Personalisation and the Changing Retail Customer Journey
Personalised experiences have become a hot topic in today’s retail industry. Customers are raising the bar for retailers in terms of their in-store expectations and now brands large and small are trying their best to connect digital and physical experiences to transform their customers shopping journey into a more unique one.
Merson Deliver Large-Scale Gantry Upgrades on the M8
As part of a major refurbishment programme, Merson-ASG were delighted be contracted to design, manufacture and install gantries on the M8 motorway. This project sees Merson-ASG provide a complete upgrade of 8 gantries on Scotland’s busiest road.
Why you Shouldn't Under Estimate the Value of Good Wayfinding
The term wayfinding was first used by architect Kevin Lynch in 1960 to describe the role of maps, street numbers, directional signs, and other "wayfinding" devices in cities. He defined the term as ‘the consistent organisation of sensory cues in the external environment’* and although wayfinding has developed hugely as a discipline since then, the underlying sentiment of Lynch’s definition has remained much the same.
CREATING A LASTING BRAND IMPRESSION
Throughout our everyday lives we make our minds up about a brand very quickly, and often without even knowing it. Whilst these judgements can seem quite forgettable, they are actually of great importance, perhaps now more than ever.
As the relentless rise of online continues and a customer’s expectations rise, the purpose of a physical bricks and mortar space is evolving as it attempts to differentiate itself.
Lloyds Contact Centres Get a Makeover
The work environment is a topic that has been of growing popularity in recent years, with numerous researchers making claim that the more attractive and supportive the work environment, the more effective the workforce will be.
Project in Focus: Cambridge North Station
Cambridge North Station opened on 21st May 2017 and Merson are delighted to have been a part of this successful project for Network Rail, part of their current Railway Upgrade Plan.
Delivering The Wayfinding Signage at London Bridge Station
Merson Group has been responsible for delivering successful signage projects for some of the UK’s most iconic transport hubs and our recent work at London Bridge Station is our largest and most complex rail project to date.
Meet the team: An interview with Hazel Whiteside
Our Small Works team, headed up by Hazel Whiteside, works with our key customers to take care of managing your everyday signage requirements. It means you get the same professionally project-managed service and attention-to-detail as you get for large projects and it means you have one central resource to manage these small jobs across your full UK network.
Today we talk to Hazel to find out more about the MSM team and how it benefits our blue-chip customers:
Merson CEO Roddy Angus looks ahead to 2018
EGGS & OMELETTES……
You know that old saying “You can’t make an omelette without breaking eggs…” Well we’ve been cracking the eggs at Merson Group and at last our omelette is ready……. a single diversified business with a combined offer capable of delivering the ever more engaging spaces that everyone wants for their customers.
This year we have worked across the sectors; from Retail & Leisure to Infrastructure & Offices……
Working at Height: A Guide to Staying Safe
There are many types of businesses that employ people to work at height. At Merson Group we regularly work at height to install signs on large retail stores, railway stations, commercial property, and motorway gantries. Other industries that often work at height include construction, advertising, window cleaning, entertainment and forestry. These industries hire contractors to work on tall buildings, roofs, fragile surfaces or on structures such as platforms, lighting rigs, or lattice structures. With so much time spent off the ground, staying safe is hugely important.
How to ensure your finished signage meets its design intent
The briefing and planning stage is the most important part of any signage project. To ensure the end product matches your original design intent, it’s vital to discuss the practicalities and implications of that design with all relevant parties, particularly your construction designer and sign contractor. By combining accurate budgeting, effective communications and a willingness to look outside the box for alternative materials and methods, it’s possible to ensure that completed signage remains true to the original brief without requiring a limitless budget or unrealistic timeframe.
The Evolution of Illumination
When Merson first began trading in 1938, we were incorporated as ‘Scottish Neon Products’ by founder Jim Merson. In 1971 he changed the company name to Merson Signs. The name change could be mistaken for vanity, but perhaps it was foresight, as the later introduction of LED lighting for signs effectively reduced neon to a lower-volume craft product in the following years. Prior to LEDs neon had been the go-to illumination method; much as gas lamps and incandescent bulbs had been prior to neon.
Meet the Team: An Interview With Clive Hawes
We are pleased to introduce to you the newest member of our team, Clive Hawes. Clive has joined our team as Head of Development and brings with him a wealth of knowledge and experience in the signage industry. Clive Hawes may be a name that you are already familiar with, having had many years of invaluable experience running his own signage business and working with many national and multinational brands. Over the years, Clive has built a strong reputation for himself and we are delighted to have someone of his stature, join our already skilled workforce.
Lynsey Nisbet Competes at the British Championships
We are extremely proud to have had Merson Group's very own Lynsey Nisbet and her trusty steed Colourville Tallulah compete at the TREC GB British Championships earlier this month. Lynsey has worked as a project manager at Merson Group for over seven years managing signage projects of varying size from one off bespoke works to large scale rollout programmes.
Iceland Streatham - Building Environments in Action
Last year Merson Group launched a unique and all-encompassing service offering named Building Environments. This service combines the strengths of each of Merson’s individual businesses to provide a combined offer that encompasses external architectural facades, signage schemes, interiors, digital display and point-of-sale services that large clients would traditionally have to source separately and manage individually.
Today we want to share with you a recently completed project that perfectly showcases the benefits that Building Environments can bring to nationwide retail projects.
"…so, sign making is a full time job?"
Stuart Dodds is Merson Group’s Business Development Director and is responsible for managing all of our projects in the aviation, rail and highway sectors. Today he discusses wayfinding in the rail environment and looks back at a conversation he had with a new flat mate over twenty years ago.
A Simple Guide to Managing a National Rebrand
The decision to begin a corporate rebranding exercise is rarely taken lightly. From evolving fashions to expanding service provision, there are many reasons why a firm might decide to change their brand. These may include a takeover, natural growth, or simply a realisation that existing branding is no longer achieving the desired objectives.
SafeContractor Accreditation Renewed
We're delighted to have recently had our Alcumus SafeContractor accreditation renewed for achieving excellence in health and safety in the workplace. Our dedication to health and safety, quality and the environment runs through every area of our organisation and ensures that we always provide an exceptional end product to our customers.
Raising Brand Awareness through Effective Outdoor Signage
External signage has an important role to play in any company’s branding. Acting as a beacon to potential customers, it maximises a brand’s visibility everywhere from high streets to business parks. Surveys have indicated that a third of passers-by wouldn’t know a business was present without signage identifying it, while the subliminal brand recognition generated by regular exposure to signs can be unquantifiable.
Helping Tesco Celebrate London Pride
Recently, we manufactured and installed some rather unique Tesco signage for the London Pride Festival 2017 which started on 24th June and runs until 9th July. Over a single nightshift, one of our crews hit no less than 12 Tesco Express and Metro stores all over London and installed multi-coloured vinyl covers over the Tesco logo’s standard blue chevrons, altering the colours of the Tesco logo to the LGBT rainbow colour scheme.
Optimising the use of Retail Signage
There is a fine balance to be struck when choosing and installing retail branding signage. Too little, and customers may be unsure of their way around or how to find key products. Conversely, too much signage can create a cluttered and confusing retail environment where the sheer volume of messages becomes numbing rather than informative. This phenomenon will be familiar to urban motorists, with endless parking notices and traffic signs overwhelming drivers who are already concentrating on several things at once.
Project in focus: Falkirk Canal
The Falkirk Canal corridor is the link between the Kelpies and the Falkirk wheel, finishing below the Union Canal. As part of an extensive development programme by Scottish Canals, the Falkirk Canal corridor was the first phase to be upgraded. The increasingly popular area is one of central Scotland’s busiest tourist spots and the upgrade is hoping to attract even more visitors.
Signage and the Effective use of Colour
The human eye can see ten million colours, and the way people react to this spectrum of tones and shades can significantly affect a company’s profile and personality. From signage to soft furnishings, choosing a colour scheme is an important process that can have a real impact on how customers view a brand – and even whether or not they trust it…
Project In Focus: Birmingham Fort Tower
Signs come in all shapes and sizes but this one - created for The Fort Shopping Park in Birmingham – was particularly large. In fact, standing at 30metres tall it’s the largest sign Merson has ever manufactured!
How Specification Affects the Lifespan & Cost of Your Signage
It’s easy to take signage for granted. Few people appreciate the logistics involved in creating effective signage for a specific environment, and even fewer understand that these materials have a limited lifespan. It rarely occurs to us that signage will eventually wear out and need replacement, or be rendered obsolete by a change in branding.
Project in Focus: Aston Martin Dealerships
Aston Martin as a brand needs no introduction. The iconic symbol is instantly recognised around the world and is acknowledged as a brand that brings with it style, luxury and exclusivity. With dealerships at over 140 locations around the world, the expanding Aston Martin network offers no shortage of luxurious showrooms. For this brand, nothing stands still for too long, and as part of a recent revamp, the company announced the roll out of an upgrade to signage at various dealerships around the globe, set to deliver the new benchmark for locations worldwide.
A Simple Guide to Wayfinding
What is wayfinding, and how does it impact my brand?
Wayfinding is a concept you might not have heard of before, but it has guided you around many places in your life. It’s a central part of branding and signage, yet it doesn’t get the same publicity as some of its display-oriented cousins. In this article, we investigate what wayfinding is, how it benefits customers, and ways to ensure it is deployed effectively…
Project in Focus: Dalston Kingsland Station
Today, we are delighted to introduce Dalston Kingsland Station in East London - our first rail project to comprise the design, manufacture and installation of cladding and signage, illustrating perfectly our Building Environments offer. Dalston Kingsland station forms part of a recent upgrade to the overground rail network and it was great to be involved in its transformation. The project required a variety of signage types along with a new rainscreen cladding system to give a full facelift to the entrance of the station.
Introducing a New Look for CGL Facades
As part of our brand repositioning, we can now proudly introduce our new look website for CGL Facades. By now, you will be familiar with the rebranding of our Merson Group website, and we are now well on the journey to taking this new look right across our group of businesses, with CGL being the latest.
Helping Improve Customer Experience at Nationwide
Nationwide Building Society has embarked on a programme that aims to reinvent the future of their customer experience. Part of this involves developing a new signage scheme that will fully support this drive, and Merson-ASG were delighted to deliver the signage package for the first two recently completed flagship stores in Stratford and Belfast. This upgrade followed five earlier pilots – TRC, Victoria, Cheapside, Threadneedle and Croft, which formed the basis for these final designs.
Acquisition, Diversification and a New-Look for Merson-ASG
18 months ago Glasgow-based Merson Signs Ltd announced the acquisition of ASG (Essex) Ltd. The acquisition, backed by Maven Capital Partners and HSBC, created a UK and European sign business with much larger resources to deliver national rollout programmes for Britain’s biggest businesses.
A look Back at a Few Highlights from 2016
Last year was one of our busiest years yet; undergoing significant business development, driving forward exciting new initiatives all whilst completing a number of fantastic projects.
As we embark on a new year full of more exciting opportunities, we wanted to share some of our highlights of 2016.
Thomas Cook Delivers new Flagship Experience
Today, many retailers are creating flagship stores to create buzz for their brand and for many these flagship experiences are an essential part of their brand strategy. These stores are seen as an investment in which to create a memorable customer experience, something that generates excitement and a sense of both interest and connect with the environment.
A Festive Message from Merson Group
CEO of Merson Group Roddy Angus reflects on an extremely busy 2016, looks ahead to 2017 and shares his festive message:
So, how was 2016 for you?
Was it the year you expected? Did it surprise or disappoint? Did it involve changes, planned or unplanned? At Merson Group the answers are “no”, “both” and “both”!
How to Deliver a Successful Retail Signage Project
Eye catching and high quality signage is an effective way to drive people through a retailer’s door. With growing pressure on today’s high street chains through price competition, increasing customer demands and the surge of online sales, strong signage can’t be ignored as a key component to any retail marketing strategy. Much like a retailer sets standards for what they sell inside the store, strong signage also requires this amount of consideration and development.
Orbital Retail Park - Building Environments in Action
In March this year we were excited to launch a unique and all-encompassing service offering named Building Environments. This new service combines the strengths of each of Merson’s individual businesses to provide a combined offer that encompasses external architectural facades, signage schemes, interiors, digital display and point-of-sale – services that large clients would traditionally have to source separately and manage individually.
Introducing the new look for Merson i-level
Today, we are excited to unveil our new look website for Merson i-level. As part of our repositioning you will have already seen the rebranding of our Merson Group website and the introduction of our building environments concept. To compliment and drive this rebranding, the broader Merson Group businesses are also undergoing a fresh new facelift and Merson i-level is proudly the first to follow.
Project in Focus: Paddington Central
The Paddington area of London, bordered by the Grand Union Canal and with excellent transport links to both the West End and Heathrow Airport, has received significant investment over the last two years. New office space has been built alongside a refreshed streetscape, with new lighting, street furniture, paving and cladding. Paddington Central, the latest addition to this series of work, has recently been completed by renowned property developers British Land and Merson-ASG were delighted to be a part of its inception.
The Environmental Impact of Signage
It’s easy to lose sight of the environmental impacts which can occur from poor signage decisions. From store fronts to POS displays, any replacement or upgrading of signage will require a large amount of raw materials. That’s particularly true for national brands, where the total amount of signs required in each store can be multiplied by the number of outlets nationwide. This can be exacerbated if you are performing a simultaneous national rollout where everything needs to be manufactured and installed within a relatively short timescale. In such circumstances, environmental concerns may be overlooked in favour of rapid mass-production and low per-unit pricing.
Rebranding the Gatwick Express
The Gatwick Express service has been in operation since 1984 and provides a non-stop service between London Victoria, which is right in the centre of London, and London Gatwick Airport. Taking only 30 minutes, this popular premium-fare service is perfect for quick and easy travel to either catch your flight or to start your London experience.
Meet the Team: An Interview with Joe Chaney
With over 25 years in the construction and manufacturing sectors – Environmental Manager Joe Chaney knows the industry inside out and has witnessed some major changes in health and safety standards. We sat down with Joe recently, and asked for his thoughts on how sustainability has influenced the industry in recent times.
Showing Support for the 2016 Mongol Rally
The Mongol Rally can be described as the greatest motoring adventures on the planet. Covering 10,000 miles across the mountains and deserts of Europe and Asia, the challenge is clear, not least because of these very simple rules; you are not allowed any back up plan, no set route other than a start and finish point, and it’s all down to just you, your team mate and your tiny run down car!
Helping Deliver New Cycle Storage Hubs at Major UK Stations
Rail sign manufacturer Merson ASG has been working with Abellio Greater Anglia and Merseyrail on the provision of signage for a new concept set to improve security and make the rail network more accessible for cycling commuters.
How Changes in Brand Experience have Transformed our Business
Until a decade ago, branding often involved little more than prominently displaying a company logo outside your premises. Although logos remain important for building loyalty and representing a brand, an entire industry has developed around creating a cohesive and effective brand aesthetic – both internally and externally.
Airport Media Wall
Merson Group were delighted to be awarded the contract to design, manufacture and install a complex ‘Media Wall’ at a London airport earlier this year. This airport is currently undergoing a major expansive phase and so the security area was reconfigured to cope with increasing passenger numbers;
Toppan to Exhibit at FuoriSalone in Milan
Following on from a successful collaboration with Merson Group at London’s Retail Design Expo last month, Toppan are delighted to be exhibiting with Paola Lenti at FuoriSalone in Milan from the 12th-17th April.
Acquisition, Diversification and a New-Look Merson Group
Merson Group has today announced annual results, a new-look brand and “Building Environments” – a new, unique and all-encompassing service offering that will be provided to its growing base of blue chip clients in the construction, transport, retail, automotive and financial sectors.
What ‘Building Environments’ means for you
Merson Group CEO Roddy Angus shares his views on the launch of ‘Building Environments’ and what this exciting service will offer to new and existing clients.
Over the last 10 years we have built up Merson Group from a small regional Scottish sign manufacturer with a £4m turnover to a diversified national implementation group with a £40m annual revenue. We have done this by listening to our key clients and understanding their requirements. During the transition we have carried out a number of strategic acquisitions to broaden our offering by introducing products and services to complement our existing portfolio and areas of expertise. Our extended range is now ready for release to the market as a unified service that we have named ‘Building Environments’.
Our Top Highlights From Retail Design Expo
Following a hugely successful launch in 2015, Retail Design Expo is now Europe’s leading annual event for all things retail, playing a big part in the industry Calendar. 2016 was proof of its success, with the event doubling in size, pre-registration was up by over 40% and well over 200 exhibitors were there to showcase new ideas and to learn from other leading experts. It’s estimated over 16,000 visitors flocked there looking for inspiration, fresh ideas and new suppliers.
Introducing Our All-Encompassing “Building Environments” Concept
Today, we are excited to unveil our new corporate branding along with our unique and all-encompassing “Building Environments” service offering. With the acquisitions of CGL Facades, i-level Retail and more recently ASG, we have radically broadened our company’s business activities.
Merson Group Announces Partnership with Toppan
This month Merson Group announced an exclusive new partnership with Japanese manufacturer Toppan to become the sole UK distributor for Fortina – an exciting range of design-led cladding products.
Fortina is a stunning new architectural cladding and interiors system that achieves the aesthetic of real wood using aluminum and a hyper-realistic non-PVC surface.
Merson to Debut at Retail Design Expo
On the 9th and 10th March 2016 Merson Group will be unveiling their exciting re-brand at Kensington Olympia’s Retail Design Expo.
Following a series of acquisitions over the past five years, Merson Group comprises five divisions, each equally specialised and experienced in the production of environmental elements for the retail sector.
2015 - Our Year in Pictures
We were fortunate enough to be involved in some great signage projects in 2015, from one-off jobs to ongoing works for our key clients. Great looking projects often result in some very attractive photos and last year was no different, so here’s a look back at some of our top images from 2015.