It's been a very busy month for us all at Focus Towers! We've had a number of client websites going live and excitingly today we have launched the Trade Store for our long term client Barriers Direct. This has been a great project for us to sink our teeth into; it's given us the challenge of creating a sub brand which is part of the Barriers Direct family whilst having a sense of being its own entity. We've also had to tailor the site to a very specific audience making it as useful as possible for our target audience to get the service they need. The technical demands of the project were also high - grouping all the many, many products into easy to navigate categories was a great challenge. We're really pleased with the result! Take a look and let us know your thoughts.
Created on Tuesday March 22 2011 02:24 PM
Today sees Twitter turn 5 years old and with it celebrate a meteoric rise to fame and popularity. Currently 1 billion tweets are being sent a week, indicating that the social media era is definitely here to stay. This fascination with the ability to broadcast ourselves to the world has changed the way we interact with each other. We can't seem to get enough social media, if we're not tweeting our latest thoughts or facebooking our friends we're watching blockbusters about the creation of our favourite social network.
It is a fact: Facebook and Twitter have defined a generation. Facebook and Twitter have a magic formula which attracts thousands of people. People who could become potential customers, there is a huge opportunity for small businesses to tap into that market through the platform that these social networks provide. Social media has replaced print advertisements, with an estimated 85% of small businesses launching social media campaigns this year.This new form of communication offers a way for businesses to personify themselves whilse using micro blogging as a sales and marketing tool.
We can see where this is going and are already doing social media campaigns for some of our clients. If you think social media could make a big change to your business we'd be happy to put together a social media strategy and implement it for you, don't hesitate to contact us.
Created on Monday March 21 2011 10:44 AM
The studio has been very busy recently wrapping up some new projects, one of which is Thinking Ahead - created on behalf of the Neurological Alliance of Ireland.
NAI is the national advocacy umbrella for neurological care in Ireland, made up of over thirty statutory organisations working with people who have neurological conditions. The new web site was published in time for Brain Awareness Week, running from the 7th March 2011.
The web site includes a facility which allows users to find their local TD and send them an email or letter - lobbying for their support towards the campaign - and already over one thousand people have signed up.
Created on Tuesday March 15 2011 04:49 PM
Hi everyone, my name is Kate and I'm very excited to be the new Account Executive at Focus! I've just moved to Bristol, after working in London since graduating last summer, and I'm very happy to be a part of this exciting digital agency! I'm looking forward to getting stuck into all their latest projects!
Created on Monday March 14 2011 12:04 PM
Puzzled Out, a tool for surveying young people about their experiences with mental health services is now up and running.
The site's main aim is to give young people an accessible platform to share their opinions about the services they have received and to feed back on what they would like to see changed. It's a first for us and will hopefully play a pivotal role in the way that mental health services are delivered to young people, by asking them what they need. We worked hard with CERNIS to ensure that these young people were involved at every stage of the design process and to make sure that the site was as easy to use as possible, whether you're 8 or 80!
Part of the challenge involved the building of a bespoke surveying tool, that would not only look attractive to those using it, but also deliver measurable results and reporting that could be segmented and interpreted by CERNIS. It's a fantastic tool that we're really proud of, and it looks pretty good too!
Created on Wednesday March 09 2011 04:50 PM
This is part of an occasional series of posts on what we're working on in the studio at the moment.
We're presently expanding the facilities in the next version of Quantum - our website management system - to support content that's spread over multiple sites. We've noticed an increasingly common requirement from clients for managing multiple websites through a single administration facility. Sometimes, from the users's viewpoint, these websites will be sections of a website - e.g. separately themed sections of the main site - and sometimes the websites will appear to be entirely separate - perhaps as one main site, and several "micro-sites".
We've always supported content management on many sites through a single Quantum administration interface - administrators then have the advantage of only a single username and password to manage, for example. What we've not supported until now is entries - whether they be blog articles or events in a calendar - being shown on any combination of these sites.
Now, if "Main Site", "Microsite A" and "Microsite B" all have a blog, administrators will be able to post one blog article, and ask for it to appear on any individual site, all sites, or any combination of the sites.
The best thing is that this support is baked across all administration sections - so it supports blog articles, events, news sections, polls - or anything else Quantum supports on your site.
If you're interested in this new feature - or if you'd like us to investigate adding a blog or another section to one of your existing micro-sites - please do get in touch with us, and we'd be pleased to talk to you further.
Created on Monday January 17 2011 06:44 PM
2011 has started with a bang in the office with lots of new projects kicking off - amongst them a brand new web site for Sharpak, one of the UK's leading plastic packaging manufacturers.
Sharpak, who's clients include Sainsburys, Tesco and Asda, were recently acquired by French company Groupe Guillin and this is the first web site within the group to get an overhaul. We've created a fresher, cleaner design and an improved product enquiry system.
More news to come on our other work very soon - including three new web sites for our friends in Dublin, the Multiple Sclerosis Society of Ireland and new digital marketing campaigns for both Scottish and Southern Energy and Marks and Spencer.
Created on Friday January 14 2011 05:40 PM
Google announced on Monday that their increasingly popular browser Chrome will be dropping native support for the H.264 video format.
As the latest versions of browsers are being released there is increasing support for native video playback, ie. users will no longer need proprietary plugins such as Flash or Silverlight to watch video on the web. This means each browser has to support certain video formats themselves. The battle at the moment is between the proprietary H.264 (heavily supported by Apple and now Microsoft) and open-source WebM / Ogg Theroa formats (supported by Mozilla and now Google).
From the Chromium blog:
Though H.264 plays an important role in video, as our goal is to enable open innovation, support for the codec will be removed and our resources directed towards completely open codec technologies.
At focus we think open-source is great, in fact we build our web sites on open-source technologies every day. However, we think this move by Google (who's motto is "Don't be evil" by the way) is bad for a number of reasons.
H.264 is an established format. Millions of mobile devices support hardware acceleration of H.264 video and there are millions of videos already on the web encoded in the format (including every video on the Google owned Youtube).
Users are still stuck using Flash. Any Chrome user trying to view an H.264 video will have to use Flash as a 'middleman', slowing the process of moving away from Flash to HTML5 / native browser support for video.
This isn't about
enabling open innovation at all. This is about competiton with Apple in the mobile market and trying to make life as difficult as possible for them. Which is fine in itself, but not when it's being diguised as
There are licensing question marks around the WebM format. Promoted as completely open-source, there are reports that the WebM format may have licensing issues of it's own.
In the end I think despite both H.264 & Flash being proprietary technologies, H.264 is the better more transparent one for the user. The licensing cost is paid by the Browser vendors (let's face it, Google, Apple, Microsoft can afford it) not the developer or end user.
Created on Thursday January 13 2011 11:45 AM
We're on the hunt for an account exec / manager to help look after our clients and get stuck into all things digital marketing.
As you can see, we are one of Bristol's longest established digital studios, providing lots of web and digital stuff to people like Bristol City Council, Sustrans and The Multiple Sclerosis Society of Ireland. Have a wander round our web site to find out more.
The sort of person we are after might:
- have a year or two of experience in a similar role at a web or digital agency.
- or be an enthusiastic graduate with a marketing qualification, looking to kick start a career in digital.
- have experience of the web design / development project life cycle - this would be a bonus.
- have excellent communication and organisation skills as you might be juggling!
- most important: a real people person with bags of enthusiasm for digital and for being a key part of our team.
The sort of work you might be doing includes (but not restricted to):
- briefing projects and work into our technical team, making sure they understand the requirements and letting our clients know progress and updates through clear communications and reports.
- assessing projects against Service Levels and KPIs on an ongoing basis, generating reports and holding regular client reviews.
- helping us create and manage digital marketing plans, search strategy, email marketing and using social media.
- helping us expand our products and services and cross selling into current and new clients.
- assisting with new business sales.
We'll pay a competitive salary based on your experience and knowledge - but this isn't a senior role. We'll offer lots of training and we do our best to send our people to important seminars, exhibitions and conferences.
We're based in Westbury on Trym, to the left of Bristol and we would probably require you have a driving licence as you'll be out and about visiting our clients.
Please strictly no agencies.
If you'd like more details or would like to apply, then drop us a CV and letter to:
and lets get talking. We look forward to hearing from you.
Created on Thursday December 09 2010 10:21 AM
Virgin Media are launching their latest advertising campaign soon, with none other than the crazed Mexican mouse of Looney Tunes fame as its mascot: Speedy Gonzales.
Now I like Speedy Gonzales. He's efficient, cute and more to the point, quick. Which is why I'm a bit unsure about his appointment as spokesperson for Virgin Media broadband. It's not that quick!
Not that this is a problem limited to Virgin Media. The broadband speeds we're promised (up to 10Mb, for example) are rarely delivered, and internet service providers are getting away with promising the earth but not delivering.
With 2Mbps being promised by the government across the UK by the end of the life of the current parliament (the previous deadline was 2012), perhaps a 'middle-of-the-road runner' would have been a more apt choice than good old Speedy
Created on Monday October 25 2010 11:58 AM
Bristol: 0117 949 8008