Influencer Marketing and Protecting Brand Values

Influencer Marketing

Influencer marketing has become a commonly used alternative to traditional advertising and a great way to increase brand awareness and consumer reach in an authentic way. Although this can be extremely useful and cost effective in building your brand in moments, it can also do the total opposite, so how can you get the balance right? 

Matt Woods, Founder and CEO of digital and influencer marketing agency AFK, explains best practice ensuring you hit the mark every time. 

 

The influencer phenomenon

As a former content creator, I have worked and supported other creators in securing partnership deals. The millennial generation are becoming the world’s leading spenders and they trust user generated content – particularly when the creators champion and align with their interests. It is great to see how many brands have recognised that influencer marketing works for both performance and branding goals. In today’s world, the importance of user generated content as a way to reach audiences is growing all the time, especially as it is becoming increasingly difficult to reach and persuade audiences using conventional media. It comes to no surprise that Gen Z name video games as their top entertainment activity (26%), followed by listening to music (14%), browsing the internet (12%) and engaging on social media (11%), leaving TV behind (Variety, 2021).

Whilst it can pay big dividends, it can be hard for brands to be open to new advertising methods and trust them with the values of their brand that has been so carefully built. Wanting to help other people navigate the space and having many years of experience, I founded an influencer management agency which has had the opportunity to grow over the years with the growth of interest in the area and we now work with over 180 exclusive content creators. The agency allows us to bring a level of collaboration to influencer marketing so that you, as brand owner, can be certain that your brand is protected and use the campaign to reinforce your brand values.

 

Importance of the right strategy and influencers

When utilising these exciting marketing methods, the most important thing is developing a creative strategy that utilises the right influencers on the best platforms to deliver the desired results and reach the target audience. As a brand looking to execute an influencer marketing campaign, influencers who align with the goals and values of the business are key. Unfortunately, it is not always as easy as it sounds to find the right influencer which is where agencies can come in and do the necessary research required. Agencies are investing globally in expertise, contacts and tools to reach the right influencers and deliver the right strategy to drive growth for brands. 

The increase in influencer marketing has led to the development of a range of softwares that can help brands identify the right fit for them. Using a combination of software that checks the influencer’s proven track record, conducting a content analysis and a brand safety check as well as checking the demographics and engagement analysis will ensure your brand is protected.

 

Protection of brand guidelines

A common fear that is highlighted by brands time and time again is that influencers will fail to adhere to the brand’s values and guidelines and will deviate from the key messaging. Influencers need to be provided with clear brand guidelines to make sure that businesses are represented correctly, influencers should also be screened to ensure alignment with brand values. Throughout the campaign day-to-day communication and reporting with the influencer must be managed to ensure messaging is consistent throughout. With these safety measures in place, through the brand and their agency, they have certainty that their brand is protected. 

There are so many examples of when this has gone wrong due to a lack of research, thought and the influencer no being the right fit. Although this happened 5 (!) years ago, we all remember when YouTube influencer Logan Paul posted an extremely disrespectful and distasteful video of an encounter with a Japanese suicide victim and as a consequence, lost out on numerous brand partnerships. 

 

Keeping influencers on track

When investing time and spending money, we all want to see results. Yet, considering that product timelines shift constantly, internal approvals can be a long process and messaging can change, it can be a lot of work to keep influencers on board and keeping up with an everchanging schedule. Influencers also often wish to contact you at any time, day or night, and on platforms your business may not have access to. This is where agencies and project managers are a vital resource. They assist in managing time by taking over the responsibility of keeping up the communication, ensuring timelines are adhered to and above all, reviewing content, making sure it is on-brand and in keeping with the key messaging. 

There are so many media platforms that brands need to be aware of at this time, this is another area where working with a dedicated team can prove extremely useful. Twitch, TikTok, YouTube, Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, and even campaigns in the Metaverse are important for brands to reach the right audience and raise brand awareness so that we can help you manage this constant communication flow. From experience, good communication is one of the most important parts for a successful campaign as it gives you the opportunity to show influencers that they are valued and feel engaged with your brand. 

 

Influencer marketing is a great way to advertise your products and reach the right audiences but there is a lot of work behind it. With AFK, myself and my team are working to bring stability and predictability to the industry. Digital agencies like AFK are professionalising the industry, which is crucial to moving the influencer marketing industry forward.

What Makes a Successful Online Corporate Event

Remote Corporate Event

Virtual corporate events have gained traction in recent times following the COVID-19 pandemic. Unlike physical events, online events are not restricted by geographic boundaries or audience size. In addition, these are relatively inexpensive; companies can host a global audience without renting physical space.

Corporates can host different online events depending on what they want to achieve. They can host invite-only webinars or online conferences where attendees pay to get access. Corporates can also host live streams that are publicly available or informal events like ask me anything or live-tweeting sessions on social media.   

But hosting an online corporate event is not easy. Corporates must find ways to deal with challenges like thoroughly engaging attendees during virtual events. If you have plans to host virtual events for teams or corporate audiences, here are six aspects that can make them successful:  

 

1. Right Technology  

The success of an online corporate event largely depends on the technology you use. While numerous tech options are available, they can fall into two categories. You can utilize live streaming technologies and webinar technologies.   

Webinar technologies include Skype, Zoom, Adobe Connect, and Microsoft Teams. They provide a wide range of features, including screen sharing, live Q&A, polling, and host sharing. You can use webinar technologies to host small corporate events where you need to make presentations or hold meetings that aren’t too formal.   

Live streaming technologies are ideal for large audiences. Corporations can customize their presentation mix using graphics, videos, and multiple cameras with these technologies. They also allow users to pre-record elements of their presentation to add consistency and professionalism to their message. Live streaming makes audiences interact through polling options, comments, and live Q&A.   

 

2. Engagement

The other aspect that makes virtual meetings successful is audience engagement. Unlike physical events where attendees would be present throughout, the people who attend virtual events are less likely to stay glued to their screens all day.

Instead, they’re likely to be checking in and out occasionally as they do other things. You need to engage your audience throughout the event to keep this from happening. You can tell stories, present creative slides, ask your audience questions, among others. 

When running a virtual corporate event, ensure that you stick to the stipulated time. Doing so energizes attendees and builds anticipation among them.

 

3. Event Time and Agenda

Another thing that makes virtual corporate events successful is the time and schedule. When planning an online event, you need to consider the number of expected attendees and their time zones. Consider the holiday schedules of attendees as these vary from country to country.  

It enables you to identify a time that’s convenient for the attendees. Further, prepare a clear schedule showing event sessions, speakers, and how long the sessions run. Add relevant links to the agenda to enable participants to plan.   

 

4. Networking Opportunities

A significant reason most people attend corporate events is the opportunity they provide for people to network. To succeed in hosting online corporate events, you need to find a way to bring this networking experience to your online audience.   

An easy way is to encourage event attendees to utilize the live chat feature present on most online event platforms to know who’s present and reach out to them directly. Also, you can group attendees based on their interests or needs.

 

5. Breakout Sessions

Creating space for event participants to focus on specific topics in smaller groups during virtual events is the other factor that can make virtual events successful. The breakout sessions feature allows event organizers to set up virtual breakout rooms that make attendees discuss topics of interest. Since online gatherings aren’t constrained by space or time scales, participants can attend different sessions.   

 

6. Value For Event Sponsors   

The value that organizers of virtual corporate events offer sponsors can affect the success of those events. Event sponsors benefit from visibility in physical events as their brands get featured in physical spaces prominently.  

Companies can offer sponsors value in virtual events by designing sponsor branding content. Further, companies can invite sponsors to participate in panel sessions or host breakout sessions during virtual events. Event hosts can also share important metrics like data on attendees and downloads with sponsors.  

 

Final Thoughts

Virtual corporate events have become common in recent years, allowing companies to reach wider audiences more cost-effectively. However, pulling off a successful online corporate event isn’t easy. If you’re organizing an online event for your corporation, integrating the six aspects discussed above can significantly boost your success.

Making Trade Shows Work for Your Business

Out of focus trade show floor with people walking about

A trade show gives businesses the opportunity to promote their products or services to a large audience. Business owners can also meet industry partners and customers, learn about current market trends, and examine their competition at these events.

Some trade shows are open to the public, while others are only available to members of the trade or press. When considering attending a trade show, research the type of show and whether your company can gain anything from attending.

Attending a trade show can be a wonderful way to generate leads and boost your business visibility. However, if you don’t plan and prepare for the show, you may end up wasting your time and money. Here are some tips for maximizing the value of trade shows for your business.

 

Planning for a Trade Show

Trade shows require planning. Decide which show you want to attend, book your booth space, and start marketing your presence.

Choose a trade show that is relevant to your industry and offers you the chance to meet your target audience. As soon as you find the perfect show, book your booth space. Booth spaces fill up fast, so if you wait too long, you might not get the space you want.

After you book your booth, promote your presence. Send out email blasts, post on social media, and distribute flyers as part of your marketing plan. The more people you can attract to your booth, the more successful your trade show will be!

Besides displaying your goods, take the time to explain the product design process to curious booth visitors. Focus on educating instead of selling to engage visitors. The goal of attending a trade show is to generate leads. Collect the contact information of everyone who visits your booth so you can follow up with them after the show.

 

Make the Most of Your Time

Whether you are a small business owner looking to drum up extra business or a corporate executive working the trade show circuit, maximize your time.

Take a walk around the show floor to get an idea of where your booth will be before deciding where to put it. Choose a location that will get good foot traffic but isn’t so close to the entrance that people will just walk right by.

When you have designed your exhibition display to present your business in the best possible light, be sure to staff it with friendly, outgoing employees who are knowledgeable about your products or services. And, if you have a large booth, consider holding presentations or demonstrations to attract visitors.

Don’t forget to give away plenty of promotional items–everyone loves free swag! Also, always have business cards, brochures, and samples of your products on hand. 

Additionally, you can attract attention to your booth by offering a giveaway or contest.

 

Following Up After the Show

After the show, take advantage of all the contacts you made. Reach out to them by email, phone, or social media. 

Also, reach out to any industry partners or potential customers you met at the show. Arrange a meeting or coffee date so you can discuss working together further.

By taking action to stay in touch with people after the show, you can turn your trade show leads into long-term business relationships!

 

You’ll Get Better After Each Show

Follow these guidelines if you’re heading to a trade show soon. They will help you to stay productive and make the most of your time there. If things didn’t go as planned, figure out what you can learn from your mistakes to stand out at a trade show the next time. And even if things went well, try to formulate your best practices for the future. Remember, whether it was a flop or a smashing success, you’ll keep getting better each time you attend a trade show.

Artists in 2022: 6 Tips to Reach New Listeners

Music Artists

It’s no secret that the music industry is in a state of flux. With the advent of digital streaming, it has become easier than ever for musicians to get their music heard by a wider audience. While this may be good news for artists, it can also be challenging to break through the noise and reach new listeners. Here are six tips to help you reach new listeners and grow your fan base in 2022.

 

Promote Your Music

One of the first methods that you can use to reach new listeners in 2022 is by promoting your music. The good news is that there are many services out there that solely exist on helping new artists reach new audiences.

Many of these services work with Instagram, Apple Music, Spotify, and YouTube, meaning that you can reach many people. More than this, they promise organic promotion, and many use affiliates that will promote your music on the various platforms, whether it be by sharing your playlists, your individual songs, and more. If you are thinking about using a music promotion service, then you need to ensure that you have a few songs already made as well as a music video or two.

 

Use Social Media

The next way that you can reach new listeners as an artist in 2022 is by taking advantage of the many social media platforms that are now available. In case you aren’t aware, there are millions of social media users around the world, more specifically 4.62 billion.

What does this mean for you as an artist? This means that by not using social media, you are losing out on gaining listeners. Some of the most popular social media platforms at the moment include Instagram, Reddit, TikTok, Facebook, and Twitter. The thing that you should do before using a social media platform is to ensure that your audience is using the platform otherwise you will be wasting your efforts.

 

Focus on Promoting Playlists

The next thing that you are going to want to do to gain more listeners as an artist is to focus on promoting playlists as opposed to individual songs. While you might have seen very famous artists releasing an individual song and gaining lots of attention and praise as a new artist, you are going to want to focus on playlists.

The primary reason for this is because the more music you are producing, the more music will get out there and the more people might hear it. In addition to this, you want people to get to know you, and the only way you can do this is through your music. You also want to give people something to binge on, if they do like what you are producing.

 

Emails and Blogging

Another effective way of gaining new listeners as an artist is by taking advantage of the many blogging services that exist in today’s day and age, as well as using email marketing. When you think of email marketing, you might think that it is not the most effective approach. However, statistics show that email marketing is still the most effective form of marketing there is.

In terms of blogging, there are hundreds of music blogging websites that are constantly looking for upcoming artists. Being featured on one of these blogs is a great way to gain more exposure and reach new audiences.

 

Create Goals

What you will have to keep in mind when gaining new listeners is that not everything you do needs to directly relate to the efforts of gaining new listeners. For example, creating goals is one of the most effective ways of gaining new listeners. Even though you aren’t doing anything to gain new listeners.

This means that you’ll need to sit down and consider what are your primary goals and what is the period that you wish to achieve these goals. For example, if you are using YouTube, maybe one goal could be a certain amount of video views. By creating this goal, you’ll be able to create a plan to reach this goal, and in turn, gain new listeners.

Website Sitemap 101: What Is It and Why Do You Need One?

Website Site-Mapping

So, you started a website for your business, and now you’re wondering what a sitemap is and why you need it?

First of all, sitemaps are not just for search engines, although that’s where most people first hear about them. A well-structured, easy-to-use sitemap will help visitors and search engines navigate your site’s content, improving your online presence and optimization.

In this article, you’ll find out what a sitemap is and why you need it for your business.

 

What Is a Website Sitemap?

Web sitemaps are quick ways web spiders act on your site to make search engine decisions. The maps inform them about pages available for crawling and, therefore, visibility. 

Fundamentally, a sitemap outlines your site’s URLs, serving as an XML file. It lists them out based on the changes and updates frequencies of the URL relative to other URLs. Likewise, it provides additional metadata about each URL. That way, search engines can more intelligently crawl the site.

Most websites use a sitemap template that is an essential part of the user experience and can be used for SEO. Fundamentally, there are four types of sitemaps: HTML, XML, RSS, and text. The type you use depends on your site, content, and template.

 

Why Do You Need a Website Sitemap?

Your business website has a lot of pages, and it can be difficult for customers to find what they need. A detailed website sitemap is a solution to ensure your visitors see everything you have to offer.

Here are seven strong reasons your business needs a sitemap.

 

1. Helps Search Engines Crawl Your Site More Efficiently

Today’s search engines use complex algorithms to crawl and index a website. Because of this, there are many things you can do to help search engines crawl your site more efficiently, including implementing Sitemaps. Sitemaps are files that tell site crawlers about the pages on your site. When you implement a sitemap, crawlers pick it up as part of your website maintenance and use the structure to inform your visibility.

 

2. Ensures All Pages on Your Website Can Be Found

Sitemaps have one goal: to ensure it’s easy for visitors to find the pages they’re looking for. Incorporating a sitemap into a website takes work, but all that work is worth it when a business can enjoy increased traffic from search engines and an increase in on-site conversion requests.

Sitemaps also make it much easier for a business to maintain its web presence as sites change names, addresses, and other information that constitutes its location on the world wide web.

 

3. Improves Website Navigation

A well-designed and functioning sitemap can significantly improve website navigation. This allows users to quickly find the information they’re looking for by directing them to the pages where that relevant content can be found. How a sitemap improves website navigation overlaps with the general purpose of a sitemap—to provide users with a broad snapshot of your website content.

 

4. Creating a Sitemap Is a Cheaper Way to Get Indexed For SEO

Your website is one of the most critical assets of your business. If it isn’t visible to the world, you might bear low sales. Unfortunately, many people think that to get noticed, a site should be stuffed with keywords, pictures, and other content. This is why sitemaps are so important.

The sitemap will be an index of your website that keeps your content well-arranged and indexed. It explains your web structure. You can create a sitemap manually or via any automatic software. Manually creating a sitemap is much cheaper as you’re not going to pay for any online programs. If you want to have a starting point in building an effective sitemap, you can also consider using a sitemap template.

 

5. Improves Website Loading Speed

It’s always good to do a quick check-up on your website, ensuring you can continually optimize its performance. A sitemap is a way to improve your website’s speed because it allows you to look at your website’s structure and identify any bottlenecks that you might not have known about. A sitemap will also tell you if there’s anything you need to pay more attention to specifically, such as large images or videos which will slow down the entire loading process of your website.

 

Conclusion

A sitemap is a must-have for any webmaster, as it provides a bird’s-eye view of the whole website. It helps visitors navigate the vast amount of information available on your site and divides it into categories. Though sitemaps differ based on their complexity, they’re all alike in one thing—they simplify navigation by giving a structure to the website.

Ways to Make Your Small Business More Innovative

Business Idea

You’re already well aware that running a small business is hard work. But the financial aspect can take a few unexpected turns. Whether it’s for the expenses or divvying up the earnings for your employees, money can disappear when you least expect it. If you play your cards right, however, it’s possible to save more while spending less. Here are ways to make your small business more innovative.

 

Properly Equip Your Fleet

If you’re a company that requires a fleet, improper management can lead to unexpected costs. In fact, your fleet is one of your business’s biggest investments, so you want to make sure everything is running smoothly. However, we understand how difficult it can be maintaining multiple vehicles. But thanks to the current fleet management technology, managing your fleet has never been easier. Electronic logging devices (ELDs), GPS tracking devices, and tachographs are all forms of technology every fleet needs.

Another important piece of technology you need are AI dash cams. An AI dash cam is a specially designed video based feature you install into your vehicle. Once installed, the AI will constantly scan and analyze the road as you drive. They’re to deter people from being distracted on the road and help them pay more attention. You have the choice of getting single or dual cam but you can opt for a dual cam as it pays attention to both the front and back of your vehicle.

 

Reach Your Competition

When it comes to business, you need to know what your competitors are doing. This is also applicable in terms of the latest business innovations. Research your competition to see how they operate. What type of technology are they using? You can find a lot of free information on their websites. Most companies want to promote how innovative they are, so pay close attention to their blog posts, website updates and their social media accounts.

 

Network

Networking is definitely not a thing of the past. While the way we network may vary, specifically in person or virtually, you can still uncover plenty of information by interacting with other business owners. These are going to be some of the most instrumental people in helping you determine innovations to include in your business operations. In addition to local meetups, there are plenty of online networking events where like-minded people discuss the latest business technologies and how they use them to improve their businesses.

 

Make Learning a Priority

Your employees are what keep your company going. As such, you want to ensure they’re well-trained and educated in the company’s practices. You also want to stay abreast of the latest developments within your niche, and learn the best ways to execute them. For example, if you work in hotel and hospitality sector, what kind of technology would streamline the check in and check out process? And what about contactless food delivery?

 

Hang Out with Interns

If your company has interns, it’s a prime opportunity to give them the experience they desire. It’s also a great way for you to get more information about the latest trends going around. Knowing what’s currently buzzing can give you a serious competitive edge and help you come up with new ideas for business ventures.

 

Listen to TED Talks

This may come off as strange and unorthodox but listening to TED talks relating to business can be beneficial. TED talks are 18-minute sessions of a professional giving their ideas and relaying their own personal experiences. They do this to help people come to an understanding and make them think outside the box. In this case, listening to a TED talk about business can give you a lot of insight. The idea is to help you expand your horizons. Try to take the advice you hear to heart and look for ways to incorporate it into your business.

 

Read Tech News

It only takes a few minutes each day to stay in the know. Regardless of niche, there’s bound to be technology involved. That said, research online and find credible sources to learn about the latest innovations. You’ll be surprised how far we come in terms of business innovations. Keep in mind that some tech sites might only release publications once a month or quarterly.

The Best Place to Work in the UK Within the Creative Industry Revealed

Closeup of idea sheet in a creative business meeting

With the creative industry retaining its reputation as a vibrant sector and demonstrating fortitude against the ever-evolving challenges of the pandemic, Print and Design experts Solopress have investigated the best place to work in the UK within the creative industry for those ready to take their next professional steps.

Key Findings:

  • The UK creative industry is predicted to recover from the pandemic faster than the UK economy as a whole and grow by 26% by 2025.
  • Since 2011, the number of jobs in the creative sector has increased by 34.5%, more than three times the growth rate of employment in the UK overall (11.4%).
  • The national average salary for a creative job role is £36,829 in the United Kingdom.
  • Unsurprisingly, London offers the highest salary to those working in the creative sector, with an average salary of £43,472.
  • In London alone, the arts industry generated £58 billion for the national economy in 2019.

 

The UK Creative Industry at a Glance

Despite the UK creative industry facing difficulties at the hands of coronavirus, economic experts remain optimistic about the future for creative workers, predicting that the sector will recover from the pandemic faster than the UK economy as a whole by 2025. Recent findings from UK Parliament also indicate that now could be the time to pursue a future in the creative sector, as the number of jobs has increased by a 34.5% since 2011.

 

What Kind of Salary is Expected from a Creative Role?

Average Salary in the UK for a Creative Role by Experience Level

Level Salary
Senior
£42,768
Intermediate
£36,477
Junior
£23,931

(Check-a-Salary)

Glassdoor cites that the national average salary for a creative job role is £36,829 in the UK, indicating that the sector remains lucrative and that employees can look forward to a healthy salary should they opt for a creative career path. Current data reveals that the average salary for creative workers with a junior experience level is £23,931 and understandably higher at £42,768 for those with a more senior experience level.

The Highest-Paying Areas in the UK

 

The Top 8 Highest-Paying Cities for Creative Roles in the UK

Location Salary
London
£43,472
Manchester
£37,499
Edinburugh
£35,889
Glasgow
£33,912
Liverpool
£33,903
Birmingham
£33,197
Newcastle upon Tyne
£32,732

(Check-a-Salary, Retail Choice)

After analysing current salary data, Solopress have determined the 7 highest-paying cities when it comes to working in the creative industry within the UK. Unsurprisingly, the beloved capital city hit the top spot with an average salary of £43,472, with the Northern Powerhouse Manchester coming in second with a competitive £37,499 per annum. At the lower end of the list offering £32,732 per annum on average, Newcastle upon Tyne nonetheless offers a £2 billion+ industry employing over 40,000 people in 3,000 creative and digital businesses -definitely one to watch in terms of openings in the creative sector.

 

  1. London

If being surrounded by architectural beauty, a world-renowned arts and music scene and a series of new and innovative businesses isn’t enough to nurture a creative mind, then perhaps London’s creative training initiatives and vast employment opportunities will do the trick.

London certainly lives up to its reputation of being a leading creative capital city, with diverse up-and-coming talent from across the globe still flocking to the city. In London alone, the arts industry generated £58 billion for the national economy in 2019, further confirming the city’s status as a thriving creative hub.

 

  1. Manchester

Generating GVA of £3.8 billion annually, Manchester has everything a creative person needs for a thriving working life. As the home of Media City as well as 9,000 creative and technology companies, Manchester has made a name for itself as one of the UK’s most exciting corners for creatives looking to start their next chapter. The city is filled to the brim with innovative start-ups and small agencies, generating an influx of brand-new creative roles, in addition to being home to some of the biggest names in business, from Missguided to Google and the BBC.

 

  1. Edinburgh

With exciting creative programmes designed to nurture future creative talent and bring the city’s world-class creative and technology sectors together, such as Creative Informatics, Edinburgh offers the ideal location for people working in the creative sector to thrive. Providing a myriad of career opportunities in arts, culture, media and design, the city is a hotspot for creative workers, offering an average salary of £35,889.

 

  1. Glasgow

Another Scottish city that offers a world of excitement to individuals looking to excel in a creative career, Glasgow is filled to the brim with creative and innovative minds. The city was even named the top cultural and creative centre of the UK in 2019 in a report from the European Commission due to the city’s cultural participation and tolerance.

The job market is still booming in Glasgow in terms of creative roles and the city is home to 149 creative agencies for those looking to kickstart their career.

 

  1. Liverpool

Home of The Beatles, Liverpool is undoubtedly one of the UK’s most important cultural cities, encompassed in vibrancy, warmth and creativity. The economy of Liverpool is also one of the largest within the United Kingdom.

Liverpool plays a key role in the growth of creative and digital industries in the UK, with the city being home to the second fastest-growing digital cluster in the country. The city naturally offers creatives ample opportunity to find their dream job, with Indeed currently showing 509 jobs attributed to the sector.

 

  1. Birmingham

Greater Birmingham is another strong contender for the best city in the UK to work as a creative. The city boasts a vast, expanding creative economy that employs nearly 50,000 people and generates £4.1 billion Gross Value Added per annum, almost 9% of the total GVA of £46.8bn. Home to a vast advertising, marketing and design sector that encompasses web, product, fashion design, PR and data analysis, this city is one to watch if you’re looking for a long-term career in the creative space.

 

  1. Newcastle Upon Tyne

Newcastle upon Tyne is a buzzing North East city that offers a world of possibilities for those working in the creative field. According to recent data, the city also has one of the UK’s fastest-growing technology sectors, offering more than 1,300 job opportunities.

Aside from ranking as the UK’s 7th highest-paying city for creative roles, Newcastle upon Tyne is renowned for being a hotspot for digital agencies, which is exciting news for anyone seeking a job in web development, digital marketing or design!

 

Although predictably London takes the top spot for the best place to work in the UK within the creative industry based on salary, it is clear that other cities such as Manchester and Edinburgh are quickly catching up, with many UK cities having a great deal to offer those working in the creative industry in terms of city culture and opportunities for progression. It is encouraging to see that the creative industries have overcome and adapted to challenges brought about by the pandemic – wherever you choose to work as a creative, it’s an exciting time for an industry that’s full of possibility.

5 Office Tools and Gadgets Every Workplace Should Own

Work Tools

There are certain things expected from a workplace, such as productivity, employee satisfaction, organization, and a pleasant working environment. But this isn’t something you can easily achieve without careful thought, investment, and execution. 

Certain tips and even design theory can make a world of difference. Moreover, there are certain tools and gadgets you could adapt to the workflow. To know which ones will be the best choice for your office, read more about these useful tools.

1. Scanners

As technology improves, more workplaces are going digital. By using high speed desktop document scanners to create digital copies, more companies can easily make the switch. Plus, this can have a lot of benefits such as taking up less space, ease of data management, and a more permanent storage option. At the same time, it’s also great for the environment. Hence, it’s truly an easy decision for many companies to execute. 

 

2. Various Software

Aside from going digital, adapting to new technology may also mean adjusting to various managing software that can ease workflow. Some of these are free, while you need to buy or upgrade others to unlock certain features. The three common types of software for businesses include:

  • Website Builder: Almost everyone goes on the internet to research companies and to avail certain services. Hence, businesses need to build their online presence. There are several ways to do so, but one of the most reliable methods is to start with a professional website. While it’s best to get a professional to do this, it can be created and managed using a website builder. 
  • Project Management Software: Managing projects to ensure the processes are streamlined is important to safeguard productivity. A project management software will be a great addition to your business since your team can keep an eye on what projects to do next, which are new, and which are done. It’s also great since it’s possible to indicate which projects are urgent or need to be prioritized. 
  • Accounting Software: This is necessary to keep an eye on the finances accurately and easily. With this tool, businesses can record and track sales, income, taxes, and expenses. It can also send invoices and receipts automatically, which means you can reduce human errors.

3. Ergonomic Desk Setup

Working on a computer is standard for many businesses. But it also means that people will have to spend a lot of time sitting down in front of a computer. The lack of movement can have some bad effects. Developing spinal problems and several kinds of bodily aches are possible, especially if you work for hours in front of a computer.

For work to be comfortable for everyone in the office, it’s important to invest in an ergonomic desk setup. Moreover, here are some other items that could help:

  • Adjustable desk.
  • Ergonomic office chairs.
  • Monitor riser.
  • Wrist cushion.
  • Standing desks.

Having an ergonomic desk setup can make certain tasks be done easier, and people can work more efficiently during their working hours.

 

4. Noise Cancelling Headphones

When it comes to an office, everyone might need to block out any distractions. This is why noise-canceling headphones will be necessary, especially in an office where a lot of people are working. But it’s also great for anyone who works in a home office since there can be a lot of distractions that can catch your employee’s attention. Having such headphones can compel workers to get work done thoroughly and quickly.

 

5. A Good Coffee Maker

Helping workers even during their break time is important since this can help them avoid getting easily burnt out. There are different ways to do this, such as employee benefits and days off. However, it might be necessary to invest in other items they can use during their break. 

One of these items is a good coffeemaker. This is because a lot of people love to have a cup of coffee to get them going as they work. Some employees might even appreciate your kind gesture of offering them coffee. If possible, getting one that could craft various kinds of coffee will give workers more options.

Conclusion

The workplace can be pleasant and fun, while also being productive and professional. Achieving this is possible with the right tools and gadgets to make it easier for employees to complete tasks. This can also be a good way to get them satisfied as they work, as it gives an overall convenient and less stressful experience.

What are the Digital Marketing Strategies Needed to Start an Online Business?

Customer using a laptop to shop on an ecommerce site

If you are getting ready to launch an e-commerce, there are online marketing strategies that you absolutely need to take in account, if you want your company to grow. The internet is a very competitive playground and you can be sure that most of your competitors are already master at them. Here are the three digital marketing strategies you need to learn and focus on, right away.

 

The World Wide Web: A Market that keeps growing

Although you won’t be alone in your field, you can at least feel confident about your chances, as well as regarding the future. That is because the market is only showing signs of growth, year after year. That was particularly true in 2021, when it saw more people going online, with the average person spending more time and (most importantly) more money than in 2020. And that previous year was already a very good one, in terms of sales increase online. Today, the global market on the internet consists of 2.14 billion potential buyers. Enough for everyone who prepares the right way, before launching his business online.

 

How to be competitive from the Start?

Because it takes time to position yourself online, as you will see when we describe the SEO strategy, don’t expect to become the world leader in your field, as soon as you launch your website. Furthermore, you will need to keep working on your digital strategies at all time, if you want to ever come close to the top. But the first thing you need is to find the right support, that will enable you to launch the right way, and to acquire all the tools you need. That is why it is so important to start an account on a digital marketing specialist website, such as the one located here: https://www.12handz.com/. They will be able to help you out regarding the various strategies below and others that we won’t mention on here, as well.

 

SEO (Search Engine Optimisation)

To anyone already doing business online, those three letters hold no secret. But if you are new to entrepreneurship, it may still be a mystery. The internet world is more or less directed by search engines. We are being rather inclusive by using the plural since most of the market is held by one giant player: Google. When you get into e-commerce, what you want is for Google to find you, when it sends out its little robots to find the most interesting companies, in every field. Like everything else online, these bots are programmed to search for precise elements. These are the ones that SEO focus on.

It all starts as you are building your website. Google attaches importance to a variety of technical things, when it looks for what it considers to be the best online. First, it looks at how fast your pages load. Then, it checks if the visual has been optimised for mobile phones. But it also takes in account the way the URL is built, as well as other technical things which you will need to discuss with the specialists you will have chosen, as we mentioned inside the previous point. After, you will need to create content online, that will be of the highest quality. Many companies specialise in creating such content, and place them on the best websites, in order to provide you a higher ranking on Goggle’s search engine.

 

Get Into Social Media

Whether you like them or not, as an individual, social media are a must for any business that wants to survive online. To be absent from Instagram and YouTube, today, is the best way to ensure that you sales stats remain stagnant. Again, this strategy takes time. You cannot suddenly go from one follower to one hundred thousand. Some companies may pretend that they can do that for you, but be prepared to face the fact, that those followers have zero interest in what you do, and will either leave or never look at what you publish. The interest of social media is how internet users interact with your company. If they don’t, then there is simply no point, no matter how many they are.

It is one thing to be on social media, yet another to know how to create posts that will interest your fan base. You have to keep in mind that content online is endless. Therefore, if you offer some that is uninteresting, or that simply doesn’t look professional, all the hard work (and money you paid) to get them to follow, will simply be a waste. Again, check with the specialists first, before starting your social media campaign.

 

Email List and Newsletter

Last, but not less important in any way, is the construction of an e-mail list. When internet users stop by your place, you need to find a way to get their e-mail, so you can keep them informed of developments. The best way to do so is through a newsletter. Now, you are ready to go!

The 5 Step Process to Creating a Full Omnichannel Experience 

Omnichannel

By Laura Brown, head of demand generation at Esendex

If you are looking to connect the dots across your digital and physical presence, it’s important to have an effective omnichannel strategy in place – one that places the customer at the core, whilst also recognising the different ways in which shoppers may wish to connect and engage in dialogue with your business.

Delivering a cohesive and consistent brand experience across all of your sales and marketing channels is no easy task, but these simple steps can help you feel more confident in the experience you’re offering. 

 

Step 1: Explore the possibilities of SMS 

As technology evolves, consumers’ daily lives become busier and the platforms they use to engage with their favourite brands continue to change. There are 897 million mobile email users worldwide, yet SMS remains underused and often overlooked by many businesses trying to get their message heard (often in favour of email marketing).

But how can you make your messages stand out? 

We recommend keeping things personal by including your customer’s name, referencing their location, and – if relevant – information on their recent activity such as purchases, subscriptions or event attendance. Dynamic fields make it easier for brands to customise fields such as name, date, or location without additional admin work – which is great considering 91% of consumers are more likely to shop with brands that provide some level of personalisation.

Messages should remain short and punchy, with a clear call to action, and should always include a way for your customers to opt-out at any time, should they wish to. 

 

Step 2: What about WhatsApp?

WhatsApp has become the centre of gravity for billions of users around the world, whether used for messaging a loved one, family or connecting with employees. As a business, it’s important to meet customers where they are, which means WhatsApp can become one of the most important marketing channels in your strategy. Thanks to the addition of Whatsapp Business (launched in 2018), it’s now easier than ever to utilise. 

With WhatsApp Business you can offer the following:

  • The ability for firms to communicate with their customers at scale
  • Automated responses
  • Real-time monitoring of conversations
  • Conversion analytics
  • Customisable message templates
  • End-to-end encryption and data privacy

Your customers will first have to opt-in to WhatsApp communications before they can receive messages from you and then you can utilise the channel to engage with customers directly.

 

Step 3: Engage in two-way conversations

Engaging in actual conversations with your customers can often be overlooked, but two-way communication with your customers guarantees a fully interactive experience and can strengthen brand loyalty. 

Since the pandemic we have further relied on technology for receiving information and answering our requests. Studies have revealed that 69% of people would rather use their phone than approach an in-store employee and when they’re ready to interact there’s an expectation for the communication to be frictionless and fast. 

Omnichannel chat is one way to bolster this, allowing for customer service and marketing teams to enjoy multiple, simultaneous, two-way, mobile-focused conversations with shoppers through a variety of digital communication channels. Automated answers to regularly asked questions can also be deployed, meaning you can offer this service 24/7. 

 

Step 4: Measure the performance of campaigns

Implementing effective KPIs to understand if your sales, marketing and advertising campaigns have been effective are a hugely important element of your strategy. 

KPIs will differ from company to company, but is likely to include: 

Website traffic: Through Google Analytics’ data you will be able to measure the number of visitors, bounce rate and duration of user activity on your site, alongside a range of other metrics.

Conversion rate: Calculating the number of conversions divided by the total number of visitors is a great way to moderate the effectiveness of a campaign, especially if your conversion rate is between the typical 2% to 5%. 

Customer lifetime value: A very important metric to consider as it allows you to calculate the most profitable customer sector by analysing the total net profit you earn from every customer. 

Net Promoter Score (NPS): A widely used market research metric that indicates how likely customers are to recommend a brand to their friends, family and followers on social media. A high score highlights a good level of trustworthiness and brand loyalty. 

Other specific KPIs may also come from customer feedback surveys and ratings. 

 

Step 5: Become an early adopter of new technologies 

Being flexible and adaptable with your strategy is the key for success. Technology is continually evolving with new platforms gaining traction and existing platforms expanding their functionalities. 

By keeping your eye on the ball and becoming an early adopter of new technologies, you can offer your customers even more options to connect with you and maintain an advantage over your competitors. 

How a Remarkable Shopfront can Uplift your Business

Shipping container used as a cafe with seating outside

Customers are constantly looking for the next best thing. This can be a new gadget, fashion statement, or shopping experience. To excite your customers, small business owners should consider the benefits of atypical shopfronts. So, you can ditch traditional bricks-and-mortar for uniquely wonderful alternatives.

This article will explore three unique shopfronts. From shipping containers to grounded aeroplanes, the nation is full of exciting experiences for customers.

 

The shipping container trend

Shipping containers have taken the world by storm. Throughout the UK, businesses are adapting their shopfronts to be more environmentally conscious and aesthetically exciting. This also applies to office space, as a new development is underway in Cardiff’s city centre. Here are three examples of businesses being part of the shipping container trend.

 

Stow-Away Hotel in London, England

London is home to a storage container hotel and apartment block. The whole structure of Stow-Away is comprised of metal storage containers. White and stylish, this architectural wonder is enough to make pedestrians look twice. Despite the cold exterior, the inside is filled with luxurious beds and other comforts. After all, swapping traditional bricks doesn’t equate to a lack of style or customer experience.

 

STACK in Newcastle, England

The North of England is also full of alternative hospitality venues. STACK is a collection of restaurants and bars in the centre of Newcastle upon Tyne. From Thai cuisine to tasty cocktails, customers are welcome to listen to live music and spend time in the open-air courtyard. If you’re considering creating an event space similar to this, your business should consider the benefits of tower light hire. That way, your guests can continue the party through the late evening and early hours of the morning.

 

Porters’ lodge in Cambridge, England

The shipping container trend transcends the hospitality sector. Businesses and establishments around the nation are beginning to see the benefits of alternative shopfronts, including the University of Cambridge. Hughes Hall porters’ lodge is comprised of a single shipping container. A space-saving solution, this is used as both a reception and a pigeonhole for students. No doubt the first of many, should we expect to see more spring up around the campus in the South of England?

 

A canal boat full of sweet treats

In addition to shipping containers, a canal boat full of sweets is changing the game for weird and wonderful shopfronts. The business, named Pendle Witch Sweets, travels between Rodley and Pendle in Leeds, England. This is a great way to create a mobile business, attracting customers from around the country with its old-fashioned sweet treats supplied in an unconventional manner.

 

Hospitality on an aeroplane

If you thought it couldn’t get any more wacky than a punt-load of sweets, we’re here to tell you about Stakes on a Plane. You might not be flying through the air, but it’s the closest thing to a flying restaurant in England. The Stakeout offers customers a unique dining experience, eating in a grounded aeroplane. With food times as low as 15 minutes, who wouldn’t want to dine in this unique setting?

 

These are three weird and wonderful shopfronts in the UK. Whether you’re a fellow sweet-treat enthusiast or a clothing retailer, creating a shop that strays outside the norms of traditional bricks-and-mortar can attract more customers. Regardless, it will definitely be a fun place to spend the working day. Which idea do you enjoy the most?

Emily in Wonderland: Would These Emily in Paris Campaigns Work in the Real World?

Women sitting near the Eiffel Tower in Paris

For better or worse, Emily in Paris proved to be the answer to everyone’s pandemic escapism, capturing the attention of 58 million viewers worldwide within its first 28 days on Netflix. After the release of season two in December 2022, searches for the show were up by 100% just one day later and audiences remain addicted to the bold fashion and glamourised portrayal of the marketing world.

The show follows militant Marketing Executive Emily as she navigates her new life in Paris and her role at luxury brand marketing agency Savoir despite not speaking the French language and having no experience in the luxury sector. From spontaneous social posts to collaborative brand campaigns, Emily’s efforts blow up the internet in a matter of minutes with little to no planning, but would this ‘viral’ effect unfold in reality?

To determine if Emily’s concepts would hit the mark in the real world, Print and Design experts Solopress have delved into some of the show’s most iconic campaigns and marketing faux pas.

 

Key Findings:

  • Searches for the hit show were up by 100% just one day after the 22nd of December.
  • Season one captured the attention of 58 million viewers worldwide within its first 28 days on Netflix.
  • According to a 2021 HubSpot Blog poll, 58% of marketers plan to leverage Instagram Reels in 2022.
  • Video posts receive 21.2% more interactions compared to images and 18.6% more interactions compared to carousels according to Sprout Social.
  • Later findings show that reach rate can increase 11% on Instagram as the number of hashtags grows from one to 30, which for an account with 20K followers is an additional 2.2K accounts reached per post.

 

TV Vs Reality

From a real-world perspective, many of Emily’s methods would simply not generate strong results. Whilst we see Emily attempting to take Paris by storm with rushed Instagram images and a few hashtags on her @emilyinparis account, we don’t see her utilising Instagram stories or reels for example which are hugely prevalent features of the platform. According to a 2021 HubSpot Blog poll, 58% of marketers plan to leverage Instagram Reels in 2022 – perhaps something for Emily to consider in her season 3 Instagram marketing plans.

Although Emily clearly grasps the importance of authenticity and immediacy when it comes to Instagram posting, she doesn’t apply other key social media marketing principles such as having a consistent tone of voice, using copy to tell a story or correctly utilising hashtags. A key element of any social media strategy is to be as engaged as possible with users, yet we never see Emily interacting with followers on the platform or creating meaningful discussions.

Interestingly, recent Later findings show that reach rate can increase by 11% as the number of hashtags grows from one to 30 which for an account with 20K followers is an additional 2.2K accounts reached per post. Opting for one hashtag per post, when Instagram allows up to 30 hashtags per post, the character is also reducing chances to connect with her community and build trust.

 

Business Objectives Matter

“To build a brand you must create meaningful social media engagement” is one of the first mantras Emily bestows upon the agency and one that she focuses on throughout the series.

There is no mention of key success metrics in Emily’s strategies, such as impressions, followership or meaningful follow-up actions for the brand such as conversions and click-through rate, which Hootsuite highlight as significant metrics when it comes to tracking campaign success. Emily seems to be solely focused on social media engagement, and appears to lack any sense of business objectives and using this engagement to meet the wider goals of the company.

We also catch a glimpse of Emily regaling a client with a campaign she worked on to promote a vaccine to treat the population of Virgin Islands. She explains that the campaign involved “saturating the web with gorgeous content” and resulted in a 30% increase in tourism for the area and that any time users searched terms such as “tropical beach vacation” and “topless beach selfies” they were directed to the campaign. In this instance, Emily lacks awareness of the fact that the campaign was not aligned with the goal of increasing vaccinations and that people searching for tropical holidays are not the target audience.

 

Which of the Show’s Campaigns Would Work in the Real-World?

 

1. The Pierre Cadault and Rimowa Luggage Collaboration

Green flags: Creativity, a bold, loud campaign idea that has worked for her clients in the past.

Red flags: No formal strategy or sign off process, sharing product prototype with competitors, poor client knowledge/ relations.

For this campaign idea, Emily pitches a collaboration with renowned designer Pierre Cadault and luggage client Rimowa, recommending that to make “noise” for the Rimowa brand, they include a giant image of Pierre Cadault’s face on the suitcase with the intention of it looking tacky and making a statement. The following day the printed luggage is delivered to Emily’s apartment – an unrealistic turnaround time in the real world given the design time, printing and delivery involved.

Without final sign off from Pierre himself, Emily then parades this new product on her travels in St Tropez and is stopped by another high-brow designer who is immediately impressed and wants to pose with the case. Not only does Emily not stop to consider that this designer is a direct competitor, but she neglects to conduct any research on the person whatsoever before hitting post on Instagram. The post leads to outrage from Pierre Cadault as the seemingly friendly designer is his “nemesis” and the stunt was used as a sign of disrespect.

The Reality?

Glen Eckett, Head of Marketing at Solopress, comments: “While it is not impossible to turnaround a printed suitcase for next day delivery, normally a campaign like this would require more time in order to ensure the process went smoothly and the finished product was up to scratch.”

Additionally, sign off processes are always stringent in marketing, with design proofs, copy and any additional material requiring sign off from multiple departments ahead of any campaign going ahead. In this case, Emily did not receive official sign off from the client himself, whose face was appearing on the new product.  With the added issue of Emily involving a direct competitor in a campaign and damaging her relationship with one of the agency’s biggest clients, sadly this campaign is a flop in the eyes of the marketing world.

2. Hasten’s Bed Campaign

Green flags: Creative physical installation for the brand, a strong UGC social strategy.

Red flags: No official strategy document produced or signed off, no other social platform other than Instagram utilised, incorrect hashtags and no call to action to drive further user interaction with the brand.

To promote the superior quality of Hasten’s beds, Emily proposes a physical installation that will feature the clients’ beds in the most beautiful spots in Paris from the Louvre to the Jardin du Luxembourg. The campaign idea involved “harnessing the power of social media” and asking the public to “sleep with” the brand as part of a user-generated content strategy.

In typical fashion, Emily captures a zoomed-in selfie for the campaign which does not show the product or beautiful surroundings. The post includes no caption, no call to action or geotag, which in this case would be perfect to alert users to the location of the bed to garner further traction. The post, using the hashtag #getinbedwithus, also gains 108 likes in what seems like 2 minutes.

 

The Reality?

When it comes to a huge physical installation campaign such as this, a huge amount of planning, preparation and sign off from local authorities would be required ahead of implementation to ensure the best results possible. Emily’s feeble Instagram efforts including sharing another single image post is also an example of her underutilising other features of the platform.

For instance, Sprout Social research shows that video posts receive 21.2% more interactions compared to images and 18.6% more interactions compared to carousels, and with all the incredible Parisian surroundings and premium product that Emily has to work with, there’s no way that a true marketing professional wouldn’t use this to their advantage with video posting, and across multiple platforms such as Facebook and Tiktok.

 

3. The Pierre Cadault Dress Instagram Campaign

Green flags: Bold, out-of-the-box strategy, positions the product as “sexy” and appropriate for a younger adult market which was a key campaign objective.

Red flags: Posting directly from a client account with no copy or image sign off, no call to action and only one hashtag used.

Another spur of the moment campaign of Emily’s is the risqué Instagram post of the lavish Pierre Cadault dress on the floor of a celebrity’s hotel room. Following Emily arranging for the American Actress in question to wear one of Pierre Cadaults’ dresses to a jewellery client’s party, she spots an opportunity to capture an image of the dress on the floor beside cigarettes, shoes and wine with the caption “About last night” and the hashtag #PC2020, which gains strong engagement reaching 177,684 likes.

The Reality?

Emily’s image is unfortunately posted without client sign off directly from the client’s Instagram account, which is a huge red flag when it comes to any social media strategy, particularly when the subject matter is somewhat controversial. According to Hootsuite, calls to action are essential in driving more traffic to a website, generating sales, generating leads and improving conversion rates, which Emily fails to include in any product related content leaving nowhere for users to visit after the post. In this case, the hashtag is relevant as it pertains to the designers’ collection that features in the image which will direct relevant traffic to the post and increase its reach to those in the fashion community.

Despite Emily’s daring yet creative approach with this campaign, imagery this risqué should never be posted without client approval, to ensure that client relations are preserved and no damage can be done to the brand. For this reason, this campaign is a definite no from a professional perspective.

 

4. The Champere Video Challenge

Green flags: Unique idea for a viral trend campaign, catchy slogan, strong way to encourage UGC.

Red flags: Spontaneous ideation, no prior discussions or meetings regarding campaign idea, idea is pitched to client when it is due to be executed, only uses Instagram, no risk management implemented.

Ahhh the pièce de resistance of Emily’s marketing faux pas; the “How do you pop your top?” campaign. Here, Emily attempts to start a viral video campaign for Champagne client Champere, encouraging users to share how they “pop their top” on Instagram. Once again, this campaign idea is not the subject of any discussion and there is no social strategy created, clear objectives defined or sign off process in place.

 

The Reality?

Once again, this campaign exemplifies Emily’s lack of planning and lack of a cohesive marketing strategy. McKinsey points out that every business needs a full-funnel marketing strategy to succeed, which incorporates traditional brand building with performance (data-driven) marketing. By adopting a full-funnel strategy, organisations can ensure they are relevant to their customers, develop a richer and more accurate picture of their marketing’s overall effectiveness, and generate more value without having to use additional spend. With Emily’s need for immediacy and lack of strategy, there are several risks attached including the possibility of wasting time, resources and money.

Emily also chooses not to undertake any risk management prior to capturing the first video with the client, whose creative way of “popping his top” is naturally to use a sword which results in a severed thumb! In the real world any health and safety risks would be mitigated ahead of filming, especially as this is a campaign intended to go viral. Given the previous problematic history of viral challenges such as the Neck Nomination challenge and the more recent Milk Crate Challenge that encourage young people to put themselves in harm’s way, we’d think that Emily would be extra cautious on her first attempt at creating a viral challenge.

 

Sadly, Solopress’ findings show that many of the glamorised depictions of marketing in the series don’t live up to the work and planning that takes place in the real world. Although there are so many instances of creative thinking and unique ideas that are sure to inspire any budding marketer, it is crucial that in a real marketing setting, these types of ideas are discussed and executed using the stringent processes that most marketers live by.