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The Easter bunny has paid us a visit at Focus Towers! Yummy - thank you @si_newing, posted about 19 hours ago

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The future of online in mobile and TV?

The future of online in mobile and TV?

I like most people have read the countless amounts of predictions for 2012, most, if not all, mention how mobile is going to make a large impact on the future of online. I wrote a blog article last year saying that sites should consider mobile to complement desktop development. This year companies will see that they need to evolve their web presence to incorporate mobile or be missed by a large number of visitors. Visitors will spend less time, visit fewer pages and bounce more from sites they cannot view through mobile devices.

Smartphone and iPhone use in the UK is growing at a huge rate almost on a daily basis – I saw a figure this week that over 6m iOS devices were registered on Christmas Day, imagine the figure for Android devices!

People are also coming round to the idea of tablets; many were sceptical if there was a marketplace for such a device. I was one of these…until I got my iPad. I hardly use my laptop now.

Another big change, maybe not to web development, but to the way people interact with online is going to be smart TV’s. They’ve been around for a while, but this year it’s going to enter the mainstream. With the Olympics, Euro 2012 and the Diamond Jubilee retailers are going to be slashing prices and pushing us all to buy that new 50” TV. There have been some interesting developments this week from the CES of a Google TV, Apple TV set and an Angry Birds app! I have a TiVo box from Virgin and I can now watch YouTube videos, catch up on missed programs or radio shows through the iPlayer, I could even view photos on Facebook or post updates to Twitter – all through my TV.

Online is being integrated into our lives on a daily basis and 2012 will bring with it many changes – some of which could be game changers whether we are users, web developers or designers……interesting times ahead for us all!

Created on Wednesday January 11 2012 10:37 AM

Tags: mobile-internet online-tv internet digital 2012 video web iphone ipad apps smartphones

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Welcome to 2012

Welcome to 2012

So it’s here 2012, the year that promises much. The Olympics comes to Britain, the Queen celebrates her Diamond Jubilee, and the nation’s expectations will once again be on the national football team in Poland and Ukraine during the summer months.

2012 also represents a significant year in Focus’s long history, we are going to be launching a new of services during the year and have some very exciting things lined up! We’ll be spreading the word on this throughout the year. We also think that 2012 is going to be a BIG year for digital – the internet is maturing, social media is heading into its teenage years and mobile is growing and growing.

We hope 2012 is a great year for you all! 

Created on Tuesday January 03 2012 02:33 PM

Tags: focus

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A Yummy Christmas

A massive thank you to Barriers Direct for our Christmas present which arrived this morning!

Our Xmas Pressie!

Annette Ryske

Created on Tuesday December 20 2011 01:17 PM


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Time to connect....

2012 will see us launch 'focusconnect' - a new way for local authorities to manage and publish family information online.

focusconnect is built around the principle of a centralised database that provides information through dedicated web sites - with each site tailored to a specific audience such as young people, or parents with disabled children, or adults with mental health problems. It's designed to help local authorities save money whilst maintaining flexibility and control over their data.

We'll be shouting loudly about focusconnect come the new year where we'll be bursting with case studies and running workshops and seminars across the country - but in the meantime if you'd like any information right now then please email us at:

and we'll be in touch!
Watch this space for more about focusconnect.

Created on Tuesday December 20 2011 11:13 AM


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Christmas 2011

Christmas 2011

Can it really be twelve months since we last wrote a blog article wishing everyone a happy Christmas? Time has flown, and we haven't had a chance to tell anyone about the things we've been up to during a very busy 2011 - but we've all made new years resolutions to make sure we shout more in 2012.

So the studio is effectively closed over the festive period from 3pm on Friday 23rd December until Tuesday 3rd January 2012 but we will have an emergency email address in operation for anyone needing to contact us instead of drinking and eating turkey - we can't promise an immediate response but we'll do our best to help. Please use:

All that remains is for us to wish you all an excellent Christmas and New Year and we look forward to seeing you in 2012.

Simon Newing

Created on Tuesday December 20 2011 09:47 AM

Tags: christmas

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Developing a Facebook Strategy

Developing a Facebook Strategy

We were approached by a client recently to advise on setting up a Facebook presence for a organisation whose target market is vulnerable children.  Hence the brief provided was not a normal Facebook presence and had a strict criteria list.

The strict criteria list related to maintaining privacy and reducing any associated risks involved in using the social network to communicate with these children.

We spent some time reviewing this list as we had experience of setting up Facebook pages for other companies and organisations whose main aim was to promote themselves through Facebook. This project’s aim was promoting the organisation BUT also ensuring communication from users was minimal.  This was something which we knew would be difficult, as this was going against what Facebook was designed for.

During our investigation we set up an array of pages, groups and profiles to understand how each would work with these key requirements. We reported back to the project team our thoughts and findings which included the challenges, issues and advantages each of these options offered.

Once an agreement was made on a preferred method, we worked on reducing the risk associated with this option. We successfully built up a test page which met the criteria list and we also identified some risks which were not considered initially by the project team to ensure our solution had the lowest risks possible. The project group are going to implement our findings once they have recieved sign off.

Social media was THE buzz word for 2011 and a lot of companies, groups and organisations are jumping on the bandwagon without thinking about the how, where and why? We’ve developed social media strategies for a number of clients this year to ensure they understand the reasons why they are doing something and the best way to use social media for their goals and aims. 

Created on Wednesday December 07 2011 04:14 PM

Tags: facebook social privacy

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QR Codes....will they last through 2012?

QR Codes....will they last through 2012?

QR codes have been in use over the last few years, but are they a passing trend or do they have ability to become a marketing tool for the next decade?

It still remains to be seen the effectiveness of a QR code campaign. Recently it feels like marketers are adopting a policy of ‘stick a QR code on it’. A recent Econsultancy survey conducted online using TolunaQuick found that only 31% of UK consumers knew what QR codes were or what they are for, and just 19% had scanned one on their mobiles. I also recently saw a billboard advert on the side of a building with a large QR code 100 metres from the ground – not exactly an ideal place for someone to scan it.

I have however seen some really intuitive uses of QR codes in the news recently. eBay have set up a pop up virtual shop in London where you scan a QR code to make an instant purchase, Dominoes have been using QR codes on their menus for a while now to both incentivise and also push users to their mobile apps and sites.

The news this week that John Lewis has set up a virtual shop in Brighton. All of the retailer's ‘top 30 things to buy for Christmas’ are included in a window display at a branch of Waitrose. This is to promote the ‘click and collect' option John Lewis is currently offering. I’d imagine that if this uptake of major brands and retailers continues, QR codes will continue to be used. It could be the marketing tool that bridges the gap between traditional shopping and eCommerce. Who knows it could be the future of retailing – smaller shops which carry no stock and only display QR codes??

Created on Tuesday November 29 2011 09:52 AM

Tags: pr qrcodes marketing smartphones

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New girl, new start (and a nice new coat)

Two weeks in. So far so good. Quite enjoying the 'park-in-Clifton-and-walk-to-work-in-trainers' routine. Finding it weird to be in the minority as regards tea drinking (I do, most don't) - feel like some kind of caffeine-addicted loon. Learning new things and sharing some too. Getting to grips with (great) new systems and discovering we do some really clever, creative and inspiring work here at Focus.

Hands are dirty with reporting, results and analytics. Eyes are full of Clifton Triangle and all it's lunchtime temptations. Ears are listening to everyone's conversations and starting to make sense of 'how things are done here'. Already proud of our work and wanting to tell everyone how great we are!

After 12 years in my previous agency, it's been a big move - but a really positive one. I'm excited to be part of such an ambitious team. And Kirsty - let's keep these boys in check! Thanks guys.

Oh, and this is a nice bit of fun:

Annette Ryske

Created on Thursday November 24 2011 01:46 PM


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What is Digital Strategy and how does it work?

What is Digital Strategy and how does it work?

Digital strategy is something which every company should be considering, but what is a digital strategy and how do you go about developing one?  

According to Wikipedia a digital strategy is……'the process of specifying an organisation's vision, goals, opportunities and initiatives in order to maximize the business benefits digital investments and efforts provide to the organisation.'

At Focus we have worked on a large number of digital strategies for our clients as well as our own. If we had to explain a digital strategy to a client we would say that it is the initial and ongoing development of processes that will achieve set goals and aims using digital technologies and channels.

We’ve put together our thoughts on the process involved in developing a digital strategy.

The initial thoughts that need to take place when developing a digital strategy is reviewing your current processes and procedures, digital channels currently utilised and results of these activities over a period. Of course you may not currently be undertaking any at the moment. 

Once you looked at how you’ve done things – it’s now time to look ahead. Working out a list of goals that you aim to achieve is key part to the process of developing a digital strategy. This may include some of your current business objectives.

It’s then all about understanding how to achieve these objectives, is it through SEO, social media, development of your website? Once you’ve understood what is it you want to achieve and how you’re going to do it – it’s about the process and procedures to achieve your desired objectives. Another key element to remember is measurement – you’ll want to measure your return on investment.

Once you’ve spent time implementing these ideas into practice you’ll need to continually evaluate the results and ensure you evolve your strategy over time – we here at Focus love the phrase ‘continuous improvement’. It a methodology which is extremely important in the world of digital. 

Created on Tuesday November 22 2011 12:56 PM

Tags: website web-development seo social-networking focus digital digitalmarketing

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How, What and When to Blog?

How, What and When to Blog?

At Focus we love to blog and we’re sometimes asked by clients how often should they be blogging on their site, what should they be blogging about and how long should the blog post be?

We don’t think that there are any hard and fast rules for the above but all are genuine questions that should be asked by website administrators.

First thing would be to identify your goals of blogging in order to develop a clear strategy. Why are you blogging? it to provide information, content or SEO?

Best practice decitates that you should try to blog as often as possible, we would say once a week is a minimum, but it’s important to make sure the content is relevant to your audience, current affairs and time of the year. Don’t blog for the sake of it – make sure you have a point to each post and ensure it will engage your audience.

Blog posts can be any length but we would suggest something short and snappy if your posting something more general (a few paragraphs) and a bit longer if you trying to enforce a point, provide information or engage your audience.

One other key point we would say is spread the load between employees – one person only has so many ideas and it can be a great to get different writing styles and opinion into your blog posts. 

Created on Monday November 14 2011 03:41 PM

Tags: website blog

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