CASE STUDY: POWERING UP MCCULLOCH

Is it really that time of year again? With Spring in the air and the weather warming up, many of us are preparing to tackle the garden. As the sound of lawn mowers and power tools firing up becomes a familiar sound, we’re sharing a case study of our work with McCulloch.

Renowned for manufacturing reliable, high-performance gardening tools, McCulloch asked O to help raise the profile of its brand over three years ago. Ever since, O have been ensuring that consumers know McCulloch gives them the power to get the job done quickly and efficiently.

Based on our broad experience in the homes and gardens sector, we knew exactly how to target McCulloch’s mostly male audience and position McCulloch as man’s best friend when it comes to gardening.

From announcing the release of the ROB R600 and ROB R1000 robotic motors to creating content around National BBQ week, O have worked around seasonal themes in the gardener’s calendar, creating engaging content like ’10 things you need to consider when building your garden gym’ or ‘how to choose your garden weapon’ we make sure it’s a great read.

As part of a strategic PR calendar, we also go on the road with McCulloch to some of the UK’s most popular industry events including Garden Press Event and GLEE to promote the brand up and down the country.

Since the O team have been working with McCulloch, we have generated national and regional media coverage with the brand enjoying exposure in the likes of Shortlist, METRO, The Sun, BBC Gardeners’ World, Independent and This Morning’s online platform.

Aided by the development of high-impact paid and organic social media campaigns and influential blogger relations, the McCulloch fanbase has grown by 163% over a year.

The grass really is greener…

O Communications is a creative communications agency based in Newcastle. For more examples and industry insights, request a free copy of our Home and Gardens eBook by emailing letstalk@opr.co.uk.

BRAND PURPOSE: WHAT DOES YOUR BRAND STAND FOR ANYWAY?

Words by Sammy Sadler, B2B account manager

Gone are the days when dazzling global advertising campaigns embellished with high-budget TV adverts, dynamic Times Square billboards and A-list celebrity endorsements were the only things guaranteed to get your brand some customers. Nowadays we are finding that smaller businesses who are able to shout just as loud as the global brands, with a fraction of the budget, are becoming real forces to be reckoned with. Hyperlocal influencers have become a popular tool in social media marketing, strategic PR campaigns are becoming ever more crucial to craft creative ways to tell brand stories and word-of-mouth recommendations have been made easier through convenience of communication online.

This shift in the marketing and advertising world is an inevitable result of a change in audience behaviour and preference. Customers are valuing real-life connections more than before, whether that is expecting an answer to a question at the click of a button or a delivery straight to their home within 24 hours of ordering.

Through these changes, more and more tools are becoming readily available to marketeers and it’s a constant battle to see what consumer demographics prefer to interact with. This brings much more noise and competition in already overly crowded marketplaces for brands as consumers scramble to find that stand-out product. Audiences want something that tells a story, something that shares their values. They want a brand with a purpose.

It’s no secret that consumers respond better to something that they trust or have similar opinions and values to, it’s the reason we focus on brand stories so much at O. People buy from people and audiences are genuinely interested in hearing the story behind a brand. So, what story are you telling?

In the day-to-day running of a business, it can be easy to focus on immediate sales rather than the ultimate goal and why you are actually doing what you are doing. What is the value in it? What are you offering that is different to everyone else? Why should people choose you? These are just some of the questions to regularly review and ask yourself, which in turn will form the base of your communications.

Every brand has a purpose. Whether that is to help the environment, to make life easier for businesses, to offer innovative products to market or to ensure that fashionistas have a brand-new wardrobe each season – the purpose behind your brand is why you created your business in the first place and should remain at the very core of everything you do.

When it comes to communications, highlighting your brand purpose can make you stand out from the rest. By sharing your vision, your goals and essentially what you stand for, you are giving your audience a sense of transparency.

With this your audience should know three things; why your service is the best, why they should choose you and what makes it different?

Here are three things to consider when revisiting your brand purpose:

What are your core values? – As a business, what are the core values that you live by and do all of your staff know and follow them? Getting together to discuss and agree on a set of values to implement will ensure everyone is on the same page and working towards the same goals.

What is your goal? – Your business goal may be to make money, but what is your customer goal? What do you want to achieve for your audience? Ask yourself what you want your customer to gain from choosing your business and ask them if that’s what they get. Customer testimonials and case studies are a great way to share your goals with prospective clients as well.

What’s your story? – How did you get where you are today and why should people care? Share your story passionately across your channels and make it interesting so that people want to listen. Local brands such as Master Debonair and Durham Distillery are both great storytellers, sharing snippets across their social media platforms and websites.

If you want to hear more about how you can develop your brand story into a communications strategy, drop us an email on letstalk@opr.co.uk.

RHS 2019 Theme of the Year – Edible Britain

O is an expert in the homes and gardens sector, with our clients relying on our industry insights and marketplace information about emerging trends to ensure they make the best decision every time. Too busy to keep up with the constant feed of industry-related news and developments? Here’s everything you need to know about one of the biggest trends for 2019.

As National Gardening Week returns for its eighth year from Monday 29 April to Sunday 5 May, the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) has chosen to celebrate ‘Edible Britain’ as this year’s theme, calling on gardeners nationwide to get involved in grow-your-own.

Although the plot to plate mindset is not new, its popularity has grown rapidly in recent years with fruit and vegetable seed sales outstripping flowers in RHS garden centres across the country. Faced with the uncertainty of Brexit, many Brits have donned their wellies and trudged out to the long-neglected vegetable patch in preparation for possible shortages and rising tariffs on fresh produce being imported from the EU. Quick to react, one garden centre has responded by creating a ‘Grow your own Brexit’ survival kit. However alarming the thought of eating nothing but turnips, swedes and leeks may be, it is not the only thing driving people to try their hand at growing their own.

43% of under 40s are investing in food gardening compared to 32% of over 60s. 

Increased environmental awareness is high on the agenda, leading to a shift towards healthy, organic and sustainable eating habits amongst consumers. Last year, one study showed millennials are the fastest growing demographic to grow their own vegetables, with 43% of under 40s investing in food gardening compared to 32% of over 60s. For many, it’s about finding a healthy middle ground between all-or-nothing ways of eating. Being able to mix and match shop-bought with homegrown offers a great solution to those looking to reduce how much they buy from the supermarket whether it be for ethical, environmental or health reasons.

A record breaking 300,000 people signed up to Veganuary in 2019.

Grow-your-own has become a widespread movement amongst the UK’s vegetarians and vegans, with the Economist calling 2019 ‘the year of the vegan’ plant-based lifestyles are hitting the mainstream. Record numbers of people took part in Veganuary this year, skyrocketing to approximately 300,000 pledges compared to 3,300 when it launched in 2014. ‘The Plant Kingdom’ is high on the list of Innova Market Insights’ top trends for this year, coming in at number two as companies and brands race to green up their portfolios and attract more eco-conscious consumers looking for plant-based options. Vegan sausage roll anyone?

It’s safe to say the growing your own fruit and vegetables trend isn’t disappearing any time soon as the growth area continues to rocket (excuse the pun). The message behind this year’s RHS theme ‘Edible Britain’ is the idea that everyone has space to grow something – and we’ve suggested some of the ways you can get involved without joining the 90,000 Brits currently on allotment waiting lists.

One Pot Garden – Growing a few different compatible plants into the same container is a great way of maximizing their potential whilst saving on space. For herb gardens this is a no-brainer, but more daring combinations like tomatoes, chilies, chives and basil work great together and can produce an entire summer’s worth of homegrown goodness.

Hanging Baskets – According to Wyevale Garden Centres Garden Trends Report 2019, sales of the humble hanging basket have increased by 32% since 2016, with 40% of Brits proudly displaying baskets on the front of their home. Urban gardeners have added their own twist by growing ‘trendy’ veg like sweet potatoes, making both a chic and practical statement.

Balcony – You might be several floors up from real soil, but so long as your balcony gets a good amount of sunshine you can still grow your fruit and veg! Smaller produce like strawberries, cherry tomatoes and radishes are perfect for creating your own miniature garden.

Lastly, who says you have to grow-your-own at home? Schools are a great example of getting children involved with cultivating small areas of land through help from organisations like The Woodland Trust, offering free school tree packs. And why stop there? If you’re lucky enough to have a workplace garden, why not suggest growing vegetables to support a local food bank and give back to the community? Other fantastic perks to gardening include improved health and wellbeing, better levels of attention and helping the environment to name a few.

What does Mark Zuckerberg’s new privacy focused vision really mean for the future of social media?

Words by Lauren Regan, Account Director

In early March, Mark Zuckerberg announced his new privacy focused vision for social media, namely focusing on building on the functionality of private messaging platforms.

Opening his statement, Mark Zuckerberg said: “Over the last 15 years, Facebook and Instagram have helped people connect with friends, communities and interests in the digital equivalent of a town square. But people increasingly want to connect privately in the digital equivalent of a living room.”

Wait a minute, isn’t this what we have always wanted? Surely this isn’t a revolutionary step forward for the global platform, but simply a retreat to the way that humans naturally want to interact with each other; forming meaningful connections one on one or in small groups; a way of interacting that has been skewed by the advent of social broadcasting online. However focusing on more intimate sharing makes sense, it mirrors how we act in real life and gives a more authentic experience. IRL we curate the information that we want to broadcast to the world, rather than share with our best friends or groups of acquaintances – we subconsciously segment our audiences depending on how we want to be perceived or how comfortable we are with the recipient.

The social media giant is looking to give users a more rounded experience by merging private messaging features on Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp into one, privacy focused platform where users can call, video chat, share stories, form groups, make payments and connect with businesses.

However in the wake of a recent Wall Street Journal report which found that Facebook is still collecting personal information from apps such as user heart rates and when women ovulate, Zuckerberg avoided commenting on the privacy practices within the core business. And this change definitely benefits Zuckerberg’s bottom line as by combining the three core messaging apps Facebook (which has 15 million fewer U.S. users than in 2017, according to Edison Research) could build more complete data profiles on all its users.

There is almost certainly a business motivation behind merging the three platforms, the most likely of which is an attempt to head off regulators in both the UK and the US to separate the businesses that sit under the Facebook umbrella, introducing some competition to the market. If Zuckerberg can prove that all three companies are so intermingled that they can’t be untangled, he might just stay one step ahead of the regulators attempts to break up the group.

Alongside private messaging, Facebook will also be doubling down its focus on reducing the permanence of posts with Zuckerberg stating that “people should be comfortable being themselves and should not have to worry about what they share coming back to hurt them later.” It’s a sensible goal and an about turn for the social networking site which has spent the last 15 years building the very opposite kind of platform.

The lengthy blog post also covered end to end encryption and addresses Facebook’s avoidance of storing data in countries that have a track record of human rights violations.

However, the post does raise more questions than it answers:

  • Advertising is Facebook’s core business – how will the company continue to effectively advertise on fully encrypted posts, if at all?
  • How will the company strip down existing products to make the user experience easier and more like a ‘living room’ than a ‘town square’? Does this mean a change to the news feed as we currently know it?
  • Will the content that is supposed to ‘disappear’ really vanish or will it be stored somewhere in case it needs to be accessed in the future, for example by the police?

While all of the changes are encouraging steps for the company and will ultimately have a positive effect for end users, Zuckerberg is a master of big ideas that take a while to materialise, so any changes to operating platforms certainly won’t be appearing overnight.

What do you think of the latest facebook changes? Let us know by tweeting us at @OPRTweets with the hashtag #OBlog.

 

 

 

Happy 30th Birthday World Wide Web: How the internet has changed marketing & communications

Words by Sammy Sadler, B2B Account Manager

The World Wide Web is celebrating its 30th birthday this week and what a 30 years it has been. Millennials and Gen Z won’t even remember a time of not being able to find information at the click of a button or chat to a friend anywhere in the world, it’s become almost a daily occurrence. The internet has changed our daily lives in hundreds of ways and one industry it now plays a dominant part in is marketing and communications.

We’ve spoken at great length here on the O blog about how the digital world is transforming the marketing industry as we know it, from the amount of people we can reach to the new creative assets that we can introduce to target audiences.

With that being said, nowadays there is so much more to consider when it comes to having the internet at your disposal, from optimising content so that it is SEO-friendly to creating content for use on different platforms. As marketers, we are becoming smarter in the way we communicate – we have the ability to create content for different individuals that we want to target and we are understanding our customers better.

To celebrate WWW.’s birthday, here are five things that the internet has changed in the marketing and communications industries and how they will continue to play their part in years to come.

Global reach

Perhaps the most important feature that the internet has given us is the ability to reach audiences on a global scale. Businesses no longer have to rely on word of mouth (although this is still a very powerful tool) as they can reach customers in all parts of the world through advertising, social media and news websites to name just a few options. This is only set to get stronger as internet speeds continue to increase and video calling platforms become more accessible on different devices, making conversations even easier between families, friends, colleagues and clients.

Video

Video has been around for many years but the internet has really brought the format to life. For example, YouTube attracts 30 million visitors per day, with over 300 hours of video being uploaded to the platform each minute and we can video call people around the world at the click of a button. In 2019, just by being online we expect to be able to consume video content, whether that is on a news site or a social media platform. And this isn’t set to slow down any time soon – in the next 30 years video will continue to play a huge part in marketing and more content will need to be developed to accommodate that, keeping audiences excited about what they are consuming.

Online influencers

We’ve looked at online influencers a lot on the O blog as they have proven to make a real difference in marketing campaigns across various sectors. Whether that’s the hyperlocal influencer making a splash in their region or a global travel Instagrammer sharing the best locations on the planet, these influencers are the trustworthy spokesperson for our brands. Making the most out of your influencer marketing campaign can be crucial in tackling platforms such as Instagram and now that blogging is becoming a popular career choice for individuals, taking content such as this into consideration in your marketing plans over the coming years will be beneficial.

Better data

Through tools such as Google Analytics, SEMRush and in-platform social media insights, we can now collect and digest data better and more quickly than ever before. We are given the opportunity to understand our customers more and reach them on a personal level rather than operating as one marketing campaign fits all. As more analytical data becomes available online over the next few years, this will only enhance our understanding of audience behaviour and personas.

Local Connection

As well as the global reach that the World Wide Web provides, the internet is also key in connecting at a very local level. Platforms allow brands to talk to customers individually, creating two-way micro-connections which is vital in keeping an audience excited and engaged.

Can you think of something we’ve missed? Tweet us on @OPRTweets using the hashtag #OBlog.

MAKING YOURSELF AT HOME ON INSTAGRAM

For most, taking an Instagram-worthy picture at home means plumping the cushions or moving the empty mug out of shot. However some users are going even further to secure the perfect picture for the ‘gram, recently highlighted when a number of Notting Hill residents complained about groups of influencers spending several hours on their doorstep, even bringing along popup tents for outfit changes.

Whether we care to admit it or not, social media is a powerful driving force behind shifting attitudes and lifestyles amongst younger people, fuelled by what has been dubbed ‘the Instagram Effect’ – choosing to do something because of the photo opportunity it affords.

Nearly 73% of under 35-year olds said they would pay more to live in an ‘Instagrammable’ area.

In 2018, M&S Bank surveyed 2,000 people and found that nearly three quarters of millennials would pay more – on average up to £100,000 extra – on a picture-perfect property, willing to compromise on other practical features such as a driveway or garage.

“Our homes and gardens, once a private space reserved for family and friends, are more visible and sharable than ever before.” – Naomi Pollard, Trend Bible

Compared to well-known hashtags like #selfie and #outfitoftheday, the recent rise in popularity of tags such as #myhousethismonth and #jungalowstyle show that it’s no longer merely our lives and wardrobes on display. This access-to-all-areas approach means that something as basic as a well organised cleaning cupboard can provide a golden Insta-opportunity. So what does this mean for brands?

While older consumers tend to prefer traditional methods of shopping in brick and mortar stores, younger generations are increasingly buying home furnishings via the Internet. Direct-to-consumer retailers like ASOS have been quick to respond, launching their own home range ASOS SUPPLY in February.

In the last 5 years, home goods e-commerce has grown by almost 89% – Euromonitor

Hot on the heels, Walmart recently launched their first web-only homewares range MoDRN in response to increasing competition from online retailers Wayfair and Made.com, explaining ”with social media, it’s now easy to visualise what you like and don’t like. However, finding and purchasing the furnishings that inspire you isn’t always easy. We want to change that.”

Encouraging visitors to follow the @MoDRNLiving Instagram, we love the editorial-style images, curated collections and design tips, the brand is already doing an amazing job of generating plenty of engagement on Instagram in their first month.

For those who would still prefer to see and touch big-ticket furniture items before they buy them, last year sofa startup Burrow showed that creating an Instagram-friendly retail experience in a physical environment can be just as effective at pulling in the millennial crowds. By setting up a green screen behind one of the sofas, shoppers could video themselves testing the item out – described by the CEO as the location’s “Instagram bait.”

From carefully chosen colour palettes to cool crisp aesthetics, we’ve selected some of our favourite and most Instagrammable brands to watch this year…

 ferm LIVING 

We are absolutely loving Danish brand ferm LIVING, representing the very best of modern Scandinavian design – a trend that remains ever popular, with its simple, practical yet warm design perfectly mirrored by their super-sleek Instagram feed. 

Oliver Bonas 

Independent British lifestyle store Oliver Bonas has exploded onto the scene in recent years, once again defying challenges facing the retail high street as they plan to open another eight new stores this year. According to Operations Director Natasha Sims, social media is at the forefront of store design, creating Instagram-worthy experiences and hosting events to keep shoppers excited all year round.

deVOL Kitchens

The number one most desired feature in a home by millennials? A kitchen island. A contemporary twist on the classic English kitchen, deVOL Kitchens effortlessly captures the modern-day consumers need for lust-worthy quality and style on their Instagram. You can’t argue with the facts – 1.5k likes on a picture of a kitchen tap…posted less than 24 hours ago.

Rockett St George

Famous for their eclectic mix of expressive homewares and dramatic interior design, Rockett St George was one of the first brands to inspire the now hugely popular dark home décor trend. Using hashtags like #darkinteriors and #darkdecor has helped boost engagement with fans of the design style, leading to new people discovering the brand and ultimately attracting new followers.

O Communications is a creative agency in Newcastle. If you need some help with harnessing the power of social media – why not drop us a message on letstalk@opr.co.uk.

EMPLOYER BRAND: A powerful weapon to attract talented staff

Words by: Fran Ratliff, Head of Client Services

Just as attracting and retaining customers is essential to a successful enterprise, if you are a business owner or part of a senior management team then your people – or having a ready talent pool of good people – can be your strongest weapon.

Whether you’re looking to resource a big contract which has suddenly dropped in, are introducing a new service line which requires a different skill set or simply sitting tight ahead of the Brexit outcome; having a strong employer brand is a powerful asset, whatever your size or future growth plans.

But what is employer brand anyway? It can be anything from how your working environment looks, through to how you communicate with your employees or potential recruits. It doesn’t have to be fancy or involve beanbags and a cool coffee machine, but it does matter.

At O we have clear values and it is important to us that our people buy into these values. As much as brand perception is important for us to continue to attract the best people into our business, it’s also an ongoing exercise to ensure our people are constantly engaged. There are loads of different ways to go about promoting your employer brand and you don’t have to go ‘big’ to have an impact.

  • A strong brand – commit to making it strong, consistent, recognisable and clear – particularly vital when communicating to your external audiences whilst giving your people a sense of pride and belonging.
  • Community and the part you play in it – perhaps more important than ever, customers and staff cite a company’s commitment to giving back and their general business ethics as being a real deal breaker, so take time to think about where your CSR efforts might be best placed – can you align yourself with something sector-specific, or do your people have a leaning towards a particular charity? What are your beliefs and can you make them a core art of your business practice?
  • Communication – having an internal and external employer brand communications strategy is vital to ensure you attract and retain great people. From a quick message at team gatherings, to an internal newsletter or social network and video communications for multi-site operations – there are heaps of technologies that can help aid regular flow of communication. This extends to social media and how your business approaches these channels; they should mirror your working environment and company values, they are also one of the first places a potential new recruit will head to, to understand what life is like working with you.
  • Wellbeing – definitely the buzzword for 2019, being open and transparent about your commitments to staff wellbeing will put you in good stead for attracting well rounded, dedicated staff. From a staff running club at lunchtime to installing showers or a new fridge freezer; wellbeing extends to the general workplace environment and making it as accessible and pleasant for your people as possible.

Finally, don’t underestimate how important having a strong brand can be for your people – they are your ambassadors and the ones whose testimonials really count, if they aren’t happy your customers will sense it, so find ways to empower your people so they can be their best being and truly wave the flag for your organisation.

There’s so much more to cover and this is just a snap shot of what goes into building a strong employer brand. Check out our highlights on O’s Instagram Stories (@oprpics) for our MD’s recent post on creating a magnetic employer brand or, if it’s something you’d like to discuss in more detail, drop me a line and we’ll grab a coffee fran@opr.co.uk.

O’S TREND SPOTLIGHT: THE GARDENING INDUSTRY IN 2019

Words by: Lauren Regan, Account Director

Spring is well and truly in the air and the O team have been out on the road, discovering the newest and most innovative ideas in gardening at the Garden Press Event 2019 at the beautiful Business Design Centre in Islington.

With over 110 exhibitions, including a host of international brands and household names, the Garden Press Event is the place to be to get a sneak peek at new products and discover what trends are shaping the sector this year and beyond.

This year everyone is talking about…

Robotics

The future is here and robotics and garden tech were a hot topic of conversation at this year’s show. Saving you time and energy in the garden, day or night, rain or shine, robotic lawnmowers will cut the grass so you don’t have to. With a range of brands showcasing their products, the standout robotic of the show had to be Flymo’s Flymo 1200 R – Robotic Lawn Mower. The UK’s number one best-selling robotic mows the lawn on its own, while you enjoy your free time to do other things. It’s flexible and therefore well suited for nearly any garden type, as well as for example secondary areas.

Urban gardening

Urban and indoor gardening is on the rise with those living in urban jungles still looking for things to nurture. Indoor plant sales are up 15-20 percent this year and one look at Instagram will tell you that easy to care for succulents are going nowhere fast. Green spaces that are quick and easy to care for, but still deliver the wow factor, are more popular than ever with companies such as Farplants Group exhibiting their award-winning ‘Small Plants for Small Spaces’ range, helping to inspire gardeners to find the perfect plants for modern sized gardens.

Wild about nature

Creating wildlife havens in your outdoor space is a big trend in 2019 as more consumers make more environmentally nature friendly decisions when it comes to their gardens. Created by conservation scientists, Seedball is a unique innovation to help people to grow bee and butterfly-friendly wildflowers while Hozelock and wildlife gardener Kate Bradbury have unveiled their new range of natural gardening products that help make a real difference to bees in the UK.

And finally, with all the excited chatter around what the spring and summer will bring for gardens around the UK, we loved the idea of new gardening app Candide, which helps to inspire and connect gardeners and plant lovers around the UK and start conversations about everything from growing tips to dream garden tours.

Bloomin’ lovely.

WHY WINNING AWARDS IS GOOD FOR BUSINESS

 

O Communications wins Best Small Place To Work Award – photo credit Chronicle Live

Awards season is now well and truly underway, with this year’s Oscars full of surprises – from unexpected wins, jaw-dropping outfits, steamy performances and everything in between – Hollywood’s stars did not disappoint. At last week’s Brit Awards the North East’s presence was greater than ever, with musician Sam Fender, from North Shields scooping up the 2019 Critics Choice Award as well as half-Geordie girl band Little Mix winning Best British Video.

Alongside standing on stage and collecting a trophy, the benefits of entering and winning an award go far beyond. In the world of business, there is an abundance of awards to choose from every year both regionally and nationally. It doesn’t matter if your business is big or small, if you have a great story then the huge variety of awards out there ranging from community and charity to tourism and business – can offer tremendous value.

Not only does winning an award show your current and prospective customers that you know what you’re doing, it also sends high fives around the office and shows appreciation for your team and their hard work and commitment.

So, why else is winning awards good for business?

Recognition

Nothing shouts “we’re the best” like public recognition for your achievements. Better yet, you can shout it all year round. When you’re pitching to clients, awards are a great way of demonstrating your credibility and encourages customer loyalty and trust.

Promotion

Winning an award, making a shortlist or being nominated can make a real difference when it comes to brand awareness. The additional press coverage associated raises the profile of your business, as well as giving you a great story to share across all your communication channels, whether on your blog, on social or in your newsletter. In addition, you can display your award with pride so it is seen by all who visit your premises. However, it doesn’t stop there either. Winning awards also promotes the area you’re located in too – queue the Tuesday night flashbacks of Jack Whitehall’s terrible attempt at a Geordie accent – and there is no downside to creating a buzz in the neighbourhood.

Team Morale

An award can offer a tremendous boost in confidence amongst your team. It reminds them that they’re part of something bigger and acknowledges their contribution towards your success as a business.

Networking

Award ceremonies are a brilliant opportunity to celebrate with your team whilst also introducing them to like-minded people, whether it’s new prospects or former colleagues as well as other winners and nominees.

Recruitment

Not only does winning an award set you apart from your competitors in the eyes of your client, but it boosts your ratings amongst potential new recruits too. Top brands attract top talent.

Entering awards may sometimes feel like a challenge, but the sense of achievement remains long after the champagne is gone. Whether you’re new to the game or well established, there’s an award out there with your name on it.

O Communications is a creative communications agency in Newcastle. If you need some help with entering an award – why not drop us a message on letstalk@opr.co.uk.

 

BRAND STORYTELLING: WHAT’S YOUR STORY?

Every brand has a story. It could be based around lots of different things, from a rich heritage spanning many years to being a new product to market, but there should always be something to say and share with an audience.

The ability to craft and tell your brand story is an art, but it’s an important part of communicating your product or service to the world. Brands such as Coca Cola has this nailed; it knows exactly what its brand stands for and what stories it needs to tell, so it’s easily recognisable and provokes emotions from its audience. For example, when the Coca Cola TV advert appears at Christmas time, you instantly feel festive.

Creating that brand story and positioning it in a way that is relatable and appealing should be one of the first things you consider when you bring your brand to market. But how do you do that? How do you let your audience know that your brand is for them and make it personable?

Our eight tips will ensure that you get off to a great start in brand storytelling and create something that your audience will want to engage with.

  1. Make it visual

Nowadays, it couldn’t be any more important to ensure that your communications are as visual as possible. There are a multitude of platforms available now both online and offline, some of which are entirely for images or videos alone, so it is useful to consider how you can communicate on those as well.

When creating your brand assets, consider different types of media and how your communications will look on each platform you intend to use. Individuals consume media differently, so be sure to think of your target audience and the platforms they are likely to use the most.

  1. Keep it consistent

The rise in digital has created many more opportunities for brands to communicate their stories, which does mean that noise has increased across all platforms. This being said, audiences are becoming increasingly more aware of what they are consuming and can quickly pick up when a brand goes off topic.

Ensuring that your brand story is consistent wherever it’s communicated is key in engaging an audience. Everyone who works for your brand should be aware of how the brand should be portrayed and who should be engaging with it.

  1. Be creative

There are times when we can all get stuck in the daily running of a business, but it’s important to keep those creative juices flowing. Don’t forget to revisit your brand mission and goals regularly so that your key messages are still being communicated and your story is still showing your brand in the best possible light.

Keep an eye on what your competitors are doing, think of creative ways to tell your story in a different way and experiment with new platforms.

  1. Have a point

Why did you create your brand? Was it to fill a much-needed gap in the market? Or maybe it was just a really good idea that people didn’t even know they wanted. Either way, you know what the point of your brand is and other people might not.

Weave that point into your storytelling and tell people why they need your product and most importantly, how it can make their life better.

  1. What do you stand for?

There are some brands out there that are more than happy to share what they stand for and how passionate they are about topical issues. For example, Dr Martens are all about people who have an individual style and with a slogan like ‘Stand For Something’, it wants its audience to have an opinion as well.

It’s not just fashion brands either, Iceland pledged its support to ban palm oil from its products in a bid to save the rainforest and ended up attracting lots of support across the world.

Even if you choose to not be as bold as some brands in sharing what you stand for, your brand should stand for something and it should be something that your audience can relate to.

  1. Consider your target audience

When you create your brand story, it’s for your audience. Have a think about what your audience would want to see and hear or better yet, ask them.

What platforms do they visit the most? What other brands are they likely to engage with and how is that brand communicating with them? By understanding your audience better, you can communicate with them much more easily.

  1. Collaboration

Are there any other brands you could collaborate with? Perhaps you have staff who could put forward their own creative ideas.

Ask those who are familiar with your brand what it means to them and build that into your story. Consumers like to have a human element to communications and your employees can play a key part in that.

  1. Don’t follow the crowd

Although you have to create content that your audience will want to consume, don’t follow the crowd and do what everyone else is doing. Your brand story should help your brand stand out from the rest, so ensure that when you are communicating that, you are doing the same thing.

By sharing your brand story with the world, you are sharing your vision and passion with an audience. Make it believable and trustworthy so that an audience wants be a part of what you are doing.

Need help with your brand story? We’re a creative communications agency based in Newcastle and we can help! Drop us an email on letstalk@opr.co.uk to start a conversation.