A brand is not a product or a promise or a feeling. It’s the sum of all the experiences you have with a company.
Building a brand takes time, skill and preparation. Creating a progressive strategy can be critical to getting a new business off the ground and providing a smooth transition into the new venture.
Smart Cookie Tutoring provide maths and English tuition in the Dunstable area, for children aged four to sixteen. Having launched the business as a side project to fund University, Lisa-Marie was looking to take the business full time on graduation. Building on her reputation, she launched Smart Cookie Tutoring to cater to students taking their 11+ and GCSE exams, but soon grew to manage students of all ages and abilities.
Starting from scratch can be a daunting prospect for even the most experience entrepreneurs. With no existing business name, brand or marketing, the business had relied on word of mouth and a solid reputation to keep its bookings scheduled. With the business now taking a more substantial role for those involved, a name, brand, stationary, website and marketing materials would be required in order to expand on the current business model. Lisa-Marie got in contact with us after seeing our work on social media and was reassured by our competitive pricing and high reviews. With budgets at a minimum she also appreciated our advice on cost savings and plans to implement the business marketing in periodic stages to increase cash flow and fund future marketing elements.
Having previously trading under her own name, a collective decision was made to name the business and provide a more professional outlook. Having researched other local competitors, the name ‘Smart Cookie Tutoring’ was decided, playing on the phrase commonly used to describe someone with intelligence.
Although building a brand is about more than just a logo, it’s a great place to start. In order to keep the personable side of the business, that had served so well in the past, we took Lisa-Marie’s love of A.A. Milne, and in particular the character ‘The Wise Old Owl’, to develop a symbolic logo featuring an owl in its graduation cap with a cookie backdrop. Mixing fonts, allowed us to create a more playful styling, illustrating that despite it’s more professional look, the business still provides a fun and engaging experience for students.
With the logo agreed, we set about building a substantial brand guideline, allowing anyone involved in the business to get the most from the styling and colours. Doing this would allow the team to maintain control of the business whilst keeping a level of continuity that you would expect from having a full design and marketing team.
Now the basics of the brand were developed, we prioritised the development of a new, bespoke website. The business currently used Facebook as its sole digital representation, with no domain or self-hosted website available. Whilst this can be a great platform to launch a business, the long-term drawbacks of not having a fully branded webspace can be highly detrimental to the business. To help simplify what can become a very complex process, we handled the domain, server and social media elements, allowing her to focus on providing a streamlined service during the transition. We took our favourite elements of the branding to create a showcase piece. However, like all our projects, we pride ourselves on providing functional design. To do this, we made sure the timetable was clearly available, along with testimonials and service information. Knowing the business had been established on good reputation, making sure testimonials were easily available would be critical, whilst ensuring all elements of the services and timetables are provided show the transparency of the work provided.
Once launched, we gave the business a month to adapt to their new processes and handle any incoming enquiries, allowing them to become familiar with how the setup worked. Whilst many will jump straight into marketing, making sure your team are prepared and ready to answer incoming enquiries in a timely fashion should be considered carefully.
The next step was to create business cards and flyers that could be distributed locally, in venues such as coffee shops, dry cleaners and eateries. Working closely and building links with other local businesses being a key element of the marketing process. To keep things simple for Smart Cookie Tutoring, and reduce print costs, we designed a single portrait business card, alongside a DL dual sided flyer. The aim of this being to provide business cards in face-to-face contact and leaving flyers in areas of high footfall. Maintaining the styling of the website and linking back to it on all communications, helps tie in the brand continuity, and builds a level of trust with any potential prospects.
From start to finish this was a 6-week project broken into the 3 key stages to allow short, but functional time for adaptation.
By creating an immersive brand, Smart Cookie Tutoring has been able to fill its allocated booking slots in a short period of time. Initial uptake was so fast, that a waitlist was introduced, prior to the business being able to find new tutors. This is a great example of making sure you build your marketing progressively. Whilst you may see the big bucks by jumping in the deep end, ultimately it will be your business and reputation that pay the price in the long run. Be sure that all marketing can be met with the excellent customer service you build your business on and remember to keep on brand at all times.
By building the site in WordPress we have been able to give control back to the team at Smart Cookie Tutoring. This in turn allows them to quickly evolve their website, updating timetables, services and post updates on a regular basis.
Plans are in place to increase the marketing in the coming months, but with the success of the launch a period of stabilisation is in place to allow the business to grow with its customers. The next step in the process being direct marketing, with families in the LU6 and LU5 postcodes in the prospect list.
In marketing you generally stumble across two types of business. Those who don’t or won’t market, be it through stubbornness or fear of wasting money – and those who throw themselves into it, marketing across multiple channels and scaling their efforts up exponentially. What Smart Cookie Tutoring have done, is our advisable route for start-ups. A common response we hear is “I’ve run my business this way for so many years, why would I need to change it now” and we appreciate that. With markets now becoming more and more crowded and prospects flooded with information for rival business, you could either miss out or soon be forgotten. At the other end of the spectrum, we meet with many businesses who see the returns certain marketing can bring. Firstly, they can’t handle the response and secondly it is often poorly planned.
Here at Attribute Design we are heavy pushers of a multi-channel marketing approach. With the rule of seven now looking more like a rule of 30, hitting potential prospects on every possible occasion is becoming more and more valuable. What we don’t propose is jumping straight in to all these channels at once. Try building from the bottom, trying a small selection of channels at a time in order to gauge response. Not all channels will work for every business, so key to getting a return is your ability to measure your campaigns.
If you need help putting together a responsive and progressive marketing campaign, speak to our team today and we will be happy to provide a no obligation quote to get your business on the front of everyone’s minds.