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!

The Source Wins Red Door PR and Marketing Brief

It’s been an exciting few weeks at The Source HQ, we’ve launched a new interiors store in Chester, experienced a day of Bake-Off fever with Inspired Villages, had a couple client award wins for TIMCo, Barnes Logistics and The Chester Grosvenor, and to top it off, we’ve just been appointed by Red Door to deliver PR, marketing, general campaign and social media support.

 

With bars in Chester, Liverpool and Leeds, Red Door offers exceptional service and extraordinary drinks. Part of the Living Ventures Group, all Red Door bartenders are trained to the highest standard, watched over by the keen eye of Managing Director, Lee Lynch, who has trained many of the best cocktail makers in the region.

 

With many of the team already being extremely familiar with the brand… and its cocktails(!), we are more than excited to be partnering with Red Door. Our main focus will be developing their PR and marketing strategy to raise the profile of the individual bars, support any new openings and generally increase awareness within both the consumer and trade markets.

 

If you’re looking for effective PR and marketing support that delivers results, why not get in touch? We work with a broad range of clients and can work alongside you to create an effective strategy that gets you noticed. Give us a call on 01829 720 789 or drop a line to enquiries@thesourcepartnership.com.

The Winning Streak Continues! 🎉 Success at the Marketing Cheshire Annual Tourism Awards

The Winning Streak Continues! 🎉 Success at the Marketing Cheshire Annual Tourism Awards

If we do say so ourselves, we’re a dab hand at writing a winning award entry here at The Source and making sure our clients get the recognition they deserve for their incredible achievements and accolades. Once again, it’s paid off, with three clients receiving awards and high commendations at the Marketing Cheshire Annual Tourism Awards.

On 23rd November, we attended the ceremony at the historic Chester Racecourse along with over 300 tourism representatives. The awards celebrated a diverse variety of businesses that contribute to Cheshire’s thriving visitor economy, which was worth £3.3 billion and employed over 42,000 people in 2016.

Combermere Abbey won the coveted Boutique Accommodation of the Year award for their newly-restored North Wing, which offers luxury B&B accommodation overlooking the vast estate. The Chester Grosvenor and FREEDOME parks also received high commendations, for the Outstanding Customer Service award and Small Visitor Attraction of the Year award respectively.

 

Along with the recent successes at the Cheshire Business Awards, which saw The Ice Cream Farm scooping the Innovation and Enterprise award and The Chester Grosvenor winning the Employer of the Year award, it’s safe to say that it’s been a fantastic few weeks for our clients! We’re delighted that they’ve been recognised for their achievements are are amongst the most respected businesses in the region.

Now, onto the next award…

 

Client Awards: TIMco Wins Big at NBG Awards

One of our longest standing clients, TIMco have had an incredibly successful awards season so far scooping not one or even two, but three award wins at the NBG Awards 14th November at a Gala Dinner in the Exhibition Centre, Liverpool.

 

TIMco was awarded the titles of ‘Brand of the Year’ and ‘Supplier of the Year’ in the Painting, Decorating, Ironmongery, Hardware, Electricals & Fixings Category for the fifth consecutive year. Sales Director at TIMco, Simon Rance, was also named as runner up in the ‘Account Manager of the Year’ category for his excellent service and support of customers.

 

TIMco has also been nominated as ‘Supplier of the Year’ by Builder’s Merchant News in their Awards for Excellence. Which are due to take place on Friday 24th November.

 

There’s no doubt that awards can seriously boost a business’ reputation amongst customers and competitors, but they can also involve a difficult and arduous process of forms! If you’d like to learn more about how we can help draft and enter award entries on your behalf, send us an email: enquiries@thesourcepartnership.com.

 

Emojis – More Than Meets The 👁

The task of connecting with the Millenial market is getting harder and harder as young people become savvier about brand messages and stunts. But their love of emojis is showing no sign of slowing down – but proceed with caution: as the symbols have grown in variety, so have their meanings…

 

💅

The nail painting emoji evolved quickly to suggest far more than touching up colour. Now this symbol is used to portray defiant nonchalance: something’s happened that the writer should care about, but they just don’t.

 

From offering any form of self-indulgent services to promoting your brand image as light-hearted but self-assured, most businesses can use this emoji to emphasise a message of being carefree and putting yourself first, no matter what others might think.

 

💃

Few people could have predicted the popularity of the simply named ‘woman dancing’.

 

The dancing woman emoji become the symbol to be used as a marker for social occasions – from nights out, to a quiet one in the pub, to a night in, the dancing woman was used to show enthusiasm. For businesses looking to promote a bold brand message or generate excitement for offers, the dancing women is perfect.

 

🐍

The background: after years of feuds and make ups, Kim Kardashian proved Taylor Swift lied to the media about a supposed lyric approval request from Kanye West, after she released videos of the exchange.

 

Within minutes of it being released, every single one of Taylor’s Instagram updates were flooded with comments using the snake emoji – to the point that she actually had to contact Instagram to block the symbol from her account. The snake has become synonymous with Taylor and her damaged reputation. Used correctly, businesses can ironically engage with the famous incident.

 

The world of emojis is deep and complex – and, most importantly, constantly evolving; to make sure you stay ahead, get in touch with our team today!

Ready, set…bake! The Great British Bake Off’s Howard Middleton comes to Inspired Villages.

With this year’s Great British Bake Off finale drawing in a whopping 6.5 million viewers, it’s safe to say that Britain is still in the midst of a Bake-Off fever! On Tuesday 24th October, fans of the much-loved show were in for a treat when former series 4 contestant, Howard Middleton, demonstrated his best bakes for the festive season ahead at Inspired Villages, Tattenhall.

Inspired residents and locals alike were invited to Eric’s restaurant on-site to watch the Bake-Off star rustle up a delicious array of Christmas delights, including a clementine and almond cake and frangipane mince pies with a ‘cherry berry’ mincemeat. As well as receiving some top baking tips, the audience were left entertained by Howard’s hilarious anecdotes from the nation’s favourite baking TV series, including the infamous ‘custard-gate’ incident.

The Source were approached by Inspired to raise the profile of their Tattenhall scheme and create a comprehensive plan of PR, marketing and event activity to communicate the quality of lifestyle, facilities and accommodation offered at the retirement village, as well as involve the wider community. We devised the Bake-Off event to acquaint locals in the area with Inspired, create positive regional press coverage and raise Inspired’s profile as a state-of-the-art retirement village with an exciting programme of events.

The proof of the pudding was in the full house of guests, extensive regional coverage, as well as a great deal of fun and laughter had by all.

For more information on organising events and getting your business noticed, please get in touch on 01829 720 789 or email info@thesourcepartnership.com.

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Store Dubbed Mini IKEA Arrives in Chester to Record-Breaking Queues

Interiors fans, brace yourselves… Last week we helped Danish brand, Søstrene Grene, open their Chester store in the Grosvenor Shopping Centre. The homewares brand is famed for its huge product range; from quirky kitchen accessories and sumptuous soft furnishings to stylish ceramics at affordable prices.

Approached by Søstrene for our extensive experience in the retail sector, knowledge of the region (and perhaps for our penchant for everything Scandi), we held an exclusive VIP launch event on Thursday, 19th October, followed by an official public opening on Friday, 20th.

Only the second store in the country, there is little or no knowledge of the brand in the UK and so we were tasked with not only increasing brand awareness regionally, but we also introduced national press to the cult-homewares business.

Our launch campaign included working closely with the Danish team to compile social media content, as well as securing press coverage in local and regional press, which resulted in Søstrene Grene featuring in a huge variety of regional publications.   We also worked with a local radio station to increase brand awareness and drive traffic to the VIP and official openings.

Over 100 people attended the VIP launch event, including regional press and bloggers, as well as a wide demographic of guests, who all enjoyed fizz and canapes from local bar and restaurant, The Botanist whilst browsing the store.

For the public launch the following day, there were hundreds of eager shoppers wanting to get in on the action, with queues through Grosvenor Shopping Centre and into the street, which hasn’t been seen in the centre for many years.

For more information on launch events or introducing brands into the UK, please get in touch on 01829 720789 or email info@thesourcepartnership.com.

Awards Season

It’s that time of the year again where, if we’re not drafting award entries, we’re getting all dressed up, attending ceremonies and watching our clients win some amazing awards!

On Friday, 6th October we attended The Cheshire Business Awards at the very beautiful Chester Cathedral.  The awards welcomed some of the most respected businesses in the region, demonstrating the exceptionally high level of quality competition that Cheshire boasts. We’re extremely proud to say that The Ice Cream Farm scooped the Innovation & Enterprise Award for their continuous development of the tourist attraction and success of their wholesale brand.

The Chester Grosvenor beat off competition from the likes of Chester Zoo to win the coveted, Employer of the Year award for their fantastic employee initiatives and dedication to their team’s development. Needless to say, our table had a great night!

We waited with bated breath earlier in the week as the shortlist for the Marketing Cheshire Awards were released and we’re very proud to say that out of seven entries submitted for four clients, all seven were successful! We’d like to wish The Ice Cream Farm, The Chester Grosvenor, Freedome and Comberemere Abbey the very best of luck. The Source is also up for an award- Best Tourism Marketing Project for our safety campaign with Freedome, so fingers crossed!

The GIF that keeps on GIF-ing!

This year the GIF celebrated its 25th birthday and stands as one of the longest reigning elements on the world wide web. Originally presenting itself in small animated icons throughout the 90s and transitioning through a bold and glittery Myspace phase, the GIF today has evolved into a repetitive looped sequence mainly extracted from television or movie clips.

Think Obama mic dropping, the waving bear, Kanye cracking a smile, Jennifer Lawrence tripping on the red carpet, GIFs are taking the internet by storm and they haven’t gone unnoticed.

Facebook and Twitter both got on board during the last two years integrating GIF buttons for users to get GIF-happy! Now when you scroll through your newsfeed, they have become impossible to ignore – advertising, demonstrating, reacting, entertaining – you name it, the GIF will cover it!

But why the GIF and why now?

We are living at a time where almost everything is available to us instantly. Gone are the days of dial-up connections and buffering videos, the GIF will start immediately with no need to even press play. Internet users are met with a continuous loop of a message, moment or advertisement whether they wanted to see it or not.

On top of this, the nature of GIFs means they are only a few seconds long so their message is conveyed instantaneously. Ad Week described them as “a moving picture telling the story of the moment better than either a photo or video ever could.” Content often gets lost within a lengthy video where as a GIF gets to the point directly and there’s no qualms if you missed it the first time because it will repeat itself over and over and over again. In fact, based on Ad Week’s data, GIFs typically generate seven times the views and engagement of a video from the same event. Hard evidence that the GIF must be onto something good.

While they are great for comedic value, GIFs also serve a valuable purpose within the world of advertising and marketing. They have been used to showcase products and ideas, advertise events or just to inject some fun into brands and campaigns. Take our client Kirsty’s for example… We have created a variety of playful and branded sequences for her to share across social media, which successfully engage viewers while also reiterating the brand name and encouraging product sales.

The GIF continues to expand across social media and is now moving into the top of web searches, where we are witnessing the introduction of sponsored brands’ GIFs. Despite its 25 year milestone, it has stood the test of time and according to Digimind, “far from falling into disuse, the GIF has actually mutated and become a medium in itself, an education channel, and of course a communication and marketing tool.”

If you are interested in personalised GIFs to take your business’ social media to the next level, please don’t hesitate to get in touch!