As the country gets used to lockdown and the majority of people are now working from home (WFH) we at Rare have come up with some tips to make the transition as smooth and productive as possible.
This is crucial. Make one space in your home your new work environment, this could be your kitchen table, a desk in a spare room or perhaps you already have a home office. This allows you to have other spaces in your home that are work-free zones. Having one space that is your new office allows you to stay focused, it limits distractions and keeps your home feeling like a home. Allow time to set up a space that feels comfortable and productive and try to avoid having any distractions like TV’s, game consoles and if possible, children and pets.
It may seem tempting to have a lie in or change your normal working hours but it’s best to stick to your normal routine. By sticking to your normal hours you stay motivated, connected and in control of this temporary situation, ready for life to return to normal. If you work 9-5 then make sure you are at your home desk for 9 and logged in. Set a morning meeting with your team or a colleague to create a routine and stay motivated. Make sure you take your lunch break away from your workspace and if you normally finish at 5, log out, leave work.
If you are having to home-school whilst working from home then allow for flexibility but keep a structure. Explain the situation and what you have to do for the day. Create a schedule of office hours so your children understand when you are available. And if all else fails get them making the ‘office’ teas!
It’s good to take a step back and take a moment. When you are confined to your house it can at times feel overwhelming and you can start to feel restless. The Government is allowing everyone to take one form of exercise a day, for example, a run, walk or cycle. Use this opportunity to break up your working day or to help start or finish it. When you do take a break, leave your home/work environment and go into a different room or space, leave the emails alone and really have a break.
In all honesty, it’s never been easier to work from home. We are in the age of technology, it feels like every week there is a new app or piece of must-have software. Even now in lockdown everybody is downloading and using the Houseparty app to stay connected.
Here is a list of the ones we at Rare are using to help stay connected and productive.
Take advantage of this time. Take a look at your company or business and take stock. This is a great opportunity to see what you could improve, what is working what you would like to do differently. Make lists, have team meetings and be honest. Use this time to make plans.
If you need any advice or have a future project in mind but need a little help to get it off the ground, then please get in touch.
What is the value of print? There’s been a lot of talk about whether or not print is dead and the question of which is better; print advertisements or digital advertisements? Truth is, it’s not a question of which but more a question of when… When is digital advertising beneficial and when is print advertising beneficial?
In this blog, we want to show you the true value of print, when you should use it, and how to get the best ROI. Before we get into that, we’ve covered off some of the myths surrounding print and digital marketing.
“I have a young target audience, so I don’t need print” – Well actually that’s where you’re wrong. According to MarketingProfs, 92% of 18-23-year-olds find it easier to read printed content than digital.
“Email marketing performs better than print” – In fact, the response rate to direct-mail
marketing was 37% higher than for email in the last report from MarketingProfs.
“Everyone uses the internet to find information now” – That’s not so true. Although they will most likely search for your product or brand, the report from MarketingProfs shows that consumers trust print ads 34% more than search engine ads for making purchasing decisions.
If your business is restricted/specific to geographical areas then print can be a great way to focus your advertising and spend where it matters. After all the internet is called the World Wide Web for
a reason and if you own a takeaway that will only deliver within a 5-mile radius then reaching people outside of that proximity won’t add any value to your business. However, ensuring that every house within that 5-mile radius is aware of your business and has a menu could increase your brand awareness and revenue almost immediately.
Another example might be a medical payment plan or some form of a medicinal product. In this case, your targeted audience may be of an older generation which means they’re less likely to be scrolling the internet or have a Facebook page. Not only that, but senior citizens are known to be more likely to read long-page copy. So why not advertise to them with a leaflet in the waiting room of the pharmacy or doctor’s office? This way you’re reaching them directly where they’re most likely to want to read the information you have to offer.
Print is particularly useful when your target audience are members of a group or an association. Members of these associations will often read their publications to learn more about upcoming events and classes. They are usually distributed at member meetings and the readers have a lot of trust in these publications and are interested in what they have to say. This presents a great opportunity for printed advertisements.
The best businesses will often use a mixture of digital and print advertisements within their campaigns to get the best response and ROI from both online and physical readers. However, in a world where people are becoming more oblivious to digital advertising, publications hold a certain prestige that you can’t get elsewhere. Not only does this tangible platform resonate well with luxury consumers and clients but in certain industries, you may find that it performs much better. For example, you might find that construction workers would prefer to have a technical booklet rather
than a technical CD. This way they can read it on-site when required and they won’t need to visit the office.
Investing in print advertisements doesn’t mean you have to put your ad in the paper. The world has moved on! Thanks to smart technology and advances in AR and image recognition, you could offer something that immediately sets you apart from your competitors. Whether it’s as simple as putting a QR code on your print or something more intricate. Glacial and Motorola have both got some great examples of this. Glacial made a full-page ad with salt particles which reduce the freezing point of water. This meant that readers could soak the ad in water, wrap it around a bottle and put it in the freezer for a quick cold beer. Whereas Motorola went a completely different way about things. They teamed up with Wired to create a clever print ad that allowed you to change the colour of the phone on the page by pressing buttons.
Unlike digital advertisements that get forgotten about, print is still there. This is why print often has a much higher ROI than digital. For example, most of us have probably received a Domino’s leaflet at some point. Chances are, every time you see that leaflet, you want to order Domino’s, don’t you? That’s the trick to print that you just don’t quite get from digital advertising.
When those publications live in doctors’ offices or other public spaces, they get a longer shelf life and will be seen by more people. Whereas online, you are relying on people to know who you are and already have your business on their mind.
The world has become much more environmentally conscious than it used to be, and rightfully so, but what does this mean for print? Well, contrary to what you might believe, paper isn’t as harmful as you would imagine. Love Paper is a global campaign promoting the sustainable and attractive attributes of print and paper and is supported by many industries. According to Two Sides:
In conclusion, we would always advise that you find a complementary balance between print and digital for a multidimensional approach that will gain you the highest ROI but here are the main factors to take from this.
If you want advice on how to put the best marketing campaign together and include print advertisements, or you need help with making your print engaging then please get in touch.
As valentines day approaches, more and more businesses are jumping on the bandwagon with campaigns to entice potential customers to spend with them. Whether you love it or hate it, holidays such as this one offer a great opportunity for marketers to get creative and using popular topics to create messages that resonate with the masses. No matter what business you are in, here’s how you can make valentines day work for you.
You may not offer a ‘romantic’ product such as chocolate or flowers but that’s no reason as to why you can’t benefit from the 650 million pounds or more that shoppers spend in Great Britain every year for this event.
If your company is able to offer a ‘2 for 1’ deal then go for it! Don’t be scared to play around with your wording either! Remember, it is valentines day so make it clear that’s why you’re offering the deal and don’t forget to share it on social media. If you have the budget for it, you could even make it a competition.
When sharing across social media, make sure you research the most popular hashtags, or better yet you could create your own that is specific to your company and offer. Keep in mind that hashtags don’t have to include your brand name, but they should be unique, memorable and clearly associated with your brand.
If you do offer a product or service that is perfect for valentines day then you need to decide which product to focus on. Give your customers a little help finding their partner the perfect gift.
Create a gift guide, offer a discount coupon and be sure to link to your products so they can immediately buy the gift they like, most importantly, from you.
For a more traditional marketing route, take a look at the ‘Heartfelt can happen anywhere’ campaign from MoonPig. We loved it.
‘Sharing is caring’
Share the love on social media with some graphics to support the holiday. This is a great way to bring attention to your profile and stand out from some of your competitors without spending much budget.
Consider changing your cover photos to something fun and playful, being mindful of your other marketing collateral.
Remember, shouting about valentines day is great but your brand still needs to be instantly recognisable.
Even if your product is a hard sell on valentines day, you can still share some of your expertise.
Why not put some useful content out there and relate it to the holiday (just like we are doing now). This could be in the form of an email marketing campaign, a ‘how-to’ video or written content such
as a blog on your website. For example, a company that sells food might put out a video that teaches people how to cook a romantic meal; this still relates to valentines day but it also gives them an opportunity to relay it back to their products.
If you’re social media campaigns need a boost then it may be time to consider some paid advertising. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, Youtube and Pinterest all offer opportunities for paid social.
Facebook is still the most popular networking site and it can offer some really low CPC’s. At the same time, videos are becoming more popular too with Youtube offering advertising for as little as 3p per view. Give us a call and we will advise which platform is best for you.
Consider whether you would like to gain awareness or get more leads, and which will gain you the highest ROI for your budget. Keep a close eye on campaigns, making sure you’re spending money on the right messaging to get the highest conversions.
Valentine’s day is becoming more inclusive to everyone. Think about how that could benefit your business, whether you’re a childminder or you own a pet store, you can still get in on the fun!
Think about who your advertising to, and if that’s pet owners, then maybe focus on their love for their best friend. How about a matching necklace to go with their dog collar? (Yes that is a thing).
Always consider your audience and your messaging carefully before crafting your campaign and make sure that whatever you do, it’s still in line with your branding.
Ask people to get involved! Creating a unique hashtag for your marketing campaign is a brilliant way to promote your service/products on social media.
The best way for these type of campaigns to work is by asking a question, or getting people to send their story or picture and include your hashtag. ‘What is your first date story?’ for example. If you have the budget you could even ask people to send their photos and offer a prize to the ‘cutest couple’. All of which will help encourage people to share your business and brand.
Remember, just because you have created a unique hashtag for your campaign, doesn’t mean you can’t still use the trending hashtags. In fact, this is a great way to help your message reach more people.
Not every business has a huge following that they can get to engage with their campaigns, particularly start-up businesses. Why not partner up with another business that compliments yours and both reap the benefits?
For example, if you own a nail salon then you could partner up with a local makeup artist or a hair salon to offer a full beauty treatment in time for valentines day. By offering both services at a slightly discounted rate you can both double your reach and potentially gain some new customers.
Remember, it’s highly unlikely that all of your customers are in a relationship. So what can you do for the ‘singletons’?
In addition to addressing couples, send some love to your single followers as well. Focus on deals that apply to everyone – no matter what his or her relationship status is.
In order to make this strategy work, you need to show that your product doesn’t have to be shared with a partner. Especially if your advertisements usually revolve around happy families.
If it’s relevant and suitable to your business then why not organise an event?
Matchmaking events have become a popular practice in February. Even some Asda supermarkets have been known to get in on this before with their ‘singles nights’. Pick up a bottle of milk or a future partner and possibly some flowers… most likely from Asda. Win-win for everyone!
Whatever you do for your business this valentines day, make it memorable. Here’s a few more ideas:
If you would like a great ‘partner’ to help with seasonal marketing campaigns just give us a ‘swipe’. We are looking for someone interested in brand strategy, event planning, email marketing, social media, PPC advertising.
Lots of love, Rare
Christmas is almost here! Office workers are winding down, looking forward to the festive season and office parties are in full swing. For many businesses, this is traditionally a quiet time during which there’s not much to do and most people are twiddling their thumbs and counting down the days. However, if you’re a marketer or a business owner, now is the perfect time to start planning for 2020 to make sure you hit the ground running, miles ahead of your competitors on 2nd January. Here are our top tips for using the last five working days of 2019 to your advantage.
1.Update Customer Profiles
Developing customer profiles will help you to focus your efforts on the correct people and help you to get the best results from your activities. You will probably already have these in place but you might not have reviewed them for a while. This quiet time couldn’t be better for conducting this research and making sure all of your activities and strategies are on point in the New Year. Use Google Analytics to find out more about the people who are visiting and engaging with your website and social media channels. Can you make your website more relevant or easier to use? Sales team data will also help you to see patterns and trends to get a better understanding of who your customers are and where they go. This will help you to form an idea of your customer journey too so your marketing can be used to guide them through this process.
2.Think About Your Content Strategy
Interesting, informative and relevant content is an extremely valuable part of any marketing strategy. Spend time mapping content around each stage of the customer journey to provide the information your customers are looking for and set yourself as an expert. Think about blogs, videos, images and infographics to maximise engagement. If you write a piece of content every day for the next seven days, that’s a few months of content ready and something you don’t have to worry about in the New Year! This content will also fuel your social media channels so getting it in place now will be highly beneficial. Your content strategy should also include promotions you’re going to run throughout the year. Look at key dates in 2020 that relate to your products and services. Adding National Days, special events and holidays into your content calendar will help you to think of content ideas that will create interest in your brand. This approach means you can be far more proactive and leave your competitors playing catch up because they’ve forgotten all about days you will have been promoting for weeks before it even falls on their radar.
3.Look at the upcoming trends for 2020
You can never do enough research. Look at emerging trends in your industry and spend time looking at how you can latch onto these in the New Year. Does your current marketing strategy lend itself to those trends? Or do you need to change course to make sure you’re ahead of the curve? Which marketing activities are set to get the most engagement next year? Make sure you pay particular interest to the buying habits of customers in your industry and the tools you can put in place to influence their decisions and set your business as the market leader. With the rest of the year being packed with calls, emails and meetings, now is the time to make sure you put that downtime to use and understand your customers as much as possible. Google Trends is a great tool that allows you to see how often relevant keywords, subjects and phrases have been searched for during a specific period of time. Knowing this information will help you to refine your content and make sure your business appears in those searches.
4.Take a Closer Look at Your Competitors
When was the last time you had a detailed look at what your competitors are up to? With daily tasks getting in the way, finding the time to look at what others are doing can be difficult. Most businesses are guilty of focusing so much on our own promotions that we sometimes forget that some of our target audience is being engaged by more creative, interesting or relevant campaigns than our own. You might find that more people are engaged by your activity but it’s good information to have! Is your competition utilising their website in a better way than you to guide customers through the sales funnel? Are they more proactive on social media and responding to comments? Looking closely at all of these elements will help you to tune in to what others are doing and start thinking about how you could do better or identify the elements you do best.
5.Align Your Team
If you spend the last few working days before Christmas preparing your strategies and activities, if you don’t have your team behind you and ready to get going, you’re still going to find it difficult to hit the ground running. The greatest long-term competitive advantage of any company is its talent. Your team have a wealth of knowledge and expertise so put it to good use! Make sure you keep them informed of everything you’re doing so that they can implement activities and engage with customers who will feel more confident in your staff and business as they display their knowledge by providing relevant, quality information that offers real value.
Most importantly, once you’ve taken all of these steps, you can relax and enjoy your break. What better feeling than to leave the office on 20th December knowing that you’re ready to tackle the New Year head on miles ahead of your competitors and with your team fully on board?
As we reach the end of 2019 it’s a great time to provide a quick update on life here at Rare and to look ahead to our plans for 2020.
Our new home
We have moved! The lease on our premises in Attercliffe expired at the end of November and we decided to look for a more creative space. After a long search and no less than 12 viewings we found the perfect space at Bells Square in the city centre.
Once a warehouse, Bells Square reminds us a little of Aizlewood’s Mill where we resided for the first 15 years of business. Our new home is a light, airy environment and a perfect creative space to support our future ambitions (more on that later).
A new brand
Our relocation also provided an opportunity for us to evolve our brand as we wanted to refocus the business on our core strengths as a creative and digital agency.
Our Head of Client Services, Joanne, led us through a detailed process of brand workshops, internal discussions and creative development resulting in the updated brand you see on this website and throughout our offices.
The update is an evolution of our old logo with a sympathetic look back to our roots.
The new tagline ‘Connected Creativity’ neatly reflects our ethos of offering fully integrated solutions to support our clients’ business objectives. Why not have a look at the ‘About’ section of our new website for more about our brand story?
I have taken over the full-time leadership of the business from Steve (my father) as he takes a step back to enjoy his retirement after 15 years at the helm. He is continuing to work with Rare as a strategic consultant on major client projects. My sincere thanks go to Steve for his strong leadership and the support/guidance he has given me as we have made this transition.
I am delighted to welcome Myke Meynell to the board as Technical Director. Myke has been with Rare for 5 years and I am excited that we will be leading the business on the next stage of its journey together.
2019 has been a year of some disruption with a number of staff changes and an office move! I hope that 2020 will be a year of consolidation and consistency.
Our new client wins mean that we need to strengthen the team, and as such we are recruiting for a Senior Creative, a PHP Developer and a Senior Account Executive/Account Manager.
We look like having a very strong start to 2020 and we are looking forward to building on both ours, and our clients’ success during the year.
Rare will be closing for the Christmas break at 5.30pm on Friday 20th December and will re-open in the new year on Thursday 2nd January 2020.
Best wishes for Christmas and the New Year.
As the days get colder, and the nights get longer, it reminds us that we have almost reached the end of yet another great year here at Rare. After celebrating 22 successful years of business, we want to end this year with a December to Remember.
Our official company anniversary was on the 22nd of November and what a busy year it has been! In these past 12 months, we’ve taken on two new members of staff including head of client services, Joanne who has over 25 years of experience in the industry and has brought a wealth of knowledge and expertise to the Rare team. We’ve also taken on web developer Matthew Poole whose main role has recently revolved around building our new website to ensure the best possible experience for our clients. We’re sure he’d love to know what you think of it. There have been plenty more changes over the past year which you can read more about in Chris’ blog, and we’ve done all of this whilst keeping up with all the hard work we do to seamlessly develop and deliver outstanding brand experiences for our clients.
Looking back at the work we’ve done throughout 2019
This brings us on to mention that we’ve been working with Prasino through 2019 to launch their new range of Prasino Smart Stoves. We’ve implemented a complete launch strategy and brand direction, supported by creative design, web development, written content and social media. They also exhibited at the Homebuilding and Renovating Show back in September where we designed a dynamic stand to help promote their products and ran a competition that aided their strategy. It looks like we’ve not been the only busy ones! We’re certainly look forward to continuing to support them throughout 2020.
We’ve also developed a completely new strategy for one of our long-term clients, Protec International Ltd. This included identifying their audience to develop 2 major key campaigns that will be rolled out next year with their exciting new product launches. Make sure you keep an eye out for those.
As well as tending to our current clients and all their interesting new projects, we’ve more recently taken on work for Keepmoat Homes with new creative for on-site signage to help elevate the brand.
Some of the other work we’ve done this year includes literature development for OSL Cutting Technologies and working with Elevation Recruitment to add new functionality to their website, amend their job application process, and improve the UX of the site.
All that said, at Rare, we know it takes a lot more than a fancy brand and keeping clients happy to run a successful business. Our genuine enthusiasm to achieve great things is what drives us to build strong relationships based on mutual respect and shared success. This is why we’d like to say thank you to you, our clients (old and new) as well as our suppliers that have aided us to keep doing what we do. After all, we couldn’t have done any of it without you.
Therefore, we’re inviting all of our clients and suppliers to take the opportunity to have a look around our new offices in the New Year. We’d love if you could pop in for a coffee and a chat. No call required, just come and see us!
Wishing you all a Merry Christmas and a happy New Year! We hope to see you soon.
Customer experience should be an integral part of any business, and should be defined as creating the most positive experience throughout the entirety of a business relationship, which is likely to create repeat and loyal customers.
Put simply, no business (no matter how good your products are) can exist without customers who feel valued. This is why all companies should be putting the customer right at the centre of their thoughts- this applies to both existing customers, as well as potential new ones.
Over the last couple of years- and according to a survey by Bloomberg- delivering a great customer experience has become a top priority, with consumers and businesses alike looking to build relationships that are based on trust, mutual respect and getting things done (when you say you’re going to do them.)
In recent studies, its become glaringly obvious that while a huge majority of companies believe they are offering a “superior service”, only a small percentage of customers believe they are receiving that level of service. So, where’s the discord?
There’s one simple answer to this. Customer expectations are rising, and companies aren’t keeping up the pace with innovative and engaging ways to interact with customers.
In a time when the customer has access to a wealth of information online, it’s imperative to provide a better service than your competitors, otherwise your customers will move away from your brand. Not a nice thought when you can see all the hard work that’s going in to actually finding new customers in the first place.
The best way to ensure your service is actually perceived as “superior” by those outside your office walls, is to embed your values, company goals, and staff satisfaction in your culture. Do your members of staff understand the importance of creating a great customer experience? Do customers deal with multiple members of staff- if so, do they know the company goals? Do your staff feel valued, and does that affect their attitude towards giving your customers the absolute best level of service? Are people in your organisation creating emotional connections with customers to build long-lasting relationships, or is the focus more on quick-wins to hit short-term KPIs? Are all your members of staff mentally and physically well so they’re at the top level of performance? All these things matter, rather than just “being nice” to your customers.
All these questions will lead you to a conclusion on whether customers can even start to get a “good” service, never mind a “superior” service.
The overriding factor in all this is understanding who your customers are. Where do they engage with your brand, and what are they expecting from you? Once engaged with your brand, you must do all in your power to proactively capture their feedback and make them feel valued. Take the time to treat your members of staff as ‘Internal Customers’ and actively encourage them to provide feedback on their experiences and implement change when necessary. Your staff are on the front line of the business, and will be best-equipped to know where the pinch-points are that are making the service average rather than excellent.
If there’s one thing to do away with now, it’s the sense of a quick-win sale. As with personal friendships, it takes time to build trust, compassion and a full understanding of the relationship, and this must be applied in the business world. Customers will see straight through any attempts to ‘get them over the line’ and will inevitably go somewhere else (most likely to your biggest competitor) to seek the kind of service they’ve come to expect.
Away from formal strategies, company goals, and creating a brilliant culture, indulge in books around body language, how to listen (actually listen, not just pretending you are whilst waiting for a gap to shoehorn your next big thought into the conversation) and emotional intelligence (EQ.) EQ is such a big thing now (and is so vital to any form of relationship) that anyone would be a fool not to look at the massive value it adds to your offering.
By doing some, if not all, of these things, you can start to measure the ROI of investing more time in a great customer experience. Then, sit back and watch the top and bottom line of your business grow, as customers won’t be able to wait to flock to your business.