Friday November 20th saw a thrilling grand final to the 2015 Wheels in Motion inter-business cycling championship, held at the Derby velodrome.

Since May, the event has attracted support from some of Derby’s biggest and best known businesses, including Rolls Royce, Bowmer & Kirkland, Bombardier, Cooper Parry and Smith Cooper to name but a few.

Specifically Wheels In Motion raised awareness of two Cycle Derby initiatives – 1-2-1 adult cycle training, and its free cycle maintenance courses. The ultimate objective being to get more people in Derby cycling more often.

The event took the form of a 250 meter sprint (equal to one lap of the velodrome) on roller mounted pro track bikes against the clock, with businesses able to enter both male and female categories. Once a business had set their fastest time it was entered onto a digital leaderboard, and they were asked to nominate and challenge another Derby business.

The events proved both great fun and also extremely competitive, as riders tried to outdo both colleagues and business competitors.

The grand final saw Office Care’s Vici Blann lift the female title with a time of 13.057 seconds and Ashley Blakemore from Derby College crowned champion in the male category with 11.528. Both were presented with a £500 voucher for Park Bikeworks in Derby.

Office Care team principle (and Vici’s boss!), Martin Booth was amongst the assembled crowds of supporters to cheer his rider on, commenting afterwards:

“The Wheels In Motion challenge has been great fun for many businesses over the summer, helping through sport to show what a diverse and friendly business community we have in Derby which is unlike any other. Cycle Derby are playing a fine role in helping people in the city stay safe whilst enjoying cycling and raising money for charities such as Macmillan.

“From a personal perspective I am delighted for Vici to have won the cycle challenge. We saw today what makes her such a valuable member of our team, she is so focused on winning with amazing drive and energy…. and she doesn’t steal my chocolate!”

Throughout the competition businesses have kindly donated to Cycle Derby’s chosen charity Macmillan, who were presented with a cheque for over £500.00.

’Tis the season of planning and refining your 2016 marketing strategy. It’s also the season of giving not receiving, so we thought we’d compile a list of top tips to give you businesses small to large an easier life, help drive sales and make 2016 a more profitable year – and we’re sure you’ll raise a glass to that!

The list comprises a mix of things clients often ask about, and common mistakes or opportunities we notice even some big established brands making. Some of these tips are just about getting the basics right; and some you can either action, or commit to achieving right away. All are designed to improve the return on your marketing investments in 2016.

1. Give your agency a budget. It’s the only way to ensure you get the optimum return on your marketing investment. If you don’t there’s a good chance you’ll receive a great proposal for a fantastic solution…that’s way out of your price range. A budget will also help you monitor investment and success and avoid over-spending. WDA can give you some basic strategies and formulas to help you set yours if you’d find that helpful.

2. Put yourself in your customers shoes. Take the time to stop and understand what your customers really think of you and your product or service – and market accordingly. Understand why customers really choose you – or not. Don’t assume you know and don’t be afraid to ask!

3. Find out what your competition are doing. What are they saying, how are they communicating and how do people who buy your products or service perceive them?

4. Plan out a promotional calendar – in advance. Make sure that most of your marketing activities in 2016 are planned and proactive, not disorganised and reactive.

5. Don’t focus on media alone. ‘Inbound marketing’ or ‘social media’ are not magic bullets, they are simply customer touch points. Far more potent is your message and how desired and differentiated your brand and communications are within your marketplace.

6. Build your Brand. Ensure all your communications are built around the one thing you can truly own – your brand. Stop trying to compete on features (or worse price) as these are things your competition can draw comparison against, and ultimately copy or beat. 

7. Test different approaches. Einstein is widely credited with saying that “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, but expecting different results”  Henry Ford had a kinder way of saying a similar thing: “If you always do what you’ve always done, you’ll always get what you’ve always got.” Try new things in 2016. Then refine and do more of what works; and dump what doesn’t.

8. Be consistent, great brand and marketing only works when the message is repeated, building familiarity, trust and understanding. Ensuring all your communications sit on a clearly defined brand platform will also make your life easier as you won’t be reinventing the wheel with each campaign.

9. Become a voice for your industry. Write a regular blog, and offer content, articles and comments to online journals and news sites. Here’s an example: Why effective branding drives sales 

10. Tell your story.  People like stories and share those they love. They DON’T like or share facts. Think stories are too fluffy? Consider that 75% of buying decisions are based on emotion…

11. Call in the experts. If you think it’s expensive to hire a professional, wait until you hire an amateur. WDA see some businesses trying to do everything in-house (even we can’t!). Remember, any ‘perceived’ cost savings can be wiped out manyfold by the damage done to your brand. Know the limitations of your internal resources and employ specialist help where necessary.

12. Think Marmite – You can’t please all of the people all of the time, so stand out by standing for something – Don’t be afraid to alienate some people, those that love you will love you even more for it. When the World ZIGS, ZAG!

We’re pleased to welcome a new addition to our growing team. 

Tom Birch is a versatile young designer and creative thinker. His unique skills will complement the studio’s established innovational portfolio. Tom has a passion for Branding, Layout and Typography with an artistic eye and an affinity for writing. 

What is your background?

“I studied Fine Art at Loughborough University specialising in conceptual art and essays with long words. Since graduating I have continued my passion for concept and composition into my career as a Graphic Designer. My background in Fine Arts has proven to be a unique and indispensable asset when it comes to the visualisation and arrangement of an idea. I cut my teeth gaining experience with local agencies, most recently at Derby based agency Revolver Revolver working on a breadth of exciting commercial projects.”

What are you bringing to the team at WDA? 

“Creative thinking and a left-field approach to idea generation, alongside practical design skills and illustration. I have an enthusiasm for innovative concept driven design and cannot wait to work alongside the excellent team at WDA. I’m looking forward to putting my art degree skills to the test as we re-decorate the studio.”

What’s your favourite typeface?

“Cera. A strong geometric font, 2015’s answer to the often over-used Futura.”

 If you weren’t in the design industry, what would you be doing?

“If I had to reluctantly give up my life in design I’d be running a restaurant somewhere warm making a distinctly average tagine.”

If you could speak another language, what would it be? 

“Thai, mainly to surprise the locals on my travels.”

We’ve had a great time creating and working on the ‘Wheels in Motion”campaign with Cycle Derby.  Our photo gallery shows a selection of highlights from the past six months –  thank you and well done to those of you who got their “Wheels in Motion”