“Business as usual”

We’re hearing a lot of companies saying “it’s business as usual”, but is it really though?! We understand positivity breeds positivity, but when we dig deeper and scratch below the surface – who can quite rightly say their business has been unaffected by this pandemic? Working from home still has an affect on the agility of the business and how it’s operating —> is this going to become the new ‘norm’? Let us know in the comments how COVID-19 has impacted your business and the steps you’ve taken to ‘continue as normal’… Stay home, stay safe.

COVID-19 & working from home.

Times are tough and now it’s all starting to feel ‘real’. The UK government have put us into ‘lockdown’ and quite rightly too – I’m not sure people understand the severity of the situation. The new guidelines state for businesses to allow their employees to work from home if they can. The majority of people here at Panda Creative are from a ‘self-employed’ background, so working from home is second nature to them – that’s why we’ve drafted together this helpful guide to ‘working from home‘ and how to cope.

  • Find yourself a quiet corner where you can set up a temporary office/desk space to allow you to work in a similar environment to the office. It’s always better to be near a window for some much needed natural light and vitamin D! Also, make sure you have a well supported comfy chair.
  • Get up and get ready for work at your usual time, try to keep consistency in your working day. Make sure always to eat a healthy breakfast and have a morning coffee.
  • Keep distractions at bay (like the TV), put on the radio or a Spotify playlist quietly in the background. If the kids are at home too, try to distract them with some ‘homeschooling’ work, or perhaps your partner can take it in turns to work/support.
  • Make sure to take enough screen time breaks throughout the day to ensure you stay fresh and keep hydrated with plenty of H2O.
  • If you can, be flexible with your time – you may find yourself having to work a certain amount of hours, but you can spread it over the course of the day and/or evening.
  • Make sure you stay structured, set goals and make a plan for the next day before you finish the current day. Keep a clean working environment.
  • Keep in touch with your colleagues when you can via Zoom or another virtual meeting app.
  • Stay healthy, exercise once during the day (Government guidelines) – why not take a lunch in the garden (if it’s sunny)?

Stay safe, Aaron – Creative Director

What’s the difference between digital and litho printing…

It’s a question we always get asked, so we thought we’d answer it here for all to see!

Digital printing is perfect for shorter-run print jobs. It allows for on-demand printing and fast turnaround times!

Litho printing offers stunning, super high-quality print that allows for precise colour matching and special inks to be used. The CPC (cost per copy) price over a large print run is typically cheaper than digital and the more you print the cheaper the job becomes!

The downside to digital over litho is the ability to achieve very rich/bright colours (think orange and greens) that would normally ‘pop’ when printed litho due to the solid Pantone inks used – see the example below.

Litho (left) – Digital (right)

The downside to litho over digital is the slower turnaround time (print speed and drying time) and the cost involved in setting up the screens. Digital print also offers far more flexibility than litho, allowing for on-demand printing and adaptable personalisation.

So hopefully that’s answered your questions…? Remember, our Creative Crew are always on hand to ensure we chose the correct method for your requirements.

Black Friday Stats 2019

So Black Friday has come and gone, the busiest shopping day of the year!

We wanted to share a statistical round up of this year’s Black Friday to all our readers…

  • Sales in 2019 soared 16.5% compared to 2018.
  • Transactions were up 7.2% year on year.
  • Black Friday promotions were at an all time high (6% greater than in 2018) and ran for much longer than previous years.
  • The average discount on a Black Friday deal was 32% off.
  • Online sales traffic was split 58% smartphone, 37% desktop and 5% tablet.
  • 36% of smartphone sales were actually completed, whereas desktop sales completed sat at 59%.
  • High street shop visits were up 3.3%.

This year’s Black Friday was the biggest yet and it may have something to do with it falling on the 29th, just after payday for millions!

World Brand Design Awards

Panda Creative is ecstatic to announce we’re in the running for the ‘World Brand Design Awards‘ 2019 in the ‘Service Brand Design’ category for our brand identity creation for Pestell & Co. These prestigious awards are an annual showcase of excellence in the areas of professional consumer and corporate brand design.

As well as being entered into these distinguished awards, we have been featured on their website showcase. We would really appreciate your support and vote here.

The Management Meeting

One issue commonly experienced across many companies is monthly management meetings dragging on for far longer than necessary. This is normally driven by people bringing their ‘problems’ to the meeting and using the environment as a ‘problem solving playground’.

Some research shows that the common saying – ‘Bring Me Solutions, Not Problems’ is the wrong message as it can cause employees to shut down and refrain from bringing issues to attention.

We agree (partially), and we’ve formulated a better leadership approach…

1) Encourage your team to use a red flag system and highlight projects that require input from the management team to get them back on track.
2) Once highlighted, each manager should formulate the possible corrective action with 1, 2 or 3 solutions that the management team can discuss. This will keep the meeting on track and avoid the actual problem solving being done at the meeting. Having planned corrective actions, the management team can efficiently decide on the best route for getting the project back on track.

To lighten the mood, here’s a Dilbert comic strip we feel quite fitting…

Mastering Deep Work

Have you ever heard of the saying “girls are better at multitasking than boys”? Well, studies show that multitasking isn’t the best for productivity. Multitasking leads to a 40% drop in productivity, increased stress and a 10% drop in IQ!

Does anyone ever settle down to get a task done and a co-worker drops by for a ‘quick chat’? Every time you’re interrupted, it takes 15 minutes to get re-focused and your head back in the game. On average we’re distracted once every 11 minutes throughout a working day.

So, we’ve established multitasking isn’t good for us. What can I do about it I hear you ask?

One way to cut through the distractions is to master a practice called ‘Deep Work’.

There are 3 methods of Deep Work…

Monastic – this practice of Deep Work involves you taking yourself away from the world completely and focus solely on the task at hand. Find a quiet place and stay there.

Bi-modal – for this way of Deep Work you need to split your day into two halves. Spend half the day battling emails, social media, and all that other annoying stuff and spend the other half with no distractions at all.

Rhythmic – this practice is best for those of us who struggle to spend large amounts of our time away from our desks. Block out 90-minute chunks throughout the week for focused Deep Work sessions.

So settle down, get focused and take some time to create something spectacular.

Boosting Creativity

Sometime’s it’s hard to get those creative juices flowing. We thought we’d share a few of our creative crews thoughts on boosting creativity. Enjoy!

  1. Move every day. Exercise. Stand don’t sit whenever possible.
  2. Get your beauty sleep. 8 hours solid in a dark, cool room.
  3. Don’t use your iPhone before bed – we’re all culprits of this!
  4. Reduce your coffee intake after noon.
  5. Wake up with a pint of water – it kicks starts your body for the day ahead!
  6. Do something instead of nothing. Don’t just ponder on ideas.
  7. Don’t be heroic, be consistent in what you do.
  8. Get feedback from people and learn to take it.
  9. Get out at lunch! Take a walk, try meditation or read a book.
  10. Block out your time. If it’s not in your calendar it doesn’t exist.

Google Analytics Rules of Good Data

Google Analytics Good Data

Last week we had the pleasure of attending one of CIM’s digital marketing courses and came away with a wealth of new knowledge. Like they say, never stop learning!

At Panda Creative we like to give good advice, so here’s a little something we bought away with us…

The 4 Rules of Good Data

  1. Be Sure – don’t assume data is correlated. Sense check it and use your brain.
  2. Be Specific – the more specific the better. Always start with a question.
  3. Add Context – use annotations to keep track on what you’ve done.
  4. Be efficient – get Google to do your reports for you with Google Data Studio.