With only 3 weekends to Christmas, it’s time to get a few of your ducks in a row if you haven’t done so already. Here’s a few things that might help in getting December off to a great start…
- The festive season is not just for retailers
Even if you don’t sell retail products, you can still promote to and engage your audience at this time of year. What about creating an offer you can tailor to the season? Or ask your database to share the cheer and give you suggestions for new services or products? You could ask your customers to upload a picture of their team in festive outfits using your product or service to your social media pages. Or perhaps find a way to count down the 12 days of Christmas? It doesn’t just have to be for the department store sales – you too can connect with your customers and followers.
- Santa uses his branding well, so should you
This time of year is a great time to thank your client base (and your key suppliers and staff), be that with a card or perhaps a personalised gift. And it’s a perfect opportunity to let your brand come to life for them. Get your cards made with your branding strong and proud (digital printing is really affordable now) and if you’re buying a gift, find ways to link this with your branding (for example, rather than a pen, you could do a branded cup cake). Get clever, your audience will appreciate your effort.
- Being social takes planning
With January only weeks away, you need to have your next round of blog posts decided and planned out, along with your posting strategy for your social media accounts. Take the time to review the stats and find out when is the best time to post to each for you and what seems to get the best reactions and tailor next year’s posts accordingly. Even writing 3 months of content in advance can take a huge amount of pressure off – and will allow you to look and feel more strategic about things. With many folks away in the few weeks over Christmas and New Year, it’s a great time to get ahead of the pack.
Hopefully you’ll get some time off to reflect on a great year and look forward to an even better one in 2015. Enjoy.
This week we were reminded of why a ‘PR stunt’ needs to be thought through from every angle before releasing it into the wild – literally. Sydney PR firm, ‘Free Publicity’, sent live butterflies to journalists to promote the DVD release of ‘Under the Dome’.
Now, whilst technically ‘on brand’ (butterflies form a major theme of the show), sending a journalist a live butterfly in an envelope is not cool (even if “great care was taken” to ensure their safety).
It certainly gained some publicity, but not the good kind. It also didn’t help that the PR firm managed a clanger of a typo in their pre-release (asking if the journalist would be in office to “except” the delivery). Cut-through is one thing, but sensitivity to how your idea might be received cannot be overlooked (nor can spell-check). And, given this is actually not a new idea (yes, some other firm did this back in August), it begs the question ‘what on earth were they thinking?’ There’s some serious damage-control going on now in the firm and I suspect some disappointment they didn’t run with a ‘snow dome’ option instead.
PR is a tricky and fickle thing. Get it right and you can have media stories galore about your product and brand. Get it wrong and well, the opportunity flies out the door.
If you need some PR ideas to get your product noticed (that don’t involve sending live animals in the mail), we’d be happy to help.
There’s so many for and against arguments it’s hard to take a side on this one, but it is a question that comes up a lot within marketing circles – is it a bad thing to use a stock image?
Well, as usual, the answer is, it depends.
The case for:
- if your budget is tight and if you have a specialised product or service where the chances of anyone else using the same stock image to promote their similar service is minimal, then sometimes stock images can suit your purpose (see my cute fox stock images as an example)
- if you’re preparing a presentation and it needs some life added but you don’t own enough images, stock shots can play a good part here
- your facebook posts will always do better if there’s an image involved, and now that they’re giving you free access to Shutterstock images for that precise purpose, there’s a great reason to keep your info fresh using stock imagery (see the quickbrownfox facebook page post on this for more detail)
- it’s also true for other social media like LinkedIn and blogs – imagery can really bring these to life, so adding stock imagery can be a good way to achieve this without breaking the bank
The case against:
- at the end of the day we’re talking about your brand image. So using someone else’s interpretation of that might be at odds with your purpose. In the quickbrownfox case, we are unlikely to be able to get a suitable fox to provide an appropriate facial expression at an achievable cost, so in this instance it falls into the ‘case for’. But generally your brand will need to showcase a skill, a mood, your people or give an insight into your brand’s personality which should come from within, not from an image library trying to hit multiple marks
- photography is not as expensive as you think. At minimum, you need a hero image (or 2) and some support shots that help bring your brand to life so we’re not talking a 5 day shoot here necessarily. You will have invested in getting your logo, website design, copy writing, and collateral materials right – don’t let it all down with a stock image of ‘people shaking hands’ or ‘happy smiling corporate people’
- you will own these images and no one else can use them without your permission. So you won’t find your competitors using exactly the same shot to promote their (perhaps inferior) product offer
- imagery is emotive – it’s supposed to be. So make sure you don’t compromise on the emotion you evoke with your consumer – they’ll see right through it
At the end of the day it will come down to a combination of budget and intent. If you can, you should always aim to take and own your own shots. But for the right purpose and in the right circumstance, a stock shot might just do the trick.
We thought you might enjoy these helpful tips the folks at Marketing magazine shared:
1. Don’t get their brand name wrong > Check the spelling of their brand, especially weird use of caps and their nuances (eg PayPal, quickbrownfox, eBay). Note that goes for the client’s name too!
2. Don’t quote price ranges > If you say the cost is between $500 and $800 – they’ll always hear the lower amount. Same goes for time frames. Use exact numbers to avoid disappointment all round
3. Don’t say ‘but’ > Using ‘but’ can sound like you’re not going to resolve the issue. Try using ‘and’ or moving straight to solutions “Monday isn’t possible – I’ll get priority on your project and have it by Tuesday 10am – is that ok with you?”
4. Don’t go in blind > Got a new client or contact? Don’t say “And what do you do?”. Do a little homework and then get them to elaborate…”From my research I understand you do X – tell me more”
5. Don’t put the ‘A Team’ on the project > Telling them they’ve got the ‘A Team’ suggests you also have a ‘B Team’ who they might get next time. Instead tell them your philosophy is to hire only the best people at what they do and you’ve cherry-picked the team members that will best suit this specific project’s needs to get the best result.
While most of us would never do any of the things listed above, I bet a few of you have had it done to you!
It’s nearly here! Time to kick back and relax and reflect on the year that was and take a moment for some serious R&R. But before you reach for that tempting glass of eggnog, here’s a few items you may wish to tick off your list…
- Nurture your relationships
Now’s a great time to contact your clients (and suppliers) to do a yearly wrap up with them. Rather than making a last ditch effort to ‘sell them’, instead take the time to nurture your relationship with them. For your key clients, consider taking a gift in personally or inviting them to lunch/dinner/drinks. Take the time to talk about their year, their needs and their future so you can better understand their business and be of greater benefit to them in the new year
- Spread the yuletide cheer
If you’re sending Christmas cards out, sign them personally and ensure they’re mailed by no later 12 December as many folks go on leave early as part of school holidays (plus many like to showcase their cards in their office). So if you’ve not already sent these out, it’s time to officially panic and get thee to the post office. If you’re doing an online version, try to make it feel personal and consider making it a little trickier than ‘here’s something we created in Word’. The idea is to let them know you appreciate their custom and value the relationship. Now is not the time to go all cheap on them
- Don’t forget your staff
Make sure they know how valuable they are and how much you appreciate their contribution to the success of your business. Take the time to genuinely thank them (be it via a personal card with a small gift or a get together)
- Let your community know your plans
Add a footer to your email with the office closure dates asap (as early in December as you can), send an email to your database advising office closure dates and how to contact you if there’s an emergency. And, if you have social media sites, make sure you notify that community too of your pending office closure so they are kept in the loop. Consider using a message scheduling program (like Hootsuite) to pre-load some messages prior to Christmas and over the break to keep your profile up without having to put the eggnog down
- Get ahead of the game
Many businesses take this time period to wind down and take a holiday. If that’s not you, then use this unusually quiet time in the office to get ahead of the game and do some pre-planning for the next couple of quarters. Spend some time researching your competitors, other markets and your own plans to see if there’s an opportunity you can work into 2013
Then sit back with that eggnog and enjoy whatever time you may have to celebrate and reflect on your last year.