How do I make my website more sustainable?

If you’re concerned about the environment and living as sustainably as possible, you’re likely considering transportation, manufacturing and agriculture as some of the main culprits for CO2 emissions. However, you might not realise that the unassuming internet is also a substantial producer of carbon emissions.

If you’re concerned about the environment and living as sustainably as possible, you’re likely considering transportation, manufacturing and agriculture as some of the main culprits for CO2 emissions. However, you might not realise that the unassuming internet is also a substantial producer of carbon emissions.

The internet currently produces 3.8% of all global carbon emissions. While that might not sound like a lot, if the internet were a country, it would be the sixth largest global polluter. Frankly, that’s huge.

With 1.17 billion websites in the world, there’s little chance of a simple fix, and no fundamental change that will solve all our problems. Instead, it’s down to each of us to ensure that our own web development is sustainable and planet friendly. Much like the climate problem at large, we all have to pitch in to make these changes work.

How can a website be unsustainable?

It’s hard for the average person to perceive why this is a problem. For years, the world has been pushing the narrative of “going paperless” to save the planet. Physical paper and other such tangible products are clearly a use of physical resources. Using less paper means fewer trees are cut down. Simple.

But what about the internet? It’s just data. Intangible tech wizardry that we can’t see, smell or touch. The answer is energy, and lots of it.

Let’s get straight to the point. Websites are not standalone digital bubbles where the polluting state of the real world doesn’t apply. Each website has a carbon footprint, driven by the resources needed to keep those bits of data active and accessible to the world.

Putting a website’s carbon footprint into perspective

Let’s take a look at some carbon emission statistics.

A simple, no-frills web page will emit around 20 milligrams of carbon dioxide per second when viewed on a desktop computer. For a page filled with detailed images, eye-catching animations and informative marketing videos (as many are with the current trends in digital marketing), this figure can easily rise to 0.3 grams per second.

For comparison, a small petrol car produces around 1.34 grams of CO2 per second. This means that the petrol-guzzling car you feel guilty driving around is only around 4.5 times more polluting than the webpage you’re reading this on. When it’s put into perspective like that, it’s crazy that we’re not freaking out about the environmental impact of the internet more.

How can we make our websites more sustainable?

Hosting companies need to do their part, of course. Huge data servers don’t come cheap, and they eat up enormous amounts of energy. Fortunately, our increasingly eco-conscious world has encouraged these businesses to adopt greener practices.

This might include switching to renewable energy sources or utilising a content delivery network (CDN) to load a website based on a user’s geographical location. Web designers can do their part here by always choosing a website host that adopts these more ethical practices. However, as we’ve seen, the actual designs of our websites also have a big impact.

With this in mind, let’s look at some ways of making your website more sustainable, helping to save the planet one mouse-click at a time.

Have sustainability ingrained in your business

Building sustainable practices into the very core of your business is a fantastic start, and helps to ensure that you don’t stray too far in the other direction when new, exciting projects and opportunities arise.

Not only does this direct the development of your business, it will also help you to appeal to customers based on their like-minded ethics.

Optimise images and videos

Our websites still need to pack that digital marketing punch to attract and retain an audience. This is, of course, non-negotiable, but how this punch is achieved is very much up for discussion. The big-hitters in this arena are visual media such as images and videos.

The simple act of removing auto-play video functionality could have a sizable impact on your website’s carbon footprint, along with applying more careful consideration to image selection. Large, detailed images take a lot more resources to view. Wherever possible, try replacing them with smaller image files or vector graphics.

Carefully consider your font selection

Perhaps surprisingly, custom fonts can impact your website’s carbon footprint in a big way. Selecting a non-standard font means adding them to a viewer’s device before your carefully crafted web experience can take full effect. This additional data transfer inevitably means a bigger environmental impact.

Are you able to maintain your website’s branding and style using the standard range of font selections? If so, you’re well on the way to making a more sustainable website.

Create green templates for future projects

Saving you time and money as well as giving you that warm, fuzzy feeling when doing your bit for the planet, creating ‘boilerplate’ green webpage templates is a great way to ensure your site’s continued sustainability.

Rather than reinventing the wheel when a new project or opportunity comes into view, you can start from pre-optimised page designs. This means less energy and resources spent creating pages from scratch, and an assurance that the final design is in line with eco-friendly best practices.

Sustainability at DWH

At DWH, we’ve made it part of our mission to be at the forefront of developing more sustainable web experiences for our clients. As such, our servers are compliant with ISO 14001:2015 and ISO 50001:2011 certification, and we’re in the process of moving existing websites over to greener data centres.

We’re also working with our development partners to deliver a greener, more sustainable internet experience to minimise the amount of carbon emissions generated by the websites we build. We aim to offset these emissions through our partnership with Ecologi.

If you’re concerned about the environmental impact of your business, contact DWH today and we’ll start you on the path to sustainable website practices.


DWH named Best Digital Brand Development Agency - Midlands

DWH named Best Digital Brand Development Agency - Midlands

The MarTech Awards

In recent years, particularly since the pandemic shifted remote working to the forefront of most industries, technology has become an increasingly important part of digital marketing. A need has therefore arisen to help brands in their search for reliable, innovative marketers to support their business growth efforts.

As part of their mission to support and guide better business practices, Corporate Vision created the MarTech Awards in 2020 as a way to recognise and reward the world’s most committed and cutting-edge marketers. These global awards cover a broad range of specialisms, from advertising tech and SEO to emerging sectors like influencer marketing, assessing and acknowledging leaders in this continually evolving sector.

Why DWH?

Corporate Vision chose DWH as the Best Digital Brand Development Agency for the Midlands region in part because of our agile nature and keen adaptability.

The shift to online communications since the pandemic has also meant adapting how we support our clients. What makes us stand out is our adaptability and resilience. While our passion and creativity are what attracts customers to us, our attention to detail, knowledge, and amazing team is what keeps them coming back.

Over recent years, we’ve seen a shift towards video, motion graphics and animation, and chose to expand our service offering in this area to better cater to our clients’ needs. With a small yet highly skilled team, we’re able to take on a variety of challenges while ensuring that clients know exactly who is working on their branding and marketing project.

We’re always on the lookout for opportunities to expand and upskill the DWH team to meet our clients’ needs, and look forward to seeing what exciting challenges await us in the future.

Work with an award-winning brand development agency

If you’d like to benefit from our expertise in innovative brand development and digital marketing, we’d love to hear from you! Get in touch today and let’s discuss how we can support your brand.


The impact of data privacy on digital marketing in the post-pandemic world

The impact of data privacy on digital marketing in the post-pandemic world

The increased digitisation of almost every element of our lives is a legacy of the COVID pandemic, and with that comes a huge increase in shared personal data.


Whether you’re verging on computer illiteracy or at the cutting edge of digital tech, your personal data will be out there somewhere. Analysing and selling this data is profitable, and, as we’ve increasingly seen over the last few years, data hacks and breaches are a worryingly common event.

However, as consumers begin to better understand exactly how much of their data is out there, and why this might not be ideal, data protection has fast become a priority in the digital world. Let’s take a look at some of the emerging battlefields when it comes to protecting personal data and how digital marketing needs to adapt to support them.

The impact of data privacy on digital marketing in the post-pandemic world

Issue: Users don’t want to be tracked by search engines

Those concerned about exactly how much of their data Google is tracking (spoiler alert: it’s loads) might look to alternative search engines that take a more ethical approach. The stand-out champion of ethical data handling, and a model for businesses everywhere, is DuckDuckGo.

They make a simple and elegant promise. Your personal data will never be stored, and you will never, ever be tracked around the internet.

Like all search engines, they make their money from paid ads, but DuckDuckGo pride themselves on only showing ads that are relevant to a user’s current search. No previous history, and no creepy ads giving unwelcome chase. It’s little wonder users are flocking (sorry, couldn’t help myself) to them.

Herein lies a problem for digital marketers. With little underlying data to work on it can be very difficult to ensure that our target audience sees our content or ads.

Solution: Focus on quality content

By not being able to target content or ads to a certain demographic, untracked search engines like DuckDuckGo present the challenge of creating high-quality content with top-tier SEO. For adverts, marketers need to craft copy with broader appeal to capture the attention of more than a very narrow demographic.

While this might be a struggle, it gives marketers the chance to stretch their creative muscles and try something new, instead of just cheekily bidding on competitors’ branded keywords.

Issue: Users are distrusting of targeted ads

A large part of the monetisation of personal data comes in the form of personalised ads. We’ve all had that jarring experience of searching for a product and then seeing ads for it for the next six months.

To restrict the reach of targeted marketing and any associated nefarious schemes, users are choosing to use ad blockers, make stricter choices when accepting cookies, and even using a VPN to mask their location. However, this data is essential for marketers, who need to come up with new ways to encourage users to hand over this important information.

Solution: Encourage users to share their data

Gener8 Ads is a British start-up that has taken this idea and run with it, giving users full control over their (anonymised) data while also offering an incentive that doesn’t alienate marketers. By simply installing a free browser, Gener8 users have the option to enter ‘privacy mode’, which stops companies from tracking them at all, or ‘rewards mode’, which allows them to earn points from any ad they see and redeem them for products, vouchers or charity donations. It’s a stroke of genius, and they’ve already got dragons on board.

This is a great example of how we can support users’ desire to better control their online privacy, while also making the lives of digital marketers easier. By weighing up the perceived value of their data versus the reward gained by sharing it, marketers can leverage downloadable guides, rewards programmes, discount codes and more to obtain useful data while giving users something beneficial in exchange. Win win.

The impact of data privacy on digital marketing in the post-pandemic world

Issue: Users are suspicious of unsolicited emails

Email use is practically universal for those of us with any online presence. We rely on it for a huge percentage of our general correspondence, especially with the prevalence of online shopping. Email is the go-to medium for the world at large to contact us, meaning inboxes full of spam are commonplace.

Unfortunately, the ease with which emails can be sent to vast numbers of people makes it an extremely useful tool for those with nefarious intentions, and messages containing phishing scams and viruses have become an almost unavoidable experience for email users.

Over the years, email accounts also gather an extraordinary amount of data. If that account were to get into the wrong hands, no end of problems could ensue. All of this is starting to make consumers a little distrusting of anything that drops in their inbox.

Yet again, innovative businesses are beginning to fight back and return data control to the user. Email providers now tend to offer a vast array of helpful measures, including ad-blocking, spam filters, tracker blocking, encryption, multi-layered login and loads more tools to help keep confidential correspondence confidential.

Solution: Step back, and look at the bigger picture

As marketers, we must be respectful of our audience’s choices in data sharing. While we may receive less hard data on the success of our email campaigns, it doesn’t mean we should simply give up and stop sending them.

Consider switching to integrated brand metrics, focusing less on the minute detail of campaign performance, and more on the larger pictures such as ROI and overall ad spend. By creating more targeted email campaigns, such as for a specific product or service, your website analytics, sales and enquiries should give you at least some insight into the performance of your email marketing efforts.

Digital marketing & data privacy

The future holds massive changes for the landscape of digital marketing, and they’re already well underway. The pandemic taught us to adapt our business strategies to survive, and we must continue to do so as the COVID legacy persists.

If you’re struggling to keep pace with the changes to digital marketing then DWH can help. Contact us today to discuss all of your branding and marketing needs.


What on earth is the Metaverse?

Psst… Come closer… Have you heard about the Metaverse? No? Well, you’re about to.In this article, we’re going to take a look at what exactly the Metaverse is and why you should care about it.

Psst… Come closer… Have you heard about the Metaverse? No? Well, you’re about to.

In this article, we’re going to take a look at what exactly the Metaverse is and why you should care about it.

What is the Metaverse?

Sounding like something straight out of a Marvel flick, or the latest offering from Facebook’s new brand identity, the Metaverse is actually a decades-old concept that has started to gain some mainstream traction now that the question of “what comes after the internet?” has been uttered.

Put simply, the Metaverse is the next iteration of the internet, and is generally envisioned as a completely immersive internet experience where everything is connected in a virtual world. This could consist of virtual reality (VR), augmented reality (AR), machine learning, various forms of artificial intelligence and much more. You can think of it as Internet 2.0.

Virtual worlds and a seamless integration of human minds with technology are not new concepts. From cyberpunk classic Neuromancer to the cinematic masterpiece of The Matrix, science fiction writers have been drooling over the idea since the birth of the genre. Now we (sort of) have the tech to make it happen.

What will the Metaverse look like?

Figuring out exactly what the Metaverse will look like represents a surprisingly challenging task, especially if you try to rationalise it against the standard experiences we have with the real world.

For one vision of the Metaverse, let’s take the cultural shake-up that COVID has given us. For many, home working has meant almost no human interaction, but an awful lot of virtual meetings on platforms such as Zoom. One corner of the Metaverse could well see the transformation of these virtual meetings into something far more literal.

Imagine attendees donning headsets and being placed in a virtual world where everyone is represented by an avatar. You can discuss sales figures around a virtual representation of the classic office environment, or perhaps you could mix it up. Discuss the latest project while on top of Everest, or interview a candidate in a space station orbiting Jupiter. The possibilities are endless, and possibly a little ludicrous.

The Metaverse could also revolutionise how tradespeople do their jobs. Through augmented reality, a virtual heads-up display could be overlaid on top of the real world, providing vital data to complete the job at hand. A faulty component could be highlighted before a mechanic’s eyes, or an electrician could assess a building’s wiring just by looking at it the walls.

Once we’ve cracked the tech, the possibilities are virtually endless.

Is the Metaverse a good thing?

In an age where our personal data is up for grabs and we all walk around with a load of high-tech sensors in our pockets, moving from simply viewing the internet to directly participating in it is an exciting natural progression.

But before we get too excited, let’s stop and take a look at some of the implications of diving head-first into the Metaverse.

Our personal data in the Metaverse

Although the general public is becoming savvier, many people still seriously underestimate just how much information they’re giving away on a daily basis about almost every part of their lives.

Let’s consider a generic millennial. They’re tech savvy, probably have a smartphone, a laptop and perhaps a smart watch. Linked to those devices are search engine accounts, email accounts, music and entertainment subscriptions, various shopping apps, grocery lists, bank accounts, medical information and the treasure trove of past embarrassment that is social media.

All of these accounts and apps are collecting data. The products you click on, the medical symptoms you searched for, what you ‘liked’, how many steps you took, your route to work, and so on. All of this data is valuable. It can be bought, it can be sold, and it can be used, and with data breaches becoming worryingly commonplace, information security is far from guaranteed.

As a friend of mine high up in a technology company once put it, “data is now the most valuable resource on the planet.” Scary when you really start to think about it, right?

Our lives are full of data sharing, surveillance and an utter reliance on technology created and run by companies more powerful than elected governments. So should we really be moving along a path that hands them more data and even more power?

“No” is probably the answer, but for better or worse, that’s exactly what the Metaverse is set to do.

What happens to the real world?

Yet another favourite of the science fiction genre is the post-apocalyptic wasteland, with streets of dust, crumbling cities and only a few feral dogs roaming around.

Now, I’m not suggesting the Metaverse is going to be the end of civilised existence. Well, probably not. However, there is a very real possibility of our inner cities and major population centres becoming an outdated relic. From the 2008 recession to 2020’s COVID pandemic, the high street has been on the decline for a hot minute, and the exciting possibilities of the Metaverse could very well deliver the final blow.

Our urban lifestyles are born out of necessity and convenience. We live, we shop, we socialise and we work all within this confined bubble of life that contains everything we need to be happy and healthy. But this is already far from the only way to achieve these things, and the Metaverse is set to take hold of more and more of our necessary human experiences.

Online shopping means we no longer need rows of shops. Remote working means we don’t need all those office blocks, or the cafés, bars and pubs that thrive on the captive audience of inner-city employees. Cities are noisy, expensive and polluted. If the Metaverse provides us with alternatives to all of the positives or urban living, then what need have we to stay there?

Does the Metaverse hold the answers?

When it comes down to it, the form the Metaverse will take is still unknown. There are signs that it could be a phenomenal advancement in human society, giving us lightning-fast global connectivity in a virtual world that is just as good as, or even better than, the real one.

On the flip side, it could throw us even further into an Orwellian dystopia, with the big players in business knowing absolutely everything about us due to our constant virtual presence, and using this information however they see fit.

Whichever way it goes, the Metaverse is going to shake up the human condition like nothing has since the internet stepped out of the primordial ooze.

I, for one, am terrified.


The importance of colour in branding

Colour in branding isn’t just about jumping on the latest trends and making a bold statement. The shades you use to identify yourself are just as important as the big hitters like brand name, logo, tone of voice, company values and even sound in branding. A carefully chosen colour palette has the power to make your brand instantly recognisable, and the most successful brands are distinctive without even a hint of a logo. Let’s take a closer look at the importance of colour in your brand strategy.

Colour in branding isn’t just about jumping on the latest trends and making a bold statement. The shades you use to identify yourself are just as important as the big hitters like brand name, logo, tone of voice, company values and even sound in branding. A carefully chosen colour palette has the power to make your brand instantly recognisable, and the most successful brands are distinctive without even a hint of a logo. Let’s take a closer look at the importance of colour in your brand strategy.

The psychology of colours

When it comes to branding, your selection of colour will be largely based on the image you want to portray to your target audience.

We’re all familiar with some basic elements of colour psychology. From seeing red and feeling blue to being green with envy, colours have distinct associations with our daily lives and emotions. However, it’s important to remember that different cultures perceive colours in different ways.

For instance, in western cultures, red has the power to spark emotions such as excitement, love and anger. This makes it a popular choice for brands promoting thrill-seeking experiences like iFly, or romantic Valentine’s Day. In some eastern cultures, however, red has connotations of luck and happiness, subtly changing the image your brand portrays.

White is a little more polarising. For western audiences, purity, simplicity, elegance and coldness might spring to mind. This makes it a popular choice for the minimalists amongst us. However, in China, white can be associated with bad luck or death, similar to the western perception of the colour black.

The importance of colour in branding

Learn from the best

Some brands have used colour so effectively that a particular hue, even out of context and with no supporting ‘traditional’ branding, can trigger thoughts and emotions associated with that brand.

Here are a couple of great examples of colour in branding.

Starbucks

Starbucks Green is perhaps one of the most iconic branding colours today.

Carefully selected to be unique while being synonymous with their desired image of calmness and dependability, this particular shade of green is recognised all over the world.

The branding experts at Starbucks are careful with their overall colour palette, which shows little deviation from subtly different shades of green and coffee-coloured browns. This creates a distinctive look that ties together nicely across their in-store signage and branded product range.

The importance of colour in branding

Lindt

Successful brands don’t have to be locked to one colour to be a hit. Luxury chocolatier Lindt is a wonderful example of how different products can be seamlessly blended within the same brand.

While many of their chocolates have a dominant colour to distinguish the flavours, the masters at Lindt always work in their favoured golds, whites and blacks. These colours ooze sophistication, elegance and unparalleled luxury to back up their message of excellence in chocolate. Even their product-based hues offer richness and luxury through careful colour selection and great graphic design.

Tips for using colour in your branding strategy

Here are some important things to consider when deciding on the colours for your brand strategy.

The right colours for your brand

A colour selection that’s relevant to your brand identity is key. Sometimes the most obvious choice is the right one, and subverting expectations can cause confusion.

For example, cruises are dominated by the blues of professionalism, serenity and the soothing ocean, along with the whites of purity and luxury. Equally, the boldness of oranges and purples is unlikely to feature where seriousness is desired.

It’s also worth considering if your selection today has the potential to be the next avocado green bathroom of the future. Careful colour selections with flexibility are one of the keys to a lasting brand. As we’ve previously discussed, it’s important not to overthrow your existing brand in favour of the latest trend.

Consistency is key

Brands need to be recognisable, with colour being an integral part of that recognition.

Your choice of palette needs to be applicable to everything that sits under the umbrella of your brand and should be liberally applied throughout. A brand without any colour consistency, even when considering different products, is going to cause confusion and lessen its overall impact.

What does your audience want?

Whether or not you believe that the customer is always right, you need to at least consider what they actually want.

If your customer is looking for an eco-friendly product, consider muted greens or browns. If they’re seeking professionalism, deep blues and clean whites could be the way to go.

Whatever you choose, your audience must always be at the forefront of your decision-making process. If you don’t cater to their expectations of your brand, you might find a difficult road ahead.

Need help choosing the perfect colours?

With literally millions to choose from, selecting the perfect combination of colours for your brand can be tough.

If you need help, DWH is here for you. Contact us today and we’ll help you to tackle everything from colour selection to defining your entire brand identity.


Ad World Masters’ Agency of the Year

Ad World Masters’ Agency of the Year 2021

Ad World Masters’ Agency of the Year

Over the year, Ad World Masters ranked over 11,900 agencies across 205 countries, highlighting the very best of what the industry has to offer.

A total of over 160 data points per agency are processed by an AI algorithm on an ongoing basis throughout the year. This is then used to calculate an Agency Score, which is used to determine who gets an award. The score is based on a mix of crowdsourced, raw and verified data, with criteria such as Awards, Reviews, SEO, Social, Web and more.

Of course, Ad World Masters are very secretive about exactly what goes into calculating the score to prevent manipulation. Their recommendation on how to increase your Agency Score is simply to “do great work for yourself and your clients.”

One of the unique things about Ad World Masters’ ranking system is that it’s designed to show the potential of an agency when compared to their competition. This means the result isn’t biased by factors such as size, or other criteria that may not directly reflect the output of the team.

The Elite Agencies

The Agency of the Year title is only given to Elite Agencies scoring 8.5 or higher in their rankings.
The award is split into three categories:

  • Gold: Agency Scores ≥ 9.2
  • Silver: Agency Scores ≥ 8.7
  • Bronze: Agency Scores ≥ 8.5

Of the agencies ranked in 2021, less than 10% received a title. A total of 94 Gold, 607 Silver and 463 Bronze titles were awarded.
So… what did we scoop up?

The gold standard for agencies

You’ve guessed it! With a score of 9.2, we were delighted to hear that DWH was one of less than 100 agencies worldwide to be gilded for the second year in a row!

Just 0.79% of the agencies ranked were given Gold, and only 15 agencies in the UK received this level of award, so we’re absolutely thrilled with this result!

With over 160 parameters being scored as often as up to every 12 hours, this award is testament to the consistent hard work the DWH team puts into every project.

Want to work with an award-winning agency?

If your brand needs the touch of an Elite Agency, it’s been proven by complicated AI algorithms that DWH is one of the very best you could choose.

Head to our contact page and let’s discuss your branding project.


The importance of sound in branding

The importance of sound in branding

When crafting a brand identity, what do you think of first? Chances are the answer is something along the lines of a logo, a colour palette or a tone of voice. But have you considered the role of sound in your brand? In this article, we’re going to take a look at sonic branding, what it is, and how it can be leveraged to strengthen the overall identity of a brand.

When crafting a brand identity, what do you think of first? Chances are the answer is something along the lines of a logo, a colour palette or a tone of voice. But have you considered the role of sound in your brand? In this article, we’re going to take a look at sonic branding, what it is, and how it can be leveraged to strengthen the overall identity of a brand.

What is sonic branding?

Sonic branding is, unsurprisingly, all about how your brand sounds.

In the increasingly busy and noisy environment of the modern world, brands are putting more effort into ensuring that they catch your attention. Sonic branding helps your business to be heard and not just seen.

You know exactly what the brand is as soon as you hear it. Think the McDonalds whistle, the Netflix ta-dum, the iPhone default ringtone, the XBOX 360 startup sound… All of these are great examples of sonic branding, and specifically what’s known as ‘sonic logos’.

Your logo in sound

Sonic logos are a great way to improve brand recall and develop bonds with loyal customers.

Because of how quickly our brains process sound, the perfect sonic logo can almost enter the mind subconsciously. By associating a certain tone or jingle with your brand, you can create instant recognition with your audience even if they’re not looking at a poster or reading an advertisement.

Sonic branding encompasses not just these audio signatures but a complete soundscape designed to evoke your brand in an instant.

Why is sound so effective?

Sound has an amazing ability to evoke a reaction within our brains – which shouldn’t come as a surprise if a piece of music has ever given you goosebumps, or you’ve felt a gut-wrenching feeling when hearing a baby cry.

Our bodies actually react to sound quicker than any other sense, helping us to sense danger quickly back when Homo sapiens spent more time worrying about predators than brand identity.

We’re hardwired to react to sound, and we learn what certain sounds mean, both in an evolutionary and a social context. Nowadays, sound can be a helpful tool to let us know that it’s safe to cross the road, that our card transaction has been accepted, or that an error on our computer needs attention.

Sound and music are extremely evocative, which is why they can be an extremely powerful tool to create a brand identity with real depth.

The link between music and emotion

As well as sounds, music can play a huge role in creating a sonic identity for your brand.
Our brains create a neurological link between music and experiences, which is why a song can trigger memories of a certain place and time, or even bring up very real emotions. This is powerful stuff, and can be extremely valuable for brands looking to create a human connection.

Whether licensing an existing song or composing a unique soundscape to accentuate your customers’ brand journey, there’s lots of potential for brands to capitalise on our brain’s deep connections with music.

There are likely certain songs that you associate with brands but have no idea what the actual song is, or even that it wasn’t written for the brand. For example, the piece of classical music adopted by Alton Towers, or the calming guitar-based instrumental used in the once-ubiquitous M&S Food ads.

Thanks to the power of the brain’s connections with music, there’s a decent chance that just hearing Fleetwood Mac’s Albatross will get your mouth watering. Assuming you’ve seen the ads, of course. And for completion’s sake, Alton Towers uses In the Hall of the Mountain King by Edvard Grieg. A personal favourite, I might add.

Do you need sonic branding?

As we’ve seen, sonic branding is an extremely valuable tool but it’s more important for some companies than others.
If you create any of the following, you would most likely benefit from creating a strong sonic brand:

  • TV and radio adverts
  • Podcasts and vlogs
  • Audio or video social media content
  • Video how-to guides
  • Physical electronic devices

Remember that sonic branding works best as a single ingredient in your overall branding recipe. Make sure the sounds you choose complement your name, colour scheme and general ideals to strengthen the bond between your sonic and visual identities.

The importance of sound in branding

Sound like music to your ears?

If you’re passionate about branding, talk to the experts at DWH.
While we can’t guarantee that sonic branding will play a huge part in every project, we’d love to help you to create a strong identity that your customers will not only remember but also be passionate about engaging with.

If you need help with your digital marketing strategy in 2022, contact DWH today and we’ll be happy to discuss the right way to move your brand forward.


Web design trends we can expect in 2022

Web design and development trends in 2022

Scaled-back hero images

Being the first thing that visitors see, it’s long been critical to have hero images that grab and retain the attention of your audience. The tricky part is keeping your designs consistent with the subtle trends in hero image formatting.

2022 will see the rise of more typographically orientated hero images, with a restrained use of images and illustrations. Distractions will be kept to a minimum, while your carefully crafted copy will command the attention of your audience.

This does not, however, mean that design creativity is lost in favour of copy. Focusing on typography alone may seem to limit design options, but with careful colour and style selections it’s possible to create tasteful, creative and stunningly simple designs that allow the words to make an impact.

Web design trends we can expect in 2022

Minimalism with a twist

The concept of minimalism is nothing new to web design. Back-to-basics designs with lots of white space are both attractive and help to avoid overwhelming your visitors, so they can quickly process the information on your site and find what they need. In addition, classic minimalistic styles allow for a sleek, tidy and professional feel that many brands desire.

Much of this hasn’t changed, although the overuse of monochrome minimalism means this style has somewhat fallen out of favour. Fear not, for 2022 will bring subtle twists to keep the concept fresh. Injections of colour, creative typography and vivid imagery are great ways to keep the minimalist concept alive, but with enough of a kick to entice your audience.

Careful consideration should be given to the colour palette of your designs based on the atmosphere you’re trying to convey. For sophistication and professionalism, perhaps consider a restrained, calming colour palette such as those used on the current Shopify website. For something requiring a little more ‘oumph’, bold, bright colours can be used to maintain a clean canvas while showcasing a vibrant brand personality.

It’s important to remember that minimalism should apply to the copy as well as the design. Text must be kept to an absolute minimum, while ensuring that it conveys all the information it needs to. As with the visual elements of this design style, minimalist copy is much harder to create than you might expect, and it can actually take a long time to write just a few words.

After all, less is more.

Web design trends we can expect in 2022

Page interactivity

Everybody loves a game; it’s just human nature. One of the most powerful web design tools going into 2022 will be interactive page elements that directly respond to cursor movements or clicks, grabbing the user’s attention and encouraging engagement.

By adding interactivity or even gamification elements to the landing page of your website design, you’re setting yourself up for a significantly reduced bounce rate. The innate human desire to play and examine something that piques our interest overrides the habitual back-click formed by a lifetime of media saturation.

This is a fantastic way to build anticipation, as the user will become increasingly curious to see what will happen next. It also gives extra time for the remainder of your page to drive home your brand’s message and convince the visitor that they should check out the other exciting things you have to offer. A completely outrageous but utterly brilliant example of this comes in the form of a personal resume by Robby Leonardi. I have no innate interest in this guy or his skills, yet I now know all about him. Well done!

I can’t end this section without a mention of possibly the most popular interactive element of any webpage, and something I can almost guarantee you’ve interacted with over the years. The legend. The icon. I am of course referring to the Google Chrome dinosaur game. How much time has been spent on this dropped-connection screen over the years in favour of doing something far more productive?

In 2022, embrace your inner dinosaur game and start encouraging interactivity.

Web design trends we can expect in 2022

How will you handle web design and development in 2022?

This is but a snapshot of the upcoming trends that will define web design in 2022. With a mix of attention-grabbing interactivity and subtle less-is-more elegance, this year has lots to inspire (and confuse) web developers in all industries.

If you need help navigating the constantly shifting landscape of web design and development, contact DWH today and we’ll happily be your guides.


Digital marketing trends we can expect in 2022

Digital marketing trends we can expect in 2022

Privacy is king

Privacy was perhaps the buzzword of internet-related affairs in 2021 and that shows absolutely no sign of abating. Virtual Private Networks (VPNs), tracking-free search engines and encrypted communications are rapidly becoming the norm, as consumers become increasingly concerned that companies know more about them than they’d like.

While this long-overdue societal shift restores a little faith that we won’t completely descend into a 1984-style Orwellian dystopia, it does pose a challenge for digital marketers. 2022 is the year where brands have to get it right. One wrong privacy-related gaffe has the ability to smash a reputation, and it will take a long time to rebuild that trust.

Data protection strategies need to be reviewed with a customer-first approach, and brands have to accept that they’ll have less data available for digital marketing purposes. Be proactive in assessing the impact this may have on your marketing strategy and consider alternative means of targeting your audience.

Digital marketing trends we can expect in 2022

Video marketing

Video marketing is rapidly on the rise, with social media platforms consistently reporting increasing engagement over the last few years. In fact, video is the most engaged-with form of social content, with 85% of marketers considering short-form video the most effective form of social media content in 2021.

Thanks to the more human element, videos allow digital marketers to connect with their audiences in a way that no other content form can. Whether it features a friendly-faced presenter or a simple voice over, our brains are hardwired to lock in on it. This makes it far easier to form a bond with your audience, rapidly building credibility and loyalty if managed correctly.

There’s an abundance of data available on the effectiveness of video on various platforms, along with comparisons of different forms of video themselves. Product demonstrations, webinars and live video events form a portion of this list, and each has its place. However, it’s interesting to see that live events tend to be watched three times longer than pre-recorded video and are a very popular way for audiences to learn about new products. This approach taps into the FOMO effect (fear of missing out), as audiences want to be the first to get snippets of game-changing information in a live event.

Any way you look at it, video marketing is going to be a key tool for digital marketers in 2022.

Embracing technology

The march of technology never ceases – it’s part of what makes our jobs so interesting! However, figuring out the direction of the next shift is almost as challenging as the development of a marketing strategy to utilise it.
Of course, advancements in technology take almost limitless forms. Chatbots and AI began to take to the digital marketing stage a few years back, and many brands have been keen to adopt them as part of their websites and social media. However, for smaller companies, figuring out this new tech was a little out of their scope.
As these tools have become the norm, simple, ready-to-use options have surfaced, allowing brands of all sizes to reap the benefits. By establishing an immediate line of communication with customers and giving instant answers, you can provide a great experience that encourages them to make a purchase and return to your brand in the future.
In a similar vein, voice search has also enjoyed continued popularity with consumers, with rapid improvements to reliability in this area of technology offering a convenient alternative to typing. To stand a chance in the SERPs once voice takes over, you need to make sure your website is optimised for voice search by prioritising the who, what, why, when, where and how questions that make up semantic searches relating to your industry. This is particularly important for local SEO campaigns and ranking for “near me” searches.

How will you approach digital marketing in 2022?

2022 heralds interesting times for digital marketers, encouraging us to further evolve with the times and consider the concerns of our audience, and how best to address them.

One thing is clear, the role of marketing is developing far beyond selling products, making an already complex job even more daunting. If you need help with your digital marketing strategy in 2022, contact DWH today and we’ll be happy to discuss the right way to move your brand forward.


Graphic design trends we can expect in 2022

Graphic design trends we can expect in 2022

The ’90s nostalgia revolution

Tried and tested concepts from a few decades earlier can be a great way to create audience engagement.

This is nothing new, but in 2022 we’re finally saying goodbye to the wave of ’80s nostalgia and welcoming in the ’90s, with its outrageous colours and more than a hint of grunge. From fashion to entertainment, we’re set to be bombarded with an eclectic mix of resurrected franchises, loud colour choices, quirky characters and chunky typography.

It’s fair to say that our lives have been “flipped-turned upside down” over the last couple of years. Reminiscing about less apocalyptic times is a surefire way of invoking happy memories, and is a brilliant way of creating an instant connection between your brand and your customers.

Muted colour combinations

Of course, bold, bright and obnoxious won’t do for every design. Many designers are opting for a much more restrained palette of muted colours. This allows them to create striking pieces that draw the eye while retaining a sense of elegance and grace, which might be the exact opposite of a brazen ’90s-inspired palette.

Designers are utilising these muted themes in a multitude of different ways, from combining them with simple geometric shapes to creating delicately intricate layered designs. Saga, provider of financial services for the over 50s, portrays this perfectly in their 2022 rebrand. They’ve opted for calming blue and turquoise hues, but have layered simple shapes to create beautifully stylish patterns.

Alternatively, muted colours can be incredibly powerful when utilised in the form of minimalism. We’ve moved beyond the effectiveness of the black-and-white designs that define the minimalist trend, with artists looking for new ways to keep their canvas clean but engaging. Muted colours seem to be the answer. Support provider Zendesk perfectly demonstrates the effectiveness of this simple approach, as seen on their current homepage banner.

An evolution in eco graphic design

It’s taken a long time for the world to take real notice of environmental issues. However, 2021 saw such a rush of it that there’s a risk of consumer fatigue with the same old ideas being used to push eco-focused agendas.

The subtle greens and browns, along with the overuse of tranquil landscape imagery and the hands-holding-the-planet cliché have been done to death. As such, they’re quickly losing their impact. This year, designers are going to have to come up with far more creative ways to promote environmentally friendly values.

One answer could be putting your money where your mouth is. There’s an increased focus on the materials and methods used for your graphics, rather than just the graphics themselves. Sustainable materials, planet-friendly inks and recyclable packaging will be key. This will undoubtedly detract from the pristine aesthetics we’re accustomed to, but if done correctly it can instantly show the positive environmental intentions of a brand.

Lose the sheen, keep ’em keen in 2022.

How will your graphic design reinvigorate your audience?

2022 is set to be a bit of a confusing year for the graphic design industry. On the one hand, ’90s nostalgia demands bold, quirky choices, while the muted colour trend calls for elegance and restraint. And how do you flaunt your eco-friendliness while evoking a decade known for tonnes of plastic and waste?

It all comes down to finding the right balance for your brand, and not just following trends because they’re trendy. Need a little help figuring out the right path to take? Talk to DWH.