Positivity, innovation and agility in the face of adversity

Over the last few weeks, life as we know it has changed significantly and we have all had to swiftly adjust to this new ‘normal.’ Numerous businesses have quickly responded to the Coronavirus crisis, demonstrating how agile, resourceful and innovative they are. Many have responded to the change in consumer behaviour by creating new products, in turn supporting the community with their fresh creations.

Pai Skincare

Natural skincare brand Pai quickly responded to the shortage in hand sanitiser by creating their own version for £9. ‘Acton Spirit’ – named after the team and where they’re located (their offices are based in Acton, West London), Pai were able to bring a new product to market in just two weeks, showing that where there is a will there is a way! Pai have also limited customers to one hand sanitiser per person to reduce shortages and for each one that’s sold, they’ll give one away to a school, nursery or beauty bank charity.

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Brewdog

Independent brewer Brewdog have also launched their own hand sanitiser ‘Punk Sanitiser,’ which they are giving away to those who need it. Brewdog’s quick call to arms to help curb the shortage and the fact they are not charging for this product is a fantastic and inspiring demonstration of community spirit. They have also created a virtual pub quiz so even though you may not be able to go to the pub, you don’t have to miss out on the pub quiz action!

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Ben & Jerry’s

With staying in being the new going out and our Netflix viewing undoubtedly on the rise, Ben & Jerry’s expertly responded to this with their new Netflix and Chill’d flavoured ice-cream. A great example of a business quickly responding to consumer demand with a fun, light-hearted product.

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The Detox Kitchen

London-based catering business The Detox Kitchen, which creates delicious healthy meal plans delivered to your door, alongside their bricks and mortar cafes in the capital showed their ability to adapt during this uncertain time. Having to close the doors of their cafes, the Detox Kitchen responded to the lack of food available to buy in supermarkets by teaming up with their fruit and veg supplier 2-Serve to create a box that contains a variety of the highest quality produce, which feeds 2-4 people for a week!

The Body Coach

Other brands that have rallied round to help others are The Body Coach. With schools and nurseries now closed in the UK for the foreseeable future, ensuring your kids get regular exercise on top of trying to home-school them can prove challenging. Joe Wicks, founder of the Body Coach has taken it upon himself to teach the nation P.E. each day. Every morning at 9am from Monday – Friday Joe teaches a live 30-minute workout aimed at kids to get them moving, genius!

 

To all the brands and businesses out there who have adapted and are playing their part in helping us through this crisis, we salute you!

 

There is often a lack of understanding when it comes to the importance of a creative brief. You will sometimes find, particularly in agencies, an absence of relationship between the people creating the product, and the people who manage the marketing. Messages become skewed and this is where problems arise.

A clear and concise creative brief can be fundamental to the success of a campaign. Without these, designers can experience a real lack of insight into the message being put across, the audience being spoken to, or the things that have or haven’t worked well in the past. A poor brief can also waste valuable time and money, and when working in a fast-paced agency, this is something you need to be avoiding wherever possible.

Developing an effective creative brief can seem daunting, and to some people, pointless at first, but once it has been perfected, it serves a never-ending reward of successful campaigns over and over again.

Communication

Communication is key. A great brief brings necessary people together and ensures that they are all on the same page, delivering the best possible cohesion between marketing strategy and creative execution.  Once you have this document, everyone has the same understanding, they know all they need to know about the brand, their competitors, their audiences, what their behaviours are, and most importantly what the key message for the campaign is and how it’s going to be done. Having knowledge of this, a team can come together and create something really impactful.

Building the brief

The process of creating a brief is also a great way of identifying the things that you may not know or have, pushing you to research more about your client’s brand to fill the gaps. It also prompts the creators of the document to gather all necessary materials to ensure designers have all the things they need to start the design process.

For example, is the designer equipped with all the correct and up to date brand guidelines, asset copy, data, and so on. This will change depending on the type of campaign you are designing for but ensure that attached alongside the brief are all the required materials, if this hasn’t already been done. By doing this, time will be saved by avoiding the back and forth emails chasing up.

More is definitely more in this case.

We don’t mean lengthy paragraphs of information copied and pasted from ‘brand guidelines’ or ‘tone of voice’ documents. Key information in the form of bullet points will do just fine. It is called a brief after all. Here is the opportunity to really nail what the fundamental facts and insights are. By more we mean this:

  • What else do you think will really help to portray what you are trying to get across to the designers?
  • How can you ensure that they can take information and come up with the best possible creative solution?

Find examples

Creative examples and inspiration can be a real help in these instances. We will assume that lots of research has gone into the earlier stages of this campaign, as it should, so put in some time to see what other people are doing with similar campaigns. Whether that’s the concept, the layout, the functionality, the styling, the colours, the icons, the UX and so on.

If you like something, add it in; “Here is a link to a cool campaign I have seen. I like *this* *this* and *this* and I think something similar could work really well for our campaign”. This doesn’t mean that the designer will take it and copy it colour by colour, it simply gives them a way of understanding your thinking in a more visual manner. Websites such as Dribbble, Designspiration and Awwwards can be a great starting point for visual research.

Another very simple yet effective way of getting ideas across are sketches. These can be as basic as stickmen or scribbles, but if you are struggling to explain your visions with words then sketch it, scan it, annotate it and attach it to your briefing documents. All of these tasks are simple, but extremely effective in guiding the creative in the direction it needs to go.

A great creative brief will aid your creative processes again and again. To ensure you can hand over a creative brief and feel confident in what the designer is about to create, ask yourself this:

  • Do they have everything they need to be able to go away and generate the vision that you have in mind.
  • Do they understand what they key messages are, and do they know exactly who they should be designing it for?

These questions are vital, and you will reap the rewards once you sure are certain they have been answered. Once perfected and proven to be a success, you finally have access to a streamlined source of the most critical information that a team needs to go on and create something remarkable.

 

If you own or run a physical store selling products, the chances are the current Covid-19 pandemic has hugely affected your day to day business life. More and more companies are pushing online sales to keep the profits coming in, with the internet providing a safety net for a lot of businesses across the world. This is easier for bigger brands, and many smaller companies are feeling the strain with the closing of their physical stores or market stalls.

It’s not too late to take your business online! The demand around products in sectors such home fitness, crafting and DIY has surged since the outbreak, with consumers trying to find ways to fill their spare time. There are lots of different online selling platforms, but one of the best around is Etsy: an online marketplace for handmade products made by independent sellers. In this blog post I will go through my top tips for selling successfully on the Etsy platform.

Starting Out

Setting up an Etsy account is straight forward and cheap. You join the marketplace with a ‘shop’ and can list items on there for sale for a fee of 17p, adding details about the product and the price. People can then visit your shop directly, or they can peruse the marketplace, which will guide them to products they are interested in. When you make a sale, Etsy will send you an email, prompting you to post the item to your buyer. The site takes a 5% cut from each sale, so bear this in mind when pricing up your product.

Putting items up for sale on Etsy is easy – selling is not. The more the algorithm notices you, the higher you will place in the searches, so a strategy to get that visibility is imperative. Below I’ll talk you through the best ways to ride that optimisation wave.

Optimisation

In order to sell on Etsy you need to appear in searches, and one of the key ways is through the title of your product, the tags and the categories.

With the title, describe exactly what the item is. Choose commonly used words which you think your consumers would use to describe the item you’re selling. This is not the time to be off the wall with your language skills – for example, say “red” as opposed to “vermillion”. Make it descriptive but concise, as it is the first thing the customer will see.

You are allowed 13 tags, so use your tags wisely. A tag describes the item and will help the algorithm to know which items to show for which customer searches. These can be individual words or phrases, but a phrase is considered a stronger match by Etsy as it’s more likely to be exactly what the searcher is looking for, so opt for these where you can. You can also review the traffic your tags are getting and refresh the ones which are not driving as many results as the others.

Put any important words in both the title and as a tag, because if a customer’s search appears in both places for one item, Etsy will consider this a stronger match. They also advise that they consider words at the beginning to be more important than words at the end.

In addition to the above you can assign your items to categories, which helps the algorithm sort the searches. It treats a category as a tag, for example if you put your item in the category “men’s coats”, it will appear in searches for men’s coats, so you don’t need to put this as a tag.

 

Social

Using social media accounts to boost your Etsy shop is a great way to drive traffic, the same as a website. This is a good idea in general, but during this pandemic when more people are going to be online, it makes sense to utilise this and promote yourself where the crowds are right now (on social media, because they can’t leave their homes).

Be smart with the social media channels you use and what content you push based on who your audience demographic is – for example, take into consideration their age and their other interests. Facebook is great for a general, more mature audience; Instagram is vital for targeting generation X and millennials, and new platforms like TikTok are preferred by the younger demographic.

When it comes to content, try not to just continuously push your products, as people will disengage. As best you can, create content based on what you know to be your consumer’s general interests, and then when you do post about the things you’re selling, they’ll be more responsive. Consumers don’t want to be asked to buy things constantly, but with the right approach you can gain their trust and become valued by them, and then the sales will come more naturally.

If you are creating the product yourself, then a Youtube account could be another really useful investment, alongside uploading videos to other platforms such as Facebook and Instagram. Your consumer loves a product’s story almost as much as they’ll love the product itself, and video is a favoured media for 21st century consumers, due to its digestibility. Posting content about the process of making the product and the tools used is a sure-fire to boost engagement with your brand and the products, hopefully leading to more sales.

Paid Ads

Paid Advertisements are another great way to optimise sales. You can run ads on Etsy for a minimum daily spend of $1.00, and these appear separate to the normal searches, just as they would on a web search engine. There is a default setting for ads, so Etsy will use their analytics to push your current listings, which is ideal if you’re not familiar with PPC. You do not need to provide a creative, as this is just boosting the listing with the images you have already uploaded; Etsy will do the rest.  If your ads are not shown or not engaged with, you won’t get charged. You can go in and edit these ads at any time, change your budgets, or turn the ads off altogether.

Outside of Etsy, you can also advertise your shop on social media channels such as Facebook on Facebook Business. You create a page for your shop and attach your Etsy shop to it, before pushing either social posts or the shop itself via Facebook ads. This is a more intricate process than Etsy ads and allows for more variation, but also expands the ad beyond Etsy. This is advantageous because you can target people outside of those looking to buy in that current moment, enticing those who might be interested in your product to come to your Etsy shop. Make sure to add a tracking tag, so you can see how much each of your ads has generated and thus optimise your ad account – otherwise you won’t know if your ads are responsible for generating your sales or not.

 

I’m not going to get into what makes a good or bad link in this post, lets just say by bad links I mean blog networks, obviously paid links, forum spam and pretty much all the stuff the majority of SEOs would hammer up until 2012/2013.

Recently I’ve seen a surge in tactics that were used over a decade ago, paid blog posts on barely readable websites and even whole networks reappearing to support low level cheap links. I’ve seen some that seem to be working effectively, developing top rankings in a very short space of time. However, is that it? Are these sort of tactics back in?

Probably should clarify at this point, connective3 don’t engage in these tactics, we don’t feel we need to as we can deliver quality and quantity without it; however I know lots of businesses and agencies still do. I make no judgement, I believe there are some pretty serious risks, but if both agency and client are transparent about it, best of luck.

I’ve been following a handful of businesses that were seemingly benefiting from these tactics, building a lot of links, fast, not necessarily using anchor text but across blog networks, forums and paid advertorials. (If you’ve worked in SEO spotting a paid/spam link isn’t hard).

Below is an example of one such site:-

As you can see there was a huge spike in visibility as these tactics started to kick in, around March 2018. However, by November the same year rankings started to decline massively, pretty much inline with Google’s core update. I know from speaking with the business that they panicked and tried to build even more links at this point using the same tactics. This produced a small increase but by April they were in the same position falling away again.

What’s interesting in April 2019 they tried to do it again, an influx of new links but using the same paid blog posts, blog network and forum strategies. This time the links just didn’t stick, even though they were on completely new websites/IPs. It’s almost like Google has got on top of it or decided this site won’t have links counted for a while based on quality.

This isn’t out of the ordinary, we’ve seen it across 4-5 different websites using similar tactics. 6-month spike in performance followed by a complete flat line. It’s for this reason I could never recommend this style of link building anymore, especially when digital PR and content marketing talent is so strong.

I have no doubt Google can still be manipulated, but I’m not seeing any longevity from it at all. Happy to see/hear otherwise though, and would love to hear from others with their opinions on this.

For many marketers link building is a necessary evil that they have to undertake in order to increase their organic visibility.

Link building, if we like it or not, is around to stay for the foreseeable future so brands need to prepare (even in challenging times like today).

I have worked agency side for eight years and in that time have worked with hundreds of clients. There are several key challenges I hear from clients before launching link building campaigns, these are the time required to launch the campaign is limited, the budget isn’t big enough (to build the campaigns), or they think that their brand is not ‘newsworthy’.

To address the last point on how ‘newsworthy’ a campaign is, I would like to say on record that any brand, working in any industry can build links – check out my interview on building links in hard to market industries for some inspiration.

When we address the challenge over time and money its worth noting that not every digital PR campaign needs to cost the world, in fact there are things you can do without any budget which will deliver you high authority links. I have detailed down five of these tactics below:

1. Newsjacking

“Newsjacking is the process by which you inject your ideas or angles into breaking news, in real-time, in order to generate media coverage for yourself or your business.”

– David Meerman Scott

Not every brand can newsjack, however for the majority of brands this is a legitimate tactic that should be used to gain high-tier, national relevant links.

Put simply, if you have an opinion on a planned topic or a breaking news story you could send it to journalists covering that topic and gain links back to your site.

You will need a spokesperson and some time to read the daily news, but that’s it! A great example of how a brand adopted this tactic and picked up some seriously good links (and visibility) was money.co.uk

Using their spokesperson they worked with the media on relevant topics such as house prices, Brexit and company updates to give the media and customers an insight into how these updates will impact consumer finances. Some examples of these links can be seen below:

https://www.somersetlive.co.uk/whats-on/shopping/expert-says-debenhams-not-putting-2615161

https://www.mirror.co.uk/money/breaking-honda-set-close-entire-14015449

2. Unlinked Mentions

Unlinked mentions happen naturally as a journalist will often mention your brand without even considering a link.

As SEO’s we would love every mention to be linked, however we need to be aware that this won’t always be the case.

However if you do see an unlinked mention (about your brand) it may be worth asking the journalists to link to a relevant resource on your site.

Please note that you should never demand a link, ask for a link from a negative article, or ask when the link wouldn’t add any value. All in all it just takes common sense to work out which unlinked mentions could actually be turned into links.

The easiest way to find unlinked mentions is to:

  1. Set up alerts (via Google, Buzzsumo, ect…)
  2. Search Google for mentions of your brand. The best way to do this is to use search operators. For example if I was looking for mentions of connective3 I would need to ask Google to show me who, other than myself, has talked about the site. You can do this by running a search query [“connective3” -site:connective3.com]

This will show mentions of your brand but exclude your brand URL from the SERPs. Always make sure the mentions you are chasing are recent (you can do this by changing the date range within Google Search).

More information on how to find links can be seen at my recent post here.

3. Charity work or partnerships

Most brands have newsworthy content that they may not be aware of.

For example do you have a chosen charity? If so have you considered sending your charity news updates to sites such as fundraising.co.uk?  Or how about working with the charity itself and gaining links with their press office?

Or do you have partnerships/sponsorships? If so you should definitely be negotiating links on their sites as part of any contract agreement.

I understand this is not possible for all brands but for many it’s a quick win.

4. Local stores

I’ll caveat this point as this point only applies to brands with a store presence. f you work in a business that does not have brick and mortar stores you should probably move on to the next section 😊

If you do have physical locations then this tactic is a must for you.

Imagine you own a shop in a shopping centre, all you have to do to build links in this instance is contact the shopping centre website and ask for a link to the relevant store page.

Or imagine you own multiple entertainment outlets such as Bingo halls – you should certainly be working with local visitor sites such as Visit York or Visit Manchester (or the relevant local sites) to build links with them/

These sites will deliver high quality relevant links and support your local strategy. In fact, I previously did this for a client of mine and gained 60 links with no campaign.

5. Interviews and thought leaders

Everyone loves the limelight right? Well maybe not, but many people do so why not give it to them?

Your business is most likely filled with experts working in different fields such as HR, marketing, finance etc.

Well my link hungry friends, there is a wealth of really good sites that accept interview and thought leadership articles with these experts. Sites such as https://realbusiness.co.uk/ and https://www.entrepreneur.com often accept interview or opinion features – so make your colleagues famous and gain links at the same time.

Summary

Link building is hard, and its getting harder. This being said its our job to ensure we make our businesses as ‘digital as possible’ and make every web mention work harder and deliver more than just coverage.

Be creative, talk to different internal teams and I guarantee you will find link opportunities without running content campaigns.

 

In a time of uncertainty amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, what we’re seeing with our ecommerce clients is a big spike in searches for generic product keywords with ‘online’ at the end of the search query as consumers turn their reliance to online retailers.

With this in mind, this blog post will explain how you can reach new customers (who didn’t already know about your products/services) by getting your brand at the forefront of their minds by making your current website content work harder to drive more traffic to your website and ultimately more sales.

Content Relevance

What we often find with new clients who work with us, is that content is rather thin, there’s not enough helpful content or there are too few guides available to capture consumers in the research phase of the buying process. Therefore, what you need to consider is ‘what are the questions consumers are wanting answers to around our product/service?’ and how can we facilitate this by providing the best answers available to get at the forefront of their minds? Google naturally want to rank the best content available on a topic and their core algorithm in a nutshell is largely focussed on this.

Keywords in content

It might sound rather simple, but do your product or service pages include all the relevant keywords that the page deserves to rank for? Are they optimised for search engines, can search engines easily crawl and index this information? If the answer is no, focus on your heading tags. Your H1 tag (often the title of the page) should give search engines an idea of what content it is expecting to crawl and structure your subheadings with relevant h2s, h3s, h4s etc…

Google are a lot better at understanding search intent and semantically relevant keywords, so consider optimising for these types of search query. For example, don’t just focus on the word ‘cheap’ if that’s relevant to your product or service, consider using keywords such as ‘budget’, ‘bargain’, ‘sale’ or ‘low-cost’ in the headings on the page.

On top of your keyword research, look at what keywords your competitors are choosing to target to spot further opportunities you may not have considered.

What information should you include in your content?

If you are struggling to find inspiration on what information to include in your guides there are some great free tools which can provide you with exactly that. Here are some ideas that can point you in the right direction.

This is a great keyword and search query research tool to find all the questions users are searching for around a product/service. Simply enter the topic you want to find questions for and write content which answers that query in your product/service guides.

  • People Also Ask

The PAA SERP feature is essentially gives you topics you may want to include in your product/service guides. Just conduct a Google search of your product/service and you’ll see a list of queries related to that topic which users are searching for. Take this further and click the question which will drop down an answer to the query. That answer should be the benchmark of the quality of the content you produce to better the answer for an opportunity to gain the answer box for the given search query.

This example is for the search query ‘mortgages for first time buyers’ as you can see, there are some examples of the type of things to include in your guide below:

  • Google Keyword Tool

Google’s keyword planner is a great way of discovering keywords related to your product/service which you may want to optimise your content for (along with search volumes). Simply add the keyword (s) your content is focused on and click the ‘keyword ideas’ button.

Internal Linking

A common mistake some clients make is they have great content on the website, but it’s buried deep within the website and search engine bot’s find it hard to crawl and/or index it.

Consider the internal links going to the content you’ve produced and ask yourself the following questions;=-= Are there any? How easily accessible is the content to users first and then to search engines?

There’s no point producing great content if users and search engines can’t find it.

Internal links are the only links a webmaster can manually control so you can be quite strategic in the anchor text you use for internal links pointing your content. Use the keyword research you have conducted and include your most important keywords in the anchor text linking to the page.

As an additional tip, a good and seamless way of internally linking through to content is to add a related articles shelf to the page at the end of your content to keep users on your site and the provide a good user experience to those wishing to read further information. Keeping with the topic of mortgages, this is an example of how moneysupermarket.com do it:

It’s also worth bearing in mind that as this content is likely to bring new users though to your site, you should include product/service page links to more commercial pages where natural, to drive traffic through to product pages and to help convert new users visiting the site.

When it comes to paid media, I have two key mantras that I believe in.

  1. Media is expensive so you need to make the most of every penny
  2. You’ll never have a data set as rich as your own

What this essentially boils down to is that you need to utilise audience lists across all of your marketing activity wherever you can.

The first way that we need to be using audience lists is by making lists in Google Analytics, recording the information of anyone that hits a specific page of a website, building audience lists off the back of that, and then re-engaging across paid media activity.

Whether they’ve landed on your corporate pages, personal pages, or holiday pages vs. working trips pages – your audience is telling you what they’re interested in, and you should be using that information to market back to them, and attract them back to the site to convert.

Within many sectors, when customers are showing in market signals now is the time to reach out to them, as if you’ve spotted this then your competitors likely have as well. You need to make sure that everyone who comes to comes to your site is recorded, and retargeted with messaging relevant to them, based on the pages that they’ve visited on your site.

The second thing we’d advise is building out these audiences into your Google PPC account. Rather than focusing on keywords or upweighting for bids for people who are ‘in market for travel’, take your approach one step further by building out ideal audience lists. For example you could segment your audiences into groupings such as couples, families, or even use signals such as ‘is a parent, is in market for ‘trips to X location’. Other audience signals you could use include things like ‘is in market for a new Audi’ – as information like this indicates a level of income, wealth and affluence. You can then tailor ads to hit specific audiences, and can change the ad copy to suit the audience, structuring adverts around things like ‘the perfect family holiday’ for families or ‘the perfect romantic getaway’ for couples.

Through using these two audience focused methods, retargeting and prospecting, and delivering relevant ads to your audiences your ads will ultimately become more effective and more likely to convert.

Warning*** The following posts contains cute dogs and cheesy videos. Read on at your own risk….

Unless you have been living under a rock for the past year, you will have undoubtedly heard of the latest social media platform TikTok.

Hosting over 500 million users, TikTok’ popularity has dramatically increased with Android users spending a staggering 68 billion hours on the app in 2019 alone!

The Chinese video based app allows users to upload 15 or 60 second video clips whilst offering a large range of filters and creative editing options.

As a marketer understanding new and emerging channels fascinates me, so with this in mind I decided to set up a TikTok account for my dog (I thought this would resonate better with the audience on TikTok) as an experiment and share my experience with you all.

So with out further ado, internet meet Milo (in his most successful TikTok video to date which gained over 61,000 views, being watched over 160 hours)…….

@annoyingmilo##dogsoftiktok ##foryoupage ##funnydogs ##dogs ##viral ##funnydog♬ Kiwi used this sound Ok ByE – speedster.jordan


Milo is my Jack Russel dog and the hopefully a soon to be famous TikTok star.

A little information on Milo:

Likes Dislikes
Long walks The post
Squeaky toys Baths
Naps Cats
Belly rubs Behaving

 

So using this good boy, I created the TikTok profile @annoyingmilo and have shared my findings below:

How easy is it to upload videos?

It is really easy to add new content to the site. A simple click of a button allows you to either film a new video from your phone or choose an existing one saved in your phones gallery.

The app itself allows you to pause the video during filming to allow for more creative shots and you can also upload images to be shown in a slideshow on the platform.

You can upload multiple videos at a time with the app offering clever transitions and fades between shots.

Once you have finished filming you can add songs, captions and effects to ensure your end product is the best it can be.

It is worth noting that if you choose a song with copyright issues the app is fast to find out and will mute your video.

How does the analytics work?

Analytics doesn’t come as standard for new profiles. In order to see your analytics you need to go into your account settings and add it to your profile.

The analytics page shows the following information:

  • Video views per day
  • Number of followers per day
  • Profile views per day
  • Top performing content
  • Follower information such as demographics and activity

 

You can also access analytic data for individual videos which reveals:

  • Total play time
  • Total views
  • Average watch time
  • Traffic sources
  • Audience territories
  • Number of likes, comments and shares.

Its worth noting that the analytics is really, really slow! It doesn’t update until early afternoon each day and the time in which it updates often changes, so it is In no way real time.

If you’re looking for a good Tiktok analytic tool check out Cloutmeter – this should help you overcome this problem.

How to get your content seen

Once you start using the platform you will soon realise that there are trends and hashtags you can jump on to increase your views.

The most popular hashtag is #foryoupage

If you get on the for you page you will undoubtedly see huge levels of engagement. The #foryoupage is essentially Tiktoks way of saying trending videos.

There is a search function within the app to see how many times a hashtag has been used. You need to look for the most relevant and popular one for your page and create content that fits within it.

Should your brand be on Tiktok?

TikTok it would appear have two main priorities right now. The first one is to draw celebrities and influencers on the platform.

If you spend five minutes on the app you will see that known public figures have set up their own account after TikTok approached them.

The second priority is that TikTok is very keen to let brands known about their ads. You will see brands such as Samsung and Adobe now featured on your timeline with advertisements.

The above suggests that this channel is going to continue to grow, however, just because it’s the new ‘in thing’ doesn’t mean its right for your brand.

The platforms demographic is quite young and interested in easy, digestible and fun content. If this style fits you as a brand, then great! Make sure you check it out. However, don’t change your style to suit this platform as the benefits to brands are still relatively unknown.

 

 

 

 

 

As a newly formed company during this time of working from home, it’s imperative that’s we all pull together as a team to ensure we all stay positive, motivated and connected. Here’s how we have adapted our ways of working to do this and to deliver our clients the same, if not better communication, service and projects.

Breaking down the physical barriers

We have taken all of our meetings and communications digital onto Teams and WhatsApp creating full company groups so we can all easily reach all of our colleagues, either as a team, or as individuals. For WhatsApp we have downloaded the desktop version, which is far easier and quicker to type on. Ironically Microsoft Teams is easier to use on mobiles and frees us up to use our screens for documents at the same time. These platforms are really helping keep our communication fluid and regular.

Team Collaboration on Microsoft Teams

Morning meetings

What better way to start the day than with a full team meeting via Microsoft Teams. We are setting ourselves up for the day ahead by having a team check-in to make sure everyone is ok and to keep spirits high. This ensures that if nothing else we’re all online together at least once a day.

The pets of C3 make an appearance

Connectivity

All of our documents are saved onto Sharepoint and can be accessed remotely, we’re strict on it as a company and as a result all documents are available to everyone despite working remotely. Our connectivity and technology mean multiple people can edit the a document simultaneously as if they were sat next to each other sharing thoughts.

Technology

We are ensuring productivity remains high by helping facilitate everyone to take their monitors home for that second screen, even if it means paying for a taxi to the office and back. It’s important that our work doesn’t slow and remains seamless for our clients.

Remote working set ups

Learning

Without the daily commute we all have a bit more time. We at c3 are taking that time to read, absorb, learn and develop. We’re advancing our approach and campaigns and building tools to help us be faster and more insightful.

Staff investment

We’re continuing with plans to to onboard new team members, the method has been adapted so that new recruits will receive their technology kits and will be virtually onboarded using video calls with Directors of departments. We may even do a welcome lunch via Teams!

Wellbeing

Its important to stay mentally well as well as physically. We have taken our meditation Wednesday’s digital onto the Teams platform so we can all take 15minutes out to rebalance before carrying on with the rest of the week. We’re also encouraging the whole team to take time out throughout the day to get out and get some fresh air.

Digital PR Executive Olivia Wigg’s Morning Walk

Fun

Team’s that play together, stay together. Find a way to have fun digitally without leaving the house. This Friday c3 will be enjoying a digital remote pub quiz accompanied by a drink of choice at our laptops.

We’re only on day 5 with this strategy so time will tell if it will continue to be fruitful; however so far our team is pulling together stronger than ever.

Seen a lot of channel wars online since the COVID-19 outbreak, companies and people trying to push the value of the channels they specialise in. There are some good points but a lot of the time the answer isn’t that simple.

One of the arguments is ‘turn your PPC off/down and invest in the long-term strategy of SEO so your rankings are strong when this blows over’. I totally get this argument; but if you drop your SEO and lose rankings you can’t just switch it back on when the world wakes up. However, this is too simple a solution for many of the businesses we work with.

Yes, the world has gone into hibernation, but people are still buying so switching off your PPC is effectively switching off sales. The preferred option is to tighten up those campaigns, pause anything on a higher CPA/CPL and really drill down into what is still working.

The other thing to consider is awareness. The world is working from home, more people are browsing, maybe not buying, but they are browsing. You still need to be there in those moments and no SEO strategy covers it all.

I would personally look at where SEO is performing well and potentially stop paid activity on these terms. Then look at your SEO gaps and switch PPC on here. Adopt a fully balanced strategy between the two to ensure you’re capturing as much of the market as possible, whilst efficiently managing spend.

Also its worth noting that whilst the market has shifted but it isn’t gone. The questions people are asking about products and services have changed dramatically in the last 2 weeks. What are these questions? Do you have content? Can you target them through your paid media? This for me is a must action that needs to happen now.

There is no right answer on channel during this period, it’s about your customers and serving them based on their new habits, concerns and questions.

These are challenging times, but there are opportunities amongst the chaos. You need to take action so that you’re in the strongest position possible when the world wakes up.

Whilst we are now living in a strange new reality where we queue outside of supermarkets at 6am to get ourselves some toilet paper, what has been very interesting as a marketer however is how brands have reacted to current events. We’ve outlined a few of our favourites below:

National Trust – Free entry to all gardens and parklands

As long as we’re not showing any symptoms of coronavirus, we’re being encouraged to get outdoors, exercise and get some fresh air. In support of this the National Trust have offered free entry to all gardens and parklands, their properties and cafes will be closed from the 20th, but I think we can all agree we don’t need to spend any more time indoors than we are already. Take this as an opportunity to get out there and see some of the great countryside that England has to offer!

Pret a Manger – Free hot drinks for NHS workers

Pret have a history of supporting the community, offering career paths to people who otherwise wouldn’t have found jobs, donating food to the homeless, and working to deliver sustainable products too. Today they’ve announced their plans to offer free hot drinks to all NHS workers, and 50% off of everything else, keeping our incredible UK NHS workforce fed and watered throughout the busy times ahead.

Iceland- Elderly shopping hours

The panic buying started just over a week ago, for those who are able to travel further afield to find their baked beans and pasta, this hasn’t been such a big issue, however for some, in particular the elderly this isn’t a possibility. To combat this, and to ensure that those most in need in society can access supplies, Iceland stores announced the elderly hour. Starting from this morning, store managers across the country have been allowed to dedicate the first two hours of opening to shoppers only of national pension age or older. Other supermarkets have followed suit, meaning that those who are more at risk have an opportunity to buy what they need, in the hours where the shop is less busy and has just been cleaned.

Jet2 – PR Crisis Management

The travel industry, and the airlines in particular were some of the first businesses to experience the impact of COVID-19, and for them it has been nothing short of catastrophic. For me, one company that has stood out however is Jet2. Their social media team have been (and continue to be) incredibly proactive in keeping their existing and future passengers informed on the status of their flights and trips. For those who are abroad currently, return flights have been organised, and in theory passengers will make it back to their home countries. From an external perspective, its brands like these that deserve our loyalty when we are able to start booking travel again. If you’re looking for up to date travel information follow this link.

As this situation evolves we’ll be keeping a close eye on brand activity to see how companies react to the upcoming changes ahead.

It’s difficult to get away from the big C word at the moment (Coronavirus just to be clear!), with all the craziness that’s going on around the world.

I’m going to ignore the politics of whether the UK has been quick enough to self isolate. But what did get me thinking was how the world is dealing with the whole situation of have a large part of their workforce remote working and working from home.

  • How are different countries collaborating?
  • What technologies are people using to stay connected?

 

Google Trends for world collaboration trends

Using Google Trends, I’ve pulled together a few collaboration technologies and countries out of curious interest. I’ve only used the following:

  1. Google Hangouts
  2. Microsoft Teams
  3. Slack
  4. Zoom Video Communications
  5. G Suite

A few interesting observations

  • WORLDWIDE – Zoom is the biggest winner with almost 5 times more searches since mid February.
  • WORLDWIDE – Microsoft Teams comes in at second place after lagging behind Slack in February.
  • UK – Microsoft Teams is the most popular platform, searches have more than doubled since Feb, but again Zoom has gained the most almost 4 times more searches.
  • SPAIN – Appears to favour Google Hangouts.
  • ITALYBreaks the charts. Slack curiously seems out of favour in Italy.
  • FRANCE – Seems to be the only country that favours the use of Slack more than the other platforms. As of the 12th March, growth in search trends have been slower than other countries.
  • AUSTRALIA – Again has seen a growth in searches for Zoom but trends for other platforms have remained fairly static.

Collaboration tools search trends worldwide

Collaboration tools in Italy

Collaboration tools worldwide

Interactive collaboration tools search trends worldwide

The below is an interactive Data Studio dashboard, in case you can’t access Click this link – feel free to play around with the data.

It’s going to be interesting to see how this changes the working landscape moving forwards.