Category: Agency

CandidSky Grows Its Team With A New Head Of Business

Mitesh Patel, Head of Business at CandidSky

Mitesh Patel has become the newest person to join CandidSky. Concentrating on new business development, he brings a wealth of experience and knowledge to the agency.

Continuing CandidSky’s recent expansion, Mitesh Patel has become the latest professional to join the team. Previously associate director and head of digital marketing at Web Foundry, Mitesh will focus on new and current business development as our new head of business.

Mitesh is no stranger to working with high-value and larger clients, having previously completed projects for organisations such as both Manchester universities as well as the NHS. We look forward to working with him and strengthening our client relationships – both current and future.

Mitesh has a wealth of experience solving problems for medium-sized and enterprise-level businesses.” Said Simon Fryer, director of CandidSky.

His desire to help clients overcome complex challenges and improve their digital performance makes him a great asset, both to CandidSky and our clients.

For Mitesh, joining CandidSky was a no-brainer as he especially liked David’s (managing director of CandidSky) personality and his vision for where he wanted us to develop. Furthermore, he liked the name. Apparently, he’s always been drawn to organisations with good names.

In his spare time, Mitesh enjoys sports, working out, and physical fitness. Tending to play games such as badminton, squash, cricket, and football, he also enjoys boxing. When he’s not improving himself, he’s focused on improving cars – possessing an interest in vehicle maintenance and bodywork modification.

I love cars, I like technology, and gadgets and especially when they are integrated into one”, Mitesh stated. “I’m not someone who cares just about speed but how the cars look, the interior and how the cars function.

Finally, he’s unique in the company – and the country – as he holds the record for the youngest ever manager of an ASDA store – gaining the position at the tender age of 20.

CandidSky expands with two new specialists

Josh Boot and Ben Young

Josh and Ben

 

Josh Boot (right), SEO consultant, and Ben Young (left), senior paid media consultant, have joined the team at CandidSky.  

Two new starters have joined the team at CandidSky – bringing new skills and expertise to our growing talent pool.  Josh Boot comes aboard as an SEO consultant and Ben Young joins the PPC team as a senior paid media consultant.

Josh Boot – Our new SEO consultant

Josh Boot, new SEO consultant at CandidSkyJosh Boot comes from an SEO background and has worked with such influential clients as BT. Bringing an excellent skill set to the table, he aims to improve the organic visibility of any website he works on and assist in developing their online presence.

He decided to join CandidSky after hearing the director’s (David and Simon) plans for the agency. Moreover, he was impressed by the passion the organic search team showed for SEO and marketing in general. Simply put, working for CandidSky was too good of an opportunity to pass up.

Outside of work, Josh enjoys cooking, mountain biking, and has a big passion for motorsport. He has also brought his enormous Game of Thrones tankard into the office as – wherever you go – Josh feels you should always have your own mug.

Ben Young – Our new senior paid media consultant

Ben Young, new senior paid media consultant at CandidSkyBen Young joins CandidSky as our senior paid media consultant following an impressive career in PPC. Previously working for Hit Search in Liverpool, his role ensures that our paid media team continues to grow and develop – bringing more value and better results for clients in the process.

He decided to join CandidSky after seeing our great working environment and observing how we look after and develop the team. Relocating from Liverpool, Ben felt we had a refreshing approach and it was clear to him that CandidSky would be a great place to work. Out of the other Manchester agencies, we’re flattered he chose to join us.

It was also apparent to him that we care about providing a leading PPC service to clients. Using the skills he gained through his previous occupation as a professional poker player, he can bring a unique analytical and strategic approach to our paid media department.

When he’s not working, Ben enjoys walking his Labrador (Dexter), playing baseball, and spending time with his family.

Hiring them was “an easy decision”

Simon Fryer, search director at CandidSky, was delighted with Josh and Ben joining the team. He stated:

“Josh and Ben both bring unique skills and experience to our team. Their ambition and enthusiasm for what they do really shone through when we first met. This, combined with their belief in our agency strategy, made adding them to our team an easy decision.

By adding them to the team we’ve continued to increase our capabilities and added more experience working with some of the largest brands around. Their addition will add a great deal of value to our campaigns and, most importantly, our clients.”

“Let’s go viral!” and other phrases you should fire your marketing agency for using

Canon

At a different agency, my employer was quite fond of ‘blue-sky thinking’ and having ‘bonnet meetings’. The latter was a fancy way to describe delivering quick pitches outside a car and – to this day – I have no idea what blue-sky thinking means.

Whether using jargon, legalise, or even just using a word incorrectly, not speaking plain English is one of my biggest gripes. Although jargon can be fine among the informed, a lack of clear communication can be detrimental to all those involved in a campaign.

Unfortunately, some marketing agencies love jargon – to the point they start to alienate their customers and clients through overly-complicated language. However, there are some phrases which are sometimes used to confuse, hide an absence of knowledge, or just don’t make any sense.

If any of your marketing team starts using these phrases, it might be an idea to look for a more plain-speaking group elsewhere.

Let’s go viral

It’s hard to believe the word ‘viral’ has a negative meaning. If a disease goes viral, it becomes an outbreak and the ramifications can be terrifying. Yet, these days, ‘viral’ describes an advertising campaign which spreads rapidly throughout the internet.

“Let’s go viral” is generally useless as an objective. ‘Viral’ cannot be measured and is typically used by teams with no clear social media strategy. Furthermore, too many viral pieces are structured around what would work for an internet audience instead of an organisation’s customers. Therefore, even if a piece does go ‘viral’, it rarely leads to conversions.

However, if the intention is to gain more followers on social media, acquire page views, or increase the number of shares, all of these can be quantified. They can also be completed without creating a potentially expensive piece of viral content.

Agile marketing

‘Agile marketing’ is a phrase commonly used to describe several different teams working towards the same goal. However, some agencies also use the word ‘agile’ to represent their ability to react quickly to changing deadlines and focuses.

‘Agile’ is used as a buzzword all too frequently with many perpetrators not completely understanding what it means. Therefore, if this word crops up in your strategy, always request clarification as to what it entails.

Growth hacking

‘Growth hacking’ refers to a specific service accountable for business growth. In this situation, a designated ‘hacker’ will be responsible for growing an organisation. Yet, every aspect of a firm should be contributing to this.

As well as being a redundant service, ‘growth hacking’ is a phrase generally used by amateur agencies to sound more advanced.

A Team

A-Team

If something goes wrong in a marketing campaign, some agencies will send in their ‘A-Team’. Alternatively, I’ve heard of marketing SWAT units or simply the ‘best of the best’ being deployed to solve the problem.

While this might conjure images of armed professionals abseiling from a military chopper, the reality is somewhat different. Mostly, this will entail marketers meeting in a boardroom to discuss solving the problem.

As a result, this is somewhat patronising to the client but a mythical A-Team shouldn’t exist anyway. In a competent agency, everyone is good at what they do. There is no need to hold some higher than others as it devalues the wider team’s efforts.

When something goes wrong, I’d rather have a professional tell me how to fix it. Otherwise, it’s unlikely the plan will come together.

Ideation

‘Ideation’ is an ostentatious way of describing coming up with an idea. It seems to have originated from merging the words ‘idea’ with ‘creation’ and has been used without question by many marketing teams.

Yet, the word ideation already existed beforehand and was used by psychologists. Therefore, it has many meanings which we won’t cover here.

Ideation is often used to confuse the uninformed as opposed to assisting them. In a similar vein, ideation appears to have spawned the phrase ‘idea shower’. This creepy term is – again – trying to make the process of idea generation seem more impressive.

Holistic

Similar to viral and ideation, holistic is another medical term which has made it into marketing. While we can speculate as to the number of marketers who wanted to be doctors, holistic marketing relates to how connected strategy is.

For example, this could involve multiple departments working towards the same goal or every aspect of a company – from customers to shareholders – being considered in an organisation’s development.

Yet, as we have seen with ‘agile’, the definition of holistic marketing differs from agency to agency. As a result, it has largely ceased to have any meaning. Therefore, if this phrase is used, always seek clarification.

Gurus and ninjas

The title ‘expert’ is earned. It is a statement which clearly marks someone as being more experienced than others in the industry. In a similar fashion, ‘guru’ is someone who is recognised as a teacher or master in their field.

Unfortunately, too many marketers use the title to make themselves seem superior. Not everyone can be an expert, but automatically claiming so without evidence betrays a lack of original thought and devalues how genuine professionals are perceived.

Similar to ‘A-Team’, other marketing job titles are there only to make the profession seem more exciting or fun, such as ‘ninja’ or ‘rockstar’. This is quite common in startups as this ‘fun’ portrayal is believed to separate them from the competition. Instead, it is only a fantasy which threatens to devalue their services.

 

Labs

Labs

Data is becoming increasingly important in this modern age and all marketers must adapt to better interpret this information. However, in an effort to make themselves appear more specialist, some agencies claim they possess marketing labs with dedicated data scientists.

Often, this is ostentatious messaging to disguise their lacklustre abilities.

Some marketers have also been known to claim their office is similar to a different location – such as a marketing garage. As we have seen above with startup culture, this ‘fun’ portrayal has the potential to undermine their services.

Fancy a conversation in plain English?

Jargon and buzzwords are quite common in marketing but we prefer to have conversations in plain English. As a result, we will happily keep you informed without trying to confuse you with bizarre terminology.

And there isn’t a guru or ninja amongst them.

If you want to discuss your marketing needs, get in touch with us today.

Buddy Loans hit it off with CandidSky

Guarantor loans provider, Buddy Loans, has joined up with CandidSky to increase their online presence with a cross-channel marketing campaign.

Buddy Loans has chosen us to lead a cross-channel marketing campaign to unite paid media, content, organic search, design and user-led conversion rate optimisation, to support the businesses growth plans.

Guarantor loans are growing in popularity, marked by an 160% increase in search interest since 2014. This loan form enables a family member, friend or work colleague to act as a guarantor for up to £7,500, enabling lower interest rates compared to payday loans with flexible payback terms.  Cheadle-based Buddy Loans are regulated and authorised by the Financial Conduct Authority.

Simon Fryer, Director at CandidSky, commented, ‘Our cross-channel campaign for Buddy Loans will begin with in-depth research and analysis to develop a customer-centric strategy based on proven data and insights. We’re excited to start working with Nick and his team to help drive them towards ambitious acquisition targets.”

Nick Zapolski, Co-Founder and Director, Buddy Loans, commented, “We recognise that our customers have various touch points whilst they’re researching the guarantor loan market which is why the cross-channel marketing campaign was a logical decision for us. By joining with CandidSky we will benefit from experts in each digital marketing field, and look forward to seeing tangible results.”

Next steps:

Are you considering a cross-channel marketing approach? Contact us today to arrange a call to find out how we can add value to your business.

If you would like to work at CandidSky and develop your career prospects, take a look at our Careers website for available roles and find out what is like to work here.

And finally, take a look at our other blog posts to see what else we have been up to.

Full Stack Developer and Senior Technical Consultant join CandidSky’s expanded office

We are continuing to add to our pool of talent with two new appointments to start 2018

Deividas, Full Stack Developer joins CandidSky

Nick Druce, Senior Technical Consultant,  and Deividas Ambrazevicius, Full-stack Developer, have joined CandidSky.  Both new additions to the team are integral to the agency’s growth plans.

Deividas has relocated from London to join CandidSky where he worked at a creative agency.  Deividas will be primarily maintaining  websites – building new ones and  improving the functionality behind existing ones.  His goals  include improving websites performance and implementing new technology.

Outside of work , Deividas is a black belt in Kyokushin Karate having practised it for 14 years. Deividas commented, “I am looking forward to bringing my previous technical experience to CandidSky.  I like the company’s vision and goals, and the people are open minded and easy to work with”.

Nick, in his role as Senior Technical Consultant, will be the bridge between interpreting the client needs and requirements into technical specifications for the development team to deliver. He will also be involved in producing proposals, pitches and presentations for new business opportunities. For the past four years Nick has been a freelance website developer and technical project manager.

Nick said, “After meeting with David Beharall, (CandidSky’s Managing Director) and understanding the CandidSky vision,  I can think of no better time to join a very experienced, talented team. I know my technical knowledge and business acumen will be greatly enhanced by working at this growing agency”.

Nick is an avid fan of archery, taking up the sport in early 2017 and already winning his first tournament in January 2018.  When not hitting bullseyes, Nick is a Manchester United fan too.  

To make room for the expanding team, over the festive period CandidSky underwent an office expansion, which has opened up the space within  the Grade II listed building Simon Fryer, Search Director, commented, “Nick and Deividas are both excellent additions to our team, and bring with them new skills and approaches that will help drive us towards our vision. It’s a great start to what it going to be a very exciting year at CandidSky”.  

Next steps:

If you too would like to work at CandidSky and work with a wide variety of clients, take a look at our Careers website for available roles and find out what is like to work here.

If you are interested in working with CandidSky and seeing how we can help to grow your business online, contact us today to arrange a call.

And finally, take a look at our other blog posts to see what else we have been up to.

Digital strategist joins CandidSky

Paul Jasper is the newest addition to CandidSky, who joins as a digital strategist. As part of his new position, Paul will be focusing on retaining and growing client accounts with their digital marketing requirements.

Prior to joining CandidSky Paul spent three years at Fast Web Media in Manchester, as a Senior Search Marketing Executive where he worked across numerous accounts from a wide range of industries including Carling, Coors Light, PZ Cussons, Bravissimo, Gfinity & blu.

Outside of work, Paul is a man of red holding a Manchester United season ticket, an avid runner who also enjoys playing golf.

Paul commented, “Joining CandidSky in this new role will enable me to continue to grow my profession, working with an established and ambitious company with a proven track record across multiple sectors. The company vision was also a major factor in deciding to join, and I have no doubt I’ll progress professionally during my time at CandidSky.”

Simon Fryer, Search Director, said, “Paul’s appointment to CandidSky is great news for our clients, and shows our commitment to constantly improving the service we deliver. By having Paul on board we can develop our client relationships and ensure we are meeting and anticipating their requirements, now and in the future.”


Next steps
:

If you are interested in working with CandidSky and seeing how we can help to grow your business online, contact us today to arrange a call.

If you too would like to work at CandidSky and grow your career prospects, take a look at our Careers website for available roles and find out what is like to work here.

And finally, take a look at our other blog posts to see what else we have been up to.

 

Earning links – the good and the bad

We are all aware that a website need links to rank well, but the big question is, what is a good link and what is a bad one? Google’s guidelines will tell you that you need to build links naturally, which is true to an extent, however we will guide you through the do’s and the don’ts when acquiring links.

The Good

When analysing a company’s link profile, the first thing the search engine crawler will analyse is whether it looks natural. Is there a spike in referring domains? Is there a spurt of links from one IP? Does it look like a PBN? These are all things that need to be considered, and if your link profile does look unnatural, we recommend speaking to an SEO expert.

It’s true that building links in the right way does take more time and there is a lot more skill involved, but the rewards are much more prevalent. If you get it wrong, it can often be time consuming and costly to fix.

Create Visual Assets
Everyone worth their salt knows that visual assets are great link bait. The primary reason that every time somebody shares your infographic, image, diagram etc. you get a link back, which isn’t the case when you display the same information as text.

Visuals aren’t only beneficial for link building though – they are proven to increase the time a user spends on a particular page (which case studies show Google use as a ranking signal) and they can be used across your social channels to drive engagement, whilst generating shares and reactions.

Create The Ultimate Guide
If you are an expert in your industry, there’s no reason why you can’t create the ultimate guide! This means that you essentially create a great resource that tells the user everything there is to know about a topic relevant to your niche.

Once you have chosen a topic to create the ultimate resource, it’s time to generate something that’s engaging, packed with information and most importantly, share-worthy.

Despite the myth, creating amazing content isn’t enough alone. You need to promote that content and get it seen by the right people, which is where good old fashioned outreach comes into play.

Guest Blogging
The days of churning out poorly written, keyword rich content and placing it on a third party website is long gone, however, if guest blogging is done correctly, it can still be an effective method for boosting your website’s rankings and authority.

In today’s environment, it is imperative that these articles are written to provide value to the user and not solely for the acquisition of links. If you are guest blogging for the sole intention of creating links, it is almost guaranteed that this technique won’t work and could potentially harm your rankings.

Due to Google penalising sites that use guest posting as a link building technique, we would instead recommend planning cautiously and using the technique to boost your brand awareness, as well as reaching out to a wider audience in your niche. If you can do this well, then you will see inbound links start to flurry in as a result!

Niche Directories
Going back a few years, directories were king when it came to link building. Unfortunately for many marketers, this technique was buried when Google rolled out Penguin and many sites that were listed in thousands of directories were penalised.

Despite this, niche directories can be an extremely valuable link source. These aren’t technically traditional looking directories that list multiple website’s under a specific category, but instead could be networking groups, industry specific associations or trade organisations websites.

Here are a few things to consider:

Does the directory accept anybody that pays a fee? Avoid.
Does the directory publish content from the source that can be indexed? Avoid.
Does the directory regularly assess their outbound links to ensure all sites are still live? Consider.
Does the directory have a low spam score? Consider.
Does the directory have feature a lot of keyword rich anchor text? Avoid.

 

The Bad

Link building is an art that requires practice, skill, patience and most importantly, time. If you use the wrong techniques then you can expect to have wasted a lot of resources and could even incur a penalty from Google.

Below are some of the link building techniques that you should avoid at all costs.

Private Blog Networks
Since Penguin arrived, we have seen Google penalise private blog networks (PBNs) and the sites that they link to. Back in 2014 Google started to send out thousands of manual action notifications to webmasters that participate in these schemes, and continue to do so to this day.

Many bloggers have reported using PBNs for short-term gains, however, if you are serious about promoting your business’ online presence in the long term, you should steer clear. It’s easy for Google to recognise these networks and once they do, you will be hit with an instant penalty which will cause serious headaches.

Comment & Forum Spam
Some business owners may consider posting a link to their website on forums and comment sections of blogs, however, from an SEO perspective, this technique is going to do a lot more harm than good.

Not only does it damage the perception and value of the brand, but this technique is also likely to pass on no benefit in terms of links, due to most forums and comment sections utilising “rel=nofollow” for all outbound links.

By using this technique you are playing with fire – there are little benefits to be had, whilst you are risking a link-based penalty.

Automated Link Schemes
Link networks continue to be a problem despite Google aggressively tackling the matter for a number of years. Despite there being a high chance that your website will be penalised if you join such a scheme, many unknowing business owners sign up to automated services that result in thousands of unrelated, spammy incoming links – we can assure you that it isn’t a simple process to rectify either!

Ads that state things such as “Boost your rankings quickly” or “Get 1000 backlinks for $50” are the most obvious signs that you’re signing up to an automated link network, however, many dud SEO agencies also use them for quick results. Instead, we often see that pages are penalised, or even worse, the website is de-indexed and doesn’t appear in the SERP’s at all until the links are disavowed.

In order to avoid automated link schemes, it is important to consult with a knowledgeable SEO expert.

Sitewide Links
The best practice for link building is to place the anchor text naturally in a body of relevant text. By placing a link in a sites footer, header or sidebar, it is automatically given less weight by Google due to webmasters spamming these locations in the past.

In general, Google’s algorithm will either completely ignore inbound sitewide links or pass very little weight. The guidelines recommend that sitewide links which appear as a result things like advertisements and royalties are nofollow.

Wrapping things up…
Links are still the most important ranking factor in Google’s algorithm, however, if you get it wrong you could be in serious trouble and face a penalty.

We would love to speak to you regarding your digital strategy and offer our expert advice. If you would like to discuss your requirements, feel free to drop us a message or pop in for a coffee and discuss all things digital.

New starters join CandidSky

After spending a busy few months searching for new talent to join us, we are pleased to announce the addition of two new team members.

We would like to welcome Khurm Ahmed, Full Stack Web Developer and Vicky Aitken, Marketing Manager, to our expanding team.

Khurm joins CandidSky from Heritage Great Britain where he worked on their theme parks and heritage site websites and apps. One of his first new tasks at CandidSky is developing an app for a legal firm. Khurm commented on his move, “CandidSky offered a fantastic opportunity to work across a variety of different projects with a wide breadth of clients”.

Vicky hails from an aviation route development consultancy and has previously worked in B2B marketing positions at events and exhibitions companies, to drive delegate and exhibitor acquisition through multi-channel marketing campaigns. At CandidSky Vicky will be working to grow the client base and deliver the company’s vision.

David Beharall, Managing Director, commented, “These two new additions to the team are great news for the company at a time of new and growing client accounts. Both new members bring a wealth of knowledge and experience to benefit the business and add value to our clients. I would like to personally welcome Khurm and Vicky to the company and look forward to working together in their career development”.

CandidSky welcomes new Search Marketing Executive

We’re delighted to welcome the newest member of our award winning Search Marketing team, Aadil Seedat, to his role as Search Marketing Executive.

aadil-welcome-blog

Due to recent client wins and ever growing client accounts, Aadil joins at a very exciting time for us.

Simon Fryer, our Search Director, is particularly thrilled to see the Search Marketing team rapidly growing: “Our team consistently deliver first class results, keeping our partners coming back for more and attracting new accounts all the time. Aadil will help maintain high quality delivery across our SEO and PPC services in line with our 2016/17 growth plans.

“Attracting and retaining the right talent is very important to us, I’m positive Aadil is a great fit for our team and look forward to showing him how we do things at CandidSky.”

Aadil joins from Vision Support Services and Notch where he gained a wealth of experience supporting online business growth in the hospitality, pharmaceutical and life sciences industries.

The man himself was good enough to offer some very kind words for this blog:

“I decided I wanted to work with key players in the industry, somewhere I could learn to be the best… and my research led me to CandidSky. I was immediately impressed with their knowledge and expertise and set my sights on becoming part of the team.”

Thanks Aadil!

You can connect with Aadil to say hello on Linkedin.

CandidSky turns 10!

It was an absolute pleasure to celebrate joining the double digits club with our nearest and dearest – in style, of course.

candidsky-group

Before we get into it, let’s travel back in time.

We’ve landed in 2006. It’s a year after my knee injury and early retirement from professional football. I’m sitting in a small office in Manchester, unwrapping a new laptop and jotting down my plans for world domination.

Back then, I was just getting into the business of ecommerce and website design. It quickly proved to be a worthwhile venture and led to plenty of valuable contacts. It also afforded me the opportunity to branch out into other areas of digital marketing, which is where today’s CandidSky started to build its reputation.

Fast forward to 2016.

CandidSky has evolved to become a key player in Manchester’s digital scene. Our team has grown every year without fail and our services now cover all aspects of digital marketing – from technical SEO, to content, to conversion optimisation. 

For this, I’d like to thank the whole team for all their hard work and development over the years. I am so lucky to have such a fantastic bunch of people to share my time with and I still learn so much by coming into the office every day. Special thanks to my business partner, Tom Lambert, who has been instrumental in our growth. CandidSky wouldn’t be the company it is today without his efforts.

The big ‘1-0’.

Conavon Court – aka CandidSky HQ – has become the perfect environment for us to progress, so we decided to transform the office space into a custom hangout spot complete with bar, dancefloor and graphic projections, for one night only.

It looked pretty awesome, I have to say, and it was great to have so many friendly faces turn out for the occasion. Setting up a business has a massive impact on others around you, so it’s important to share in success with friends and family wherever possible. I’d like to thank my family for their continued support (especially my wife, Samantha!) as I really could not have come this far without them. 

Check out our photo reel below…

[metaslider id=14997]

I’d also like to thank our clients for their continued faith and trust in our expertise. Without this, we simply don’t have a business. The work we undertake for clients allows us to challenge ourselves, push boundaries and keep us at the forefront of digital. We are incredibly grateful for these opportunities.

Not only do we remain committed to supporting the growth of local businesses, we now also work closely with national brands such as Sage, Royal Mail and Peninsula. Both our trophy cabinet and portfolio have seen a massive improvement off the back of this – something I’m incredibly proud of.

Just one more thing…

Ten years on from our beginning and it really is an exciting time to be a digital company in the city of Manchester. The digital community is thriving here and will continue to be a key factor in the growth of our Northern economy for years to come. It’s wonderful to be right in the mix of it all.

Once more I’d like to extend the biggest of thanks to all those who joined us in celebration on the weekend, and to all those who have supported our cause over the past ten years – friends, family, colleagues and clients. I’m proud to say that, together, all of these people have made CandidSky who we are today.

Here’s to the next decade, we’ve got an exciting few years ahead!

 

CandidSky win ‘Best Use of Search & CRO’ at 2016 Big Chip Awards

An award for conversion optimisation

What a night!

The plush Midland Hotel in Manchester played host to the 18th annual Big Chip Awards last week – the longest running digital industry awards in the UK. We were over the moon to scoop ‘Best Use of Search & CRO’ for our work with Peninsula Business Services, beating off stiff competition in the process. 

The judging panel were particularly impressed with the quality of results our search and conversion optimisation teams produced in partnership with Peninsula in such a short space of time.

Big Chip celebrates the best and brightest digital talent in the northern reaches of the UK and has an unrivalled reputation for judging consistency and integrity. This makes placing the award on our mantelpiece all the more special…

big-chip-award-traophy

 

What the judges had to say

‘A happy client whose feedback said it all. Great example of the results that can be achieved when strategy and content are combined at the heart of a project.’

If you want to find out more about other awards check out the Big Chip Awards: Winners article in the MEN.

Once again congratulations to the winners, nominees and all involved in again making the event one of the stand-out events in the digital industry calendar.

CandidSky announced as finalist for RAR Digital Awards 2016

CandidSky has been announced as a finalist for 3 RAR Digital Awards – ‘Best Search’, ‘Best Client Service’ and ‘Best Value for Money’.

We hold the RAR Digital Awards in particularly high esteem – being shortlisted means being recognised by the people who matter most – our clients.

rar-blog

How it works

Recommended Agency Register (RAR) is the place brands look for a trusted, high-performing agency. We became finalists very much like this:

  1. RAR contacted our clients and asked them to rate us on a range criteria
  2. All of our clients gave us excellent ratings
  3. We beat over 7,000 registered agencies to become RAR Digital Award Finalists in 3 categories!

Thank you

We’re no strangers to the RAR Digital Awards – this is the third time we’ve been nominated for ‘Best Search’ and the second for ‘Best Client Service’.

It’s very humbling to be nominated for our digital services and performance again. We’d like to say a huge ‘thank you’ to all of our digital partners – we literally couldn’t be here without you!

The Awards

We’ll be donning our black ties in The Lancaster, London, on Thursday 16th June for the main event! Watch this space for our winners announcement on the 29th…

 

5 tips for nurturing a happy, creative & motivated team

Office culture is one of the most influential factors in keeping people engaged with their work on a daily basis – here’s how we unlock the full potential of our team…
f

CandidSky office signagef

1. Nurture great relationships

Take care of your employees, and they’ll take care of your business. It’s as simple as that.
– Richard Branson

We are social beings by nature and strong team bonds lay the foundation for a happy, successful company. Positive relationships between employees have a tremendous impact on job satisfaction, they mean colleagues genuinely enjoy helping each other in times of need. Take care of your employees and help them support one another.

Company meetings provide an excellent opportunity to commend outstanding work, share announcements and provide feedback. But what about outside of work? At CandidSky, our resident ‘Chief of Fun’ is tasked with the duty of getting people together to explore and share passions other than their day-to-day work. So far, we’ve enjoyed go-karting, film nights, Mario Kart tournaments, house parties and office Olympics – to name a handful…

2. Prioritise health and wellbeing

Paying attention to the health of both body and mind is so critical for our performance. A lack of exercise in a busy schedule is easily overlooked; but being busy should never be an excuse not to look after ourselves. When we exercise, our bodies release natural stress relievers, endorphins, and our blood gets filled with oxygen which stimulates brain activity and helps to stave off the threat of illness.

We’ve also introduced regular yoga sessions and table tennis into our office space, as well as scheduling a weekly order of fresh fruit and nuts that arrives each Monday morning. This provides us with the chance to take a quick break, stretch the legs and enjoy a healthy snack.

3. Utilise office space and support collaboration

“Ideas don’t happen in the boardroom, they happen in corridors.”
– Steve Jobs

Sensory stimulants in the office environment contribute to a feeling of fulfilment and enjoyment when carrying out daily tasks. Designing organised, uncluttered, collaborative work space motivates people to produce fantastic pieces of work.

One of the ways in which we did this was to reserve 60% of our office space for collaborative work. We avoid putting up too many walls that segregate the space, so people can easily support each other with their work. 

 

The Studio – Our primary desk area
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Blackboard and Bar Area

The Bar – A dedicated workbench for sitting or standing
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The Lounge

The Lounge – A comfy area for informal discussion


Equally, we understand that in an open plan office, private space is also incredibly important. Whether meeting clients, making a phone call or simply wanting a bit of peace and quiet, we made sure our space catered for those moments.
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The Boardroom

The Boardroom – A professional space for formal meetings
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The Lodge – A private capsule set-up for less formal meetings and conference calls
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The Loft

The Loft – A quiet spot to get away from the action
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4. Increase productivity and reduce distractions

We all experience distractions from various sounds and noises,  inside and outside of the office. Music playing from the speakers is a great addition to our office that sets an ambient background, acting as a neutral filter for otherwise distracting noises. More than that, it provides a shared reference point for creative conversation – as well as highlighting some interesting musical tastes! 

Our culture also strongly encourages regular microbreaks to help clear the mind and regain focus. Office space that allows for comfortable relaxation and access to sensory stimuli such as Lego, mindfulness colouring books and video games yields fantastic results in keeping the team energised and lucid. You can read more about the power of microbreaks in this post written by our MD, David Beharall.

5. Learn and share knowledge

Mental stimulation reduces the risk of cognitive decline, and trains the brain to be faster and stronger. Healthy minds support happy and motivated people which leads to better quality of lives that unsurprisingly results in a higher calibre more productive workforce.

We realise that when everyone is focussed on producing great work, personal learning and progression can often be de-prioritised. So we recently introduced lunchtime lectures where the team present new findings, share their expertise and discuss ideas they have had or have read about. More on that in our upcoming video blog series.


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“Food for thought and tasty snacks guarantee healthy habits.” – Jakub Wawszczyk, CandidSky
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Technology gives us access to thousands of online courses and tutorials, whether in the office, on the bus or at home. Providing access to online portals gives staff the freedom and flexibility to enhance their skills.

Certifications provide a good way of tracking progress and bring value to the business. We encourage the team to bring new learning opportunities to us so we can discuss the benefits, help them organise the course and support them in funding it. 

What’s next?

As a tightly knit team we strive to always make incremental improvements to our work space and culture.

We actually have our hearts set on building a treehouse, complete with private space downstairs and beanbag area upstairs that overlooks the office! We’ll keep you posted…

You can also connect with me on LinkedIn and Twitter.

Stuck in a Creative Slump? Here’s a Source of Inspiration

When your job requires you to be creative all the time, it’s easy to fall into a slump. Last week I found myself in that exact position.

It was 8am and the first task of the day was to come up with some creative ideas for our new office. To kickstart the process I fired up the Nespresso machine with a double Kazaar (the strongest coffee available) and sat down to work.

Around an hour later it was clear the slump had well and truly kicked in and no ideas had formed.

These slumps happen to the best of us and in my experience I find it’s best to not fight them. One of the quickest ways to inspire creativity that I know of is to find inspiration in others. Usually I find myself browsing through a few Pinterest images or watching a couple of TED Talks.

On this particular occasion I decided to turn to the team for help in signposting some of their favourite sources of inspiration.

We setup a new channel on Slack (our internal collaboration tool) and named the channel ‘Inspire’. Within a few minutes the content came flooding in. Around 30 minutes later the slump had passed, the spark was back and flame was lit again.

So in anticipation for your next dry spell (and mine) I’ve compiled a selection of the best content I received.

Top 5 Quotes

  1. We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them. – Albert Einstein
  2. One who makes no mistakes makes nothing at all. – Giacomo Casanova
  3. Have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow know what you truly want to become. – Steve Jobs
  4. Quality means doing it right when no one is looking. – Henry Ford
  5. Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once he grows up. –Pablo Picasso

Recommended Video: Simon Sinek – Start With Why

If you are a business owner, director or hold a position working within marketing or branding I highly recommend this Ted Talk from Simon Sinek.

 

What Sir Bobby Robson Taught Me About Building a Team

Football fans around the world are remembering the great Sir Bobby Robson, six years on from his death. The former England manager passed away on July 31, 2009 after a long battle with cancer.

Like many others I reminisce about Sir Bobby’s time in charge of England in the 1990 World Cup and his many other achievements in football. I also have very fond memories of him as my manager during his time in charge of Newcastle United back in 2001.

During my football career I’ve had the pleasure of being managed by some of the giants of the game; Kevin Keegan, Kenny Dalglish and Ruud Gullit to name a few but Sir Bobby Robson was the only one that truly left a mark on me. He had exceptionally good man management skills and whenever you had a conversation with him you got the sense he genuinely cared about you.

My fondest memory is of a conversation with him during a coach trip to London for a game. Typically on a coach trip you’d have groups of players engaging in card games, watching movies or listening to music but for me I very often read books on business or technology. As you can imagine I got a little bit of stick from some of the other players but it was always in good humour and it actually helped me settle into the first team.

On this particular trip I drew the attention of Alan Shearer who was having a little bit of fun with me and asking me about my ‘business empire’ when Bobby Robson called me to the front of the coach. Normally when this happened it was to tell me I either was or wasn’t going to be playing the following day but on this occasion he caught me completely by surprise.

He sat me down and asked about my interest in business and seemed genuinely interested and curious. During the conversation we explored the many similarities between business and football.

At the time I was 21 years of age and I’d been at the club since the age of 9 so this particular conversation was fascinating but I kind of took it for granted. In football a lot of extraordinary things happen and you kind of get used to them. I’d met the Queen, was part of an FA Cup final squad and played first team football for my home town club so why would a 30 minute conversation stand out? At the time it didn’t.

However about 3 years ago I found myself reading an article in a newspaper that stressed the importance of developing people in business and suddenly the conversation with Bobby Robson came flooding back.

It was a particular part of the conversation in which he stressed “David, business is similar to football if you think about it, you need great strategy and tactics but it’s the continuous development of great people and the team that ensures long term success”

The advice may be simple but it’s not so simple to implement, it takes time and patience to find great people and time and patience to build a team. To continuously develop a team also takes a huge amount of effort and focus.

These past few years we’ve all worked hard to put this advice into practice at CandidSky and the results speak for themselves. We’ve achieved outstanding results for our clients, we’ve been nominated for awards and the business has remained financially strong as we move into new premises.

We remain committed to the principle that the development of our team and the success it brings our clients are not ends in themselves nor are they mutually exclusive. It’s a continuous focus on development day in day out because that’s what creates impact and results for our clients.

The key part of the advice from Sir Bobby that really resonates with me is the importance of putting people at the heart of things. That’s something I saw with Sir Bobby, he always had time for his team, he was always on the training pitch developing people.

He extended his time off the pitch to medical staff, the kit team, the cooks, the players families and everyone else involved in the football club, he considered them all part of the team.

I’ll leave you with this short video in which he gives an emotional speech as he receives the Lifetime Achievement award in 2007 – I think it demonstrates this point perfectly.

CandidSky nominated for ‘value for money’ RAR Award

RAR Award stage
RAR Award stage

RAR Award stage

At last year’s Recommended Agency Register (RAR) Digital-only awards we were pleased to be rated in the top 3% of agencies in the UK for Search Marketing, Strategic Thinking, and Email Marketing. Whilst we were proud to have made the shortlist our competitive nature compelled us to do even better in 2015.

As a Digital Agency, our focus is firmly on RAR’s Digital Awards, and we have been working hard for our clients (on whose ratings the awards are based) in anticipation of the 2015 Digital Awards on June 18th.

In the meantime, we happen to have been named as Finalists for the RAR Awards – which includes all types of Marketing Agencies – in the “Best Value for Money” category. We are delighted to hear our clients feel that every penny spent with us is a good investment, and we look forward to the Awards on April 22nd.”