We love marketing. But even as professionals in the industry, we sometimes get a bit irked and irritated by some of what we see. Here are some of our marketing pet peeves. Do you have the same peeves or do you have your own?
The emoji is celebrating its 21st birthday year in 2020. Not everyone is celebrating. The go-to quick expression via digital communications can split the crowd, particularly between generations. In creative and leisure industries, its usage is familiar and can be appropriate. But the whole team at Fruit has a definite sad face when we see brands’ inappropriate use of emojis, especially from professional services organisations. Does anyone really want to work with an accountant, doctor or lawyer posting with a sunglasses-wearing emoji? Not cool.
A spelling mistake or grammatical error can really leap out from the page when it is on a business or brand’s platform. It is because we do not expect it. There it is, nestled in a slick-looking website with beautiful graphics is a mislaid apostrophe or a “they’re” that should be a “their”. Petty? Perhaps. But a website is the shop front to a business and a misspelling or shoddy grammar leaves you wondering about their attention to detail and question their professionalism.
In 2020? Really? Yes, the big cheques are still being rolled out for photo calls locally and nationally. Most often for good causes, true enough. But is the cheque still relevant in 2020? Can’t we be a bit more creative that gathering smartly dressed middle aged men around an oversized rectangle of cardboard by now? Please.
One that will resonate with most. But the fact that it is still around means it works. Depending on your source, it is anywhere from 1% to 3% success rate. But at what price to brand likability?
The effectiveness of digital marketing is all in its targeting. Few admit that they like being advertised to. But social media is built on serving relevant content and that includes advertising based on who you are and your online consumer habits. It is relevant and therefore not unwelcome. Or at least until it is not relevant. A blanket marketing campaign that reaches you on Facebook or other platforms that is not relevant, akin to the above the line marketing on television and radio is an irritant. It is a waste of your time and wasted budget on behalf of the advertiser.
We have become increasingly annoyed by seeing postings on social media platforms sent via scheduling tools or sent direct from another platform. Each social media site has its own personality and content should be appropriately tailored. A scattergun approach can look careless and even lazy.
* only joking
Social media has such a huge presence in our lives. You are probably reading this article after seeing it on social media first! For businesses, it can seem overwhelming and it is easy to fall into a scattergun approach. Instead, it requires a clear content strategy, on the most appropriate platforms. A sound strategy will support your business objectives, by reaching your target market, channelling them into a pipeline of prospects and ultimately, towards conversion. To help you decipher what platform and approach will work for your business, here’s a quick overview of the big players in social media in the UK today.
NUMBER OF UK USERS: 45m
MAIN DEMOGRAPHIC: 25-34 year olds (26%)
CONTENT: Videos are the best performing content on the platform. Content that is either inspirational, funny or practical consistently performs well.
NOTES: Keep up to date with the ever-evolving functionality. With video a key driver of engagement, the “Facebook Live” function and the ability to generate captions on pre-recorded videos are great features to lift engagement.
NUMBER OF UK USERS: 27m
DEMOGRAPHICS: 25-34year olds
CONTENT: High quality images. BUT, make them authentic, take people into your world. Don’t just share stock images. The audience is savvy. Tell visual stories, make use of the story option to multiply engagement.
NOTES: Go crazy with hashtags to get discovered by people looking for the content you serve, ie. content relevant to prospects!
NUMBER OF UK USERS: 9m
DEMOGRAPHICS: 35-54 year olds (an estimated 23% of the UK workforce are on LinkedIn)
CONTENT: Blog pieces of up to 2000 words that demonstrate thought leadership perform well. So too do quick tips
NOTES: Proving that every platform has a personality of its own, videos perform poorly on LinkedIn in stark contrast to almost all other social media platforms.
NUMBER OF UK USERS: 18m
DEMORAPHICS: Female 18-24
CONTENT: Images led content that inspires lifestyle decisions, such as recipes or home-making, even DIY
NOTES: It’s a platform remarkably devoid of negativity in relation to its social media cousins. It’s an opportunity for businesses working in lifestyle to bring their skills and expertise to a receptive audience.
NUMBER OF UK USERS: 3.7m
DEMOGRAPHICS: 18-24 year olds (42% of users)
CONTENT: All video, popular content includes music or dance re-enacting and viral challenges:
NOTES: A major new player, but limited scope for brands yet.
NUMBER OF UK USERS: 15.2m
DEMOGRAPHICS: 18-29 year olds
CONTENT: Images outperform videos on Twitter. “How to” content works well. It can be a very confrontational platform, but there’s room for irreverence.
NOTES: Twitter needs time and commitment as content is fleeting with a short shelf life.
NUMBER OF UK USERS: 35m
DEMOGRAPHICS: 15-25 year olds
CONTENT: Vlogs from influencers are popular, so too are gaming videos, best-of videos and educational videos (how-to videos).
NOTES: YouTube is also a great depository to host videos that you can easily and embed on websites. Try not to hyperlink from other social platforms to YouTube. Upload videos direct to other social platforms where they will autoplay and save the user the torturous agony of another click and a visit to another site. Yes, we are that lazy!
If you want to talk to Fruit Marketing over your social media strategy and delivery, please get in contact today.
If you have spent the last few months living on Mars, you probably will not be aware of today’s US Election (November 3).
For the rest of us, it has been in our faces for some time now; an ever-present feature of the news cycle, peppered across our social media feeds and a topic of (socially-distanced) and sometimes fraught conversations with friends, family and colleagues. Donald Trump has been a virtually unavoidable presence in the lives of us all these last four years. Bigly.
The American election tells us so much about marketing. And not all of it is pretty.
Firstly, it dominates political strategy and spending. An eye-watering $14 billion is set to be spent on the Trump and Biden campaigns combined, a record that will more than double the spending on the 2016 election. Much of the spending is on social media. You may have joined Facebook not long after it launched in 2004. Perhaps you even “threw a sheep” or “poked” an old school friend?
Back then, it was unthinkable that Facebook and other social platforms, especially Twitter, would become such major players on the political landscape. But social media’s incredible breadth of reach, its ability to target demographics with specific messaging and – most worryingly – its relative lack of regulation over content have made it THE critical battleground.
It has made the environment more challenging for the more tightly regulated traditional media, who have had to adapt their own tactics with a multi-platform approach.
It is hard to imagine that someone like Donald Trump, with no political experience, could be elected the leader of the free world in a time before social media. It gave him a platform to build an audience, that he would have been unable to do otherwise.
It is also a reflection of the celebrity-obsessed cultures we inhabit. Trump’s celebrity from shows like “The Apprentice” gave him a currency of credibility that an equally – or even more – successful businessman with no public profile would not have. It is by no means a new phenomenon. But it is still a strange feature of human psychology that we will listen to and be led by people who have achieved fame and notoriety, even when they communicate on a subject they have little or no expertise on.
Another huge lesson from Trump is the power of simple, effective messaging. Like it or not, “Make American Great Again” is one of the most successful slogans in political history. It’s a simple four-word phrase that is both provocative and memorable. It cuts through to the audience and speaks over the constant noise of messaging we all navigate online and offline. There is undoubtedly a real ugliness to US Elections, more so in recent years.
But if you can bear to watch, there are marketing lessons to be drawn for businesses of all sizes.
Nights are drawing in and Halloween is creeping ever closer. The occasion is now big business, with Halloween consumer spending nearing on £500m per year in the UK, more than double from just seven years ago. Nearly £30m of that will be on pumpkins alone!
If you are in the business of seasonal fruit and vegetables, confectionary, costumes, toys and gifts, then it is a key period for marketing campaigns. But even if you are not, it is still an opportunity for some fun, engaging content on your social media channels. As with all effective content marketing, aim towards something that valuable, relevant and is consistent with your other content. But tread carefully…
Have a devilishly delightful Halloween…and not a grim one.
This is about way, way more than marketing. Let’s get that clear right from the get go.
Since the shocking death of George Floyd in Minneapolis, USA last month, Black Lives Matter and campaigns for racial equality have taken on a new momentum.
The surge from the grass roots upwards has put the public and private sectors, both already struggling with the global pandemic, off guard.
Like it or not, people look to and expect the businesses and brands they choose to consume to reflect them in some way. We engage with brands who we have some degree of empathy with, be it consciously or subconsciously.
As a consequence, Governments and the corporate world have felt compelled to publicly react to an international social movement. It has created some uncomfortable conversations internally and externally for businesses and brands. Not all have handled it well.
It has shone a light on them. Are they in step with society? Do they reflect the values of their customers?
Coffee chain Starbucks had an uncomfortable ride, publicly supporting the movement whilst placing an internal ban on staff wearing any accessories that supported Black Lives Matter. A position they have since backtracked from.
Cosmetics giant L’Oreal were also widely criticised, aligning their brand tagline with the movement by posting “SPEAKING OUT IS WORTH IT” on social media platforms, prompting backlash from model Munroe Bergdorf. Again, they retreated.
Perhaps, the most prominent mistake came from a Canadian dessert company who misguidedly launched a Black Lives Matter Gelato. They faced an inevitable outcry with accusations of commoditisation of the movement.
In contrast, public body Sport England took a more considered tone. There was no knee jerk reaction, allowing time to listen, reflect, show some self-awareness and most importantly, put into place actions as a priority over words.
Staying with fitness and leisure, Joe Wicks – unofficially appointed ‘national treasure’ status following his free online PE lessons during the pandemic lockdown – felt compelled to speak out. Typically few would expect a YouTube fitness coach to speak out on social issues. But is silence no longer acceptable?
The Black Lives Matter movement has accelerated some uncomfortable conversations for the public and private sector and it has not all been very pretty to watch.
Were some jumping on the bandwagon in order to optimise brand exposure? Or did they believe that they were using their social standing to try and encourage change? Were their intentions good or were they just trying to find a pace for their brand on top of the news agenda?
Should we, Fruit Marketing, even be blogging about this? Don’t we seek to benefit from publicly discussing the main issue of the day? It’s a valid question we have asked ourselves.
The one conclusion we can draw is that no organisation – public or private – should be reacting to this issue purely on the basis of it trending on twitter. Instead, it should be a time for acknowledgement, internal reflection and words supported by actions. Not great for a hashtag, but for a better future.
Community life is practically on pause through the pandemic. And yet, there is a feeling of a stronger sense of community being engendered.
People are finding new and creative ways to connect with friends and family using video calls with online quizzes and zoom nights in. And the public displays of solidarity from children’s rainbows adorning the nation’s windows to the now-weekly ritual of clapping for carers bring a strong sense of societal fabric.
The situation the masses now find themselves is identical to that of minorities did before the growth of the internet, reaching out to find connections with people with a common purpose, interest or need.
The internet enabled minorities, based on sexuality, race, religion, medical conditions or niche hobbies, to better connect with those with a common interest or the like-minded.
At the advent of the internet, there was an explosion of online communities to overcome the barriers of geography, isolation, and a need for anonymity in a less tolerant time – in some cases.
With no sign of social distancing being brought to a conclusion, we now all find ourselves in this situation. We are social creatures and have had our social lives severely curtailed. And so, online communities are where many of us are turning.
There are several brands, who either organically or even strategically have established online communities. Lego, Apple and Starbucks quickly come to mind. There are others whose product is the community itself, such as Mumsnet.
Those brands who effectively enable consumers to connect are making themselves an indispensable service to a public who are craving a sense of community during the coronavirus crisis.
As ever, Fruit Marketing are available to talk with brands interested in developing an online community.
“Zoom, just one look and then my heart went boom. Suddenly and we were on the moon.” so sang Fat Larry’s Band in the opening of their iconic ballad.
It’s safe to assume that the Philadelphia R&B group were crooning over something a little more romantic than video conferencing. But their 1982 hit sounds more relevant than ever. Video conferencing is keeping business, family life and friendships alive during the COVID-19 lockdown.
Fair enough, its reach hasn’t yet stretched beyond our planet, but video conferencing is eliminating boundaries culturally-embedded into all of our professional and personal relationships.
Zoom, Microsoft 365 Teams, WhatsApp, Google’s Meet, Skype and other platforms have all seen huge spikes in users since the global pandemic has halted society as we know it. From a daily use of around 10 million, Zoom soared to an incredible 200 million per day in March. It left the other platforms playing an urgent game of catch up and when Zoom’s privacy and security flaws became more apparent, the competition was quick to ramp up their offerings.
Google made its Meet app free to all users and with up to 100 users at once, is well positioned to attract a corporate audience. Facebook-owned WhatsApp has doubled users on a single call from 4 to 8 to meet the greater needs of families and friends trying to stay connected.
What will all this mean beyond lockdown? Will we return to prioritising in-person meetings and conferences above the virtual alternative? It is now hard to imagine a return to normal.
As a whole, we have become more tech savvy, confident in the use of video conferencing and shed our awkwardness of talking via screens. We have actually had no choice but to overcome, and humanity – as it always has – adapted. Coronavirus has caused the corporate world, business owners and employees to rethink.
Video conferencing is efficient, more economically viable and also more environmentally friendly. “All at once there was no turnin’ back,” Fat Larry’s Band continued. Those guys were really onto something.
Behavioural science has always been of serious interest to the marketing sector and – of course to the world of politics. But its theories have taken on particular importance in recent months with the spread of the coronavirus and an international lockdown.
One such theory has been notably employed in the UK to influence the public to practice social distancing, self isolation and ultimately lockdown. Nudge Theory was first brought to prominence by US Academics Richard Thaler and Cass Sunstein in their 2008 book “Nudge: Improving Decisions About Health, Wealth, and Happiness.”
It articulates tactics that influences not through enforcement, but by presenting a “choice architecture” that nudges people towards adopting a behaviour that can benefit them and not significantly impact them economically. Humans respond better to being coaxed rather than being coerced.
COVID-19 has – of course – caused a significant change to people’s everyday lives. But the threat to lives positioned against the inconvenience of lockdown, softened by mortgage holidays and support for furloughed employees schemes makes the choicer easier.
Similarly, the current arrangements were not brought in wholesale and nor are the timelines stretching months into the future. There has been light kept just ahead of us in the tunnel.
We – the UK public – have been nudged along gradually from voluntary restrictions to the over 70s self isolating to the urgings over non-essential travel and on to lockdown.
The lockdown was to be reviewed after Easter and now we are moving towards an unspecified date. But still we are nudged along with daily Government updates supported by consistent messaging and any developments will be gradual. Nudge, nudge and say no more.
This week’s #clapforthecarers moment was a genuinely touching moment for the country, a rare moment of national unity brought about by the coronavirus.
The media got behind the campaign, joined by key public figures from politics, showbusiness, sport and even the monarchy. Major venues also joined in with the campaign, illuminating their buildings blue in tribute to the NHS.
The public engaged whole-heartedly online and – most movingly in person – opening their windows and front doors in neighbourhoods nationwide and openly applauding NHS staff at 8pm on Thursday night.
Why did the campaign hit the mark for the nation? Simply, it was authentic. It was not selling anything, no one was on the make. It was just the right thing to do and people get that. Genuine messaging will always engage people.
Two Devon organisations, two serious public relations crises, one winner, one loser.
Brixham’s Churston Ferrers Grammar was forced to close its doors after one of its pupils tested positive for coronavirus. Meanwhile, the county’s foremost professional sports club Exeter Chiefs rugby team saw the collapse of one of the team’s sponsors Flybe.
Now, typically, Devon is no hot bed of hard news. But coronavirus and the failure of Exeter-based Flybe were two rare ‘watercooler’ talking points in the region.
The school closed for a week, commissioned a deep clean of the school site and activated a plan for that deployed technology allowing students to be taught remotely. Students have since returned and those in self isolation are still able to attend lesson ‘virtually’.
The development attracted rare national news and inevitably the buzz of social media from concerned parents. But the reception was overwhelmingly positive.
What came across was an organisation that was decisive, professional, prepared, put the health of students first, but also minimised impact on pupils’ education. Although the media perception would not have been the school’s priority, what could have been a disaster was a PR triumph.
Contrast with Exeter Chiefs, a highly regarded institution in Devon, who turned away Flybe staff at the turnstiles for their game against Bath, despite them holding apparently valid tickets.
The airline had, earlier in the week collapsed and left 2,000 people out of work. So, the commercial arrangements between Exeter Chiefs and long-term sponsor Flybe were void. But did it really mean that newly unemployed staff should have a bad week worsened?
It’s understandable that an automated system might have triggered the rejection of the Flybe tickets. But could common sense not prevail when the affected staff queried the club reception? No was the answer.
To compound matters, after two days of silence and with ample time to reflect, the Chiefs Chairman Tony Rowe described the decision as “commercial” and complained that the club was “not a charity”. Unsurprisingly, it was poorly received on both mass media and social media channels.
Sports clubs are widely seen as symbols of the community and their success largely depends upon this image – they represent their areas and the people within it. It is difficult to assess the long-term reputational effect on both Churston Ferrers and Exeter Chiefs, but the lingering associations will be one that put the community first and one that put finance first.