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Make the most of Space

 

So, unless you live on the moon, you would have seen the story of billionaire Elon Musk launching a rocket into space. Actually, being on the moon isn’t really an excuse in this scenario.

 

I have no idea how much this endeavour cost him, I’m sure it’s on the Google somewhere, but I imagine it was a sh*t ton (I’m not an accountant). What struck me was as Mr Musk was spending a fortune getting into space he made sure he gave equal, if not priority of thought to what he was going to put in space when he got there. The result was perfect; an astronaut driving a Tesla (Elon Musk’s company) while David Bowie Space Oddity plays through the speakers on repeat and the message ‘Don’t Panic’ stamped on the dashboard. It all completes the operation beautifully.

 

When we buy advertising space for our clients, the team at CMe Media always stress the importance of what you fill that space with. We often see businesses investing large amounts to buy prominent space and the artwork, audio or any kind of production is left to the last minute and something/anything gets sent over. We encourage proper planning and preparation (yes, I was a military child) to make sure everything is working in unison to make the absolute most of the opportunity you’ve purchased.

 

This isn’t a pitch to spend more on your creative, it’s more a pitch that you shouldn’t scrimp on your creative and you certainly shouldn’t consider it the last little job in your space odyssey to be tied up quickly with not much thought. The space you purchase has one mission, be in the place the people you want to talk to are, but those people won’t appreciate that. What they appreciate is what they see or hear.

 

Like an astronaut cruising through space in a beautiful red roadster blasting out David Bowie.

Adverts stepping up

I decided to switch off a bit over the Christmas and New Year break. I ate sausage rolls, played with my kids’ toy’s, had a few drinks and watched a lot of TV; including 3 films about a Panda who masters Kung Fu!

The by-product of all this TV watching is TV adverts, and one TV advert in particular caught my eye. No, it wasn’t the ‘monster under the bed’ or the man who would rather pay through the nose for carrots from McDonalds. It was Rightmove’s new commercial called ‘Life’s Steps’. You may have seen it, it’s the one with the elderly gentleman called Graham being called upstairs by his wife. For those of a puerile persuasion get your heads out the gutter for a moment and accept she is calling him upstairs to assist with something entirely innocent.

In all seriousness, what we are treated to is a beautiful and poignant montage of the various journeys he has made up those stairs and for what reasons. We see him carrying a tool kit, breakfast in bed for his wife, carrying the hoover, a bedtime cup of tea in his dressing gown and, in a nod to the time of year, a box of Christmas decorations, all beautifully observed and relatable. While this is going on we see the seasons changing outside the window as we move through his life.

So far so good and I’m bracing myself for more information on how I can purchase a stair lift, then boom! My heart is ripped out of my chest. As Graham makes his way back down the stairs he fades away. The pictures on the wall and furniture disappear. The music stops and we are left with an empty shell of a house. Oh my god…Graham has died. That lovely old man has died.

The door opens and a toddler enters the house heading straight for the stairs; the music kicks up again and Rightmove reveal themselves with the slogan ‘When life moves, make your rightmove’. I’m thinking to myself this is all very nice and I’m happy the young family are beginning their life in this house, but why-oh-why did it have to be over the corpse of Graham? The lovely old man who takes his wife breakfast in bed.

Before I can compose my voice to tell my wife I must have something in my eye, Graham is back! Now living in a bungalow! His wife is still constantly calling him from other rooms but hey, he is alive.

 

I love how this ad toys with our emotions and makes us invest in the personalities and emotions that actually make a home and uses recognisable signifiers we all relate to. It takes you down a path that leaves you wanting more, unable to walk away from what you are seeing and then holds you until the last possible second before releasing you with a wonderful pay off. A charming and beautiful commercial expertly executed.

It’s Christmaaaaaass!

Christmas for most begins when the Coca-Cola adverts reaches the TV’s of millions of people across the UK. The Jingle of the bells, the red cheery Santa, the big branded Coca-Cola lorry passing through cities and towns, this is advertising at its best. As we all know, Santa hasn’t always been red, traditionally he was green, but Coca-Cola changed that all with the power of branding.

Following the success of the Coca-Cola advert, many retailers started getting clever with the way they portray their products at Christmas. Now, every year we eagerly wait for the Christmas adverts to appear to see which one’s pull on our heart strings and which ones don’t quite make the cut. It’s fierce competition and all big retailers must be ready to spend, spend, spend if they want to stay high above the rest.

6) Introducing the 2017 Christmas advert from John Lewis. With months of preparation and a campaign budget reaching around £7million, it’s no wonder John Lewis get it right every time. Their ideas are unique and incredibly heart-warming, not to mention clever. Making a product the star of the show is a fantastic way to drive people in stores and online. The star projector lamp is already sold out on their website and I expect stock is sparse instore as well. Well played John Lewis.

 

4) Aldi is back with the infamous Kevin the carrot who saves a love interest, Katie the carrot of course, from a rogue pea. We know that Kevin and Katie are carrots, but who doesn’t enjoy a good love story.

 

3) Lidl’s adverts in General always hit the nail on the head in comedy value and their Christmas ad is no exception. The advert shows a man with a mince pie always in hand acting out every day domestic chores, I think we can all relate to this. Nothing like a mince pie to get you into the festive spirit.

 

2) This one I found surprisingly endearing and I think may be my favourite Christmas advert so far. McDonalds have produced a sweet story about a young girl who wants to save her last carrot for the reindeer, but when they arrive home the older brother reminds them that there is more than one reindeer, so dad must go back to McDonalds to get more carrots. For most parents, convincing their child to believe in Santa is extremely trying, many go to great lengths to keep the magic alive for as long as possible. I’m sure there are many parents sat at home watching this advert, nodding their head in agreement.

 

1)Paddington Bear, do I need to say anymore than that? This year M&S have outdone themselves with the beloved Paddington, innocently helping “Santa” deliver presents to houses around the neighbourhood, he doesn’t seem to understand that this Santa is a burglar, who by the end has a change of heart when Paddington shows him kindness, reinforcing the message that kindness goes a long way especially at Christmas time. Try not to cry, as this advert will definitely pull on the heart strings.

 

The level of competition is certainly very high this year, but who’s advert will come out on top. Only time and sales will tell.

Merry Christmas!

 

 

No Radio experience? No problem.

During our day at CMe Media, we always have the radio on and tuned to local stations so we can monitor our client’s advertising.

A by-product of this is we get to hear and know all the local Radio Presenters, many of which will be unheard of outside of their TSA.

I’m sure a lot of them will be happy serving their local area, but there must be a percentage who have hopes and ambitions of getting noticed and making the move up to the big leagues. After all, the likes of Scott Mills and Chris Moyles cut their teeth at local stations before becoming household names with Radio One.

However, the route to the upper echelons of Commercial Radio may not be as clear as with their BBC counterparts.

It was announced this week that, Stoke City striker, Peter Crouch will be hosting his own show on, none other than, Radio X. This news must have local Presenters up and down the country scratching their heads and questioning the career path they have chosen.

Okay, so Peter Crouch is only covering a 2-week slot and I have nothing against him personally, but still; to use a football parlance, “what is happening to the Academy talent?”

Is local level talent being overlooked for ‘personalities’ with a proven audience rather than a solid background in radio broadcast?

Peter Crouch has over 280,000 followers on Social Media. Ronan Keating, who was announced as the new breakfast host on Magic, has over 20 million record sales as a solo artist and millions more with Boyzone. The average mid-morning local radio host can’t hope to compete with that Social following or cultural recognition. So, no matter how good a presenter they are, how well they engage with their audience or how many years they spent working up from Hospital Radio, they won’t get the shot.

Unfortunately, in this world of prolonging fame for as long as possible, Commercial Radio has become an accepted avenue to keep one’s profile relevant, when their actual career choice has finished with them. I guess there are only so many reality TV shows they can appear in.

Common sense would suggest as large broadcast brands continue to uniform commercial radio across the country, they would be dipping into their own pools and nurturing talent from within, but sadly this isn’t the case.

I suppose it leaves me pondering two things…Do Radio Presenters get into the industry today with ambition or an acceptance of the local level glass ceiling?

And secondly, are the skills gained by working your way up from the bottom worth anything when it appears Radio Presenting can be easily handled by a retired pop star and a center forward who’s good in the air…Good on the air…Actually, there might be something in that.

You need a plan

In business today people always talk about a plan.

“You’ve got to have a plan”

As a business owner myself, it made me think, “am I doing this right?” In fact, have I ever been doing it right?

I started CMe Media 3 years ago today with no plan of how I was going to make any money. I had no idea what was going to happen I just knew I wanted to do this. I was throwing myself into an unknown world, and I’ll be honest, I was pretty petrified.

I was a divorced, single mum, my own mother had just survived a breast cancer diagnosis and my father had been made redundant – you honestly couldn’t write this, my life put the writers at Eastenders to shame. None of these things were expected but they brought a focus to my life. I needed to be closer to my family so, I left my demanding job in radio sales and realigned my priorities.

I took stock of my skills and strengths and registered myself as self-employed, so unplanned was this move I had no answer when HMRC asked what my business would be called?

With no desire to spend another 40 minutes on the phone I acted on my feet. My name begins with ‘C’ and it’s just ‘me’ buying media, so; ”CMe Media” I blurted to the underwhelmed gentleman on the other end of the phone.

With a small amount of money, my beautiful Nan had left me, I was up and running. While the ‘up’ was reasonably straight forward I certainly hadn’t planned on how demanding the ‘running’ was going to be.

I didn’t sleep, my life was far from glamorous, I lived on coffee and biscuits, the kids entertained themselves and took my laptop with me everywhere, yes I mean everywhere. Eventually, my mum came on board to help with the accounts. It was only meant to be a “couple of hours a week” but before long, she was joining me at the kitchen table, often working alongside me into the early hours. She hadn’t planned on joining the business, but like all mums, she would do anything to see her child succeed

I didn’t take a wage for six months and constantly asked myself why I was doing it and, as I didn’t have a plan, I wondered whether I ever would earn a penny. Scared to make any commitment I drove a rental car, rented a small house and avoided any type of expense. I won’t lie, I was jealous and wanted a touch of glamour and indulgence in my life, this was a far cry from my radio sales 9 -6 with a good guaranteed income.

Seven months in and with Christmas just around the corner I was wondering how I was going to meet the obligations to pay my suppliers two months in advance. This was the lowest point…When I shut my laptop down and considered never turning it on again and just running away from it all…

But I did turn it back on, and I continued to work hard. It didn’t get any easier and people close to me made allowances for my distracted nature and my mobile phone constantly ringing.

Two years later and I am now proud to be the owner of the respected Advertising and Media Agency CMe Media. I have a strong and committed team around me now, who share my passion for hard-work. It’s their respect for our business that means I can now sleep at night.

I guess what I’m trying to say is maybe you do need a plan. Maybe my journey might have been less hazardous had I plotted my path with careful forethought. But you should never underestimate yourself. Believe in what you do. Know that if you are honest, genuine, hardworking and always treat people with respect, then you can achieve your dreams.

As I said, today CMe Media celebrates its 3rd birthday and as I raise a glass to toast this milestone, I’ll share a moment of satisfaction with myself as I reflect on how I got here.

And now one plan I will be making, is how we celebrate in style. I know for sure it won’t involve ready meals, coffee and biscuits. It will be replaced for an abundance of bubbles… Cheers to us!

Why marketing is just like getting on a bike…

So, in support of Bike Week 2017 (10th – 18th June), and because quite frankly I am a crazy bike lover, I thought I would put myself forward to write our next company blog!

You are probably wondering where the connection is between marketing and cycling? It is not a tenuous link, I promise…

In the words of Albert Einstein, “Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance, you must keep moving”. This means repetition and motion is key, whether you’re marketing your business or riding your bike, you must keep pedaling, otherwise, you will stop. Simple.

 

Planning

It starts with planning. When I am getting ready for my next bike ride I check a few things, for example, the weather forecast to ensure I have the right clothing, I check my tyres are inflated, that I have lights if it turns dark, fuel if it’s a long journey and my helmet for protection.

In marketing, planning comes first. You need to know who your audience is, the message you want to tell, the best marketing channels to reach them and how you will exploit these channels and measure your impact. It is a pre-planned journey. That’s not to say you won’t be hit by obstacles on the way, things like weather change, pot-holes and the annoying punctures that can stop you momentarily (oh and in my experience skip lorries – they can cause a detour to the hospital!). The key is momentarily, there are usually several routes that can lead you to your destination, just keep trying until your reach your goal.

 

Feel the wind in your hair

You’re prepared and know your journey ahead, it’s time to get those wheels into motion and get out there. Bikes are designed to be used, not stored away for months on end, and marketing is the same, you need to be active and keep that motion going. Even when you are pedaling into a strong wind and feel like you are going backwards, or up a hill where you can’t see the top, you need to keep going.

 

Remember to look back on your journey…

You’ve finally made your destination. Your journey may have changed from your initial plans, but you got there. The key now is to reflect on that journey. After a ride, I always analyse my stats to understand my performance, like speed, distance and altitude climbed. I track every ride, so I can analyse my overall performance for the year, and set new goals for the following. I also review my bike and kit, is everything still in good condition for the next ride? Did it make for a comfortable journey or could improvements be made? i.e. new tyres to reduce punctures, warmer clothing for colder months.

Marketing is exactly the same. Measurement and analysis is essential. Your message is now in the market, and so what? What is the outcome? You need to know the effectiveness of your marketing effort, to know if the journey is worth repeating or if it needs tweaks. It may be that you need new systems to help with the execution of your campaign, or a process to collect metrics for analysis, or review your audience and their needs.

Marketing, and learning to ride a bike are both experimental. You can only succeed by staying with it and remaining flexible to different routes and ways. Whether you want to become a strong cyclist, or a solid marketer, you will need dedication, passion and energy to keep those wheels rolling.

If you need help with any of the stages listed above, please contact us. We can help businesses get their marketing programs moving in the right direction.

Author;

Claire Wolstencroft,

Senior Account Manager at CMe Media

C.V. or not C.V.?

Bad day at work?

Thinking your career lies in a different office?

Naturally your mind starts wondering to those three words…’update my CV’. But maybe it’s our thinking we need to update.

As more and more millenials move into positions of authority interviewing other millenials the name of the game these days is ‘making an impression’ do they just want to see a CV?

Don’t get me wrong a record of our achievements is a useful guidance but are we missing a trick in making a connection with future employers?

Many business owners will ask for a covering letter to gain more insight into your character. Something that shows you can express yourself outside the rigid constraints of the CV ‘education’ ‘work history’ ‘interests’ structure. But could we go further?

Social Chains CEO Steve Bartlett realised CV’s wasn’t the way to hire the best talent for his business, creativity was. Apparently a candidate who applied for a role by flying an owl into the office with a USB Stick wasn’t the most ridiculous attempt for an interview. Now I know what you’re going to say “on that USB Stick was…A CV!!”

And you’re right a CV will have its place to show a record of achievement, work experiences and your interests where everyone puts ‘keeping fit’ and ‘reading’ because watching Goggle Box with a tube of Pringles doesn’t say ‘go getter’.

All I’m saying is we need to be thinking about how someone feels about you before they even read that CV. Nobody ever said “you had me at 2 sides of A4 paper”

If we think about it what are employers get from a CV?

 

Do they have the requisite skills?

True, but then that is not always a dead cert, people from similar industries don’t always hit the ground running. Different businesses in the same sector often have different ways of achieving the same goals and maybe the reason they are moving on is because they don’t actually fit in that industry.

 

A proven track record?

Remember history is written by the victor and just as easily a phone monkey in an agency can easily become head of internal and external communications. ‘Smashed team targets’ become ‘smashed individual targets’ and the ‘leaving because I was of no use to anyone’ suddenly reads as ‘I achieved everything asked of me I and needed a fresh challenge’.

 

Which university they got their degree at?

Yeah, I don’t know about you but I don’t really know my University of Winchester from my Cardiff so…

 

They’ve got something about them?

This is the key! This is the point that struggles to be seen in a CV. This is what is going to make the difference to your team dynamic, your company growth and ultimately your bottom line.

Creative thinkers with an eye for the spectacular…I’m not saying we need to start training owls to fly through office windows, Maybe video presentation, the technology is at your fingertips with today’s mobile phones. Give yourself the front page treatment that showcases your design skills. Create a webpage dedicated to you and your skill set. Do something that shows them what you can do for them beyond a brief history of your adult life.

If you’re looking for that person to bring magic to your business is a CV enough for you?

I think for the time being a CV is the default request on most recruitment ads but if you are ‘updating your CV’ you could do a lot worse than to think about how you plan to present it and how it presents you.

I Want To Talk About Big Sam

I was listening to the radio the other night whilst stuck in rush hour traffic and it was a sports phone in talking about Sam Allardyce. For those that don’t follow football or read the papers, Sam Allardyce was the National Team Manager who was sacked for alleged corruption.

Don’t worry I’m not about to start ranting about corruption in football, what I want to talk about is a call I heard on a radio phone in from a Sunderland fan. For those that don’t follow football, Sunderland is the team Big Sam managed before his ill-fated spell in charge of the National team.

The radio show had asked if Sunderland fans would like Sam back at their club. Despite his tenure at the club being successful, by Sunderland’s standards, the general consensus was they didn’t want him back.

“He kept you in the premier league” implored the radio show host

“Nah, he played rubbish football”

“I don’t pay my money to be bored senseless week in week out”

“We want to be entertained”

And some other stuff about ‘a lack of width’ and an over-reliance on the ‘big man in the box’ which wasn’t really relevant to my point.

The point was that, despite saving Sunderland from relegation and the financial rewards that entailed it just wasn’t good enough. This got me thinking about what we do in advertising. Do we worry too much about the results?

Now, before you all start banging on about “ROI!” I absolutely understand the point of advertising is to generate revenue for our clients. However, on the same hand, you are only going to bother advertising if you are confident you have something that will generate those results otherwise what is the point?

I guess what I’m trying to say is maybe sometimes we get so caught up in the result of the campaign we, like the beleaguered football manager, forget people want to be entertained.

I had this conversation recently with an Account Manager who, when his client had played it dull (I don’t like ‘played it safe’ as this implies thinking creatively is somehow dangerous) with their creative. The uninterested Account Manager said: “As long as it works that’s all that matters”. I disagreed, ‘working’ certainly matters, but I would argue that isn’t all that matters. Why not have creative that not only works but also inspires, provokes, makes someone smile, gives someone an emotional connection, makes them remember you…Whatever?

Next time you feel you have something worth advertising remember, if you are willing to invest your money, then you must believe in it. And if you believe in it then why are we playing it dull?

Otherwise like poor old Sam Allardyce, all that good work you did may not be remembered with the fondness you hoped for.

It may not be remembered at all.