Emma Scott is a radio presenter turned live music promoter and manager turned author and radio plugger. Well known for her popular shows on both Kerrang! and latterly Heart FM, her time as a live music promoter saw her work alongside major selling artists (such as The Automatic, Skunk Anansie, Therapy?, Ben Folds Five and Sylosis) and up-and-coming underground bands alike, leading to a spell managing The Whiskey Syndicate. Since diversifying into writing, Emma has published two ‘self-help’ style books for aspiring bands – ‘Break Your Band’ and ‘If It Was My Band‘. Her newest venture, Pluggin’ Baby, has seen her assist numerous artists with gaining commercial and independent radio airplay.
Emma Scott Presents… hosted as many as eight live gigs a month across Birmingham, Wolverhampton and Stourbridge in the West Midlands. To support the promotion of each show and to build the Emma Scott Presents… brand, an impactful and instantly recognisable design for flyers and posters was required, and the turnaround of designs for the shows needed to be fast. Often performing artists would provide poor quality logos, so the designs needed to overcome this while retaining a look and feel that reflected the quality of the brand.
Logo and stationery design was required for the launch of the Pluggin’ Baby brand. The logo had to reflect both the radio airplay aspect and the typical rock n’ roll nature of Pluggin’ Baby’s expected clients.
How CWDmedia helped:
CWDmedia effectively interpreted the brief to consistently produce eye-catching flyer and poster designs for Emma Scott Presents… shows for several years, adhering to branding guidelines set out by the venues in use. In this time the style of the design was refined to freshen up and strengthen the brand and increase interest in the shows themselves. On the occasions where bands supplied sub-standard logo files, CWDmedia recreated them to large format print quality standards. Some 150+ events were designed for in total.
After developing a strong and productive working relationship with the client, CWDmedia was later approached to create the logo and cover artwork for the ‘Break Your Band’ book and the brand identity for Pluggin’ Baby. Business stationery including business cards and compliments slips followed, and CWDmedia liaised with Emma Scott’s website partner to supply graphic elements suitable for web use.
Emma Scott said: “For anything involving graphic design, I contact CWDmedia. Business cards, compliments slips, flyers, you name it – Steve has designed it for me. I love his work – it’s always top-notch and done with a smile. He’s down to earth, polite, friendly and professional. I’ve lost count how many years we’ve worked together, but it’s a long time – and I don’t see this ending soon. I’ve found that once you have found someone you trust and work well with, it’s always best to stick with them! Build the right team around you and you will go far! His rates are great and he’s now a good mate – long may that continue!”
A lot of us fantasise about sticking it to the man, knocking the day job on the head and starting our own business. The idea of being your own boss is seductive and most of us will have thought about it at one time or another, indeed for some of us it’ll be something we dream about daily.
So if you’ve been dreaming about the ideals of going it alone, what do you actually need to do in order to turn it into a reality? There’s much to consider, and the decision to wave goodbye to the guaranteed monthly income of your day job is a big one. In truth, it’s something I’ve never had the bottle to do myself, although I’m lucky enough to really enjoy my day job and the work I do there complements the freelance work I do through CWDmedia.
But I got to thinking. If I was to go full-time with CWDmedia, how would I go about it? How different would it be to running the business part time like I do now? So I did some research. A lot of research, actually, and found plenty of good advice mixed in with a lot of flannel. So here’s my eight steps to starting your own business. This isn’t a bible, I’m not Richard Branson, and if you’re thinking of giving it a try then you should certainly do your own research as well, but this quick and simple guide should help you – it’s certainly helped me.
1. Get an idea (a good one)
It doesn’t have to be an original idea – I wasn’t the first graphic designer on the scene and I won’t be the last. But you should definitely come up with an idea that a) suits your skill set, b) fills a gap in the market, and perhaps most importantly c) will provide you with sufficient income that you can still pay your bills – if not immediately then within a realistic period of time.
2. Decide on a name
Not as easy as it sounds. Speaking as somebody who, along with three other musicians, couldn’t decide what to call our band for over six months, believe me when I say this isn’t always straightforward! You For a start, you want to be sure you’ll like the name in five years’ time. Make sure it isn’t too long winded unless you’re happy to abbreviate it with an acronym that rolls off the tongue – nobody wants to be constantly answering the phone saying “Good morning, British Broadcasting Corporation” when “BBC” works succinctly. Alternatively, a good rule of thumb is the fewer syllables the better.
3. Have a plan
To quote Daniel Craig in Layer Cake, “have a plan and stick to it”. It’s extremely important you spend time putting together a cohesive business plan. Not only will it serve as your route map when you put your wheels in motion, but it will be vital if you decide you need to secure funding from the bank or a private investor to help you expand further down the line.
Too many people believe that a company’s brand starts and finishes with its logo. Wrong. Getting your logo right IS massively important, but the corporate colours in your logo should be carried throughout everything else you, from your business card to your brochure, your website to your workwear. Your brand is your identity to the outside world, so make it count. Enlist the help of an able graphic designer (nudge nudge, cough cough) and have them look after everything from your signage to your letterheads. This way you guarantee consistency across everything you put in the public eye. A great example of this is the Xtreme Fitness gym in Cumbria. They came to me a few years ago, before the gym had opened, looking for logo and leaflet designs. When it came to kitting out the gym, all the equipment was branded with their logo and corporate colours so when a customer walks in they see a really strong and impressive brand. The rest is history – within 18 months Xtreme Fitness was voted the number one gym in the UK by users of GymBuzz and it continues to go from strength to strength.
>> Looking for a graphic designer, or someone to provide sound advice on building your brand? I can help –get in touch today.
Once you’ve got your brand sorted, you can start to think about how you’ll take your product or service to market. Who are you selling to? What are they looking for? What challenges are they facing in their jobs? How can you help them? Who are your competitors? What do they charge for the same products or services? How are your products or services different? Why should your customers buy from you and not your competitors? How should I promote my business and my products or services? What should my message(s) be?
These are just some of the questions you need to have answers for if you’re serious about making an impact, and they’ll require some research before you can answer them comprehensively. One things for sure though, you’ll certainly need a website. If I get a call from somebody trying to sell me something, the first thing I’ll do is check out their website. If they haven’t got one, the alarm bells start ringing!
You’ve probably heard of Sage accounting software. Well here’s a tip – check out www.quickfile.co.uk. It’s free, and really easy to use. You can send quotes, invoices, payment reminders, link it to your business bank account, and loads more besides. You can even use their smartphone app to photograph your receipts while you’re on the move to ensure your expenses get logged.
Stay on top of your transactions and keep them logged as you go to avoid the headache of re-tracing your steps the week before the tax submission deadline!
Should you decide to hire an accountant to organise your end of year accounts, you should ensure they are qualified in ACA, ACCA or CIMA. You’ll also need to register the business with the HMRC.
7. Open a business bank account
Having a business bank account makes your accounting much simpler further down the line, saving you time and money, particularly if you elect to appoint an accountant to organise your end of year accounts for you. It also makes it easier for you to borrow money from the bank, should you need to in future.
8. Create a fanfare
How are you going to launch your business? Just because your website goes live, it doesn’t mean you’ll suddenly be inundated with enquiries – generally it takes a while. But you want business straight away, right? So you need to create a pre-launch buzz. Get on social media. Engage a reputable PR company who understands your business, your market AND is well connected with key publications through which exposure of your brand can drive traffic your way. Is it worth considering an introductory offer to encourage customers to spend?
Hopefully the above points have given you some food for thought. Remember, if you need help with branding, graphic design or marketing, I can help – get in touch today!
Now the festive season is well underway I wanted to wish you all a very Merry Christmas, not to mention a prosperous and happy New Year.
I’ve made a habit over the past few years of sending CWDmedia-branded Christmas cards to each of my clients. This year, however, I’ve elected to make a donation to a charity that is dear to me instead – the Depression Alliance.
The Depression Alliance brings people together to end the loneliness and isolation of depression. They also campaign to end the stigma of depression and to raise awareness of what it means to live with it. For some, Christmas can be a very lonely time of year and as somebody who has suffered with depression in the past, I’m glad to help in some small way.
We like to think we don’t judge a book by its cover but without realising, we often do. We judge labels, covers and promotional materials every day. And the more we see them, the more we begin to view them as trustworthy and recognisable sources.
Some we’ve become so familiar with, we decide to continuously choose them over hundreds of others. McDonalds over the local greasy spoon cafe, Sainsbury’s over the local greengrocer’s etc. So why is that?
The Importance of a Great Logo
Well, one of the biggest parts of establishing a respected brand is designing a great logo. Many factors make up our opinions of a company and it can all stem from having that all-important symbol to identify it by. After all, this is how you are choosing to represent your company, so it’s an crucial one to get right.
The Ingredients to a Successful Logo
The colour you choose does mean something to your customers. Think about how certain colours affect you when you see them. Then think about what your brand represents. If you choose bright colours, it portrays that you are a bold & exciting company – it may appeal to young people & of course, it will catch everyone’s eye. Every colour in the spectrum represents something different, so choose wisely.
Picking your font is equally as important. As soon as you see those Coca Cola curves, you know exactly what you’re getting. It’s become a ‘cool’ drink, it has a creative flair all down to that fancy typeface.
If you want an image to go with your type, that has got to sum up exactly what you want your brand to be known for. If you are an environmentally-friendly company, an image of a plant spells that out or go a bit quirky with it to grab even more attention. At CWDmedia, I like to try and think outside the box when a client’s brief allows it – the chances are that the most obvious idea has probably been done before, and it’s the well thought out, original ideas that stick in your mind and work best as a marketing tool.
The job of your logo is to spell out your company’s message. It’s got to be adjustable to fit across different platforms, so you don’t want it to be too complicated, but you want it to encapsulate exactly what you’re all about. A golden rule I live by when it comes to logo design is “if it isn’t legible when it’s the size of a postage stamp, bin it”. Sometimes I have to bend that rule, admittedly, but it’s a healthy ethos to adopt.
CWDmedia has bags of experience in logo design. Get in touch today!