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.



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.


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.


Website Design


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.


home working


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.




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.




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.

July 9, 2020

Re-thinking the consumer journey

Despite the fact that the high street has been declared officially open by the government, it feels like we’re a long way off ‘normal’. But that isn’t necessarily a bad thing.

They say in every crisis lies an opportunity and in case of furniture retail, the opportunity is digital. Not ‘digital-only’ but digital as part of a new customer journey in which stores still have an integral role to play.

Since re-opening, many furniture stores have reported strong sales thanks, in-part, to pent-up demand but this initial surge will at some point start to subside and in its place needs to be a strategy that engages customers at each step of their journey.



A recent study by EY found that 51% of consumers think that the way that they shop will fundamentally change because of Covid-19, so any retail strategy needs to be able to adapt quickly to these changes.

For bigger ticket items it’s likely that a store visit will remain a key part of the purchase journey, however this may now happen further down the line in the decision-making process, so bringing the online and offline experiences together is key.

With shoppers less inclined to visit stores on a whim, more browsing will happen online so capturing the attention of customers in this ‘discovery’ phase is really important. Content that creates an enhanced online browsing experience will put those using it ahead of the competition and play into a new found digital confidence that can be found across almost all audience groups.




From virtual store tours created using shoppable 3D technology, to digital sales consultant appointments, there plenty of ways to make the experience more engaging, from a distance.

Retailers such as Heal’s, John Lewis and Wren are all offering virtual consultations via video, which enable customers to ask questions, seek recommendations or view products on the shop floor, all from the comfort of their own homes. Simple to set up, these new systems are able to provide a personalised service that forges a connection between the brand and customer.


interactive shopping


The next step is to bring the customer in-store and appointment booking systems are working really well for many retailers. They not only help to reassure customers that their journey to a store will be a useful one, but have an incredibly high conversion rate which makes them helpful forecaster for retailers.

Out of town furniture stores with bigger spaces and plenty of parking have seen higher than normal footfall in recent weeks, demonstrating that ease of access is also an important part of the purchase journey to consider.

Those who are managing this new journey well will raise the benchmark and other retailers will need to rise to meet it in order to compete. Are you ready for the challenge?

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

July 2, 2020

Are VR and AR the answer to marketing in a post-coronavirus world?

But let’s not beat around the bush: shopping in the post-coronavirus ‘new normal’ is going to feel very different. With social distancing set to be in place for the foreseeable future, industries from retail to property, hospitality and travel have been forced to rethink their marketing model.

This is especially the case for big-ticket purchases that are often associated with a lengthy customer journey. How can you sell a property or a sofa to a customer if it’s trickier for them to see it in-person?



Use VR and AR to bring your brand to life

Here’s where virtual reality and augmented reality technologies can really prove their value. By using VR (Virtual Reality) or AR (Augmented Reality) in your marketing strategy, you can give customers an up-close-and-personal sense of your products or services in a way that’s safe and convenient for them.

As lockdown came into effect across the world, brands had to quickly rethink how to showcase their products to customers. Take the example of sports brand Asics. Three new shoes had been in the works for over a year, and were set to be unveiled at a glitzy, big-budget media launch in Japan, timed to coincide with the Tokyo Marathon. However, as countries around Asia went into lockdown,  closely followed by Europe, then nations across the world, Asic’s marketing team had to think on their feet to get the new shoes in front of customers.

Enter VR. Content was quickly developed that showcased the shoes in a high-tech lab, with users prompted to complete a series of games to highlight each shoe’s unique features. VR headsets were sent to journalists across the world, many of whom were now stuck at home and eager for creative content from brands. Through a combination of gamification and cutting-edge VR technology, delivered in a flash, Asics was able to reinvent the product launch


The digital layer

With almost all consumers being in lockdown for months, the ability to put smartphones and tablets down has become non-existent. Looking through these digital windows, everyone has been gazing at the world that was and the world as it’s becoming - this is the ‘digital layer’.

The consumer’s view of the world is now completely augmented with this digital layer in a way that most thought would take another five years to have such an effect. It’s happened in three months.

This new layer offers brands a great opportunity to be a part of the consumer’s life like never before, delivering digital content to them and attracting eyeballs, wherever they are in their purchase journey.


Embrace the new normal

This post-coronavirus world is an opportunity for retailers to totally rethink how we interact with customers, putting their convenience (and of course, safety) at the heart of their shopping experience.

The coming months could see the emergence of stores dedicated to contactless shopping. Shoppers could browse the store – either physically or through VR - tag the items they want, then collect their order at the door on the way out, using virtual payment methods. Not only does this option potentially save time for shop floor staff, it reduces human-to-human contact during the purchase journey, thereby protecting the safety of your customers and colleagues.


Think outside the headset

VR is an ideal tool for innovative marketers looking to engage with their customers in this new normal, but your creative thinking doesn’t have to stop there. Could this post-coronavirus world actually provide an opportunity for your brand to radically rethink your marketing strategy, using fresh thinking to connect with your customers in totally different ways?

Customer journeys will likely look pretty different in this world of the ‘new normal’. How can you engage them beyond the traditional purchase journey, instead creating content that gets them excited and inspired, well before they feel ready to make a purchase?

Whether it’s setting up a VR showroom for your property developments, gamifying your product launches or sending customers low-cost print materials teamed with an AR app so that they can engage with products in their own home for a whole new interior design layout featuring your furniture, get creative with your marketing to bring your brand right in front of your customers’ eyes.


Did you know that we’ve worked with a number of brands on AR and VR technology? Get in touch with us on 0191 375 9150 to find out how we can bring creative marketing strategies to your business.



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.

Toffee Factory
Lower Steenberg’s Yard
Newcastle upon Tyne
T. 0191 375 9150