SME toolkit: Embracing the digital age

The fast-moving industrial revolution can be a major challenge for SMEs. But there is strong help and support at hand.

Embracing the digital age

Prospective clients of green business Crowberry Consulting are now firmly in the picture about what it can deliver.

The Chorley-based company is an environmental, energy and ethical consultancy which provides training and audits for businesses in the UK and overseas.

Looking at new ways to promote its services it turned to the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) and the fullyfunded Digital First ERDF Programme.

Digital First is a team of specialists and students from the university looking to help SMEs promote and grow their businesses through a range of digital tactics.

Crowberry teamed up with those staff and students to produce a series of video pieces highlighting what it does - three customer testimonials and two expo walk-around videos.

Former UCLan student Luke Nelson graduated in 2016 with a degree in media production and technology, and is now web innovation developer within Digital First. He and current final year film production student Curtis Tootell used their skills to help film and edit the videos.

Becky Toal, managing director of Crowberry Consulting, says: “We had every confidence that UCLan could help us by providing a quality student to support us, as we have had good experiences with the university in the past.

“Our main objective was to produce high quality, user friendly video-based customer testimonials, as well as a feature from two expos we attended.

“Thanks to the team we now have high quality video customer testimonials which have resulted in a sizeable increase in engagement across our social media channels.”

It is not the first time Crowberry has benefitted from UCLan expertise. The university has also helped with the business’ web development.

And as well as Digital First, the business took advantage of another of UCLan’s European Regional Development Funded (ERDF) programme called UNITEplus in its promotion project.

Danny Livingstone runs Digital First. He says: “We’re here to help companies with their digital agenda. It can be something as simple as their SEO all the way up to developing apps.”

Other recent projects have included helping an East Lancashire manufacturer with a social media-based recruitment campaign, working with a county-based architect on its Building Information Modelling (BIM) and developing an app for a business in the food sector to improve the efficiency of its delivery process.

Danny says: “We look for ideas and solutions that are simple and can save businesses both time and money.

“It’s also a process of educating people in the business in terms of topics like SEO and web development. “The projects we deliver benefit to both the business and our team; we like to push the boundaries of what we do.”