Articles

How you read is as important as how you look

dictionaryNot everybody can write copy

It sounds arrogant but there's more to writing copy than stringing words together. You need to have a plan, a structure and a point. The tone needs to fit the cause and the subject must rise above the decoration. Drafts are pared down and for online use the demands of SEO, highlighting key words and phrases taken into reasonable account.

Pride in the written word has always been part of my working ethos and providing my clients with quality written content is a key element of most projects.

The current drive to showcase quality content above all else in search results instigated by Google is vindication indeed. If your words shine, then so will your website.

Many clients provide us with raw text which we can then polish, or we can write from our own notes. Headlines, body and captions can be a time consuming labour, so why not let us look after the whole project?

And the same goes for images.

Stock shots play their part but using outdated clip art or poor quality photography of dubious origin paints a subliminal message about the publisher. With our professional photographic experience, quickly coming up with a photo, be it a landscape from our extensive library or a humble pack shot, care is taken at every step.

We are also able to look after specialist work such as aerial photography from properly licensed and insured professional drones.

Quality is assured and if the work is commissioned you get the rights to use the images for their original purpose in perpetuity.

We also work with customer supplied images, optimising and manipulating each by hand to make them render perfectly online.

A website, brochure or ad is a framework that needs to be dressed, and making you and your products look amazing is all part of the Electric Farm service.

You can see a small sample of what is on offer at www.vyso.co.uk

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Travel & Tour Operating

beachForged in the crucible of the cut-throat travel market

The travel business has changed dramatically over the years, with the few remaining major tour operators buying up independents, hoovering up market share in a race to reap economies of scale and bolster shrinking margins. In the skies, low cost airlines have replaced charter flights and the last minute travel bargains have largely gone. The internet has made everyone a travel agent, a profession that is looking increasingly precarious.

It used to be so different. After an early career in photography and then at various west end ad agencies learning the craft of advertising production. Eventually moving to the family marketing agency I was at last able to use my creative talents, liaising between clients and working up ideas with the art directors. But the cherry was the freedom to write my own copy; my favourite client was a revolutionary young Greek Island specialist called SunMed Holidays. This was before the EC Package Travel Directive took all the fun out of describing hotels; when we said an apartment block was dreadful with frogs living in the shower, people loved the honesty and booked, and when we were so horrified by the behaviour of a frankly mad hotel manager we named his property 'Fawlty Towers'; it sold out.

On the back of this innovative marketing approach SunMed blossomed, eventually becoming Redwing and then Inspirations. By 1997 the Inspirations group controlled 100 travel agencies, two major tour operators, Inspirations & Style, an aviation brokerage and had bought Caledonian Airways from British Airways. Now in the early 90's, what had started as a tiny operation behind a shop front the Fulham Road was carrying 2.7M passengers a year and employed 3,000 staff.

The agency had grown to cope with the workload and with it our reputation. United Airlines and TWA joined our roster along with a host of smaller tour operators keen to enjoy our proven skills and efficient production. Inspirations was eventually acquired by an American conglomerate and the industry wide consolidation that by then was in full swing, resulted in Inspirations being merged with Thomas Cook; our agency was seen as too small a player to service what was now a multi billion pound business and we parted company.

But whilst it lasted, what a ride it was! SunMed really was a phenomenon of its age, but it demonstrated a great marketing truth. If you can find a niche, a hook if you will, something that sets you apart from the crowd, the market will come knocking at your door.

But that was far from the end. In subsequent years I've worked for a diverse range of travel companies, from those specialising in the supply of tour operating software, to hugely successful online operators and even with some friends setting up and selling an online travel insurance company.

Recognising the web as a game changer from early on, we setup a web division within the Agency that was to end up being over half the business. We built a hugely complex and secure recruitment website for the NHS, a B2B music catalogue system for Universal Music Publishing as well as designing and building websites for the Walt Disney Travel Company in the UK. The experience gained from working with some of the best travel management and web teams in the country was illuminating.

Latterly I went back to my SunMed roots, working with a great team under inspirational owner and MD Vedat Demren, to develop the Turkey specialist, Holidays 4U. With the main product aimed at budget conscious travellers and a unique flight-only product called Aegean, the key was low cost brochures coupled with clever websites; breaking the mould we simplified the process of searching and booking for a holiday, growing H4U into the UK's largest specialist to Turkey. Sadly Vedat passed away, and without his leadership the company failed to weather a perfect storm of the recession and increased bonding requirements from the CAA.

When I planned this page it was to emphasise how much knowledge and experience Electric Farm has to offer, but I now find myself having to apologise for a self-indulgent stroll down memory lane.

Great fun though.

Contact Steve 

Harvest Festival Gallery

Over the years we've worked on a huge range of projects for all kinds of companies and organisations and we've chosen this small selection to give you an idea of the wide ranging services available from Electric Farm. Whatever your needs might be, you have nothing to lose asking us for a free review and quotation.

IdeasElectric Farm is happy to work with any size or kind of business.

Careful to avoid preconceptions, we always begin by asking common sense questions; you know what makes your business works, where you want to go and what makes your existing customers tick.

Our first task is to get to know you and all that you do, before comparing your offer with your public face; this exercise is informative for all involved.

Only when we are sure we have the full picture will we be in the position to make things better.

Electric Farm provides:

  • Web Development Services
  • Content Managed Websites
  • Project Management
  • Marketing Consultancy
  • Graphic Design
  • Print Services
  • Photography
  • Copywriting

You may just want some short-term help with a leaflet, advertisement or brochure, or we might be looking at a larger project such as a website or marketing review.

Bringing together all that we have discovered, we apply our extensive experience to come up with a sensible and pragmatic approach to your needs.

And so you receive an outline proposal and a clear estimate to consider.

If you choose to accept then we can work up a more detailed project plan, or if time is an issue we can get on with the work.

You won't be charged a bean until we are all agreed.

Contact us for a fast quote 

About Electric Farm

steve-vyseI'm Steve Vyse, and Electric Farm is my show. After decades of commuting to London running a mid-sized advertising agency there came a time to review the way I was doing business. The recession was very real for us and after seeing the order book for websites, print and press evaporate with projects going on indefinite hold and worse still, valued clients going to the wall, it was clear things had to change. With regret, the London based company was closed and after a period of what can only be described as mourning, I launched Electric Farm as a marketing services provider focussing on websites and print.

With Electric Farm I set out to work in an entirely new way. Leaving the overheads of a large office behind, the 'team' are a network of trusted developers and designers who come in physically or virtually to maintain or work on projects as required; I get to pick and choose the best possible people with specialist skils when I need them, and my customers enjoy top level expertise at competitive rates.

So no Electric Farm isn't a huge company and if that puts you off contacting us then so be it. However if you are reading this thinking "I like the idea of having years of experience on tap and might enjoy a straight forward free chat, low on waffle and backed up by a team of young designers and coders..." then read on.

I've worked with corporate marketing teams for most of my life and have come to realise that there is no magic bullet, no holy grail, no way to market your company without effort and cost. However if you are prepared to be clever, you can make a modest budget go an awfully long way without having to compromise on standards.

There's an apocryphal story about an incredulous customer asking a carpenter how he has the gall to charge £100 for fixing a persistently squeaky floorboard when he was only there for 5 minutes. The carpenter explained his charging structure - "Banging in a nail, a fiver. Knowing where to bang it in, £95." Expert knowledge is all. That's where I come in.

I regard positive chemistry as being so important, there is no charge for an initial meeting and am offering you a free consultation to discuss any on or off-line project you might be working on for….zilch, nothing, nada, with no commitment on your part either. You'll get impartial advice and a suggested plan which is yours to do with as you please.

This doesn't necessarily have to be a new project; I'm as keen to advise on ongoing work as on brand new initiatives. You might be looking at creating or freshening up a website, commissioning a brochure or perhaps you are reviewing marketing and branding as a whole.

Whatever the design or marketing issue you're pondering, a fresh pair of eyes and an unbiased opinion could be just what the doctor ordered.

Naturally all conversations will be held in confidence and there is no commitment on your part whatsoever.

What do you have to lose? Email or give me a ring.

Contact Steve