Tuesday, 24 December 2013

Violet Bick's Christmas opening hours

Violet Bick are taking a few days off in the upcoming weeks:

  • Monday 23rd December: we'll be open 8am - 6pm.
  • Tuesday 24th December: we'll be open 8am - 4pm.
  • Wednesday 25th December - Wednesday January 1st: the office will be closed.
  • Thursday 2nd January: we'll return to our normal opening times of 8am - 6pm. 

In case of emergency or if you must speak to someone, you can call Mike Owen's mobile - 07960 117077.

From all of the team here at Violet Bick, Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Monday, 16 December 2013

How to Differentiate Your Brand

Have you tried watching the latest singing competitions on TV lately? Have you heard of The Voice? When I first heard about the show and its mechanics, I was smiling like a 10-year old who just got visited by Santa Claus on Christmas. Want to know why?

Because I have always wanted to personify brand differentiation for a long time now and The Voice is the best way to present it.

You see, during the blind auditions of the show, the contestants are the brands/companies while the judges are the ultimate consumers. They have to listen to hundreds of different voices and they have to decide who they will work with throughout the show. It’s just like that time last week when you were staring at a shelf full of various brands of deodorant, toothpaste, and shower gel. You simply can’t make a choice right away.

But the thing is, the ones that get chosen in The Voice and the items we buy for our weekly groceries both have one thing in common. They stand out – they are the differentiated ones.

Think about it. It makes perfect sense. Being different from the rest makes something more outstanding and more memorable and personal to a certain extent. This makes it easy to compare it with the other options given to you.

So how can you possibly differentiate your product from the rest? Maybe you should give these approaches used by the contestants from The Voice.

1 - Break out of the mould

A good 80%-90% of the contenders in The Voice cover current hits or classic hits. Sometimes, a contestant goes on to the next round by trying something new. When a contestant breaks away from the mould by singing something rare, like an opera piece, it shows his/her creativity and courage. This should be the same for brands worldwide. They should not shy away from challenging the accepted norms of their categories. Don’t be afraid to do something different or unexpected if you think it will clearly showcase your strengths as a brand.

2 - Specialise

Many people think that contestants who are well-rounded have better chances in winning. Thing is, you have to be well-rounded and good at it in order to make it count. That is why a lot of the contenders who reach the top focus only on one genre. In marketing, brands are sometimes differentiated by market specialisations. There are companies that want to appeal to a broader market so they won’t limit their business. But you have to remember that positioning your brand to appeal to a specific group in the market gives people the impression that you are an expert, therefore helping you stand out from the rest.

3 - Have an attitude

In the world of music, people sometimes run out of ways to differentiate themselves. These people forget that by simply embracing an attitude, one can differentiate himself/herself from the competition. This holds true for various brands. By embracing a certain attitude or stance, you can differentiate your product from the rest by leaving an indelible impression to your target market. Just remember the Lynx commercials and you will get what I mean.

4 - Own a symbol

Sometimes, it’s the little things that differentiate one from the other. For some contenders, it can be the rare musical instrument they use during a performance like a harmonica. To some extent, it becomes the symbol of that person and the performance. It distinguishes them from the rest. In business, it always pays to 'own a symbol'. It can be in a form of a logo, a creative packaging, or a unique ad. It captures the attention of your market and creates an indiscernible but relevant difference. It may not be as obvious as the other tips above, but symbols, logos, and cues give you that extra push you might need when the competition is tight.

What next?

Get in touch with us to find out how Violet Bick can help differentiate your brand from those around you. Call 0191 27 666 21 and ask for Mark Tinnion or Mike Owen. Alternatively you can email or

Thank you.

Wednesday, 11 December 2013

Thomas Cook Rebranding - Does it make you want them more?

The comments below are by Mike Owen in relation to this story about the rebranding of Thomas Cook.

“This is an interesting little snippet about Thomas Cook.

And the ad agency (yet to be appointed) has a tricky old job on their hands based upon the brand position and new identity that lies, today freshly revealed, before us.

I’m personally looking for the ‘essence’ of the brand from the new work. So what’s Thomas Cook all about, then?

I’m looking for something unique, compelling and motivating about this all new Thomas Cook.

What is it that they are now doing to knock my socks off?

I’m looking for the point of difference - something that only Thomas Cook do and that they own as theirs alone.

I’m looking for something compelling; something that makes me go - ‘wow!’ - I didn’t know that about Thomas Cook; do they really do that, like that?!

And I’m looking for something motivating; something that will change my behaviour. After all, that’s what they want me to do. They want me to feel motivated to buy Thomas Cook.

We have:
  • A heart.
  • The words ‘let’s go’.
  • Messaging designed to remind Thomas Cook’s own people how to behave.
So, Thomas Cook is saying that when I want a holiday they will ‘go’ get me a holiday.


Ad agencies do better work when the brand position is desirable, clear, simple and distinct. They have something to work with then.

The fact that aspects of this work has to be explained by Chief Exec Harriet (“grey text = digital and mobile”) is worrying to say the least.

Lynx standing for ‘seduction’ has spawned dozens of great ads since it arrived in the UK in 1984. And when did Lynx ever have to explain their brand position? Teenage boys and young men all over the place know what Lynx stands for.

And the original innocent (not how it is today) was beautiful too. The Innocent Smoothies slogan used to be “nothing but nothing but nothing but fruit” - repetition, naive honesty and it’s almost - well - ‘cute’. Amazing.

 Their new one, ‘little tasty drinks’ is soulless. And it could be anyone.

The same happened with KFC’s amazing ‘finger lickin’ good’ which as replaced with ‘so good’. Again - this could be anyone. What a shame!

Find out why you’re amazing - and stick to it.

Some brands don’t know that, most of the time, what made them great will keep them great. They get bored and they change.

And what a shame Thomas Cook has not identified and decided to home in something truly ownable - ownable by them alone.

That’s one of the very first rules of branding.

I fear yet more advertising for Thomas Cook that says, well, pretty much the same as everyone else in the market. Let’s have a guess:

“Action! It’s February 2014. Smiley lady talks to camera about wanting to make your holiday special. She will say that Thomas Cook try really hard and that they know how important your holiday is to you. Show a beach. Show a happy family. Show the lady again (she’s blonde) and she will say ‘let’s go’ and she and other Thomas Cook people will run around a bit”

Or something like that. Let’s wait and see.

Merry Christmas.


Monday, 9 December 2013

Violet Bick’s Teesside University Event Will Be Delivered to Almost Treble the Expected Audience

Violet Bick Senior Brand Consultant Les Stern is addressing a business audience at Teesside University this coming Thursday afternoon.

Usually, 30 to 50 people book. So far, 110 are registered.

I don’t think we’ll tell him; it might go to his head.

Wish us luck.

More information here.

What's in a name?

“What’s in a name? quite a lot when you’re trying to establish a brand. For the amateur there is a danger of overthinking it and trying to be too clever, but some occasionally create a whole brand of their own through their authenticity and the ‘name’ becomes the brand.

I found this wonderful gallery/studio that does just that. The Blue Pig is the dream of artist Jane Harlington and her partner Peter who came to the Isle of Lewis in the Outer Hebrides several years ago. Where did the name come from – put simply, when they decided to open the gallery, blue was the most daring colour they thought they could get away with painting it, and well, they kept pigs?!

Every visit to the gallery/studio (and in such a genuine mixing of the definitions it stands truly alone) is an absolute delight. Wonderful watercolours and glass work, delicate jewellery, silk-embroidered bookmarks, hand-tied buttons, soaps etc etc beautiful art, exquisite crafts and great creativity abound. But what makes it special is the warmth of the welcome every time, the large table in the middle of the room where everything from decorating gingerbreadmen to felting takes place, where there is always the offer of a fresh ground coffee or a rock bun just out of the oven cooling on the side; and if you’re lucky enough to shift the cat, a seat in the comfy armchair at the heart of it all. So what does the moniker Blue Pig stand for – quality, creativity, warmth, welcome and above all, a very deep authenticity. Brand envy all around!!!!”

Creating an Eco Friendly Brand Name

The long term motive of most businesses is to become much more than just a product. What they want is to be known as a brand that is synonymous with the product that they’re selling and ingrain themselves into the memories of their customers. The race to become a brand has become much more heated when it comes to eco friendly companies.

As people become more and more aware concerning the environment, they are looking for green alternatives to the products that they are currently using. Eco friendly firms are currently striving to make sure that when their customers visit their store, it is their product that customers opt for.

Bring an element of fun

The harm that has been done to the environment is an extremely heavy topic which inspires fear into people regarding the way that the earth has been treated. While some customers may be people passionate about the environment, the majority do not regard it with the same amount of enthusiasm.

If you want to break through to those people, you will need to show your fun side to the public.

While you may still want to convey the message of sustainable products to the public, a change in approach will be refreshing.

Target the niche

The unaware public is extremely important to eco friendly branding, but what you need to target most are those individuals that really care about your product. At this point, you will have to prove to them that you are making efforts to improve the environment. Keep projecting your efforts towards your niche audience in order to convey the message that they support. If you are an organic food brand, you will want to target health conscious shoppers. The reason for marketing to a niche is to increase the loyalty of the brand which translates to customer retention. The more loyal customer base you have, the more chances you have of becoming a brand.

Be positive

No matter how bad the environmental situation is, you don’t need to be hovering with the darker clouds all the time. Customers don’t like being sent on guilt trips about the harm that has been done to the environment. While it is extremely important that your customers know about the current environmental situation, alter your strategy to incorporate more positive things. Talk about the efforts that you or other groups are making to improve the environment. Stop trying to defame others and showcase their faults. This will only lead to customers having a negative image of your company. Focus on the efforts being made and the potential for more improvement.

Talk to us

If you'd like to chat to Mark Tinnion or Mike Owen about how Violet Bick can help your business with branding please call us on 0191 27 666 21 or you can email or

Sunday, 24 November 2013

Brand is for Everyone - Mark Tinnion

Here's Mark's recent article about the basic principles of brand being within the reach of all businesses and organisations. Everybody can benefit.

The full PDF version is here.

Activities Abroad Win Two

Activities Abroad claimed two awards at the British Travel Awards this year.

They won ‘Best Small Holiday Company for Families' and '
Best Small Holiday Company for Activity/Sport'.

The Violet Bick team is currently helping The Activity Travel Company to review their brand portfolio as they prepare for further growth throughout 2014.

Violet Bick Senior Brand Consultant Les Stern has been asked to address a select business audience in Teesside this December. There's more about this event, led by former Saatchi & Saatchi Head of Planning and Strategy Les, here.

Violet Bick Senior Brand Consultant Les Stern has been asked to address a select business audience in Teesside this December.

There's more about this event, led by former Saatchi & Saatchi Head of Planning and Strategy Les, here.

How Not Marketing Sage Gateshead is Helping Them to Sell Out Concerts

Sage Gateshead’s current advertising campaign is all over the place at the moment. It’s shouting loudest as a huge poster on Newcastle’s biggest permanent poster site at St. James’ Park.

But the strangest thing of all is that, when we explore the thinking behind the work, the campaign not born from traditional marketing reasoning at all.

As we all know in the North East, Sage Gateshead carves an iconic and truly beautiful shape along the river’s bank and our city’s skyline.

Additionally, we may also know that each year it houses many great musical names and lots of really valuable learning and participating activities too.

But it is a lesser known fact that makes Sage Gateshead truly exceptional. Those that have heard concerts there will probably know what it is that makes Sage Gateshead a force on a global scale. Others may be oblivious.

Since Sage Gateshead opened nine years ago in 2004 it has always been - and still is - one of the world’s most superb venues acoustically. Sage Gateshead is all about offers acoustic supremacy. If we now glance at Jamie Cullum or Bill Wyman’s actual quotations that have been harvested for the latest Sage Gateshead advertising and which form the basis of the communications idea - we do start to get the message.

And there is a lesson here for all businesses.

Sage Gateshead truly is about hearing music in a unique way. At Sage Gateshead, and this is where the marketing starts to creep in I guess, it is ‘Hearing in HD’.

Sage Gateshead’s communication is a real example of how the fusion of brand building (homing in on what a brand really stands for) and marketing (then making every single aspect of the messaging revolve around that brand) is really is the best way to communicate any business or organisation. Certainly any business or organisation that wants to maximise.

Brand first. Marketing second.

The principle is a common sense one.

The reason that the Sage Gateshead advertising is proving so successful in 2013 (and it really is; early signs are that ticket sales are up significantly on 2012) is because before the powers-that-be at Sage Gateshead spent a penny on marketing messaging, they asked themselves a really important question.

That question was, ‘What is it that makes Sage Gateshead so motivating, compelling and distinct?’ they asked themselves, ‘If there is one thing - just one thing that we want the market to be saying about Sage Gateshead - what is it?’

And once they had established that - once Sage Gateshead had identified the brand position - then and only then did the marketers get a look in.

Sage Gateshead has something to say. Acoustic Supremacy. So all the marketers then had to do was come up with a clever and compelling way to deliver that message.

How it all started.

The work started with a thought experiment.

Sage Gateshead were encourages to imagine that along the bank of the Tyne were positioned three other world-leading music venues. The Sydney Opera House, The South Bank Centre in London and Madison Square Gardens maybe. Then they were encouraged to ask themselves a question - why would anyone choose Sage Gateshead? The answer was, of course, the acoustic supremacy and it is on this brand position or ‘brand promise’ that all of the organisations communications are now built.

Sage Gateshead will become increasingly famous for this one thing, the brand will strengthen, and they’ll spiral continually upwards.

The principle is simple really. But it is of course amazing how any businesses and organisations don’t actually ask such questions of themselves. Why would anyone choose me over my competitors?

Think brand.

So, before you ‘market’; think brand.

When a business thinks like this, it stands out.

Just listen to Sage Gateshead and what they are saying…

If you want to see Jamie Cullum you can see him in lots of different places. But if you want to hear him, really hear him, you must go to Sage Gateshead.


Sage Gateshead’s latest advertising has been developed by the Sage Gateshead Communications team, by Violet Bick and onebestway.

Wednesday, 13 November 2013

CultureHive lists Violet Bick and Sage Gateshead

CultureHive is the UK's best online resource for those wanting to discover and share best practice in cultural marketing.

They've been kind enough to ask Violet Bick to submit detail of the work they've been doing for Sage Gateshead. Not just because it works (Concerts are selling out) but because the approach is anything but a traditional marketing approach.

The full story is here.

Friday, 27 September 2013

TRUE Shortlisted Again

We've just heard that TRUE Solicitors has been shortlisted for a second major award.

Claims Magazine has chosen just nine UK Personal Injury firms from the whole of the UK for consideration - and amongst them is TRUE.

TRUE Solicitors is a powerful, stand-out brand that is positioned as the Personal Injury firm for genuine claimants - only.

And because TRUE deal with only genuine claims, that's why they win well over 90% (more than 9 out of 10) claims.

Here's more information and a full list of the chosen few.

Congratulations again to TRUE.

TRUE Chosen as one of UK's Top Four

TRUE is a brand created for Gorman Hamilton Solicitors by Violet Bick

It was launched to the UK market with a comparatively modest budget in the middle of 2013. 'About four months ago in fact.

A couple of weeks ago TRUE was short listed by as one of the UK's top four Best Marketing Campaigns of the Year, 2013.

The winner was announced this week and it was the competitor brand InjuryLawyers4u. Congratulations to them of course, a ten year old business with a lot of really good awareness. 

And we are happy too that things are looking so good for the TRUE brand of the future. 

Congratulations to TRUE; a truly great business, great bunch of people and great brand.

Wednesday, 18 September 2013

The weird, weird world of proper branding

Sometimes, branding can be really confusing for business owners. 

Especially when even the professional agencies use this word incorrectly so much of the time.

In other articles by Violet Bick Brand Consulting we explore what branding really is (and isn't).

In this article we look at some of the weird, weird rules of branding.

These eight fundamentals really are at the very heart of how almost all of the world’s most powerful brands are built.

And whilst some won’t seem like ‘common sense’ to you - they are most certainly 'brand sense'.

1  How much is your marketing budget this year compared to last year?  OK; it should be less.

Most marketing managers look to increase their marketing budgets year-on-year. This is the exact opposite of what should be happening. When brand messaging is strong, right and meaningful at the outset – you can say what you have to say much less often.

2  Say less to your customers.

We live in an over communicated world. If you are the longest established, highest quality, most flexible, friendliest, fastest, most qualified, first, best trained company with more choice than the rest – you’re doing it wrong. What is it you wanted me to remember again?

3  Clarity trumps creativity – every time.

Great design teams are smart and adventurous in their approach, but the delivery of clear messaging is far more important than creativity. So much design looks good – but says nothing. That’s wrong.

4  Target fewer people.

A narrow focus to the market does not mean a narrow focus to the mind. Consumers make decisions based upon what and whom they perceive you to be for. If you are ‘for anyone’ (too broadly focused) there is no perception that’s easy to latch on to. You blend in.

5  Stop innovating

Truly great brands are consistent. Find out why you are amazing, build your messaging around that and stick to it.

6  Stop communicating.

Tricky to get your head around. But true. ‘Communicating’ is different to ‘positioning’. Supported by Violet Bick, a great design agency will help businesses to really stand for something distinct, motivating and compelling rather than a random list of me-too attributes. This point is for businesses that get frustrated by the fact that their messaging is pretty much the same as everyone else’s in their market.

7  Set your initial advertising budget for your new venture at the following… £0.

Advertising should normally only be used only to reinforce an existing brand position or existing perceptions. It’s too expensive and inappropriate for building perception in the first instance. Use PR, design and (some) marketing for that.

8  It’s better to be different than it is to be better.

A really strange sentence. But another very important one. Most businesses we meet are fighting the wrong fight. Imagine that you had a carpet cleaner that genuinely did have better suction than Dyson. Would you take them on? Don’t bother. You won’t beat them. They were ‘first to mind.’ They are perceived to be better than you and you won’t change that (for as long as they stay committed to their current brand position). Don’t try to be better; be different. Be a lighter, better looking or more easily stored carpet cleaner – but don’t try to beat them in the area of ‘suction’. It’s the wrong battle.

So there we go. 

We’re here to help if you really do want to spend less on your business communications and win more customers at the same time. That's what happens when brand is strong.

Best Wishes

Wednesday, 11 September 2013

Gateshead College and Violet Bick

Here's Mark, Violet Bick Brand Director and Nadine Hudspeth, Director of Marketing and Communications from Gateshead College.

Gateshead College is on a really interesting journey at the moment. It's a fabulous place with great facilities, and Mark and Nadine are - together - strengthening the brand.

There will be more about this as the Violet Bick and onebestway websites update over the coming weeks. The story is really useful as a blueprint for any business or organisation that wants to maximise the effectiveness of it's marketing budget.

Monday, 3 June 2013

This Was In NE Times Today

This was in the newly designed NE Times Magazine today. I like the new design actually.

This event is being delivered by Violet Bick people in conjunction with The Entrepreneurs Forum.

To book, please go here.

Thank you

Friday, 10 May 2013

VIDEO: Newcastle University Business School event

Here's the video that was put together, by the Business School after the Violet Bick event at Newcastle University a few months ago. It's four minutes long.

A couple of hundred people popped along to listen, which was great news.

Wednesday, 1 May 2013

Meet Claire (and the rest of us)

We're super proud to announce that Claire Byers has joined Violet Bick.
Claire Byers, Brand Consultant, Violet Bick. 

Claire is passionate about creating outstanding brand experiences that drive customer loyalty and bottom-line returns.  As Deputy Director of BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art she was instrumental in the tangible shift from an art-centred brand to experience-led, creating one of the most popular venues to host the Turner Prize in 2011 and ultimately providing the foundation for its accolade as the Public’s choice in the 2012 National Lottery Awards.

She similarly had an impact on The Alnwick Garden as Creative Director, where her approach to animating the Garden and creating a performance-based brand framework, dramatically enhanced the offer and visitor footfall.

Claire has been a great champion of the North East’s cultural scene as Head of External Relations Culture for One North East, and a member of NewcastleGateshead’s Capital of Culture bid team, working with all the major cultural and tourism organisations across the North East and major national bodies such as Visit Britain and the British Council.   She was also part of the innovation team that established a Strategy for Success the blueprint behind the region’s Centres of Excellence in Renewable Energies, Life Sciences, Digital Technologies, Nanotechnology and the Process Industries.

Claire’s commitment to ‘total branding’ and embedding brands operationally throughout an organisation evolved from her championship of service design and service excellence – with successful projects in areas such as transport, health and air-travel validating the positive impact on productivity. She was instrumental in winning Design of the Times 2007 – the Design Council’s first national design biennial – for the region.

In her early career she held influential marketing roles at regional and national levels across highly competitive consumer markets, housing and regeneration with names such as Balfour Beatty, Bellway Homes and House of Hardy and also held the position of Regional Director for the Royal Institute of British Architects. 

And here's an update on the full Violet Bick team:

Mark Tinnion, Brand Director, Violet Bick.  

Mark's straight-talking approach to brand building attracts large audiences at business events and - for the properly engaged client - more profit. Mark has worked in brand critical roles at both Sony and Intel.

Mark's advice and guidance comes from a huge depth of knowledge and research, as well as pivotal Directorship-level roles at two stand-out and award winning businesses of his own. Mark is recognised as a leading brand theorist; with all that he says and does rooted firmly in the real world. Results prove it.

Violet Bick's point of view and fundamental opinion is often challenging and certainly different. And most of this approach is born from Mark's inimitable perspective upon how long term, profitable brands should be constructed.
In 2012 alone almost 1,000 people over four events paid to hear Mark and the team talk about brand building.

Les Stern, Brand Consultant, Violet Bick.  

Les is a Geordie cliché-the coal miner's son who went to Oxford. He then went on to Procter & Gamble and thereafter to a 30 year career in advertising, of which getting on for 15 years were spent in the various operations of Saatchi & Saatchi subsequently Cordiant plc. 

For much of this time he was Head of Planning and Strategy, giving Board-level advice to clients on branding and positioning policy as well as marketing and communications strategy.

Clients included Tesco, Nokia, Coca Cola Corporation, Starbucks and Channel 4 – plus local heroes like the Metro Centre and Northern Rock.Les has lived and worked in London and New York and has also worked extensively across European and Asian markets. 

He is now very happily settled in Newcastle and is a key partner in Violet Bick. Interestingly, apart from sheer scale of operations, he sees few substantive differences in problems, opportunities and best practice between the largest global corporation and the smallest local undertaking.

Daniela Meyhoefer, Brand Consultant, Violet Bick.  

Daniela has over 15 years of experience in branding and marketing products and services across different industries, nationally and internationally.

A German born, she has worked for Sage in Germany in senior marketing positions, helping the German subsidiary transform their originally German brand (KHK) into the globally recognised Sage brand. Major achievements: introduction of new brand internally and externally; working on campaigns to establish competitive positioning of new brand and helping the reseller channel to adapt the Sage messaging and branding for the end users.

She has worked as a marketing director for the second largest IT Company in Germany which provides accountancy software packages for accountants, being responsible for the overall marketing budget (€ 2 million) and all areas of branding, communications, channel, online and telesales. After moving to England 10 years ago, Daniela has worked for many clients in the North East, across different industries, helping them in branding, communications & PR, Business Development, Project Management and delivery.

One of Daniela’s latest roles was Brand Director for Sage plc, helping Sage roll out a new branding strategy nationally and internationally.

Roger Blight, Brand Consultant (Finance).  

Roger offers genuinely unique insight into how an organisation of any size should build brand from a financial perspective.

Roger was Financial Director of Nike (UK) for nineteen years and, at a corporate level helped grow this iconic Global Brand. Roger also worked for Nike (Europe) at the helm of their 2.5 Billion Dollar European Footwear Division.

Roger delivered many of the Marketing and Management techniques that Nike successfully utilises both in the UK and abroad. He is now applying these techniques within developing businesses in the UK from inside Violet Bick

Mike Owen, MD, Violet Bick and onebestway.  

Mike has founded five businesses to date, all multi-award winning, significant, relevant and powerful in their own right.

Mike is driven by building elite teams of nationally and internationally recognised experts that not only had incredible real world effect ‘then’ – but that know how to apply what they know, quickly and effectively, now.

Wednesday, 24 April 2013


Daniela Meyhoefer is being a Lion across at Newcastle University today.

She and her fellow 'Lions' in the 'Lions Den' have up to £5,000 to give away to the businesses that pitch best.

"The Newcastle University Business School in collaboration with the NU Marketing Society, the NU Alumni Association and the welcomed support of the NU Entrepreneur Society will host the first annual N.U. Lions’ Den on the 24th of April 2013."

 Let's see who wins...

Sunday, 21 April 2013

When Madonna's Next in Town, There's Only One Place She Can Go for Pilates

Daniela Meyhoefer, Violet Bick Brand Consultant visited onebestway client The Pilates Studio. They're the North East's number 1 don't you know. 

"The Pilates Studio in Gosforth (on Landsdown Terrace) is the perfect place for anybody interested in Pilates. Whether you are a professional or a beginner, they can cater for all your needs. They have the best teachers and the best equipment.

And we should know. We went for a taster session last week and most of us didn't have any experience with Pilates before.

Judith the owner has 13 years of experience and is very passionate about Pilates and it shines through everything she does. We did a few exercises on the mats and then went onto some scary looking machines (dungeons, anyone?!). These are the machines Madonna uses (not when she had really bulky biceps but a lean and muscular body) and The Pilates Studio is the only one in the North East which has them.

So, if you want to look lean and fit (and who doesn't) - try Pilates with Judith at The Pilates Studio - they have the best teachers in the North East."

Monday, 15 April 2013

SEMINAR: Brand. Sorting "The Dogs" from "The Bollocks"

In 2012 around 1,000 people paid to hear the Violet Bick team talk about Brand across four different events.

Now, a number of events will begin in 2013. Some will be Violet Bick events and some will be onebestway events. This first event is not a 'public' event; but it's a taster of what's to come. 


When?  Wednesday 17th April 2013, 2pm to 5pm.
Where?  Room A004, Ellison Building, Northumbria University.
Who?  Mike Owen, MD and Founder of Violet Bick Brand Consultancyonebestway design and marketing and angelfysh Search Engine Optimisation (SEO). Matthew Rippon, Director and Founder of Particular C&L.
Why?  Because everything you think you know about brand is probably not ‘The Dogs’.
How?  Email your name and your course to


Who is Mike? 
Mike has assembled a team of exceptional consultants that have held senior posts at Saatchi & Saatchi (World), Nike (Europe), Sage (UK and Germany), Sony and Intel. Violet Bick's team has advised at board level, Coca Cola, Nike, Starbucks, Virgin, Sony, Intel, Porsche and Nokia, plus ‘local heroes’ including Newcastle Business School, Metrocentre, Onyx Group, Sage, BALTIC, The Sage Gateshead, Gateshead College and Pennine Windows.

Who is Matthew?  
Matthew is Director and Founder of one of the UK’s most radical commercial law firms, and a leading light in Brand Protection.

So what will happen?  
The structured content will include an exploration of:
  • The difference between ‘brand’ and ‘branded’
  • Why marketing is a waste of money
  • The commonality between all great brands
  • How great brands are measured
  • The difference between brand awareness and brand strength (and how not knowing will kill you)
  • The difference between ‘brand sense’ and ‘business sense’
  • How to protect your brand
    A selection of those attending will also be invited to pitch their brands to Mike and Matthew for feedback.

    As the North of England’s only pure Brand Consultancy the Violet Bick team, supported by Matthew’s legal expertise, are challenging and changing how brand is perceived, daily.

    Thursday, 4 April 2013

    Job Opportunity - Brand Analyst

    Violet Bick is recruiting.

    The full job description relating to this unique opportunity at the North of England's only pure Brand Consultancy will be posted within a few days. 

    This short post is designed to measure initial interest. Quick, initial expressions of interest are encouraged.

    BRAND ANALYST. Salary band is £20,000 to £35,000 

    Your core ‘Brand Analyst’ activities will be: Co-ordinating and analysing data from large-scale advertising campaigns (online and offline), looking for patterns in consumer behaviour and advertising effectiveness (and ineffectiveness), liaising with media agencies and online partners to access and co-ordinate data, making recommendations for adjustment in strategy and spend as a result of data analysis and creating daily, weekly and monthly reports resulting from the data.

    Additionally, this ultra-willing, hard working and 'can-do' person will be expected to support - in a PA/Project Manager/Office Manager type role - the Violet Bick core team of Consultants and Directors at every level within an immensely inspiring, constantly morphing and extremely demanding environment.

    In the first instance, please send a current cv and stand-out covering email to

    More information will follow shortly.

    Thank you in anticipation of your early expression of interest.

    Monday, 25 March 2013

    Meet Daniela

    The official line on Daniela Meyhoefer, ex Brand Director at Sage in the UK and Germany, is as follows:

    Daniela has over 15 years of experience in branding and marketing products and services across different industries, nationally and internationally.

    A German born, Daniela has worked for Sage in Germany in senior marketing positions, helping the German subsidiary transform their originally German brand (KHK) into the globally recognised Sage brand. 

    Major achievements: introduction of new brand internally and externally; working on campaigns to establish competitive positioning of new brand and helping the reseller channel to adapt the Sage messaging and branding for the end users.

    She has worked as a marketing director for the second largest IT Company in Germany which provides accountancy software packages for accountants, being responsible for the overall marketing budget (€ 2 million) and all areas of branding, communications, channel, online and telesales

    Less formallybut just as importantly, Daniela is simply a super-personable, clever,  immediately-effective and dynamic Brand Consultant that we are proud to have on board.

    Violet Bick on the Road

    Every now and then Violet Bick organise events.

    In 2012, we did 4 and a little over 1000 people paid and came.

    The event above was delivered on Hoults Yard, East Newcastle in November.

    The panel explained that when a business - any business - decides to Stop Marketing and Start Branding - they make more profit.

    Steph kindly attended as a client, explaining how a focus on brand - the Violet Bick way - had helped her business to treble turnover in about three years.

    We'll post when we are having another event.

    THE PANEL (left to right)
    Roger Blight, Les Stern, Mark Tinnion, Mike Owen (all Violet Bick) and Steph Eddy (Activities Abroad).

    Who is Violet Bick?

    Violet Bick launched in 2009. 

    Mike and Mark are founders, Les joined and Roger followed.

    Mike Owen, MD, has launched five businesses to date, all multi-award winning.

    Mark Tinnion, pictured above, is our Brand Director. He built brand at Intel and Sony.

    Les Stern, Brand Consultant, was Head of Planning and Strategy at Saatchi & Saatchi for 20 years.

    Roger Blight, Brand Consultant was Financial Director at Nike for 19 years.

    We have a new team member for 2013, too. She's introduced in a story not so far away from this one.