March 2nd, 2015    
How Growth Vouchers helped The Sage Guys

Growth Vouchers

Apply for £2000 match-funding today to grow your business – less than 30 days left to apply.

SoftServ provides information, help and advice on Eque2, Sage and Easybuild construction software to construction companies across the UK, delivering with installation, configuration, implementation and training.

Steve Tees, Director of SoftServ with 40 years’ industry experience, was looking to treble income within 12-18 months, however he recognised that he had a gap in his marketing skills; not knowing the best way to market, Steve applied for a Growth Voucher in the Marketing, Attracting and Keeping customers category.

Using the Enterprise Nation Marketplace, Steve chose to spend his Growth Voucher with The Brand Surgery, a design and marketing agency. From the list of Growth Voucher suppliers provided, Steve selected The Brand Surgery because of their experience in construction and their attention to detail. When reviewing the experience, Steve said “We selected The Brand Surgery because, even at the initial meeting, they wanted to understand our business and began suggesting ways to improve our marketing and profile.”

Despite having good customer loyalty with his existing customers, Steve was having trouble attracting new customers because he was sending generic emails rather than targeted personal email campaigns. Steve, like many small business owners, perceived that marketing was mainly about promotions and had been ignoring the many other elements of marketing, so The Brand Surgery helped SoftServ go back to basics to create a marketing strategy which covered all elements of the business. Steve said “The advice helped me to think about the position of the business, our image and the value to customers.”

The Brand Surgery supported SoftServ by delivering a full day marketing consultation and a 30 page step-by-step marketing strategy, including an online competitor and threat analysis which revealed that SoftServ’s company website, and the software programs they offer, don’t appear in online searches. This consequently raised the question of whether SoftServ was missing out on business, so The Brand Surgery recommended that SoftServ should start offering services using the more popular software as well as its current software; therefore broadening its offering and hopefully attracting more customers.

As a result of the changes suggested by The Brand Surgery through the Growth Voucher programme, SoftServ immediately started to receive a much better response to their email marketing. The Growth Voucher programme has allowed SoftServ to fulfil its marketing potential and to make positive changes towards its business.

Call Vicky Vaughan, Chartered Marketer at West Sussex’s number one marketing agency, The Brand Surgery on 01903 824229 if you would like to discuss Growth Vouchers.

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February 26th, 2015    

In 2010 I published my first marketing book called Do A Madonna: The Secret to Successful Branding. Do a Madonna is aimed at new businesses with a gap in marketing knowledge and is written in a light-hearted and humorous tone. The book is currently being edited and rebranded and due to be launched in 2016. In light of Madonna’s amazing performance and go-get attitude last night at The Brits, I felt this was an ideal opportunity to give you an insight into the book.

Testimonial: “Everything in DO A MADONNA! is so true! I’ve read many other branding books, however, DO A MADONNA!™ looks at branding in an entirely different way and it is so easy to digest. I work as part of the sales team for the Shropshire Star and I have recommended this book to all of my sales colleagues.” Debbie Marks, Shropshire Star.

Below is an excerpt from Chapter 4 – It’s OK to get emotional. Download book information.

Eighty per cent of purchases are inspired by emotion, then justified by logic. Therefore, it is important to create an emotion in your branding because emotions become memories – good or bad. Humans have five senses: smell, touch, sight, taste and sound and stimulating these senses will create an emotion.

Your website must look top-notch because sight is the only sense that a potential client will experience when they first visit your website. Similarly, your brochures need to pre-sell your business; the added bonus of brochures is that your potential customer will ‘touch’ your brochure. So it is worth investing in good quality printing and stock if you want to tap into these senses.

When you meet your potential customer in person, you will see and hopefully listen to them. You will touch them when you shake hands – and you will remember if someone has a strong, weak or sweaty handshake. You and your customer may experience taste at your first meeting if you go for coffee or lunch.

Does your business service create a positive or negative feeling?

Restaurants have an added advantage over some industries when it comes to creating an emotion as their services and products stimulate the five senses and hopefully people enjoy the experience. Doctors, dentists, accountants, tax specialists and insurance companies have a tougher job because their services may stimulate the senses in a negative way and are essentially less enjoyable.

To help explain the emotional side of branding to you, I am going to tell you about a trip to London. Please remember that this book was written in 2009 so the quality of some services may have changed since. From the minute I woke up to the minute I returned home to bed late at night, I sampled the services of many businesses – and the way I was treated created a roller coaster of emotions – a mixture of good and bad branding. The objective of my trip to London was to see Nigel Harman in a play called Public Property, at The Trafalgar Studios (previously known as Whitehall).

My day began …

I woke in a good mood and was looking forward to well-deserved day off. Thanks to my reliable and brilliant iPhone alarm, I awoke on time. A good start to the day, thanks to the technology and sleekness of my iPhone (good feeling number one). I showered using my brand new Soap and Glory shower gel which smelled and felt as good as the packaging promised. Gorgeous! This was going to be a good day (good feeling number two).

I ventured downstairs to divert the studio phones to our virtual secretary. I instructed them that I would be out of the office until the following day. They were as friendly and efficient as always and felt pleased I had hired them (good feeling number three).  I walked to our local train station where I was greeted by a grumpy ticket sales assistant. I parted with almost £14 for a day return (off peak) then sat on the platform in the windy, damp shelter. The shelter smelled of stale smoke, stale urine and generally unpleasant odours. I inspected the latest graffiti offerings. The shelter made me feel dirty and I couldn’t wait for the train to arrive. I would have stood outside the shelter if it hadn’t been raining. My good mood was starting to decline (bad feeling number one).

The train arrived on time. I found a seat and travelled in reasonable comfort to London Victoria. This was helped with the aid of a paper cup of peppermint tea from the buffet cart. I was pleasantly surprised that peppermint tea was on offer but horrified that it cost £1.40 for a teabag and water. It’s what you may call a bittersweet experience (almost good feeling number four).

Before continuing with my onward tube journey to Aldwick East, I decided to use the London Victoria toilet facilities. I parted with a further 30p for the privilege. The toilets were clean plus they had Dyson hand dryers so I felt that 30p was value for money (good feeling number five).

At the underground, I checked my Oyster card which still had £11 on it – a nice surprise. I love the convenience of an Oyster card (good feeling number six). I arrived at Aldwick East and I had planned to meet my friend after he finished at Brick Lane so I planned to spend the afternoon exploring the textile shops in Brick Lane, which I had imagined to be romantic, hustly-bustly and a cultural place. After fifteen minutes I was disappointed – Brick Lane felt dirty and unappealing – the weather probably didn’t help (bad feeling number six). Can you see how an external emotion can affect a potential customer’s behaviour even before he or she has met you?

After some exploring, I located my friend’s workplace near the Truman Brewery and made a mental note of the location. I then stumbled across a young-fashion designer outlet called The Laden Showroom. Things were looking up again (good feeling number seven). Fifty-eight pounds lighter and one gorgeous dress heavier, I asked the sales assistant if there was anywhere to hang out for an hour or so. He suggested All Star Lanes which happened to be next door. I ventured in and – wow! My emotional roller coaster was now in heaven. All Star Lanes was a tasteful American diner with a difference. I was greeted as soon as I arrived and I asked for a glass of something white and chilled. I sat down in the depths of the diner – to protect my new designer purchase from pickpockets – word of mouth had warned me to be careful in London …

My book continues to describe the day with some interesting results.

So how is the above relevant your business?

Now, you may wonder how you can apply the above to your business … I like many suffer from dentist phobia – that is until our dental practice had a re-brand. Now, its funky reception area is a pleasure to sit in and more importantly, the dentists are really friendly – in fact, you almost forget you are at the dentist – they make you feel like VIPs. Now I enjoy my experience at Strand Dental in Worthing. So even if your business does not offer a glamorous service or product, there is no excuse not to create a good experience.

I challenge the nation’s businesses to re-brand their reception areas if they are not already gleaming. Whichever kind of business you are in – law, accounting, car mechanics or toolmakers, now is the time to create a positive emotion and impress your customers. It doesn’t matter whether you are located in the back street of the worst town in Britain; you can still pimp-up your reception area.

So bin those nasty ornaments and those smelly old files that are propped up on your bookshelf. Rebranding your reception area doesn’t have to cost the earth. If you don’t have a clue about design, then hire someone who has. Check out The British Institute of Interior Designers for an interior designer in your area. It will be worth it because once you’ve impressed a potential customer with your shiny new website, you need to continue the good experience and you don’t want to let them down with a shabby reception area.

Create the best experience

Once you’ve pre-sold your product you don’t want to let your customers’ expectations down or that would be breaking your brand promise. You’ve created an emotion, albeit trust, charm, passion, love, warmth, calm. These are all emotions that will end in bitter disappointment if the experience is wrecked by inconsistency or a lousy service or bad product. See more about this in Step Seven: Brand promise – Can you walk the walk? Remember, if you are the proud owner of a shiny, brand new brand, you need to ensure that you don’t let people down. You have created an expectation and your customers will feel attached (practising Buddhists excepted) if you have branded successfully. Remember too, that you need to appeal to the economic decision maker – whether it’s the head of the family or the MD of a business.

Remember at the start of the book I suggested that we all dress a certain way to meet the family, or an ex, and so on? Well, now you need to dress your product or service in appropriate clothing – to create a good emotion (impression). Your product or services ‘clothing’ will be your marketing collateral, e.g. your website, and your brochure will pre-sell your product or service. So make sure you hire a professional creative agency to ensure your business, product and service look their best!


  • Eighty per cent of purchases are inspired by emotion, then justified by logic
  • Remember the five senses: smell, touch, sight, taste and sound – try to create experiences that stimulate these senses to help your customers to remember you
  • Remember how do you feel when you use other business services? Write down your emotions and use these experiences to improve your processes and systems
  • Re-brand your reception area to impress customers
  • Have some fun in your branding exercises.

If you enjoyed reading this excerpt and you would like a copy of the book, please send me £6 via Paypal (email address and I will send you a copy to your email address.

Alternatively, The Brand Surgery is offering a 40 minute branding consultation to a limited number of businesses. Apply here.

Posted in DO A MADONNA!, Marketing Agency, Marketing Consultant, Uncategorised, branding, marketing strategy | Comments (0)

January 20th, 2015    

Website design for restaurants

Wordpress website design for restaurants

We have been eagerly awaiting the opportunity to promote the launch of this fantastic new website for Proto Restaurant Group.

The website was developed in Wordpress so that our client can easily update or add restaurant menus, for example, Mother’s Day menus or Valentine’s Day menus.

We designed a generic website template to create some consistency across the restaurant websites. Then we designed a different website theme for each restaurant. The Fat Greek Taverna logo and visual identity were designed from scratch and as The Fish Factory and Food restaurants are established, we captured the spirit and interior design of each restaurant within each restaurant webpage. For example, at Food Restaurant, the bar has a cream coloured Chesterfield effect, so we included this effect within the website design which also created some lighter colours against the dark background.

Logo design for restaurants

We created the logo for The Fat Greek Taverna way back in December 2013. To begin the creative process, the concept and vision for this exciting new restaurant was explained to us. We then completed the market research and presented our client with a mood board and ideas. Once the overall look and tone was agreed, we set to work creating a logo which reflected The Fat Greek Taverna and then we presented a number of logo concepts. The logo was applied to the website, menus, signage, uniforms and much more so we made sure it would work when enlarged or decreased in size.

The Fish Factory and Food restaurant logos had previously been designed. However, our client wanted to promote the different ways of cooking fish in his two fish restaurants. He asked us to create a family of logos to reflect the different cooking methods: grilled, steamed, beer battered or Matzo meal.

We also created the LOVE FISH – LOVE PROTO and LOVE FOOD – LOVE PROTO slogans for Proto Restaurant Group. These have been used on the website and on the menu designs which you can see below.

Menu design for restaurants

Menu design is one of the most important mediums to promote restaurant branding. Some customers judge the standard of a restaurant by its toilets; others by the quality of the menu! How do you feel if you visit a restaurant and the waiter hands you a grotty, stained piece of paper with the dishes typed in Comic Sans? If you want to attract the right kind of customer, then you need an effective visual identity.

The Fat Greek Taverna menus are printed on 170gsm silk paper so they can be folded/rolled and taken away by customers; these menus are an effective promotional flyer for the restaurant. By printing on thinner stock, you can maintain the quality, increase the quantity and the print price stays at a relatively low cost. The menus are A3 in size and will be updated on a regular basis. Both The Fish Factory and Fat Greek Taverna have a rustic feel and match the website design.

Marketing for restaurants

The Brand Surgery has an in-house Chartered Marketer, so everything we design is infused with strategic marketing knowledge. This means that we understand your customers so your sales and your business will grow.

Call The Brand Surgery, Sussex’s number 1 design and marketing agency if you want to grow your sales and your restaurant brand!

Client testimonial

“The Brand Surgery created our website and e-marketing/e-newsletter campaigns, growing our customer database to over 4000. This has significantly increased our sales and has helped us to grow from two to four restaurants. Our website has an admin (CMS) system which allows us to update it ourselves and keep our marketing costs to a minimum. The Brand Surgery’s combination of creative design and marketing skills are essential for attracting the right kind of customer.” Andrew Sparsis

Fat Greek Taverna Restaurant Menu

Fat Greek Taverna Restaurant Menu

The Fat Greek Taverna restaurant menu

The Fat Greek Taverna restaurant menu

Fish Factory Restaurant menu design and branding

Fish Factory Restaurant menu design

Fish Factory menu design reverse

Fish Factory menu design reverse

Posted in Illustration, Marketing Agency, Marketing Consultant, graphic design, logo design, marketing | Comments (0)

January 20th, 2015    

Only 70 days left to apply for a £2000 Government Growth Voucher Scheme to grow your business

Case Study – Strategic marketing advice for SoftServ – The Sage Guys Ltd, West Sussex

Government Growth Voucher

The Brand Surgery is an official supplier for the Government Growth Voucher Scheme and one of our Growth Voucher clients is SoftServ. Softserv provides information, help and advice on Eque2, Sage and Easybuild construction software to construction companies across the UK, helping with installation, configuration, implementation and training. Steve Tees, Director of SoftServ with 40 years’ industry experience, was looking to increase sales and treble business income within 12-18 months, however Steve recognised that he had a gap in his marketing skills so he applied for a Growth Voucher in the Marketing, Attracting and Keeping customers category.

Steve said: “We selected The Brand Surgery because, even at the initial meeting, they wanted to understand our business and began suggesting ways to improve our marketing and profile. As a result of the changes suggested by The Brand Surgery through the Growth Voucher programme, SoftServ immediately started to receive a much better response to its email marketing campaigns. The Growth Voucher programme has allowed SoftServ to fulfil its marketing potential and to make positive changes towards its business.”

SoftServ received a full day marketing consultation and a 30 page step-by-step marketing strategy, including an online competitor and threat analysis which Steve said made him think about his business in a new light and re-examine Softserv’s value to customers.

We understand that each business is unique and therefore your marketing strategy will be tailored for your market and business needs. To find out how you can apply for Growth Vouchers, click here.

Businesses can sign up to the Growth Vouchers Scheme via the portal at

Call The Brand Surgery, No 1 branding, marketing and design agency in West Sussex TODAY on 01903 824229.

Posted in Government Growth Vouchers, The Brand Surgery, e-marketing, strategic marketing | Comments (0)

January 12th, 2015    

I felt inspired to write this article after researching Disruptive Marketing and Learning Organisations: Boy! What an interesting subject choice. It ties in neatly with an interesting talk I listened to by Sir Ken Robinson (Ted Talks) called “How Schools Kill Creativity”.

The Chartered Institute of Marketing’s magazine, The Marketer, dedicated a spread to Disruptive Brands in its November 2014 publication. A disruptive brand is a brand that brings about a change in consumer behaviour; “One that displaces an existing market, industry and technology and produces something new and more efficient.” (The Marketer p7, 2014).

A good example of a disruptive brand is Nestlé who through continuous learning and experimenting, researched and applied the ‘Razor and Blade’ business model to its coffee division and created Nestlé Nespresso in 1986. It is disruptive because it took a large share of the coffee machine market, both domestic and commercial. The brand Nespresso is now present in 60 countries, employs 9500 people and has 320 boutiques worldwide.

An example of an undisruptive brand is Kodak: Kodak did not invest in continuous learning and innovation and it was unfortunately replaced by brands that embraced the opportunities of the digital age. Kodak does still exist but is a shadow of its former self.

If you don’t want to do a Kodak then read on …

Learning Organisations (LOs)

Disruptive brands are often created by Learning Organisations (LOs) which are “organisations where people continually expand their capacity to create the results they truly desire, where new and expansive patterns of thinking are nurtured, where collective aspiration is set free, and where people are continually learning to see the whole together.” (Senge PM, 1990 via Senge identified five disciplines to becoming a LO, one being “Mental Models” which are “deeply ingrained assumptions, generalisations, pictures and images that influence how we understand the world and how we take action” (Senge P, 2006, p 8). In order for an organisation to become a LO, it must challenge the way it has previously understood the world. Mental models must be continually scrutinised and challenged so businesses can be ready to respond to threats and exploit opportunities in the most effective way possible.

Disruption in education

Unfortunately, our school children are still being educated to do the opposite: students who scrutinise school policies are generally considered to be disruptive in the negative sense and maybe labelled as ADHD. Challenging the norms still goes against the culture in many schools. After a recent discussion with a parent, the words ‘disruptive’ and ‘mistakes’ formed a common thread throughout her childrens’ reports. Therefore, her children may grow up believing that mistakes are a sign of failure when in fact some mistakes may help her children grow creatively. Education prescribes a one-size-fits-all approach, rather than a nurturing approach so students not gifted at arithmetic or literacy can often be forgotten.

Schools and colleges have introduced business studies into their curriculum, however, I recently mentored 15 year old business students and the word ‘disruption’ was used in classes and is still considered a negative word. How can the word disruptive be so positive in business and so negative in education?  Especially when “Disruptive Technologies” was introduced 20 years ago in a Harvard Business Review article called “Disruptive Technologies – Catching the Wave”. The education system needs to become flexible and learn to have an external focus.

Nurturing innovative culture

I would recommend that tutors learn about the characteristics of an innovative culture so they can ensure creativity and innovation become integrated into school culture. Only then will these creative culture characteristics, which children are born with,  become habit and help children develop life skills, improving their chance of succeeding in life as well as being part of global success. Students should be encouraged to channel negative disruptive behaviour into innovative ideas and that can only be done if the education system as an entity becomes a flexible Learning Organisation.

It does not make sense that we are born with the skills to be innovative, then the education system spends millions working against mother nature only for us to have to relearn this skill again once we leave school. Wouldn’t it be simpler and more cost effective if innovation was nurtured from a young age and demonstrating that disruption can be a good thing.

Mistakes at work

Referring back to our LO gurus, Peter Senge and Reg Revans who both state that in order to become flexible, an organisation must be open to risk and encourage mistakes to become innovative. So why are our school-leavers frightened of being wrong and thinking that mistakes are worst thing they can make?

Many businesses measure mistakes and scald staff which creates a blame culture and inhibits loyalty. It’s not really surprising because for years our education system has also brainwashed business leaders into thinking mistakes are evil and a sign of failure. In an innovative culture, leaders should ask: “What did we learn from these mistakes”? An example of this is the humble 3M Post-it note. The 3M team was developing a new adhesive which was not strong enough for a certain project. However, a bright spark thought outside the box and 17 billion dollars later, 3M are enjoying that mistake. This should be taught at schools.

Back to school

We need to close the gap between the fear of failure and the learning-doing culture required for learning organisations. Then we have a chance to close the gap between the rich and poor. Many of the thriving entrepreneurs seem to be the ones that took a risk and escaped the education system before creativity and disruption was sucked out of them.

If students were educated to be positively disruptive there would be more entrepreneurs, the gap between rich and poor would lessen because there would be more successful businesses. I would suggest that a new way of teaching needs to disrupt the current education system so we can generate a country of innovative school leavers rather than a lucky few.


Posted in Business Growth, Marketing Agency, Marketing Consultant, The Brand Surgery, brand promise, brand research, marketing strategy, strategic marketing | Comments (0)

December 19th, 2014    
Happy Christmas to all our clients, suppliers and friends

Happy Christmas to all our clients, suppliers and friends

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December 5th, 2014    
Please help us to promote this Christmas single to raise money for "Cures for the Big 4" Research campaig

Please help us to promote this Christmas single to raise money for "Cures for the Big 4" Research campaign

The Brand Surgery® is supporting a Christmas single that has been recorded to raise money for research into “Cures for the Big 4” killers that affect so many of us – cancer, diabetes, heart and neuropsychiatric disease including Dementia and Alzheimer’s.

The single is dedicated to the memory of the song’s lyricist and co-writer, Jonny Walker from East Preston in West Sussex – a talented musician and fun loving 21-year-old, whose battle with bowel cancer ended just a few weeks ago.  His premature death, which came before he was able to hear the completed recording, has been a powerful catalyst for all those involved in making the song a reality.

In a matter of weeks the single has been written, recorded, edited and mastered by people from a variety of backgrounds who have generously given of their time and talent. Amongst those performing are the Military Wives, Jonjo Kerr (X-factor 2011) and Vicky Louise (vocals), James Gambold (drums), Alex Hutchings (guitar), Rich O’Brien (bass), Matthew Elston (violin), and a chorus including Jonny’s parents.

Jonny’s voice can be heard in the final section of the song accompanied by his Dad Mac on guitar, taken from an early demo of his ideas.  Although he never heard the final version, it is destined to become his legacy, raising money for causes in which he also passionately believed and which affect us all, not least his own wider family and friends.

The Christmas single can be downloaded at:

Please visit the following links to find out more about this great cause

Posted in Brand Surgery in the Community, charities | Comments (0)

November 20th, 2014    
Bus livery design and logo design - The Zone

Bus livery design and logo design - The Zone

Initial project scope for The Zone

Three Stagecoach North East bus routes had been updated with free WiFi and more frequent routes. Stagecoach North East commissioned The Brand Surgery to create an exciting fleet of bus livery for the Teesside area. We were advised that Teesside often gets left out when mentioning the North East, so we developed a ‘Totally Tees’ slogan. The client had already decided she would like to use the Brand name ‘The Zone™’ and wanted to use the word ‘zone’ within different sub-brands. ‘ComfortZone™’ and ‘ZoneOut™’ had already been provided by the client, and we created ‘Ozone™’ and ‘TimeZone™’.


As with all our logo design, branding and business marketing projects, we carried out extensive market research. Who would be using the buses? What message would the customer respond to? The Zone™ would be travelling past various colleges and universities so we opted for a ‘fun and funky’ approach.

Logo design and branding for The Zone

First off, we designed a logo for The Zone™ and as standard practice, we provided a choice for our client to chose from. The Zone conjures up futuristic feeling, however we felt the futuristic fonts were too comlex with the design livery design, so we used ‘Swiss 721 Heavy’, and used our artistic licence to tailor the font to meet the brief. We used the Stagecoach ‘brand’ orange throughout the project to align the buses with the Stagecoach branding.

Branding and product name

We created silhouette elements with a 3D effect to reflect the four sub-brands. For ComfortZone™ we created people doing things that you can’t do, or shouldn’t do, if you are driving such as phoning, listening to music via earphone and reading books. For the TimeZone™ sub-brand we created a silhouette alarm clock, for ZoneOut™ we created a silhouette of someone listening to earphones and for Ozone™ we created a silhouette of hands cupping a planet with some butterflies. We created a glass-3D effect to add depth to the silhouettes.

Bus livery design

Once the concept had been agreed we applied it to the bus templates. As you can see there are many ‘joins’ and ‘unsafe’ areas to avoid on the bus and everything is printed at a huge scale so it is essential to use high resolution or vector images which magnify without losing quality. Photos can also look stunning when enlarged – think about the Sky van livery with cartoon characters. When designing vehicle livery, it is essential to be able to visualise patterns in 3D. The back of the Enviro 300 buses are curved so creating artwork that joins seamlessly on the curves is challenging.

Promotional launch products

We also created Adshel posters and promotional launch products for The Zone™. Promotional products included branded earphones for ZoneOut™, Eyemask for ComfortZone™, Mints for Ozone™, USB sticks for TimeZone™ and screen wipes for all four sub-brands. We also created a pre-launch and post-launch Facebook campaign, plus The Zone website banners for the Stagecoach Teesside website.

Bus livery through to mobile home livery and car graphics

Vehicle advertising works 24 hours a day and after the initial cost of design and print, it is free until the design is changed. The most important thing is to create a stunning visual brand identity. We love vehicle wraps because the only limit is imagination. Vehicle wraps allow your brand to stand out from the rest. If you can’t afford an entire brand wrap, a part wrap as on the Zone is a cost effective alternative.

We also designed the Pulse bus rear livery earlier this year and you can see our other vehicle livery work by clicking here.

Vehicle livery, visual branding and corporate identity services for small, medium and large businesses

As you may have guessed, distance is no problem. We work with all types of businesses throughout the UK and in Canada. If you need a visual brand created for a new product or business, contact The Brand Surgery, Sussex’s No 1 branding agency on 01903 824229 or email

Posted in Marketing Agency, Our client's good news stories, The Brand Surgery, advertising, logo design, vehicle livery | Comments (0)

October 7th, 2014    
Brochure design: Impact Report 2014 for Coastal West Sussex Mind

We have recently designed this brochure style impact report for Coastal West Sussex Mind. In previous years, the impact report was A4 size, however, this year we decided to change it to A5 to make it easier for people to store. Government cuts have also put pressure on charity marketing budgets and the A5 16pp is far more economical than A4. And of course it is more planet friendly! So before you think of resorting to online and completely cutting out printed brochures, perhaps investigate more cost effective printing options – there’s nothing quite like picking up a nice brochure.

This is the first impact report published since the Coastal West Sussex rebrand, which we also worked on, so the theme for this year was the larger Coastal West Sussex area reach. We used photos of iconic landmarks across Coastal West Sussex to represent the merger. We hope you agree that this is an uplifting, bright, modern impact brochure.

If you would like a stunning brochure for your business, charity or not-for-profit organisation, call The Brand Surgery, No. 1 marketing and branding agency in West Sussex on 01903 824229. Don’t forget we have an in-house Chartered Marketer who can advise on brochure content, copywriting and route to market as well as creative design.

The handy-size A5 impact reports are being presented at the Coastal West Sussex Mind Mental Health Day event this Friday.

    Click to launch the full edition in a new window

    Come along to Coastal West Sussex Mind World Mental Health Day event – Friday 10th October 2014
    World Mental – Health Day Event Programme
    • 11.00am –12.30pm Mental health and well-being stalls and activities with light lunch served from 12-00pm
    • 12.30pm –1.30pm Coastal West Sussex Mind AGM and Public Launch
    • 13.30pm –3.00pm Mental health and well-being bitesize workshops including: Mental health awareness, Food and mood, Complementary therapies, Mindfulness

    For those of you on iPhones and iPads that can’t view flash …

    Brochure design - impact report 2014 for Coastal West Sussex Mind

    Brochure design - impact report 2014 for Coastal West Sussex Mind

    Posted in brochure design, charities | Comments (0)

    September 12th, 2014    

    Heck Sausages - Small Business Marketing

    Heck Sausages - Small Business Marketing

    We do enjoy watching Alex Polizzi’s, “The Fixer” and this week was no exception. It was all about a family sausage business called Heck. It’s run by Andrew and Debbie Keeble aka Andrew and Debbie’s Sausages.

    Alex advised Heck to upgrade its packaging to include: “who they are, where they’re from, what they do and what they believe in”. Heck Sausages is a family run business. Alex suggested that this fact should be stated on the Heck packaging. This is when it gets interesting …

    Is it better to make your business look larger or smaller?

    In this blog, our Chartered Marketer, Vicky Vaughan, asks the question: Is it better for small businesses to look larger than they are? Or like Heck Sausages, should small businesses promote themselves as a small, family run business?

    Some smaller B2B businesses try to look larger because they think that’s what their customers want. Large is perceived to be less risky to do business with, although this is not always true. My question to small businesses: Have you ever asked your customers what size of company they prefer to do business with? What do your customers perceive to the the advantages or disadvantages of small/large suppliers? Many businesses prefer smaller suppliers because they feel they have more power over them.

    The independent high street deli and “Shopping local” has become fashionable again thanks to our celebrity chefs – we now like to know what is in our food and where it has come from. These delis do well to promote themselves as independent and perhaps as family run, although there is a fine line between looking like a professional business and home-made cottage industry. This is why it is essential to use a professional branding agency to work with your business.

    So the answer?

    I would suggest that it depends on what type product or service your business is selling and how long your business has been established. Would you buy a mobile phone from a brand new husband-and-wife-business-set-up with no track record? Buying a pack of sausages from a family run business is less risky – so long as you can be sure the sausage manufacturer has a good hygiene rating – we will discuss this and accreditations later on. Other businesses that can afford to promote themselves as small or family-run outfits are retailers such as jewellers, hardware stores, pet shops, insurance brokers and car showroom businesses which are part of a franchise.

    Consumers and businesses have one thing in common. They want value and quality from their suppliers. Value may come in the form of customer service, differentiation or price, although research shows that customers are less interested in price these days. Mass marketing is long gone and most people prefer a tailored approach, so developing a marketing strategy is essential so you can gain sustainable competitive advantage no matter what size of business you are.

    Small things come in beautiful packages and that includes businesses. If you are 100% sure you want to promote your business as a small business. Here are some ideas to get you past Go.

    My advice is to think what annoys you most about large corporate companies and do something different.

    Promote your customer care and service

    Do you think that smaller family businesses are perceived to be more caring?  I do. I recently went to The Range to buy a new jubilee band for my BBQ gas hose. Why The Range?  Apparently The Range sells anything worth having including BBQ gadgets. Unfortunately, The Range’s assistant could not assist as he had no product knowledge so I left the store feeling frustrated. I then trundled off to a nearby family-run hardware store – the owner was about to close up shop, but he let us in, was very helpful, he knew everything there is to know about jubilee clips and sold a variety of sizes. I made my purchase and left, smiling.

    If you are a smaller business, get to know your products and everything about them. And train your team to do the same so they can be helpful during customer enquiries – this will give you competitive advantage. If a customer phones you five minutes before or after closing, then speak to them. Chances are that they called somewhere before you and the previous supplier was closed – this is your chance!

    On the subject of phoning. How irritated do you feel when you speak to a computerised telephone system? I would advise against these. On-hold marketing is fine, if you have customers on hold when transferring them to colleagues within your team, however, I wouldn’t want my customer to be holding for more than 10 seconds. Think how refreshing it is to phone and speak to a human straight away. If your business can be efficient without a computerised telephone system, you have a massive advantage.

    Promote your flexibility

    Large corporate companies can’t often break the rules, unless its to their financial advantage of course! Smaller businesses can.  Large corporates are trying to be more flexible and caring – have you noticed that some banks now advertise that computers no longer decide your fate when applying for loans?

    Do the thing that corporates can’t. Bend the rules. If a customer asks for a slight change in your T&Cs, then consider it. You can add extras into a deal to make it more valuable for your customer so they keep coming back to you.

    The importance of accreditations

    Whether you wish to be perceived as a family run business or a larger business, it is important to demonstrate quality. An excellent way to do this is to become accredited in your area of expertise. For example, The Brand Surgery® is a small Chartered Marketing and Design Agency and a member of the Chartered Institute of Marketing. That means that our MD is professionally qualified to be a marketing consultant and has to undergo vigorous training each year in order to stay Chartered.

    There are hundreds of professional organisations for all sorts of industries. Find out if you can join a professional organisation who will help you with training and guide you to gaining accreditations such as ISO 9001.

    Invest in professional branding and marketing

    There are some things that corporates do better – they invest in professional marketing and branding services – that is how they grew big in the first place! It is essential to develop a online and offline marketing strategy so you can keep ahead of emerging trends and the changing needs of your customers – whether they are B2C or B2B. Consumer needs are unpredictable and being prepared will help you adapt to the latest trends and avoid the pitfalls that Woolies suffered. You also need to consider that the mass market is no longer relevant and today, one size no longer fits all, so you must find out who are the profitable customers for your business so you don’t waste precious resources.

    You need to find out and not guess what your customers wants and needs are. Find out where potential customers shop for products now and why. Do they like doing business with smaller businesses or larger organisations? Once you know the needs, your business can begin to develop an effective marketing strategy to align with its target audience.

    It is also important to follow emerging trends. Look at Morrison’s, whose pre-tax profit plummet by just under a third for the six months ended 3rd August 2014. Now anyone looking in Morrison’s will see that they have attempted to recreate a less corporate feel with introducing greengrocer and fishmonger sections in an attempt to let customers think they are shopping at independent local stores, rather than supporting another chain. However, Morrison’s have obviously missed something fundamental in their marketing strategy.

    Once you have obtained the relevant information which will determine whether your corporate image is small business/larger business, then you should invest in professional corporate identity, logo, packaging, brochure and website. Once you have this, you will look professional and can promote the gems that set you apart from large corporates.

    I hope you found this useful. Please do contact us if you would like to know more on the subject. Should you promote yourself as a large or small business? Call The Brand Surgery, Sussex No. 1 Chartered Marketing Consultancy and Design Agency on 01903 824229 or email

    If you would like a marketing strategy developed for your business, the Government is currently giving away £2000 to businesses for business growth on a random basis. Click here to find out more.

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