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July 24th, 2018
Lee Whittingham
Creative Director

Delighted to announce our ISO 27001 certification for Information Security Management, following an extensive external assessment.

The certificate covers everything from internal security processes to handling client and third party data.

It was issued in recognition of our high standards of information security management.

So to celebrate, we all went for a day of burgers, cocktail making and drinks in the sun – it’s not a random picture ☝️– just a team reward for a job well done.

Post GDPR, Facebook’s data scandal and whatever the next big issue is – information security is on everyone’s lips.

And while we’ve prided ourselves on how we handle sensitive information for years, this certification is further validation.

The independent audits were conducted by Manchester based Approachable Certification, who visited us several times and assessed our processes, policies and staff behaviours.

We were issued valid accreditation until 2021, with regular interim audits to ensure standards are maintained.

Reassurance and credibility

Creative director Lee Whittingham explains the importance of gaining the ISO 27001 certification:

‘This wasn’t about just doing something to get a logo we could put on our website and external comms.

‘For over 20 years, from filing cabinets to digital encryptions, we’ve taken handling, storing and processing information extremely seriously.

‘And while it’s in the news more, it’s not a new thing to us.

‘But as businesses become more aware of the importance of data security, we decided to be more visible about the high standards we hold ourselves to.

‘Third party validation from a credible body is a reassuring rubber stamp on what we do for our clients and colleagues.

‘And for any future new starters or clients we work with, it’s a clear indication of our credibility and standards.’

To talk about the importance of information security and its importance for your organisation, please contact us.



Wilson Cooke

May 3rd, 2018
Wilson Cooke

This infographic is for Star Wars day – but the PPC wisdom it contains has a much longer lifespan.

Extracted from the brain of our PPC specialist Andrew, like death star plans from a droid – feel free to use.

Image and transcript below – use the force on your own campaigns and get in touch if you want more.

PPC like a Jedi Wilson Cooke

How to PPC like a Jedi

A trilogy of tips

Aim for accurate attribution

A ‘last click’ model to assign attribution is an old-school way of analysing user conversion journeys.

Use Google Analytics insights to help build attribution models for different accounts taking in multiple customer touch-points.

Deploy Google Tag Manager

GTM’s user-friendly simplicity means you usually don’t need web developers to implement tracking.

It’s great for tracking soft conversions, or lead gen – don’t just assume a campaign is failing, it could be generating 100s of phone calls.

Consider Bing AdWords

Depending which source you believe, you may miss between 8-20% of search volume by not advertising on Bing.

It’s likely nearer the lower end – but Bing ads face far less competition, at a much lower cost-per-click.

Wilson Cooke

April 27th, 2018
Wilson Cooke

Yesterday’s ‘Everyone’s talking about voice’ event at the Co-op Federation in Manchester addressed one accepted truth:

Voice search will account for 50 percent of all online enquiries by 2020.

The evening was organised and hosted by Apadmi, the Manchester based app development agency.

They introduced experts from varied fields to discuss the importance and impact of voice.

There were a lot of interesting points, inspirational examples and compelling arguments – our favourite bits are below.

Albert Creixell – Partnerships head, Amazon Alexa

Albert’s a senior member of the team developing Amazon’s voice assistant (and the two sides of its ‘brain’ – utility and entertainment).

He detailed how developers are already starting to leverage the powers of Alexa’s API via the Alexa Skills Kit.

And emphasised the importance of voice search experiences being rich and social, as over 80 percent of voice assistants are used by more than one person.

Best quote: ‘Utterances are the new hashtags.’

Marcus Duffy – Head of design, Apadmi

Drawing on years of experience as an app designer, Marcus stated the clear conclusion that voice design is UX design.

It’s fertile ground for problem solvers who ask questions that put the user first and understand the importance of writing for the ear, not the screen.

He also covered when and how to use prompts and the best time to user test – in detail, despite a relatively short presentation.

Best quote: ‘Choose something the user was going to do anyway – and make it easier for them.’

Professor Trevor Cox – Acoustic engineer, Salford University

Professor Cox’s presentation had less of a commercial angle than the others.

Instead, he focussed on the voice itself and how it can communicate anything from mood and appearance to class and region.

He drew an interesting line from how humans have used their voices to teach and learn for centuries, from conversations between primitive peoples through to talking to computers.

Best quote: ‘It is common now for people to say I love you to their smart speakers.’

Emma-Victoria Houlton – Alexa flash briefing producer, The art of Podcast

Having transitioned from commercial radio stations to podcast production, Emma detailed her recent experiences working with Huffpost.

And she’s not the only one to recognise the potential of daily flash briefings.

The BBC World Service, Buzzfeed and the Met Office are all using these short daily touchpoints to reach their audiences via this interesting new platform.

Best quote: ‘Over 70 percent of smart speaker users are listening to more audio content than they were before they bought one.’

Mukul Devichand – Executive editor of voice, BBC

Mukul talked about how his team at the beeb is exploring new ways to tell stories using voice AI, using a recent example created for CBeebies.

He was clear about the current limitations of a purely conversational medium but also just as certain about its potential.

And he was able to detail the shift towards it from a storytelling point-of-view, as well as a purely commercial one.

Best quote: ‘It’s in our charter to innovate and find new connections with audiences.’

An AI-first world

While the evening’s speakers had different backgrounds, experiences and goals – they all agreed one thing.

AI and voice search is here to stay and will only grow.

One of the most compelling quotes highlighted was from someone not present – Google CEO Sundar Pichai:

‘We are now witnessing a new shift in computing: the move from a mobile-first to an AI-first world.’

And if Google says it’s happening, it probably is…


If you want to talk more about the potential of voice search, get in touch.

Wilson Cooke

April 16th, 2018
Wilson Cooke

Interesting news today that JD Wetherspoon is quitting Twitter, Facebook and Instagram with immediate effect.

Spoons chairman Tim Martin said the decision had been influenced by concerns regarding ‘misuse of personal data and the addictive nature of social media’.

There was also dismay expressed at the trolling of politicians.

As well as compelling employee engagement stats detailing that 90-odd percent of pub managers believed that social media didn’t help their business.

With many individual pubs running their own accounts (often with very little success), the ROI clearly wasn’t there.

A good day to quit social?

So quitting social makes sense in terms of the positives – but what about what Wetherspoons loses?

  • A loyal following (over 100K on FB and 44K on Twitter)?
  • Engaged audiences?
  • Promotional opportunities?
  • Customer interaction?


Spoiler alert: Wetherspoons isn’t giving up any of those.

A clue is buried away at the end of the official statement after lines on how we spend too much time on social media and how it doesn’t benefit their business.

‘We will also be maintaining our website and the Wetherspoon app and encourage customers to get in touch with us via our website or by speaking with the manager at their local pub.’

The famous Wetherspoons app.

Over 1million downloads on Android alone and six figures worth of positive reviews on the App Store.

Free-to-download, featured everywhere from The Times to LadBible and trialled in over 1000 outlets for months.

This real-time, big data has allowed Wetherspoons to tailor their customer service offerings much more accurately than running hundreds of failing Twitter feeds.

And if the audience seems a little smaller in terms of numbers, it’s certainly more engaged in terms of buy-in.

If someone takes the time to download and use the app, they’re probably repeat/regular customers.

And Wetherspoons has probably muted a lot of negativity by shutting down social.

Think about it – were people more likely to tweet about flat beer or cold chips, than to Instagram their pint and a curry on Thursday night?

And the best way to promote the app and get more people to download?

Tried and tested FOMO.

Fear Of Missing Out – while you’re queueing and struggling to be seen at the bar, the table next to you has each round brought to them on a tray? And food as well? How did they manage that?

Envy was a powerful motivator for millennia before social media was invented.

Reach the right people, not the most.

App downloads, email segmentation, Facebook groups, followed hashtags – however you choose to reach them online, an interested audience is more important than a big one.

Wetherspoons knows that as well as any Minecraft playing YouTuber.

For decades their pubs haven’t tried to be everything to everyone – they know their intended customers best.

Today’s news shows they know best how to reach them digitally too.



Wilson Cooke

March 28th, 2018
Wilson Cooke

Mark’s video on GDPR for data processors – watch to check you’ve not missed anything obvious before the legislation comes into effect on May 25th.


Q: What is a ‘data processor’ in terms of GDPR – how does it differ from a ‘data controller’? 

Mark answer: A processor is any person, agency or company that does something with personal data for a data controller – another party.

The controller is the ‘data owner’ – they instruct the processor to do something with that data.

Wilson Cooke, as a marketing agency, acts both as a processor – for our clients’ data (that we hold or do something with for them) and as a controller – for our employees’ data (payroll and contact information).

Q: What is MY responsibility, as a data processor? 

M: The starting point is to understand the legislation and to seek relevant legal guidance and advice, which is something that we’ve done.

We’ve worked on a GDPR project to understand our responsibilities as a data processor.

The other key aspect is to take advice and direction from the data controller – who ultimately determines what they want you to do with their data as a processor – and act on that.

Having clarity as far as agreements and contracts in place that determine this is really important also.

Q: What are the first steps I need to take – in my business AND with data controllers?

M: It starts with a data audit.

Understanding and reviewing the data that you hold in the systems that you manage and maintain, what that data is, how personal it is – and drawing up an action plan for how you need to approach that for each of the data controllers.

Staff training is also really important.

That’s workshops, policies, processes so staff understand their responsibilities and how they can ultimately impact and affect this – and how GDPR is going to affect the work they do on a day-to-day basis.

From a data controller perspective, what you’re also then able to draw up are policies & processes that help to ensure that what they’re doing is lawful – some of which refers to ‘lawful consent’ – a vital starting point when it comes to GDPR.

Q: How do I future-proof my business and operations for GDPR?

M: Future-proofing comes from placing privacy and security of personal data at the heart of everything you do.

For example, running privacy assessments and impact assessments at the start  of projects, to make sure you identify any needs around personal data.

What you’re able to then do is plan and prepare for that right at the beginning – the worst thing you can do is try to retrospectively ‘fit in’ something to do with security or privacy around personal data when you get to the end.

So the more you can hit that at the beginning and start to implement ‘privacy by design’ via training and workshops within the relevant areas of your business, that will be a big step towards future-proofing anything you do.

Q: How do I reassure my clients about my understanding of GDPR?

M: Reassurance comes from a consistent message regarding the importance of this legislation and how much impact it can have on any business.

It’s quite dangerous for companies to feel as though it’s not important or relevant to them – ultimately it’s relevant to everyone and the whole aspect of a business.

We’ve been really consistent with our approach to up-skill our staff.

This is fed by our commitment to become ISO 27001 Certified and ensure that – as a company – we’re taking GDPR as seriously as we should and that this message is translated to our clients.

Thanks Mark!

For more in-depth detail on GDPR, see the Information Commissioner’s Office.

To talk about how your business handles personal data, please contact us.

March 9th, 2018
Nicole Whittingham
Marketing Director

Yesterday I was lucky enough to attend the #PressForProgress event for International Women’s Day at Manchester’s Castlefield Rooms – the city having rebranded for the day as ‘WoManchester’.

As the World Economic Forum recently stated that ‘gender parity is over 200 years away‘ – the importance of progress and women supporting women is as high as ever.

This event was organised by Page Group and chaired by Claire-Marie Boggiano of Lurig Ltd, a business change and people development specialist, who introduced each guest speaker.

The roster was impressive – and pretty long – so I’ve summed up below what each person covered and my favourite take-away points.

Collette King – Equity Housing Group

Collette talked about fostering ‘cultures of trust and flexibility’ to make jobs more accessible and also about building confidence and conviction in women, to see off workplace issues like ‘imposter syndrome’.

Best quote: ‘People should always feel as though they can bring their whole selves to work.’

Jenny Davies – M24Seven

Jenny Davies M24Seven
Understanding that being out of your comfort zone isn’t always a bad thing – especially for women in senior leadership positions – is something Jenny covered.

By becoming more comfortable with the fact that certain people around her know more than she does in specific areas, she has become better able to focus on her responsibilities as an MD.

Best quote: ‘It’s ok to be comfortable with being uncomfortable.’

Stuart Lunn – Manchester Airport Group

The only male speaker, Stuart told an illuminating tale about his wife – who he also works alongside in a similar role.

Despite her being every bit as capable (if not more so) than him – when they lived in Dubai for a period, he got a job that paid 35 percent more than her’s did for similar responsibilities.

Best quote: ‘Those of you with children – would you pay your sons 35 percent more pocket money than your daughters?’

Lara Hornby – BAE Systems

Lara asserted that confidence is a large part of success in business – and often women need support in accessing this.

She highlighted how the Emotion-Truth-Choice (ETC) process has helped her overcome challenges in her professional life.

Best quote: ‘Women are unique in their possession of the crack-on gene.’

Sheri Hughes – PageGroup

A senior member of PageGroup (our hosts), Sheri detailed how their organisational culture has enabled her to progress from grass roots level to director status.

Best quote: ‘The right culture will allow women to progress and succeed.’

Beyond ‘WoManchester’

What an inspiring afternoon – thanks to everyone who spoke so honestly and eloquently and to the other women (and men) who attended and listened.

But as valuable as I – and others – found this event, the focus on the importance of gender equality shouldn’t only happen on International Women’s Day.

The fact that such events have to exist show how far there is still to go, even in a developed country, let alone around the world.

In our business at the very least, I think the way we support and promote gender parity is crucial in adding our voice to the conversation – 200 years is just not good enough.

March 1st, 2016
Nicole Whittingham
Marketing Director

Many organisations don’t fully understand the concepts of mission and vision.

When asked to explain the company’s mission and vision, answers such as, “We want to grow turnover by 10% each year and to be the biggest and most successful in our sector,” are often stated.

Compare this with those of IKEA, Amazon, BT, McDonald’s and Intel:

“IKEA’s vision is to create a better everyday life for many people. Our business idea supports this vision by offering a wide range of well-designed, functional home furnishing products at prices so low that as many people as possible will be able to afford them.”

“Amazon’s vision is to be the earth’s most customer centric company; to build a place where people can come to find and discover anything they might want to buy online.”

“BT’s purpose is to use the power of communications to make a better world.”

“McDonald’s vision is to be the world’s best quick service restaurant experience. Being the best means providing outstanding quality, service, cleanliness, and value, so that we make every customer in every restaurant smile.”

“Intel’s mission is to delight our customers, employees, and shareholders by relentlessly delivering the platform and technology advancements that become essential to the way we work and live.”

The first example is simply statement of what the organisation wants for itself with no reference to their ethos or how they will go about achieving their objectives. Those of IKEA, Amazon, BT, McDonald’s and Intel say what each company aims to offer its customers in order to achieve its vision.

The mission is the purpose behind an organisation’s existence. It should set out how the organisation’s products or services meet the needs of the marketplace in an honest and meaningful way. Profitability, growth and success are the by-products of the pursuit of the mission.

Vision is the position the organisation wants to attain. There’s nothing wrong with wanting to be the biggest and most successful as long as it is accompanied by a clear mission – ideally, one which inspires its customers, employees and shareholders.

Highly successful businesses are usually identifiable by their points of difference. Establishing clear differentiators is more important than ever in today’s marketplace where barriers to entry in many industries are now almost non-existent. It is also important that everyone in your organisation understands and is inspired by its unique identity and what it does better than others.

March 1st, 2016
Mark Law
Managing Director

What have Richard Branson, Rupert Murdoch, Nelson Mandela, Margaret Thatcher, Alan Sugar and the Queen all got in common. And what have they got in common with both your B2B customers and your B2C customers? They’re all human beings of course.

Yet our marketing communications do not always reflect this very important fact. We’re all guilty of using too much business jargon in our daily working lives – and those of us involved in marketing probably more than most. We’re constantly bombarded by an avalanche of information and deluged by data. In 2010, Google said that there is more content created every two days than in all of human history. More recently, IBM said that 90% of all today’s content has been created in the last two years. We’re swamped with emails, tweets, texts, alerts, photos, Facebook posts and bio-feedback data.

Sadly, the increase in information has gone hand-in-hand with a steady decline in customer trust and a reducing attention span.

So, it’s time to change your marketing to reflect today’s reality. Time to make it more human, more relevant and more meaningful.

Senior Vice President of Marketing at Cisco, Karen Walker says that a brand is really an emotional connection you have with a product or service and that marketers should be developing personalised relationships with their customers to boost their brands and sales. “It’s no longer about B2B or B2C – it’s about being human-to-human,” she said, “The first thing marketers must do to create that emotional bond with their customers is to realise that individuals, not companies, ultimately make purchase decisions.”

How do we start on this process of re-humanisation? Keeping things simple is a good start. We don’t conduct our face-to-face conversations in complex, jargon-laden language so why not let our natural voice be reflected in our marketing? In my experience, every organisation has its own personality, ethos or unique ideology. Let this come through in your marketing – make emotional connections through storytelling – always an effective way of communicating. Stories can be short, as on Twitter or a blog, or they can be visual, as on Instagram. And be honest, let your customers see that you’re human.

Get to know your customers. Listen to them and try to understand their aims and motivations — people do business with people they like and trust. And do things differently, by turning expectations on their head, you will stand out in an overcrowded marketplace. Forging deeper connections with your customers will improve marketing performance.

As the late and celebrated US poet and author, Maya Angelou, said, “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you make them feel.”

March 1st, 2016
John Millington
Digital Strategy Director

There’s nothing mysterious about multi-channel marketing. It’s simply about reaching the right people with the right offer through the right channel at the right time. This means contacting customers using a combination of indirect and direct communication channels such as websites, direct mail, email, mobile devices, social media search engine optimisation (SEO) and SMS. And making sure that they can respond – preferably by buying your product or service.

There’s nothing new about multi-channel marketing either. Marketing campaigns have long used a combination of media to reach the widest possible audience. But what has changed is the way that our customers choose to interact with us. Today there are more ways to reach customers than we could have ever before imagined. And today’s customers have much more choice and much more control over the buying process than ever before.

It goes without saying that your marketing needs to be directed to where your customers are and, as the number of channels rises the need to adopt a multi-channel strategy becomes more and more important. It has also been shown that multi-channel customers spend three to four times more than single-channel customers.

So what elements should your multi-channel marketing campaign contain?

A targeted message. Thanks to the plethora of channels and choices facing customers, delivering the right message to the right audience isn’t enough. Not only must your customers receive your message, but they also must be attentive, engaged and willing to act – regardless of the channel.

Highly choreographed campaigns. Expecting customers to change channel or device preferences is unrealistic. As a result, marketers must constantly develop and coordinate highly orchestrated touch points and micro-campaigns that span multiple channels fluidly, in a way that the customer finds meaningful and trustworthy.

Marketing response attribution. It is increasingly difficult to know which channels, campaigns or sequence of touch points contributed to qualified conversions and sales. Knowing what triggered each response would enable marketers to assess whether or not their marketing efforts were getting the best results.

Three steps to getting it right

So what does it take to do multichannel marketing right?
Here are three keys to success:

  • Create and maintain a single view of the customer across all channels.
  • Establish a multichannel marketing platform.
  • Create consistent customer experiences across all channels.

Having a single view of the customer is critical. That’s because today’s customers often interact with your brand in a variety of ways that involve more than one touch point. It is vital that you understand how your customers behave across all channels, at each and every touch point, and that you also understand each customer’s value to you.

To get that single customer view, it may help to establish a centralised marketing data area that consolidates all customer data in one place regardless of source. When creating and maintaining a single view of the customer, keep these points in mind:

  • Having a lot of customer data is not the same as having a single view of the customer. It’s not just the data itself that is important; it’s what you do with it. Your customer view must evolve. Customers change. Businesses change. Your customer view must change along with them. That means bringing in new data, refreshing old data, building new models, updating old ones, etc. Establish a multichannel marketing platform
  • Campaign management, including capabilities for segmentation, workflow creation and campaign execution. Advanced analytics, including predictive analytics and campaign optimisation. Advanced execution, including capabilities for content management, event triggering, real-time decision making and next-best-offer management for both inbound and outbound marketing programs. Response attribution, including the ability to perform marketing mix optimisation, scenario planning and marketing attribution analysis.
  • Digital marketing, including capabilities that expand marketing beyond traditional channels to newer channels, including the Web, email, mobile, video, etc.

By establishing a multichannel marketing platform, you will be able to integrate traditional and emerging channels. You will also greatly simplify the creation and execution of cross-channel campaigns by enabling marketers to create, in essence, a single campaign that can be replicated across various channels. And all this puts the holy grail of marketing within your grasp – reaching the right person with the right offer through the right channel at the right time, while reducing costs and improving the effectiveness and performance of your marketing efforts.

Create consistent customer experiences across all channels. Customer experience is one of the most powerful competitive differentiators. And while the quality of the customer experience is important, consistency is equally important. That’s because your customers experience your brand as a whole, whether their interactions with you are online, in a store, over the phone, or some combination of these. What value is there in a positive online experience if a customer’s in-store experience is negative? If you treat each channel as a distinct entity, you run the risk of turning customers against you if you fail to deliver consistency.

Having a clearly defined buyer persona (or multiple ones) that entails specifics about their ideal buyer is a necessity. This information helps marketers decide on which channels they should focus their efforts.

Marketers also need to be useful and helpful, sharing relevant, customer-first content instead of pushing me-first marketing messages. This useful philosophy — in other words, the inbound approach — must be apparent in every tactic deployed.

All channels marketers decide to use must also work together. It’s not enough to just set up and use Twitter, Facebook, email, a website, a blog, et al, if they don’t work in harmony to attract and convert business. The same customer moves across all of these places quickly, so your strategy and your analytics need to adapt similarly.

Given customers use multiple platforms (from social, to email, to blogs) and devices (from desktops, to tablets, to smartphones) to get their content, marketers implementing multi-channel efforts will need a responsive website so that their audience will have easy, uniform access to all marketers have to offer them.

With multiple channels in play, marketers will need to carefully measure the results of their multi-channel approach. Analytics will inform them as to which channels were effective, which channels influenced other channels, and which channels they can eliminate from their efforts.

In the end, your goal in this customer-first world is to step beyond just being present on multiple channels and start connecting them all together into one, thriving, multi-channel approach to inbound marketing.

March 1st, 2016
Lee Whittingham
Creative Director

We have designed and developed a new responsive web presence for Arthouse, one of the country’s leading suppliers of interior decor solutions.

also similar…

A Shade Wilder

A Shade Wilder is a daring, British home styling brand showcasing an exclusive interiors range, styled in the UK – from designer wallpaper, murals and wall art to sculpture, glass, mirrors and cushions.

Be daring be different, be A Shade Wilder

We collaborated with A Shade Wilder to develop a comprehensive visual and digital identity for their new aspirational but affordable brand, providing brand messaging and a digital platform for their exciting new products. Our team immersed themselves in the world of A Shade Wilder, conducting workshops with the brand stakeholders to work through our brand process.

We positioned A Shade Wilder as “Be daring be different, be A Shade Wilder”. With this brand mantra in mind we set out to create a responsive website that allowed the content to shine. The brand identity wanted to be timeless, concise and clear, yet sophisticated and iconic.