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.

REFLECTIONS AND VEGAN SAUSAGE ROLLS: WHEN GREGGS BECAME MORE THAN JUST BAKERY

Words by Samantha Sadler 

Once upon a time, we knew Greggs as the best pasty maker in the UK and if you’re from the North East, you know that you’re never too far away from one. Both of these things are of course still true; however, the brand is now quickly becoming known in the marketing world as an exciting example of how to create an innovative, engaging campaign.

There are millions of brands out there, but Greggs’ marketing strategy is easily one of my favourites. Witty and creative, the UK’s largest bakery chain has always pulled out all the stops with its campaigns and regularly entertains its 161,000 Twitter followers, but there has been a noticeable shift in creativity from the brand recently.

Late last year, Greggs decided to highjack the popular unveiling of the Fenwick Christmas window by turning its store sign on Northumberland Street, Newcastle, the opposite way around so that it would show the correct way in photos taken by those viewing the window. This simple idea was so unique and outrageous that it created hundreds of conversations on social media and Greggs didn’t have to spend thousands of pounds.

More recently, Greggs delighted vegans and meat eaters alike with the unveiling of its very own vegan sausage roll, conveniently coinciding with Veganuary. Everything about the launch campaign was a picture of success, with the vegan sausage roll shown in the style of a new iPhone, from a dramatic advertising video to media packs sent to journalists with the sausage roll packaged in iPhone-style bags and boxes with Greggs branding.

Of course, the product was subjected to backlash from none other than Piers Morgan. Outraged at the thought of a vegan substitute for the usual meaty treat, the controversial journalist/television presenter shared his disgust with his 6.5million followers. Although the launch campaign for the product was more than enough promotion on its own, the comments from Morgan and the snappy response from Greggs’ sent media and social media users into a frenzy

Fellow food chains even decided to get on board, with McDonalds and Pizza Hut sharing their vegan ranges to goad a reaction from Morgan. Although this was an attempt from other fast food chains to promote its brand, Greggs was still mentioned and received more free promotion through word of mouth alone.

The drama of vegan sausage rolls has shown no signs of slowing down just yet, as Morgan “”threw up”” on Good Morning Britain which of course generated more conversations. A clever ploy from Morgan to keep himself in that controversial spotlight he so often craves? Regardless, it doesn’t take anything away from one of the most exciting campaigns of this year so far – and we’re only in to the second week of January!

It’s not only Greggs that has been pulling out all the stops this Veganuary. Vegan food brand Hooba Foods recently launched a Crowdcube campaign to raise funds that will enable the brand to secure supermarket shelf space for its delicious, vegan products nationwide and aid company growth. Hooba Foods’ creation of a super tasty meat-free range with a superior ‘meaty’ texture has already secured a loyal army of fans across the UK by offering disruptive innovation in the meat-free and vegan food industry. Perfect for vegans, vegetarians or simply those looking to cut down on their meat consumption, Hooba Foods’ products are made entirely from a blend of exotic mushrooms that look and taste just like meat.

Intrigued? Why not #JoinTheHoobalution and watch the crowdfund video to see what you can be a part of.

O’S 2019 COMMUNICATIONS PREDICTIONS

2018 has been an exciting year for the communications industry. We’ve seen influencer marketing torn apart and scrutinised to ensure brands are only using ‘trustworthy’ individuals, Instagram introduced IG TV to the world and GDPR threatened to make the lives of marketing professionals much more difficult. But we’ve made it through and we’re so excited to see what the new year will bring. With this on our minds, a few of us in the O team have put our heads together to round up what we think you should keep your eyes on in 2019….

“My prediction for 2019 will be that businesses will continue to put people front and centre in their communications. As talent attraction continues to be a competitive market, and the demand from consumer for brands to be transparent and open, having their public face(s) positioned correctly across all media channels will be a key part of the brand communications mix.” – Kari Owers, Managing Director

“Video, video and more video! We’ve been incorporating them into our client campaigns for years but never before has it formed such an important part of the comms mix when it comes to brand storytelling.

“Secondly, brands will be increasingly challenged to show a (genuine) social conscience. 2019 will see us help clients build on their existing CSR strategy to ensure their longevity for years ahead so their employer brand is the very best it can be, for their existing employees, new recruits and of course their customers.” – Fran Ratliff, Head of Client Services

“For techs sake!

“Alexa, Siri, Google Home and co look like they’re here to stay and by 2020 it’s predicted that every major brand will have invested in a voice strategy when it comes to their marketing and digital planning. Some analysts say they think close to 50 percent of all searches will be made through voice search in the next year and in 2019 brands have to learn to adapt to how their customers want to be communicated with and find a way to align with busy digital lives. However, while tech is getting more and more ingrained in how we communicate with our audiences, what I find really exciting is the human creativity which goes hand in hand with that. Tech for techs sake is not going to affect your ROI but using technology to tell your brands story in a creative and meaningful way will make them sit up and take notice.” – Lauren Regan-Ingram, Acting Account Director

“This year we’ve seen so many changes in digital but equally as many changes in switching back to a very traditional form of marketing – conversations! Our digital platforms will always need to be considered but I think that brands will need to start considering how they are positioning their brand story and look to reach customers on a personal level.

“This will especially be true in industries such as retail, where we have seen the high street struggle over the past year. By creating more personable content and using experience-led marketing to reach customers, we are adding a face to our brand that our audiences can relate to. ” – Sammy Sadler, Account Manager

“Amazon’s Alexa and the Google Home will be under many Christmas trees this year, and ‘voice’ is quickly becoming a common form of how we are consuming media. As these types of devices develop the way we think about content, how it is consumed will have to follow suit and I think we’ll see more on this into 2019.”   – Kayleigh Hepburn, Senior Account Manager

“2019 will continue to see a rise in popularity for podcasts as they are an accessible medium for brands and influencers to access target consumers often with heightened engagement. Regularly used to provide explanatory and expert opinion typically at low costs, Podcasts can be hosted across a number of free platforms with an abundance of opportunity for advertisers.” – Cam Mudie, PR & Content Executive

“LinkedIn might invest more heavily in its advertising platform, making it more user friendly. It’s a great way to reach people based on their skillset and job title but can be tricky to use!” – Tegan Denwood, SEO and Social Media Manager

“I think Instagram will steal the spot light in 2019 – with the recent launch of IGTV, I think this platform is set to expand into 2019. As well as celebs and influencers, 2018 has seen a rise in high street brands and supermarkets using video more on Instagram, which I think will influence the direction of the platform in 2019.” – Rebecca Connolly, Senior Account Executive

Do you agree with our predictions? Maybe there’s something we’ve missed? Tweet us on @OPRTweets using the #2019predictions to share your thoughts.

CHRISTMAS 2018: The adverts we are loving this year

Christmas is an exciting time of year for all of us, with many people kicking off the festivities from as early as 1st December. In the world of marketing, Christmas means that we’re set to get a whole haul of heartwarming, funny and winter wonderland-themed adverts across all platforms and we love waiting to see who will come out on top.

To get us in the festive spirit, and of course an excuse to indulge in Christmas adverts, everyone in the O Office has put their heads together and picked out their favourite advert from this year:

 

“My favourite Christmas ad is the BBC film Wonderland about the mum and her son where time stands still; it’s an emotional pull on the heartstrings for any working mum and makes you remember that spending time with your children is more important than anything as time can’t actually stand still and they grow up very fast – give them presence over presents as they say.” – Kari Owers, managing director

 

“My favourite Christmas Ad is the Sainsbury’s one… cute kids singing in the nativity, feel good stuff and they used the song ‘You only get what you give’ by the New Radicals. They even had some social controversy/engagement with people complaining/defending #plugboy from a health and safety point of view! Plugboy is the best bit IMO.” – Robin Owers, creative director

“I love everything about Sainsbury’s Christmas advert this year. Entitled ‘The Big Night’ and directed by The Great Showman’s Michael Gracey, the ad is about a group of children coming together for their school Christmas Show. I think it captures the cast’s emotions perfectly, including the audience, who are in fact some of the cast’s real-life parents. Marvellous ad.” – Sally Crossley, senior account manager

“Sainsbury’s! It’s cheery, fun, has loads of talented cute kids and has caused ridiculous complaints lol (‘plug boy’ the child who is dressed as a plug socket, apparently it’ll cause children to play with sockets)  ha!” – Rebecca Connolly, senior account executive 

“The Sainsbury’s advert reminds me of Love Actually – a film I watch every Christmas without fail. It’s a heart-warming children’s performance of the classic nineties song, ‘You Get What You Give’ – directed by The Greatest Showman’s Michael Gracey.” – Tegan Denwood, SEO and social media manager

 

 

“It’s caused so much social media hype this year so it’s a popular one but my favourite so far has been Iceland and its advert on removing palm oil from its products. I love how different it is to what Iceland, and everyone else, pushes out at Christmas and that it’s much more about a cause than selling a product. That being said, I LOVE the John Lewis advert as well – I’ll always have a special place in my heart for Elton John.” – Sammy Sadler, B2B account manager

 

 

“Heathrow Airport has brought back much-loved characters Doris and Edward Bair for a third year to continue their teddy bear tale of travels. 2018’s ad sees them attempt to recreate a quintessential British Christmas on holiday in Florida in warmer climes but on hearing from their loved ones and experiencing FOMO, they decide to pack up for more familiar surroundings. Airports at this time of year can be special places as friends and families reunite for the festive period and the adorable relationship the Bairs share gets me everytime!” – Lauren Hedley, account director

“Bringing back all those nostalgic Christmassy feels this year, Heathrow Airport has fashioned a superb emotive festive ad with the use of the lovable Heathrow bears Doris and Edward Bair!” – Cameron Mudie, PR and content executive

 

 

“M&S never fails to sum up what Christmas means to families during the festive season. Securing ambassador Holly Willoughby to front this year’s campaign was a smart move by the retailer; we know her ‘must haves’ have become sell outs over recent weeks and product placement remains at the heart of the ad. This, coupled with a cameo from David Gandy (need I say more?), should tick a lot of boxes for the stores different customers.

As well as the main advert, M&S has released three 20 second edits, all of them featuring must-have products available to buy from the brand, which can be viewed across TV and social giving even further reach for the retailer”. – Fran Ratliff, head of client services

 

 

“It’s great to see that CSR is at the heart of Co-op’s Christmas advertising campaign which it has scaled back this year in favour of donating £19m to community groups. It sets the company aside from its competitors for all of the right reasons as the supermarkets battle to be heard in the run-up to the festivities.” – Kayleigh Hepburn, senior account manager

 

 

 

 

 

GETTING PERSONAL: WHY MORE BRANDS SHOULD THINK LIKE ICELAND

Words: Sammy Sadler, B2B Account Manager

If you’re a social media user, and over 44million of us in the UK are, you will have found it difficult to ignore the noise surrounding Iceland’s Christmas advert this year. After failing to get advertising clearance from Clearcast due to its link with Greenpeace, the advert has racked up support in the hundreds of thousands from social media users backing the supermarket’s stance on removing palm oil from its products.

Featuring the cute Rang-tan causing mayhem in a little girl’s bedroom, the animated advert sparked emotion and told a story in a different way to what we would usually expect from retailers at this time of year. The frozen food giant even took the campaign one step further and created an offline experience in London, where a part-man, part-robotic ape was abandoned on Coin Street in a bid to further highlight the damage caused by palm oil production.

Following the unveiling of the campaign, the issue of deforestation and the dangers it causes for wildlife has been brought into the spotlight. Alongside sparking conversations and raising awareness of the issue, Iceland has received publicity everywhere. It has encouraged the public to make the advert go viral, the engagement between the brand and consumer has been extensive across social media, petitions have been created and a whole host of media coverage has been secured.

All of the above has been achieved without Iceland even attempting to promote its products. By only briefly mentioning its brand at the end through illustrating that the company would be removing palm oil from its own products, Iceland has created something quite unique in comparison to its older adverts featuring Kerry Katona hosting a Christmas bash.

Taking this bold stance to associate itself with the cause through social media as its primary platform, Iceland can safely say that is has taken the crown for the best Christmas advert this year. Whether the supermarket was aware the advert would be banned or not, it doesn’t take away the fact that by assigning itself to an important cause – Iceland has created more conversations that it could have possibly hoped for.

Brands are recognising that purpose is more important nowadays to the consumer. Everyone is pushing to be heard, especially in the busy world of social media, so it couldn’t be a better time to establish what your brand’s purpose actually is. Iceland has done that in such a heartwarming way that it’s difficult to ignore and not admire. For example, Nike’s purpose, or mission statement as they call it, is “to bring inspiration and innovation to every athlete in the world.”

Now, not everyone will feel comfortable to boldly declare themselves as a supporter of something, especially in regards to political preferences. But it doesn’t have to be aligned with a political issue, it just needs to be something that will appeal to the consumer in some way. And there really is something to be said about having a brand voice that is relatable and interesting.

We discuss brand stories a lot at O. We are brand storytellers at our very core and we care about working with businesses to really share the journey and vision for their brand. But having your own opinion can go beyond that initial brand story. As well as telling your audience about your product, you are showing that you and your people are human and that you stand for something outside of your business. And as the old saying goes, “people buy from people.”

Although some were skeptical that the advert had in fact been a clever PR ploy, managing director Richard Walker penned an open letter over the weekend which was published in the Guardian. In the statement, he said:

“Far from being a cynical PR ploy all along, this was a genuine case of serendipity. I think it proved just how engaged and concerned consumers are with this issue and it raised a global debate around the pros and cons of palm oil and deforestation.”

Whether you agree with the campaign or not, it worked and it’ll be one that I suspect will be talked about in years to come.

So, what is it that your brand stands for?

Work Experience Placement: January 2019 (Duration: 9-12 months)

We are looking for a passionate undergraduate student to support our busy client services team on a sandwich year work experience placement. The chosen candidate will have the opportunity to get involved with a wide variety of activities to support their studies within a creative and award-winning team.

You will get involved in a wide range of activities to support the client services team, including:

  • Monitoring of client media coverage
  • Administrative elements of client accounts – including media and social media coverage charts, blogger and media lists, call log updates etc
  • Keeping abreast of industry news and updates
  • Market research for existing client campaigns
  • Assisting the team with managing events / photo shoots and press trips
  • Supporting the team with editorial outreach
  • Participation in internal team creative meetings and training sessions
  • General office admin support, including answering the phone, handling enquiries, greeting visitors and filing etc

WE ARE LOOKING FOR

  • A keen interest and ambition in all aspects of brand communications as well as a solid understanding of PR, digital and social media
  • A knowledge of industry trends and UK media landscape (print and online)
  • A strong teamwork ethic
  • Confident self-starter with a proactive approach
  • Excellent communications skills (both written and verbal)
  • Good writing skills
  • The desire to learn quickly and the ability to maintain a positive attitude
  • Proactivity and initiative
  • Self-assured, tenacious and supportive
  • Strong multi-tasking and prioritising skills
  • Digitally savvy, with a good knowledge of digital and social media
  • Commitment to a full-time placement
  • This post is for an undergraduate student looking for a structured work placement as part of a related degree qualification – applicants should be studying a BA Hons degree level and have an interest in business and marketing.

WHAT WE WILL OFFER YOU

  • The opportunity to develop your PR and Digital skills in practice under the guidance of some of the best in the industry whilst you study
  • The chance to gain first-hand experience in brand communications
  • Ongoing and structured training and support, including the opportunity to join sessions as part of our in-house training school, The Ocademy
  • The opportunity to work alongside a passionate and supportive team

Interested? Drop us a line on opportunities@opr.co.uk – we can’t wait to hear from you!

CASE STUDY: GETTING CREATIVE WITH THE CAIRN GROUP

The end of 2018 is in sight (eek!), so what better way to reflect on a great year than looking back at some of our work with fantastic clients? As the festive season is just around the corner, the best hospitality venues are on everyone’s minds so we thought we’d share a case study of our work with Cairn Group.

As a growing premium hotel and bar operator across the UK, Cairn Group asked O to help promote its brand to the UK city-breaker, business traveller, event planner and night on the town reveller over three years ago and we’ve been working with the group ever since.

Its portfolio of 33 hotels and more than 30 bars and restaurants across the UK, includes unique independent properties as well as well-known brands from Hotel Indigo to DoubleTree by Hilton.

With extensive experience in both the hospitality and industries, we knew exactly what the Cairn Group needed in order to staple itself as a luxury destination to eat, stay and play.

As well as running a strategic PR calendar to promote the group’s properties and venues, we tap into regional and national events and seasonal content, and work with influential media and bloggers to coordinate reviews to share with their engaged social media community.

Our Digital Content team also creates engaging articles for The Cairn Collection blog to showcase the group’s 11 signature hotels in landmark UK locations. From ‘how to arrange a stand-out conference’ to ‘top UK Christmas cities to visit’ or ‘how to capture the perfect photo at your wedding venue’ we ensure the blog is suitable for the group’s target audience.

We also regularly find exciting and innovative ways to shine a spotlight on new menu launches and the arrival of speciality products, as well as considering seasonal offerings to dazzle visitors.

Throughout 2018 so far, we have generated pieces across both national and regional media coverage with a reach of over 100 million opportunities to see. Since starting our work with Cairn Group, the operator has enjoyed exposure in the likes of The Guardian, The Sun, The Evening Standard, The Scotsman and Chronicle Live.

Commenting on our work with Cairn Group, director Naveen Handa said: “O Communications has played an integral role in the growth of our brands, supporting with creative content, regional and national media coverage, event support and media monitoring in line with the needs of the group.

“We have seen a significant increase in web traffic, sales leads and footfall into each of our venues as a result, which comes down to a positive working relationship with our account managers, who are pro-active and an absolute pleasure to work with!”

O Communications is a creative communications agency based in Newcastle. To see more of our case studies, head over to the work section of our website.

COULD GOING BACK TO THE BASICS IMPROVE OUR FUTURE MARKETING STRATEGIES?

By Sammy Sadler, Marketing Manager

The Festival of Marketing was back again for another year earlier this month with its two-day marketing extravaganza, bringing a whole host of industry leaders and famous faces including Louis Theroux, Gabby Logan and Eamonn Holmes to share their views and knowledge.

Alongside the celebs, some of the most prominent global brands also arrived in London to discuss all things marketing, from AI and data to branding and successful communication strategies.

But it was Richard Ingram, Europe’s global brand director of Asahi, that stole the show for me as he delved into Peroni’s latest strategy of ‘doing more with less.’ Ashai Breweries, which is based in Tokyo, acquired Peroni for almost £2bn in 2016 and has a whole host of other beverages under in its portfolio from popular Japanese brands to Grolsch and Meantime Brewing.

Speaking at the event, Ingram said:

“the only game in town right now is, what does your brand stand for? And how well does the content experience that sits around it, deliver?”

One of the things that the whole team at O are passionate about is brand storytelling. We recently picked out some of our favourite brand storytellers and looked at how their ability to tell a great story has enabled them to become a favourite in their industry. And although the world of marketing shifts constantly, the ability to tell a great brand story behind your product or service will always be an important factor.

But why is it really so important to look at brand storytelling now and why does Peroni’s simple approach appear to be so revolutionary?

Well the very fact that large brands are actually starting to look at their brand more closely is a huge step in audience engagement and trust in itself. We’ve all seen the increased worries about how to use influencer marketing correctly, it’s one of the topics that led me to write about making the most out of your influencer campaigns. It’s also difficult to ignore the speed in which technology is increasing and providing us with so many new opportunities regularly, which is fantastic but can also be exhausting trying to keep up with if you aren’t necessarily submersed in the marketing industry day-in-day-out.

However, by getting what your brand stands for nailed at the offset and crafting your content carefully around those ideologies, you can go a long way in creating that initial framework for a robust marketing campaign.

So, with this all said, is it now necessary to strip it back to basics to get that brand story right and build on from there? Do we need to have some form of ‘personality’ for our brand before we throw tens of thousands at influencer marketing or extensive visual advertising? If it can go a long way in building back that audience trust and interaction that is getting lost at the moment with the scare stories of ‘influencer engagement rates’, then surely it is worth it.

It would be great to see Peroni’s approach prompt other brands to look at what they are currently saying, how they are saying it and how exactly it works in line with their target audience. By doing this, we can create communication campaigns across PR, content marketing, influencer relations, social media and visual advertising more creatively and effectively than ever before.

It’s 2018 and one approach doesn’t fit all anymore. So maybe it’s time we all took a step back and get what our brand stands for right, before we focus on anything else.

O is a creative communications agency based in Newcastle upon Tyne with a passion for telling brand stories. For more information on how to get your brand story out there, drop us a line on letstalk@opr.co.uk