Ensuring a delivery focused approach to PR and marketing

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We are delighted to announce that we have created a new role, appointing Carys Geer as Client Services Director.

The role of client services director is crucial to our business, as evidenced by our recent smooth switch to whole team remote working. Carys joined brookscomm in 2018 as Project Leader and has key industry experience plus a commitment to exceptional service provisions for our clients.

We caught up with Carys to find out more about the role, what it means to her and how it will benefit brookscomm’s clients.

What does this new role mean for brookscomm? 

Marketing and communications as a practice is continually evolving, changing how we consume and share news with partners, customers, prospects and our peers. As an integrated agency, brookscomm has continued to thrive over the last 25 years by staying agile, anticipating and adapting its services to what its clients need. The Client Services Director role is central to the team, exploring ideas to improve the agency’s future delivery and ensuring outputs are aligned to our clients’ strategic goals. This will enable us to develop our service in a dynamic and forward-thinking way. This is critical when rolling out changes in a business to ensure consistency for both the team and clients.

What does the position mean to you?

In my career to date, I’ve experienced a few different agency environments. Finding the balance between successful delivery to clients, advancing the agency from a commercial perspective and investing in a growing team is notoriously difficult. What’s exciting to me is that this role is an opportunity to oversee and maintain this careful balance at brookscomm, working across all facets of the business. The increased focus on business leadership and development is something that really interests me and provides a great progression for my career path. It’s really rewarding to help shape the agency, develop the PR and marketing experts of tomorrow and deliver services that not just meet client objectives, but also wow our clients.

What prompted the introduction of this new role?

The different elements of this role have always existed at brookscomm sitting within different remits in the agency over the years. The creation of this new role reflects our continued commitment to an integrated approach to delivery at brookscomm. We have various specialists across our service areas within the team and so this role oversees the combined expertise, bringing it all together to provide a seamless, valuable service for our clients. Our integrated service, combining various marketing and PR activities, is adding real value to clients’ businesses and we anticipate this area of the business growing considerably, very much supported by the introduction of this role.

Has COVID-19 impacted how this role was designed to look?

Like the rest of the world, we couldn’t have anticipated the significant changes brought on by the coronavirus crisis. And while we’re extremely fortunate that we can continue working and servicing our clients, how we do this looks different to how it did a few months ago. The same is the case for the client services role, however the fundamentals of the position remain the same. Having a client services lead has been critical in transitioning the team to work from home, ensuring that delivery to clients is impacted as little as possible, and ensuring we can run systems and processes virtually for the agency as normal.

What should prospective clients look for when choosing their communications service supplier?

A company should never underestimate the value of a great marketing and PR agency. We’ve found in recent years that companies get more from in an integrated approach to PR and marketing rather than the disciplines operating in isolation, which helps to streamline activities, get better results and measure outcomes more effectively.

The right agency will be so much more than a group of people delivering good results; they will be consultants with great business acumen, partners that have your best interests at heart and will treat your business as if it was their own. That’s always been our approach at brookscomm, which means our clients get so much more from us than what is agreed at the outset of the campaign or contract. It’s no wonder that so many of our client and media contacts have been with us for decades.

Follow brookscomm on Twitter (@PRexpertsUK) or LinkedIn to stay up to date and find out more about our integrated service offering here.

 

5 ways for Amazon sellers to cash in on Black Friday

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The 29th November sees the return of Black Friday. The sales from last year’s shopping bonanza topped £1.49bn online, making it the second biggest online selling event of all time – second only to July’s Amazon Prime Day which saw Amazon sell over 175 million items across 18 countries.

Black Friday 2019 is anticipated to be bigger than ever, and the sales are no longer refined to the weekend. UK deals are opening earlier, with sales starting on Amazon at 00:01 on Friday 22nd November this year – a week before Black Friday. What’s more, Amazon is hosting a ‘Black Friday Countdown Sale’ between 18th November and 22nd November.

Black Friday offers tremendous potential to companies currently selling on Amazon. But as a seller, how can you make sure you’re getting the most out of the Black Friday extravaganza?

Here are our five top tips for seller success.

1. Optimise your listing title for searches

Making sure your product is as visible as possible in searches needs to be your priority (visibility within Black Friday deals comes later). Make sure you include a generic product description of what your product is within the title. Even if people haven’t heard of your brand, this will ensure that they know what type of product you are offering.

2. Seal the deal with bullet points

The five bullet points are arguably the most important feature of an Amazon listing. Listing features is not enough to persuade buyers; you need to motivate the viewer to buy by setting an expectation of what benefits they will get out of using the product. This is why Amazon places the customer buy-box next to the bullet points – more often than not, it’s the bullet points describing the benefits of the features that convince buyers.

3. Participate in Black Friday Lightning Deals

The main concept around Amazon’s Black Friday is to offer hundreds of exclusive discount deals on popular, quality products. To be able to be a part of this, your product(s) need to have a certain number of positive reviews and a three-star rating or higher. You must also reduce the price of the item by at least 40% to be considered.

You need to choose the quantity of stock you want to sell and submit the deal in advance of Black Friday to Amazon. Amazon then decides when to schedule it. Lightning Deals are tremendously popular due to their high visibility on the homepage, and huge volumes of stock can be sold in a very short time period.

4. Increase your keyword bid strategy throughout Black Friday promotion

If you already use Amazon’s display and brand keyword advertising tools in seller central, make sure you allocate extra budget for the duration of Black Friday to ensure your products are promoted above organic search results.

You’ll reap the benefits of a low advertising cost of sale (ACOS) as your customers’ intention now will be to buy rather than browse.

5. Use vendor powered money-off coupons

Amazon customers use the ‘wish list’ function to keep track of products they’ll be looking to buy at discount during Black Friday. Sellers can make their products more attractive during the sale by buy adding a money off coupon onto the listing. A glance at the wish list will display the discount on offer to the customer.

Couponed listings also stand out in search results. As a seller, you are in control of offering a percentage discount or a monetary amount off the list price, making this a very useful sales strategy instead of Lightning Deals.

As Black Friday’s popularity continues to grow every year, missing out on the opportunity for increased sales around the shopping event could see your brand suffer. Following these tips puts you in good stead to maximise the opportunity Black Friday offers to sellers.

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Want to find out more? Get in touch!

If you have any questions about how to make Amazon an effective channel for your business, please check out our Amazon Marketing services or get in touch. We’ve helped several brands launch and establish themselves on Amazon in Europe. Call us on 01483 537 890 or email hello@brookscomm.com

How to maintain high standards in business

In light of our Managing Director Mandy’s new role as a client PR advisor to the Chartered Institute of PR (CIPR), Carys grabbed her for a quick chat on how to establish and maintain high standards for the benefit of your customers, and how this can be put into practice to make a real difference across all elements of business.

With over 20 years’ experience as an agency leader Mandy has built brookscomm from the ground up, gaining a wealth of knowledge on how having high standards within your company can lead to longlasting business success.

Where does your commitment to high standards come from?

A phrase that my parents always said to me growing up was: “If a job is worth doing, it’s worth doing well”. It’s encouraged me to have high standards and has stayed with me. Now I realise it’s shaped my approach to most things in life, including business.

The question isn’t just around why we choose to focus on getting the best quality in business, but also how. The ‘why’ is clear – we want to put our best foot forward and in a business environment, we know that this is the way to offer the best service to our customers. It’s the ‘how’ that takes a little more work.

What can be a barrier to businesses maintaining such high standards?

If you speak to any business leader, they will undoubtedly say that they want high standards. We all do. But often the focus is put more on practical details. It is far more a state of mind than it is in the logistics like how people work, or who is working and when.

There’s a lot of misconceptions out there – perhaps that enabling people to work remotely or part-time means they’re not working as hard or to a high standard, or that if you take a lean approach to your business your quick decisions may be ‘knee-jerk’, which compromise your output. But that’s not the case; in fact, in some scenarios it can even be the opposite of what you’d expect. Working smarter and staying agile means you’re quicker with your processes or working setup, not dropping on your quality.

What are some of the best ways to focus on quality within an organisation?

If high standards are lived and breathed, then the concept is always at the top of your mind. It’ll shape all your decisions, from recruitment and processes through to strategy and business development. 

By committing to excellence in your industry, you’re able to provide the best possible service for your clients or customers. Explore new qualifications, make it a priority to stay up to date with latest trends impacting your market, invest in training for your team and stay in touch with likeminded contacts in your industry. This way you can offer accurate and reliable consultancy to your clients and understand your position in the market that much better, helping you finetune your offering too.

What can industry leaders do to drive higher standards?

The CIPR (Chartered Institute of Public Relations) is on a mission to develop a level of excellence for our industry, bringing a new level of rigour for PR professionals through its qualifications, events, training and other CPD related activities. I’m playing a role in helping them develop this by operating as a Chartered PR Client Advisor, which means organisations can request support from the CIPR to appoint either an external agency or recruit a communications member of staff.

It’s great to see that through programmes like the CIPR’s Client Advisory service, organisations are committed to maintaining high standards and are bringing in expertise to help with that. By applying the same rules to communications as they do to any other element of the business, leaders can focus on getting value for money and stay focused on maintaining a high-quality standard for customers.

Learn more about how Mandy and the team can support your integrated communications activity here.

Q&A with Carys Waters, our new Project Leader

We caught up with Carys, one of the newest members of the brookscomm team, to get to know more about her and the role she’s taken on at brookscomm.

What’s your career background?

I’ve worked in PR and communications since 2010 after completing a degree in Communication, Media and Culture at Oxford Brookes. I actually started my PR career here at brookscomm in its former life as Chazbrooks Communications and returned a few months ago. Since then I’ve spent time both in-house and at other PR agencies, predominantly working with technology and B2B companies. The company has grown considerably since I left in 2013 and diversified to provide a wider integrated communications offering. That plus the supportive and flexible culture that has always been in place at brookscomm meant I was keen to return.

What made you want to work in PR?

I think it’s the variety PR offers that appealed to me, and the fact it’s such a people-based industry. You have to wear lots of different hats in PR, as you’re constantly thinking about the stakeholders of the companies you’re working with, the journalist you’re pitching to, the customers or prospects of your clients; the list goes on. It means you learn loads and it’s fast-paced. Plus, the satisfaction of making your clients happy by working together to deliver a campaign or secure high-quality media coverage is hard to beat!

As Project Leader, what does a typical morning entail?

I typically start my day reviewing news online (Twitter, BBC, PR Week, Marketing Week) to understand what’s happening in the world and identifying relevant news for clients or for us as an agency. Then I spend time checking what needs to be achieved that day or week for clients, providing or arranging support across the team to deliver this as necessary. As part of this I also monitor what we’re delivering against any project plans and how results are measured.

What’s the best bit of advice you’ve been given?

It’s a cliché, but my parents have always taught me to trust my gut instinct. I’m not one to be hasty, so I always ponder my decisions (probably more than I should!) but I generally end up going with my initial instinct, and it’s hardly ever failed me.

What is your favourite brand and why?

It’s hard to pick, but I’m a fan of the BBC. I’m always impressed with how it tailors the brand to the channel – radio, TV, online – and maybe it’s because I work in communications, but I often notice how the message is shaped for the audience of that particular channel. I also tend to trust the BBC as a news source and generally find its news coverage reliable.

What news stories have grabbed your attention most in the last year?

I think it has to be anything around the amount of plastic waste we’re producing. It’s horrific how much is being chucked into the oceans and I’m so pleased that programmes like Blue Planet 2 have brought attention to this, so that more people are aware. I’ve been interested to read about a number of big brands boycotting excessive plastic packaging and I hope that continues throughout 2019.

What are you looking forward to most in 2019?

We’re investing more into the brookscomm brand so I’m looking forward to seeing the results of that this year. Working in an agency, I look forward to growing with our clients and helping them to achieve their own communications goals. At brookscomm, the clients we work with are so varied, so that’s always enjoyable. Personally, I’m also getting married, buying a house and have a big birthday in 2019, so there’s lots to be excited about!

At brookscomm we have over 20 years of PR & marketing expertise and a proven track record of providing an integrated, measurable PR and digital marketing strategy. We can help you boost your business. Email hello@brookscomm.com or call us on 01483 537 890. 

Follow us: Twitter @PRexpertsUK  Linkedin: brookscomm  Facebook: brookscomm Website: www.brookscomm.com

Why your image matters

When you see content from a new brand for the first time, you immediately form an opinion. Whether it be consciously or sub-consciously, it happens. This will then be swayed and moulded by every piece of content you see from then on, effecting buying behaviour, word of mouth, advertising and PR. If you feel strongly against a brand, you’ll probably voice your opinion, therefore, it’s key to always leave the best impression possible.

Throughout this blog we will be discussing the leading creative brands that stand out in their industry, who have created their own high-quality niche to be head and shoulders above the rest.

Apple

Apple is one of the best examples of what branding can do for a business. Every piece of content Apple creates is modern, stylish and more importantly, consistent. Think of an Apple advert; a stylish white background with a shining black iPhone jumping out of the background, but that’s not all. Apple take attention to detail to the next level. Immaculate packaging and high-quality materials make even the unboxing of a product feel like a treat.

All of these factors help to mould this classy, modern, sleek image of Apple, but they’ve backed it up by creating market leading products through being a step ahead of their competition in both product creation and marketing.

What we can take away from Apple is that the small things add up. Every bit of attention to detail results in a constantly impressive package, setting the bar for other tech competitors.

Dyson

Dyson could be described as the Apple of the home appliances industry. They’re a creative, innovative company that’s constantly coming up with new cordless and bladeless products. They take a product as simple as a fan and asks themselves how they can change things like no one has ever done before. They then produce a product that has no blades and is simply a metal oblong that shoots out cold air. It’s incredible, but the fact that they do this on a consistent and regular basis is what really matters. Therefore, Dyson have branded themselves as the most creative, high end manufacturer of house hold electronics. So much so that instead of saying hoover, a lot of people will refer to theirs as “My Dyson”. Just like Apple where able to accomplish with the “iPhone”, It wasn’t a phone, but an iPhone.

Bang and Olufsen

Bang and Olufsen (initialised as B&O) is the pinnacle of high end stereo equipment. They’re in their own class along with Bose, Sony & Sennheiser. B&O are also famously known for their punchy price tags which in turn can be associated to their sense of superior quality and design.

B&O follow Apple in terms of their branding, they use lots of whites & greys and have their products as the centre of attention, usually in some sort of luxurious setting. The consistency with which they’ve done so has led to the company being regarded as one of the most luxurious and sought-after options in a crowded market. How has their luxurious branding and marketing helped them? It helped cement their brand as a high-end/high cost market leader for home audio products, which meant that anyone in the market for such items would take them into consideration. The reputation and aesthetic of the brand acts as a selling point for the hefty price.

By now you’ve probably realised that we’ve used the term ‘consistent’ a fair few times. Well, that’s exactly what good branding is; consistent use of the same principles across your whole business.

Using the same styles, fonts, colours, and images all combine into one package. If your brand image keeps changing these factors, then a solid image will never be cemented in a consumer’s mind. A fortune will also be spent on design and advertising, meaning the more changes you make, the more confused consumers you’ll have.

Strong branding principles that challenged the traditional status quo and created a firm brand identity in their consumers mind. All three of these brands have also mastered the art of simplicity. Your branding can be more effective if its simple. The message is put across effectively and the images are clear and of a high-quality.

At brookscomm we have over 20 years of PR & marketing expertise and a proven track record of providing an integrated, measurable PR and digital marketing strategy. We can help you boost your business. Email michael@brookscomm.com or call us on 01483 537 890. 

Follow us: Twitter @PRexpertsUK   Linkedin: brookscomm  Facebook: brookscomm Website: www.brookscomm.com