‘New Year, New You’ and other Cringey Clichés…

With the internet currently filled with ‘New Year, New You’ and other clichéd mottos, it may have got you thinking about the year ahead. According to a survey by human resource firm Investors in People, one in four UK workers are unhappy in their jobs, with many opting for freelance roles that may be free from some of the stress but can get just a little bit lonely…

Not to get too deep, but at The Source we believe happiness and success go hand in hand. We’re firm believers in a work-life balance, with flexibility and the freedom to manage your own time. Whilst you absolutely get this with freelancing, you miss out on agency life and all the positives that come with it. Not only do we have some pretty inspiring brainstorming sessions (sorry not sorry), but you also get the security of a team behind you, some great, and at times curious, office chat, as well as a whole new bunch of friends to play with.

So, lucky for you, we’re hiring! We’ve had some amazing client wins over the last few months so we’re on the lookout for PR Assistants, Junior Account Executives and Senior Account Executives, all with a great attitude, a penchant for spelling and grammar and an ability to bring some really great ideas to the table.

Think 2018 could be your year? Send your CV or request the full job specification by emailing laura@thesourcepartnership.com.

WHERE WILL COMPETITORS BE SPENDING THEIR MARKETING BUDGETS IN 2018?

It’s a competitive world out there with ambitious businesses each seeking a secret recipe for a successful ‘marketing mix’ to help them win business and out compete competitors.  So, to help those who may be a little lost or unsure, we thought it would be useful to share what our clients are doing and the marketing trends that are proving popular in 2018.

 

The first question is typically, how much should I spend?  Research suggests that since the 2009 financial dip, companies have been steadily increasing their marketing spend and this looks set to increase again in 2018.

 

As a gauge of how much to spend, marketing budgets are often compared to an organisation’s total budget, with smaller firms typically spending a little more to steal a march on their more established rivals. Depending on the service or product provided, the percentages can vary with businesses selling products to consumers typically spending on average 13.4%, compared to 10.4% for businesses selling products to other businesses.  Across all industries, companies were found to be spending 11.4% of their available budgets on marketing.

 

Now that budgets have been determined, where should the monies be spent?  Forrester Research predicts that in 2018, the average firm is expected to allocate 41% of their marketing budget to online activities with this rate is expected to grow to 45% by 2020.

 

Ensuring that businesses achieve a good search engine ranking will capture the largest single share of online spend with online display adverts taking the second largest share.  The spend on social media will continue to grow at nearly 20% each year until 2021, reflecting the changes in Facebook’s algorithms and the likely impact on other platforms.

 

When choosing which social channel to spend with, much would depend on who you are looking to target and what content you have to share.  As always, good content will remain king but Facebook is expected to remain number one on spend, with 90% of social media users utilizing the platform.  Instagram will continue to grow, from a 32% penetration to 47% by 2020.  The other channels, namely Pinterest and Twitter, will continue to have relatively low penetration, peeking around 33% of users by 2020.

 

The research also highlights that in 2018, at least half of all respondents planned to increase spending on social media marketing, content marketing, video and online lead generation principally at the expense of traditional TV and radio advertising.

 

Despite all the figures on advertising spend, whether your customers, suppliers, employees and regulators chose to buy your product or service, or to even be associated with your brand / business, will continue to depend on your reputation and how you’re perceived against your competitors.  Having PR support remains a critical, and affordable, way to build your reputation, credibility and to differentiate yourself from competitors.

 

A PR or communications team is also well placed to act as a central hub to marketing activities, bringing consistency to marketing communications and operating at the centre of the strategy due to their unique ability to manage the messages across the marketing platforms.  Let’s also not forget what I feel is the key ingredient – having clear objectives, a desired outcome and the right team in place to deliver.

 

It’s clear that a diverse range of ingredients is needed to achieve the right mix.  The good news is that market confidence remains high and evidence suggests that businesses who invest in their marketing will be best placed to reap the benefits of their efforts, particularly in the context of a growing economy in 2018.

 

 

 

‘The Source’ of 2017’s Success

The Christmas and New Year break was over before we knew it, and now 2018 is in full swing. To beat the ‘January Blues’, here at The Source we’re keeping positive by reminiscing about the finest moments of last year. 2017 was filled with incredible cultural moments, from that ‘oops’ moment at the Oscars (how will we ever forget the Moonlight and La La Land mix up?!) to the recent royal engagement, but away from all the crazy going-ons of the outside world, nestled in the quaint village of Tattenhall, we had quite the year ourselves. From team expansions, to new clients, awards and of course, a rebrand! In case you missed any of our highlights from the past year, we thought we’d share them with you here.

It’d be rude not to start with our biggest moment of 2017; making the final transition from The Source Partnership to The Source. The new branding of ‘The Source’ was a move that reflected our ambition and client focus so of course we needed an updated look to mirror this. After a new site was designed, Natural Selection Design paid us a visit to create a professional company video, and new headshots were taken. Add in to the mix a freshly-designed logo (a big thank you to Emily, our Graphic Designer!), along with our new(ish) premises, The Source was ready for reveal.

2017 also brought a number of new clients for us. From the Grosvenor, to Combermere Abbey, TextLocal and DV8, we gained a fantastic mix of B2B and B2C clients. We ran a series of PR campaigns, competitions, and launches for each, and we can confidently say that each client has been a pleasure to work with. We can’t wait to work with them all again this year.

With our new branding and increase in clients came new team members. We gained two fantastic team additions in the summer; Jo joined us as a PR Assistant following the completion of her degree in English and German Literature at University of Warwick. With existing PR and experience studying abroad, Jo was warmly welcomed to The Source. In June, Evie also joined us, having graduated from the University of Sheffield with a degree in English Language and Linguistics. Evie has proven to be a fantastic team member and works on key accounts such as; Wright Marshall, Combermere Abbey and Drivers Direct.

The year wouldn’t be complete without awards, and of course our clients took home a number of golds – but would you expect anything less? Meadow Foods scooped gold at the International Cheese Awards, the largest industry awards in Europe, whilst our client Barnes Logistics also came out on top in the Rochdale Business Awards for ‘Business of the Year’ with their impressive turnover of more than £5 million, business expansion and increasing fleet.

One of our longest standing clients, TIMco, also had an incredibly successful awards season scooping not one or even two, but three award wins at the NBG Awards in November at a Gala Dinner in the Exhibition Centre, Liverpool. Fantastic recognition for three very deserving clients!

2017 wouldn’t have been complete without some incredible coverage either, and with pieces from the Telegraph, the Sun and the Guardian, our coverage goals were achieved. Local business and long-standing client The Ice Cream Farm was recognised by the Telegraph as one of the top 20 most visited free attractions in the country, whilst the Guardian wrote a fantastic review on Liverpool bistro Wreckfish and the Sun published the professional comment of Drivers Direct on the HGV driver shortage. Brilliant results for each client!

Away from print media, of course we made a number of TV and radio appearances. We kick-started the year by filming with our client Wright Marshall as they hosted one of the largest model train auctions. Naturally, ITV were keen to air the event, which had over 4,000 model trains and raised over £230,000 for charity. Then fame fell at Europac3D’s feet as they made their TV debut featuring in an episode of ‘Find it, Fix it, Flog it’ to 3D scan one of the show’s presenters, creating a ‘mini me’ for a doll’s house restoration project (take a look at Gemma Longworth’s 3D miniature here, it’s very impressive, even if we do say so ourselves!) Then throw into the loop an appearance on Good Morning for Freedome, a filming collaboration between Kirsty’s and Redrow Homes, features for the Ice Cream Farm on Children in Need, and for Bolesworth on North West Tonight. Add in radio debuts on Newsround, the Jeremy Vine Show, Radio 5 Live, BBC Radio 2 and the Chris Evans Breakfast Show, and you have yourself one very busy year!

You may be wondering how we could possibly fit anything else into the mix, but in October, we organised, not one, but two client launches. Wreckfish, despite only launching in October, quickly became a foodie favourite across Liverpool with its exceptional dishes and stylish interiors. The restaurant became a record-breaker after crowdfunding £200,000 to support the opening of the business. If you haven’t visited yet, make sure you put it on your to-do list, as we can confirm that the food is just amazing! A little closer to home we also launched Søstrene Grene in October, welcoming the Scandi Interiors brand to its new home in the Chester Grosvenor shopping centre. Dubbed as the ‘mini-Ikea’, the event proved to be popular with shoppers – we may have even picked up a few homeware pieces ourselves…

2017 now feels like a distant memory, as we are already busy writing up plans and proposals for the next 12 months. We’re incredibly excited to see what 2018 brings – we’re certain that ‘The Source’ of a fantastic year lies in PR – so watch this space!