Brownstone Blog

Monthly Archives: May 2011


Brownstone have been running a competition where we will be giving away £3,500 worth of web design and branding to a lucky competition winner, below we have listed our three finalist, all we are asking you to do is to email through to which company you think should win! The competition will close on the 1st of June and results announce on the 7th June, you have 2 weeks so get voting!! We have attached some company info and the websites of the companies to help you make your decision.

1. Against the Grain Initiatives

Against the Grain Initiatives (ATGI) are anew social enterprise offering employment with support to homeless and vulnerably housed people. We motivate and train long-term unemployed individuals with complex issues to gain employment and stability in their lives – and then to maintain it. We gained start-up funding from Cambridge city council last year when we became a fully incorporated social enterprise for non-profit company limited by guarantee.

Please see attached: ATGI_trifold

We are in desperate need of a professional looking web site encompassing what ATGI is all about using the branding we have developed using the expertise of Brownstone. We welcome any help with our marketing strategy that an established company with experience in the sector like Brownstone can offer.

2. Magic Solver

MagicSolver is a young and growing start-up creating a fun way for users to discover cool apps every day.

With its popular iPhone, iPad and Android apps, MagicSolver helps

smartphone users to discover great apps every day for free.

developers and publishers to get visibility for their apps among MagicSolver’s 5,600,000 customers across 90 countries.

Our ambition is to become the world reference in App Store discovery.

MagicSolver Poster for ideaspace May 2011

3. Campkins

Campkins is 2 shops based in Cambridge, on Kings Parade and Rose Crescent. Since the 1950’s Campkins has been a dedicated camera specialist helping photographers with all their needs. Now we are one of the few left in the UK.

If Campkins win Brownstone would be helping one of Cambridge’s oldest companies update itself to the modern world.

Thank you in advance for voting – 


The difference between mobile and app – why businesses do (or don’t need) their own app

The question every digital agency is getting asked more and more frequently by their clients is: ‘Do we need an app?’. With mobile internet usage increasing the question is bound to arise with websites needing to deliver increased mobile functionality – especially for display on the smaller screens of mobile devices.

So, with small screen in mind – let’s take a look at the big picture. 297 million smartphones were sold last year out of a total of 1.6 BILLION mobile phones. In 2010 there were a total of 8.2 billion app downloads worldwide which is set to rise to 17.7 billion in 2011. The worldwide revenue for this is estimated to be $15.1 billion in 2011 with the major players in the market being Apple, Android, BlackBerry App World, Microsoft Market Place, Nokia’s Ovi Store and Samsung Apps.

So with these figures we can see how getting a piece of the mobile app market can be tempting. But a mobile app needs to be seen for what it is – a marketing tactic – it’s not a digital strategy. A good digital strategy is all about communicating with your customers in an uncluttered way – and a mobile app can form part of that. But it’s by no means an end to itself. ‘Clients need to decide on their goals before committing to a mobile app,’ Brownstone’s Managing Director Dave Jabbie advises. ‘What we’re talking about here is a user experience and it’s important to decide what kind of experience you want your customer to have – and also to understand what it is they are looking for in terms of that.’

If you only launch a new product say once every two years, then a mobile app would not be a cost-effective or even a strategic option as your customers will only download it once during that period. ‘You would be much better off with a robust mobile site,’ Dave adds. ‘Digital agencies need to be giving their clients the proper advice here. Yes, businesses need to consider going mobile, but pushing them towards an app may not necessarily be the right answer. For many businesses a well-designed mobile site is every bit as effective.

‘The other consideration is how you want your customers to connect with your brand. Properly utilised, apps provide a feature-rich experience. Think about how you want people to interact with you – apps can open up an entire new experience for your client base.’

Apps do need to form part of a clear digital strategy. ‘It’s a question of focus on three key areas,’ explains Dave. ‘Apps offer utility, content and entertainment. If you can’t decide between these or don’t think they apply to your business, then an app probably isn’t for you.’

‘Another consideration is that apps only work on the devices they are designed for. So we are really talking a niche market activity – which can of course we extremely profitable if you know your market – and your device. A mobile site displays great on phones but can be not-so-great on tablets.’

Apps can provide feature-rich content and functionality due to working with the specific device’s native applications. However, a mobile site is a better choice dfor delivering search-based content and also for driving ad traffic to the site.

Building an app for every device out there can be costly – plus there are on-going development costs when the app needs up-dating along with constant app store approval. Initial costs to develop a mobile site are off-set by less costs to maintain over time. And if mass marketing is your goal – a mobile site wins hands-down in terms of budget and potential reach.

‘As with any marketing tactic – an app or mobile site should form part of your integrated marketing strategy and leverage all your activities, both on and off-line,’ Dave advises. ‘Just because your competitors have an app or mobile site, doesn’t mean it’s the right choice for your business.’

Brownstone offer integrated digital strategies for businesses so why not talk to us about your evolving digital needs? When it comes to an on-line and mobile presence we promise to make you appy. (Sorry – we couldn’t resist the pun!)

Brand YOU. Why your branding is critical to on-and-off line success

Forget the idea that brand is just for the major players. No matter what size your business or organisation – you have a brand. In fact, you as an individual have a brand. As Jeff Bezos, the founder of Amazon, once said, “Your brand is what people say about you when you are not in the room” – or to take this one step further – what they are saying about your website/product/service after they have experienced it.

And here’s the key to successful branding. Experience. Start to think of your business/site/product as a person. The bottom line of any successful marketing or advertising campaign revolves around people. People buy products and services – NOT markets. Therefore, you need to create a brand indentity and experience that is genuine, authentic and unique. One that people can relate to as if it were another human being. Yes, you can have a wonderfully designed website. Punchy, informative copy. Beautiful images. But if it doesn’t engage and speak directly to your audience of choice, you won’t have a brand experience. To put it another way – how many people have you met that are good looking, dressed in designer clothes but in fact boring and dull?

Brand experience has nothing to do with price. Think about some of the most successful brands out there. They rarely compete on price and that is because if you do this there is always somebody out there who will undercut you. Successful brands don’t enter that arena. They know what they do well and exploit that knowing that it is the EXPERIENCE that will ensure their customers return to them again and again. It also has nothing to do with having a unique product and/or service. Chances are no matter what your business is – you have competitors. Successful brands are secure in their market sector because they know that while their product or service can be replicated, their brand experience is unique to them.

Today, the first experience your potential customer is likely to have of your brand will come from your website. To ensure that this experience will lead to that visitor wanting to know more about your product/service, ordering or revisiting or subscribing to your newsletter or updates, you need to create an experience of your brand. To do this means knowing not only your product or service’s USP but also understanding its ‘personality’ and that of your target audience. Treat your product or service as if it were a person. What personality traits does it have? If it were a person how would this person make your life easier? Remember, many people are looking for products and services that solve a specific problem in their lives. How does your company solve the problem and most importantly, solve it better than anybody else? Once you can show you understand the needs of your customers you are talking to them on an emotional level via your unique brand. You are then creating a BRAND EXPERIENCE.

Your competitors can launch rival products. They can also try to compete with you on price. But what they will not be able to replicate is the experience your customer has interacting with your brand. It is this which will drive customer loyalty and retention and ultimately the bottom-line.

Make sure your brand experience echoes your core values. What does your company/product/service stand for? What values do you espouse? Make sure all your messages you give out are congruent. People can easily pick up any discrepancies. And while we’re on the subject of Brand YOU – you as an individual also have a brand and yes, it is what people say about you when you’re not longer present. Think about what you would like them to be saying and then apply this practice to marketing not only yourself as a representative of your business but also to that business itself. The technique is the same.

We at Brownstone are always happy to assist our clients in developing those all-important brand engagement and experience strategies and applying them across not just your website but your entire marketing and advertising mix.