Archives for category: Marketing Training

I recently took part in a social media training workshop, not because I’m unfamiliar with some of the platforms and how to utilise them but because I really wanted to find out more about the benefits.

I’m also inquisitive and I like to know how things work.

It was hugely informative, helpful and actually….fun. I didn’t think…”Oh, I’m too old to learn this stuff” or “why do I need to learn this?” I’m just not that type of person.

I also see on a daily basis how using social media as an extension of your marketing activity can be beneficial and fruitful.
That’s not to say I wasn’t a little apprehensive about my capabilities. My normal approach would be to read a “How to….” set of instructions first before actually getting down to practice. This for several reasons:

A) I am probably using delaying/avoidance tactics
B) I am actually a little nervous about whether I can get the hang of it and need to read and then read some more
C) Fear of the unknown

A discussion with some friends following this (both male and female, similar in age range) about the subject, offered some interesting insights with some admitting that they thought that social media “is for kids”. Yes, they use Twitter and Facebook on a personal level to connect with friends and to follow interesting people but when it comes to utilising social media as a marketing strategy, they just “couldn’t be see the benefits” or “didn’t see the need at their age” or the familiar…”I just haven’t got time”. Does this resonate with you?

Come on, be honest. Does using social media as a marketing tool scare you?

If you own a business, the way you market that business has changed. There are new tools to help you gain additional marketing exposure. You may be a little apprehensive but essentially it’s about people and marketing to them, and applying those new tools.

Social media is designed to be fairly simple to use, it just takes time and willingness to learn. Learning and growing is a fundamental part of life. Social media is no different.

And let’s face it, we live in extraordinary times of technological advancement. Technology helps us progress and it’s not going to disappear. You either have to embrace it or wait until you notice the impact on your business from burying your head in the sand. If you don’t have a presence you can be sure your competitors do and they are the ones potentially engaging with your clients.

Some of the benefits of engaging social media:

  • Promote your Brand, your philosophy and values
  • Engage with clients and potential clients
  • Provide brilliant customer service
  • Create social signals that will also help your website climb the search engine rankings
  • Make sure you have a presence
  • Give your brand a voice
  • Stay competitive

But it’s also a great opportunity to connect with interesting new people and gain new experiences.

Social media isn’t just for young people. Social media is for everybody.

So if you are just a little bit scared……..well, feel the fear and do it anyway! And if you need a little hand holding, we completely understand.

Debbie Lewis is a Customer Support Executive at Happy Creative, a full service marketing and creative agency based in Blackpool, Lancashire. To learn more or contact us please go to www.happy-creative.co.uk

Marketing companies offer a range of services to their clients, we all know that. If you need a new brand design, you can have it. If you want a focus group done, you can have it. You can even have just the design of a leaflet if you want to. Many companies have a “pay as you go” approach to marketing and fail to take the time necessary to truly understand what a business is all about.

This lack of understanding of the bigger picture can result in a leaflet design that does not suit what the target market requires. It can result in a badly designed brand, one that doesn’t reflect the values of the business in question. And, most worryingly, it can result in… no results at all.

We all know that the main objective of marketing is to get results, whatever that is. This can be more sales, brand awareness, exploration of a niche market, etc. Marketing works to keep companies going, growing, exploring their potential and fighting challenges. Therefore, the more you know about the company and what it stands for, the easier it is to put a strategic plan together, one that will take into consideration all the company’s nuances and be designed to do what we all work for: results.

At Happy we do this by taking clients through a brand journey. The journey can start at any point, considering firstly the business’ current position. Some people approach us saying that they need more sales, some people say that they need a better website, some people say that they need to explore a new customer segment. We understand all that and, of course, we can help. But by going through a journey together, Happy Creative can strip back all the brand’s pre-conceptions already in place and get back to basics.

The first “stop” of the journey is the DISCOVER process. In this phase, we ask some killer questions and we make sure you ask yourself and your team those difficult questions that sometimes get buried away in the rush of day-to-day activities. Once we have answers, then we are able to PLAN. We will work with you to understand what makes your brand stand out, what makes you different and how we can strategically place you within a busy market. Once we know who you are and what you want to achieve then we will have the ammunition to CREATE. On this phase, we will convey in visual terms what you are all about. Then, once we know what you look like, we will get it all out there through the CONNECT phase of the journey. This is when the world will know about you, about what you do and about what makes you special. The end (or the beginning) of the journey, the MEASURE stage, is the one where we will measure the efforts and build on the success achieved.

The best part of the Happy Branding Journey is that it can start at any point. It’s not linear, it’s circular and bespoke. We adapt to your needs and wants. We adapt it to bring you results and, the best of all, we make sure you have fun during the process. After all, it’s not by coincidence that we’re called HAPPY.

Marilia Spindler is an Account Executive at Happy Creative, a full service marketing agency based in Blackpool, Lancashire. To learn more or contact us please go to www.happy-creative.co.uk

‘Fingers crossed for the weather’. It is a simple phrase that holds such a disproportionate amount of power when it comes to video shoots. On all our video production projects we leave nothing to chance. Everything is accounted for, but the one thing that we have no control over was the weather. Oh, and we hadn’t planned for Chris, our main cast member, getting food poisoning on the morning of the shoot but I’ll get to that later.

When walking boot mega brand Brasher approached us to produce a number of videos promoting their new product launches, happiness levels in the office reached fever pitch, which is a great start of the process that all our corporate video projects follow.

So, let me take you through our tried and trusted process for video shoots.

The Crucial Preparation

Having already met the client and been fully briefed, the first stage is unavoidable meetings. At these, we discussed the products, in this case different boots, their unique attributes and the types of terrain that they were suitable for. These discussions along with existing brand styles gave us a basis for what Brasher wanted to achieve.

This part of the process is massively important as it provides you with your objectives. Each product video went through the same planning process. The first video would provide a template for the rest, but each of them would have their own sense of identity.

Storyboard It

This part of the planning is covered by a storyboard meeting. It involved the whole project team including the director of the shoot. At its most basic, a storyboard fleshes out and provides a context for the shoot. Descriptions of what will be seen, whether video or graphic, are put together. Cast and props are discussed and timescales for possible shots and locations are planned.

Location Selection

At Happy Creative, we are very fortunate that we have two areas of outstanding natural beauty on our doorstep – the Lake District and the Forest of Bowland. Our love and knowledge of these two areas would prove crucial for this particular shoot.

The video director and myself covered over two hundred miles in two days of driving and walking to source the locations that would be suitable for each product. We discussed scenes, angles, camera positions and the logistics of what you could reasonably achieve in a single day’s shoot.

Such a ‘recky’ gives you a visual reference for the next stage of the planning process which is finalising a storyboard and creating a script. We took photographs of each location, got wet, checked our shots, and then created a story board around our ideas for each location and each product.

Storyboard Again and Script

The storyboard process is when firm production decisions are made. There are many options available to tell the viewer a story. These are decided on the requirements of the shoot. For example, would we need actors, is there going to be a voice over, a vox pop, or pieces to camera? This process comes together when the script is written up as a Industry Standard Storyboard.

An Industry Standard Storyboard includes:

• Each line of video script separately numbered. These are the storyboard numbers and are essential in organising a successful shoot.

• Each numbered line of script will have detailed visuals and exact locations set against it.

• A Shoot List – a list of all the locations required for the shoot, shown as storyboard numbers against location.

• A Cast List – details of all cast members, either provided by the client or hired actors.

• A Props List -details of all props whether client or producer provided.

• A Graphics list – details of any graphic or caption sequence that a designer can review separately.

• A Stills List – details of any still photos or logos within the film. It’s more than a shooting script. It’s also a complete list of materials required in making a film.

Shoot Planning Meeting

Finally, a shoot planning meeting takes place, which is where we confirm that all locations are available and suitable, equipment is in place and personnel are ready. This is also an opportunity to revise script details with the client.

And to the shoot…

All this happens before we’ve even hit the slopes for filming. At this point, ready for the shoot, and as I waited at the meeting point for our client to arrive, I had 30 minutes to dwell on the two factors that we didn’t have control over – rain and food poisoning.

In true Happy Creative spirit… we just had to go for it. Jason and the rest of the crew went to our first location and I went down later with our client. As we walked to the top of the hill, we saw Chris (our main cast member) hunched over and I wondered how we were going to juggle Chris’s obvious discomfort with what we wanted to achieve.

How we did that and overcame noisy waterfalls, road cleaners, cars, lorries and not so silent hotel rooms, I’ll answer in my next blog!

James Chantler is Creative Director at Happy Creative, a full service marketing and creative agency based in Blackpool, Lancashire. To learn more or contact us please go to www.happy-creative.co.uk

I spend a lot of my working day educating business owners about the importance of marketing and why it should never take a back seat in any business. What I come across a lot is the perception of what marketing is. So I thought I would dispel a few myths and get us all singing from the same hymn sheet!

  1. Marketing is just advertising and sales: Although advertising and sales are integral to any marketing plan, they don’t stand alone. In reality, marketing is educating your target market about your products and services and why they should choose you over your competition. Obviously the aim for any business is to achieve a sale, but there’s a lot that goes on within the buying process to get to that point. In my opinion marketing is everything you do as a business which affects the customer.
  2. Great marketing works instantly: Although marketing can shorten a sales cycle and some tactics can produce instant results, great marketing is about repetition – being there when your customer is ready to buy. Just because you are ready to sell doesn’t mean your customer is ready to purchase! Marketing is an investment and like all good investments it takes time.
  3. Lower prices encourage more people to buy: I meet many business owners, especially start-ups, who automatically drop their price to enter the market. Lower prices work as part of a short-term campaign i.e. trialling of a new product/service, but ultimately competing on cost is very difficult to sustain. Look at the value you are offering to your customer and price accordingly. This is where knowing your customers really well comes into play!
  4. Offering a broad range of products & services leads to more sales: This is where you can fall foul of being a ‘jack of all trades’. Too many options can confuse buyers. There is nothing wrong is targeting a niche market and being a specialist in your field. So take a look at how you can segment your market and which segments can provide a sustainable income, then focus on these.
  5. Email marketing is no longer effective due to spam: I still use email marketing a lot as part of my activity.  Identify what you want to achieve and why email marketing is the right tool to use then ensure you write your email to generate maximum impact. Afterall, people want information and email is a great way to get your message out there – just make sure your recipients have opted-in!
  6. Online marketing is all you need: I come across this a lot. Many small businesses owners have run with online because of its cost-effectiveness, but offline activity still has an important part to play in any marketing strategy. Integrating both on and offline marketing is what generates the best results for most businesses. So keep hold of your business card, branded pen and leaflet and support this with your website, email and video campaigns.
  7. Messages need to change often to keep things fresh:I’m sorry, but consistency and repetition is a marketer’s best friend. You may be bored of your message, but your audience won’t be. It’s around now that your message is starting to sink in, so stick with it and only change it if there is a valid business reason.
  8. Advertising sells products: Continuous advertising builds brand awareness and can generates leads, but it very rarely leads to a conversion without involving another form of marketing. You need to attract prospects then educate them all via regular contact with your business. This then develops the trust required to convert the lead into a sale.
  9. Partnerships & alliances are for larger companies: I recommend these types of partnerships to start-ups and SMEs, because these are the businesses which in reality can’t do it all. Having partners you can trust to offer a service or product you can’t, helps your customer get what they need whilst increasing your resources, exposure and client base. Package this up and you can offer your clients more value for their money.
  10. Marketing is expensive: Whether you agree with me or not, good effective marketing should not cost you a fortune. The reason many of you will believe marketing is expensive is, because you a) don’t have a marketing plan in place so are unable to determine if what you are doing is the right thing b) don’t have any measures in place to evaluate your activity c) just doing little bits of marketing without knowing why, d) putting all your money into advertising. I always start with a budget of zero and take it from there…and so can you.

Jean Atkinson of Eden Marketing is a Chartered Marketer with over 16 years’ experience in marketing. Eden Marketing provides marketing workshops and marketing support to businesses of all sizes. www.training-marketing.co.uk

Branding is what we do brilliantly at Happy.  So much so we thought we’d share the benefit of our years of experience with a series of Bespoke Branding Workshops, ideal for any business whatever stage your brand is at.

So what do you get from a Happy Creative Branding Workshop…

Making your Brand Work – Happy Creative Branding Workshops

“I can’t start my day without my Costa Coffee”

“I wouldn’t survive without my iphone”

“I love my Ugg boots”

“Me and my Alpha, we’re one cool partnership”

These are some of the deep seated emotions that people share with the brands they respect, love and admire. We have relationships with brands in all areas of our lives, in our business life and in our lives as consumers. Different brands have different meanings for us depending on our experiences of that brand.  Without question, brands are an important part of life.

Emotional connection – the very essence of great brands. It’s the emotional connection that links brands with our feelings.

It is no coincidence that at every touchpoint of these great brands, there is an emotional connection inducing strong feelings and brand loyalty.

When there is so much ‘noise’ around us, with so many visual and auditory messages, and so many brands competing for attention, how can brand managers, marketing managers and company owners create strong bonds and emotional connections to help make their brand more successful?

A series of branding workshops run by experts who know branding could be the answer.

Happy Creative’s interactive branding workshops explore:

  • What’s a brand
  • How strong is your current brand
  • How to position your brand
  • How to create meaningful brand values
  • How to understand how your brand fairs alongside its competitors
  • How to find unique ‘gaps’ to give your brand a competitive advantage

Whether you are an experienced marketing/brand manager or new to brand management, the series of branding workshops are tailored to your own company, brand and goals. They will help and inspire you if you are looking to refresh an existing brand or if you are creating a new brand for a new or existing market.

The highly interactive branding workshops and generally are aimed at the senior management team (although this varies from company to company) with an ideal maximum of 6 in any one workshop.

All workshops are facilitated by experienced brand professionals.

For more information on how branding workshops could help your company, call 01253 446 933, email hello@happy-creative.co.uk or tweet us @Happy_Creative

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