September 24, 2020

Building an audience for an online event

Making the most of your social channels.

Social media can give you fast access to a wide audience. Honing, targeting and investing in high quality content is the trick to see real results. Think attention-grabbing video, eye-catching photography and unmissable graphics.

LinkedIn can be a highly effective tool for profile raising, whether that’s through ads, groups or publishing teaser content on the company’s page.

Paid ads on social media channels will help you target the right people. If you’re looking to attract a particular age group, geographical region or those with specific interests, for example, LinkedIn and Facebook in particular give you the tools to do so.

Social channels are also the ideal place to build anticipation ahead of an event. You can drip feed content – perhaps short insights from the speakers to whet audience appetites or a first look at the guestlist to entice eager networks.

Promoted posts can help to boost interest at key moments in the run up to your event, such as speaker bookings or programme reveals.

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Think email

Email marketing can be a powerful tool in your pre-event promotional toolbox. Use it sparingly to deliver key selling points via content that’s tailored to your audience. Give people something useful that steals and then holds their attention. For example, that can be sales hacks from one of your speakers or a 30 sec tutorial from an expert guest.

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A website that works hard

In the virtual world, you can live or die by the quality of your website.

This is where your audience can access information, acting as your shop window. Whether it’s eye-catching graphics, engaging clips of speakers or professional photography there are a number of ways to make your site stand out – all of which keeps people from wandering away from your page and losing you a potential sign-up.

And remember to make it mobile responsive. Last year more than 52% of worldwide mobile traffic was via smartphones.

Make all the key information – time, date, lineup etc – immediately visible. Your website should be the one-stop shop for potential attendees. You don’t want them drifting off elsewhere out of frustration.

Put a sign up link as a rolling banner across the site, so that users are constantly encouraged to register.

It’s also important to think about search engine optimisation (SEO) – that’s how visible your website is to online audiences. Using a keyword planning tool like Google Ads can help you discover what words people are searching for most so you can use them in the content on your site – ranking your event page higher with search engines.

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Website Design

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Ready to roll?

Although we will be missing the friendly, face-to-face element of events for the foreseeable future, there’s no reason you can’t make the most of online events for your business, boosting your overall marketing reach in the process.

We’ve helped a number of clients make the shift to online events and marketing. Contact us today to find out more.

July 10, 2020

How has lockdown shaped upcoming trends?

As the epicentre of our lockdown, our homes have naturally felt the force of these changes more quickly than other areas of lives and it’s already clear to see that what we need and want for these spaces has shifted.

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From our perspective there are three big factors that will shape upcoming interior trends:

1. Working from home

Firstly, working from home is here to stay. In the short term, many of us are still working remotely due to Covid-related restrictions but looking to the future, it’s likely that many companies and employees will choose to implement a more flexible type of working.

It goes without saying that home offices are trending and will be for some time, but drill down into this a little bit further and we can pull out what this actually means for our homes.

Not everyone is lucky enough to have a dedicated space that can be used as a home office so our existing living spaces are going to need to become multifunctional. This means furniture that can bridge the gap between living and working, providing practical solutions that look good too. For example, there’s a gap in the market for stylish office chairs that will fit seamlessly into a home environment, but still offer ergonomic support.

In the longer term we’re likely to see people moving further away from cities in search of more space and this will come with a whole new set of considerations for brands and retailers too.

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2. Online channels are leading the way

The second big thing that’s influencing upcoming trends is the fact that we’re spending even more time online and this is where we’re gathering most of our inspiration about furniture and styling.

A quick glance at a recent Google trends report reads like an Instagram feed, with line drawings, house plants, mosaic tiles and dried flowers among the most searched for interior trends between March and June this year.

Trends are being formed by influencers and audiences are buying into them with more confidence than ever before.

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3. Is it sustainable?

Last, but by no means least, the lockdown has forced us to think about sustainability in a number of different ways. Not only in terms of the environmental impact of our purchases, but in terms of our local communities and national economy too.

We’ve reconnected with the businesses on our doorsteps but we’ve also seen how quickly they can fail. As a result, the power that we have as consumers is evident and this will undoubtedly shape where we spend our money.

We are now all the more likely to seek out brands in which we can trust, which have a history of ‘doing the right thing’ and that are transparent about their practices and the provenance of the materials and labour that goes into their products. In other words, there are economic, social and ethical dimensions to sustainability, which is a big leap forward from where we were only six months ago when the word ‘sustainability’ was easy to say and hard to think about. Today, that conversation and thought process has accelerated to something like warp-speed.

Get in touch with us on 0191 375 9150 to find out how we can work with you.

June 11, 2020

“But Mummy, I’m bored!” – How brands are making family life more manageable

If your lockdown experience has been characterised by working from home while juggling full-time childcare, it would be understandable if you’ve been feeling envious of your childfree colleagues. There they are, able to take part in a video call without anyone wandering in to demand more biscuits, complain that the Hey Duggee episode has frozen again, or announce that they “need the toilet, NOW!”

Being a working parent has always had its challenges, but they’ve seemed particularly acute during the coronavirus pandemic, when so many of us have suddenly found ourselves not only trying to carry on with our normal jobs, but also becoming a children’s entertainer, chef and teacher rolled into one.

With schools reopening in phases, and many parents continuing to keep their children at home, home-schooling and entertainments are remaining a reality for many.

For many families, the past few months have provided an opportunity to reconnect, to spend more time with each other and enjoy a simpler and slower pace of life. Whether it’s building a fort in the living room or birdwatching from the garden, we’ve all been finding ways to pass the time and learn together.

And when boredom has hit, brands have been there to provide inspiration.

Firing the imagination

With footfall to bricks and mortar shops still low and major changes in shopping habits expected post-coronavirus, keeping your customers inspired has been key to keeping your brand relevant and front-of-mind.

Providing a steady stream of inspirational content on social media is key. Take craft brand Stitch and Story, for example. Realising that millions of people were now spending more time than ever at home, they used their

 Instagram feed to share ideas for craft projects the whole family can get involved in, launching their #stitchtogether campaign to encourage families to create together.

Meal kit company HelloFresh has looked beyond cooking to get families inspired, sharing photos from customers’ children putting their recycled boxes to good use, with creative ideas including pirate ships, toy boxes and robots.

Introducing a little levity into your brand content at times like this can really pay off, especially when you show that you understand how tough times are for everyone at the moment. By giving families simple ideas to brighten up their lockdown, they’re more likely to feel an affinity with your brand, thereby keeping you at the front of their mind when it comes to purchase journeys.

Getting through the day-to-day

Even in the middle of a pandemic, life goes on, and all the normal family activities we might have previously taken for granted – like the rite-of-passage that is a visit to the shoe shop to get measured for a new set of kicks – have to be reconsidered.

John Lewis has solidified its position as one of Britain’s favourite brands by providing useful content for families trying their best to carry on as normal, providing a handy guide for measuring your child’s feet at home. The content itself has been cleverly designed to feature a highlight of the brand’s latest children’s shoes, helping busy parents find what they need and shortening the path to conversion at the same time.

Getting customers themselves involved is also an effective way to engage with your audience and show that you are there to help them and their families get through the day. Tesco’s #FoodLoveStories campaign – previously characterised by glossy yet homely adverts sharing customers favourite recipes – has moved entirely into customers’ homes. ‘Bitesize’ videos of siblings making cookies together or proud sons following their mum’s roast chicken recipes have been accompanied by tips from celebrity chef Jamie Oliver on creating tasty family dishes.

Authenticity over product

You’ll have noticed that in all of these examples, the brands connecting most closely with families at home aren’t necessarily the ones focused on talking about their product. Sure, we’ve all been making the most of online shopping and home deliveries to keep ourselves occupied and our cupboards fully stocked, but it’s those brands that have recognised the emotional impact of coronavirus, especially on our youngest and most vulnerable members of society, that have shone through.

In the early days of the pandemic, being openly humorous or light-hearted in brand content felt insensitive. However, as the UK begins to emerge from the worst of the pandemic, there’s more room for brands and organisations to be playful in their content, using their communications strategies to provide some much-needed light relief.

By putting authenticity first, encouraging customer-generated content and being useful and inspirational, these brands have helped us all find troubling times a little easier. Boredom, frustration and stress have been inevitable in everyone’s home these past few weeks, but by using content with a sense of humour, that provides inspiration and shows how we’re all still connected, brands have captured our loyalty.

We know how to talk to your audiences. Get in touch with us on 0191 375 9150 to find out how we can help you with your brand communications strategy.

April 29, 2020

Creativity in the time of coronavirus

The Coronavirus crisis has triggered some great creative thinking-and-making from the design community. In some ways that’s no surprise, big moments in history are typically a time when art, design and copywriting play a powerful role.

Alongside the now more or less ubiquitous banking ads making the the most of the Zoom call format (the first one in this format was OK but please stop it now, it’s not clever to just keep copying one another), there have been some truly creative ads and design appearing. Some are playful, some are powerful and some are well thought out imaginative responses to the strange world we find ourselves living in.

Here are just three of our favourites. Credits attached to all work.

 

Unofficial Guinness Ad by freelance copywriter, Luke O’Reilly

You may have seen this on social media. It’s been something of a sensation. It’s pure genius (as Guinness would say), completely nailing the aesthetic and playful spirit of the official Guinness ad campaigns but with the added irony that it’s not an official Guinness ad at all, just the brilliant output of Luke O’Reilly’s spare time.

If Luke can do this kind of work, Guinness, come on, appoint this guy to your creative roster. Guinness has actually credited the work and posted it to their official Instagram site, so at least they have recognised the elegance of the idea and the creative talent involved. Hopefully there’ll be some paid-for work coming Luke’s way at some point soon from Guinness HQ.

https://lukejoreilly.myportfolio.com/about

St Luke’s NHS unofficial STAY HOME NOW

More of a poster than an ad per se, Richard Denney, executive creative director of branding powerhouse St Luke’s, and his colleague Al Young, created this image at the end of March, in the early days of the Stay Home, Save Lives campaign.

The idea came to Richard following a radio broadcast in which he’d heard an exhausted NHS consultant pleading with the public to stay at home to avoid spreading the Coronavirus and over-stretching the NHS.

It proves the point that the simplest creative responses can also be the hardest hitting, capturing so much from its slight alternation of the instantly recognisable NHS branding. It has been used across many official NHS social feeds to help reinforce the messaging.

www.stlukes.co.uk

Secret Cinema and Haagen Dazs – Secret Sofa

Secret Cinema is something of a cultural phenomenon. It describes itself as a ‘fully immersive cinema experience’. For anybody who has attended one of their events, you’ll know how amazing these nights are. Guests are literally plunged into the world of the movie: amazing locations, brilliant costumes, an invitation to take centre stage by acting out parts, singing, dancing, yes, they think of everything with a vast attention to detail that creates instant fandom.

A friend attended the Moulin Rouge event in London a couple of years ago and announced it one of the most enjoyable and exciting nights out they’d ever had. And that was somebody who’s done their fair share of ‘big nights out’ around the world! So, how do you bring that magic to people during lockdown? Well, they’ve set up Secret Sofa, a subscription activity that brings classic movies to stream every Friday night, along with suggestions on how to dress, things to eat and drink and a number of other suggestions that can get you into the spirit of the movie you’re going to watch. There are hangouts to join that can take the experience further.

And to make it a tad more enjoyable, there’s also a free Haagen Dazs ice cream of the week to accompany the movie, delivered to your door by courier. Well, it will never take the place of the real thing but it’s a pretty cool response for those who are missing their hit of culture and cool!

www.secretcinema.org

 

April 29, 2020

Don’t let your customers lack for inspiration during isolation

Whatever the coming weeks and months have in store for us, it’s clear that certain elements of the retail sector are never going to be the same again. Before the COVID-19 crisis, bricks and mortar retailers of all kinds were already experiencing difficulties due to the cost of high rates, dwindling footfall and the fast move to online shopping, but recent events are going to call for an entire sector re-think.

The fashion and beauty world is a clear example of how retailers are experiencing a huge change in consumer behaviour. Burberry is already reporting that in-store sales have fallen by 50%, and Next have warned of a significant sales drop this quarter, with boss Lord Wolfson saying “people do not buy a new outfit to stay at home.”

There could, however, be a silver lining for retail businesses that are already geared-up for ecommerce. In time, with more and more people remaining at home, and perhaps taking fewer foreign holidays, retailers involved in furniture, homewares and DIY may benefit from a surge of ongoing spending.

There’s nothing quite like being stuck at home all day to make you want to revamp your spare room or brighten up your kitchen. From getting a new desk to make working from home a little more comfortable, to that new slow cooker to help you finally master that stew you’ve always wanted to make, there’s plenty that retailers can be offering to help consumers spend their time in isolation a little more comfortably.

If you’ve not already invested in a smooth ecommerce user experience, now is the time to do so. Make sure that consumers can see your products in as few clicks as possible, with vibrant and engaging product descriptions to bring them to life.

It’s more important than ever to be clear about your delivery options, so make sure you have well-written copy on your site that explains how customers can get your products to their door – especially in light of the most recent social distancing measures. If you can offer delivery with minimal contact, such as leaving items in a safe place, talk about this loudly and clearly.

Consumer spending will drop, there’s no doubt about that. But if you can go the extra mile to show customers that you care about their safety and that you can still offer them the products they want, you’ll go a long way in setting up your brand for the weeks and months ahead. Remember, we don’t stop daydreaming just because we’re no longer out and about.

Give your customers the inspiration and tools that they need to create that home office or complete that DIY project they’ve been putting off. We all need to stay creative in times like these – make sure you and your customers do too.

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Cool Blue is a full-service agency that pays special attention to the interiors sector. We make waves in the home and lifestyle world, whether by helping brands find new relevancy or supercharging their sales, our strategic expertise makes brands like yours achieve their goals.

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