A round up of news from the region’s creative sector in the past week
Midland full advertising agency M3 Communications has been appointed by entrepreneur Deborah Mitchell to launch the flagship branch of her Heaven Health and Beauty salon in Shifnal.
M3, based in nearby Albrighton are also continuing to assist the beauty specialist with the future development of her growing global brand.
She said: “The launch of the new branch was very successful and I have been extremely impressed with M3’s creativity and professionalism. I have used London agencies in the past and they just do not measure up to the service I have received from M3. I have many plans for the future and look forward to working with M3 on some exciting projects.”
The salon in Shifnal is the hub of an international enterprise, with 49 outlets throughout the UK and Spain with Ms Mitchell’s range of products endorsed by a host of celebrities including Dannii Minogue, Michelle Pfeiffer and Victoria Beckham and the brand has distributors in Dubai, South Africa and Taiwan.
David Lawrence, chairman of M3, added: “The fact that Deborah feels our service exceeds some London agencies illustrates the depth of genuine local talent we are able to draw on.
“We have a very strong creative resource, backed up by skilled media planners and dedicated account handlers. And with our highly successful digital team currently undergoing further expansion the agency really is going from strength to strength.”
* New faces in at Clarke Associates
Clarke Associates has appointed two new PR account handlers.
Account director Javan Bramhall – who has spent the previous six years in a senior marketing and communications post at Color Confidence - joins Clarke Associates with a wide brief, part of which is to expand the sectors in which the firm operates.
Louise Stanley, who has almost five years’ experience in both agency and in-house PR roles, joins the team as senior account executive working across a variety of B2B and B2C clients. Ms Stanley joins Clarke Associates from the NHS where she managed the press office and communication activities for a specialist hospital trust, and previously worked across clients in diverse sectors such as tourism, construction and office products at another Birmingham agency.
Managing director David Clarke said: “Javan and Louise bring a diverse mix of skills to Clarke Associates, developed while working in a variety of communications roles.
“These are tough times - but because of that, the need to promote and communicate has never been more important. These additional skills will assist in the growth of the consultancy and our clients are already benefiting from their expertise.”
* Sixth Story creates mobile site for businesses
A Birmingham-based digital design agency has launched a multi-platform mobile site to help businesses go mobile more quickly - without the cost of developing an app.
Sixth Story has been encouraging companies to use this growing channel more effectively to help them promote their products and services to the growing number of Smartphone users.
Sian Lenegan, managing director at Sixth Story, said: “Whilst mobile apps have grown in popularity, most of them are designed for a single platform or operating system; they are costly to develop and require customers to download the app before they can experience a brand.
“I believe that apps will become a thing of the past and that mobile-optimised web design is the future, which is why we’re keen to help as many businesses as possible to make the most of this exciting new channel.”
It is estimated that 13.9 million people in the UK own a smartphone and figures suggest that people increasingly see owning a mobile as an essential expense, despite cutting back in other areas.
“The imminent launch of the iPhone 5 could further bolster Smartphone sales as the previous versions become cheaper and secondhand handsets are offered on sites like eBay,” said Ms Lenegan.
“This, coupled with the UK’s future plans for 4G plus campaigners vying for mobile broadband, means there will be greater rewards for businesses investing in mobile-optimised websites.”
Sixth Story has also just completed work on a newly-launched mobile site for eBay UK which was created as part of eBay’s campaign to address the growing potential of m-commerce.
Clare Moorbridge, UK corporate communications manager at eBay, said: “We were really pleased to be able to work with such an impressive small digital company, and Sixth Story were by far the most helpful organisation we spoke to when researching this project.
“The team worked to a very tight timeline and the final results were spot-on in terms of design and functionality.”
* Greetings card operation launched by CeWe Colour in Warwickshire
Warwickshire-based CeWe Color has launched a greetings card arm to its £11 million photo-services business.
Card Town is taking on the likes of Moonpig to offer an end-to-end online retail offer using its own unique software to create made-to-order greetings cards.
James Morgan, online marketing manager for Card Town, said: “Technology is a part of our everyday lives now, and so we aim to utilise that while bringing the sentiment back – we want people to stop sending a quick ‘happy birthday’ text on the day or writing a message on their friend’s Facebook wall, and instead, apply the advance we have made in technology and enjoy the complete retail experience.
“Obviously, this is a hugely competitive marketplace so it’s important that we’re ahead of our competitors. Therefore we’re offering a completely new concept in greetings card design.
“This is the first time an uploaded image has been integrated with existing photography to blend seamlessly into it.”
* Eulogy service established by Birmingham writer
A writer from the West Midlands, who was born in Birmingham, has launched the UK’s first eulogy writing service.
Shirley Carnegie decided to offer the service after writing the eulogy at her own father’s funeral organised by Stephanie J. Mason Funeral Directors in Sutton Coldfield.
The experience highlighted how hard it is for many people to find the right words to say when presented with the daunting task of paying tribute to a loved one.
Now, Shirley has launched a new website at www.theeulogywriter.co.uk offering eulogies for people who want to present a special, moving tribute at a funeral or memorial service.
She said: “The need for a professional eulogy writer was made clear to me at my father’s funeral recently. A number of people came up to me and told me that they would be too nervous to stand up and speak to a room full of people, or that they simply wouldn’t know how to put their feelings into words.”