A Royal Visitor

By Kelly Wright

Have ewe herd about our visitor? If you’ve passed our office or seen our Facebook page in the last week, you may have seen our colourful new resident.

Meet Sherfield. She’s part of a community art project called ‘The Queen’s Sheep’. Sherfield started out as a life-size wire sheep, before being sprayed blue and decorated in the colours of the Union Jack to commemorate the 90th birthday of The Queen.

The ewe-nique idea was developed by Basingstoke artist Louise Hight to reflect the fact that, until the 1970s, villagers had the right to graze animals on common land.

After completing her royal responsibilities, we’ve given Sherfield a new baaaa-se at our office.

Let Them Eat Cake: What Can the Great British Bake Off Teach Us About Marketing

By Kelly Wright

As The Great British Bake Off returns to our screens, we are set for another summer of baking madness. The impact that the series has on popular culture is huge. But what can a show about cake teach us about marketing?

Keep it real

The GBBO contestants are real people with real lives we can relate to – the retired primary school teacher from Yorkshire, the university student from London, or the hairdresser mum from Cardiff. They’re just like us, which makes us engage with them. Add in a teaspoon of unscripted dialogue, and a pinch of natural emotions, and you’ve got a recipe for success. In short, GBBO is authentic – just like your marketing should be. Give the contrived, one-shoe-fits-all approach a miss and focus on making your brand personable. Personalise your messaging, speak in your audience’s language and make your tone approachable and engaging.

A picture paints a thousand words

However tasty a cake may be, it needs to look good to really get the judges and the audience going. No sunken middles or soggy bottoms allowed. People eat with their eyes, and it’s the same with your marketing too. If done well, visual advertising can make an impact that will imprint your brand on your audience’s mind and leave them hungry for more.

Believe in your brand

If someone said you were about to watch 12 weeks of people baking cakes and be emotionally invested in rising dough, you’d probably scoff on your biscuit crumbs. But the last series peaked at 14.5 million viewers an episode, making it one of the most popular shows on TV today. This goes to show, there’s no such thing as a boring product, service or project. It’s all about how you sell it. The proof is in the pudding.

The Most Marketable Olympians

By Kelly Wright

Fresh from Team GB’s greatest ever haul at an Olympic Games, executives from the world’s biggest brands are scrambling to sign athletes up to endorse their brands. Here are our pick of the athletes making the podium for marketability.

Bronze – Jess Ennis-Hill

Ennis-Hill’s heptathlon gold in London 2012 made her the poster girl for UK sport. Since then she has only enhanced her standing by returning from the birth of her first child to reclaim her world title and grab silver in Rio. Ennis-Hill’s squeaky clean public image has earned endorsements with Omega, BP, Santander and Adidas. Now seen as a ‘supermum’, Ennis-Hill is branching out into more family centric brands including Vitality and P&G’s ‘Thank You Mum’ campaign. Her image is likely to mature, rather than fade, over time.

Silver – Usain Bolt

Who else? Bolt is a brand with an international following. His infectious personality, laid-back charm and penchant for showmanship endears him to audiences and sponsors alike, such as Puma, Virgin Media, Visa and Nissan. But what next for the fastest man on earth? Bolt may have retired from Olympic competition but don’t think we’ve seen the last of him. Being the first person to win the triple triple means he heads into retirement with his stock at an all-time high. For now, he has trademarked his name and his signature ‘lightning bolt’ pose, and even has his own emoji. For the future, he has talked about moving into broadcasting and clothes designing, so watch this space.

Gold – Laura Trott

With her blonde pigtails and charismatic personality, Laura Trott is a sponsor’s dream. Already popular after London 2012, Rio has catapulted her into the big time. Now the most decorated British female Olympian ever aged only 24, her future competitive and commercial potential is vast.  Already boasting big bucks sponsorship deals with Adidas and Prudential, she has recently partnered with Halfords to launch her own range of bikes. She can also regularly be seen promoting brands who send her freebies on Twitter. Her relationship with fellow Team GB cyclist and six-time gold medalist Jason Kenny has seen them mooted as the Posh and Becks of cycling. While Kenny prefers to keep a low profile away from the track, Trott looks set to reign supreme as the golden girl of UK sport.

Pokémon Go – The Next Big Thing in Marketing?

By Kelly Wright

Unless you’ve been asleep under a rock for the last three weeks, you’ve probably noticed gangs of excited teenagers and 20-somethings traipsing the streets looking for Pokémon.
Pokémon Go is a massive cultural phenomenon – just see the madness caused by an elusive Pokémon in New York’s Central Park.

Despite the game only being available for a few weeks, it is already the biggest mobile game ever, peaking at 21 million daily active users in the US alone.

Its’ popularity amongst millennials is obvious, but could Pokémon Go have an impact on marketers? Smart business owners are already purchasing the in-game ‘Lure’ module to attract Pokémon – and the players – to the area at a cost of $2 an hour. This increased footfall benefits consumer facing businesses like shops, bars and restaurants, making the Lure a simple and cheap marketing strategy for small businesses. Spending approximately $10 on Lure modules for a day resulted in a 75 per cent rise in business sales, for example.

You don’t have to be a small business to take advantage of the increased footfall in your area. Enterprising kids in the US are setting up lures and profiting from snack stands near their houses. An animal shelter in Indiana has increased volunteering by encouraging Pokémon trainers to walk the shelter’s dogs while they search.

It could also have benefits for major brand retailers. The software developers behind the app have stated that sponsored locations will be introduced soon, creating a new source of revenue for the already hugely successful game. The first collaboration is thought to be with McDonald’s in Japan and will coincide with the release of the app there. For now though, this remains an unknown.

But will Pokémon Go have a lasting impact? Probably not. It’s a fad and like all fads before it, the audience will eventually fade and move on. Today’s Pokémon trainer won’t be playing next year, or maybe even next month. So now is certainly the time to look into a little Pokémarketing, if it fits your business model and target audience. Once Lures become more commonplace, they will lose their impact and as the audience switches off, ROI will slow. For now though, you gotta catch ‘em all.

Six Reasons We Love the British Summer

By Kelly Wright

Summer has well and truly hit the UK. While we make the most of our mini heatwave, here are six reasons to love the British summer.

BBQ

No matter how brief it may be, sun equals instant BBQ for Brits. Cremated sausages never tasted so good. Plus there’s the added thrill of avoiding the threat of rain.

Light summer nights

It’s depressing in the winter when it’s dark before you leave the office. Whether it’s a glass of wine in the garden after work or a walk after dinner, take advantage of the longer summer evenings.

Eating outside

Picnics in the park, BBQs with your friends, ice-cream on your lunch break. Nothing beats a bit of al-fresco dining, as long as you don’t mind swatting the insects away.

summer

Suncream

One sniff of suncream has the power to transport you to the tropical island of your dreams. Summer in a bottle!

Pimms

There’s no summer drink more quintessentially British than Pimms.

Wimbledon

What is a British summer without Wimbledon? Flag-waving, the Royal Family, constant rain interruptions – the annual tennis championship is just so British. No-one does pomp, pessimism or patriotism quite like the Brits. Even better when Andy Murray wins.

Win Clients and Influence People With Crystal Knows

By Kelly Wright

Crystal isn’t my best friend or colleague. She’s never met me but she definitely knows me.

Ask Crystal about me, and she’ll tell you that I make decisions based on logic (true), approach problems methodically (definitely correct), and feel most comfortable knowing all the details (right again)Crystal

She’ll even tell you how to interact with me: set clear expectations, stay objective rather than emotional and use data to prove your point. She’ll also tell you to how to work with me for best results – be prepared for meetings, be logical in your arguments (both true!) and compliment a job well done (well, everyone likes their work to be recognised!)

Crystal2

Crystal is an online app that shows you the best way to communicate with customers and prospects by analysing their online footprint to determine their personality profile. It builds this profile by trawling through publicly available information: Facebook posts, blogs, tweets and the other crumbs we leave behind on the internet.

It works on the idea that understanding someone’s personality helps you communicate more effectively, allowing you into the head of your customers to get them to take the actions you want them to and accelerate relationship-building.

Each profile search returns advice on how to speak, email, work with or sell to them most effectively. It tells you the words, phrases, style and tone you should use to resonate with your target – even their tolerance for sarcasm and emoticons. A lot of the functionality is available for free, with the paid version even drafting live emails for you via a Gmail plug in.

It’s certainly weird having a computer summarise your personality, but given how much professional communication happens online, it could be a useful tool to have at your disposal. True, it does feel a little creepy that a computer knows you better than you know yourself but the potential business benefits outweigh the feeling of unease. Recruitment, getting to know customers and first contact with a prospect could all be made easier with Crystal’s help understanding their personality. Look up your profile to see what Crystal Knows about you.

How to Make the Most of Your Social Media Strategy

By Kelly Wright

From videos and blogs to Twitter and Facebook, social media has become part and parcel of modern marketing. But some people are reluctant to invest resources in it as a worthy marketing strategy.  These five best practices will show you how to generate significant return on investment through social media.

1. Listen to your customers
Social media comes in many forms so you need to find out where your customers are. You need to know them inside out to understand their buying cycle and how they consume content. Plug into the channels your customers use and focus on them. Engage with customers to find out what they’re most interested in and why, and act on every response. Asking the right questions and engaging with your customers in the right way is the first step towards a strong ROI.

2. Align with traditional marketing
Social media is an invaluable communication channel with the unique capability to capture customer feedback in real-time. Your social media strategy should support and complement your broader product marketing strategy. Compelling messaging and a coordinated communication plan will help you run these in tandem. For example, if you run an email campaign for a new product, you should support it with social outreach. Use unique tracking URLs for each channel so you know what vehicle drives the most traffic.

3. Map to business goals
What does ROI mean for your company? Is it total number of sales or qualified leads? More downloads of a document or money saved? Establish your goals and clear metrics, then determine what tactics will help you achieve them. Try to broaden your criteria from traditional captured metrics from Google Analytics, Omniture etc (page views, time on page) to other measurements. You may want to consider Facebook ‘Likes’ for example, but ensure you define what the Like means from a business perspective. What do you do to keep that person engaged after the initial ‘Like’? What is the conversion? When and how might that conversion happen? A conversion could be a sale, a download of campaign material or participation in a webinar or event. Determine how your conversions will be measured before you launch.

4. Don’t forget qualitative results
You can benefit from a raft of qualitative measures when using social media marketing. Comments, customer feedback, market insight, publicity, brand awareness, problem solving, customer service, event marketing and even recruitment are all possible using social media. Your company may agree to consider a range of qualitative business benefits as acceptable ROI.

5. Become a habit
A good trick is to make yourself so useful, customers turn to you first out of habit. Ask yourself what problem you can offer a clever, unique or novel solution to. Could you use this to talk about your product in creative ways that bring value to your customers? Post less to offer discounts or gain attention and more to solve customers’ problems.

Do you use social media in your marketing strategy? How do you measure your ROI?

10 Marketing Ideas for Wedding Professionals

By Kelly Wright

You may have noticed the name change on my email and byline. Three weeks ago I became Mrs Wright and as a bride, I know how easy it is to get overwhelmed with the thousands of potential suppliers Google throws up. As a supplier, how do you get yourself to the top of that list and in front of newly engaged couples?

Being the best at what you do is a great start, but if no one knows you exist then no one is going to book you. Here are some simple marketing ideas for wedding professionals that won’t break the bank.

1. Get work from a past wedding featured on a wedding blog or magazine. Knowing you’re looking at someone’s real photos rather than staged promotional shots helps validate your work to potential clients. Brides in particular love real weddings – try out this list of top wedding blogs for starters!

2. Exhibit at local wedding fayres. People can be very precious about their weddings and want to have a rapport with everyone they hire. It’s tricky to judge how well you get on over email – nothing compares to meeting people face-to-face. Plus you’ll probably be given access to an email database of attendees to target afterwards. But don’t forget to give people something unique to remember you by. Creative giveaways such as little magnets with your branding and URL on will ensure you don’t get overlooked in the reams of paperwork.

3. Get on a venue’s recommended supplier list. Google returned thousands of hits for photographers in our local area and it was so difficult to know where to start. One email to our venue gave us a shortlist we could trust – seeing their photos of previous weddings at the venue helped us make our decision.

4. Post some of your all time favourite work to Pinterest. This is one of the first places a bride will go for ideas and will become a staple for inspiration – make sure you’re ready to meet them there!

5. Encourage past clients to share photos of your work on your Facebook page. Prospective clients relate to honest testimonials from real people. We booked our florist based on client photos on their Facebook page.

6. Network with other wedding industry professionals. You’ll probably see each other around at local wedding fayres so take the time to get to know them for a mutually beneficial relationship. Often if you scratch their back, they’ll scratch yours. Our florist recommended a cake company and my hairdresser gave me the details of a great make up artist.

7. Facebook advertising allows you to target newly engaged couples by geography, age and interest and ensures your advert only reaches your ideal client.

8. Rework your packages. You need to stand out in a crowded marketplace and couples may upgrade if you offer just a little bit more than your competitors.

9. Reply to enquiries within 24 hours. One band took a week to reply to our enquiry. By the time they did, we’d lost interest and booked someone else. The early bird catches the worm!

10. Offer incentives such as something extra or a discount if people book you within a certain time frame. This is particularly valuable after a wedding fayre when you want to convert your enquiries into bookings.

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