New York, Rome, Greece, Sofia – A website for a film studio in Bulgaria

April 13th, 2014

Posted by Keren Lerner

The amazing story of this project starts with Nu Image, a California-based production studio (founded 1992) owned by my dad, Avi Lerner, his brother (my uncle) Danny Lerner, Trevor Short and Danny Dimbort.

Most of the films produced by Nu Image and the sister company Millenium Films are action movies, such as Rambo IV, The Expendables and Olympus Has Fallen.

Nu Image had already produced more than 60 full feature films in Bulgaria before they bought the Boyana Film Studio in 2005 and renamed it Nu Boyana. Read the rest of this entry »

6 amazing projects created by my Digital Planning students!

March 22nd, 2014

Posted by Keren Lerner

Time To Be Creative

In addition to running my amazing design agency Top Left Design, I am also sometimes a teacher for French MBA students at INSEEC “Sup de Pub” in their London campus. It’s a way of “giving back” and I try to get my students to help some of our clients- a win win situation when they can look at real life businesses. And others, I give them the full creative freedom of invented projects – meaning they save chasing down clients for the actual working world!

For each of my classes I split them into 5 groups – and then give each a brief for the students to work through over the next few classes. I wanted to show you some of the wonderful work they have been doing with these projects – including some cool infographics! Read the rest of this entry »

7 steps to choosing a name for your company

March 18th, 2014

Posted by Keren Lerner

It’s a big decision and not to be taken lightly. Which is why you can’t just go out and ask people “what should I name my business?” and hope someone will come up with a perfect name. This is why they pay the branding agencies the big bucks! And sometimes, people pay the big bucks and end up coming up with their business name in a “bathroom revelation”.

It happens.

Here are 5 different ways to name your business:

Read the rest of this entry »

Client interview: Working with the fantastic PR Agency – Focus PR

March 13th, 2014

Posted by Keren Lerner

Focus PR - Home Page

We are lucky to have such wonderful clients! Last year, we met the amazing director of Focus PR agency, Sara Balme. Focus PR is a London PR agency, specialising in consumer lifestyle, digital and experiential PR. They have 3 core sectors they work in: food & drink, beauty & health, luxury & lifestyle.

Focus PR - Campaign Videos

Focus PR - Blog

We created a new design for their website, so I asked Sara to share with us her experience with the Top Left Design team as a result.  Her answers are below – and won’t take you long to read as I haven’t embellished them!

Interview below – enjoy!

Read the rest of this entry »

How I reached #InboxZero – tips and tools for productive email management

March 8th, 2014

Posted by Keren Lerner

InboxZero - email management tips and tools

I did it!

This week while I have been on a sort of working holiday in Singapore (working meaning I am still working but not doing any events or speaking or meetings so much) I managed to reduce my inbox count to a total of 0! YAY!

My ongoing quest

My email is like a “to do” list – like many of you I am sure.

I get lots.

And I file email every day as I feel I need to clear and delete before I can concentrate on the big emails that need more “headspace”.

There are 2 main groups of people in the world – when it comes to email:

NonFilers – who have thousands or tens of thousands of emails in their inbox, and leave everything in their inbox and just search for what they want. I try not to judge those crazy reckless folk. Maybe they are on to something. Maybe it’s better. Some of these people have a few sub folders but don’t really feel the urge to file all their email (how can they just leave it?).

But I do admire these people. They don’t get stressed about it, and often miss things, because they think if it’s that important, the person will email again, or just pick up the phone.

Filers – That’s people like me. I file my email diligently into folders and subfolders. I love the idea of InboxZero so much I talk about it on Twitter and am writing this blog post (on International Women’s Day, in Singapore!)

And I also file my sent items. And so does everyone in the Top Left Design team – as we have a shared email area for projects so all project emails are accessible for everyone. It’s good to be organised!

Is Inbox Zero worth it? Read the rest of this entry »

How to maximise your marketing activities – using LinkedIn

March 4th, 2014

Posted by Keren Lerner

How LinkedIn can support your marketing

Before we start this I feel it’s important to define marketing.

I like to explain it using the 3 Ms fo Marketing – Message, Medium and Market.

  1. Message – the beliefs you want people to have about you and the business you are in
  2. Medium- the channels you will be using to get your message across (Social networks, email marketing, direct mail, blogging, content marketing)
  3. Market – who you want to get your message to – usually your prospects, strategic partners, stakeholders, clients and people who would give you referrals

So, with all this in mind, can you see how LinkedIn is useful?
If you feel your market is on LinkedIn, then you can use it as one of your mediums to get your message across.

One more definition for Marketing

Marketing is also about making an impression, so you get to the hearts and minds of people who will make an effort to point people or business your way.

Why LinkedIn?

LinkedIn is known as the professional social network. When I meet people who on the scepticism scale in Social Media are “extreme far right” they usually concede LinkedIn is the one they would consider.

  1. Make a great impression It’s your chance to show yourself off as the smart, experienced, professional expert you are in your field, without showing off. Yes, this is where it’s allowed.
  2. People do use it – even just peripherally. They get requests from people they know, and then a fleeting thought goes through their minds “oh, I know that person, hm I’ll connect” or “what is that person asking me to connect with them for?” or whatever. But there is usually a curiosity. Even for the sceptics. And so it’s going to get their attention.
  3. A percentage of your connections will look – due to natural curiosity. With this natural curiosity comes the chance – not a guarantee – but a chance – that people will look at your profile. This is where having a properly filled in LinkedIn profile makes all the difference.
  4. It’s actually low maintenance – and can still be useful if you’re too busy, or just not that interested Even if you work on it for 1 and a half hours, and then there it is, and if you follow my rules for the 5 things you should have on your LinkedIn profile that make your LinkedIn profile stand out way better than the majority of the population, then you may get more than a split second of their attention.

Beyond just an excellent profile

I often play it down – just do the 5 things and you wll be able to leave it alone, and it will represent you so much better. It will give an incredible first impression. So when you meet someone at an event, and then connect with them on LinkedIn, they will read your profile. Or, maybe someone searches for someone who does what you do, and they will see your profile – and it will stand out. So great! But there are some people out there who want more. They get it, they see the power of LinkedIn. What’s next, they ask!

There’s LOADS – here’s a superlist!

I am so glad you asked. Here’s a superlist – what else can you do with LinkedIn?

Join groups as they will show up as a badge on your profile, giving people who look you up more information about what youre about. For example if you are interested in the environment you can join specific green groups in your niche. You can join the LinkedIn groups for the networking groups you belong to in real life. You can join industry groups, sport related, groups focused diversity issues, groups about marketing and social media, expat communities. Anything you stand for, join it. TIP: go for active groups with a healthy number of members in it, which are moderated. And if you cant tell if this is the case until after, then you can easily leave the group after. ANOTHER TIP: Reset the frequency in which you get the alerts from the groups you are a member of- and have them set to weekly or event never if you prefer.

Consider keywords for search results Some people search for LinkedIn users by keyword. Revisit your profile and compare it to other’s in your field. What key words or phrases do they use, and how often? You can include these in your profile – just don’t overstuff them as this is too obvious. You don’t want to seem like you are working on SEO (even if you are!). As long as you ensure the words and paragraphs are well written, full sentences written in the first person, which show a little personality, then your keywords will blend in nicely.

Join groups and participate in the discussions – or start your own. Out of the different groups you join, you could choose one, two or three that you will put the most focus on.

Recommend others on LinkedIn I don’t mean endorsements, I mean recommendations, the kind you write out properly. This is good kharma and shows up on their profile, which gives you more exposure to the people who are likely to look. Are they the same audience as yours? Could be – think about it. And by recommending others, it doesn’t mean they have to recommend you back, but they might.

Ask for recommendations. And always personalise these requests. Even though you can do group recommendation requests, or use the default text, personalising it and considering carefully who you ask and how you ask will get better results. Remember – people are busy, so ask a few and expect a 25% response. Ask clients, colleagues and suppliers who you know would make good and intelligent comments about you.

Use it to research people. before a meeting, before a networking event, to identify the top players in your industry

Check out the right side in the “edit profile” mode. There are loads more things you can add to beef up your profile. A little bit of time but once it’s done you can leave it alone for a while. Projects you’ve worked, articles you have published, special awards and recognitions – you can put it all in there. LinkedIn has a knack for letting you have all this, without it looking like you are bragging. Imagine if when you met someone you had to real off the achievements you had to that extent – every time!

 LinkedIn in your signature. If you have worked so hard on your LinkedIn profile – even if you have the 5 basic ingredients (great professional profile picture, informative and keyword rich headline, summary written in the first person with passion for what you do evident, previous roles written in the first person with a positive spin and highlighting the achievements and interesting facts, and of course – your “vanity URL”) and NOTHING else from this “superlist” – then definitely include the vanity URL in your email signature

Pulse (previously called “LinkedIn Today”) is the news that’s relevant to the industry you are in (based on what you put in your profile

Look at what your peers are doing. Yes, be snoopy and sneaky. And if you don’t want them to know then change your privacy settings so that only you know who’s profile you have visited. A feeling of competition is great motivator and will surely push LinkedIn up on your priority to do list!

Add slideshare I really rate this feature. You can create a PowerPoint file – or a few, or a series, and they can be on a variety of topics relating to your business, your experience, your projects or your expertise. Then upload it to Slideshare, making sure you label things properly with categories, descriptions and keywords. Finally, embed this into your LinkedIn profile. This shows up visually with a thumbnail of the cover page – and be sure your PPT file is beautifully designed so it stands out (ask us for help if you need it!)

Create your own status updates – link to your blog posts (TIP – you can customise the headlines and the intro blurb), share images, tag people. LinkedIn has all these features now

Interact – when you see other’s posts on LinkedIn on your news feed – comment, like and share – this will increase your visibility and make the person who’s update you did something on feel a little bit more special and like you a little bit more! I promise!

Schedule a LinkedIn Hour in your diary – I have met many who say they do this and have found it to be incredibly useful.

Thinking you don’t really have time for Content Marketing? Here are some tips to help!

February 19th, 2014

Posted by Keren Lerner

Think you don't have time for Content Marketing?

Trust me, we hear this all the time.

Everyone is busy. I am busy – running a business, working with my team, meetings every day, and an overflowing inbox. And I keep a consistent presence on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, LinkedIn, and Instagram. They are a part of my life. And I don’t think I am superwoman or anything but thanks for the compliment! Read the rest of this entry »

The transition from where we were, where we always have been and where we are now – still helping you show the best of yourself

February 15th, 2014

Posted by Keren Lerner

The evolution of our company mission

Ever since I started the business I have had the mission “to clean up the internet”

Now that remains and added to it is to prove that magic existed in every business. Because it does. Business is there to serve a purpose and people are there to bring that product or service to customers or clients. And we are there to make sure that message is clear, memorable and shows the best of the truth.

Cleaning up the internet

This meant replacing all those badly designed websites which people either were embarrassed about or should be with new effective websites which were well designed, easy to use, clear, effective, and quick to load and navigate.

LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram and beyond Read the rest of this entry »

Why should you be content marketing?

February 11th, 2014

Posted by Keren Lerner

Why do you need to do content marketing for your business?

To define this quickly – Content Marketing is basically creating unique content (written and visual) that sits on your site, blog and online profile and then can be shared on social media and via email marketing.

What websites used to be for

A website’s purpose used to be to inform people who you are in your business, what your services are, why your business exists, and how to get in touch. A truly great site would communicate directly to your audience in a way that makes them feel you really understand them. And it would never be confusing or cluttered or out of date.

At TLD we have been ensuring our websites are easy to navigate, clear, relevant.

But now there is so much more. In the last few years, almost all our sites have been designed with a blog, which is seamlessly integrated into the site. This allows our clients to update their own stories, team news, case studies and advice posts. Read the rest of this entry »

What do clients want to see on your LinkedIn profile?

February 5th, 2014

Posted by Keren Lerner

What do clients want to see on your LinkedIn profile?

I was asked recently to outline the answers to a very specific question. When it comes to clients or potential clients – what is it they want to see on your LinkedIn profile?

Of course this depends on the person they are. Some of them will want to see you have 500+ connections. Some check out how many recommendations you have.

And these are things you can build up over time.

But here are things you can work on right now, on your own profile, and this works for anyone.

Read the rest of this entry »