MCH Blog

A belter of an offer to keep your dates in order

For over 5,000 years we have been tracking time and the progress of the seasons through the year using calendars, early examples include the Egyptian Calendar found on the walls of Karmak temple near Luxor, The Sumarian star chart believed to be carved around 3300 BC and the sophisticated Mayan date wheel with a cycle of over 5,000 years.

Fortunately for us, Pope Gregory XIII introduced the current 12 month Gregorian calendar with a 4 yearly leap day which has largely been adopted around the world making date referencing a doddle.  Did you know that leap days are only added to the century years dividing exactly by 400 I’m sure this will cause some confusion in 2100 when it comes around and doesn’t have one!

What has any of this got to do with promotional gifts…well, for the past half a century EMC have been selling devices for you to give to your team and customers to help them keep track of their timings and appointments including desk and wall calendars, diaries and anything you can print a calendar on.

Most recently the most popular of these has been the mouse mat calendar (a normal mouse mat with a full years dates set out on it).  And once again we are offering these with a bit of help to set it out and pop your details on it.

You can choose the elements you require and we will layout and set up using your fonts, colours and images like below and for the next couple of months we can offer our own choice of mat, the hard top precision mouse mat including a full colour print for only the price of a one colour print.

This is an absolute belter of a deal as this mat will easily last the year and put your details quite literally close to hand for all your clients.

Prices start from 94p (2500 rate) for a whole years full colour advertising!

Click here or call the team on 020 8492 2200 for more details.

(Click here for all mouse mats)
(Click here for all special offers)

Why do Customer Experience Programmes Fail?

Many business leaders look to use Customer Experience (CX) programmes to strategically improve operations – surveys and studies indicate that companies are investing more today than ever before on customer service and customer experience.

But why are CX programmes failing, and what can business leaders like yourself do about it? Here are four common pitfalls to avoid as you develop and execute a CX programme:

Lack of ownership

A CX programme needs attention to keep things moving forward. They require strategy and leadership from the top. There must be a programme owner – one individual who is ultimately responsible for the success and quality of the programme. This single person doesn’t need to be an expert in all areas of the business, but the more they know the more effective the programme will be.

Because a robust CX programme involves product, development, marketing, sales and customer success, one individual or core team needs to take ownership for driving multiple teams in the same direction. Without clear ownership, mission creep will derail even the most detailed CX programme.

Empower your leader and give them the authority to be successful. Provide them with the resources necessary to create value.

 

Ineffective Strategy

Often, CX programmes have been poorly conceived and are simply not designed to inspire change or innovation. The programme needs a clear focus which holds change at the centre, as well as benefits to both the customers and business.

Effective CX programmes prioritise the importance of what gets measured against your desired business outcomes, known as key driver analysis. Key driver analysis helps you identify where the most effective change should take place within your organisation.

Departments need to work together – any time a customer has to enter the same piece of information twice, it’s a sign that teams need to be sharing relevant customer information with each other.

 

Losing direction

Many CX programmes start off strategic, with clear business objectives and a linear plan in place. However over time, big strategic goal often dissolve as employees focus on the here and now. CX programmes can often be pushed down the priority list by more seemingly urgent tasks that promise quick results.

How do you stop your CX programme from going off track? Communication and a clear roadmap is key. Have frequent catch-ups with the core team, as well as with key stakeholders, to keep engagement levels high and to make sure you’re on track to reach your milestones.

A change in team structure or employees, especially those directly involved with the programme, could also cause your CX programme to go off course if a full handover plan is not put into place.  Ensure that there is always a core person or team taking responsibility for the programme’s progression, at both agency and client side. Give the CX programme the resource it requires to keep moving.

Staying up to date with the latest CX knowledge is also a great way to ensure that your programme remains at the forefront of the latest innovations and doesn’t fall behind. Industry events are a perfect opportunity to discover what other companies are doing in the CX space – attend talks and speak to like-minded people to gather ideas and inspiration for your own programme’s future.

 

Failure to change and innovate

Customer experience excellence in the marketplace is a constantly shifting target. What works today for customers is unlikely to remain relevant forever.

A forward-thinking approach is essential to keep your CX programme moving, and in turn your organisation. Organisations must be more vigilant than ever in remaining innovative and future-proofing their businesses. Create an innovative culture within your business – managers need to make sure that innovation is a job requirement for their employees. It should be woven into the fabric of the business and given a prominent place in job descriptions, procedures and performance evaluations.

Watermelon’s approach to CX is to constantly think about what’s next.  Every programme has a roadmap in place that maps out planned changes and creates a space for new technologies and developments. Our dedicated R&D team ensure we are at the forefront of both research and technology.

There are many obstacles that can prevent a CX programme from being successful. The key is to remember that CX programmes are not only about watching scores go up and down. The ultimate goal is to create experiences that add value to the customer and the firm simultaneously, and this requires constant change.

Surveyors quick to catch on to the full potential of aerial drone photography

The construction industry, surveyors, planning consultants and land owners have been quick to catch on to the full potential of aerial drone photography and video.  Nowadays we are just as likely to be commissioned by a surveyor or a planner as marketing or sales manager.

Innovative software packages are now available that provide accurate data gathering and surveying at a fraction of the cost of traditional methods.

In addition to stunning imagery (full-frame distortion-free 60MP stills and HDMI & 4K ultra HD video), Greywolf offers a complete range of additional services for planning applications, marketing and information campaigns, and data gathering and surveying:

  • 360 degree panoramas
  • virtual reality tours
  • 3D modelling
  • othomosaic mapping (aerial photographs stitched together and adjusted for topographic relief, lens distortion and camera tilt to produce a high-resolution image with the accuracy of a conventional map)
  • camera-matched backdrops for CGI images
  • FLIR thermal imaging
  • Digital surface mapping (DSM)

 

Visit our website https://www.greywolfstudios.co.uk for details of all our services.

We are fully licensed, insured and have Civil Aviation Authority permission for commercial operations including night flights.

For more information call Mark Laing on 020 7385 7618 or email mark@greywolfstudios.co.uk

Especial Effects produce fiery Premier League Cup 2018

Trick or Sweets?

Courage in Business – Why It Pays To Take A Leap

Jump, and you will find out how to unfold your wings as you fall – Ray Bradbury

Science fiction writers like Bradbury are known for their lateral imagination, for an acute vision of alternate worlds. An idea is simply an exploration of a different viewpoint and therefore is packed with potential. It needs to be nurtured, to transform fiction into reality:

The Tender Fledgling Idea

Ideas, like children, are precious. Sometimes 4am creations may seem ridiculous later in the morning, but the subconscious has an interesting way of tapping into your strengths and creative flair, when your brain is not fighting to be logical. An idea may flutter initially like an emerging butterfly and if it’s strong enough, you will know if it can take flight.

Feel The Fear And Do It Anyway

As Adam Ant once said ‘ridicule is nothing to be scared of…’ Some of the most innovative elements of our world that are now integral to all human life were once very much ridiculed. People thought that if they travelled at high speeds, such as on trains, they would melt. Or that telephones might electrocute them. Fear, when it comes to technology, has always been there. But even in fashion and beauty, trousers for women were once considered shocking and short hairstyles made grandmothers blush. In the 1980s – cyberphobia (fear of computers) was at its peak, with people frightened that computers would take over and rob them of personal control. Self-driving cars? It seemed absurd then but now it’s a hot topic.

Send In The Clowns – Products That Failed

OK, it cannot be denied that some ideas are blatantly ridiculous and that the market is not yet ready for them, may never be ready for them. From cat exercisers to Cheese-Filter Cigarettes (they apparently filter the harmful effects of nicotine), at least inventors have the courage to file their patents with the self-belief that they will bring them riches and respect. If the idea is impractical, there may also be something salvageable, with a few refinements.

The Sinclair C5 is probably the most quoted example of a failed invention. People laughed at it, certainly did not buy it in their droves. Sinclair badgered on with various amendments but it seemed to lack the ‘sexy’ element that makes a brand market-worthy. This is when a professional sounding board is essential and not your mother/Aunt Sarah – they may praise your ironing board that also serves as a camp bed but an objective bystander will be more constructive.

White Boards And Wisdom

You are no longer the cowardly lion from The Wizard of Oz – you have emerged from the shadows and you have a brilliant idea! Whether it is a straightforward practical product, something simple that you think would market well or a science fiction wonder, this is the time for fresh eyes and guidance. Leonardo da Vinci’s exquisitely illustrated notebooks are testament to his genius, his inventiveness centuries before the world was sophisticated enough to realise his dreams. Now the world moves faster – so much more is possible. Your notebooks are important too – you need to see if your ideas can take flight.

Courage will always be a strong, admirable quality and in business, it can lead to profit and expansion. All you may need is a guiding hand, an influx of creativity and a plan.

Iconic Brand is a full service, London-based agency with international reach and has helped the following clients with brand strategy/brand design and brand communication:

www.iconicbrand.co.uk

Iconic Brand Agency Limited
11 Greek Street
London
W1D 4DJ

0207 287 2037

The Power of Informal Customer Feedback

Informal customer feedback provides an alternative way to listen to your customers, and is just as powerful and insightful to your organisation as feedback gathered through more structured feedback solutions.

But what exactly is informal customer feedback?

Informal customer feedback is essentially unprompted feedback, whether positive or negative, that a customer or client of a business gives to an employee or to the company itself. This varies from ‘formal’ or more structured feedback that is commonplace in a VoC programme, such as online surveys or telephone interviews which follow a set series of questions.

As informal feedback is given voluntarily by customers, it’s important to bear in mind that an average to satisfactory experience is far less likely to be talked about by a customer on social media or on a review website.

Here are our 5 top ways to gather informal feedback from your customer base:

1. Social Listening- Listening to informal customer feedback on social media websites, such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Social media provides an open platform for customers to communicate directly with a brand – or just talk about them publicly. Many customers prefer this type of communication to a more formal approach, and monitoring across all sites will help you pay attention to what is being said. While still valuable, this form of feedback may not provide the depth of input that you can receive via a formal customer survey where we can explore a range of issues and probe further into the customer’s experiences.

2. Rating and reviews- Similarly to social media, many customers voluntarily leave feedback on review websites, such as Trustpilot, often giving a score out of 5 and leaving written feedback. Search engines such as Google now give customers an opportunity to leave comments, more than 45 million public customer reviews can be found on Trustpilot, and TripAdvisor has had over 455 million unique visitors – to name but a few! Use Google or any other popular search engine, Trustpilot, Tripadvisor, review platforms, forums and communities which your customer demographic are most likely to interact on. . For example, customers are likely to leave feedback on TripAdvisor after a visit to a hotel or restaurant but may use specific forums to review a technological item, such as sites like Techist or CNET. Each industry will have its own individual review sites, so it’s worth spending the time to research and identify the websites that are most relevant to your organisation.

3. ‘Leave feedback’ button on your website- A ‘leave feedback’ button placed on your website gives customers the opportunity to voluntarily provide feedback about their experience at any time. The purpose of the form is to make it really easy for users to tell you when something isn’t working quite right or to leave a compliment – simplicity is key! Make sure you move the form around the page to see where you get the best response without interrupting the journey the customer is on. A feedback button can also form part of a more structured VoC programme approach, where customers can select the button and a form can appear with customised questions. Either way, keeping it simple and concise will yield the best results.

4. Ask your staff- Staff are on the frontline every day talking to customers and can be one of your greatest sources of knowledge. Schedule regular feedback sessions with your employees, whether it’s one-to-one or with separate teams within your organisation. Make sure to highlight the importance of their feedback and the value it gives to your business to encourage participation. If you’re having trouble getting your employees to open up, you can begin by offering them the option to give feedback anonymously such as through an online suggestion box or anonymous feedback apps.

5. Blogs and media- While not specific to individual customers, popular blogs and news can provide endless information about general customer trends in your industry and what your competitors are up to. The importance of being educated on the latest industry updates cannot be underestimated – businesses that are not informed of the latest industry updates also risk losing out to competitors by failing to deliver to consumers what they want. The more informed you are with the latest industry updates, the more likely you are to spot potential opportunities in your sector, such as new niches that companies have yet to explore. You’ll also be better prepared to see possible opportunities for growth in your existing business, as industry knowledge lets you identify changing buying habits, changes in styles and preferences or to see an increased demand in a specific area. Consider whether there are any published studies that will provide additional context to your customers’ feedback – e.g. benchmarking results.

As with ‘formal’ feedback, it is vital to ensure you respond to the informal feedback you receive, across all channels. Depending on the size and nature of your organisation, a person or team in place to handle social media queries is a must, and today’s customers will expect a fast response. We recommend using a Closed Loop Feedback process to ensure that issues are logged, responded to and learnings taken forward to improve future customer experience.

All of these forms of informal feedback can be easily integrated into our open-source VoC dashboards, and sit alongside formal feedback provided through more structured surveys to provide a holistic review of customer experience.

To find out more please contact Mark Barrett at MBarrett@watermelonresearch.com

Choosing the right promotional item

We have all at some point been to an exhibition, where we get handed a goody bag and as we walk around the exhibition booths we get handed different promotional items from companies vying for our business.

But how many of those items do you actually keep?

A good promotional item is not based on the value of the product, but the value of the product to the user. It is tempting to think; if you spend 10p on a keyring then you can order 1000 keyrings and hand them out to 1000 people, great right? Well in terms of quantity yes that’s amazing, but how many of those people you gave a keyring to will actually keep it? The amount is probably far less than you think, so this wouldn’t be a very effective promotional item! The trick is to find a product the user wants to keep.

This is where a product like “USB Charging Cables” would be a great choice. We all have mobile phones and in most instances mobile phone contracts are now in excess of 2 years. It is quite likely that within those 2 years most charging cables would of broken and need replacing. So why not offer your client a branded charging cable! Not only will the charging cables be a valued gift, but they will be used on a daily basis, thus keeping your logo in front of the customer.

There are main different types of USB Charging Cables available. Some are designed for home use, others offer multiple connections and there are even keyring versions that allow you to charge your mobile phone whenever you have access to a computer. With connections to fit most modern smart phones the possibilities are endless. With low starting prices and low minimum order quantities the USB Charging Cables really could add some extra power to your next promotion.

USB Flash Ltd
Call: 0845 230 0395
Email: sales@usbflash.co.uk
Website: www.usbflash.co.uk

How can animated videos complement your online marketing strategy?

3 reasons why you should consider an animated video

We’re all familiar with the animated classics that fill our television screens but how can this fun and creative process benefit your charity or business? There are many reasons why you should incorporate animation into your marketing plan, some of which we will explore in this blog, and we have helped countless clients use the latest techniques to make animation a useful and powerful campaign tool.

With over 40 years of combined experience, UP have created numerous online video campaigns incorporating motion graphics, character animation and CGI, often with live action integration.

Here we reveal a few reasons why you should consider an animated video…

Turn visits into real engagement

Research shows that the average user spends 88% more time on a website with video, and 1/3 of all online activity is spent watching video. People can be intrigued by an animation unfolding on the screen or a well designed infographic that can give impact to those figures and stats! Also an animated video can bring a potentially dry subject to life, like this animation about ethical investment.

Boost your link juice

As well as boosting traffic, incorporating an animated video into your website and social channels is also a great way to boost search engine optimisation (SEO). As well as attracting more links from other sites, video has been shown to be 50 times more likely to rank on the first page of Google than text-only webpages, whilst keywords can be added to the title and description to make your video and the brand behind it even more findable and sharable.

Go viral

Going viral is considered the Holy Grail of online marketing, and whilst there is no formula for viral marketing success, putting a creative video out there is a great place to get started. Other factors include timing, catching the zeitgeist and understanding your audience’s sharing habits. Our team of animated film makers work with you to develop a concept that works for your company and its audience, whilst adding a creative twist that has the potential to hit the viral high notes.

Within 24 hours, our video for The Vegan Society went viral with over 32,000 views which has since rocketed up to 137k views. Watch here

And finally, another key advantage of using animation for your website and social media channels? It is often cheaper than live video.

Wanna get inspired… look no further than here: helloup.co.uk

Or call / email Kate for a no-obligation chat:

kate@helloup.co.uk / 0207 251 6787

Higher-quality promotional products vs lower-cost alternatives

You probably know about the many benefits of using promotional products for your brand image, perception, awareness and promotion. They help convert prospects into customers and promote your brand; and also encourage customer loyalty.

Promotional products often serve as a business card and even formal representation. So, when selecting promotional products, at least one of the questions you should ask should be – How would I like our brand to be perceived?

Our thanks to the British Promotional Merchandise Association for information used in this article.

Quality and price.

Promotional products vary in terms of functionality, quality and price. However, not all promotional products are equally effective.

Generally, the cheaper and lower quality the products used, the more difficult it can be to make the branding elements when applied to the product look good!

What goes wrong?

When promotional products don’t perform, it’s very often down to them being poor quality. Here at Purple Promotions we focus on high-quality, but come across a lot of poor-quality products from other suppliers and think these are the top three issues:

  1. The visual quality of the branding imprint or print is noticeably poor.
  2. The colours don’t match those of the brand.
  3. The product is flimsy, obviously cheap and tacky and the expectation is that it will probably break after a short while.

Top Tip.

Where you need to work to a budget – and who doesn’t, our top tip is, where possible, to buy fewer high-quality products than a higher quantity of poor-quality products.

No need to sacrifice quality for cost.

Clearly, you need your promotional products to convert well, to deliver a fair return on investment and oil the wheels of doing business with your customers. Consider the statistics from a recent study conducted by Promotional Products Association International (PPAI).

  • 52% did business with an advertiser after receiving a promotional product.
  • 55% kept their promotional products for over a year. (The products were probably high-quality).
  • 1% reported that their impression of an advertiser was more favourable after receiving a promotional product.

These statistics show that you should carefully select the products you use to promote your business – from the higher-quality end of what’s available, because it’s unlikely that success can be achieved with cheap, low-quality promotional products.

 

 

How the right food photography brings your food to life

Taste, this has to be the first thing to be concerned about when it comes to food. However, what happens when you are trying to sell food, or tempt people to your restaurant, and you have to rely on look?

This is where food photography comes into its own. Food photography, as the name suggests, is when you take photos of food that you have to serve. Whilst this may be obvious, what you may not know is why it is so important.

As professionals in a variety of photography approaches, we understand what it takes to take the very best photo and the importance of these images. So, with this in mind, we have put together our guide to the importance of getting food photography right. 

It is a chance to showcase what you can do

When you are a chef of any type, showing off your food is part and parcel of the job. What better way to show off what you can create in your kitchen then by taking photographs of it? Of course, it won’t show the flavours and taste, but it will give a visual impression of what you can do. 

You can use them to promote particular dishes

 

Have you found that some dishes are not as popular as others? Or perhaps you have some bestsellers that you want to give an extra boost to? No matter what product is, by having a beautiful picture of it to use online, you can create more of a buzz about it and ensure that you secure some more sales.

It is nice and easy to share on social media

Social media is incredibly important when it comes to promoting a restaurant, catering or hospitality business. After all, word of mouth is key promotion and this is something that social media relies upon. When you take images of your food, and they look good, you can use them to share on social media. A good looking dish will then be shared elsewhere, and you will see that your reach will grow and grow, and hopefully your sales will increase too.

All in all, food photography is important because it gives your audience a chance to visually taste your food. Of course, this doesn’t compare to grabbing a fork and digging in, but it definitely can help to draw people in to visit you.

 

Think that it is about time that your culinary creations are shown in the best light possible? If this is true for you, then why not get in touch with us? Whilst we may not be able to help you to cook the perfect dishes, we can make sure that they look good on your website, social media and menus too!

 

Websitewww.digitalexposure.co.uk

Food Photography – Central London

 

Why your company should invest in a Freelance SEO Consultant

SEO is the digital marketing tactic of increasing a websites visibility within search engines. SEO stands for Search Engine Optimisation, that is you make sure that your website is correctly optimised and targeted to drive high value organic traffic to your website from search engines.

If a website is correctly optimised to target valuable keywords and phrases important to your business it will rank more highly for them within search engines. The higher you rank, or the more keywords that you rank for will scoop you more or a greater share of the traffic generated by those terms.

There are many reasons why should you SEO your website. But we can summarise them into 4 broad categories.

Increased Traffic:

The process of SEO’ing your website’s main goal is to increase relevant traffic arriving at your site. If you are into your analytics you’ll probably already know that organic traffic arriving at your site is already the greatest stream of traffic finding your business online. As part of an SEO audit and in turn strategy a Freelance SEO Consultant or agency will identify these rich veins of traffic and focus the websites strengths on them. Another role of the SEO is to find new streams, targetable streams of traffic and in turn customers. Ultimately the end game of an SEO is to increase traffic arriving at the website.

Cost effectiveness:

SEO is so cost effective, once it gets going. Be aware that it does take a few months to really take off. We see SEO as the lumbering giant of the digital marketing strategy. Where social media delivers relatively low volumes of traffic or paid search (particularly in some sectors) can be very expensive, SEO generates volume. Lots of traffic! Highly relevant traffic and once you have achieved these levels of traffic it doesn’t turn off when you run out of budget. An effectively optimised website will deliver traffic 24/7 and is always available for your customers to find.

Site Usability:

Customer experience is a big factor in SEO. Google (via your Google Analytics data) is always assessing the experience of a websites visitor once they land on a particular website. Google only wants to deliver the best results, not only the best in terms of relevance but the best in terms of experience. If you do not have a mobile website, you will not rank in Google’s mobile search. From finding broken links to dead end pages, speeding up the site or creating mobile accelerated pages, part of the SEO process is to improve the usability of your website. Obviously this comes with other benefits too, your conversion rate will improve and your customers be happier. A good SEO consultant will make sure that your site is easy to use and improve metrics like conversion rate as well as rankings.

Greater ROI:

As we have already mentioned SEO delivers volume. A good SEO will also have made sure that your site is easier to use and improved metrics like conversion rate. So with more traffic arriving at your site and it easier for your customers to convert than ever before it is easy to see that ROI from this channel can be excellent. Additionally, SEO is one of the most accountable digital marketing tactics, every visitor, lead or sale can be tracked and attributed to its source. SEO is one of the most efficient means to deliver high value traffic and in turn sales or customers to your website.

If you are looking to improve the visibility of your website online and increase your organic web traffic you should contact an SEO consultant. SEO should be the foundation of your digital marketing activity. Site audits are usually free of charge and potential volumes and value forecastable. So why not get in contact with an SEO consultant and see what traffic they could generate for your business!

Article by Paul Lymer. Paul is a Freelance SEO Consultant and founder of Improve Marketing.

 

Cantillion King’s approach to Public Relations

 

The strength of a planned and sustained Press/Public Relations campaign is its ability to communicate, inform and educate through the perceived impartiality of the press.

A creative PR campaign will also reach audiences that cannot be reached cost-effectively through advertising. In short, PR will make a positive contribution to the promotional effort by reaching the parts advertising cannot.

These aspects of PR are important to reach and influence the widest possible audience. And the content generated via a press campaign can be used for so many other marketing acitivites including your website, email marketing, social media, etc.

Clearly your promotional objectives will not be achieved by simply issuing press releases. Yet with a great deal of information to communicate to a large number of people, PR should be an important part of your promotional strategy. To influence the widest possible audience and reach the broadest possible range of publications, PR must:

  • Be planned and carefully targeted

  • Present your messages in greater depth

  • Challenge conventional solutions

  • Stimulate

​Planned Targeted and Tailored Press Releases

Hundreds of press stories, features and releases are submitted to the media every day. To ensure that every press opportunity is fully exploited, the story should be immediately identified by the editor as relevant for his/her publication. We make sure that each press release is carefully targeted and tailored by making it relevant to each candidate media sector.

Pro-active PR for In-depth Editorial Coverage

PR planning at Cantillion King means regular contact with editors, journalists, bloggers, etc. to change press release opportunities into extended features. The stories are offered on an exclusive basis in advance of press releases. Meetings are arranged with important editors. Suggestions for articles are presented for consideration.

Challenging Conventional Solutions

Where possible press relations should be used to challenge conventional solutions in key product or market sectors. This helps to differentiate and provide positive reasons for customers to buy.

Stimulating Product PR

We will ensure that the PR programme is carefully regulated and that news releases are never dull! Each item should be newsworthy, stimulating and genuinely interesting. Photographs and applications information will be used to add interest to product stories and ensure that quality enquiries are generated.

 

Originally postedon cka.co.uk – https://www.cka.co.uk/approach