The Power of Print: Printing Press in action

The power of print: how we helped Southend Care make an impact

By | Design, Marketing, News, Print

Since it was created in 2017, Southend Care has delivered outstanding care and support services to many of the most vulnerable citizens in Southend-on-Sea.

From residential care and supported living to complex reablement and day services, the company – which is wholly owned by Southend Borough Council – has a vision to be the first organisation people local turn to for care and support services.

Because Southend Care now delivers a whole host of services that were once provided by the council, it’s important to make people aware of this. It’s also essential for them to communicate the impact their work has, giving stakeholders confidence that all services are delivered by expert hands and forward-looking minds.

To help achieve this, Southend Care wanted to create and publish a dedicated impact report. Being a young company, it hadn’t produced one before – so the team turned to Garda for help.

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Print marketing isn't dead, letterpress

Print marketing isn’t dead – it’s your secret weapon

By | Marketing, Print

If you were in business before the internet took off, you’ll remember how much of your marketing made it into print.

From brochures, flyers and banners through to posters, media ads, exhibition stands and even beer mats – printed materials were the mainstay of promoting your business, products and services.

These days, the web has opened up a wealth of new marketing opportunities. You can run targeted ad campaigns on Google and Facebook. You can tap your phone on someone else’s to exchange an electronic business card. You can run complex inbound marketing campaigns to drive sales and build up your mailing lists. Add to this your Twitter and LinkedIn profiles, your website and blog – these, and more, give you a whole range of effective marketing channels that are often cheaper than print.

It’s a mistake, though, to think that print marketing is dead. Far from it. As recently as 2017, the UK was still the world’s fifth-largest producer of print products and the industry had a turnover of £13.8 billion. There’s still a huge demand to keep those presses in action! Read More

Company Anniversary Balloons

How to celebrate your company’s anniversary and win new business

By | Marketing

In Britain, we’ve a habit of being a bit shy about our birthdays.

As the big day approaches, people start asking us questions like:

“What are you up to for your birthday?”

“Can I get you a present? Is there anything you’d like?”

“Are you having a party this year?”

The answers to these tend to be something along the lines of:

“Oh, nothing special.”

“That’s very kind, but no.”

“No, I don’t want to make a fuss.”

For some reason, we have this ingrained idea that there’s something ‘un-British’ about making a big deal of our own birthdays. Which is odd, because most of us love celebrating other people’s and making a big fuss of them.

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Sorrell Scouts 100 years

100 years young – Garda helps Sorrell spread the word about its centenary

By | Marketing

These days, just four in ten new businesses make it through their first five years. So, when you get a firm that has been going from strength to strength for a century, you know it must be doing something right.

One business that’s currently celebrating its 100th anniversary is Southend estate agent and property specialist, Sorrell. Founded by First World War veteran Harold Sorrell in 1919, the firm has weathered the storms of many recessions and seen the average local house price soar from £450 to over £300,000.

As the company’s centenary approached, Steve Knock – Partner and member of the third generation of his family to serve the firm – decided he needed some help to get the news out into the community.

So, he popped out of his office (the very same one opened by Harold Sorrell) and came to talk to the team at Garda. It was a short journey – our studios are on the same street! Read More

Formula 1 Car - Fresh Perspective

Need better results from your marketing? Let Formula 1 show you how

By | Marketing

Never underestimate the power of a fresh perspective.

That’s something that Professor Marc de Leval knows extremely well. In the mid 1990s, he was a physician at Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children (GOSH). At the time there was a high mortality rate for surgery on patients with congenital heart disease.

Professor de Leval realised that a major risk factor was the journey from the operating theatre to the intensive care unit. Mistakes in communication and equipment were much too common. The only problem was that he didn’t know how to improve the situation.

So he decided to get a fresh perspective. How? Read More

Public relations - typewriter

Successful PR – it’s all about good relationships

By | Marketing

A few years ago, I was at a business event where I got talking to the owner of an Essex printing firm.

He’d built his company up over 20 years, employed over 30 people and enjoyed a turnover of well over £3 million. On the face of it, he seemed to be doing extremely well.

So I asked him whether he was optimistic about the future, and was surprised to hear that he wasn’t. He told me that he was worried because his firm was reliant on a small number of high-value contracts. If any one of them decided to take their business elsewhere it would not only mean redundancies, but also price rises – which would make his company less competitive.

I asked the owner what he was doing to attract fresh business. He said that he had recently invested heavily in PR, but it wasn’t getting him results. Read More

Broken Car Marketing MOT

Is it time to give your company’s marketing an MOT?

By | Marketing

If you own a car, you’ll know how difficult it can be to spot when things stop working.

You can drive around for months without noticing a problem. Then, when it’s time for your MOT, you find out that your tyres don’t have enough tread, your front suspension is loose and at least one of your brake lights isn’t working.

It’s a similar story when it comes to marketing your business. It’s easy to fall into the trap of just booking the same advertising year after year. But because there’s no law that says you have to prove your marketing is ‘roadworthy’ every 12 months, the temptation is to not check how it’s performing.

At Garda, we’ve helped many businesses take stock of their marketing and get their sales figures back on the road. We help them measure the return on their existing marketing, negotiate better deals, find new avenues for online and offline promotion, not to mention create opportunities for valuable press coverage.

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Dancing couple

Make your sales figures dance in 2019!

By | Marketing

Take the Stage founder Amy Burrows is jumping for joy after Garda helped the company double the number of children it helps from 300 to 600 – in a single year!

The new Southend-based production company makes it affordable for performing arts schools to give children the chance to perform at nationally recognised venues.

The brainchild of actress and TV presenter Amy, she not only hopes Takes the Stage will give children much needed opportunities, but that it will help to launch some glittering careers.

However, Amy also knew that she needed help to get the word out to as many people as possible, so she asked Garda to get involved. We worked closely with her over a year to market the event and win valuable PR, as well as designing eye-catching items like event programmes.

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Bike jumping over a ramp, train. Retro black and white image.

Ready to ramp up your marketing?

By | Marketing

So, you’ve got your marketing objectives identified and your marketing plan ready to go. You’ve got the website, you’ve got your brand guidelines, you’ve got the blog all set up and running.

You’re a walking lesson in Marketing 101 and you’re finally feeling in control of this marketing malarkey. Well done! You’re a Star Pupil and you’ve got a lot further than most!

“So what now?” you’re probably thinking. “How can I ramp it up a notch?”

Firstly, can we just say how much we love people like you?

And secondly, hold on to your hat, because here come four fool-proof ways to help you take your marketing to the next level!

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Lady trying to sell false teeth. Retro black and white image

What does your branding say about you?

By | Design, Marketing, Web

“Determine who you are and what your brand is, and what you’re not. The rest is just a lot of noise.” So said Geoffrey Zakarian, chef-turned-restaurateur-turned-TV-host.

There’s some truth in what he says. Getting your brand right is an essential foundation for your whole marketing strategy – but how do you ‘get it right’? What is your brand? What should it achieve? And what does yours say about your business at this point in time?

If you’ve not spent much time thinking about your brand recently (in amongst everything else on your to-do list!), take this blogpost as a little nudge to do so. We’ll talk you through it step by step, and in a few minutes’ time, you’ll know whether your brand is working for you, against you, or just not doing much at all!

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