10 Ads that just might make you Cry

Excellent examples of how making an emotional connection with your audience can be the strongest form of advertising. Hearts and minds.

Beloved Brands

imagesIn a world of big data, we tend to forget that Advertising is half art, and half science.  While I respect analytics, I also admire instincts.  As Brand Leaders, we are after growth and profit for our brands.  Yes, advertising should persuade, sell or create an idea in the consumers mind.   But for the most Beloved Brands, it also should connect and create a bond with consumers.  Because that bond gives the brand power, not just with the very consumers it connects with, but the retailers, suppliers or against the competitors.  And from that power, it can drive stronger share, command a price premium or enter new categories, all leading to higher growth and profits.  Here are some ads that create a nice bond with their consumers, and each of them tightly connected to what the brand does for the consumer.

Budweiser “Trainer”

The most popular Super Bowl…

View original post 826 more words


Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Website upgrade – please visit site to keep following


We’ve recently moved the site over to WordPress.org to give visitors a better experience free from unwanted adverts.

Unfortunately it means that you won’t be notified of any new posts unless you visit the site and click to follow again.

Please make your way over to www.refresh-marketing.co.uk and enter your email address on the right hand side.

We promise to reward you with regular posts taking a fresh look at marketing and communications.

Hope to see you there!

Refresh Marketing


Leave a comment

Filed under Blogging, Communications

Why print is not dead: the case for the defence

With all the talk of the Royal Mail privatisation it reminded me of the amount of times I have been told that direct mail and print marketing are dead. Whilst they may be seeing a decline they are far from dead, and I firmly believe that print has a crucial role to play in many marketing plans. Here’s my case for the defence of print marketing.

Digital is easy to ignore and forget

Yes, digital marketing is relatively quick and cost effective, but how many times have you forgotten the date of an event or a URL you intended to remember? We skim-read online more than we do for print, and consequently our ability to retain and recall online information is less effective.  Print materials take slightly longer to read and therefore your message reaches your customer in a different way.

Print hangs around

It’s easy to hit the delete button on an email, and yes, print too can be binned, but if the message is one of interest customers are likely to hang on to the leaflet for reference. Emails get rapidly pushed down the inbox and are as good as forgotten.  Meanwhile your print item is stuck on their notice-board at home.

Greater reach than digital

extend your reachHow many people see the contents of your email inbox? Probably just yourself. How often do you forward an email offer on to friends? Rarely, if ever? A print leaflet can be seen by every member in the household, can be shown around friends and shared.  This is particularly helpful if other members of the household are the decision maker or influencer.  For example a college may contact their future students by post – in order to get in front of the parents too. You’ll reach more people with each communication.

Make the intangible real

Particularly in services marketing we face the challenge that the thing we are selling is intangible – you can’t pick it up.  That can present some communication challenges.  In particular, if your service is high-value customers will want something they can hold in their hand as proof that the service exists. Think holiday brochures, wedding venue brochures or university course prospectuses.  Digital content can change from day to day or even be deleted, whereas if I have an official printed copy in my hand there is some certainty to what I am buying.

Print speaks for your brand

Whilst great design, photography and copywriting all say a lot about a brand, print has the added dimensions of paper and print quality. These provide marketers with another opportunity to communicate brand values and make an impact on their prospective customers. Personalisation and other innovations make print an exciting field, so think beyond the standard letter or flyer and get creative.

We’re not all digital natives

According to the Office for National Statistics, 17% of UK households still don’t have internet access. For some this is about price or security concerns, whilst a significant number just didn’t feel the need for it. If your target audience includes some ‘anti-internetters’ then print is the ideal medium with which to reach them. Let’s not assume that everyone is online all the time.

Push the envelope

Print is not just about flyers, posters and letters.  Print materials have a range of uses which are great for spreading the word and keeping your message front of mind – think ‘leave behinds’ at meetings, calling cards, postcards, vouchers etc. How you use print will depend on your marketing objectives and distribution method.

I’m a big advocate of print marketing – used appropriately, well designed and written, and produced by expert printers, print can have a fantastic impact.

Leave a comment

Filed under Communications, Marketing, Sales, Strategy

Why language makes all the difference in business

A recent project brought home the impact that language can have when engaging with an audience.  We found that a phrase, which until then was being used as the team name and service descriptor had a hugely negative impact on the main target audience, and was in part the reason why the audience hadn’t been engaging with the service.

The outcomes surprised the project team, and will mean that they need to adopt a whole new vocabulary when talking about their service to their audience.  Whilst I can’t share the specifics of this project, the insight is one which can apply to business communications strategies across industry sectors and audience segments.

Challenge assumptions

You may think that there are some obvious differences in the use of English language to appeal to say younger vs older audiences. However I challenge that assumption as younger people (Generation Y and Z) don’t necessarily want their brands to talk to them in text-speak or use their jargon.  If your brand is delivering a serious product or service then they want you to speak with authority using proper English. If your brand is fun and social, then copy in line with their vocabulary is more likely to be acceptable to them.

Use of younger language could mean that older generations (Baby Boomers) simply can’t understand what message you are trying to get across, but at the same time this generation like their advertising to be intelligent and not patronising.

Gather insight about your audience preferences

It is wrong to assume that all of your audience will have the same reaction to language based on their age.  How often have you understood something different to your friend or colleague, even if you were listening to the same words?  We interpret language differently based on a huge number of factors, such as our age, gender, socio-demographic group, experiences and so on.

green appleAt a team-building workshop years ago the facilitator asked us for our first response when she said the word ‘apple’. The majority of those in the room responded with ‘crispy’, ‘red’, ‘fresh’ and so on. My response was ‘snow white’ – which seemed completely left-field to the rest of the group, but to me demonstrated that I was much more creative than my peers. It also helped us all to understand why we sometimes had difficulty communicating within the group! From then on, we appreciated that we sometimes needed to say the same thing in different ways, in order to get a message across to the variety of personality types in the team.

So, the lesson is to understand your audience in terms of the language they would like you – your brand or company – to use with them. Don’t make assumptions based on their demographics as that could easily lead you down the wrong path. Good market research is crucial, so that you get qualitative information to feed into your strategy.

Adult-to-adult, adult-to-child, peer-to-peer

Without realising it brands can slip into speaking to their audience like an adult to a child. This ‘telling’ way of speaking is rarely successful as the recipient feels patronised.  I’ve often seen it used by professional services firms, where they are trying to impart advice or knowledge, and are therefore the ones in the know (unlike the audience).  Their challenge is to get across that they are the experts, without making the audience feel stupid for not having that expertise.

There are also many examples of peer-to-peer language used inappropriately that make me cringe.  Finding the right relationship with your audience is an essential step in defining your tone of voice. It’s partly about your brand positioning, partly about your target audience. Get it wrong and you could sound like a grumpy uncle, or worse – daddy on the dance floor!

Learn to speak your customer’s language

What can a business do, if the service you offer is legal advice, but your customer research indicates that they feel ‘legal advice’ has negative connotations – for example they may feel that it is likely to be expensive, an old fashioned business, full of confusing jargon…and so on.

The answer is to develop a new set of vocabulary for you to use, in dealing with customers and in your communications.  Find out from your customers what they would want from a business that helps them with legal matters, and how they would like you to speak. Test some different phrases with them, let them create their own, and you will find a direction starts to become clear.  From there you can create new ways of talking about your service which will be in the language that makes sense to your customers, and uses phrases that they want to hear.

Your business should reap benefits in terms of delivering a better service to your customers, and marketing communications will be much more effective as your message will be clearly understood.  Language is a very powerful tool in business, but its importance is often sadly overlooked.

Leave a comment

Filed under Communications, Copywriting, Marketing, Strategy

Future Comms: Around the World in 80 Apps

Future Index Extra

APP WALL - Version 2

We took a quick tour of some of the World’s university apps. We drew them from a number of sources including ‘Best of’ blogs, referrals and a long time spent browsing the i-tunes UK App Store. Just to be clear – we didn’t look at everything and we didn’t apply any strict research techniques. We simply browsed, and played. We mapped everything we found and we pulled out some key themes. And by doing so we got enough to paint a landscape and highlight a few great examples to inspire us all.

Let’s get the negatives out of the way quickly. As much as 50% of our experience was disappointing. Most of that hugely so. We’ve summed them up in quick lowlights:

Nice Home Screen But…. So many apps looked good at the start but the promise quickly faded into poor content, often seemingly randomly chosen. At least 20% of…

View original post 1,310 more words

Leave a comment

Filed under Digital, Education Marketing, Great Marketing, Mobile, Youth Marketing

Social media: there’s more to social than Facebook

You might be forgiven for thinking that Facebook is the one and only place to interact with your customers online. With a broad demographic of members, a range of apps and marketing tools it’s increasingly seen as the must have social media presence for any business.  However, there’s danger in this single minded view of social media marketing.

Is Facebook right for you?

First of all, as some of my previous post highlight, you need to be sure that Facebook (or any channel) is the right marketing vehicle for your specific business. Ask yourself who your customers are, how do they behave, and where is it appropriate to introduce your business to them.  What is your business trying to achieve with social media marketing – and find the networks that best fit with your objectives.

Create a balanced social media strategy

Secondly, there are such a wide range of networks out there, that cater for different demographics, behaviours and markets, that a single-minded strategy is a bit short sighted. Yes, social media marketing requires a time investment, but it is never wise to put all your eggs in one basket. A strategy that identifies, for instance one primary network, plus a couple of secondary networks for your business is much more balanced in terms of risk and reward.

Own your digital presence

All social media channels are rented real-estate – if Facebook decides to change your terms and conditions or page layout there is little you can do about it. By contrast, your own website is entirely under your control and is owned by you.  To have a Facebook page and no website means your digital presence is on shaky ground.  By starting with your own website, and building social media profiles on top your business can always change its social media strategy without losing everything that you have built up over time.

Innovation good: innovation bad

The digital landscape and social media in particular are continually innovating. That’s part of what makes it so exciting, but also creates a challenge for businesses to keep up to date with what’s happening.  Recently, for instance Facebook relaxed its competition rules (good news) but Facebook now determines how many of your page posts to show to your fans/followers (bad news).  If you rely heavily on Facebook to communicate with your audience/customers then your business fortune is at their mercy.

information overload
It’s a game of many players

Meanwhile, MySpace has relaunched with a new look and better functionality, and LinkedIn is making moves beyond it’s business networking and recruiter home-ground towards all-round information source with it’s new university pages. Let’s not forget the other big players Google+, Pinterest, Twitter, Flikr, Instagram, Etsy, Tumblr and so on and so forth. Don’t ignore the other players who are relevant to your business or market as they may one day become more profitable for you than Facebook.  They are all continually innovating, and who’s to say that their next update won’t offer just the marketing tool your business needs.

People moves

At the same time as the networks changing their functionality and design, their user bases are shifting and changing. Facebook was once the exclusive home of US college students and is now home to a very broad demographic, with young people leaving the platform now that it is now used by their parents and grandparents.  Keep in touch with published audience figures such as this one to help you determine whether their audience matches your audience.

If Facebook is working for your business and you’re happy to follow the whim of Facebook’s developers, then great. If you’d like to take a more balanced approach then maybe it’s time to review your social media strategy and check out what the other networks can deliver for your business.

Leave a comment

Filed under Digital, Marketing, Social media, Strategy

Best Tourism Ads on the Planet

Inspiring travel and tourism adverts from Beloved Brands.

Beloved Brands

Ad_Newfoundland_240x240As we hit the fall, it’s a great time to be thinking about vacations.  Here are some of the Best Tourism ads from around the world.  Too many Tourism spots use a montage of clips against a cute wholesome song and put on a cheery tag line that says very little and offends very few.  Most tourism ads all look the sam.  The challenge for tourism groups is the number of constituents they must please really inhibits the risk taking that would push for greatness. 

Here’s a few of my favourites.   Feel free to add others.    

Newfoundland and Labrador in Canada

This ad captures the pure beauty of Newfoundland, a province on the east coast of Canada.  Pure desolate and rugged beauty.  This campaign  enticed me to go to Newfoundland and it did not disappoint.  Best photos you’ll ever come back with.  I’d go in the summer…

View original post 467 more words

Leave a comment

Filed under Advertising, Great Marketing, Marketing, Travel and Tourism