Archive for the ‘Blog Examples’ Category

Art on Everything: Jon Judace and the Art of Good Marketing

Tuesday, August 26th, 2014

Are you a fan of someone who does great work?

If someone is doing a good job, and you are a fan you could do two things.

  1. Think “wow! They are impressive/nice/good at their work. I must tell people about them.” And then forget (even though you are well meaning).
  2. Feature them in your blog!

Having a blog gives you the power to say THANK YOU for making this world a little bit better. Or a lot. And that’s what this blog is about. I wanted to feature an artist I met recently – who is not only doing good work, but is sharing great messages at the same time.

The art of good marketing

Last month I attended the Lambeth Country Show, a free community event held annually in Brockwell Park, Lambeth. The show features a wide range of fun activities and attractions, including live music acts, fairground rides, arts and crafts stalls and vegetable animal competitions. This is where I came across Jon Judace, a London-based artist who specializes in abstract black and white sketches and freehand drawings.

Dedicated to art and marketing

Judace, an artist ‘dedicated to sharing art with as many people as possible, and encouraging others to explore their own artistic skills’, caught my attention, not only with his fantastic artistic ability, but also with his ingenious marketing material; when I bought one of his sketches I received a small card with a short message thanking me for my purchase and providing me with his contact details and additional information about his work. The card also included a list of  five promises concerning the quality of his work.

Standing out!

This card was a nice touch as it allowed me as a customer to feel appreciated, in addition to being informative and providing me with all the details I need should I want to buy from him again or get in touch. But perhaps most importantly it made him stand out. So well done to Mr Judace for demonstrating the art of good marketing!

Featured artists

As I mentioned at the beginning of this post, having a blog or website enables you to help and thank those who you admire, and who are doing  great work. Judace has generously used his website to showcase other amazing artists as well- so don’t forget to check them out too!

To find out more about Jon Judace and his work visit his website.

You can also follow Jon on Twitter!

How a cancer care team is like a design agency team – in my experience

Friday, May 23rd, 2014

A workplace analogy

I run my own design agency (Top Left Design) and until recently this is generally how I am known. However, a recent cancer diagnosis and subsequent chemotherapy treatment meant I am also now a patient. I had an emergency situation where my temperature went above 38 degrees which meant we called the emergency number, as instructed. Turns out it was more serious than I thought and I was admitted as an overnight patient. It was discovered that I had a blood clot in my neck caused by my port (surgically installed item in my neck and chest for chemotherapy administration) – so I also had surgery to remove the port and a regime of daily blood thinning injections. I was discharged the morning of my 7th chemo.

The care I got was excellent and I wanted to share some analogies between the cancer care nurses and doctors and my own experiences working with my amazing team at my agency.

Don’t burn your bridges

When I got my port removed due to the fact that it had been causing me troubles and complications so much, I noticed how extremely diplomatic the surgeon who took out my port was. He struck a very fine balance between explaining to me how these things are common, and the technique that had been used does mean there are more clots behind the jugular vein, but he never sounded malicious or like he was putting blame onto the original surgeon who installed the vein

Make the client comfortable

When dealing with people who are stressed, you mmay initially encounter suspicion or hostility from the patient. There is a certain skill to immediately putting someone at ease, avoiding even this initial negative behaviour. Some of the nurses I had I immediately warmed to. Others had the opposite effect – they just didn’t have the people skills.

Even if you hear from one person that a method will work, doesn’t mean someone else might not contracted them. I was told a certain canula would be fine for administering chemotherapy – but on the morning of chemotherapy my chemo nurse said that a 2 day canula was by no means suitable. As I knew him and had built trust with him, I knew hew cared genuinely and had experience specifically with administering the chemotherapy and doing all the hole poking – I decided he was the one to believe and asked for him to find a vein. Similarly in my industry – a certain method, design or code may be highly recommended but someone who has enough expertise and trust will be able to convince you otherwise.

Persevere – there is always a way if you try hard enough

So many times I thought to myself “well they’re running out of veins to try” but patiently let the nurses keep trying – they are good at their jobs. In my agency, we may run into problems, but there truly is always a way to achieve a successful solution. It’s definitely more stressful then when it’s plain sailing but feels so much sweeter when we make it.

Interruptions are sometimes for your own good

While in hospital I was being interrupted almost hourly to get my blood pressure checked, temperature taken, oxygen checked, and generally to chat about how I felt. I tried to not be annoyed but it didn’t help me sleep (and I was also working a bit from the hospital bed as I had deadlines to take care of). But it was in my best interest for them to closely monitor me.

When I am closely monitoring a project, or if we are regularly in touch with the client to keep a project moving, it’s best for all parties and the project doesn’t drag out become another one those things you still have to get around to. We wouldn’t nag people hourly – but we’re not curing cancer!

Be a certain type of person

Overall – the individuals who fulfill the following characteristics would do extremely well in both workplaces:

Knowledgeable – they need to be able to explain the “why” for so many decisions and choices

Confident – by being confident in their explanations they instill trust

Friendly – being friendly’s makes people more likely to warm to you even when you are doing annoying things like poking syringes into them or reminding them to send their decisions on the content that goes into a website.

Informed – when multiple people are dealing with one client and patient – it helps a LOT that they have all the details. IN the medical world they update the charts for each visit, and in our agency we keep centralised information for all clients – so any client asks for something we can easily find the information

Teamwork – getting along with your colleagues means you can help each other and ask advice even behind the scenes, so client/patience gets all the best combined intelligence and experience.

So that’s it. Analogy blog done! Your thoughts as always are most welcome!

Home from home: My totally relaxing holiday in a beautiful Cote d’Azur villa

Thursday, April 3rd, 2014

Here’s another travel review blog – very enjoyable type of blog to write because you get to document and relive your travel experience!

I’ve just come back from a wonderful long weekend stay in the Sajarank villa, which is close to a village called Tourrettes sur Loup, near Nice, France.

k+a

My husband Anders and I (pictured above) live and work in London – and are used to a hectic and busy life. It’s amazing how the different environment made me actually relax. I think we got started on relaxing a mere 10 minutes from leaving the airport car park – driving towards the villa. The weather was great (even in March) and it’s just gorgeous everywhere you look.

I am generally not that good at properly relaxing but I still managed to while here – even though I was still just as connected to work and life via Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and email. I did bring my laptop as there is Wifi at the villa, and managed to do some useful work during our stay – so I felt productive!

The villa is surrounded by beautiful scenery, secluded enough to feel peaceful, but located close to lots of gorgeous areas and villages. It’s an extremely well equipped and comfortable living space, with a barbecue, lovely bedrooms, en suite bathrooms, a fantastic kitchen and beautiful garden. There is plenty of natural light and a great indoor/outdoor combination.

Here are some pictures from the villa

Dinner at the Villa

kitchen

The outdoor dining experience at the Villa

Some things I noticed while there:

One shop for each item

Strangely I rather like that we could go and by bread from the boulangerie and croissants from the patisserie and meat from the boucherie (or is it charcuterie?). Is it because I am charmed by things that one would take for granted if one lived in France? It’s fun that we would make the rounds of the different specialty stores to get food. We did also go to the “Casino” a few times for groceries. I suppose food was a big part of our holiday (which is normal, right?)!

Trees

The Cote d’Azur has exceptionally beautiful trees which I kept taking pictures of. We don’t get trees like this in London!

tree

tree4

A time for everything

Being in the area requires some adaptation of our habits. If we wanted pain au chocolate, we needed to get to the patisserie early, or it would be gone. Lunch has to be at lunchtime – so if you arrive at 3pm there will be no food at any restaurant. We did cook at the villa quite often.

Tourrettes-sur-Loup - pizza

In a way you need to plan your routine around when things are available. Which is fine – in London I tend to forget to eat at the right times, or I just eat throughout the day, and this lifestyle teaches me to eat when you are meant to. I guess the French way is to properly break for food and not just expect it non-stop.

Abundance of scenery

It’s amazing how great France is at designing living spaces. They have a knack of making man-made structure look good within surrounding nature, and there really isn’t any ugliness anywhere. I took so many pictures wherever we went – and we visited many areas – Valbonne, Mougins, Eze, Antibes and St Paul de Vence.

St Paul De Vence

window

scenery

Shopping

There is plenty to buy as well – and you may want to pick up locally produced soap, olive oil, spices, perfume, chocolates – or shop in one of the many clothing boutiques (I bought myself a new scarf – pictured below). And the area is full of art galleries, worth a look just in case you fall in love with something!

store

blanket

icecream

interiors

scarves

A new kind of holiday

In the past I have mainly gone to stay in places where I have family living (Tel Aviv, LA, Sweden) or on ski trips.
This wasn’t a beach holiday, or a city break, or a ski trip. It’s a whole different type of holiday, and much more relaxing – without being boring as there is plenty to see (and eat!).

I highly recommend you have your own version of this holiday. The villa sleeps 6 and is ideal for families/trips with friends. Have a look at The villa’s website for more information and let me know if you go!

bicycle

village

boat

Anders

Possibly not your typical Snowbizz Family Ski Holiday

Saturday, February 15th, 2014

View - Puy-St-Vincent

I am writing this from Puy-St-Vincent, a ski resort in France – where I am on a family holiday courtesy of Snowbizz – the family ski specialists.

Keren Lerner -  on Snowbizz holiday

How we heard about this little resort

I met Wendy and Elodie from Snowbizz last year, when they signed up for a series of intensive digital marketing and social media sessions with me. They took to the new skills and habits so well, they are continuously praised and recognised for their Facebook and Blogging by ski journalists and their customers.

When Wendy offered me the chance to experience the Snowbizz ski holiday experience, I checked with my husband Anders (hardcore ski fanatic) and his sister Lena, her husband Janne and their two kids Hannah (12) and Theo (10) – did they want to do it? The answer was yes (of course!) – we had done one family ski trip to Austria last year, and it seems we want to make it an annual tradition!

With Wendy’s help (I have never had such great care and attention from any travel agent before!) we were booked in, with all travel details taken care of, and we all started to look forward to it.

And even in spite of my “health news” potentially throwing a spanner into our plans, I still wanted to go.  My oncologist said “no problem” and so we stuck with these dates.

The mountain air has done me good, and skiing is a good distraction!

Now, we have spent all week here at Puy-St-Vincent, skiing every day and enjoying the snow and the sunshine. Here are the things I have loved the most:

A combination of self catering plus restaurants

I love having the choice to go down to the “Sherpa” supermarket and buy groceries to make breakfast at home, or choose to eat in the restaurants here in the resort.

We are now fully absorbing the French foods. From the supermarket and local stores we get amazing cheese, sausages, baguettes and croissants. We have cooked dinner in the apartment a couple of times and had breakfast at the apartment most days. I like that!

At the restaurants we have strawberry flavoured Volvic, french fries, soup, ravioli, lasagna, and for the other adults, shots of (sometimes green) liqueor “Génépi” and “Vin Chaud” (warm wine).

Only one thing I wouldn’t order here anymore: cappuccino. They basically take coffee and stick whipped cream on it. Not really what I would call cappuccino! I will hold off on cappuccinos till I get back to London for that. Instead, hot chocolate is always a good bet!

Family dinner at

Family dinner - Raclette and meat

Janne and Lena

Janne and Lena

My favourite mountain restaurant

Ravioli and green salad

I found a favourite place for lunch. The vegetable soup with grated cheese is delicious, along with a green salad and French mustard dressing. Loving this food and have had it 3 times this week.

Genepi and cake

Génépi and cake

Easy to find my way around

Family Cederqvist

Keren and Hannah

Keren and Hannah on the lift

Even though Anders, Lena and Janne are experienced skiiers, I am not that comfortable finding  my way around. So having such a simple set of lifts and slopes means really it’s not possible to get lost, even for me!

The skiing

A really great selection of slopes which are wide enough to take turns, and some which are slightly steeper so I feel slightly challenged, and some which are nice and easy and make me feel like a pro skier, gliding down.

I have never edited a video before, which may surprise you all. But I put this video from a few Iphone videos together, and added some captions. If you don’t mind amateur videos and captions, this is your chance to see me skiing! I am wearing a green jacket. Theo, Hannah and Lena also feature in this movie.

Anders and his guide “Rodolphe”

With Michel’s help (he who also owns Snowbizz) Anders got booked in with a guide so they could go off-piste and ski in some steep deep powder snow and do some tree skiing. The second day they went I said to him “make sure you take pictures so we can include a picture for blog”. I haven’t met Rodolphe personally, but he has been working in this resort for 6 years and is apparently a really “cool dude.” So says Janne and Anders. And I just realised that the name Rodolphe is perfect for a guide. And we just heard through the grapevine that Rodolphe was super impressed with Anders’s skiing skills, saying he has never skiied with anyone better!

Anders and Rudolph

Anders on the top of a mountain

Anders on the top of a mountain

Torchlight Descent

The kids didn’t really want to sign up to too many of the kid’s activities, preferring to ski with us. But Theo (who is a ski fanatic and just wants to ski all the time!) did get signed up for the torchlight descent. It happened at around 6:30 in the evening, after sunset. All the participating kids got glow in the dark torches and went up on the lift. When all the kids descended, their torches lit the night sky, and the music playing, it really did look pretty. We filmed it but I don’t think phone cameras do it justice!

We found out about this on the Snowbizz blog – their “Top 10 Family ski recommendations”

A week where I truly did get to relax.

I am lucky my amazing team at Top Left Design (my design agency) held the fort so beautifully while I was away, allowing me to take a proper holiday. I think I “worked” only 30mins while away and that was simply replying to a few emails. So I really do feel rested and refreshed and ready to get back to London.

Thank you Snowbizz!

Thank you Wendy, Michel and Elodie, for giving me and my family such a fantastic ski vacation. We loved it and would recommend it to anyone wanting a relaxing ski break in this pretty little resort!

This is probably the best piece of junk mail I ever got.

Wednesday, January 29th, 2014

Life is short - have an affair

I was cleaning out my junk mail folder, and couldnt bring myself to delete this genius bit of marketing – even though when I received it I didn’t think they had great formatting or design in the email.

It was messy and unformatted. There may be a few words in this which are not for sensitive eyes. So, if you feel “this is going to offend me” – look away now!

My thought was – why not give this bit of copy a makeover – just a small one!
And – the concept they are talking about – how important you online profile is I mean, is a very valid one. Put a little bit of effort in, and reap the rewards!

The copy below is not originated by me – but I added the subheadings and altered the main headline slightly.

Ok, so am pasting the message below – with subheadings and paragraph spacing. Total transformation. Would love to know what you think (in the comments)


Every 60 seconds, a new woman joins our site looking to have a discreet affair.

Now we guarantee It (The AshleyMadison.com Affair Guarantee)

As seen on Larry King, Dr. Phil, Ellen, and Tyra Banks

It’s time to face facts

most men find the world of dating is no walk in the park. This is because MOST MEN ARE LAZY AND PASSIVE when it comes to finding a possible affair partner. Ashley Madison is a site that brings married individuals together to enjoy some adulterous fun. Yet many men are calling it a scam, because they are throwing up a hasty, thoughtless profile and think it would be easy.
Does this sound familiar? Did you signed up, threw together a sloppy profile and mass messaged every woman on the list. You sat back smoking a celebratory cigar and as time unwound became increasingly baffled as to why you didn’t get a response. You spent your valuable time and credits trying to converse with anything that moved, and wondered why weren’t these women flocking to you? Your conclusion; scam!

This is the unfortunate reality of about 95% of the men who sign up for AshleyMadison. But the reality is, all you have to do is just a tiny bit more, JUST A LITTLE BIT MORE to separate yourself from the typical man on AshleyMadison to being successful in finding women who share in your desire for a little adult fun.

If you are planning on investing in Ashley Madison, there are some unwritten rules of conduct to ensure you find a date. It may not be easy, but if you have time, cash and sense to invest, then you could find exactly what you are looking for.

Have some standards!

With a high ratio of “typical men” to women, you need to set up a profile that will dazzle (and it really does not take much more time or effort). Doing this will put you in the top 5% of men on AshleyMadison, and your percentages go WAY UP. You don’t have to have the rugged looks of James Dean or the wit and eloquence of James Bond; you just need to be personal, affable and honest.

Put some time into your profile: choose a picture that shows your best side, don’t tick every box on the desirable list – women want a man who has standards.

Type in some custom answers instead of checking the boxes. Think about it; she won’t feel particularly special if you type in your perfect match as being ‘just anyone’ if you can’t respect yourself, how are you going to be able to respect her?

Invest a bit of time

Spend time investigating potential women before sending out a message; you are paying for messages sent, so choose your words that will intrigue! Reading her profile will also help you weed out the undesirable women from the ones that will give you a rise. You would be naive to think that all women on Ashley Madison are ones you would take to bed. You can usually tell by the profile, remember not all women will put up a picture so don’t be discouraged by this. Most women on the site will receive a barrel load of messages every day, this can be highly overwhelming, not to mention the creepers who want to dirty talk before even saying hello! Think outside the box and create a first line that will warm her heart and make her feel that the world is not full of perverts and douche bags.

When you find a woman you think you want to converse with, send her a personal message – no cut and paste jargon! Also don’t think it’s ok to talk dirty and inform her of the size of your penis, the women on this site aren’t necessarily loose women, they are women seeking affection, attention, a little respect, and a lot of adult fun. If she says she is looking for a tall man and you are the height of Danny DeVito, either strike her from your list or if you feel really eager about this one, acknowledge that you read her profile and understand you don’t meet her criteria but think you have a lot in common, etc.

So remember, it is very easy to separate yourself from the typical 95% of the men on Ashley Madison. Just to that little bit more to make your profile jump out and away from the typical and you’ll be well on your way to the adult fun you desire.

Personalise your message

Also, send a custom, personal message to women you find attractive. By simply being a little original and intriguing, your message will pop out at her and she will not be able to help herself to click on your message and CHOOSE YOU verses the typical “Hi” subject line messages that she sees hundreds of.

An Idiot’s Guide to Singing The South African National Anthem

Friday, January 17th, 2014

The South African national anthem is a hybrid song with many different languages.

Since 1997 it has included English lyrics plus extracts from a hymn called “Nkosi Sikelel’ iAfrika” (which means God Bless Africa) and “Die Stem van Suid-Afrika” (The Call of South Africa).

As Wikipedia says: “The lyrics employ the five most widely spoken of South Africa’s eleven official languages – Xhosa (first stanza, first two lines), Zulu (first stanza, last two lines), Sesotho (second stanza), Afrikaans (third stanza), and English (final stanza).”

But this version illustrates it best:

The Healing Power of Cat Purrs – an infographic

Friday, January 10th, 2014

Found this infographic and thought – it’s amazing. Bigger version to be found here:

One guy (Jonathan J Broome) via a Facebook comment even said:

“One time 20 years ago when I used to abuse drugs I swore I was having a heart attack. I managed to stumble and crawl up to the couch and lay there. Mosses, the cat I had at the time noticed a problem and jumped up on my chest purring and sinking his claws into me like acupuncture. he purred like crazy. Within an hour I felt fine and was ready to do more drugs.”

I thought that was funny. This is scientifically proven by the way. And the infographic is by designer Gemma Busquets.

Enjoy!

The Healing Power of Cat Purrs - infographic by Gemma Busquets

3 emotions that waste your time and sap your energy. But we all have them. Why?

Sunday, January 5th, 2014

Worry is like a rocking chair. It keeps you busy but gets you no where.

It’s amazing how much of our time and brain space is spent on these three emotions. I personally have these three emotions all the time. Why? What’s up with that? I am intelligent, and logical.

Guilt - Very much attached to other people. Usually people feel guilty they have let someone else down somehow.
Worry – I love the phrase – worry is like a rocking chair – it gives you something to do but doesn’t get you anywhere.
Fear – This is where you are afraid of the future, afraid of something that might happen, even though it hasn’t yet.

So, how can you change these feelings into something that creates a peaceful and happy feeling in you?

Guilt: If you have someone you feel you are letting down, and you feel guilty about it, find something you can do that’s positive for that person. Be careful its from the heart – because you are enjoying doing this for them, not only because of guilt. It should be unconditional – without attachment to the outcome. So just do something nice for them – reach out – send them a text or a message or a link to my Pinterest board about Friendship.

Worry Write a list of things you can do – actions – that can help you prevent the bad things you are worried about. If you are worried about someone else feeling something, then reach out to them. If you are worried about things you cannot control (like freak weather conditions) then make a list of 9 things to do, that are useful and positive, and add the 10th – “worry about freak weather conditions” – and put a 6 minute time limit on that worrying. This may highlight the absurdity of this – the point is, worrying is not a positive emotion. Not worrying doesn’t mean you don’t care. It doesn’t mean you are too busy to care. Just focus on the aspects of life you CAN do something about it. I am an occasional worrier – about my business, how my staff are, and how we will achieve the next goals. So if I am feeling worry all I should be doing is writing a list of things I can do to make my business work more efficiently, be more profitable, then DO then – then I can worry after. See what I mean?

Fear The letters in fear stand for False Evidence Appearing Real. Though you might say fear is a good thing – as in – ask yourself – why am I afraid? Maybe the very thing you are afraid of is a sign – you should conquer that fear. If the thing you are afraid of is something you no longer want to fear. I personally am not a thrill seeker so will still avoid bunjee jumping and roller coasters, but I have become a lot less fearful of skiiing and am glad I persevered! Maybe you have a fear of spiders – but have heard they make great pets! Or a fear of public speaking – and you know that doing public speaking helps raise your profile, puts your knowledge in order and sharpens your sales skills – so maybe go for it! Replace fear with curiosity.

Replace fear of the unknown with curiosity

A post about accents – and a sequence of videos I watched!

Sunday, October 27th, 2013

I keep telling people this story, how I saw one thing on YouTube and it made me Google this other thing, and search something else. Does that ever happen to you?

There was a sequence of videos I saw. See if you can guess my thought process if you watch these in order!

Investment into an idea

The SourceTV/Angel’s Den Launch Evening from Source.TV on Vimeo.

Public Speaking Tips

Graham Norton

Learning Accents with Ben Affleck

Ellen and Hugh Laurie

Going Out Out

Afraid of flying? Here’s are 2 videos you should see (guaranteed to make you smile)

Friday, October 25th, 2013

I was travelling with a nervous flyer recently and to cheer him up, I showed him two videos. He felt much better!

Why Can’t You Use Phones on Planes?

Marge Simpson — “Let Me Off”