News and views.

Is rebranding always the right option?

New Year is always a time for change, and with businesses that can often mean a new Brand. We spoke in our previous post ‘New Year, New Brand’ about the importance of assessing your Brand in the New Year and making sure that it is on trend and still fits with your company. However, a new brand may not always be the most suitable development for your company, as it could have negative implications.

Your current Brand may already be a perfect fit for your company, and may be bringing you widespread success already. To change a Brand that is already working for you is not only completely illogical, but a complete waste of time. Make sure to look at your Brand properly and seek advice, in order to determine whether you need a rebrand or simply a brand refresh.

A drastic change in Branding could lose loyal Brand Ambassadors. An example of this is the recent Tunnocks Tea Cake incident, in which they not only lost their loyal supporters, but caused great offense by ignoring their traditions. It is vital to keep your current supporters on board, as losing them may be a huge issue going forward.

Rebranding may also be a waste of money for your business, money that could be spent better elsewhere, for example, on implementing your branding better across your company, perhaps it is your Brand Guidelines that need assessing. Are your staff interpreting and implementing your Brand Guidelines correctly when commissioning external companies? If not, your vision is not having a high impact, and could be weakened as a result. Instead of starting fresh with a new Brand, you could spend time working with a Branding Agency to make improvements to your current Brand, and produce Guidelines if you don’t have them already.

It is hugely important to make sure to think before you rebrand instead of rushing into it. You should ask yourself, is my Brand really the problem? If you’d like us to take a look at your Brand and advise you on how to move forward, get in touch for a free Brand consultation.

New year new brand

New Year is always the time for a new start, and your business should be no exception. The start of the new year is an ideal time to analyse, assess, and adapt, and we want to look at some of the processes you should be taking your business through at this time of year.

One of the first things in your agenda should be to look at what didn’t go so well during the year. This information should come from both internal and external sources, your own experiences, the experiences of your staff, and the experiences of customers. You must look at the less positive decisions you have made during the year in order to ensure these are not repeated. January is an ideal time to take a step back and look at the negatives of the previous year and make sure that you can move forward.

Looking back should not only focus on the negatives, but also on the positives. It is important to recognise both your own achievements during the year, as well as the achievements of your staff. It would be detrimental to the mind-set of both you and your workforce to focus only on what went wrong, and who is at fault. It is important to balance this with the good decisions that were made, and it must be your focus to try and replicate this in the coming year.

It is also vital to assess your brand vision, and ensure that your brand correctly represents the message you are aiming to put across. Your brand may be due for a refresh if it does not fit with your most current aims, offering, and message, and January is an ideal time to do this. Although, you must be careful not to be too hasty with a rebrand, as seen with the recent Tunnocks Tea Cake incident, in which they named themselves a ‘Great British Tea Cake’, and as they are known as being a Scottish brand, this greatly upset a large number of Scottish people!

You should also be keeping track of the current trends, and ensuring that your brand has not become out-dated. An out of date brand could have a negative effect on your company’s sales in the current year, and therefore it is vital to make sure that your brand is on trend.

Make sure to use your time in January to reflect and adapt, in order to prepare your business in the best possible way for the coming year. If you need help assessing your current brand, or feel it is certainly due for a refresh, do not hesitate to get in touch with us to find out what we can do for you.

Contact us.

Why giving is the key to digital marketing

Giving back is the key to Digital Marketing, Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook by Gary Vaynerchuk inspired us to talk about the key to connecting with people online as a business. It is all too common for businesses to ask, ask, ask, instead of give, give, give, and we want to explain why this is the worst possible strategy for digital marketing.

Firstly, giving people something back will grab the attention of many, and hook their interest. For example, a giveaway on Facebook is always going to receive more attention than a post about a new product. Not only does giving grab your customers’ attention, it motivates them to react. The key is, that even when giving away a product, you will always gain something in return, whether it’s app downloads, page likes, or simply mass exposure to your brand. It is all about giving, and asking for something small back in return.

Giving to your customers creates a relationship, as with real life relationships, your customers will feel as if they ‘owe you one’. It creates a vision of your brand in their eyes, as a generous company that is always giving back, and can offer exciting things to their customers. When you have established this relationship with your customers online, they will know that paying attention to your posts is worthwhile, and may even check back in regularly, in order to make sure that they don’t miss out on any offers.

Social media is filled with brands who don’t know how to connect with their audience, and create monotonous posts which don’t connect with customers. Due to this, being different is key, offering is key, this will take their attention away from other brands, and make them focus on yours.

The simple fact is that giving back drives high numbers on your social media accounts. It is the key to constantly building page likes and followers, rather than a slow and steady increase, if there is an increase at all. For smaller businesses we are talking about the difference between 10 likes and 1000 likes, and for larger companies, the difference between 1000 likes and 100,000 likes!

The point is, giving will always create a bigger, better response on social media. It is the quickest way to gain a base of loyal online fans who are eager to support your brand by making regular purchases, and will always ‘like’ and ‘share’ your posts.

Get in touch to find out what we can do to build a social media presence for your brand.

Why your content should always be connected

As a company, one of the biggest mistakes you can make is Content inconsistency. It is a common mistake to neglect Brand Guidelines, and stray from the original Branding. All of your Content should always connect, that’s everything from your logo to your social media posts, your website to your staff uniforms. We want to take a look at why connected Content is so vital to a business.

Reinforcement of your message is key, if there’s a point you’re trying to make, your best chance of making it is to constantly reinforce it. Your message should be connected across all channels, television advertising, Social Media, email newsletters. To give your message strength, it must always be consistent.

Without your Content connecting, your key message is lost, and peoples vision of your brand becomes blurred. Disconnected Content leads to a disconnected message, disconnected staff, and disorientated consumers. If your company doesn’t know what it’s trying to say, how are your customers supposed to understand?

When you lose your message, you lose your customer’s trust, and when you lose their trust, you lose your customers. Customers want to know exactly what to expect when they put their trust in a company, and being unsure of what your company is trying to deliver can leave your customers lacking in trust.

Disconnected Content can not only leave your customers confused, but it can leave your workforce confused too, and this will be very obvious to potential customers. If your company seems confused, nobody will have faith in your offering, and they are likely to seek your product elsewhere.

Disconnected Content can only mean bad things for your company, so always insure to stick to your Brand Guidelines and police them across your workforce. If you’re feeling confused about your company’s Brand, or are in need of some Brand Guidelines, get in touch.

 

Are design jobs future proof?

On Monday night, BBC one debuted their Panorama programme titled, ‘Could A Robot Do My Job’. The programme was not only eye-opening, it also left us with many unanswered questions on the future of different industries. Are design jobs future proof? Will the future include robots that can create and design websites?

Technology has already been making people redundant by the thousand, with the number only going to increase over the next 20 years. Since 2000, over half of Secretarial jobs have been replaced with technology, and over half of Travel Agents, Counter Clerks, and Librarians have also been replaced. According to a study by Oxford University, it is largely lower paid jobs which are at risk, as opposed to higher paid. Over the next 20 years, a third of UK jobs are at risk of automation, making 10 million jobs redundant.

It’s not all bad news though, while technology is replacing jobs, it is also creating them. In the last 15 years, technology has created 3.5 million jobs in the UK alone. However, the jobs created are highly skilled, meaning that the people who are losing their jobs may not necessary be able to move to one which has been created.

With regard to the design industry, design jobs are perhaps some of the most unlikely to be automated in the whole of the UK. This is down to two aspects; firstly, creativity. Robots cannot be built to be creative, at least not at the moment, or in the near future. Robots may be able to solve problems, but being able to create concepts and design artwork from scratch is not something that can be taught to a machine. The next aspect is skill level, as robots are more easily being taught to take over low skilled repetitive jobs, design not being one of them.

Essentially, the key is to learn to work with technology rather than be replaced by it. In the design industry, technology is constantly advancing to make the tools we use more affective and convenient. Technology’s ability to aid people rather than take their jobs is perfectly illustrated by Virgin Trains’ customer service department. Their computer system uses advanced technology to separate emails into categories, which has only aided the employees, rather than replacing them.

Overall, people in the design industry are unlikely to be replaced by machinery any time soon. But, as low skilled jobs are lost, and higher skilled jobs are created, it will become increasingly difficult for low skilled workers to find work.

If you’re in need of some creativity from S&H, get in touch.

 

 

10 good reasons why you need social media management

Social Media Marketing is in essence handing over control of your online presence to a third party, and allowing them to realise your business’ full potential online.

At Sheard&Hudson, we will do everything from creating social media accounts, to creative posts, planning and running dynamic campaigns, and communicating with your audience. We will start with a complete plan, to show you exactly what we intend to do for your company. Our abilities can be tailored to what would be most valuable to your company, as we understand that not every business has the same needs. We want to take a look at 10 reasons why your company needs external Social Media Management.

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  1. Our guess is that time is a luxury in your business, and due to this, social media may be forgotten about or ignored for weeks at a time. To get the best out of Social Media for your business, it requires the proper time and attention to be dedicated to it. At Sheard&Hudson, we can dedicate the time that your social media accounts require; keeping up with your competitors in what is an extremely high paced environment.
  2. Social Media is all about speed, breaking news the fastest, tweeting the most often, keeping up with current affairs. To keep your business at top speed, your social media will require full time attention, and constant updating, something which can only be achieved with external social media management.
  3. With huge events like Christmas, we recognise that in order to keep up with competitors on social media, your company will need increased posting and specialised campaigns to run during that time of year. Our speciality is creativity, and we can ensure that your company stands out from the crowd during the Christmas period, ultimately leading to more interest and exposure, and therefore more sales.
  4. Communication is key on social media, and in order to keep up with the messages both directly at your business, and posts indirectly about your business, your social media will need to constantly be checked. We can spend the right amount of time both communicating with those who are already aware of your brand, and those who do not yet know that they are in need of your services.
  5. Communication ultimately leads to community building. Even a small group of dedicated fans can be hugely beneficial for a business, as these fans will ultimately act as free advertisement for your company. In a community, people will feel as if they are both giving something to your brand, but also receiving acknowledgement, encouraging them to keep on praising your company.
  6. Social Media Management will put you ahead of your competitors, potentially allowing you to draw customers away from other businesses. Those who ignore the potential of social media marketing will remain stuck in older forms of marketing, leading to them being left behind. At Sheard&Hudson, we will not only make sure you keep up with your competitors, we will make sure you outdo them.
  7. The more you post on Social Media, the more chances you will have to direct customers back to your website. The ideal method of directing people back to your site on a regular basis is to create an online blog with topical posts that will entice people into clicking through to your site. With time being so valuable to you, we can post on your blog for you, as regularly as you require.
  8. Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) is greatly improved by regular Social Media use, as Google now picks up on posts made on Social Media. This is another benefit of creating a blog, as by using keyword terms that you customers may be searching for online; we can drive more traffic to your site and ultimately create more orders.
  9. If you do not analyse progress, it is impossible to adapt and improve. As a part of our Social Media Management service, we provide analysis of progress, to show you exactly how much progress we are making with your business.
  10. Ultimately, you may not realise how to best use Social Media to your advantage, and should seek professional advice. With new Social Media sites popping up monthly, it is important to let someone else take control of your Social Media and keep up with the new online trends.

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At Sheard&Hudson we can devote proper time and attention to your Social Media, and ensure that your company is not left behind. Get in touch to find out about what we can do for your company, and how we can tailor our abilities to your needs.

Why you should keep updating your website

Updating your website may be a daunting prospect for many, as it can be both costly and time consuming. However, it is often forgotten that to change a website does not necessarily mean a complete rebuild, it can be as simple as editing some text. We want to take a look at why updating your website regularly is essential.

The high paced nature of ever evolving trends can lead to your website looking out-dated. Updating your website will not only improve visual impact, but will enable you to keep on par with your competitors. Having a fresh and dynamic site will consequentially increase sales for your business.

Having a regularly updated site sends the right message to your clients. Leaving your site the same for too long can allow your company to appear lazy and slow, rather than high paced and on the ball. Updating your site on a regular basis helps your company to appear hard working, and shows clients that you are constantly adapting to the marketplace.

Driving site visitor numbers is another benefit of updating your website. Everybody likes to look at something new and exciting, and a brand new site will have everybody taking a look! It can also increase re-visits, a potential client who may have previously decided not to use your company, may come back for a second look and change their mind.

Businesses constantly adapt to the market in order to keep up, and due to this, your business’ site can become out of date very quickly. If your ethos or what you offer changes, your website should mirror this immediately. Updating your website is an opportunity to make sure that your website matches up with your company at that point in time.

Updating your website is vital to maintaining a successful business, and even small changes can make a difference to people’s perceptions of your company. At Sheard & Hudson, we have just completely rebranded ourselves and built an entirely new site.

To find out more about what we can do for your company, contact us.

Why it’s important not to become complacent in tourism

In the tourism industry, it is inevitable that each year will include both busy and quiet seasons for your destination. For most places, they will become particularly busy in the Summer or the Winter depending on their offering, or surrounding a major event. It is easy to celebrate a successful part of the year, and become complacent, feeling that the job has been done, we want to explain why this will have a negative impact on your location.

Complacency can lead to lack of planning, it is easy to become taken up in the success of your destination at peak time, and lose focus on planning. It is likely that you will plan during the quiet times in order to handle peak times, but why is there no such priority for planning for the quiet time of year? During peak time, you should be planning strategies for the quiet season, in order to try stop a big drop in visitor numbers.

It is important not to let visitor numbers during peak times be the big motivator for your team, if you let this happen, your team will have a severe lack of motivation during the quiet season, and will struggle to work in the same manner as previously.

Becoming complacent leaves you more vulnerable to surprises, and a drop in visitor numbers could leave your organisation feeling dropped into the deep end. Ideally, you need to be ready to shift marketing tactics accordingly when the numbers drop, to keep the momentum going.

During the quiet time you may also end up using desperation tactics to try and increase visitor numbers, leading to poor decisions and judgement. If the plans are already in place, decisions cannot be emotionally lead, or motivated by fear. Making your important decision during peak time will give you better judgement in order to make a more measured decision.

Complacency can also lead to poorly distributed finance. Lack of judgement can lead to overspending during the quiet months, due to worry about low visitor numbers and desperation. Having a proper plan in place can make sure that your organisation does not run out of money at any point during the year.

It is hugely important not to become complacent during peak season as a tourism organisation. Proper planning, and looking at the bigger picture rather than the short term, can give your destination the best chance of being successful. At Sheard & Hudson we design campaigns to bridge the gap between peak and off peak seasons, making sure that your destination doesn’t get forgotten about at certain times of year.

Contact us to find out what we can do for your organisation.

How real are people on social media?

The use of social media is growing throughout the world, enabling it to become an even bigger part of people’s lives. This has lead to an increasing number of people beginning to live through social media, particularly via Facebook. But how real are the lives people display online?

The level of control people have over what they display on social media enables them to only show happy parts of their day-to-day life. Being able to only show others what they’d like them to see gives people the opportunity to put across a ‘perfect’ life with no flaws whatsoever. Of course, this can escalate with psychological effects, and it can lead to obsessive behaviour, with people becoming fixated on the life they have created for themselves online.

Not only do people display the ‘perfect’ life, they also make sure that their physical appearance comes across as perfect. Facebook is filled with Photoshop pros that spend hours of their lives on creating that one perfect image for their profile photo!

Surprisingly, many people have actually been known to lie about going on holiday. Possibly due to the huge pressure people feel to impress each other online, some people have posted images of a holiday scene that they actually found on Google!

Adding as many people as possible so as to look more popular is another growing trend. To some, the number of friends or followers they have is a hugely important matter, and they try to create the illusion of large-scale popularity. It’s all about the numbers, right?

As a result, there are a growing number of people becoming very irritated by the seemingly perfect lifestyle others are living. It can lead to people becoming extremely frustrated that their life does not match up, and can leave them feeling inferior.

As time goes on, people’s social media lives become more and more false, as people compete on a day-to-day basis. Will it end? Who knows what the future will hold with regard to people’s social media falseness, maybe the lies will just continue to grow.

 

 

 

Are bloggers important to your business?

Bloggers are becoming one of the most valued methods of advertising in modern marketing. Over time, the individuals are gaining more power and influence, giving a select few almost celebrity status. Of course, many businesses are sceptical of the value of blogger advertising, so we want to explore whether bloggers are important for your business.

One contributing factor towards the power of bloggers is the sheer number of people who read what they post. For example, beauty blogger ‘Zoella’ has amassed nearly 9 million Youtube subscribers, and nearly 4 million Twitter followers. It’s safe to say, anything that Zoella posts is certain to gain a large amount of attention. As long as your product ticks some boxes, having a blogger post about it can only be positive.

The only downside to this is that you will most likely not have control over what the blogger says. Although, their opinion is most likely to be biased in your favour, as they naturally will appreciate the opportunity you have given. Some bloggers make a point of stating when a post is financially endorsed, which can reduce the weight of their comments, as they appear more forced and less legitimate.

The fans of a blogger will be dedicated, meaning that whatever the blogger endorses they will jump on board with. Some fans will be so dedicated that they will not even question the product before purchasing, as they desperately want to have anything that they believe their blogger idol has.

The major downside of this route is the cost involved. Although not as high cost as a television advertising campaign, without fully trusting in the capabilities of this method, it can be difficult to put your business’ money on the line. Most of the high profile bloggers will charge a fee, although the very biggest bloggers are inundated with requests, so they will most likely only pursue ads that would fit in well with the blogger.

On the other hand, you cannot put a price on the amount of exposure your company could be granted through this method of advertising. Bloggers are among the most influential people in the world for young people, and their opinions carry huge weight across the world. Even subconsciously, people will pick up on their trends and taste, and will value a product more once they have endorsed it.

Overall, bloggers could be hugely beneficial to your business, and there is no harm in contacting them to find out their fee, even if it is not pursued further. Ignoring their importance can be catastrophic, and can lead to your business falling behind.