Momentum Volume 4

Marketing is for life, not just for Christmas.

Managing Director: Paul Williamson, Realia Marketing

Tis the season to be jolly and high street retailers have gone into advertising overdrive to try to encourage us that actually what we really want for Christmas is an even bigger TV and a mobile phone with more gadgets than James Bond’s Aston Martin. And why not? Fill your wellies. Everything is 40% off the RRP, you get interest free credit for the first 3 years and there’s even a disinterested teenager in store to help confuse you even more about what model you should choose.

This is where I offer a sobering word of caution for those who aim to make hay this winter. A charming advertising campaign, enticing Point Of Sale and evocative deals may pull in Santa’s little spenders, but unless your commitment to marketing goes beyond communication and is at the core of all your customer interaction, you will find all that Christmas cheer will quickly turn into a pretty uncomfortable hangover.

Too many of us have bought goods and services on the back of a brand promise only to be utterly disappointed by the after sales service. Advertising creates expectations and when those expectations are not best delivered by staff, service or technical support, the disappointment can often lead to disillusionment and customer churn.

Often the only meaningful contact between your brand and your customer occurs when there is a problem or complaint and the experience during that process will be a key driver to satisfaction, retention and ongoing loyalty. Whether it’s cars, mobile phones or white goods, many of us carry the battle scars of dealing with ‘customer service’ departments when things go wrong – the endless and unnecessary telephone merry-go-round you have to endure every time you call to find out what is happening, not to mention the amount of time, energy and cost associated with chasing, waiting and arguing.

And believe me, all that time sitting at home waiting for the repairman is being spent vowing never to return to that store. ‘The World’s favourite airline’ was a great example of an organisation that failed to deliver on its much-publicised promise. Whilst the millions spent on advertising built a brand defined by care, attention and a ‘can-do attitude’, the reality was a surly greeting from snooty check-in staff, delayed bags and a ‘no can do’ to a request for extra legroom.

Jamie Oliver was widely recognised as the saviour of Sainsbury’s a few years ago and whilst it is certainly true his TV campaigns delivered unprecedented levels of recall, would Sainsbury’s recovery really have been as rapid had they not resolved their stock problems, improved their standards and better delivered what their customers wanted?

So, what’s the answer?

Simply, there needs to be a desire to create profitable, long-term relationships as well as deliver opportunistic sales. Real marketing isn’t just about clever ads or snappy slogans, it’s about creating, defining and effectively delivering a set of customer led values so that all of your staff aspires to deliver and customers are inspired to buy.

Above all, it means recognising that winning customers goes far beyond the advertising campaign and that keeping them requires a real commitment to customer care and attention that should be at the very heart of your organisation.

Top 10 Jargon busters

Creative Director: Paul Newbold, Realia Marketing

Comic Sans. A tragedy car crash font or the bastard love child of VAGRounded and Helvetica? One thing’s for certain, they are two words that inflict fear and loathing into all designers in the know. But first of all, I feel I may need to go into the background and history of the font that should never be named. The typeface had originally been supplied with Microsoft Windows since the introduction of Windows 95. Initially as a supplemental font in the Windows Plus Pack and later in Microsoft Comic Chat.

Describing it, Microsoft has explained that “this casual but legible face has proved very popular with a wide variety of people.”

Mmmm, really Microsoft?

It was originally only ever intended to be used in the speech bubbles of a certain Microsoft character called Bob and then slowly progressed to be used in informal documents and educational materials. It then began to spread like a disease. Its use soon became widespread and within four years of its release on Windows, designers had begun to argue that it had become overused, often through use in serious and formal documents in which it could appear too informal or even as inappropriate and disrespectful. But let’s face it; everyone loves to hate Comic Sans right? The handwriting style font is so infamous there was a movement to try to ban it.

Mention its name to the common layman (aside from a pre-school teacher) and you will likely get a chuckle; mention it to a trained designer, and you’ll get a look of disgust.

But what exactly makes Comic Sans so horrible? Well for starters it has that childlike style that wouldn’t look out of place on a fridge door promoting a young child’s artistic recreation. It also seems to turn the average PC user into a fully-fledged designer. The font obviously has the power to craft such delights as a lost kitten poster, mattresses for sale and the odd birthday card for gran. And of course not forgetting the endless capabilities of creating amazing PowerPoint presentations fit for a king! But the font has now really started to take hold again and with more people creating their own desktop publishing, the power of the font has become even stronger. Instead of just appearing on flyers posted in break rooms, Comic Sans is now showing up on websites, and even as the default font for many people’s emails. It now seems that any one person could write a message that could potentially be read by millions, in Comic Sans.

For this exact reason, Comic Sans will always be the arch enemy of the graphic designer. It’s not only an unattractive font, but it also represents the invisible, evil force that is making the “print” designer less and less relevant. A natural reaction to being threatened is violence, and the hatred for Comic Sans is arguably violent.

So is 2016 the year of the great Comic Sans comeback? And will Realia embrace it… Eh, no.

I love it… to the moon and back

Client Services Director: Nicola Williamson, Realia Marketing

We all knew Christmas was approaching fast when the much anticipated big-brand consumer ad campaigns hit our television screens, gently coercing us into beginning preparations for the big day. It’s tradition for John Lewis to run with a feel-good storyboard full of love. This year is no exception with ‘the man on the moon’ – the story of Lily, who when looking at the moon one Christmas night sees a lonely old man. She begins a quest to send him a gift of a telescope to remind him that people are thinking of him. It’s said that a mere £7m budget (£1m production; £6m media) brought the story to life and the campaign extends, as always, into themed merchandise – from PJs to books; Christmas cards to chocolates (and of course telescopes) – the range of accompanying ‘moon gear’ is endless. As too are the initial statistics that show its success so far; it would make a great infographic – 23,000 online mentions in two hours (compared to 2014 Monty the Penguin’s 14,000 in 24 hours), with just over 16,300 mentions of #ManOnTheMoon and #OnTheMoon in the first hour and now over 22 million YouTube views!

But what’s really caught my eye are the spin-offs by Aldi and MyVoucherCodes. Aldi’s ‘Like Brands’ campaigns are well-loved and well-recalled. In my view it’s genius to use that recipe, along with some well-loved Aldi faces of the past, to create this smart re-enactment of the John Lewis ad; comparing the price of a John Lewis telescope to an Aldi version. I even had to look twice to see if the old man on the moon was a different man!

MyVoucherCodes responded with their low budget, cheeky adaptation #NotOnTheMoon. A group of budding industry creatives (School of Communication Arts in London) created the spin-off with just £700 and 7 hours. As the leading discount deals website in the UK, this campaign is perfectly on message; emphasising that Christmas doesn’t need a big budget and with 78,000 hits on YouTube I’m not sure John Lewis has anything to worry about?

No pain no gain

Junior Art Director: Rachel Hancock, Realia Marketing

Hey guys, how do we all feel about running 10KM as part of our 10 year celebrations?…” As you can imagine, our response to Becca’s question was one of laughing, strong words and “you are joking, right?

I think the whole team will agree that this year we have been put through our paces in more ways than one. As our 10 year celebrations continue, we have been taking part in a selection of challenges which have seen Team Realia pulling together in the hope of raising funds for our chosen charity, Abigail’s Footsteps.

Although Becca had asked us very nicely about the prospect of running 10KM together, no matter what we said, it was always going to happen. Now I am not a runner, nor am I a gym enthusiast or likewise; so for me this was definitely going to be a challenge. But like everyone else, I didn’t want to let the team down so I took on some training.

Waking up at 5:30am isn’t fun at the best of times, and it’s even less appealing when faced with the prospect of going running, in the dark and the cold. Never the less I kept it up much to my surprise, even through my holiday in Ireland. Each week I was getting a little bit further, first doing 2KM and working my way up to 4KM and more. I monitored my progress through the Nike Running App, which I found helpful for keeping a track on how well I was doing and being able to prove to others that I was actually running!

After two months of building myself up, it was race day! One minor detail that was missed when booking our places on the 10KM run, was that it wasn’t quite a fun run around the local park. This was in fact a race for the experienced, filled with running clubs and guys that had all the gear and some idea!

But with everything taken into account, we all managed to make it round! We were last to leave but most people stayed to cheer us on, including friends and family. And thanks to everyone’s support we managed to raise £600 for Abigail’s Footsteps. However the pain of one challenge just wasn’t enough! Oh no, the next challenge would involve a bike and hours worth of cycling. Luckily for us, we were able to bring in some lovely volunteers to help spread out the hard work. Becca started us off at 8am, and between then and 6pm we took it in turns to face the most uncomfortable exercise bike in history. But together we made it and in the process covered 278.5KM, raising a further £500 for Abigail’s Footsteps.

For me, the thing that has stood out about these challenges is how much we have been able to pull together and accomplish as a team. We have achieved a lot in such little time, a Realia trait some would say! So with a few more events to go, let the 10 year celebrations continue!

PR and Social Account Manager: Rebecca Smith, Realia Marketing

A publicity stunt is defined as “a planned event designed to attract attention for the event’s organisers or cause.” If done poorly or without sufficient preparation, it can be potentially damaging to a brand, however when executed well, it can attract a lot of attention for all the right reasons. Below are my favourite 3 PR Stunts of 2015:

  1. The bronze medal goes to… HEINEKEN.

I couldn’t possibly do a roundup of 2015 without making reference to the Rugby World Cup, sorry for bringing it up again! Although the results on the pitch might not have been what many of us had hoped for, off the pitch lots of brands were converting their ideas into a roaring success. The third largest sporting event in the world presented Heineken with the opportunity to reinforce their strong connection with the game. They did just that with a number of successful PR stunts that included hiding the late All Blacks legend Jonah Lomu in a machine to sign personalised rugby balls in a pub in Ireland with the #TheJonahLomuMachine trending, along with turning Somerset house,

a major cultural centre in the heart of London, into a virtual stadium. With a 270 degree projection, and the noise of thousands of people being recreated, the landmark turned green the brand’s iconic colour. Partnering with some legends of the game; Jonah Lomu, Will Carling, John Smit, Matt Dawson and Scott Quinnell, this led to countless column inches and social media activity.

  1. Coming in a close second is … Snickers – ‘You’re not you when you’re hungry’

When Jeremy Clarkson, the former Top Gear presenter got fired for reportedly punching a producer, people went into a social media frenzy. Trending on twitter in the UK, countless memes, reactions and petitions were created. The clever folks over at Snickers saw this as a perfect opportunity to push their established tag line, ‘You’re not you when you’re hungry’. With over 5000 RTs, numerous mentions and media coverage deeming it the best of all responses; this was a hilarious campaign that generated great, measurable results. With something so simple and no elaborate budget, an incredible campaign was created… Hurrah Snickers you have proved Simple can be smart!

  1. The gold medal goes to… SAMSUNG – ‘live one day without barriers’

Samsung shared a vision with a deaf Turkish man to ‘live one day without barriers’ (whilst launching their new video calling centre which enables the hearing impaired to communicate easier) … cue clever, emotive PR stunt. They created a video that took about a month to make, in which they worked with a town to teach them sign language so that they communicate with a loved deaf man in the community. Secret cameras followed him around as people in his town began to communicate with him using sign language before the elaborate stunt was revealed. Bravo Samsung, definitely a campaign that’s stuck in my mind throughout 2015!

The sweet taste of success

Business Development Director: George Martino

Chocolate has, historically, been revered as something special. Even before I was born, and that’s a loooong time ago, this treat had gained notoriety amongst civilisation’s more cultured factions.

The Aztecs believed that cacao seeds (chocolate’s purest form) were a gift from Quetzalcoatl, the God of wisdom. So valuable were these seeds that they were traded as currency.

At Realia Marketing, we couldn’t agree more with the Aztec’s sentiment.

As a major part of Realia’s new business campaign, chocolate is like gold dust. What does this sweet have to do with marketing? Let me explain, using an example.

Let’s say you’re a very busy marketer working for a successful company. Chances are, you’re bombarded with unsolicited emails from agencies struggling to steal a few minutes of your time so they can tell you how creative they are. The irony is that there are dozens of these perpetrators using email for the same misguided purpose.

And how do you deal with them?

Well, that’s why the DELETE button was invented.

Almost worse than the emails are cold phone calls that interrupt your busy day. If you wanted to listen to someone spiel on about their greatness, you could call your spouse’s boring Uncle Norman, the accountant. Cold calls get the cold shoulder 99% of the time… and for good reason.

So, imagine the morning mail run comes past your desk. In a small bundle of your post is an eye-catching envelope, personally addressed to you. You open it. You unfold the package to reveal a delicious looking bar of chocolate. Who sent you this? The answer lies in a brief intro to Realia Marketing. You can read this unobtrusive bio while enjoying a piece of the tasty chocolate with your 10am cup of Java.

We realise that only a tiny portion of busy marketers will make an enquiring phone call, even if they need our services. That’s why we follow-up with phone calls to those selected companies we’ve chosen to mail. In a vast majority of cases, the reception is overwhelmingly positive. At worst we’ll get a, ‘thank you very much for the clever mailer, but we currently have an agency with whom we’re happy.’ At best we hear, ‘fantastic timing; I’ll send you a brief for a project we need ASAP.’ The latter happens more often than you’d think. Why? Because we dare to be different. And people just, generally, love chocolate.