Posted: Apr 19th, 12:32
Winning awards is always nice. But the real satisfaction comes from doing great work for our clients, work that delivers real results.
That’s the kind of line agencies often trot out after picking up a gong (and battling through the post bash hangover).
And, to be fair, it’s true.
But winning this year’s RAR award for best Events agency and picking up the coveted Grand Prix award is a bit different. Because the RAR awards are judged by our clients.
They’re not just about recognition; they’re about relationships – the relationships we have with our clients. And at fresh that’s something we place above everything; great work starts (and ends) with great working relationships.
And those relationships are built by the whole team here at fresh – client facing and behind the scenes.
So these awards really are worth celebrating. Plans for the next fresh big night out are underway…
Managing Director at Fresh Group
Posted: Mar 27th, 16:21
Content marketing. The BIG thing in marketing.
Create compelling content and your target audience will devour it and share it with their peers and make the creator famous.
There are a million articles espousing this, explaining it, debating it and even showing you how to do it for yourself.
But there’s that rather vague word – ‘compelling’. Well it’s not really vague, the good old OED (online of course!) defines it as ‘Evoking interest, attention, or admiration in a powerfully irresistible way’. OK so far, but what, exactly is going to achieve that? Or, to put it another way, what’s the magic ingredient for ‘compelling content’?
It’s not just cute cats doing funny things on YouTube is it? One man’s meat is another man’s poison.
Is it information, education or entertainment the content consumer values? All of them of course. And in what format? Videos, Pictures, Words? All of them.
Do the same rules apply in different sectors – B2B or B2C for example? Is there any consistency between what constitutes ‘compelling’ for a Law Firm and a breakfast cereal? I think there is.
And I had a great example of it myself last week.
I do this stuff for a living and have, effectively, been doing content marketing since 2008. We just didn’t call it that then. I’ve been involved in the strategy, the content creation and content seeding for a wide range of brands in both B2B and B2C sectors. With varying levels of success. After every campaign we analyse the results of course and take learnings from them. We’ve created and disseminated most types of content, from funny videos to deeply analytical industry white papers – and just about everything in between.
Aside from my professional work, I’ve always enjoyed social networking, with Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook my preferred channels. I do this simply because I enjoy it and also, unashamedly, to enhance my professional awareness and reputation – not always successfully!
The other evening, I was social networking for purely personal reasons and created a piece of content that went – please excuse the hackneyed phrase – viral.
So what was this piece of compelling content? An hilarious video? Some breaking news? A tribute to Justin Bieber? No, it was simply this tweet; Help please. I've a 16 yo son who wants to be a joiner and wants an apprenticeship - Manchester/Cheshire - can anyone help? Please RT
Within seconds it was getting loads and loads of retweets and @replies. This went on all night and into the next morning. Then offers of help arrived by DM and email. Then people tracked down my phone number and called.
I’ve curated, literally, thousands of pieces of content on just about every social media channel. Much of it, potentially, global important (in my lofty opinion). Some of it has been hilarious (very much in my opinion!), controversial, sad, entertaining or informative. But very little had the immediate impact of this, frankly parochial, little tweet.
So what is there to learn from it? Is there anything we can take from it into our professional social media marketing lives? Does it get us any nearer to finding the magic ingredient for compelling content? I think it does. It was AUTHENTIC or GENUINE.
To anyone who read it was obviously a sincere ask for assistance. There was obviously no additional motive in the share, neither fame nor fortune. This is what we can learn from in brand content marketing.
Consumers are now very savvy. They know there is no such thing as a free content lunch. If you’re curating content, no matter how interesting, they know you have a motive for doing so – usually fame, fortune or both. If you are a soft drinks brand putting a hilarious/shocking/fascinating video on YouTube they know why. If a crisp brand put a competition on Facebook they know it might have something to do with selling bags of crisps. Now that isn’t to say they won’t engage with it; if they like it enough they will. But with a little bit of reluctance. They know they’ve paid for their moment of entertainment/knowledge by giving a bit of themselves (attention) to the brand.
But if they believe the creator/curator’s motive for sharing this piece of content is that they genuinely believe it is entertaining/informative or at least transparent, they will be much more likely to engage and share.
But surely we have a Catch 22 there? Brands are only creating content to, in some way, gain a commercial advantage, but content created for these reasons will be identified as such and therefore not be as effective?
I don’t think so. The movie industry is a great example. Other than a tiny minority of art films, Movies are only created to make money - for the studio, the directors, the actors, the distributors, the cinema etc. Everyone movie-goer knows that. That’s why we have the Holy Grail of ‘the franchise series’ – Bond, Die-Hard, Batman etc – a guaranteed format to make money. And yet the audience goes. And, usually, enjoys itself. Then they will buy the DVD, watch it on Sky and ultimately buy it at Tescos for a fiver.
But nearly everyone, mistakenly or not, believe in the authenticity of the directors and actors motives for making the movie – to entertain us in some way.
A so-called ‘viral’ video isn’t always what it seems. Views do not necessarily equate to any effect at all – you can buy 1m robot YouTube views for $800!
Take Three’s current #DancePonyDance moonwalking pony campaign. A blatant attempt at getting a bit of content to ‘go viral’. This is no Gangnam style video that, purely organically through social sharing, has got a lot of views. Three has spent a fortune in advertising this video on every digital channel going. These eyeballs have been paid for as much as they’ve been earned.
At first glance the results seem impressive; 5.6m views on YouTube at time of writing,
But the question has to be asked; would a TV ad in the break in Corrie delivered as good or better ROI? I don’t know.
So how do brands tap into the public reaction towards authenticity?
1. First, realise what content or social media marketing isn’t. It’s not PR and it’s not advertising, If you’re using it to manipulate you will, ultimately, fail
2. You need to have something to be authentic about. What does your brand really stand for and care about? No, really? When you decide, that’s what to talk about
3. Do you have an internal culture of authenticity within your business? If not, it will be very hard to stage authenticity in your marketing
4. People are more authentic than brands so use them. Find people who exemplify the authenticity of your brand and let them speak on your behalf
5. Is there any relevance between your brand and your ‘content’? If not, it’s highly unlikely that it will come across as authentic
So, the message, not to be too Bill and Ted about it, is ‘Be real’ and prosper.
Oh and by the way, despite all the support my lad hasn’t got his apprenticeship, so if you know a joiner who needs a mate, please get in touch. Really.
Steve Downes, Director of Digital, @stevejdownesAdd Comment
Posted: Feb 4th, 16:35
Whilst everyone else is battling through the New Year blues and trying to shed the dreaded post-Christmas weight – here at fresh we’re happily getting bigger and bigger! Following on from what was our most successful year to date in 2012, we are getting set for further expansion and are recruiting for the following positions:
Senior Account Manager
Senior Account Executive
Business Development Manager
We’re looking for talented and enthusiastic individuals to join our growing team, so if you think you could be The One for us, we’d love to hear from you at email@example.com. Check out our recruitment page for more info!
Posted: Jan 21st, 10:38
As the ‘big freeze’ hits Cheadle, it’s business as usual for the fresh crew.
With preparation well underway for a number of big projects being delivered in the coming months, our team have used trains, planes and automobiles to make their way in to fresh HQ this morning!
Whilst Roy and Ben - fresh’s friendly technical team - clear the pool car, the rest of us are inside keeping warm. Brews all round!Add Comment
Posted: Oct 31st 2012, 12:55
I’m a digital strategist, long-time cheerleader for social media and all-round geek. So the following universally accepted statements are mothers’ milk to me. Tick the ones you believe;
- Online ad spend now significantly exceeds offline
- Earned media is more influential than paid-for media
- More than 50% of the TV audience are accessing a second screen while viewing
- The most influential factor in purchasing decisions is peer recommendation
Four big ticks from me.
So, if you were the world’s biggest tech companies launching your latest digital/mobile device to the digital native generation you’d use digital channels. Right Apple and Microsoft?
Errr, no actually.
By far the majority of Microsoft’s US launch budget for the Surface was spent on a $400m mainstream TV campaign. And Apple spent over $190m on TV ads in the first 6 months of the year in the US.
So is this a rant about how they’ve got it all wrong? No it isn’t. Just the opposite in fact.
Rather, I think this is a shining example of the need for an integrated view in marketing. Pure digital channels can achieve a hell of a lot. So can clever and sustained PR – as Apple have demonstrated so many times. But there is still nothing, and I mean nothing, to match a great TV campaign backed by a fat wallet-full of media spend, for immediacy and pure speed of brand awareness. And when the future of some of the world’s largest companies (with deep pockets) are at stake on the success of a launch they want guarantees. Throw creativity and enough money at a TV campaign and it will work. Guaranteed.
So where does this leave the digital strategist? The poor relation? Not in the slightest. Used properly. Digital marketing integrated fully with an offline campaign can increase its effectiveness enormously. And it can make it last way, way beyond the lifetime of the inevitably short-lived paid-for media exposure.
A great example is the Meerkats campaign for comparethemarket.com. Conceived in June 2009 (reputedly by a bunch of VCCP creatives in a Covent Garden pub) as a TV campaign it has been developed into a storming digital success that has seen the company’s sales double and its market share triple. Its clever digital marketing campaign has seen it become the best performing financial brand on social media and its website is now averaging a million unique visitors per month. A great example of the integration of offline, digital and search.
So what can we learn from the world’s biggest technology and consumer brands? Simply to get out of our silos and recognise the power of integrated marketing and joined-up thinking. Offline marketers must embrace digital and vice versa.