VNRs, whilst marketing a brand, can give the broadcaster unique, difficult-to-secure, expensive footage for free. These days VNRs aren’t the overt sales pitch they once were. Instead, they feature subtle product and logo placement, and professionally arranged interviews in nicely edited, slick productions.
Or at least, that’s what the good video production companies are doing.
VNRs have grown in popularity thanks to the increase in video as a communication tool. The Internet is bursting with video thanks to YouTube, Vimeo and the many other websites and social media platforms set up to enable easy access to video through computers, mobile phones and tablets.
There simply isn’t any argument for using video in PR anymore. The question is – how can the success of it be measured?
Video can spread like wildfire. It can be distributed by networks and used worldwide in seconds by anyone. That’s the great thing about it however that has posed problems with monitoring usage.
Because of the unknowns, coverage reports have, historically, been based heavily on assumptive calculations.
Using an invisible, indelible code, it is now possible to embed, or watermark, each video, follow its distribution and track where it’s used – everywhere.
The watermarking enables you to precisely verify airings of your videos and track the number of times your release has been featured, for how long it ran and how many times it was viewed.
This means you can now quantify exactly how successful a video news release, commercial or event broadcast has been, accurately.
Is this taking the job away from the PR agencies? Far from it.
Any assumption on potential coverage is history as the watermarking and reporting shows the PR agent exactly where the VNR has aired, providing an accurate picture of what is needed for the follow on campaign. Above all, efficiency is vastly improved, time is saved and results are achieved.
WRITTEN FOR REUTERS RR by Kia Cranwell, copywriter]]>
Mobile sales are growing at a phenomenal rate. In fact, forecasts predict mobile Internet users will eclipse PC Internet users in less than three years.
It’s staggering to believe anything could overshadow the home computer. But it will.
“80% of iPad owners already use their device for shopping”
To put that into perspective, 1 billion of us will be using smart phones by 2014 and, with the soar in popularity of larger-screened devices such as tablets, those figures are only set to grow. With nearly 80% of British iPad owners and almost half of all smartphone owners using their device for shopping, the case for m-commerce is clear. The real question is: how can the mail-order industry catch-up – and more importantly, get it right?
Is your business really ready for an app?
First and foremost, customer research is essential. Assumption is a high-risk strategy in the mobile environment. Before you develop anything – mobile store or app – you need to find out what your customers want.
Many have jumped into app development in a blind panic, regretting it the moment the bad reviews fly in. It’s a great deal easier, and cheaper, to get it right to begin with than make up for errors later.
Start by building a browser-based, mobile-friendly webstore, using the insight you’ve gained from your website. Then watch and learn. By appealing to a broad spectrum of people in the first instance, you will be able to segment your customers and indentify those who spend more money, more frequently.
The exercise will allow you to remove the guesswork and see who your best customers are, and how they use mobile sites (which can differ significantly from how they use the web). You can then evolve your mobile site and develop an app to attract those, and others like them. The increase in sales conversions and customer loyalty will most certainly make the short wait worthwhile.
Be consistent across your channels
It is vital that the mobile shopping experience be treated with the same attention to detail as your other sales channels; it should work as well as your store, call centre or website. To do that requires tight integration.
Shoppers move around. They’re comfortable with the different ways to shop. Some will use their mobile to browse and research a product before purchasing in-store or by phone; some will buy instantly through their mobile. Either way, sellers need to ensure multi-channel consistency. That means keeping your inventory updated, sharing product information and standardising pricing.
If a customer discovers discrepancies between channels, your call centres will hear about it. Remove the stress by linking all your commerce platforms seamlessly, for an all-round smoother, predictable shopping experience.
Convergent commerce systems have come along way over the past few years. Using intelligent technology, these powerful, flexible solutions can now evolve as a business changes, bringing together data and channels seamlessly, for much easier integration.
Mobile takes marketing further…
Whether your customers are checking their email, sending messages or checking their social sites, they are using mobile devices every single day (nearly 30 minutes a day on average) and this is where your marketing expertise can really take advantage.
By linking email content to mobile stores with hyperlinks, videos and rich media, or by integrating social media advertising with mobile product promotions, you can grab the attention of your customers everywhere they go, driving them straight through to your mobile site.
Paper-link with QR codes…
With the growth in smartphones, you can now encourage mobile use off-line by incorporating QR codes onto mailers, leaflets, adverts and packaging – anything you can print on. QR codes provide instant access from paper to web, allowing customers to scan anything from a poster to a bag, envelope or voucher, to find out more about your products in seconds.
M-commerce is simply the next step in the evolution of home shopping and that’s something we know a lot about in Britain. Customers in the UK are moving faster with mobile than nearly all other European countries. It’s up to us to support that enthusiasm with outstanding examples of customer experience across every channel, ready to improve and develop as the market demands.
WRITTEN FOR DIRECT COMMERCE MAGAZINE by Kia Cranwell, copywriter]]>
If you’re a company reading this, please consider the sanity of your poor designer. Most importantly, think about what you want your new site, brochure, advert or newsletter to do.
Now, please, close the document, put the keyboard to the side, put your pen back in the drawer and step away from the copy.
Firstly, writing about your own business in an interesting and valuable way is hard. You’re too close to it to give the message the right perspective. Good marketing copy positions itself on the audience and its needs, fears and frustrations – not on telling the world how great you think you are. It’s easily done because you’re enthusiastic about what you but your readers need to understand the benefits first.
Secondly, writing good copy takes time. Many people can edit someone else’s copy but starting that copy from scratch, faced with a stark, blank sheet of paper requires a different approach altogether. Time and time again, designers are left in limbo waiting for clients to deliver the copy to finish the job far beyond the quoted deadline date.
Thirdly, marketing copy needs to have a purpose. You may be able to write, but do you know how to generate a response?
Online copy needs to work with the design of the website and the search engines. Remember, your business needs to appear in the search engines when people search for the product or service you provide – not just your company name. Optimising copy is a science. It takes research and effort.
The same goes for traditional media like advertising, press releases, direct mail, and newsletters. You need to make your words interesting and your message irresistible.
What’s going to make your promotion stand out from everyone else’s? What’s going to make your reader pick up the phone or send you an e-mail?
Do yourself a favour…and your designer. Get a copywriter onboard and see the difference it makes. The good ones will transform how the world sees and reacts to you. Employing a good writer is always money well spent.
Need a copywriter? Find one here.
Written by Kia Cranwell, copywriter and marketing consultant]]>
With office space at a premium, a growing number of designers, writers and creative freelancers are looking for better alternatives to dubiously wedging their laptops onto already overcrowded, cappuccino stained tables in noisy, push-chair filled coffee shops.
It seems that hot-desking has provided the unlikely solution…but not the hot-desking we once knew. At one time, these flexible, rent-by-the-hour desks were the casual, use-‘em-and-leave-’em luxuries only afforded by travelling businessmen who required an impersonal, claustrophobic box with suitably snooty concierge. That is until a few creative agencies stepped up to offer something altogether more fun, and far cooler, than the old-school stuffy beech-veneer desk with matching colour plastic cup filled with something masquerading as tea.
As more design and advertising agencies cut back on permanent staff and increase their use of freelancers, creative’s have had little choice but to become more mobile, flitting between clients, agencies and their home office with iPhone in one hand, super lightweight laptop in the other, portfolio balanced on their head. All well and good, but, there has been an unexpected consequence to all of this flexibility: the death of the creative buzz.
Time is money and the industry, in response to being squeezed on price from every direction, is behaving more like solicitors with its precious time. Communications and discussions between teams are carried out via e-mail, text, Skype and voicemail. Creative ideas sessions are fitted in - when possible - which typically leaves the freelancer working more and more on their own, missing out on that all important sounding board.
Enter: Creative Hot-Desking.
The concept is very different to the hot-desking of the past. Creative hot-desking offers desks by the hour and day in shared, open plan agency environments. Typically, these options provide stunning and inspiring environments with light and airy, contemporary décor and comfy, squidgy breakout areas. These workspaces give creative freelancers and media professionals a place to interact with others again, throw around ideas, hear and see what’s happening in their industry whilst enjoying their beloved organic tea, super smoothies and freshly ground coffee beans on brightly coloured cushions and achingly cool plastic chairs (creative’s are sensitive types you know – they need to be surrounded by beautiful things).
With everything going virtual, this brings back some desperately needed reality to the world of mobile working. With prices ranging from just £30 per day and only £9.50 per hour, hot desks are being booked up quickly.
Sam Cranwell, Art Director at BigBird Marketing set up a creative hot-desking environment outside of London in 2008 and has seen, first hand, the difference it has made to roving freelancers: “We work with many freelance designers and writers ourselves, many of whom had commented at one time or another how cut-off from the creative world they felt. When they pop in to use a desk for a day or two here at FunkBunk, they feel in touch again with a renewed enthusiasm for what they do. The buzz is fantastic. With so many interesting people coming and going, the place feels very dynamic. It’s a great concept that we hope to see grow outside London.”
To find out more about creative hot-desking, take a look at www.funkbunk.com.
Written by Kia Cranwell, copywriter]]>
During 2008, BigBird worked on generating awareness for Milton Keynes Recruitment specialists, Provide. We secured £thousands in free PR and advertising space for Provide, with features appearing in local press (The Citizen, Inside Business and Business MK), industry media, radio (Horizon and BBC 3 Counties), TV and The Daily Telegraph (above).]]>
“Natalie Bradley was employed as an events producer for the ‘Migrate 08’ winter campaign which ran across our three Xscapes in Milton Keynes, Leeds and Glasgow. The role was a pivotal continuity link for the in-house team and Natalie’s expertise, professionalism and her production skills ensured that the entire promotion was delivered within the tight timescales and budgets.” Robert Warner, Creative Director, X-Leisure/Xscape for Natalie Bradley’s production and choreography of events and fashion shows for Xscape Milton Keynes, Leeds and Glasgow.
“Additionally, Natalie contributed both a creative and practical solution to a challenging remit. It was a pleasure to have her on the team, albeit temporarily, and I would not hesitate to use her again.” Robert Warner, Creative Director, X-Leisure/Xscape.
Known for indoor slopes made of real snow, cool clothing and generally as a place to eat, drink and be entertained, Xscape has destinations in Milton Keynes, Leeds and Glasgow. Whilst the word is largely out about these indoor resorts, their marketing team put on a range of events throughout the year to boost awareness and footfall.
Natalie Bradley was employed by Xscape to work on their winter and Christmas installation and events, which included working with their marketing department at their London HQ, and across the three sites, from concept to delivery of the promotion.
“Two aspects of the campaign which fell under my remit were fashion shows - delivered on an amazing rotating stage within an igloo installation, and a fundraising promotion to adopt penguins across the UK with amazing prize giveaways,” said Natalie.
The fashion shows were a challenge in that models had to be cast and rehearsed at each of the venues for their launch nights. Natalie used a blend of local and agency talent to showcase the urban sportswear which is available across the Xscapes. Her choice of choreography and mime to a classical soundtrack against the backdrop of a beautiful winter scene gave the audience a taste of the clothes in their true setting.
Natalie worked closely with Woburn Safari Park, Harewood House and Edinburgh Zoo to put the ‘adopt a penguin’ fundraiser in place. She also worked with designers and suppliers to ensure that promotional material, giant penguin cutouts and collection boxes were in place at each venue.
“The highlight had to be when the promotion was up and running - seeing all of our hard work come to life. I worked closely with local talent who delivered extremely entertaining dancing and singing performances; it was a fantastic experience from start to finish,” concluded Natalie.