Helping Businesses at Every Level…

Starting a business can feel like a long journey and finding the right partners to accompany you can be difficult.

You embark on the journey towards your rosy future surrounded by well wishers. It’s a happy, hopeful time and you feel secure and supported.
As the path starts to rise ahead it passes into the unfamiliar, forbidding world of brand marketing where some marketeers you’ve come across have been more Gollum than Gandalph . Money for nothing and no tips for free can put your company on a cliff edge. You might even have started to feel a bit lost.

So, how do you get through this unknown territory and emerge with a great brand that fits your budget?

First thing you must establish is…What help do you need right now?
Not everyone needs a full brand journey mapped out, particularly if you’re just starting out. Conversely, when you already have an audience, a quick fix isn’t what you want as you’ve got so much more to consider!

Here’s how to address your brand marketing needs and be confident that you are headed in the right direction.

If you are a Start Up.

Do things lean, cheap and fast. If you’ve never built a brand before then use tools that streamline the process. One way to achieve a full brand build is by using such tools as Tailor Brands or LogoJoy. They both give you more control than Fiver and you’ll spend less time managing the process.

At Cre8ion we are rolling out an automated brand building tool that gives you access to our many years of collective experience – www.genesisbrands.co.uk

Genesis Brands will build everything you need to launch within minutes (about 15-25 minutes) and if you don’t like it you can try again, for free. When you’re happy, pay £179.00 and you’ll have cloud access to logos, fonts, e-signatures, social banners, images, full brand guidelines, flyers, pop up stand and stationery!

This will get you started and will last you for a good two years!

If you want to Scale Up.

You’ve done it cheaply once but now, with more complexity, customers, partners and staff you really need a rebrand. You need a process that digs deeper into what you do and then reflects it in your brand. Many agencies will do this through a workshop, getting to know your business by asking difficult questions. It’s tiring but a great place to evaluate where you’ve come from.

It’s important that you involve as many of your key players as possible in the workshop. We had one company bring 28 people in once! At Cre8ion we focus on telling the right story to get the right enquiry. It’s worked hundreds of times and enabled us to set the tone for what’s ahead.

A creative strategy helps frame the findings of our workshop and produces three creative routes to choose from. Don’t let a graphic designer try and push their “pet” design on you for your brand! You need to make the right choice for you. Too many times I’ve seen design agencies say this is THE solution and then get frustrated when their client doesn’t agree. Expect more!

At Cre8ion, once we have the creative strategy we build everything required by your brand narrative manually. From copywriting to Mission, Vision and Values. Essentially, a tool kit for your business, unique to you.
You can then commission websites, emails, social campaigns and press ads.
You’re ready to refresh everything your business uses to communicate. You might even change your offices with big, bold graphics!

This approach and investment should last 3-5 years.

If you are a Grown Up.

This is where you are established, even a household name. Rebranding takes longer, following a similar process to scaling up BUT you need ongoing help. You put aside a regular budget to invest in campaigns from press to video, social to direct mail.

We’ll help you to use CRM solutions to track, monitor and measure results against your activity. We currently use HubSpot for some of our clients and it helps them make educated decisions on their marketing spend.

This type of relationship is based on a retainer agreement. Regular reports and discussions help everyone make informed decisions. It’s in this process that we test and measure, review and execute, staying in tune with customer behaviour.

Digital campaigns, content strategy and building a narrative across multiple channels all take time but when you do catch the moment things will really get interesting!

Recently we made an internal decision to go to a four day work week and write about it on a blog. Having been asked about it we were connected in with The Post (Bristol Newspaper) and are now on BBC Radio. (Listen from 2:06:23). Our website hits have gone through the roof, more connections than ever and opportunities presenting themselves that we could only have dreamed of!

We recommend 6-12 months regular reviews to keep everyone on track and continue for as long as everyone is getting value. Be clear on expectations and work together!

Finding a brand marketing agency you can trust is easier when you’ve been referred by someone. If not, don’t just take a punt, meet them, have a few conversations, get a proposal (see how they present), and make a confident choice.

So now that you have identified where you are on the journey, commit to the necessary action and enjoy the ride, taking your business to the next level both externally and internally.

If you need help now we’ll do our best to help you take steps in the right direction.

How to Steer Your Flying Carpet..or.. How to Connect With Your Audience

So, I was wondering, “How Do you Steer a Flying Carpet?” The answer? Well, it depends on who you are asking: Here’s what I found on Google…

According to a contributor to a gaming website…
i) To avoid being killed in the game ”Dragon Crown” you must manoeuvre your flying carpet up and down as the first lava rushes at you. (VanguardFate)

According to a creative chap…
ii) In this clip Aviram Carmelo demonstrates how to successfully manoeuvre a flying carpet through the streets of Tel Aviv.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fAFjjs7UTSw

According to a scientific journal…
iii) On January 2, 2019, a team from the University of Pittsburgh’s Swanson School of Engineering designed a two-dimensional, shape-changing sheet. It’s roughly the width of a human hair and it flaps autonomously (on its own) in a reactant filled fluid. A real flying carpet steered by chemical reactions!

My point? Well, what you say could mean something different to each person you address. Google uses different algorithms to connect us with information and we too can use different methods to connect better with our audience…

For the best connection remember the three Cs:

Context

Try to give a context that speaks to your audience.
You need to know what kind of message and visual is best for your audience.

When we used to buy nappies for our babies we’d notice the underwear designed to cope with incontinence was in the same section. It was white and unappealing, nappy-like. It seemed to be saying, “Use me when you are bedbound.” Now, this kind of underwear is available in pretty, lace-edged styles. That’s better! The underwear is no longer telling its buyers that they are over the hill. This product has connected cleverly to its audience by putting its message in a better context.

Clarity

Be clear about what value you are trying to add.
Knowing and understanding your target audience gives you the opportunity to focus on their needs. Do you understand your audience’s pain points and do you offer a targeted solution? Well, if you’re not clear on who your target audience is, you might be attracting the wrong group of people. Those who don’t need and won’t buy your product. So why not use Google analytics to find out who is visiting your site?

Credibility

Your track record is what sets you apart. It’s what gives your audience confidence in you and your product or services.
But what if you are a start up and don’t have any customers yet? You can establish credibility in other ways, like by demonstrating team credibility. Bring in an industry leader as an advisor.

When you start to get customers, make sure that you offer them the opportunity to feed back about your great product so that you have testimonials to publish. Your audience wants to know that somebody else that they can relate to is using your product or service successfully.

A flying carpet is a mode of transportation that can quickly or instantaneously carry users to their destination. A bit like using the right kind of messaging to reach the right people. If you need help with steering your flying carpet or with getting your brand messaging right why not contact us?

Using Your Brand To Recruit The Best

Branding yourself well will help you as a start up, causing customers to choose your product and services over the competition. Did you know that presenting a strong, coherent brand will also improve your reputation as an employer? It will even help you to recruit and retain the right talent.

It’s not only customers who consider a company’s reputation before buying. When making a decision on where to apply for a job, job seekers will consider the reputation of a company as an employer.

To Retain

The image that your brand portrays should reflect how things are done within the company too. It shows your mission, vision and the values you instil and therefore suggests the kind of culture you have internally.

You will build your employees’ confidence by offering an environment where the same positive values are evident in the internal operations as well as the external image.

If management projects brand values to customers that are not reflected in how employees are treated then employees are not likely to believe in the brand themselves. They might also lose respect for an employer and would be less likely to give their best or stay and be a benefit to the company.

Imagine a company whose brand promised the customer the most up to date, technologically advanced product. Only, behind the scenes, little investment was being made to offer employees opportunities to learn new skills and advance their knowledge. If there were no growth opportunities or training potential to develop new skills, why would someone with high skill levels choose to stay or even come in the first place?

People respond to integrity so a brand needs to be a true reflection of everything a company does. This can then be promoted very effectively using social media and your website.

To Recruit

Your brand provides information to people who might consider coming to work for you. So, having established brand integrity, inside and out, you can start to leverage employees as brand advocates. If your company is doing great things, current employees are more willing to share their excitement online. Posting video testimonials in the careers section of your website from your employees about what a great time they are having will attract potential candidates.

Social media has made it easier for job applicants to find information and could be the primary tool a job seeker would use for research. Make it easier for them to find your company by posting blogs, photos and videos about company events, culture, employee highlights and benefits.

If you want to develop great branding identity to help you find the best talent we would love to help you.

Where sharing and caring gets long term traction as well as transactions

We’ve all heard the saying, ‘There is no such thing as a free lunch…’ but if you want to engage today’s consumer, there is. Giving to potential customers is part of great content strategy management.

Businesses that understand the power of empathy connect with their audience because they are committed to solving the pain points that the audience are struggling to overcome. However, before people engage you need to tell them more… adding value isn’t just about a transaction it’s about building trust.

Companies that understand brand get the story piece, but adding value is giving potential clients information that’s useful even if they don’t become clients. B&Q, for example, have now created a “How To” YouTube channel (so some of us avoid painting ourselves into a corner).

Is it a risk? Yes, in some cases (more on that later) but what you share is demonstrating your knowledge, experience and ultimately what sets you apart. Besides, making your blog posts and free info searchable with appropriate keywords and phrases offsets any risk of giving it away.

Giving away your knowledge can be implemented fairly simply but its worth is determined by how memorable and useful it is. Think original content. Google rewards it, and people are searching specifically for it, but potential clients should feel the benefit of it.

For example:
If you are an online beauty products company then give away a .pdf with top tips for looking after your hair, or if you have the money invest a short video series only accessible once the interested party has given their details.

beauty product

Data collecting tools are important and by getting email addresses you begin to build a lead base, that over time can become your fan base. You need to have the mindset that if potential clients don’t make a purchase today, they can later.

Even more important is organising that data and integrating CRMs into your website to fuel business growth.

Once someone has submitted their details, be committed to them by continually adding value. Discounts, regular blogs, invitations to events, or even sharing secret information before anyone else (new product launch).

The question usually asked by people unfamiliar to the idea of adding value and lead nurturing is that it feels like shooting yourself in the foot. Giving away too much information for free rather than making people pay for it seems self destructive. This couldn’t be further from the truth. Supermarkets give samples away for free, and in the digital landscape this is what we are doing. Not everyone will buy immediately but if the taste and experience is good, people will engage further.

So there’ll be a few secrets and game changing strategies that you will want to keep private, and that’s fine, you’re allowed, but with Google people can discover answers if they look harder. For a service based business, you can point potential clients in the right direction and become a knowledgeable resource and showcase what else you offer.

Communication develops trust and as people get to know you, they can breathe a sigh of relief that they don’t have to go online searching for information and then do a less than professional job themselves. You become the expert voice!

Lastly, as visitors engage with your brand the motivation of giving away free content is rewarded…
“The products/services must be really great if the free stuff is this good!”

You can solve the problems of your potential customers by giving away information but ultimately that information will turn into business the more helpful you are.

Givers win and when you establish a great fan base and see your business grow and become surrounded by advocates, it might be an idea to treat yourself to lunch!

No Budget, No Brand…No Problem!

Anyone who has not started their own business has no idea what it’s like. The long hours, the responsibility, the amount of time spent working, thinking and strategising. YOU know that your company is the best, your staff get it and your customers love you. You just need to get the word out there!

There are other small businesses in your field doing the same thing, working just as hard as you, trying to speak to the same people. So what will give you an edge without costing much?

Well, take it from us, the first thing you need is a decent brand to get you more attention and build the trust of your chosen audience. You only have one chance to make a first impression and a good brand is the key to success.

No budget for a decent brand?

No problem!! Cre8ion has come up with a new product, Genesis Brands, an automated, online branding platform, making great, inexpensive branding available to everybody.

As an automated branding system Genesis Brands offers a myriad different options to customise colours, imagery and other elements of your brand to best reflect your company.

Within minutes of logging into Genesis Brands and answering a number of questions you can have a brand online and the tools are instantly accessible. The questions help you to articulate your USP and mission statement as well as refining the way you want to address your target audience.

The Genesis Brand copywriting matrix identifies the tone, register and vocabulary that gives your company a distinctive voice that your chosen audience will listen to. You can sound confident, capable and consistent across all your communications, including social media. You will also develop a concise mission statement that captures the essence of what you do and why you do it.

A Genesis Brand will establish your credibility, reinforcing the sense that your business is a reputable, consistent expert in your field. Having a Genesis Brand will make it easier for your customers to refer you, as your company becomes more memorable and recognisable, guaranteeing future business.

The price of an automated brand starts at £179.00, giving you a digital brand book, company logo files, brand font files, downloadable imagery, a copywriting matrix, brand ethos, social media profile and banner images, design examples and stationery file downloads. A hard copy brand book, full printed stationery pack and roller banner are also available at an additional cost.

Use a Genesis Brand to frame all the good service, products and advice that you offer. As people learn to trust your brand your company name becomes a byword for good practice and an authority in the marketplace.

Making a Smooth Transition

Historically, a luxury brand presented exclusive products of the highest quality, heritage and performance, purchased in sumptuous boutiques from sophisticated, well groomed, white gloved salespeople or in department stores where the experience was polished and enjoyable. Customers felt unique and special and would willingly part with lots of cash just to own the branded item.

Luxury brands are now faced with a new generation of consumers who expect to be able to buy luxury products online and are interested in brand authenticity and social responsibility as well as exclusivity. In order to secure their future, luxury brands have had to take a leap of faith and go digital, embracing digital sales channels in various ways in order to bridge the gap between the online and offline luxury experience.

As well as launching their own e-commerce sites, fashion brands and boutiques are using platforms to serve as a conduit for their branded clothes and other luxury products (like an online department store). Many labels resisted selling on Amazon as they have been suspicious of its ability to maintain the integrity of their brand, choosing platforms such as Farfetch, Yoox Net-a-Porter, Alibaba’s Luxury Pavilion and China’s e-commerce platform J.D.com’s Toplife.

In order to reproduce elements of the offline luxury experience different methods have been implemented. A sense of exclusivity has been maintained by some by selling a limited number of items online and reserving the majority for in store, while others, such as Luxury Pavilion, have made themselves “invite only” sites. Toplife has implemented an express delivery service to emulate that luxury offline feel.

Net-A-Porter delivers value in other areas, having surveyed their customers to find out what was important to them, they offer lots of lifestyle content and promotional items, a print fashion magazine, free to ‘extremely important people’ and a social media network. The purchase itself is just a small part of the whole experience. LVMH (Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton SE), a French multinational luxury goods conglomerate headquartered in Paris, has given its new e-commerce company the name 24 Sèvres, which is “Le Bon Marché” (the Parisian department store’s) actual address. The site’s homepage looks like the department store front and it uses interactive customer service technology to recreate the offline experience. Swiss watch brand Jaeger-LeCoultre has designed a chatbot to answer customer questions and guide them on the route to purchase, much as in a boutique.

These brands have proved that it is possible to create an online luxury experience, which not only includes elements of the offline experience but supersedes the possibilities offered by offline shopping.

Looking to the future it is clear that the Millennial generation’s expectations and buying habits are going to redefine the luxury market. The question as to whether a brand is socially responsible and giving back to society in return for the money it is taking might determine whether it is deemed (by Millennials) to be worth buying or not.

Another exciting future development is the emergence of luxury brands that have no former offline pedigree. Luxury brands devised and marketed by Millennials will more likely be sold online than offline. It will be interesting to see how brands will succeed in making themselves sought after and deemed to be “luxury” in this brave new world.

Benedict Raven is one such luxury fashion label whose website was launched last month to an online market. The limited edition autumn/winter “Timeless” collection is currently available with more stock to be released next season. Benedict Raven is a luxury British clothing brand delivering exclusive style, sophistication and an air of class that defines the modern gentleman. To find out more go to www.benedictraven.co.uk

Genesis, Making your Future Faster

Business start ups and entrepreneurs are often short of time (and money) when it comes to designing a decent brand to showcase their product and connect with their audience. Often the temptation to just “do it yourself “ (saving time and money) can lead to a poorly executed brand which fails to communicate the true quality of the product or service and engage the desired audience, wasting your valuable time and spending your limited resources in the wrong area.

We get it. We also understand the need for fast, cheap and great which is impossible to find, or so it seems.

How is it that technological advances have accelerated the pace of our culture, causing us to expect the instantaneous and yet the process of designing a brand remains relatively slow? So many of life’s requirements are available to order on the same day…..meals, flowers, furniture, clean laundry, instant answers on Google, groceries…. Who waits for anything these days?

Cre8ion understands the power of designing large bespoke brand builds but for start ups this type of investment of time and money is impractical. Money is needed for more pressing concerns such as rent, deposits, legal fees, accountants and even your first hire. What if we could remove some of the time and expenditure associated with a brand build?

We decided to respond to the instantaneity of our culture by making branding available on the same day using brand automation. Now, within just ten minutes, via the GenesisBrands website, a new brand can be born. Genesis is instantaneous, inexpensive, innovative, inventive and for business start ups it’s indispensable.

Fast, Cheap, and Great, find out more with our Genesis blog.

How to Build Great Brands

You have a great idea and a great product but how do you communicate to your customers how much they need to buy it? You need more than a logo or graphic design, you need a brand, but where do you start? Well, firstly, a great brand must have empathy with the audience. So, put yourself in your audience’s shoes and feel their pain. How will your product take their pain away? Secondly, ask yourself how your product will add value to your audience’s life. How will you make things better for them? You need to engage your audience and communicate to them how you can make things better. A good example is G.L.Integrity, one of our clients, who have identified their audience’s pain point – ie. that they have not fulfilled the expectations they had of life when they were younger. G.L.Integrity helps people to discover their purpose – what they want ultimately to achieve in life and, by dint of clever financial planning, makes it better by helping them to reach their goal. In order to engage your audience, you must get your story straight – telling the right story gets the right kind of enquiry. By telling the right stories Cre8ion has helped schools to reconnect with their parents and art galleries to paint the bigger picture. What is your measure of success? How do you want to grow? What exactly is it you are looking to increase? Increased numbers of clients, staff, premises or number of sales? Ask yourself the right questions in order to get to the heart of what you do and why you do it. Then you can devise a strategy which will add value by conveying the right message, telling a consistent story across all your communications, increasing your influence and achieving the desired growth.
At Cre8ion we specialise in brand marketing. We would love to take you through our branding workshop where we can help you to answer all of the above questions and create a brand that engages your audience, communicates how you can add value and creates the right culture. www.cre8ion.co.uk