A little over a month ago, in a move that caused something of a stir, Google rolled out its latest search algorithm update for mobile platforms and the world went crazy.

Well, maybe not the world, but for those within the industry this seemingly major update signalled a fairly large prospective change in the way businesses may have to develop their websites.

The update (playfully dubbed ‘Mobilegeddon’ by those with a penchant for the melodramatic) marked a clear distinction as to what search results Google would or would not rank highly. Specifically: Mobile-friendly websites. Google categorically stated that if your website does not function properly on mobile devices, it won’t appear highly in mobile search results. (more…)

Mulberry Square Managing Director Craig Johnstone signing the Barrow Signpost contract with Judith Rodgers

Mulberry Square Marketing Services have just secured a website design contract with Barrow upon Soar Community Association to revamp the functionality and design of their Barrow Signpost village directory website to improve the way that it displays community group information and events to the public. Since it’s initial introduction and launch in 2006, Barrow Signpost has proved to be a much valued and used resource that offers up to date information and contact details for those wishing to get involved in the many diverse and vibrant groups and activities in this rural Leicestershire village.

Barrow Community Association and Mulberry Square have a long standing working relationship stemming back from when the company started out in the village with Barrow Voice, a quarterly newsletter being the longest standing. Managing Director, Craig Johnstone is thrilled to have been commissioned to gain this work, “It will be a pleasure to work with John Nurse and Judith Rodgers to realise this project. The quality of their preparation and their understanding of what is involved is a huge benefit to to the village of Barrow upon Soar. We hope to be able to present the new website and demonstrate the content management system to the large team of administrators in April.”

Mullberry Square are one of the midlands leading print management businesses and are please to be able to produce a printed wallet folder and flyer to support and advertise the website incorporating the new design.

The Mulberry Square team photographed by the Buttermarket in Mountsorrel, Leicestershire

I recently chatted with local reporter Tom Pegden to discuss the state of play in the local business economy as news of a high profile media success had made its way along the grapevine to Leicester Mercury towers – the launch of Leicester based luxury hand made leather satchel brand, Zatchels!

Zatchels, the brainchild of local businessmen Dean Clarke and Brian Brady of Charter Street manufacturer Leicester Remedial and Sewing Ltd was launched to the world with its satchels, hand made here in Leicester, on their beautifully designed e-commerce website on 20th April 2011.

This is one of the most comprehensive product/brand launches we’ve ever undertaken for a client and we’re delighted about the reaction so far. The satchel is the ‘must have’ style accessory for 2011 and Zatchels has launched a truly iconic British collection of leather satchel style bags that have caused a major stir since it was discretely introduced to fashion observers and stylists during this spring’s London Fashion Week. It was essentially a UK launch but already Zatchels are getting interest and media coverage from overseas, so we’re delighted for our client.

Since the Zatchels.com website went live three weeks ago it has had more than 6,600 visitors/hits, with orders coming in from the UK, USA, Australia and France as well as from UK based retailers who want to offer Zatchels satchels to their customers on the high street.

The new website features 71 different bags, with high quality creative studio shot photographs taken by Mulberry Square account manager and Leicester Photographer Ian Bursill, who has gained world wide acclaim for his photojournalistic style of photography.

We were involved right from the early stages and worked with our client to develop a logo and identity for the brand that was really strong and represented all of the key values and strengths of the product; and this in turn led to the introduction of the branding to the product itself with the stitching in of the distinctive woven label which coupled with its fantastic designs, materials and finishes sets Zatchels leather satchels apart from competitors in their market.

As well as designing the Zatchels brand identity and website, we have also been involved in leading and managing the launch campaign which benefitted massively from PR and media relations being added to the usual marketing mix. This involved product placements with magazines and newspapers such as Bliss, Heat and the Daily Express, gifting to members of the band McFly coupled with a social media campaign using Twitter, Facebook and blogging.

To visit the Zatchels website click here
To enter the Zatchels Facebook competition click here
To find Zatchels on Twitter click here

Our marketing services business based on Loughborough Road in Mountsorrel, Leicestershire faced a tough time in the height of the recession in the later part of 2009 but has really bucked the trend over the past 18 months with a full order book keeping our six fantastic staff very busy indeed.

We will build on our historic turnover of £300,000-£320,000 p.a. this year as we have really focused and tried to get across our message that we cover all aspects of the marketing mix and therefore can really make a difference to our clients, some of which have been using our marketing services knowledge and experience for the past 18 years.

To view our portfolio click here

As a result of our networking efforts we have been working on the launch of another new brand for a £20 million turnover Leicester business, with the launch of this planned for later this month. Rather than being fashion with the emphasis on consumer marketing this new brand will be very much B2B and will feature another eCommerce website designed and built on the Magento platform.

We seriously have seen an upturn in the local economy, especially from manufacturers who have ridden out the recession and are now investing to take advantage of a better economic climate to come.

Are we aiming to win more big clients? You bet we are!

Mulberry Square feature on the thisisbusiness East Midlands website

Read Tom Pegden’s article at www.thisisbusiness-eastmidlands.co.uk/news/Marketing…/article.html

View the Leicester Mercury version here Mulberry Square feature in the Leicester Mercury 060511

Home page of the Zatchels online boutique
Screen grab of the Zatchels online boutique

We can safely say the launch of the new Zatchels brand – a range of contemporary and stylish satchels – has been a resounding success.

A successful media campaign (albeit almost under the cover of darkness to keep the launch a secret!) plus the launch of the Magento e-commerce website at www.zatchels.com means that the fashion world now has a new star.

The reaction to the Zatchels range has been incredible; everyone who’s seen the products and viewed the website seems impressed. We’re pleased, our client is pleased, the journalists were warm in their praise of the products, and the consumers seem equally impressed.

It would seem then that we’ve bucked the economic trend. With retail sales down, consumers struggling with bills, and the whole world seemingly on a bit of downer at the moment, we could have been forgiven for thinking the timing was all wrong.

The fact is though that fashion does buck trends. In 2008 leading fashion pundits were forecasting that the recession, which had still to really bite deeply back then, would take its toll. By 2010, the retail sector was suffering but it didn’t collapse. Even if some brands did suffer it basically came down to a question of image.

The fashion industry can sometimes be seen as decadent and self indulgent so what sets Zatchels apart from the crowd?

Well, it seems everyone’s agreed that satchels are the ‘must have’ accessory of the year, which is all well and good so long as people can afford the ‘must have’. And fashion, accessories and cosmetics spend is also considered therapeutic; when all else fails buy yourself a new dress or a new lipstick.

Where the Zatchels range really is a winner is in sensible pricing, affordable quality and the fine craftsmanship that lies behind this very British brand.

And apparently being British – especially in the world of fashion accessories – can be cool.

Timecarpet.com - the brand new greetings card website.

I refer to today’s report featured in Management Today which highlights a new report which says the internet will generate 10% of GDP by 2015 – whilst Britain is already the world’s leading e-commerce nation.

Certainly here at Mulberry Square we have seen increasing levels of activity in the number of businesses and entrepreneurs actively looking and making the leap into a market that has in many ways tried to resist the downturn in the economy and will be riding the crest of a wave into the upturn.

Friday 22nd October saw the introduction of a new player in the online personalised greetings card market with the launch of Timecarpet.com which is an e-commerce website and brand that has positioned itself quite clearly in the retro arena with original image content from the likes of DC Thomson. It offers iconic names and characters such as The Beano, The Dandy, Dennis the Menace, Desperate Dan, The Bash Street Kids, Beryl the Peril, and Bananaman; the iconic cover images from Haynes Manuals and original data content from the Original Charts Company.

The inspiration for the project came from mother of three, Suzanne Burnip, and with the support of her fellow directors she was able to realise her dream of creating a service that offers highly desirable content for a Facebook generation that takes great pleasure from remembering the good old 60’s, 70’s, 80’s and 90’s.

Today a major player in traditional wholesale committed to the launch of a new e-commmerce website with us that will reach those who are demanding an online outlet for selected parts for manufacture. This is a major departure from their successful formula but this new client has a resolve to understand the process and ultimately generate more business.

The internet is transforming the economy: a new study by Boston Consulting Group claims that the UK’s web industry now constitutes 7.2% of GDP, or about £100bn a year; Brits are now spending more money online per capita than anyone else in the world. What’s more, the amount of cash the internet is bringing into the UK economy will make George Osborne’s eyes light up – apparently, for every £1 spent on imports, it produces £2.80 worth of exports; whereas offline, a paltry 90p worth of goods is exported for every £1 spent on imports. That’s a recovery-friendly stat.

To prove the point, another client whose project is in development at our studios between Loughborough and Leicester is responding to continued overseas demand by implementing four additional languages to his site.

According to BCG, Britain now has a higher online expenditure per capita than any other country on the planet – at least we’re a world leader at something!

And the good news is that all those cuts notwithstanding, the Coalition (quite sensibly) still seems committed to universal broadband access by 2015. So that side of the spending should continue – and if the ambitious penetration targets are met, that will facilitate more people spending more money online, thus propping up that side of things too. So it’s hard to see this £100bn figure going anywhere but up for the UK economy, which can only be good news for us all!

The recently launched Unecom IT Services websiteThe web development team at Mulberry Square Marketing Services today launched a new updated internet marketing driven CMS website for Leicester based managed service provider, Unecom IT Services.

Unecom IT Services have an enviable reputation for providing IT support services for businesses and organisations across the East Midlands. They recently introduced industry leading remote managed support to their proposition and needed to beef up their online presence to better represent the progress they are making.

Mulberry Square were privileged to be chosen by a business with such cutting edge services and were able to respond with web design and development services to match the very high standards that Unecom IT set.

The content management system (CMS) chosen to provide the platform for the development of their website was chosen because of the robustness and flexibility it provides in the construction of the website but also because of the ease of use for the client when updates need to be made.

The website has a built in IT support calculator coded by the Mulberry Square web developers and also accommodates a WordPress blog and Twitter social media feeds in order to encourage enhanced natural search results. The copy on the site was developed following keyword research being performed by account managers at Mulberry Square with a view to not only providing enhanced search results but also with a view to improving the results of an Adwords campaign that Mulberry Square will be implementing on Unecom’s behalf.

As well as internet marketing, ongoing maintenance and support of the website with be provided by Loughborough based marketing services provider, Mulberry Square.

Magazine Article and Competition
This locally based free to children magazine has undergone a big facelift with the help of our graphic designers. What Can We Do Today is a magazine aimed at families with primary school aged children who are looking for things to do in the holidays in Leicestershire, who like helpful, informative articles and of course who like a bargain!

This, issue 12, of What Can We Do Today was designed, produced and print managed by the team at Mulberry Square; we even gave a helping hand to the copywriting! It was distributed at the beginning of this week to primary schools around Charnwood, including a few schools who haven’t received it before. It features various articles ranging from health to entertainment with a generous helping of discount vouchers and competitions thrown in too.

The New Website
On top of the work our marketing services team completed for the magazine, our web design lot were busy converting the old website over to a brand new WordPress based site. What Can We Do Today is now a great website for reading reviews of places to visit in the area, for entering competitions to win tickets to local attractions, or just for finding cheaper deals at local businesses and places to go!

Why not try it now for some ideas about what you can do today….

We were approached by Custom Lynx to design and build a new magento e-commerce website to showcase their extensive product range and provide them with an online store.

Custom Lynx Magento E-Commerce Website Design

Custom Lynx are a trade company specialising in providing a wide variety of custom length cables for their customers. For those systems needing a lot of cables, they also offer the useful option of customising the colour of both the cables and Neutrik connectors so you always know which cable is which!

Our graphic design team designed the look of the magento e-commerce site and its layout, whilst the products were catalogued and professionally photographed by our award winning in-house photographers. The result is a very good looking site with a clear layout and excellent product images, all of which are held on the large database contained within the website design.

The new Custom Lynx website is now up and running and ready to take orders!

We were recently approached by a new company called Bizzing to provide graphic design services to design and develop its branding, in addition to offering marketing services to support the company in its promotion.

As well as the branding development, we were asked to design and develop a website for them to include many different levels of functionality, including password protected user accounts for customers and forum capability.

We have designed a temporary static website to showcase Bizzing whilst we are busy with further web design and web development behind the scenes. In designing this website, we have been involved in creative copywriting, including SEO enhancement, as part of our marketing services and have sourced a range of images to support the website design. We have also employed our creative copywriting services to provide captions to these images to further enhance their message.

Watch this space for the upcoming fully functional website for Bizzing…

Where are the plain language police when you need them? Surely they have been tipped off on this one before?
We are in the process of creating an e-commerce website for a client who is going to be retailing really low value items, under £5 per transaction. The process is going well and the launch date will be in the middle of May.

The Finance Director of this new business worked for a major high street bank for 20 years – she is no shmuck when it comes to banking, having gone from the tills to a board level consultant in her career.

One of her tasks was to consult the Merchant Account and Payment Gateway Providers in the market, evaluate the services available and analyse the pricing structure in relation to the predicted Year 1. turnover and average transactional value. The first port of call was the online information and, as we bank with NatWest, Streamline had the first opportunity. The information seemed OKish but the path lead to one individual that covers their patch. That individual was a sales person and was very busy. Eventually the Finance Director managed to get some advice and was given the standard rates (why they were not available to download from their website I haven’t the foggiest). Next a personal telephone consultation with Barclaycard, followed by a recommendation of the wrong product, followed by an application, followed by a stalker who called and texted at every turn.

Eventually a call to the cavalry at Mulberry Square arrived and here are my findings:

Through my membership of the Federation of Small Businesses I learnt that the Federation had negotiated a deal with Streamline for preferential rates on their Merchant Account & Payment Gateway products in association with WorldPay. The Streamline lady was permanently on answerphone so I called her support team in Harrogate; “You’ll have to speak to Sue” was their reply. Eventually I spoke to Sue who confirmed that as our client was also a member of the Federation, she could have those rates.  I asked her about whether we had to implement 3D secure as part of the payment process, to which her reply was uninspiring to say the least.
Next it was on to Barclaycard, very nice people and yes they knew their stuff when it came to security. The problem was the language they used on their typed up and posted estimate; what the heck is ePDQ-CPI? This required a visit to their website over the weekend – no wonder customers get stiffed on bank charges. I know what I’m talking about on this subject and even I was bamboozled by it all. Eventually I gathered that for one reason or another ePDQ-CPI was clearly the wrong product, partly as customers would be sent to a separate web page to pay. Who in their right mind would want to start up a serious retailing business and, just as the customer is about to hand over the cash, the shop keeper sends them to the nearest bank to hand it over… madness!

So another call to the nice people at Barlaycard yesterday – luckily forearmed with an inkling that I knew what was needed. Very early on they wanted to throw in the towel, ‘we won’t be able to compete with a deal with an industry federation’ they said, but no, hold on, I say, your ePDQ-MPI product being a combined Merchant Account and Payment Gateway has a chance This is a low value transaction that we are talking about, won’t the majority of customers just put it through on Debit Card? ‘I would” was the reply. Then this looks like the product for the job I said – and surprisingly it is! Having also compared it to PayPal’s all in one service and factored in SagePay’s offering, the clear winner is Barclaycards’ ePDQ-MPI.

I was left exhausted by the experience, but with our reputation with our client elevated by hacking through the smoke and mirrors of branding and the deliberate jargon put out to make customers stick with who they know rather than identify who is the best for the job.

E-commerce enquiries are welcome.