Establishing a good working relationship with a customer and understanding their business inside out is the key to good design.
So when long-established graphic and web design agency Pelican Design Consultants came under new ownership in July, co-directors Luke Slater and Heckie Cormack were keen to reassure their clients that the high level of service they had received over the years would remain.
But customers had no reason for concern!
Pelican was originally established by Luke’s parents, Phil and Anne, 22 years age. Luke joined the business eight years ago working alongside designer Heckie, who has been with pelican for 14 years, and design assistant Hugh Campbell who joined the team in 2007. “Phil was really the face of the business and he would be the one going out to meet clients face to face” explained Luke.
Initially our main objective was to reassure existing clients that the service was going to remain the same, as it was myself and Heckie who had been producing their design work anyway!
“It was always going to be daunting taking over the business but our customers have been very supportive, so it’s been good.”
Key to Pelican’s success and longevity has been the combination of personal service and a comprehensive portfolio of in-house skills.
“Meeting with clients face to face is a really important part of the process,’’ said Luke. “You need to get a feel for their personality and their business, otherwise how can you understand what a customer wants?’’
Pelican Design Consultants Offer a full range of design and marketing services including website design and e-commerce; web content management; smart phone apps; branding logo and stationery design; brochures and advertising material; exhibition systems and photograph, enabling clients to cherry pick a particular product or a suite of services to suit their individual requirements.
A brand new service that has been introduced, and one that is proving a huge hit with clients, is the “fully managed” website, where a client’s site is managed and updated regularly by Pelican throughout the year for a set annual fee.
“Clients love that idea because it means they can concentrate on the day to day running of their business rather than spending time managing their website,” said Heckie. “Some people just don’t have the time to do it.”
The business also prides itself on using the latest technology and systems to ensure clients, who be based in remote or isolated locations, can take full advantage of today’s cutting edge communications tools.
A recent addition to Pelican’s in-house services is mobile application development.
Explained Heckie: “Clients have started to ask us from mobile apps, and we see this as a big part of our future. We have always tried to innovate and stay ahead of the game and with the current boom in smart phone use, more and more people will access information through that medium.
“It adds to what we feel is our main advantage – that all our services are in-house.”
“We have a really good skills base here – Luke and I are experienced designers and Hugh specializes in video work.”
Over the course of 22 years in business, Pelican has built up a loyal customer base across a wide range of industries including tourism, food and drink, construction, the public sector and renewables among many others.
The business can count some of the best known names in the Highlands and islands among its clients including Diageo, Russwood, Ice Factor, Bord na Gaidhlig, Albyn Housing Society, Black lsle Renewables, Blue Reef Cottages and Connage Highland Dairy, to name just a few, as well as new enterprises such as Eagle Brae – a log cabin holiday development near Beauly.
With offices in both Inverness and Skye, the business is ideally paced to expand its client base even further across the Highlands, islands and beyond.
However one particular area Pelican hopes to develop over the coming year is closer to home.
While the majority of the firm’s clients are based in and around the Inverness area, the team plans to build up its local island market to cater for the growing number of businesses that are establishing themselves in Skye and Lochalsh.
But however the business develops, Luke and Heckie are adamant that the firm will not lose that all important personal touch Pelican has become renowned for.
“It makes good business sense to have that level of personal service,” said Luke. “If you do it well, a client will use you for ever so it important to instill that relationship straight away.”
With a wealth of experience and skills right on the doorstep, and a long-established work ethic built on personal service and customer satisfaction, Pelican Design Consultants appears to have created its own master plan for success.
Inverness office: Ness Horizons, Kintail House,
Inverness IV2 3BW
Skye Design Studio
Bank Street, Portree, Isle of Skye IV51 9BZ