Clare Associates - Projects

Here you’ll find details of projects that Clare Associates has been working on.

We re-launched our own website in early 2013, and have only included a few of the projects that we have worked on since the company was set up in 2002. We hope this is enough to give you a flavour of our experience. If you’d like to know more about any of our work, please drop us a line – we’re happy to talk about it!

Presentation and Impact Training for Young People

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Making the right first impression is important for pretty much everyone in life. Being able to give effective and compelling formal presentations is important for lots of us. One group of people for whom these skills are particularly vital is 17 and 18 year olds.

Why? Well, think about it. At that age, many people will want to go to university – making the right impression in your interviews is vital, especially if you’re applying to the sort of top university where good grades won’t be enough to get you an offer. Other young people will want to enter the world of work. Again, making the right impression on the people who might give you the job you want is vital.

I find that few schools prepare their students for these challenges. That is where our Presentation and Impact for Students training comes in. We always tailor this training specifically to the audience.

Know what impact you make, what impact you want to make - and narrow the gap.

I ran one such course in Devon in August for a group of five year 13 students. As I always do with this kind of training, I tailored the course to the needs of the participants – two wanted to go to university, two wanted to go into the services and one was going to work for his father’s company. The course covered formal presentation training (including video feedback and peer-to-peer coaching) and interview techniques. I also explained how to understand the impact you make on people you are dealing with, the impact you want to make and how to narrow the gap between the two.

Practise presenting in a constructive atmosphere

This was a one day course, with an informal atmosphere, with pricing set to be very affordable.

I love running courses like this – you get fantastic enthusiasm from the participants and the whole day is fun for everyone involved, as well as being a big confidence boost for young people who need all the confidence they can get to go out and get the jobs and university places they want.

“One aspect of the presentation training day that I especially liked was how personable Mark made it. From the offset he did very well at getting to know all of us in and what made us tick. His flexible structure then allowed him to cater to everyone’s individual needs.”

“The main thing I took away from the day was increased confidence to present to an audience. I have, for example, just accepted a Zimbabwe Tourism project which I am going to present to the executives of the leading DMC in South Africa as well as the Zimbabwe tourism Board.”

“The course was one day of intensive training. Mark made us all feel immediately comfortable and welcome, due to the nice surroundings, relaxed atmosphere and several icebreaker activities. The course did not follow a ‘set in stone’ format as Mark changed the structure of the course to tailor it towards each individual so that each participant got the most out of the day. The course provided me with lots of confidence and skills for future presentations and any other professional situation, Mark also helped us iron out any bad habits we may have had. I came away from the course full of confidence and I had a very enjoyable day that was definitely worthwhile.”

For more information on Presentation and Impact Training for Young People, click here.

Writer and Archaeologist Louise Turner: website launch

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As a history fan, I was delighted to be approached by archaeologist and writer Louise Turner, who wanted a new website created to promote her debut novel, Fire & Sword: a story set among the turmoil of late fifteenth century Scotland.

Fire_and_Sword_Novel_Scotland_smAs well as the usual ‘about the author’  and background content, Louise was keen to provide information on all the carefully-researched locations mentioned in the book, some of which are now obscure and hard to find.

We’re still working on developing that part of the project but here you can find maps of Scotland and Renfrewshire with mouse-over contextual links to some of the excellent background information that Louise has brought together.  We’re hoping that this will give the site a little search engine advantage in the local market too.

You can preview chapter 1 of Fire & Sword here

Website revamp for Blackcat Plymouth

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Blackcat Plymouth operate a sameday courier service and also a trailered car transport service – based in Plymouth, they operate across the UK, and need a website to showcase their services.  blackcat

We originally created a website for Blackcat way back in 2006, and although it had been updated several times since then, it was well overdue for an update.

Unusually nowadays, there was no requirement on this website for a content management system: the content was all ready to go and the site would not need any regular updates by the business owner: instead I would be doing them myself. So, I took the opportunity to build this site from scratch, just using a simple text editor to create the code.  This approach meant a very clean, lean presentation – there’s nothing at all in the code that isn’t required for this site.   It makes a nice change from repurposing software built for a range of purposes, which is the kind of job I spend a lot of time on generally.

I wrote the new look and feel in modern HTML 5 code, and added a very simple reviews system using php and Jquery.  This allows people to post a review of the Blackcat service.  The reviews are then held in a queue so that they can be checked for inappropriate content (and any spam we didn’t manage to filter out automatically) and approved by the site owner.

I also added a simple photo gallery to showcase the range of vehicles transported.

And here it is:


New Caribbean Weddings website

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Caribbean Weddings is a new project from Tropic Breeze – a specialist independent Caribbean tour operator.  People who are planning weddings in the Caribbean need different information to customers who are booking family holidays,  so we developed this new website in order to focus on providing all the details needed for this particular market.

This site has a content management system that is integrated with the main Tropic Breeze website, to allow easy control of both sites and their separate content from one central location.

The site was custom-built using responsive design – a system which allows a website to adapt to different devices being used to view it.    On a phone, the page and images resize so that users don’t need to scroll from side to side when viewing the site, and the spacing is wider to make the links easier to tap on.    There’s still some work to be done on improving this as the site is bedded in and tested with real customers, but so far it’s looking promising.



Setting up a new online payment service for an established Bespoke & Military Tailors

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Althougbb1372_lgh we did not design, Clare Associates has been helping this traditional bespoke tailor and military tailoring business look after their website since 2007 – including finishing off and launching their online shop, which sells an enormous range of military badges and buttons, after a previous supplier was unable to complete the work.

Recently, due to changes in the legislation on PCI DSS compliance and improvements in Internet security, Goldings decided to change the online payment provider they were using for ecommerce to Barclaycard.

Clare Associates helped them set up the Barclaycard EPDQ system and created a new online shop management tool to connect to the existing website, Barclaycard, and the Goldings bespoke ecommerce system.

Website design for Launceston literary festival

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7th – 9th June 2013 Festival, CornwallLaunceston’s Charles Causley Festival, held in Launceston, Cornwall, is an important and well-established poetry and literary festival. The festival had an existing website dating back to the previous year, but it had not been updated since then and festival staff and volunteers lacked the time and know-how to turn the existing site into a site that would effectively communicate all the festival has to offer.




Charles Causley by Peter Edwards RESIZED v2Although working to a tight budget, we were able not only to update the site with this year’s guests, but also to overhaul the site’s look-and-feel. The result is a site that is attractive, informative and easy to navigate. We were also able to satisfy the client’s desire for a site that would promote not just the festival and the poetry of Charles Causley, but the town of Launceston itself.

Content development & Website design for Callington holiday cottage

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Bell Cottage, a brand new holiday cottage in South East Cornwall, needed a website that communicated the peaceful rural charm of the location, but also encouraged visitors to choose this accommodation because of its central location.

Because the accommodation is not the traditional Cornish seaside location, it was important to develop content that would emphasise the charms of a holiday spent in the Tamar Valley, West Devon and South East Cornwall, and convince users that a holiday at Bell Cottage was the right choice for them.  Holiday Accommodation is a market where people are likely to take many factors into consideration, and may be put off by lack of information or difficult navigation, so ease of use and plenty of detail was key.

bellcottage2We worked with the accommodation owners to make the best use of their local knowledge and develop content that would encourage bookings.  We showed the cottage as centrally located for different kinds of holiday of interest to the target market for this website – for example, golfers, people interested in Cornish history, walking and garden visiting.

Visit the Bell Cottage website.

21st Century Marketing Review for Devon Holiday Cottage Business

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otrsc report coverOld Tavistock Railway Station was converted to a set of three award-winning holiday cottages in 2008. On the face of it, the owners had already adopted 21st century marketing techniques – their website was attractive and they were using Google AdWords pay-per-click advertising. However, they were not getting the results they expected, so they called us in to conduct a 21st Century Marketing Review.

We were able to identify why the business’s pay-per-click campaigns were both ineffective and expensive. We then built new, better-targeted AdWords campaigns (with built-in conversion tracking, fully researched keywords and new ad copy) and have kept optimising and improving those campaigns.

otrsc combinedWe used Google Analytics and years of experience of optimising websites to recommend subtle changes that would improve the experience of visitors to the site. Finally, we conducted a detailed review of all of the accommodation listings sites that Old Tavistock was registered with and advised which were likely to offer the best value for money.

Online Shop development for Marianna G Swimwear

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Marianna.G is an exclusive swimwear brand launching their first collection in 2013. We created their original site, working with their chosen designer, using WordPress as a content management system, with a heavily customised page layout to fit their simple and beautiful brand.

To add powerful ecommerce functionality in a way that was affordable for a new business trying to achieve an exclusive look within a budget, we used the WordPress plugin Woocommerce – again, customising the default layout to fit the desired elegant look and feel, including custom programming in PHP to achieve the desired features and layout.

The site takes payment using the Worldpay payment service provider and also via Paypal, and has a tiered system of delivery charges depending on where in the world the shopper is located.

You can see it here:

New website and social media presence for Garden Studios Business.

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shieldsstudiosTo launch their new garden studios product, Shields Buildings decided to launch a new Shields Studios brand. We created a simple site that put the emphasis on the product. An important feature of the product was the large windows, allowing the studio owner to see the view, so we played on this idea by creating a blog featuring ‘Superviews’ around the Southwest.

shieldsstudios-socialThis blog was designed for the business owner to update with regular photos,
which are automatically crossposted to Facebook and Twitter. This allows the business to have at least a basic social media presence with minimal extra effort needed. The content was manually crossposted to Google Plus.