The foundations of marketing are the one constant in an ever-evolving world of new fads and shiny objects that we see in our industry. Threads.. what?

Trust us – if you start with human insights and a decent amount of time exploring the market to understand the competitive landscape and perceived strength of your brand before developing a strategic marketing plan – you’re doing something right.

But it’s also important for marketing boffins like us to keep up with the latest trends and your competitors in an increasingly busy space. In this blog, we take a deeper dive into some of the marketing trends that seem to be hot topics this year and how they can work for your business.

Short-form video content

Short-form video is here to stay. Unlike the previous focus for B2B and B2C marketers to use longer-form video, we’re all now realising that short-form video plays into the hands of our short attention spans and can be very effective. In our fast-paced scroll-through world – short-form video is easily digestible. Brands that would have usually stayed away from these platforms are now utilising them to reach new audiences. Short-form video isn’t just for TikTok but if you’re looking to reach younger audiences, it’s a great place to start. 

Influencer marketing

Influencers are old news but until recently have not been part of the day-to-day arsenal of marketers. Brands often think they need to secure a high-profile celebrity and pay loads of cash but the reality is that micro-influencers will increasingly play an important role. Micro-influencers typically have a smaller following but have good engagement rates. An added bonus of micro-influencers is that they’ve usually honed in on their niche and so play an important role in converting leads, boosting brand awareness and connecting with target audiences. Customers find it easier to relate to and trust this type of influencer too as they are “just like us” – everyday people. 


We all know about the importance of SEO and its impact in making our content and website more discoverable online. SEO is increasingly getting a first-class upgrade, to be third in line (right after short-form video and influencer marketing) for what marketers will invest the most money in. SEO will feature more heavily in marketing strategies and will increasingly be left to SEO experts to implement. 

Mobile optimisation

The bottom line is that we are all spending a lot of time on our mobile phones. Marketing to the modern consumer is all about being fast-paced, connected and on the pulse. Mobile optimisation will increasingly become more important to marketing across websites and email, especially as 33% of global marketers invest in mobile web design and a further 64% of SEO marketers consider mobile optimisation an effective investment according to  Hubspot. Mobile optimisation is crucial and will increasingly be given more weight in marketing strategies. 

Social responsibility

The social responsibility trend is one we are particularly fond of at CMG. Brands are supporting causes that align with their values and mission – whether it be racial justice, LGBTQ+ rights, gender inequality, climate change or sustainability. This has a dual bonus in doing something good for the wider world and very much aligns with the purchasing power of Gen-Z and Millennial consumers. 

Customers are also demanding greater transparency and holding businesses to account on important issues like production processes and workers’ rights. Let’s be honest, not only is this a welcome trend, but it is also great for marketing. Who doesn’t love a feel-good story and a shift in wider consciousness? 

Artificial Intelligence

Love it or loath it, AI is here to stay. Whether you use it for research, content generation or any of its other varied capabilities – AI will increasingly be part of the marketing world. Applications like Google Bard and Chat GPT do have their advantages, especially when it does not require much creative input. 

Now you’re all asking, did we write this blog using AI? The answer is no, at CMG we do appreciate personable, human and creative input but won’t rule it out for a bit of background research. 

At CMG we’re a collective of experienced storytellers, designers, marketers and digital natives. We offer strategic planning, brand design, social media management, content marketing, web design and plenty more. 

If you would like to discuss outsourcing your marketing to our team of experienced specialists, book a call here or email us

Let’s face it, we all wish we had more time  (and headspace) to juggle the demands of work and daily life. Enter the world of outsourcing, which as defined by The Oxford Dictionary, is “the process of paying to have part of a company’s work done by another company.” Often, marketing is the first thing to be cut or scaled back when the purse strings are tightened but in these extraordinary times, marketing has never been more important to gain and retain customers. Here we run through the top 10 benefits of outsourcing your brand, design and marketing needs. 

1. Cost effective

It’s no secret that outsourcing to a full-service marketing agency is much more cost-effective than hiring a full in-house marketing and creative team. Not to mention saving on payroll, facilities, space, computer equipment and training. Outsourcing to just pay for the work they need on a per-project or retainer basis can be a game-changer for businesses. The fact that you are only paying for what you really need is also brilliant for scalability, as you can increase the services you require to meet the needs of your business and cash flow.

2. Access to expertise

Not to blow our own trumpet, but we at CMG would argue that one of the biggest benefits of outsourcing to a marketing agency is the access you have to a bunch of talented and experienced professionals that have specialised skill sets. Let us bring your brand identity and values to life through creative designs and engaging marketing communications so you have time to focus on running your business. Small to medium-sized businesses with one individual tasked with marketing or a small team leading marketing initiatives, don’t always have the resources, specialist skills or experience needed to successfully grow your business.

3. Improved efficiency

Besides the obvious point of handing your marketing to an external team, a marketing agency can help streamline your strategies, processes and activity. Running a tight ship on your marketing activity improves activities and ensures a holistic 360 approach is taken and things are not forgotten or added to the “some time in the future” pile. With an agency, the turnaround times are likely to be much quicker than in-house – freeing you and your team up to focus on your core skills and operations whilst driving your business into the sunset of success.

4. Flexibility 

There is plenty of lingo that comes with the territory of marketing agencies but a few really do stick. Being “agile” in a time of flux and change is priceless. One of the many advantages of working with a small agency is that they are able to tailor their service to meet your business needs. Providing bespoke services enables agencies to work closely with businesses to truly understand their requirements and to meet their goals. A personalised element that is often lost with larger agency work. 

5. Increased scalability

Marketing and creative needs often change as a business grows. Outsourcing creative and marketing efforts means that you can adjust the services and scope to meet the needs of your business, not to mention the budget. There is no one size fits all and having an agency evolving alongside you can be a tremendous asset. They will help to keep your marketing communications up-to-date, your offer strong – and will position your brand consistently and positively in the market and in the eyes of your target customers.

6. Gain fresh perspectives

One of the biggest bonuses of working with an external team of talented specialists is that it brings fresh perspectives in the form of ideas, creation and implementation to drive your marketing efforts and business performance. Having another pair of eyes on things will likely bring about new ideas that your business had previously not considered. Exciting and effective marketing campaigns will also help your business stand out in a crowded marketplace. 

Marketing agencies typically work with an array of clients from different sectors and will often cross-pollinate ideas. Drawing from different industries can really bring in fresh perspectives and introduce new ways of thinking which can be adapted and utilised within any business. This is a huge benefit and a resource you would typically not have access to in-house.

7. Results

When you pay for a service you expect results. Working with an outsourced team means they are accountable for the marketing output through measuring and tracking your analytics and return on investment (ROI) and making sure you are getting results. Crafting a realistic marketing strategy tailored to your business needs and objectives is the road map to deliver real results. 

“Companies can be reticent about making new marketing investments because they’re not sure what the returns will be. A good agency, however, uses KPIs and technology to measure success in real-time and optimise upon what’s working while cutting down on what’s not. This is what maximises results and ROI.”

– Matt Engelson, Digital Marketing Manager at Sagefrog

8. Extension of your team

Rather than thinking of outsourcing as dumping your work externally, it’s beneficial to think of the marketing specialists as extensions of your team. Whilst they take much of the stress away, when you’re single-handedly trying to raise your profile and grow your business, it’s also a collaborative working relationship. Marketing agencies are used to dealing with issues when they arise and are quick to find solutions, a real game changer when the business is fast-paced and everyone is at maximum capacity.

9. Communication and support

Social media management, design, strategy and analytics aside, your external team often acts as a subjective sounding board to bounce ideas off. Making mistakes is part of the journey for many businesses and having other people you can trust to talk with who really understand your business is a lifeline. Marketing filters through almost every facet of your business and having support and communication with people that “get it” can really be an added bonus of outsourcing. The team implementing your marketing will also often act as a buffer and work directly with suppliers or negotiate deals and timelines on your behalf. 

10. Access to technology and latest trends

Finally, but by no means least, one of the top benefits of outsourcing your marketing is that creatives and marketers are constantly interpreting rising trends and new technologies and responding accordingly. Working across sectors and industries with a diverse client base typically means they have their finger on the pulse for what’s hot and what’s not. For example, social media is by nature evolving at a super fast pace with new algorithms, platforms and trends emerging constantly. Social media managers need to tailor their content creation accordingly to make sure their client is not only getting results but utilising the platforms in response to the changing landscape and best practices. 

At CMG we’re a collective of experienced storytellers, designers, marketers and digital natives. We offer strategic planning, brand design, social media management, content marketing, web design and plenty more. 

If you would like to discuss outsourcing your marketing to our team of experienced specialists simply book a call here or email us

There has never been more proof that the consumer’s voice is becoming more powerful and brands must listen to what they are saying or risk losing to their competitors.

Some of the recent stats say… 

43% of global consumers want to buy more from organisations that benefit society (EY).

82% of shoppers want a brand’s values to align with their own (Harris Poll).

64% of consumers prefer to buy from companies with a reputation for purpose as well as profit (Havas Media Group).

71% of consumers tire of empty promises, spurring ‘age of cynicism’ (Havas Media Group).

94% of consumers say they are more likely to be loyal to a brand that offers transparency (Label Insight). 

Over the last few years, brands have made continued efforts to align themselves with customers’ needs and reverse the rise in lack of trust. 

In doing so, you’ve probably heard of…

Ethical marketing: The practice of marketing with a focus on the benefits and impact a brand has on society, and not just a focus on selling a product or service. 

Cause marketing: Marketing that involves working to voice and help a particular cause. This can be seen in collaborations between a business and a charity working together.

Purpose-based marketing: Aligning the business mission with a specific purpose around social issues and values, driven by who the brand is and what they believe in.

Conscious marketing can encompass some or all of these things. But for us, it’s simply about doing the right thing. And by that, we mean asking foundational questions that uncover the story behind your brand, lift the lid on why your business exists, and who for. It’s following a process that starts with human insight and ends with compelling brand communications and customer experiences that touch hearts.

What is conscious marketing?

Conscious marketing is the practice of being consciously aware and taking action to do the right thing by customers, employees and other stakeholders. 

By tapping into human insight, conscious marketing helps brands make informed decisions about the way that they communicate their offer and connect with people’s values. 

It’s less about the product or service and more about the impact it can have on people and society as a whole. 

In practice, conscious marketing involves understanding people’s wants and needs and building robust marketing strategies around research that will position the brand positively with its audience.

Global technology brand Cisco, has been forging the way for quite a few years by espousing ‘human to human marketing’ – a focus on seeing both marketers and customers as humans and talking to each other as such, rather than purely selling their products or services. Over time, this has seen them focus on corporate social responsibility and having a purpose in their marketing activities by understanding what it is their customers truly want from them. 

The principles of conscious marketing.

Being honest

All of your brand communications and claims should be honest – and the message reflective of the experience and quality that customers receive. With customer reviews playing such a big role in the buying journey and influencing decision-making, it’s impossible to pretend you’re doing great things when you’re not. IBM employees are encouraged to have a voice and share their experiences through the IBM social channels. This empowers staff and reinforces their brand values; demonstrating the human side of the brand and that they can be trusted.

Starting with human insight 

Marketing (and business) decisions should stem from human insight and what we know about our customer’s wants and needs. Let’s take Salesforce for example (love ’em or hate ’em) and their acquisition of Slack, the communications and productivity platform. They’ve clearly listened to their customers and understand how Slack can help solve a problem by bringing a connected and better experience to its customers. In their own words: “Together we’ll define the future of enterprise software, creating the digital HQ that enables every organization to deliver customer and employee success from anywhere.”

Treating people fairly

Customers are becoming smarter at understanding when a brand is trying to be something it’s not. Your marketing should reflect the company’s values and culture; from the suppliers you use to the experience customers receive when they interact with you. The same goes for your staff, partners, and all stakeholders – treating everyone fairly and with compassion is KEY. If you’re in a customer-facing business this is even more important because your staff represent your brand.

Having clear values

Yes, people primarily buy something because they are looking for a specific product or service to fulfill a need. But it doesn’t end there. Having values and being clear on your mission means that people buy into a narrative. Something that is 3 dimensional, that makes us feel something. Being clear on your brand values and purpose gives your marketing communications depth and the opportunity to connect with people.

Acting on what you believe in

To behave in a conscious way you must be active in how you drive forward the customer first thinking and not be bystanders. From research and strategic insight to being clear on your narrative; conscious marketing is a 360 approach and something the whole business should get behind.

Being clear on why you exist

Thinking beyond profit isn’t always easy, especially if you’re a small business. Many brands have understood the importance of having a ‘purpose’, a reason for being. There are some great examples of brands that have purpose at their core, such as Allplants, Oatly and The Modern Milkman. But you don’t have to be on a mission to save the planet or have a direct impact on society to be purposeful. If you’re a conscious business putting people first, that’s good enough for us.

Creating a culture you’re proud of

Driven by good leadership, the culture of a business should reflect its values and customer-centric ethos. Forming the culture of a business should be an intentional process, driven by its values – which align with its customer’s values. Processes should be put in place to ensure the business’s purpose is upheld and stakeholder management is a key part of the culture. 

Why is this the way forward for businesses?

With budget cuts, a more difficult economic environment and people raising their voices and voting with their feet – tapping into cultural and human truths can only be a good thing. Listening to what your customers are saying simply means you’ll have better retention, better engagement, more loyalty and trust. 

So – if you’re a small to medium-sized business wanting to have more of an impact in the market and be recognised for the things that really matter – get in touch. It doesn’t have to be a long, expensive process. There’s a framework we use with our clients that gets them clarity in weeks.

To speak to us or book one of our brand clarity workshops, book a call here or email us.

If you walked into your nearest Starbucks and asked for a flat white, you know what to expect. So if you were presented with something that didn’t taste like your regular flat white, and that flat white didn’t arrive in the Starbucks branded paper cup – would you be a little suspicious?

That’s the secret to brand consistency. It’s creating a perception and building expectations so that people know what to expect with every interaction they have with a brand. 

Sure, it’s easy to understand why a brand like Starbucks needs to build and maintain a high level of brand consistency but it’s also essential for small and medium-sized businesses, particularly if you operate in the B2B space.

Read on to find out why. 

What is brand consistency?

Let’s break it down and start with a definition of brand consistency before we go into why it’s so important. 

Brand consistency starts with why your brand exists and develops into what it looks like, how it sounds and how it makes people feel. It feeds all elements of the business; from your logo and colour palette to your brand communications, to the online and offline customer journey and every customer touch point possible. Consistency is key if you want people to know, like, trust and remember your business and offer.

The benefits of brand consistency

Makes you recognisable

Logically if you use a unique logo and have taken the time to choose brand colours; your customer touchpoints will look consistent. You can start to build up brand recognition, meaning your customers will recognise something they see from your business and connect it back to you. 

Brand recognition over time helps people feel familiarity and trust and has been the key to many brands’ successes over the years, such as Starbucks, Virgin and more recently the likes of First Direct and Starling. For smaller businesses, this still stands true. When you think that only 5% of your target audience is in market when they see your brand, you need to be present multiple times for it to be part of the consideration journey. And if you’re not communicating your brand consistently, there’s no way it’ll build up those all-important memory structures and be remembered at the right moment.

Makes you memorable

Linked to the above point, brand consistency helps build associations in people’s memories so they remember what the brand looks like and recognise it when they see it again. 

Having a memorable brand also helps to be top of mind when people are making buying decisions. Meaning, if your marketing communications are well-targeted and talk about the benefits of what you can offer, people are much more likely to choose you over a competitor. 

Helps build awareness

The more consistent you are as a brand, the more you’ll be recognised, and naturally, the more aware people will be of your presence in what is probably a very cluttered market.  

Helps drive revenue

It makes sense that a brand that is top of mind because it’s recognisable, memorable and slowly building awareness – has a direct impact on sales. Forbes found that presenting a brand consistently across all platforms can increase revenue by up to 23%.

5 reasons to believe branding is good for business.

We’ve looked at the overall benefits of brand consistency but smaller businesses and B2B businesses have different challenges to larger businesses like Virgin. 

So, why is it still important I hear you cry?

1. Up against strong competition

You may be up against some strong competition so brand consistency allows you to represent yourselves alongside them, with a strong and distinctive brand identity. You are more likely to be considered during people’s decision-making journey because you have built up a consistent, recognisable brand. After all, only 5% of your target audience is in market at one given time.

2. A cluttered market

Some of your competitors might be bigger, some feistier. Some may be the same size as you and have a great offer. Standing out from the crowd so that you are seen and heard never felt so important. Developing a distinctive brand look, feel and voice will give you a competitive edge.

3. Helps build reputation and trust

Lots of companies selling B2B rely on trust, word of mouth and recommendations. And while this is all so important and enough to support steady growth – it’s not sustainable. Brand consistency works alongside your reputation and nudges people in the direction of your brand when it really matters. 

4. Makes marketing and communications more streamlined

Having a defined brand identity makes it easier to develop brand communications. Everyone’s on the same page, approvals are easier and quicker and the creative process is much more enjoyable for everyone involved. If you’re outsourcing your marketing – having a set of guidelines that everyone can adhere to is a game changer.

5. Helps to drive the direction of the business 

At the heart of brand consistency is the brand identity and this identity is about who you are as a business and why you’re doing what you do. Taking the time to understand and develop a distinctive identity, beyond a logo and colour palette, right through to tone of voice and customer service standards, can help drive the future direction of the business.

How to build brand consistency

To get you started, here are some ways to help build brand consistency:

So – if you’re a small to medium-sized business wanting to have more of an impact in the market and be recognised for the things that really matter – get in touch. It doesn’t have to be a long, expensive process. There’s a framework we use with our clients that gets them clarity in weeks.

To speak to us or book one of our brand clarity workshops, book a call here or email us

‘Build it and they will come’.

If only it was that easy when building a brand.

Trust is the backbone of building a sustainable brand, especially when it links so clearly to its impact on customer loyalty. 

Take the mobile network GiffGaff for example, who recently ran a campaign highlighting fixed UK prices until the end of 2023. It’s a clever example of a brand understanding the need to build trust and loyalty in a year that’s looking to be very unpredictable. 

So, why is building trust and customer loyalty so important in turbulent times? Firstly, we need to break down what brand trust is, how this feeds directly into customer loyalty and why this can help you stand the test of time.

What is brand trust?

Brand trust can be defined by the level of confidence people have in a brand to deliver on its promises. 

There are multiple factors that feed into people’s overall perception of a brand’s trustworthiness. These include, but aren’t limited to:

– Individual expectations

– Perception of product/service quality

– Consistency of experience a customer has with a brand

– Reviews and brand associations (how people perceive a brand, from what they have seen or heard about it before)

– Brand authenticity

– Cost vs quality ratio 

As with any relationship, we all make assumptions and assessments on a conscious and subconscious level of how trustworthy we feel a brand is, based on a number of different feelings. 

Brand trust is the foundation of brand loyalty.

Whereas brand trust can be a preconceived notion, brand loyalty is the long-term benefit of gaining and maintaining trust.

Although this has always been the case, recent research shows brand loyalty is becoming more important and extending beyond a purely transactional experience.

Now there is more and more emphasis, especially from younger audiences, on building an emotional connection with the brands they choose to support. Authenticity and social causes are a large factor in building a level of trust between a consumer and a brand, impacting directly on the loyalty they have for it. As this relationship has a deeper emotional connection between the customer and brand, if the trust is lost, the long-term loyalty gain has been lost too. 

Why is brand trust and brand loyalty so important?

In a recent Edelman survey, 88% of respondents said that trust was an important factor in buying decisions. 

This alone shows how powerful trust is during the decision-making process. For new customers, the buying decision can involve taking a leap of faith when choosing a brand, influenced by the factors we’ve seen above that help to build trust – such as what they have previously seen or heard about a brand. 

This first experience also influences their perception of trust during future buying decisions. And, as we know, fostering this trust and ensuring that the experiences people have with a brand are positive helps to build loyalty. 

In turn, the loyalty that a brand gains with its customers mean it will benefit from higher customer retention levels. Because satisfied customers will keep returning, so long as that trust is maintained. 

Retaining customers is also more cost-effective than acquiring new ones. With loyal customers likely to spend more and recommend your brand to friends and family, it’s clear to see the importance of trust on a transactional basis.

However, from a social perspective, it is possibly even more important. A brand that loses the trust of its customers can easily find itself quickly losing its reputation, accelerated by social proof and social media. Younger generations especially are happy to vote with their feet. As well as stepping away from brands that lose their trust, they actively voice their support for brands that align with their own values and beliefs.

Why it’s especially important during turbulent times.

As the Giffgaff example shows, there are many unpredictable and uncertain things happening in the world at the moment and brands that acknowledge this and support their customers through it, are the ones that will gain from it. 

With Edelman’s 2022 Trust Barometer already stating that consumer trust is at an all-time low, thanks in part to the pandemic, and distrust in the government and the media, people will turn to brands they see as authentic and trustworthy. 

And with less disposable income, people face a hard choice in their buying decisions. Their trust in a brand can make a difference in whether they remain loyal to them, or seek an alternative. 

As Giffgaff has done, there are ways in which you can help make the buying decision easier for your customers. By fixing their prices for a year, Giffgaff customers can trust that they won’t have to pay more money halfway through the year. 

Ways to build brand trust and loyalty.

To understand how you can build brand trust and loyalty, you first need to understand where you are currently, what your goals are and how you are going to measure and monitor this. This can be hard to do but a good place to start is by listening to your customers, reading reviews and gathering feedback. 

Once you have an idea of how you are going to measure brand trust, here are 3 ways that you can build it:

1. Be consistent in the way you communicate your offer and brand 

Across every customer touchpoint, every experience and interaction that your customers have with your brand should be clear, consistent and live and breathe your brand values. Talk about the benefits, not the features, of your offer. Make it clear that you’re the brand for THEM. This will create consistency, help build an emotional connection with your audience and ensure your brand is seen as authentic. 

2. Invest in customer relationships

Your customers are the people that represent your brand. If you invest time in them, they will invest time in you. From taking the time to have face-to-face conversations with them, to offering loyalty incentives, there are hundreds of ways in which you can build up long-term relationships with your customers. 

3. Create social proof

With a couple of clicks, anyone with access to the internet can find out about your brand, so use this to your advantage by ensuring that what they see is positive. From encouraging customers to leave reviews, interacting with them on social media and utilising customer testimonials, there are a number of ways to ensure that your customers and future customers have a positive perception of your brand. As Jeff Bezos once said – ‘Your brand is what people say about you when you’re not in the room.’ 

Lots of the clients we work with think they are too small to be a brand or that they don’t want to be a brand – they just want to do business. But the truth is, your brand is the thing that attracts people. It’s the look, feel and voice of your business. It’s the story you’re telling. It’s the most valuable tool in your business toolbox!

So, if you think your brand could do with some direction when it comes to building your marketing strategy to enhance brand trust and loyalty, get in touch with us today. 

‘We’re too small to be a brand.’

This is something we heard the other day talking to a client and it really made us think. As marketers, we really need to do a better job of explaining what a brand is and why it’s one of the most valuable assets in business. It shouldn’t be deemed as a scary concept that’s only for big players in the market.

So, there you have it. Inspiration for this month’s blog.

What is a brand?

Branding has been used through the ages. In Ancient Norse, a Scandanavian language, the word “brandr” means “to burn.” Originally, a brand was a burning piece of wood and later described as a torch. By the 1500s, it became common to brand cattle in order to show ownership. Right from the start, branding was all about making your mark, both literally and figuratively. Each branding mark was unique to the cattle ranch itself. They were simple, distinctive and instantly identifiable—the tried and true pillars of any great brand.  

But let’s bring it back to the 21st Century for a moment.

Your brand is the beating heart of your business. It helps shape people’s perception of your entire ethos and offering. It’s the reputation you’re building. It’s the thing that people remember. It’s not just a colour palette and logo. It’s the reason you exist.

Your brand helps people identify what your business offers – the product, the service, the culture – creating value and the opportunity to gain a competitive edge over others in your sector.

Why is a brand important?

The most well-known explanation of a brand is from the business mogul himself, Jeff Bezos: ‘Your brand is what people say about you when you’re not in the room.’ If you do a good job of building your brand and conveying a message that resonates with your audience, it’s likely to be remembered for all of the right reasons. If you don’t, it has an adverse effect.

People develop relationships with brands, which can also help you to build a loyal customer base that draws others in. You can build trust and credibility with the people you’re trying to reach, which can influence buying habits and whether they choose your brand over another.

So – how do we influence perceptions and buying decisions through branding?

4 areas to think about: 

Develop a brand identity and personality:

Think about what you stand for as a business; what’s your purpose, values, and role in the world. Spend time looking at your competitors and where there’s clean space for you to own. And then think about a personality type that feels authentic and likely to resonate with your audience. We use the brand archetype model for this, which our clients love because it makes it very tangible and relatable.

Once you’re happy – build your whole brand identity around it. From tone of voice, look and feel, customer experience – something you can embed throughout the whole organisation.

Create distinctive brand assets:

Brand assets help people recognise and remember you. Use them correctly and they’re a great way of gaining an advantage over your competition. In the words of Ehrenberg-Bass, they are ‘non-brand name elements that can trigger the brand into memory for category buyers.’

Put another way – they are the visual or audio elements that when we see or hear them, make us think of certain brands.

Think Nike’s tick, McDonald’s golden arches, and jingle ‘I’m lovin’ it’ to name but a few. They will help you stand out in crowded buying situations.

Be visible:

Once you have defined your purpose and developed an identity for your brand, you need to be visible. The way that you communicate your offering, the experience you give your customers, and the cultural and value messages you are communicating – all go towards building memory structures in your audience’s mind and start to influence the way they feel about you. 

Marketing is a tool for getting your message heard and consistency is key. A large % of the audience you reach won’t be in the market for what you’re selling at that time, so you need to build the brand over time. And then when they are ready to buy – they choose you.

Brand building can often be a slow burn that doesn’t pay back in the short term but it’s essential if you want to build value in what you’re selling.

Satisfy customers:

The buyer’s journey doesn’t end when the product or service is bought. Once you have a customer, they’ll have an opinion of your brand. In some ways, this is the most important part of the customer journey. If they’re satisfied, you want them to shout about it from the rooftops. If they had a bad experience, you’re in trouble.

Your customers are the most valuable part of your business. Manage their expectations, treat them fairly, and nurture the relationship. It’s in your power to effect whether they remain loyal to your brand and influence others to buy from you, too. 

So – if you’re a small to medium-sized business wanting to have more of an impact in the market and be recognised for the things that really matter – get in touch. It doesn’t have to be a long, expensive process. There’s a framework we use with our clients that gets them clarity in weeks.

To speak to us or book one of our brand clarity workshops, book a call here or email us.

To anyone who doesn’t have ‘marketing’ in their job title, omnichannel can feel like another jargony word that means.. well.. not much at all. 

And then you’ve got the added complexity of wondering what the difference is between integrated and omnichannel marketing. The answer is – not a lot on the face of it but quite a lot under the surface. And the differences are definitely worth noting.

Let’s break it down further.

Integrated marketing relates to the way you communicate your brand story across multiple channels so that it’s consistent and compelling. It’s not necessarily the strategy you lay out at the beginning of the process. It’s more about ensuring everything ties together across your paid, owned, and earned channels. From your website – to your social media pages – to your PR activity. It should all come together seamlessly to give people clarity on what you stand for and what you have to offer.

Depending on your budget, this would be a mix of online and offline marketing and advertising. Or you may be investing solely in digital marketing because that’s the most effective way to connect with your target audience and convert them into customers.

Integrated marketing requires measurement but the nuance here is that you are measuring the performance of each channel on your marketing plan. You need to have tracking in place, a way to consolidate learnings and make informed decisions, but the focus is on the strength of the channel rather than the customer journey. It’s worth noting that your messaging, visual branding, and creative approach – all play a role in the success of the individual channel performance and your overall objectives.

Omnichannel is about considering the customer journey and optimising the brand experience across all touchpoints – including brick-and-mortar locations, events, mobile and online. It requires data and technology, there’s no doubt that. But that shouldn’t be a daunting prospect. Yes, you will need to review your in-house capabilities and adopt new technology if the infrastructure isn’t there. But there are so many CRM (Customer Relationship Management) tools out there now, each with different functionalities to suit your business needs, with varying price tags. You don’t have to be a global enterprise to get this right!

With the use of technology, you can store customer and prospect data, track customer interactions and start to build relationships. It enables you to harness every opportunity and provide a personalised brand experience that we, as humans living in the 21st Century, now expect. Not only does omnichannel make your marketing communications more targeted and personal, but it also enables you to use data more effectively and in turn deliver a better ROI.

So.. integrated and omnichannel marketing are similar in many ways. In fact, we’d say you can’t have an omnichannel strategy that isn’t integrated! But you could have an integrated approach that isn’t omnichannel. Time for a drink I think.

The thing to consider is that people will want to interact with your brand in multiple ways and by taking an omnichannel approach, you can enhance the experience and give them what they want. People expect your marketing communications to reflect up-to-date knowledge of their preferences, interactions, and purchases. Omnichannel delivers on this demand by helping brands present a consistent, informed message that offers a seamless experience through multiple channels; which helps to build positive perceptions, customer loyalty, and retention. 

We’re about to bring this to life further by looking at a brand that does omnichannel oh-so-well. Don’t be put off by the magnitude of this brand. Yes, it’s a global success, but omnichannel isn’t just for the big guys and girls out there. The example just so happens to nicely demonstrate the power of an omnichannel strategy and how brands use it to fuel their success.

IKEA – a real-life example of omnichannel excellence.

Back in 1943, a 17-year-old Swedish guy called Ingvar Kamprad opened his first tiny brick and mortar store. Now IKEA counts 424 physical stores in 52 countries around the world.

If this was just a physical store chain, the world probably wouldn’t know IKEA as it does now. It’s a huge success but its adoption of forward-thinking digital strategies and customer-centricity, makes it a brand that people can’t get enough of.

In 2017, IKEA launched what they call an ‘online shopping interactive catalogue’, as well as a shopping virtual assistant web application.

This is so much more than an eCommerce store that consists of a catalogue, a number of buy buttons, and a checkout page. It has a gift registry app, which is smart, taking into account that many young people will want to shop for wedding or homecoming gifts there.

Italso has a planning tool for those who are decorating a house or an apartment. Their customer service team is also on hand to help you – and for free. If that is not a customer-oriented strategy, then what is?

They have a blog and forum full of design ideas and entire projects that use IKEA products. 

The online catalogue with the brick and mortar stores, are united with an inventory management system because every product page shows the physical store nearby where the item is in stock (or out of stock, that also happens).

IKEA is present across all major social networks. Their Instagram feed is full of brilliant design ideas and they give product information too, so you can easily locate the item you liked in the catalogue and buy it. There and then.

They also have an extensive mobile app. It has a shopping list app integrated, a barcode scanner for easier navigation in a physical store, a place where you can register for the IKEA Family club, a special offer page, and an online catalogue. You can also search by photo. Which has been used by members of our team regularly. We like this. A lot.

We also love the IKEA brand and its approach to marketing. You can really feel the brand’s personality across every touchpoint. They don’t take themselves too seriously but they do enough to build credibility within the category. They’re heavily weighted towards Instagram which feels like an obvious place for them to play given they’re a visual brand and their target audience is there. Here’s a link to a campaign we particularly like. IKEA has worked with a normal, down-to-earth family to really bring its value and offering to life. They don’t have to talk about product benefits because it’s done for them in this story. It’s authentic, it’s real, it’s credible and it’s heartwarming.

If you want some help planning out your marketing strategy we’d love to help.

Book a call with our founder, Candace, and let’s talk!

When the stats tell us that 89% of shoppers stay loyal to a brand that shares their values, how can businesses respond?

When you bring it right back to basics, at its core, a brand consists of three component parts; purpose (why you exist), values, identity. Being really clear on these things creates a springboard for brands to create their unique proposition, positioning and a consistent end-to-end customer experience (including comms). This is the stuff that people get to know, like and trust. It’s what people relate and connect to. It’s the reason we pick one brand over another. It creates value.

And it’s more important than ever for brands to get this right now, as we’re a lot savvier to what they say and do. Our expectations are noticeably higher. 

So when you’re looking at creating a brand that will appeal to your audience and keep them loyal, here are some questions to ask yourself:

What do you stand for and why?

Think about a brand experience that you’ve really not enjoyed or one that you believe conveys values that you don’t agree with. How does it make you feel? Now flip these feelings and turn them into values that you want to build into your own brand.

Make a list starting with the negative brand experiences you’ve had or would hate to be associated with, and turn those into positive values you’d like to cultivate in your brand. From here pick your top three values that mean the most to you and that you’d like to focus your energies on.

What do your customers care about?

Whether you have a large customer base or you’re just getting started, whether you’re focusing on retaining existing customers, winning new ones, or both – understanding what they care about is probably the most important thing you can do. 

If you have customers, speak to them. Most people are willing to have a conversation, especially if it means improving the service you’re providing or the product you’re offering. Here you can start to understand what they want from the product or service you offer but more importantly, what values they hold that your brand can appeal to.

The CEO of Starbucks, Howard Schultz, nicely summarised a brand’s connection with its customers when he said: “If people believe they share values with a company, they will stay loyal to the brand.”

What’s your brand promise?

This is the underlying guarantee that you’re offering to your customers by doing business with you. It’s something that everyone in your organisation should internalise, and it should come through easily in your messaging, preferably as one of the first things your audience reads. Your brand promise must be aligned with both your brand values and your brand experience.

How will you convey this in your messaging?

This is the voice of your business — what you need to say and how you say it. Brand messaging includes things like your tagline, positioning statement, brand promise statement, key messages, and marketing copy. Messaging strategy is an important part of brand building, since the talking points you use and the writing style you adopt help define your brand. Your brand’s personality should come through in your messaging, which helps to connect with people on an emotional level. It should always be relevant, consistent, and true to your brand.

What experience will you give people?

This is the way in which your customers interact with the products or services you offer. How you deliver your offering is critical since the experience your customers have with your business solidifies their opinions and contributes to positive reviews and word of mouth. To create a successful brand experience, make sure that the quality and performance of your offerings, as well as the process of interacting with your company, are strongly aligned with your branding.

Carefully developing your brand is key to the success of a business. It takes effort to build and maintain all of the component parts of your brand, but it’s a process and investment that helps your business grow and stay strong… so it’s well worth it.

For help in building your brand, we’d love to hear from you. Contact us today and let’s talk.

I was lucky enough to escape my young kids for a few nights recently. Without the sound of ‘Mummy’ on repeat like a scratched CD (yes I am old enough to remember what those are), no meals to cook or nappies to change. It was pure bliss.

At dinner on the first night, we got chatting to a lovely man called Bill. Bill runs his own business, specifically in the trade of selling data to pharmaceutical companies. He’s a programmer in fact, so had cleverly found a way to collect data from across the globe and sell it to companies that go on to use it for research purposes to fuel their own growth. 

The point of the story is, as he was building his business, he didn’t charge much at all for his data. In fact, in the early days, he was collecting so much data for so many different types of organisations – he exhausted all of his resources and didn’t get much traction. He didn’t have a good sense of what type of business he should be targeting, what his company (brand) stood for, he wasn’t visible to anyone, he certainly wasn’t doing anything consistently and ultimately hadn’t built up any credibility in the market so lost out to his competitors. Selling his data relatively cheaply was the only way he could survive. 

As I looked intently at Bill telling me this story, I thought; ‘How on earth have you made this business a success?’ And then the penny dropped as he went on to say, ‘… it was only 5 years down the line when I researched where the biggest need was and honed in on a specific customer profile, positioned myself more clearly in the market, communicated my brand consistently so that people got to know, like and trust it – that I realised how much my data was actually worth.’ Halleluiah.

That little story was so significant. When I introduced myself and my business, his opening line was; ‘Oh I know absolutely nothing about marketing, we should swap numbers.’ Well Bill, I disagree. You know everything about marketing!

As we enter into a phase of inflation, where rising costs are a hot topic across the country – it’s important to think about how your brand will fair in light of your marketing efforts to date. Back when I worked in corporate, there were often discussions with senior leadership about the trade-off between short term performance marketing activity to drive ROI vs. building the brand for long term gains. It’s never an easy conversation to have when a business wants to grow quickly, but as marketers we all know how important brand is when it comes to a consumer’s buying journey and decision making.

That said, it does depend where you are on your business journey. With limited resource and budget, it’s always sensible to focus on the low hanging fruit i.e. existing customers, first party data lists, search marketing. But no matter where you start, being clear on what your brand stands for, who you’re trying to reach, what they care about and how you build loyal customer relationships – are the foundations every brand needs to develop effective marketing strategies.

Going back to Bill for a minute. It took him 5 years to realise the error of his ways. And I while I love the fact he turned his business around, creating a launch pad for your brand doesn’t have to be a long, laborious, expensive task. Going through the motions of getting laser focused on who you want to attract, what they care about and how your brand has the perfect solution for them – is powerful, meaningful and impactful.

Once you build the foundations, the rest of your marketing efforts fall into place much more easily. For example:

Marketing has changed over the years but the foundations haven’t. Bill thought he had no clue about marketing but in actual fact, he knows everything about marketing. He’s built a credible brand that solves a real-life problem. His customers pay him for the solution he has built because they need it and trust it. 

Be more Bill. 

If you need help getting crystal clear on how your brand can stand out in a competitive market, we can take you through our launch pad process that will help set your brand up for long term success. Get in touch and let’s talk.