Are you ready to trade again post lockdown?

There’s no denying it that these last few months have probably been the toughest most people have, and hopefully ever will, experience in business. But as lockdown slowly eases are you ready to reach out to your customers and clients and get trading again. Here’s a quick list of tips to ensure you’re “marketing ready”:

  • Communication is key – do you customers know you’re open or when you will be open – keep them informed by direct mail or via social media
  • Prepare, prepare and prepare again – time spent now having everything in place to open and do business safely will give you more time to sell
  • Re-define your marketing and PR strategy. Most likely you need to re-define your messages for the new normal so do it now.
  • Increase your social media activity as this is by far the biggest way to communicate to customers and potential ones. If you’re unsocial on social media then it’s a waste of time being there
  • Check your social media profiles and images – are they up to date, are opening times correct, or should you update it all
  • Check your website – go through every detail and update or improve it so the ‘face’ of your organisation is looking its best
  • A picture tells a 1000 words so use images and videos to illustrate your business
  • Train your staff – ensure they’re all Covid-19 trained for interfacing with customers and that they’re coming back to work feeling re-invigorated and brimming with enthusiasm
  • Try doing some ecommerce – online shopping is here to stay so if you can set up an ecommerce platform

Use this time as a fresh beginning when you can make your company more efficient and effective but it will take time, energy and creativity to get there. So take the risk, step out of the box and you’ll find you’re ahead of the game!

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Is marketing a waste of time in this pandemic? NO!

With the economy crashing about our ears and businesses really struggling to survive, many will say that marketing is no longer a priority. But how wrong they can be as this is a perfect time to build a brand. With so many businesses just trying to get through there is a void in the noise that is being transmitted from companies and brands. So use this void to shout about your brand or organisation. Given that many people are furloughed or just stuck at home social media usage has probably never been bigger. In this new slow life that is emerging people are looking for interesting stories and have time to browse products that they might never have even cast a second glance. For example, interiors brands are gaining much interest as people have time to look at their tired kitchen, or their past-it’s-sell-by bathroom, and they need daydreams to fill their days.

Creativity and sensitivity is crucial in these strange times. You mustn’t depart from your core company values and messages but adapt them to raise interest in your products. Post daily or every two or three days with different messages and use your imagination to give variety. But be warned, don’t over-post – no-one wants to be bombarded with posts 3 or 4 times a day saying virtually the same thing. And be sure to respond to questions and comments to show you really care. Those organisations that go the extra mile with customer relations in this lockdown will be remembered once we go back to some sort of normality and loyalty is huge in a crisis. On the other hand those companies that are tricky, silent, or un-accommodating will also be remembered and disliked.

Communication has never been more important than it is now so get out there and take your share of the noise and keep your brand alive! Or if you need help with it, we’re still open and happy to work with you.

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Covid-19 and PR work

In these uncertain and worrying times, the team here hope everyone stays well and safe. It is as important as ever to maintain remote social contact – by email, social media, phone or facetime – so we can all get through this as best we can. We understand how tough it is for every business both large and small but we are here to help with PR in whatever way we can. So if you need some PR or crisis management done please do contact us. We all work remotely so can continue working whatever. There will be life after Covid-19 – not quite sure what form – but rest assured we are keen to do what we can to see our clients and any potential clients back on their feet as soon as possible. Stay safe and healthy.

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All work and no play

We all know that too much work and sitting in front of a computer dulls our creative juices. But when you’re trying to put finger to keyboard and write, what is the best way to become creative? Every good journalist or creative writer has their own strategies for writing. Some love the loom of a deadline to get writing, even if this involves staying up until the wee small hours. Others need peace and quiet in a darkened room or the buzz of a noisy café. I, for my own part, need fresh air and exercise – there’s nothing like a brisk walk or quick run that irons out the furrows in my brain and makes everything seem clearer. If I ever suffer a writer’s block, I know my only solution is to leave my desk, go outside for 15 mins good exercise and the block has been removed.

But here are some quick do’s and don’ts when writing:

  • Don’t start writing when you’re dog tired
  • Plan – a good plan will give you focus and structure
  • Research your subject first rather than halfway through as that will ensure it reads well
  • Check and check again – badly written copy is sloppy and puts the reader off in the first sentence
  • Be brave – push yourself with content and language but make it readable
  • Can it be said in 5 words instead of 10? Be succinct!

And with that word of wisdom I’ll close!

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Successful social media for a business

Most forward looking businesses know they must do social media to keep their reputation live, encourage sales and ensure people ‘see’ them online regularly. Love it or hate you cannot argue about the power of social media today and that power cannot be ignored. But it’s often worth taking a long hard look at how you do your social media. Many companies think the best way is to hire someone who is active on their own personal social media, perhaps a recent college graduate or someone who enjoys posting regularly about their own lives. Don’t get me wrong, sometimes these people can be perfect for certain businesses but social media for businesses and personal social media are two different talents. Social media for business must be strategic, have a plan and target audience, and a clear objective so that you ensure you’re reaching the audience you wish to talk to. This may only be a few hundred people or tens of thousands, but there’s no use in chattering on social media but your target audience can’t see or hear you. So we would recommend hiring someone with a track record and understanding of social media for businesses.

To help you here are a few social media for business tips:

1. Select the social media platforms that your target market look at – usually this will be Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and You tube.

2. Create a plan so you can schedule posts, and know that you’re posting different content at different times.

3. Create a library of good, relevant photography.

4. Brief your social media team to ensure they are giving informed messages in the company style.

5. Make sure your posts are varied, interesting and will engage clients.

6. Do not post the same information and pictures across all social media platforms at the same time – it’s likely your followers may follow you across all social media platforms and the biggest turnoff is seeing the same content all the time.

7.  Try and create a call to action so that people engage in posts.

8. Use video – this often has better results than static images.

There’s many more tips that I may share with you in the future but it’s worth bearing this all in mind. And be brave – it can be fun and rewarding!

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How times have changed!

When I started out in PR a few decades ago it was a very young industry and only the bigger or braver companies had PR teams or engaged agencies. Reputation and growing awareness around brands was just as important as it is today but with global communication being much slower, the whole pace of life was slower. Then, when you launched a product you held a big launch event, issued press releases and press packs with hard copies of photos and all press releases were sent via snail mail. Inevitably one of the busiest departments in the PR agency was the mailroom – now a redundant area! But in some ways it was hugely fun and challenging – you often met up with journalists to brief them, or my favourite, which was very pioneering at the time, was when we visited the magazine houses and took Covent Garden Soup cartons round each food journalist. Naturally we were very popular at lunchtime but it really encouraged sampling and we got some great press coverage. After any event you waited nervously for days, or even weeks to see what coverage came through via the media monitoring and chased the press to see if the launch was a success.

Nowadays we email, text or ring the press to contact them and sadly in consumer PR rarely get to meet the people we may depend on to publicise our clients and brands. Who would have thought back in the early days that such a thing as social media would even exist and we’d  be attached to our phones trying desperately to influence consumers with the latest food product, drink or gadget.

In many ways doing PR now is easier with so many tools to hand but equally it is more complicated and varied. Most notably the pace at how brands rise or fall is has changed. But at the very heart of it communication is still the same – we still strive to tell a story about a company, a brand, an idea or a product. And of course storytelling goes back not decades but centuries so perhaps PR is rather an old industry.

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5 steps to remember before starting a PR campaign

Too often we hear people saying “I really need some PR”, which of course they probably do, but there are a few things that should be done before shouting to the press and social media about how great your product, organisation, idea or service is. Here’s a brief outline of 5 things to do before you engage a PR consultant:

  1. Define your target market – who are you pitching at? who do you want to buy your products/take up your services? Ensure this is your key target market, not just everyone aged 18-60!
  2. Set out your objectives – what do you want to achieve from the campaign? More sales or just raise awareness?
  3. Define your messages – what is your USP? why should people buy your products or engage with you?
  4. Think about your strategy – does your target market read newspapers, watch TV, are on social media or all of these?
  5. Ensure whatever you are promoting is looking great, ready for the market and isn’t going to crash in the first week. Ensure production is running well and you are in a happy position.

THEN you can engage your PR consultant and give them a brief and in this way your results should be much better.

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What will your New Year resolutions be?

As soon as the wrapping paper is cleared away and the last scrap of turkey eaten, it’s a good time to look towards the coming year, rather than reflecting on what could have been, should have been or you’d like to have been in the past year. It’s easy to start the New Year with a list of resolutions or challenges but as soon as work kicks in, in full force these get confined to the recycling bin of life (“I’ll do that next month/year/millennium”). So set yourself just one or two realistic tasks for each month. Perhaps it’s stop work half and hour earlier and exercise; or paint that room that you’ve meant to do for the last 5 years. Give yourself a timescale – within a month is a good start – and a reward at the end  – ‘if I do this then I’ll treat myself to a night out/away’. Its good to start on a positive note and little steps to a better life can give huge dividends. Now where do I start? Think I’ll pour a glass of wine and think about it….

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Why trade shows are so important
Springboard Events Scotland's Trade Fair Spring at SECC Glasgow.

Why trade shows are so important

Love them or loathe them, trade shows are an integral part of many businesses in allowing them to expand to markets and customers that they might not necessarily reach in day to day business. You may say we’re biased since we work for some trade shows but with many years of experience in this area, we know how important they are, as long as you make them work for you. For many exhibitors who might be small, one man businesses, trade shows allow you to network with other producers and showcase your products to your audience, who as trade customers will be keen to give constructive feedback.

Call us old fashioned but nothing quite beats the face to face selling. Despite every sales technique in the book we are all still humans and interaction is important so meeting your customers and buyers allows you to sell your product quickly and efficiently.

For buyers, trade shows can’t be avoided if you want to find out what’s new and innovative in your business. You might find 3/4 of the Show irrelevant but that one quarter may be the little gems that make your business a success.

But for both exhibitors and visitors the most important thing is be prepared. For exhibitors prepare your stand and make sure it shows your products in the best possible light. Look and feel good about it as this will immediately attract custom and of course, follow up after speaking to trade customers. For visitors look through the exhibitor lists and activities at the Show and prioritise what you want to see and hear – in this way you won’t waste any time.

Above all enjoy getting out and seeing people – it can make you feel good about your business!

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