Share of Voice Online vs Share of Time

 

 Has the rise of digital technology had an impact on your business, and your life?  Has it given you more time or eaten it away?

For many of us the day is now a 24-hour operation, no longer the 8.30am – 6pm days of old. My Withings watch reliably informs me every morning that I have clocked less and less sleep. My phone beeps and lists for me all the updates and communications activity across multiple channels for numerous brands since my head hit the pillow 6 hours before. And so the day begins.

Marketers are undoubtedly working significantly longer hours as technology advances, perversely. In many businesses marketers are required to be ‘on’ a lot more, with real-time messaging and communications, as the battle for the share of voice online heightens. As technology provides greater flexibility, and in many cases far greater accessibility to brands, and the teams behind the brands, demand on content and time has dramatically risen.

In the ‘good old days’ when annual brand and media plans were crafted, aligned and signed off, everything was rather more scheduled and prescribed.  A TV ad would air on a known day with pre determined frequency and channel list to a well research audience profile. A product line would launch after 18 months of hard toil. A brand team would leave the office each evening knowing that they could switch off, socialise and return the following day to the office with a certain degree of predictability in regards to work tasks.  (Unless Asda has decided today is the day they are going to slash the price of blades in their razor category with a national advertising campaign causing anarchy across the UK retailers, and you are sitting in the Gillette office at the other end of the buyers’ phone.  Eek.  Trust me, it wasn’t a day that was predicted!)

Today social media influencers are becoming a go-to option for generating consumer trust and credibility.  Move over Superbowl advertisers, peer to peer brand ambassadors such as Zoella are storming ahead.  In the beauty markets content creators have been widely employed for a number of years, ahead of most other industries.  Indeed over the coming years I predict that brands will start moving significant spend to social media influencers. Unlike offices, social media does not close. It never sleeps.

As I watch influencers’ profiles shift on a daily basis to ever increasing followers, and new posts and opinions updating every second, it is a beast that needs careful control.

For the newbies the race for the largest number of followers is well and truly on. Like all channels though I question whether reach via quantity of followers (most especially referring to empty paid for followers) should ever be overlooked for quality and credibility of influencer.  For the brands I associate, I most definitely choose depth of relevance and experience ahead of popularity to ensure a long-term audience growth.

So back to that old subject of work-life balance, even writing it seems so old now.  Work becomes your life. For many of the marketers I know, their lives have never been more fulfilled, especially the most entrepreneurial marketers. Social media content creators open up unlimited possibilities, provoke debate, inspire people to dream more, learn more, make change happen, create movement, entice action and shape minds.

I actually don’t mind losing a little sleep for that.

Award Winning Real Shaving Company

 

There are lots of smiles in the office this morning as we have just received the Bronze Award in the Best New Male Face Product at the 14th Pure Beauty Awards in London.

The Awards celebrate innovation and creativity within the beauty industry and rightly recognise the most exciting and efficacious products (and as you can imagine it is a long old list!) launched within the past year.

These Awards are voted by Pure Beauty’s readers and retail store staff. Many thanks to everyone who voted for The Real Shaving Company as your favourite product and brand!

www.realshaving.com

Contemporary Art in the Countryside

ARTIST ROOMS On TourRichard Long  4th October 2014  – 10th January 2015 Burton Art Gallery and Museum, Bideford, Devon

The Burton Art Gallery and Museum, is proud to present a public exhibition of works by the celebrated land artist Richard Long, as part of ARTIST ROOMS On Tour.

In a career that now spans nearly 50 years, Richard Long, has tested the boundaries of art by creating a substantial and varied collection of work in which he has taken nature as his subject but also as the source of his materials. Credited with being closely associated with the emergence of a new art form, Land Art, Long won the Turner Prize in 1989 and is one of Britain’s most significant artists, living and working in his beloved West Country.

Richard Long’s work is deep rooted in his affinity with nature, developed often during walks around the British countryside. Walking repetitively in a line, making a circle of pebbles, arranging sticks in their hundreds, using mud as paint and piling up stones are just some of the many ways in which Richard Long has interacted with the landscape.  He was amongst a new generation of British artists who wanted to extend the possibilities of sculpture beyond the confines of traditional artists materials and he began to use natural materials such as clay, pine needles, driftwood, slate, mud and stones in his work. Long is renowned for documenting the experience of his walks with photographs, maps, wall drawings and printed statements, revealing patterns and observations with beauty, creativity and inspiration.

As a student in 1967, Long completed ‘A Line Made By Walking’ – a photograph of a field edged by a wood showing a narrow strip of grass, flattened by the action of him repeatedly walking it. Richard Long has stated “I have the most profound feelings when I am walking, or touching natural materials in natural places.” Paradoxically he states that his work is a portrait of himself in the world, his personal journey through it and the materials he finds along the way.  ‘A Line Made by Walking’ is alongside other pieces in the exhibition which have a relationship to the South West; ‘Cornish Slate Ellipse’, 2009, and ‘Three Moors’ are included within this exhibition.

The works on display at the Burton Art Gallery and Museum are taken from ARTIST ROOMS, an inspirational collection of modern and contemporary art acquired for the nation by Tate and the National Galleries of Scotland through the generosity of Anthony d’Offay with additional support from funders, including the Art Fund. The ARTIST ROOMS tour programme, now in its sixth year, is showing at 18 museums and galleries across the UK in 2014. The tour is made possible thanks to the support of Arts Council England and the Art Fund.

Warren Collum, Exhibitions and Collections Officer at the Burton Art Gallery and Museum said, “Right from the beginning of being involved with the ARTIST ROOMS programme, one of the artists I had in mind for The Burton was Richard Long. Many of the works in this exhibition have a direct connection to the South West environment. In particular, the works ‘Cut Slate Ellipse’ and ‘Three Moors’ will resonate strongly with our audiences encouraging them to connect with the materials that make up our environment, but in a totally different context – the gallery space.”

Miranda Clarke, Visual Arts Manager at The Burton added, “We are delighted to be an associate partner as part of ARTIST ROOMS. This is a significant moment in the Burton’s 60+ year history, bringing the Richard Long exhibition to The Burton supports the original remit as set out by Hubert Coop and Thomas Burton, the founders of The Burton, in 1951. Recently on a visit to Tate Modern, travelling up the main escalators I glimpsed the 12foot high map of the UK, which shows where all the ARTIST ROOMS venues are this year. It was incredible to see ‘The Burton Art Gallery and Museum, Bideford’ pinpointed. It made me proud of Bideford and of The Burton.” 

Richard Long’s work is a celebration of wild places that often lie hidden, just off the beaten track.  He is an artist who has had a lifetime of joyful exploration and simple pleasures, exploring the relation of man and nature, expressing, in new ways, the beauty and fragility of this relationship.

The Burton Art Gallery also hosts regular art activities for children and teenagers, allowing them the opportunity to discover their creative side and get artistically active themselves. Visit www.burtonartgallery.co.uk for further details.

To find out more information about ARTIST ROOMS On Tour please visit www.artfund.org/artistrooms.  To see the full ARTIST ROOMS collection please visit www.tate.org.uk/artistrooms and www.nationalgalleries.org/artistrooms

Venue Contact Details:
THE BURTON ART GALLERY & MUSEUM, Kingsley Road, Bideford EX39 2QQ
(e) burtonartgallery@torridge.gov.uk   (t) 01237 471455 (w) www.burtonartgallery.co.uk

Opening Hours:

Monday – Saturday, 10am – 4pm, Sunday 11am – 4pm.

Lucy Goaman

Wood Engravers’ craftsmanship at the Burton Art Gallery

Make your Mark! 

Having earned a reputation for creativity, excellence, skilled craftsmanship and distinctiveness of design, wood engraving is valued for its sense of heritage and quality.  Prized by collectors the world over, wood engraving, a very old form of printmaking, has an international reach extending way beyond its English roots.

Last week I had the privilege of visiting the Burton Art Gallery to view The Society of Wood Engravers 76th Annual Exhibition. The Society of Wood Engravers was founded in 1920 and is the oldest and most prestigious wood engravers society in the world. The Society had its resurgence in 1980 and since then has toured throughout the UK sharing works from all over the globe, indeed in the current exhibition in Bideford, the UK works on display are alongside those from the US, Japan and beyond.

Most wood engravers work in a similar way.  Initially the “boxwood” is drenched with paint, once set, the image is painstakingly formed by etching away with millions of score marks using a sharp tool called a “spit sticker,’ until the final design has been created. The raised surface is then coated in a fine layer of ink and once through the press prints directly on paper.  Unlike most artists, wood engravers need to remember that the image cut on the block is the reverse of the final print.  As such, seeing the final image through the press is a great moment, unlike most forms of art, for wood engravers, this is the first time the intricate finished artwork is seen.

In every exhibition I visit at the Burton I try to work out why different pictures appeal, in technical terms, and with regards to wood engraved work, the complexity and range of techniques employed by the artist’s marking with the “spit sticker,” and the content and message the artist is intending to convey.

Hilary Paynter attracted my attention at this exhibition; I guess part of the connection was knowing a little about her work and her intention to make a statement and indeed in many of her pieces, social commentary.  Also as an artist living and working from her home base in Bideford, I feel I can relate to her.

I was also interested in how many of the works depict very physically dramatic locations and for the artist to record them would have meant many hours perched on the edge of a hill, on the side of a river, or cliff whilst the changing seasons, weather and light become a part of the final appearance of the work.

Much of the work on display features intricate designs with beautifully thought through compositions and the range of “marks” is truly extraordinary.  The exhibition, featuring over 140 engravings from Britain and around the world, recognised as the showcase for the engraver’s art, is well worth a visit, and is on at the Burton Art Gallery until 15th September.

Alongside the exhibition, this year’s special feature is a master class day on wood engraving. For anyone who would like to learn more about the art of engraving and create their own wood engraving why not book yourself a place on the workshop day at the Burton Art Gallery on 30th August.  The master class will explore tone, tints and textures in black and white with internationally renowned Hilary Paynter, the past President of the Royal Society of Painter-Printmakers and Chairman of the Society of Wood Engravers.  For more information on the master class and booking information please visit the Burton Art Gallery website www.burtonartgallery.co.uk

Venue Contact Details:

The Society of Wood Engravers 76th Annual Exhibition at The Burton Art Gallery until 15th September – FREE ADMISSION.

THE BURTON ART GALLERY & MUSEUM, Kingsley Road, Bideford EX39 2QQ
(e) burtonartgallery@torridge.gov.uk   (t) 01237 471455 (w) www.burtonartgallery.co.uk

Opening Hours: Monday – Saturday, 10am – 4pm.  Sunday 11am – 4pm.

Lucy Goaman

Are shoppers buying your brand?

Brand budgets are shifting.  In the age of our economic uncertainty, big brands are diverting old school advertising spend to instore spend, either as a price promotion, on instore collaterial, or cleverly over investing in product packaging development.

Aisles are filled now with so much point of sale merchandising that brands are having to scream louder than ever at the shopper at the critical decision making time – and will it be your brand’s product that makes it into the shopping trolley?

The “last three feet” of the purchase decision process has just got more competitive.  The retail store has become the most critical new advertising medium.

So is your brand getting noticed in store? 

Speaking from experience (after launching product after product for Gillette, Revlon, Alberto Culver, amongst others) here’s the problem.  Many new products simply lose their way when they reach the dizzy heights of being brought by the buyer of a national store.  In some categories new products simply are invisible, because shoppers are so intrenched in their buying behaviour, they simple do not consider new market entrants as the purchase decision for these items is made long before entering the store.  Have a think about it – when you shop for ketchup, do you buy the same brand, or same own label brand time after time?  If a new brand of ketchup hit the shelf, would you notice?

All new products are tested with consumers, in a huge manner of ways, before they are launched into the marketplace.  BUT, so many new products are tested prior to launch without the competitor context, or against other new market entrants, launching at the same range review.  Brand Managers, how often have you tested new products, and the results were outstanding in test marketing (mainly isolating conditions), but then the product disasterously failed to break through the noise and clutter when placed in the real-world, on a real shelf, in a real store, with real shoppers!

Most products, when you are working on them, look amazing.  Well at least they do to you.  All the packaging will be on equity, the branding will pop out, the colours will be those from the brand guidelines, the layout will match that of the brand packaging hierarch.  You are delighted.  Then, you do a store check and see your new product in the supermarket or store for the first time.  And that’s the real test.  Are you still delighted? Are shoppers noticing your product?  Does the EPOS match your BASES prediction?  Is your product stealing share from your competitors or is it another product that will make its gloomy journey out of the line up via the bottom shelf?

Capturing attention, and luring new shoppers to your brand is simply not easy.  You could read 100 text books, prepare the most fantastic marketing strategy plans, have the smartest teaser campaigns, huge media budget, great trade buy-in and huge pipefill orders.  But in the current market place, no matter how powerful your brand, how compelling your product promise is, the most important part of your marketing is to ensure you create packaging that has strong visual shelf impact, both in the use of design and colour, but also in the structural aspect.

Whilst at Procter and Gamble, I had to run all my new products through Eye Tracking, to see what shoppers actually see, and what they miss when shopping.  And shoppers miss at least 1/3 of all of the products on the shelf.  The most noticeable products are those on the shelf at eye level.  If your product has slipped down on a shelf below waist height it will be harder for shoppers to even consider it.  Have a look when you are next in store, very few shoppers bother to crouch down and have a jolly good look at the small boxes of skincare creams on the bottom shelf.  Nor will they get on tip toes and check out the razor blades on the top shelf.  Top or bottom shelves are simply less visible to shoppers, which contributes to their declining in sales potential.  Placement on these shelves is one step nearer to being delisted.

When you are next in store do this little exercise.  Go and shop in an area you know well, let’s say the hair care section.  Stand still and see what happens.  If you are a typical shopper you will visually scan the shelf at between shoulder and eye level.  And then naturally you will gravitate toward the right.  If nothing appealing is located there, then you will look to the left of centre.  Therefore, always negotiate placement of your products on a planogram to the adjacent right to the brand leader.  This will certainly help your chances of success.

What’s your product’s story?

A busy Mum (for arguments sake!) has less than 10 seconds to be persuaded at the shelf to pick up a product and place it in her shopping basket.  All brand managers live and breath a new product’s features, benefits, equity pyramids and so on.  But does the shopper, in such a passing hurry, understand a product’s unique point of difference? Does the product grab the shoppers attention at shelf?  And does the shopper get the product’s DNA?  Both of these need to occur, otherwise the alternative will be an automatic default to the usual product purchase.

The best example I can share with you for powerful shelf blocking, that pops out from the shelf,  screams “prestiege”, and makes you want to immediately buy, is from Moet.

It is easy actually for products to win with a bunch of 8 women in an unmarked room for a focus group, or look appealing when presenting to a trade buyer, but the real test is on the shelf.   Be really concerned if your brand team is focusing more attention on your TV commercial – which won’t be viewed – than on your “shelf commercial.”  What is your product saying to shoppers, from the shelf, in store, at that “moment of truth?”

Lucy Goaman

MarketingAndPrClinic

Bold Marketing

Just wanted to clock in! All fine here at the Marketing and PR Clinic, just been a busy few months.. sorry I have not been regularly blogging.

I have been spending my time with a wide range of businesses, mainly in Devon, from commercial agents, new product developers, charities, beauty brands, schools, and health and fitness businesses.

A similar theme amongst clients at the moment seems to be emerging. I am noticing an increased willingness to be bold and take risks with new product extensions, partnerships or simply in looking at new ways of doing business.

Often it is the marketing department that pushes decision makers into trying all things news, and now visionary thinking and willingness to take risks appears to becoming wider spread amongst businesses.

I am sure this is not just me noticing this shift, and I would really like to hear from others on whether they too are seeing businesses taking a more positive approach to taking risks, and decision makers beginning to enjoy being more bold in their marketing, to ensure their competitive advantage.

Is this the beginning of the end of austerity marketing?

 

Lucy Goaman

Over 200 sites live in 2 months!

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The team at White Label Greeting Cards (WLGC) are delighted with their first 2 months since launch.  In this short time we have 239 sites now already live! 

Some of the partners are recognised brands, whereby they have just plugged a WLGC personalised greeting card site within their website, talking about the new product offering to their already established audience. 

Other entrepreneurial partners have used the WLGC technology to create a brand new business.

We are delighted that 2 charities are now using the service, Devon Air Ambulance and Community Foster Care, and both are now creating news about their new online greeting card shops within their marketing campaigns, to all their fabulous supporters.

Great start.

For other charities wishing to create a new revenue stream, FREE of charge, please get in touch.

Lucy Goaman

lucy@whitelabelgreetingcards.com

www.whitelabelgreetingcards.com

07974 431285

Terrific Day with Devon Air Ambulance

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It is not often that you have a day that you know you will truly remember.

I was fortunate enough to have one such day today – the PR launch of the collaboration between Devon Air Ambulance and White Label Greeting Cards.

Devon Air Ambulance is the first charity to launch the new online personalised greeting card service, provided by White Label Greeting Cards.

To celebrate Sam Heaton (MD of White Label Greeting Cards), Jack Lomas (Devon Air Ambulance Trustee) and I were invited to be shown around Devon’s Air Ambulance – a EC135 Helicopter – based at the Devon & Cornwall Constabulary Air Support Unit at Middlemoor in Exeter, by Helena Holt (CEO Devon Air Ambulance) and Sarah Burden (PR Manager Devon Air Ambulance).

On arrival to the air base, the red glistening helicopter was a wonderful sight, parked up, in the clearing fog.

Paramedic Helen comprehensively explained exactly what happens when an emergency call is put out, how the equipment is efficiently stowed, and how cleverly treatment is carried out onboard.

The air ambulance is used extensively everyday in Devon for emergency medical assistance in situations, where either a traditional ambulances cannot reach the accident scene easily or quickly enough, or where the patient needs to be transported some considerable distance.

The team at White Label Greeting Cards is extremely proud of the collaboration, and look forward to it turning into a successful fundraising initiative for this essential live-saving Devon charity.

To view the cards on the Devon Air Ambulance site, please follow this link. http://www.daat.org/shop-cards/

Lucy Goaman

Are you thinking of setting up a new business? Or working with someone who has?

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I have been meeting some fascinating people, mainly in Devon, many of whom are tempted to take the big step and set up a new business.  I have started to develop  a quick way of telling whether I think they are up for the challenge, which helps me decide if I should be working with them.  My mental checklist is as follows:

1) Good innovators and creators: Some people have a strong history of creating, and starting things on their own.  From selling freshly caught mackerel on the beach as children, through to doing 3 jobs whilst paying their way at University, to creating additional revenue streams alongside their “day job.”  The skills acquired are those of immense resourcefulness of successfully building something from nothing.

2) Thought and planning: Successful entrepreneurs have thought, or more likely dreamt, about running their businesses from a long time, and are not acting on a whim.  They are deliberate in their intention, and have fully thought through the possible serious downsides.

3) Excitement: They are excited.  Genuinely thrilled that they are working on something that they have created.  Getting them to talk about anything else is actually quite difficult!

4) Resourceful: The business owners also are fantastic at turning their hand at whatever is needed. One minute product developing, the next on business development, the following day cleaning the loo’s!  In start ups there are simply too many roles and too few people to do them.  So the ones that are working well are where the business owners are experts in their fields, and importantly are willing to step out of their comfort zone and roll up their sleeves!

5) Good at prioritising: And finally, I had a boss once who called projects “The Big Rocks (TBR’s).”  It is really important new start ups identify “TBR’s” and prioritise them,  keep them running to budget, and to time.  Smaller, less important tasks should be only completed once TBR’s are in good shape.

If you look out for these little clues when working with a new start up, hopefully you will avoid wasting time on ones that have simply not had enough planning time or a strong enough desire to succeed.

Lucy Goaman