Blog Fourteen: Closing the Project

By now my work for the module is now almost complete. It is just about going over and reflecting on work, making final tweaks and evaluating the project as a whole.

Any Final Changes

I have now reviewed all the materials for my project and and making some final changes to documents created. I have needed to update my mobile number, and also ensure that the current link to the live website is posted on the Facebook page. I also keep writing posts to upload to the MIC LIVE. Facebook page to keep it up to date and current, for example, when the booking page when live on the internet, I posted this on the Facebook to advertise.

Evaluation of Project

Overall I am really happy with the project. I began the project with no business unlike others and I was also struggling in wanting to focus on the audio field, which inevitably could look more attractive on an online campaign such as mine. For this reason, I put a lot of emphasis on the branding, house style and image of the brand. Overall, I think I have done this really successfully. All the elements of my project tie together to create a really cohesive project. Although taking inspiration from other branding, I think my logo stands out and can set MIC LIVE. apart from other market competitors. I am really happy with the website and think that the colour scheme and style create an effective visual style, especially for an audio based field which has the potential to be less visually interesting. The logo is compatible with all the products I have chosen to create, and this mixed with the real world studio images allows for a good contrast throughout my project materials.

I feel my business plan is comprehensive but I did struggle with some parts as I have never published a business plan before. I feel that some of the sections could have gone into more detail. I also think that the Abstract and Executive Summary could have been a better explanation of how the brand is of myself being freelance rather than a company.

Furthermore, I am happy with the blog posts. The style develops throughout and takes the reader through the whole process of starting the freelance journey in the real world. I have developed a good style writing the blog posts and have explained each process thoroughly. I think each blog post focusing on a different element works well and I have explained why each feature is good, how I have made each feature and how successful I think it has been. I have also provided the example within the blog posts.

How to Progress Things

I have not yet decided whether it would be wise to continue this project into the future. During the course of the module I have been trying to gain further experience and create new contacts to hopefully gain employment within the radio / audio field in the future. The module has been successful in providing me with skills and a more professional mindset to do this. I have been able to understand more what my client or businesses would want from me if I were to work in the sector. The module has also helped me to focus my knowledge and ideas of branding, marketing and business management. These are skills that will be really valuable for me in the future.

If I was to take the project into the future, there are a few things I would potentially change in order to create a more successful campaign.

  1. I would definitely purchase a domain for my website. This would increase the integrity of my site and business and also allow for the site to be more easily accessed via a web browser. This would also require the site link to be changed on my documentation and Facebook page. I think this would make the documentation appear more professional as it would be shorter and a more obvious link. It would make the customer more likely to search for MIC LIVE. online.
  2. Adding a QR code onto my business cards would really improve the productivity of them. The code could be scanned on a smartphone and take clients directly to my website and therefore my online portfolio. The ease of this would also encourage more footfall and traffic on the website.
  3. As more professional work came through, I would continue to add new playlists onto the website to allow the consumer to hear more examples of work. This would help to build up a more bespoke pathway for the client as they would be able to hear a more specific example to them and make a more informed choice on how to progress their journey with MIC LIVE. I would also be able to have a larger physical portfolio to bring to Initial Consultations in order to let the client hear more examples that are specific to them. This will enable them to better understand what MIC LIVE. can do for them.

My next steps for the project are to carry on updating the Facebook page and also to carry on adding any examples of work that I might deem useful and suitable for the site. This will allow me to have an online portfolio which will grow and grow and can be sent to potential employers. It will also allow me to pick the project straight back up should I choose to continue it into the future.

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Blog Thirteen: Questionnaire Results

So my questionnaire has been live for a few days now, and I’m at the point of thinking about what results I might have. These will help me to understand outsider views of the website and brand I have created.

I deliberately chose questions and answer strategies to develop a well rounded image of the overall brand from the online content.

Below, find a summary of my response data.

results

I was really impressed with my results. It gives me a couple of areas to improve on, whilst also giving me 100% positive feedback in many areas including how the site works and feels, and the house style of the whole brand which is really important to me.

Having studied the feedback from this questionnaire, there are a couple of areas that I will alter.

These include:

  • Reviewing how the website looks on a mobile device.
  • Outlining more clearly that we do not currently have radio shows. However, advertising these when we do have them.

Blog Twelve: Creating a Questionnaire

I’d like to create a questionnaire to collate feedback about my website. This will help in the up coming stages of my project. I have chosen to use Google Forms to create the Questionnaire.

I have chosen questions in order to get a well rounded view of peoples opinions on the site, logo and brand.

I hope to receive mainly positive feedback for the site, but understand that some things may be down to personal preference, or factors that I have not previously thought about. I also expect to get some constructive criticisms which will allow me to progress my project further within the final few days.

Below, find a copy of my questions. The link to the form was shared out on my personal social media to receive as much feedback as possible.

questionnaire

Blog Eleven: Documents

To finish of the production of this brand I am going to tie everything together with a few other documents to really round off the production.

The documents include:

  • Image and video watermarks
  • Email template
  • Letterhead

I also plan to also create:

  • Mug
  • Pen

These, I feel are standard branded products and documents that would enhance the business idea. They might not be used very often, but it is important that when they are required they are available to use to ensure consistent branding across all areas of the business.

I created the watermarks, e-mail template and letterhead myself on Adobe Photoshop. I also used the Vistaprint preview format to create then pen and mug designs. I then decided that the Vistaprint preview of the pen was inadequate, so I recreated something similar using Photoshop.

I am really happy with how my logo appears on the products, I think they look really attractive and also clearly portray the brand. It also backs up my thoughts of the logo being really successful. Once again these products will be able to be carried forward should the brand of MIC LIVE. ever expand.

Small Watermark
Small Watermark
Large Watermark
Large Watermark

The letterhead does not just contain the logo, it contains some contact information as well. I feel this is useful as letterheads may be sent in a physical format and the email and website could then be used to direct the client to the online portfolio and booking system. The letterhead will also be used to send out the clients final bill in a physical and email format.

Letterhead
Letterhead

While any official and important e-documents will follow the letter head seen above, more general emails will follow a more image based format. As you can see here, this is the booking confirmation email that will be sent out and personalised to everyone who books their initial consultation. Every email will follow a similar format but have text specific to the subject.

James_Ross MIC LIVE. Email Template
E-Mail Template

I have set up a MIC LIVE. email address to ensure all email correspondence is professional and all located in a single folder/account. I will also ensure that email subjects are as specific and professional as possible.

Blog Ten: Social Media

Social media is an important part of spreading the digital footprint of MIC LIVE. So far I have created a SoundCloud account and also a Facebook page. The Twitter and LinkedIn links elsewhere take the user to my personal account. I think this digital presence will definitely increase traffic to the website as it all links together to create a network. This is another reason that house style is imperative to creating a solid network of materials across all platforms.

facebook

The Facebook page can be used to advertise free slots available to book and any other opportunities that MIC LIVE. might have. It can also be used to direct users directly to the website. There is also opportunity for users of the Facebook page to message me directly via Facebook Messenger, meaning MIC LIVE. is extremely accessible by the consumer.

soundcloud

In the modern world, a brand being accessible via social media is key. More and more people are taking to Facebook for services and products before they take to Google to search the wider internet. I think having these social media accounts will enable me to improve my digital strategy and cover as many bases as possible in order to find work.

Facebook Post

You can visit the MIC LIVE. Facebook page here, and the SoundCloud account here.

Blog Nine: Uniforms

When establishing MIC LIVE. as a brand, I thought it would be important to provide an image to the customer of a highly professional brand, rather than just one guy sat in his room organising the business. Despite the potential lack of public facing roles MIC LIVE. requires, because of the bespoke ethos including the initial consultation there are quite a lot of opportunities for clients to meet with me face to face or online video call. Therefore, I will need to look professional at all times. I thought wearing a shirt and tie might not be appropriate for this field in many circumstances so opted to go down a uniform route in order to establish professionalism. This would be worn most of the time but if a specific event or client was more suited to dressing smartly, the uniform can be altered.

I have chosen to create a t-shirt and cap, which will ensure calls and face to face visits will look branded. Also, if worn out and seen, it provides more advertising for the brand. I have also created a lanyard, this is a key element of the uniform as it tells the customer who I am. It also allows any smart outfit that might occasionally need to be worn also carry some branding and uniform. To create the uniform elements I used Adobe Photoshop. I thought I should keep it simple and effective with just the logo. This will keep it recognisable and also support the brand ethos of being bold, simple and eye catching.

However I have decided that the lanyard should be made more personal. The lanyard would be really useful in the event of brand expansion as it would work as ID for any staff. The lanyard includes the brand logo around the fabric. The card at the end of the chain will include a large logo and also staff name and ID. This could be scaled up to be staff log in ID and the card could enable access to certain things in the event of brand expansion.

lanyard

I think the lanyard makes the brand feel extremely professional and will allow the brand to be noticed whatever the situation and dress code when dealing face to face.

Blog Eight: Business Cards

When designing business cards I followed two separate routes. I loaded my logo into a blank Adobe Photoshop document following the standard business card sizes. Secondly, I uploaded my logo into Vistaprint. Vistaprint do a square business card, which I thought was quite unique and would stand out. It would also fit my square logo really well.

The front of the Vistaprint design looked amazing but the back was not going right, and I couldn’t fit the right information in an attractive format. Therefore, I decided to focus more on my Photoshop version.

The reason I think business cards are a key element due to:

  • First Impressions
  • Cost
  • Portability
  • Building Brand

Source: https://yourbusiness.azcentral.com/importance-business-cards-1527.html 

First Impressions:

My business cards will be the first thing that many people see about MIC LIVE. Therefore, it is important that I provide a great first impression on paper despite being a mainly digital based process. Furthermore, it might not be peoples first impressions, it might be a way for people to take away my details. It is therefore important that my business cards stand out and are eye catching and people automatically and instantly recognise my logo and want to keep going back to my business card.

Cost:

Business cards are fairly cheap. They can be purchased on sites like Vistaprint for around £20 per 100 cards. This means that even for a startup brand it is extremely viable, as this would be in addition to the costings outlined in the business plan. Cards are really useful as they can be left in large numbers around in different places around the town, such as church / doctor / community centre reception desks. You never know who might see and be interested in MIC LIVE. after seeing it in any of these locations.

Portability:

Not only can business cards be left, but they can be carried around easily. They are small and lightweight and easy to distribute at networking events or between friends and clients. They are also ideal for people taking them away.

Building Brand:

As I mentioned earlier, it is important to have a continuous brand both online and on digital platforms and in physical forms. Business cards are the first stage in creating a multi-platform brand and being successfully recognised on both print and digital forms.

I first went about creating the Photoshop document of the front cover of the business card. I imported the logo and kept it large in order to create a bold and stand out title side. I slightly extended the red half on the logo to move the title more into focus. I also extended the white side to keep the title as simple and effective as possible. This echos the website style.

I now moved onto creating the back of the business cards. I wanted to have the business summary and some more information on this side. For the design, I replicated the red element of the title side but this time placed in on the left side. This will give the illusion that this half of the whole card has been coloured, as the red sides will be on the same side once placed back to back. I used the white side to input the business summary in bold to ensure people who look at both sides of the business card quickly know who I am and what I do.

The red half of this side of the business card will contain the information that people need for the first point of contact. This is in white to provide good contrast which ensures that it stands out despite being smaller than the rest of the text on the business card. Here I have put my phone number, the MIC LIVE. email address and the website address. In addition to this, I have decided to add the social media contacts for MIC LIVE. These can be found at the bottom right hand corner. To catch attention I have used the social media site logos and then included the handle to find my page.

Overall, I’m really happy with the business cards and think they will be successful in both being eye catching and simple and also providing all the relevant information.

Blog Seven: Publishing the Website

Now that content creation is complete, I’m ready to finalise and publish the website.

I took some time to review the design and structure of the website here, but only made minor tweaks. The photography that I took the other day was imported to the site and more descriptive elements were added. This was really easy to do in WIX and really allowed me to force my house style and branding through every part of the website.

Quality and cohesive branding really reflects the standard of product the brand produces. For this reason, I made real effort making sure that my brand was strong and clear throughout the website, so spent some more time doing this.

I now uploaded my audio examples as a playlist to WIX. This was a feature that I did not realise existed, I assumed that I would have to host my audio elsewhere and link it to my website. Therefore, it was great to find out that I could host directly from my website. I think this feature makes my website feel a lot more professional. To say I have not paid to use WIX, it makes my site feel expensive and also propels the image of ‘specialists’ and solidifies this within my online portfolio.

Screen Shot 2019-03-25 at 20.04.41

I have now got 10 examples of audio on my site and this, I feel, is an optimum amount of examples at this point, as it is not overwhelming but it does mean potential customers can gain access to a range of audio types in order to understand better what MIC LIVE. could do for them. It also provides reference if a customer would like to replicate a certain example style. Each track, and the playlist can easily be shared to the customers social media with the rollover link at the end of each track title. This is key in spreading word of the brand online, something that I will need to rely on in the beginning with no advertising.

I have ensured to repeat contact information throughout the website and the homepage even contains a map in the brand colours to indicate that I am based in Leicester. There is also a Live Chat function, which I feel is an incredible addition to the website and goes towards making the customer feel well connected with MIC LIVE throughout their whole journey with the brand.

The final stage of creating the website was to create a second page where customers can actually book work with MIC LIVE. As the MIC LIVE. ethos is to build a personal relationship and pathway to individual clients I was unsure how to dot this successfully. It became clear that I could book appointments on a free, calendar style online booking process. I decided to develop this idea, as the work MIC LIVE. completes will be billed at the very end with a final bill. This booking would then be included in the final bill rather than being paid for upfront.

This tee’d up well with my business plan idea to start each journey with an initial consultation. So, my website booking page is to book an hour long initial consultation with no pre payment required. This consultation can be done face to face on via a call or video call. The idea is to allow as many people as possible to have an initial consultation which allows MIC LIVE. to sell itself specific to the client. Clients are also reminded that if this booking system doesn’t work for what they have in mind, they can contact us via other platforms in order to book or make different requests. They can email, phone or facebook message to get a more personalised approach to the pathway. This, I feel, all goes toward creating a really bespoke and quality experience for each client.

The website is key, it will be the main public facing body for the brand and the majority of traffic to use MIC LIVE. will pass through the site. It should be the sleek face of the business to current and potential clientele. It should attract new customers and also encourage and excite previous custom to return.

Now my website is populated, it is time to publish it. This is really easy on WIX and was done within a matter of seconds. Should I still want to edit the site, this is possible too. You can visit the finished website here. It is also available on tablet and mobile device. WIX also would allow me to connect my own domain, should I require, however I have not purchased this.

Blog Six: Content Creation

It’s time to create some content. Being audio and radio content specialists, I’m going to need to provide examples of all my areas of work. I plan to create a demo, some radio links and some jingles. I’ll also add a couple of my previous radio programme podcasts to prove that MIC LIVE. can create some great live radio work and also good quality podcasts. The work displayed on the MIC LIVE. website will be a mixture of previous work and new creations.

The first thing I did was upload previous work. The following tracks on the website are previous work as part of the Media Production BSc course.

  • Beam Me Up with Scotty Jingle
  • The Lunch Show Jingle
  • Radio Show One
  • Radio Show Two
  • Radio Show Three

The additional work that was create for this module is as follows.

  • Cooking with Rianna Jingle
  • Podcast Introduction
  • Local Radio Link
  • Commercial Radio Link
  • Demo 2018

This list will give me a wide variety of content without being overwhelming. It also provides me with opportunity to add further examples as an when professional work comes in.

I think this current list provides a summary of the whole of MIC LIVE. and the content that they can produce. It is vital that previous module work is used as it fully shows off my skillset in an environment which is not able to be replicated elsewhere, such as the LIVE radio show and podcast production. These were all recorded live on 107.5 DemonFM based at De Montfort University and edited using Adobe Audition to remove all licensed music content before upload. The original upload of the show podcasts can be found here.

The new creations will show a brand new element and side to the project, such as the podcast introduction demonstrating both podcast use and voiceover work. The separate radio links contain the very start and end of certain songs and also radio jingles that I do not own. I have used these to create a more professional feel to the audio to demonstrate MIC LIVE.

These new pieces of audio were recorded on a Zoom H5 recorder. This is industry standard recording equipment. I attached a Dynamic Microphone into the Zoom via an XLR cable to ensure top quality recording, and therefore my audio sounds really professional. It took quite a few takes to get the audio right, and once it was ideal I imported it to Adobe Audition for editing.

In Audition, I formatted the audio to 44.1KhZ 16 bit 128bps, the standard for speech audio. I then moved the voice around and added in any extra elements before exporting as an mp3. The whole content creation process was lengthy and took about 7 full days to get it just right. I didn’t want to skimp on this time as it really sells the product and is key in gaining custom before the MIC LIVE. brand is recognisable.

Blog Five: Photography

Now I have decided to use the studios that I have access to in order to grab some imagery. I think this will propel my brand. I will use my skills from previous modules during my degree to create some really high quality photography. I’m not yet sure how this will be best used, however I plan to strategically place it to enhance and elevate the products that I create in establishing the brand. I think this will also help to provide a visual guide as to what MIC LIVE. does, going hand and hand with the text. This will especially effective on the website which I hope to use a simplistic and minimalist style of telling the consumer about MIC LIVE. and therefore imagery will sit hand in hand with the text.

I booked out the radio studio in order to take the following images, of which I will put into Adobe Photoshop to edit and prepare for publishing.

Overall, I’m extremely happy with the photography session. I believe that it will really enhance my branding and make a more coherent look. I think it brings the brand into the real world, as sometimes brands with no real life photography can appear more cartoonish. It also establishes brand aims by providing the consumer with a visual idea of what MIC LIVE. does.