Cobblers' kids' shoes. The pain of working on your own project.

31st March 2016 in Applied News

As you now know, Smart Arts is now operating under the name Applied Digital Marketing. As the MD/CEO/Chief Doer of ‘Everything Else’ I just wanted to write a personal account of the process and explaining the thinking behind the change.

There’s an old saying that a cobbler's kids have the worst shoes, and that builders always finish their own house last. And so it’s been with our name change and rebrand.

This is a very important step in our company's history. We’ve been known as Smart Arts for over SEVENTEEN years and the name has served us well:

  • There’s a lot of goodwill in the name
  • It’s memorable (sometimes for the wrong reasons!)
  • It actually, for a long time, described what we did ‘Smart’ interactive, connected, and ‘Arts’ looks good, of aesthetic value, and this worked OK for a web design company, which is what we were for a significant part of our history.
  • It’s how a lot of people, suppliers, clients and partners, from all over the world, know us.

...but we think the time has come to change. The world is a very different place than it was 17 years ago. If you can remember that far back...

  • Google had only just been formed and hadn’t started to dent the world search market. In fact ‘search’ wasn’t even really an industry! 
  • Mark Zuckerberg was only 14. He wasn’t even a billionaire then.
  • Amazon had only been formed five years and it was to be another five years before it declared an operating profit.
  • The iPod wouldn’t revolutionise the music industry for another three years and smartphones truly were the stuff of science fiction - predictive text was the latest tech innovation!

The world of digital and online has moved on a lot and so has Smart Arts the company. We’re working on, and supporting, a wide range of digital activity - from small catalogue websites to mission critical apps for larger (£100m+) businesses, along with a results based content-led marketing service that really delivers ROI for our clients.

However the name didn’t reflect well on us when we were explaining ourselves to new acquaintances. Being greeted with a snigger and ‘did you say ‘Smart A***’ isn’t really the best way to make an entrance!

So we’re changing. Rebranding. We became Applied Digital Marketing in early April 2016.

Wow, it’s been hard. Finding time to do this task has been difficult, as our feel is that the client comes first - so ‘our work’ has been the first thing to suffer. But we’ve had to dedicate time and resources to looking deep within ourselves and redefining; or at least re-confirming who we are, what we do, and why. We’ve also had to consider all the best ways to negotiate the legal aspects - Company name change? Trademarks? Available domains and social handles? Things that actually are ‘impossible’ to change (that’ll be you, Google Apps reseller guys).

It’s been a worthwhile exercise though. We undertook some internal evaluation (thanks for the help there, Ben!) which was fulfilling and informative. There have been some revelations along the way but mainly it’s confirmed we have a good, relevant offer, and a great team. And the whole process was then about reflecting that in how we’re perceived by our clients, partners and peers.

We’d never sell ourselves as a Strategic Brand Consultancy - we know the people that are good at that, and we’d defer to them - but we needed to do this to ‘discover ourselves again’, and we think it’s worked out pretty well.

Deal with us already? Here’s what you need to do: Absolutely nothing. Well, not much.

The legal entity will be the same, as will the team you work with - and you don’t need to change anything accounts-wise at your end; the company name, bank details, etc will all stay the same - we’re using ‘Applied Digital Marketing’ as a ‘trading as’ name.

Emails and other communications from April onwards will look a little different, and they’ll be delivered from ‘’ - so we’d appreciate it if you’d keep an eye out for them - and it’d help us all if you would change our email entries in your address book - though emails to ‘’ will still be received by us.

So we did it. We fixed the shoes, finished building the house. In our world, things are bound to evolve and so will we. But the name’s here to stay.

Thanks for indulging me by reading this, and we here at ‘Applied’ look forward to working with you in the future.

Steve Sykes
Managing Director. CEO, if you prefer. ;o)

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