visa applications to the UK in 2016.
Theresa May has put a lot of focus on the importance of highlighting “cutting edge” science innovation and research but has not mentioned the creative sectors. The CEO at the Design and Technology (D&T) Association, Dr Julie Nugent has warned that the drop in immigration means the government needs to recognise the “economic value” of design and work harder to encourage young British students to take these subjects on. She went on to point out that “if the UK is to restrict its borders to migrants with essential skills, the UK will need to grow it’s own talent in essential design, engineering and technology-based skills”. She also added “design and technology are critical gateways to careers across the creative, design, digital and advanced manufacturing sectors. The Department for Education must do more to ensure we have the flow of young talent that the UK needs”.
If we don’t focus on developing these skills within the young British students, the UK is bound to fall behind other “growing economises” such as China, Japan, South Korea and United Arab Emirates (UAE), and we risk not having enough talent to fill crucial industry roles within the UK added Dr Julie Nugent.
The Government needs to support creativity to enable it to thrive within the UK, the burden falls onto design businesses themselves to promote diversity following Brexit according to Alasdair Lennox, the executive director at global retail design consultancy Fitch. He added, “Isolation is not conducive to free-flowing creativity” and “designers and creative must work towards establishing foreign workers’ rights without EU law, and advocate for who permits for EU nationals already in the UK, as well as those who want to work here”.
There is still some ambiguity around “highly-skilled” workers. There are a few concerns to how a EU worker’s “skills” are going to be judged if they apply to work in the UK following Brexit. The chief executive at Creative Industries Federation (CIF), John Kampfner, is wary of the UK’s “out dated immigration system”, and points out “the willingness to welcome the ‘brightest and best’ begs the question as to how that will be interpreted in the future”.
Creative and Design businesses are potentially going to lose international work because of Brexit. One fifth of the Design Business Associations (DBA) member consultancies income comes from overseas clients and the majority of it comes from Europe. The CEP at the DBA, Deborah Dawton, highlights that businesses need to keep trading with other countries in order to retain knowledge of “international markets” and keep afloat on the “international business stage”.
There are a few UK-based consultancies that work primarily in Europe, who fear the loss of work opportunities. The co-founder at exhibition design firm Casson Mann, Rodger Mann pointed out “we get most of our public sector museum work from the Official Journal of the European Union (OJEU)” and “at this point we have no idea what will replace the OJEU, and how limiting that will be for us”.
Theresa May has vaguely suggested that whilst we will no longer be a “member” of the single market, which is what allows us tariff-free trading between EU member states, we will still retain “access” to it through a new free trade agreement. It will mean the UK gets the best of both world theoretically, as we wouldn’t have to pay large sums of money towards the EU budget, which is roughly £12.9bn a year, but we could still trade freely within the EU.
However, May has yet to mention the digital single market (DSM), which allows the fair access to online goods and services across the EU and is subject to European copyright and Intellectual Property (IP) laws.
The head of manufacturing, design and innovation at Policy Connect, George Dibb, highlighted that access to the DSM is essential for the “health and future growth” of the UK’s tech and design sectors, and hopes that parts of the DSM can be included in forthcoming trade agreements with the EU. He also added that if Britain is excluded from the DSM with no access to the advancement in the EU copyright, IP and data laws applying to digital services, this could have “potentially devastating effects on the future health of the UK design economy”.
Theresa May has announced that although the UK will no longer be handing out millions to the EU each week, we do still have the option to opt in to certain funding programmes if we want to. Although, May’s focus on science innovation and the lack of reference to the creative industries doesn’t inspire us with hope that the UK government will be inclined to opt into all of the EU cultural funds that we currently benefit from for example, at the moment we benefit from grants from organisation such as Creative Europe.
Many design industry experts have already stated, the government needs to switch its focus to include the creative industries that according to research from the Design Council brings in roughly £72bn to the UK economy and employs over 1.5 million people.
John Kampfner at CIF has said that the Creative Industries Federation would “welcome a discussion” on whether we continue to participate in European research and cultural programmes that have majorly benefited the UK.

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A new website can help you beat OTAs.

If you own a hotel, it should go without saying that you need a website. There is no better way for your business to attract potential customers. A basic website isn’t enough to turn that passing interest into a booking. Visitors have plenty of choices when it comes to finding a place to stay, and if your site doesn’t convince them that you’re the best option, they will be happy to go elsewhere.
With that in mind, we do have a few things you could do to set your hotel’s website apart from others, as well as increase bookings from guests:
• Make your website mobile friendly
• Show what sets you apart from the rest
• Allow easy direct booking from your site
• Make it easy for guests to get in touch
• High resolution photos
• Keep it up to date
• Show guest reviews and testimonials
• Display links to social media
• Clear Instructions
• Visual content
• Local insights
These examples are just a few techniques that could set your hotel apart from others; there are many more. Competitiveness within the hospitality industry is tough which means you need a well-thought out strategy and your website needs to be at the top. We can improve your website’s SEO and generate more traffic as a result. Once a viewer is browsing your website, we make sure to get them hooked. This is through implementing all of the above, the use of plenty of eye-catching call-to-actions and making it easy to navigate on any device.
We can make your business flourish, it’s what we do… so don’t hesitate to contact us and we can tell you how we can help.

See some of our previous work here: http://moochcreative.co.uk/work/lea-marston-the-abbey-hotels/

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You can beat OTAs!

The popularity of sites like Expedia and Priceline, online travel agencies (OTAs) have become a somewhat unwelcome reality in the travel and hospitality industries. OTAs are more popular than ever: accounting for nearly 60 percent of online bookings for independent properties, and just under 50 percent for hotel chains. OTAs usually take a 20-30% chunk of commission from revenue made from each booking they process for your hotel.
It may seem like a challenge, but you wouldn’t believe how much revenue your hotel could gain back from the seemingly indestructible OTAs. Make your own bookings, and your own profit as a result.
Your hotel can:
– Increase your direct bookings by 20%
– Increase the number of visitors from OTAs staying and booking directly from 20% to at least 52%
– Increase the number of millennials bookings by 35%
– If you are an independent hotel increase your direct booking revenue by 45%
– Increase your same day bookings by at least 65%
– Keep the 20-30% of your hard earned profits instead of giving them to OTAs

How?
– Update your website
– Make your website mobile friendly
– Create effective social media marketing campaigns
– Build customer loyalty & customer experience
– Reassure your customers
– Make the booking process easy

We have had experience working with several different hotels at mooch: both independent and part of a chain. What’s more, we’ve helped every single one of them achieve more direct bookings as a result, and helped them beat the OTAs! Get in touch to see how mooch can benefit your hotel.

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Why does your website need a Live Chat?

Here at Mooch this week we have launched Live Chat on our website so we can answer any questions or queries instantaneously. Here are a few reasons as to how Live chats can benefit your business:

1. Convenient for Customers
Forrester Research’s “Making Proactive Chat Work” study found that:

“Many online consumers want help from a live person while they are shopping online; in fact, 44% of online consumers say that having questions answered by a live person while in the middle of an online purchase is one of the most important features a Web site can offer.”

A Live chat provides customers with immediate access to help and wait times are significantly shorter when using live chats compared to call centres. An ATG Global Consumer Trend study found that 90% of customers consider live chat helpful and an emarketer.com survey found that 63% were more likely to return to a website that offers live chat.

2. Cuts down expenses
Phone support is the traditional method of being there for your customers, but it can be very costly – both in terms of toll charges and person-hour costs.
Live chat software has shown that it can save both employee task time and phone expenses for your business. The software increases efficiency as live chat representatives can handle multiple chats simultaneously, therefore reducing the need to hire more representatives. As employees will spend less time on the phone, it allows them to multi-task during chat conversations and cut the waiting queue to a fraction of the size it would be compared to a call centre.

3. Increase Sales
The key is that customers have someone who can immediately walk them through a sale if they become confused or have a question that can make or break a sale. This helps eliminate bounces away from retail websites and ensure that full shopping carts make it through check out.
Website designer Cory Miller of iThemes regularly uses Provide Support for his business, and he has noticed increased opportunities for upselling products. Once customers are engaged with an employee who can understand their needs, the employee is in a perfect position to recommend additional purchases that may be the perfect fit for that particular person.

4. Improved Customer Service and Loyalty
The eDigital Customer Service Benchmark survey of 2000 consumers found that live chat had the highest customer satisfaction levels at 73%, compared to 61% for email support and 44% for traditional phone support. These numbers highlight why it is so easy to see why customers return to businesses that provide live chat, simply because customers feel more confident doing business with companies that make support easy, hassle free and instantaneous.
Live chat allows you to solve your customer’s problems faster, give quick answers to questions about your products and provide assurance to your customers that you’re there when they need you.

These are just a few reasons for adding a live chat to your businesses website but there are several more. Overall though, if your business could benefit from a more efficient, more intelligent and more responsive customer service channel then you should be considering live chat for your website.

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INFLUENCER MARKETING IN 2017

Is your brand using influencer marketing? Here at mooch we think you should be. 2017 is the year where brands change the way they look at influencer marketing. Instead of ‘if’ they implement influencer marketing, it’s now ‘when’ they implement influencer marketing.

MICRO INFLUENCERS STEALING THE LIMELIGHT
Influencer marketing is becoming the ‘micro influencer’ as they’re easier to engage with and therefore often generate more results. This trend will continue to develop and grow in 2017 as brands move their focus from engaging with high profile macro influences, to mainly targeting smaller niche influencers.

PAID VS ORGANIC INFLUENCER RELATIONS
Right now, organic engagement is at the focus of influencer’s relations. Although, because influencer marketing is increasing in popularity, there are more brands exploring influencer marketing, but because organic engagement doesn’t work for every brand they may look to work with paid influencers.

FIND YOUR NICHE MARKET
Brands need to search for the micro-communities by breaking down the larger markets into smaller subgroups because there are so many overreaching markets with smaller niche markets under them. As a brand, the more specific you are, the more likely you are to find that niche market where your product will have the most engagement. Your brands ideal influencer may be closer than you think, if the brand has a social following, there may be a micro-influencer who follows the brand already, and if that is the case the influencer will at least be familiar with the product if not already have it, and have a following themselves of people who share similar interests.

GIFTING GOODS
One of the easiest ways to expose your brand to potential customers is to gift goods to bloggers. Finding a blogger that shares the same aesthetic as your brand is the key to success, because if they are likely to give you exposure if they like your gifted goods. The aim for the blogger is to create content featuring your brand’s product or services that are highly shareable, whether its an all-inclusive resort-stay or clothes from your latest collection.

PRODUCT REVIEWS
A powerful way to convince potential customers to buy is getting bloggers in your brands niche to conduct product reviews. Bloggers are known for being trustworthy sources and when they have something good to say about a brand their readers take note. When customers are looking at products that are hit-or-miss, they rely on looking for reviews and using them in making purchasing decisions.

DEMONSTRATION VIDEOS ARE KEY
Brands should be looking at influencers who do 15-second demonstration videos on their social media, as having the power to narrow the influencer content down inspires a consumer to purchase. Influencers should be incorporating in-store and on-shelf digital displays to bring to like the multiple ways consumers can find value in the product.

AUTHENTICITY WILL BE CALLED INTO QUESTION
With some influencers seemingly finding overnight success, it becomes tempting for many to try do the same, but it means the authenticity of influencer content will be called into question more often. For this reason, those influencers who stay true to their audiences and focus on providing value and inspiration whilst balancing sponsorships and promotions effectively will rise to the top and command premium compensation rates.

TRANSITIONS IN CONTENT MARKETING
Live content will gain preference in content marketing by influencers this year. Live videos present real experiences with products and services from influencers that consequently result in the popularity of content like Facebook Live, Instagram Live, Snapchat, Instagram Stories etc. Social media users favour this type of content as it allows brands to comprehend their audience’s reaction. Brands are allowing influencers more creative freedom, which is set to increase the credibility of the content generated.

Snapchat Spectacles

What are Snapchat Spectacles?

They are simply sunglasses with a camera that sits on the right side, while a circular aperture on the left side is there for notifications like battery life and interactivity. A blue light tail will begin spinning in this hole to let people know that you are recording, and the videos can easily be sent through Bluetooth over to your phone so you can send them to your friends on snapchat or post them to your stories.

The glasses come with a recharging case, in which you put the glasses in for automatic recharging. The spectacles will send all the videos to your phone from there you can select which ones to keep and which ones to delete. The glasses come with a Wifi chip, which allows you to send HD videos to the app which can be sent on or published to your stories, however this is a longer transfer process compared to the automatic ones that you record and publish directly. Snapchat Spectacles allow you to record a circular video, so if you rotate your phone when watching the video in the app, it doesn’t affect the canvass and you see more of your video.

Reviews show that the snapchat spectacles are stylish and make snaps feel more immersive. The only downside with them is that you can’t wear them with prescription glasses.

At a price of $129.99, if you can get your hands on them, the snapchat spectacles are a playful wearable accessory to take your first-person social media curation to the next level. They are an innovation in technology and one of the first of it’s kind, there only time will tell the successes of this new wearable.

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GRAPHIC DESIGN TRENDS TO WATCH IN 2017.

2017 is promising to take graphic design to a fresher, bolder level. Graphic design is volatile; it’s constantly evolving, and incorporates new trends and styles. Here at Mooch, we think the following trends are going to be massive in 2017.

MODERN RETRO STYLE
This next year will see a continued trend of modern retro style typography, which is defined as a contemporary twist added to retro typefaces from the 70s, 80s and 90s. This style often stirs up nostalgia in the audience as it provides an emotional connection to the product being advertised by the design. The design often features fun, playful designs with bold typefaces and geometric shapes. By using strong typography and a daring mix of font combinations, it helps brands fight against the continuing decline in the attention span of readers.

ILLUSTRATED IMAGES
In 2016, ‘indie’ brands began using hand drawn images, which is bringing the trend in to mainstream design work this year. Illustrated images give designer’s work a soft, nostalgic feel. They remind viewers of the human aspect of the design, which creates a bridge of understanding from concepts and topics that tend to be difficult to understand. Brands are looking to add the element of fun back into design this year, so they are embracing illustrations to help make their products more accessible.

MINIMALISM
Ultimately minimalism is about removing the unnecessary details and leaving only the essentials. In 2017, minimalism will prevail in the form of generous white space, and the increased reduction of focal points in design, even whilst using bolder typefaces that reflect the modern retro style trend. The focus of minimalism’s simplicity and functionality has contributed to its adoption in many brands and design trends.

LETTERSTACKING
By using text it’s another easy way to create original and visually appealing logos. Letterstacking is used by to allow designers to place concise large messages on logos. The text can be stacked vertically or horizontally and paired with various graphic elements. These logos draw customers’ attention and prompt them to focus on the text. We feel letterstacking is likely to be a top trend in 2017.

USEFUL GIFs
Everyone loves GIFs; they are the perfect little content helper that helps express emotions when text won’t do the trick. They don’t require any special software to run, and are usually a small file size, so it can be embedded just about anywhere. GIFs can be so versatile, and can be used to as featured images in a numerous of ways such as on your website, articles, blog posts etc. They don’t have to be a work of art and they don’t take a lot of time to create, but it will definitely draw attention to your post when it’s shared on your brand’s social media.

MODULAR LAYOUTS
Modular layouts break up the text, and, put it into more manageable chunks. Instead of using a long block of text, designers have found that making the information more straightforward makes more people want to interact with it. A modular design functions as a great management tool, and it can look highly professional when done to a great standard. Trends such as modular layouts are likely to influence minimalistic designs this year.

LOUDER AND BRIGHTER COLOURS
Tech leaders over the past few years have used safe and soft colours to attempt to create a clean and controlled design scheme. But in 2017, colour and flare is back! This year though there is going to be a move away from neutral colours like whites, greys and black, to bolder and brighter colours. Designers can still cling to their minimalist roots, but could use bold coloured accents, and infusing them on to neutral backgrounds giving companies branding a fresh new look, without straying to far from what made them great. Adding just a bit of colour will make all the difference.

FUNCTION FIRST
Even after all of the trends mentioned previously, the key player for 2017 is function first. With new technologies emerging, it’s important for designs to be clear about what is requested from a user. By utilizing all of the trends above, you can achieve this goal. Designers need to think function and clarity in addition to an aesthetically pleasing design. Due to technology adapting further and further, the user experience is essential to keep in mind and due to this, many designs will have to be approached with practicality at the forefront of their concepts.

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Clayton Leather Group

 

We are very proud of our local heritage craftsmen and as a result we have been working on a rebrand and website for The Clayton Leather Group over the last few months.

With a focus on traditional workmanship we’ve added a contemporary twist without diluting the inherent properties of The company and as a result a repositioning that is at the forefront of their trade on both the U.K. and international markets.

Along with creating 5 sub brands and corresponding websites, coupled with with some stunning photography that visually illustrates traditional leather making
and supplying to some of the worlds leading brands.

We are humble creative marketers and it’s an honour to work with a local company with both integrity and craftsmanship at the root of everything they produce.


leather2www.theclaytonleathergroup.com
www.claytonleathergroupshop.com
www.claytonandsonsleather.com
www.samuelsharpeleather.com
www.williamclarkeleather.com
www.sedgwickandcoleather.com

 

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Driving home for Christmas

Today is our final day in the office before we all break up for Christmas!

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We decided to celebrate by doing Secret Santa and having a group KFC meal. With a small budget of £10, we all did surprisingly well with our gift choices and Secret Santa was a roaring success.

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We wish you all a very merry Christmas and a happy New Year – we will be returning to mooch HQ on Tuesday the 3rd January. Keep your eyes peeled for lit new projects coming your way in the New Year.

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See you all in 2017!