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first round of judging for ‘The One’

November 3, 2010

I’ve just returned from the first round of judging for ‘The One’, our business competition run in partnership with leading PR agency, Voice Communications and the East Anglian Daily Times. A really enjoyable morning. We had a good number of entries and all 6 judges were pleasantly surprised by the calibre of the entries. It was also great to see a broad spread of different businesses from different sectors – there’s some really interesting businesses out there in the local area and its really encouraging to see these ventures prospering despite the tough economic conditions.

Thankfully, we were all (more or less) in agreement about who should be shortlisted and we’ve ended up with seven businesses who will proceed to the next round where each business will be invited to pitch to the panel on the 18th November. From this process a winner will be chosen to receive the £50,000 worth of business support – a hugely valuable prize for any fledgling business. I’m really looking forward to this next stage, the shortlisted businesses are all very different but all share the same qualities – dynamic, passionate, and with great potential. Watch this space for an update following the final judging day on the 18th.

As a final word, I feel I should mention Milsoms Hotel and Restaurant in Dedham. An exquisite venue who have very kindly provided meeting space for the competition along with lovely snacks and refreshments to help keep us focussed.

Thank you, Paul

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Business competition in conjunction with the East Anglian Daily Times

October 4, 2010

We’re delighted to be involved in an exciting new business competition in conjunction with the East Anglian Daily Times and our good friends at PR agency, Voice Communications. Here’s the details:

ONE enterprising start-up business in East Anglia is in line for an award package worth £50,000.
The search is launched today for a worthy winner of “THE ONE”, a new business competition being run through the East Anglian Daily Times in partnership with PR consultancy Voice Communications, creative agency Zeal Design and four other successful businesses.
The winner will secure the opportunity to take their business forward with a prize package consisting of:
■ PR consultancy and implementation from Voice Communications to the value of £15,000;
■ Design consultancy and creative services from Zeal to the value of£15,000;
■ Advertising in the East Anglian Daily Times to the value of £10,000;
■ Business consultancy from Angela Kimberley to the value of £3,500;
■ Accountancy advice and annual returns from LB Group to the value of £3,000;
■ Leadership and management coaching from Faith Performance to the value of £2,000; and
■ MyRuby call answering services for a year to the value of £1,500.

The competion is open to businesses across East Anglia which have been trading for up to five years. To be in with a chance of being chosen as THE ONE, compelete the online entry questionnaire available at www.eadt.co.uk/theone by Friday, October 29.
In addition to the qualifying questions, entrants are required to provide a description of their business, product or idea, what their ambitions and key achievements are and explain what they would use the prize to achieve. The judges will initially select a short-list of finalists, each of which will be invited to give a 45-minute presentation ahead of the final judging at the end of November. The winner will be announced in December.

Paul Dymond, managing director of Zeal, said: “THE ONE competition is a real opportunity for one lucky entrepreneur or start-up company to gain access to all the valuable business resources they need in order to make their business a success. “We believe that building a strong, credible and scalable brand from the outset is vital to the future success of any business. We have a great deal of experience of working with entrepreneurial businesses and we’re always delighted when our hard work pays off with some great results for the client.”
Nichola Cain, managing director of Voice Communications, added: “As a company, we are always amazed by how many entrepreneurial and diverse businesses are on our doorstep here in East Anglia, and THE ONE competition is a fantastic opportunity for us to help one such business build their presence through the power of PR. “Successfully taking a brand to market or facilitating business growth for a young company is a very rewarding process.” Complete the list of supporters of THE ONE are accountants and tax
advisers firm LB Group, Angela Kimberley Ltd, which helps business improve efficiency and performance, Faith Performance, a personal development and training specialist, and MyRuby, which provides a “virtual receptionist” call handling service.
For any questions regarding THE ONE competition, email debbie.noye@eadt.co.uk .

Tour of Britain comes to Colchester

September 17, 2010

Stage 7  the Tour of Britain, Bury St Edmunds to Colchester.
Greg Henderson ( Sky Pro Cycling Team ) leads Borut Bozic team Vacansoleil Pro Cycling on East Hill, Colchester.

For more information and results click here http://www.tourofbritain.co.uk/

Borut won !
Greg Hendreson and Borut Bozic

Images © Darren Gee

“Dressing in the Dark”

February 3, 2010

Are you bored of wearing the same old things day in, day out? Do you find it difficult to be adventurous in the wardrobe department? Perhaps you’re just tired of fitting in with the crowd?

We’ve found the answer to all of your woes! Simply get dressed in the dark to add some colour to your life and who knows, maybe even start a fashion revolution at the same time!

Zeal have officially launched the national “Dressing in the Dark” campaign and we welcome entries from all comers. Simply send us your pics and we’ll post the best on our blog.
www.zealdesign.co.uk click to email.

Brand or Bland?

February 1, 2010

How do you know if your brand is a bit old hat? Have you checked lately? We are finding that brands are rising slower and falling faster as brand owners are hoping that they have done enough and that the creative spark that originally brought their brand to life is still alight.

Without a secure platform to work from, keeping brands ahead of their competition in both relevance for their audiences as well as general interest levels, is putting a huge strain on the marketing budget. The competition is getting tougher, the market is more saturated than you had first thought and there are new entrants every day. So how do you survive?

We work with brand owners to deliver three essential elements to ensure that the brand is working harder, these being

  • Focus
  • Creativity
  • Consistency

Focus is being clear about what it is you want the brand to do, how it will support the business plan and how it will help provide growth to the business.

Creativity is then vital to break through the competitive static, deliver clear and relevant messaging as well as providing clues as to the behaviours expected internally.

Consistency is delivering on the brand time and time again to ensure that what you stand for is embedded in the minds of your target audience so that at their point of decision you are top of mind. The brand is a way of creating trust to help clients or customers in their selection and the maintenance of this trust is vital regardless of the prevailing conditions.

Here at Zeal we deliver the brand platform through a framework that details and describes the attributes of the brand and how they can be employed inside the business to make it stronger as well as a springboard for growth.

So, how strong is your platform?

Branding, what does it all mean?

January 28, 2010

By far, one of the biggest challenges we come up against as a branding design business is the appropriation and misuse of the words that describe what we do. By far the worst offenders are ‘brand’ and ‘branding’. It seems that these days, everyone even vaguely creative delivers ‘branding’  – from the local copy shop to freelance designers, medium sized design business to the real big agencies with hundreds of staff and multiple offices.

But if we think that this causes us a problem, think what it must be like for the uninitiated design buyer. How can they possibly know what they’re buying or what they need when the same words can mean so many different things? Also, how difficult must it be for the would-be buyer to compare and contrast creative businesses?

The problem is that ‘branding’ has become a catch-all buzz word for anything from logo design to what used to be known as corporate identity, through to a full programme of brand strategy, positioning, development and roll-out.

So, in the interests of clarity, to help our potential clients out there understand exactly what we do, and to perhaps inform on a wider scale, here’s what we mean when we say ‘brand’ and ‘branding’

Brand
A brand represents a promise, a promise that is embedded in people’s minds over time as to what they can expect from a product, service or experience. A brand can help you express how and what you think and what you want to communicate. Successful brands are built by understanding and developing:

1. The Big Idea – the distinctive idea behind your business
2. Your plans – Where are you going and how will you get there?
3. Your beliefs – just what is it that you stand for?
4. Your personality – How will you behave, communicate and express yourself?

…and by clearly and consistently communicating all of this to the right people in a way that is meaningful to them.

Branding
Is the process of creating a brand as defined above and involves the following key components:

Strategy
Strategy will define how and in what way your brand will reach its target audience.

Positioning
Positioning will define your brand and find a way to make it distinctive.

Design
Design will ensure that your brand has a recognisable visual identity (including a logo) that represents what it is and what it stands for. Design will also ensure that your brand is clearly, consistently and effectively communicated both internally and externally. In fact, it’s our firm belief that the most effective brands are built from the inside out so employee engagement is vital – perhaps a subject for another blog post!

So, now that we’re clear and you know exactly what we do here at Zeal, we look forward to hearing from those of you reading this that are looking to build and communicate a strong, credible and differentiated brand.

Decisions, decisions……

January 21, 2010

What actually makes us pick one brand over another?  How do we as consumers or clients navigate the ever increasing level of choice that is open to us?

In the current market, where chaos seemly reigns, brands are the shorthand for decision making. They are the sign posts that we use to first identify and then select the right product or service. Once a brand is understood it provides the ideal way to reduce any perceived risks in future purchases. But what is it about the brand that helps at this stage of the decision process?

The identity component has helped create standout and visibility but that only goes as far as arriving at the product or service, so how do we make that final decision? If you believe recent research, your gut has already decided. You somehow already know which product you are going to buy, all you have to do is justify it to yourself (or others). At Zeal, we like to think that the brand is about trust and that you either trust it or you don’t depending your prior experience.

We are increasingly using the trust (brand) mark to overcome our inability to make a rational decision and what we feel about the brand now counts even more towards reducing our nervousness at the final point of purchase.

To build a brand to work as a ‘decision tool’ Zeal helps to

  • Create meaning
  • Consistently communicate this meaning

This seems easy on the face of it but requires focus, creativity and strong management to build the meaning in to something that can be used by and more importantly acted upon by your target audiences.

So is trust the ‘Holy Grail’ in branding and can you count on yours to help make that all important purchase decision?