Photographs from a recent workshop we supported that incorporated play and games to teach children and their parents about healthy eating and exercise.
We regularly support freelance fitness consultants by writing and designing reports; designing and printing flyers for events, and compiling and collating feedback forms.
Learning that some chocolate treats contain crushed beetles was just an added bonus!
Hire and leasing companies are experiencing a surge in demand and, in fact, are one of the few sectors benefitting from the current economic climate.
Consequently, we are pleased to add another hire/leasing company to our list of contracts.
Low Cost Plant Hire offer:
low cost skip hire
a recycling service
They can collect your waste and rubbish and dispose of it in the most environmentally friendly way.
With over thirty years experience, they are a trusted family business that provides excellent customer
service, great advice on the best equipment for your hire and waste needs, and, of course, low prices.
We're pleased to announce a new contract with CEC Vehicle Leasing.
As more and more businesses choose to outsource various aspects of their business, vehicle leasing companies are experiencing a surge in popularity and demand.
Rather than employ the services of a transport manager, businesses are opting to appoint a vehicle leasing company, like CEC Vehicle Leasing to manage their fleet. Offering a complete service including maintenance, fully branded vehicles and vans tailored to their customers' business needs, CEC Vehicle Leasing are perfectly placed to take the stress out of vehicle buying and transport their clients' businesses to a new level.
With most economies feeling squeezed, lots of companies have had to let staff go. This has a massive impact on the economy (there are less people with spending power) and on businesses (the remaining staff are stretched). However, it also leads to an increase in entrepreneurship.
As experienced staff find themselves made redundant or taking early retirement, they often turn to self-employment as a way to earn an income.
The worldwide economic meltdown, the advance of social media and widespread availability of technology has created a perfect storm for the small business person. The ranks of freelance consultants and small businesses have swelled to enormous proportions that could not have been envisioned even ten years ago.
What this means for communication and marketing companies is that two new sectors have sprung up. Mid-sized companies who would previously have employed their own communications team are increasingly looking to outsource their needs. From proof-reading to newsletter writing, companies realise that they can keep their overheads low if they recruit independent professionals rather than a new staff member.
Equally, the newly redundant who set up their own businesses are suddenly faced with creating a professional image and issuing communications.
Recently, we've been completing contracts for both these sectors. From a business plan to a risk assesment to a method statement, there are strict criteria that need to be met. We're experienced in compiling all of these documents and have been doing so with greater regularity as the economy has waxed and waned.
At the same time, we've also been creating newsletters, websites and company brochures for businesses that were started by experienced professionals in their field but who recognise they do not have the communication, design or IT skills to present a professional image to their public.
It is sometimes difficult to see any silver lining in a time of global economic crisis but our clients prove that there are small companies who are thriving and individuals who have grasped their release from employment with both hands and set up their dream businesses. We get on with the business of writing, and they can focus on growing their dreams.
From virtual candles to online prayer groups, religion has adapted surprisingly quickly to the internet age. There are Cardinals who tweet and online discussion forums for different parishes. Since Churches and religions are often accused of being reactionary and behind the times, social media is one area where they are often ahead of the curve. Their commitment to online communication puts many small businesses to shame.
For this reason, we were happy to help create a new website for a local parish. They already had a website (yes, they are that commited to social media that this was a relaunch not a first launch!). However as the needs of the parish had changed, the older congregation became more comfortable with the internet and website fashions changed, they decided they wanted a new site.
As a Church, a free site was an attractive proposition and they decided they did not need to purchase a domain name (opting instead to save precious funds for more important local initiatives). It was also important that it was simple to update.
After a few online discussions with the parish priest, we compiled a brief, decided on a colour scheme and built a shiny new site.
It's now live on the internet and the parish are getting to grips with uploading their bulletins, prayer schedules, reader rotas and events timetable.
'The last form of acceptable prejudice'?
As a nation, we like to pride ourselves on our tolerance and understanding of other groups. However, every so often something can happen that challenges our perception of ourselves and our commitment to equalities.
We've been volunteering with a new organisation, Fairtrac, that was established to represent travelling showpeople. This oft-misunderstood group often feel that discrimination against travellers is the one remaining acceptable prejudice. From schools to the media, they are often met with distrust and lack of understanding.
Despite being small businessmen who pay taxes and contribute to their local communities, they are often viewed with suspicion and feel forced to exist on the fringes of the local area, both physically and metaphorically.
Hence we were very excited to be involved with publicising the first community conference for travelling people in Scotland. This historic event was the first time the community had received any charity funding to bring together their community and discuss the issues that are important to them; issues like security, safety, education, leisure and recreation. Issues that sound familiar to everyone.
When it comes down to it, the issues that affect traveller families are the same as the issues that affect everyone else. Their priorities are our priorities. The only difference is that they often struggle to access the help and information that is already out there. Hopefully the conference will be the first step in raising awareness of their needs and breaking down barriers and stereotypes.
We had two articles published about the conference, and were delighted to be able to bring some much-needed positive publicity to this minority group.
Doctor Who is amazing - the writing, the costumes, the characters, the massive reboot that has conquered the world and made 'wibbly wobbly timey wimey' part of modern vocabulary . . .but before we get too fan girl/boy about the series (and before you start to think this post might just be an elaborate ploy so we can post a gratuitous pic of David Tennant) let me stop. From a marketing point of view, Doctor Who is just a marvel and the introduction and exit of his companions is a great example of both creating anticipation/delaying gratification and using the element of surprise for maximum effect.
Firstly, creating anticipation and delaying gratification. These are common marketing techniques although they do seem to have fallen out of favour slightly. About a decade ago, every journalist and every business would receive at least one teaser mailing every week. Sometimes, it would be a cryptic card with one word, maybe it was a parcel with an intriguing photo or painting. If you were lucky (and yes, I'm showing my own bias here!) it would be
chocolates or sweets.
There was one link between these disparate items: you had no idea who had sent them or why. They were an elaborate tease, creating a sense of
anticipation around the mail delivery and around the point when the company would finally reveal who they were and why they thought you would be interested in them. From pieces of jigsaws sent at daily intervals, to themed cupcakes, it was an entertaining time to receive mail. And all sorts of companies decided to use this technique to attract attention including publishers, designers and internet start-ups.
It remains a clever technique. If you find the mailings attractive, then you have already made an emotional connection with the company even before you know their name and product. Plus you will have discussed the mailings with your colleagues, creating a swell of interest.
So, where does Doctor Who come in? Just look at the interest they generated around the first glimpse of the new
companion (Clara) or the build-up to the last episode featuring Rory and Amy (the exiting companions). Fans across the world knew when Rory and Amy would leave. Speculation mounted to fever pitch about how it would happen. There were so many theories and counter-theories they could have powered an alternate
Everyone knew the end date of the speculation, it was when the programme was scheduled to air. Anticipation for the episode was huge. Not only did it mean that fans could schedule their viewing but the delayed gratification
meant it was possible for non-fans to be drawn into the wait, to hear about the anticipation and possibly start to share it. (In fact, similar to the way businesses would wait for their interesting mail delivery and discuss it with
their office colleagues until the big reveal of the sender).
The first episode to feature the new companion was not the expected Christmas episode. Oh no, it was earlier and completely unannounced! It was a reveal that was beautiful in its unexpectedness.
It rewarded loyal fans who watched every episode (not just ones heralded with lots of fanfare) with the first glimpse of a new character. And, perhaps more importantly, that element of surpise reintroduced the wonder of television and of storytelling. We are so used to signposts, and as shown above, delayed gratification definitely has its place, but surprise? Well, that has an important place to play in any campaign too.
So what can we learn from Doctor Who? That anticipation and surprise can all help to build emotional connections with our customers. That in the serious business of marketing, there is definitely space for fun and playfulness. And that our every communication tells a story. So the delivery, timing and execution of our campaigns should be approached with the precision of building a mini-narrative. Our big reveals (whether anticipated or unexpected or combining elements of both) should provide a satisfying pay-off for our target audience. Campaigns should reward loyal followers and entice new interest.
Imagine if you approached every new product release or service launch with the enthusiasm of Doctor Who introducing a new companion. After all, your products and services are your customer's companions and they deserve the opportunity to generate excitement.
As for the gratutious David Tennant pic? Well, hopefully you've been anticipating it and that always deserves a reward. Enjoy!
(And the pic of Amy Gillan and Matt Smith? That's our surprise gift to reward everyone who made it to the end of the post).
The marketing calendar is a hectic whirl of events whether you are promoting a product or service. It seems as though the excitment of the Olympics and Para-Olympics has only just faded and already we're witnessing the fabulous extravagance of Fashion Weeks.
With two clients in the beauty and fashion sector, it has been a busy time.
Lumen Tights has just launched a children and young teen's hosiery section. With a number of lines from leading Italian designer, Fiore, children's tights have never looked so fashionable. You can view the full range at Lumen Tights' website by clicking on the photo on the left.
To celebrate the addition of the new lines, they also snared an exclusive interview with Fiore. If you are interested in fashion, hosiery or the design process, please do read the interview in Lumen Tights' News Centre.
Meanwhile, our clients at Beautiful magazine are already working on their next issue.
As the only magazine title dedicated to wigs, hair and beauty, their launch issue was warmly received. 10,000 free copies were distributed to the wig, hair and beauty market through salons, stores and shopping centres. Their stylish news articles combine the flair of a fashion magazine with carefully positioned advertising to create a high value publication for readers and advertisers. It's unsurprising there are such high expectations and excitement around issue two.
The success of 'Fifty Shades of Grey' has swept the world, prompting thousands of articles, a wide range of products and a slew of marketing campaigns. Unlikely alliances have emerged in those organisations rushing to condemn the book's content: the Christian right and the feminist movement do not often share an agenda but they have both criticised the book and gained valuable column inches for their own organisations as a result.
And the marketing lessons for those authors hoping to emulate the book's success? Well, the author's husband has stated there was no massive marketing campaign in the beginning. It was word-of-mouth that propelled the book to the top of the book charts. Of course, some have argued that the book's beginning as fan fiction meant it had a ready-made market. Tapping into an existing community can definitely help to gain publicity, and end users for any product.
With the author, EL James, undertaking a book tour of the US, and a film in the pipeline, the furore surrounding the book looks as though it will continue for a little longer.
Meanwhile, if you are a fan of the books, don't forget to check out the great competition from our client, LumenTights. To enter simply 'like' their Facebook page at www.facebook.com/lumentights
When they reach 200 likes, one lucky winner will receive a gorgeous stockings hold-up set.
Our client, award-winning ski company, Mount Vacation.com has launched a new app that brings the fun of the slopes to Facebook. SkiBookApp which launches this month uses a combination of rankings and recommendations to help skiers and snowboarders capture their trips. It aims to provide snow enthusiasts with an essential service that rates slopes and resorts.
SkiBookApp allows users to rate ski trips then share their opinions with their friends. It also determines the most influential skier and the most popular resorts. Users can identify which destinations they would most like to visit and compile a shortlist of their favourite friends to accompany them.
As Dejan Romih, the founder of MountVacation.com, explains:
“Our aim was to develop an app that allows users to rate their experiences and share them with their friends. We’re massive ski and snowboarding fans at MountVacation.com and we’re always sharing our tips on the best destinations and slopes. Our other passion is harnessing new media and technology to enhance the holiday process. Hence, we thought it would be great if we could combine our two passions and SkiBook App was born. It’s a little competitive and a lot of fun!”
You can download the new app from MountVacation's Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/mountvacation
Maggie will be blethering about our latest projects, marketing news and events.