Though the Scrooges of the world may sneer, we’ve got to accept that Christmas is just around the corner. Its imminence is particularly important for retailers, as the coming weeks herald the start of the Christmas shopping period.
The retail market has changed significantly over recent years, and it’s showing no signs of changing any time soon. The following document covers some of the key points that retailers must consider in order to secure a successful digital strategy over the festive period: Digital strategies for retailers in the pre-festive period
For more information about digital marketing at Christmas, or advertising in general during key calendar events, tweet us @BoutiqueMC or drop us a line: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Latest Rajar Data Infographic
October 24th, 2014 by Sarah Gough
It’s that time again for a Rajar round up, and we’ve arranged the stats into a nice, easily-digestible infographic.
All in all, while most stations are down in terms of their year-on-year figures, digital radio is on the rise, with listening via smartphone and social engagement continuing to grow. Heart is a real stand out this year, and despite only growing 0.1% on the previous quarter, the retention of 9.08 million listeners means it has sustained its 20% uplift in reach. It’s also now 4th in the top ten of national stations, and though Heart London lost listeners this quarter, the brand new regional stations have done very well. At the other end of the scale is Planet Rock, which has seen a 15.7% dip in reach year-on-year.
Read the full infographic for more Rajar stats!
Tweet us @BoutiqueMC or visit our Facebook page for more information. You can also share our infographic on your own site or blog by simply copying and pasting the code below.
5 scary advertising campaigns
October 23rd, 2014 by Elliot Jones
Halloween is just around the corner, so we think it’s the perfect time to share some of the scariest, most shocking advertising we’ve come across recently. Shock tactics work a treat in marketing, and as these examples demonstrate, can be used in order to promote and sell a wide range of products, services and initiatives.
From frightening stunts and startling pranks to more thought-provoking, poignant pieces, these scary marketing campaigns are all terrifyingly effective in their own way…
Just because it’s not happening here, doesn’t mean it’s not happening. Save The Childrennoted the significance of relatability and proximity when it comes to international campaigns, and chose to transport Syria’s current crisis 4500km across the globe, transfiguring the effects of war into a minute-and-a-half long video featuring a very young, very innocent, and very British protagonist. The advert squeezes each day into a mere second, tracking from the little girl’s eighth birthday and happy times, through to the outbreak of war, violence, illness, starvation, and homelessness. The most scary thing about this advert is its plausibility.
2. Devil’s Due: Devil Baby Attack
A different kind of scary, but it still works! Fox decided to promote the movie Devil’s Due– a horror comparable to Paranormal Activity – by rigging up an animatronic ‘devil baby’ and wreaking havoc on New York City. The scariest part of this campaign is how convincing the baby really is, complete with creepy facial movements. The video went viral, reaching well over 20 million views in the space of three days. Unfortunately, the film didn’t do as well – it currently holds a rating of 18% on Rotten Tomatoes. Awkward.
3. Plan International: Child Bride Blog
Much like Save The Children’s marketing moguls, the guys over at Plan International decided to bring international issues closer to home by creating the Norwegian child bride, Thea. Herblog tricked thousands into believing that she was planning to wed, at the age of twelve, to a man 25 years her senior. It transpired that the girl was actually a Swedish actress, brought in by Plan International to raise awareness about the fact that 39,000 children all over the globe are forced into marriage each day. The scariest thing? That it takes the hoax wedding of a blonde child to make us take under-age marriage seriously.
4. DOE Road Safety: Classroom
Another one that hits the poignancy nail right on the head, this Northern Ireland road safety campaign is the brutal representation of how local many children have been killed as a result of speeding since 2000. Described as ‘sensitive’, the advert had a 9pm watershed – and it’s not surprising. This speeding car crushing a classroom of sweet, small children is probably one of the most difficult things you’ll ever have to watch, but it does the trick. What scares us the most is that each lost life could have been prevented by simply abiding by speed limits.
5. LG Ultra HD: End of World Interview
Depending on the kind of person you are, you’ll either find this advert totally hilarious or absolutely horrifying. LG really pushed the boat out with this one, duping interview attendees into thinking it’s the end of the world – as if job interviews aren’t scary enough?! It’s pretty cruel, but it’s the perfect demonstration of how high quality the product really is. The scary thing about this is (aside from the apocalypse, of course) how realistic it all looks, and how easy it is to trick people into thinking that life as we know it is over!
What’s your favourite piece of shock marketing? Tweet us @WeAreBoutiqueUK and let us know!
The Evolution of Public Relations
October 22nd, 2014 by Sarah Gough
As somebody from a PR agency background, I’m all too aware of the abundance of articles claiming ‘traditional PR is dead’. Unsurprisingly, I disagree.
One of my favourite definitions of PR is by American writer, Alan Harrington, who said, “Public relations specialists make flower arrangements of the facts, placing them so that the wilted and less attractive petals are hidden by sturdy blooms”. Since a common misconception is that PR professionals are simply fluffy and wordy, I like to more precisely define it as proactively and reactively managing public perceptions of an entity – be that a product, service, person or organisation.
Why then, if my background is PR and I’m a supporter of its purpose and benefits, have I joined an integrated media agency?
Whilst I owe an awful lot to the PR agencies which have nurtured me since graduation, I have found my frustration lies in a lack of awareness, or perhaps willingness to think, of the bigger picture. No business strategy or business model is created with one department or viewpoint, so why would we communicate in this manner? We must adapt to our environment.
In a post-recession business world with tight company budgets, we’re all in a fight to receive the biggest fee allocation, so agencies dumb down the abilities of others and over-egg their own pudding. This is the most frustrating thing of all. For any comms ‘provider’ to claim theirs is the crucial form of media is a clear disregard for the communications matrix – we should be working together across the paid-owned-earned media spectrum… which exists for a reason. The world is full of different ‘audiences’, but within these are oodles of individuals. Traditional news outlets have spent years cultivating readers, listeners and viewers to become masters of target audiences, while social media has provided the ability to ‘get to know’ these individuals and to interact on a much more personal level – insights we can use now and in future.
PR stands for ‘public relations’, but it has also been styled as ‘people and relationships’; it’s about building and nurturing relationships, both with the public and the press. It’s not enough for digital folk to wax lyrical with keywords, because these pieces of content often don’t produce the most appealing pieces of reading for the audience. It’s also not enough to pay for advertising space in well-populated areas, because these days we are inundated with clever commercial messages throughout our daily routine. Indeed, the future is integration, which is why Boutique has brought me on to head up a new earned media strand of the company’s offering.
In the coming years, I think there will be a noticeable reduction in the amount of standalone agencies. Like Boutique has, agencies will offer a full paid-owned-earned service so that clients are providing one brief to one team, resulting in a fully integrated, streamlined media plan tailored to business objectives and target audiences. No longer will companies have to liaise with different agencies for everything (which can be time-consuming, confusing and an inefficient use of resource) – they will have one team of specialists on hand to liaise with throughout.
It’s not about PR being dead, social media being a fad, media buying being a battle of egos, or about any other media misnomer; it’s about the evolution of PR and other mediums. It’s about appreciating that underneath all the bravado, pomp and ceremony now expected from new business pitches, we’re all here to reach out to people in the most suitable communicative method. Customers are, or should be, at the heart of every business decision, and the best way to achieve this is with a customised, collaborative approach.
54 reasons you know you’re from Yorkshire
October 9th, 2014 by Charley Downey
Here at Boutique, we’re not ashamed to admit our love of BuzzFeed. Since its launch in 2006, the site has contributed hugely to the digital landscape, offering the most up-to-date news and shareable content, and providing everyone with a feed that seriously buzzes. Yes, the social news and entertainment company really does what it says on the tin.
BuzzFeed is probably most known for its infamous lists. Whether they’re discussing 21 unlikely combinations that win at life or 25 reasons why babies are basically just tiny drunk people, BuzzFeed lists are certainly jam-packed with the most random, fresh and funny content around. We’ve decided to put together a list of our own, focusing on one of our biggest passions: Yorkshire. If you’re a true Yorkshireman, you’re sure to relate to each and every one of these 54 reasons you know you’re from Yorkshire. And if not, you’ll simply learn why being from Yorkshire is so bloody brilliant!
54 reasons you know you’re from Yorkshire
1. You like a good laugh
2. You’re very honest
3. You have your own names for things…
4. … For example, this is a ginnel
5. You know nothing beats a Sunday dinner
6. Speaking of dinner, that’s what you have at about 12 noon
7. And tea is what you have when you get in from work
8. You only pronounce your t’s in certain situations, and if someone pronounces their t’s all the time, you consider them very well spoken
9. And you say the word ‘the’ about as often as ‘lunch’ , whilst ‘eyup’ n’ gi’ore’ are regularly used
10. Anything further south than Sheffield is ‘somewhere near London’
11. And you hate it when people ask if you’re from London when you go on holiday. Do I sound like I am? And no, I haven’t met queen!
12. You class a decent summer as anything over 15 degrees and around a month long
13. And ‘coat weather’ is only when it’s below freezing… You like to feel the benefit
14. ‘Cock’, ‘duck’ and ‘love’ are all names used in greeting someone you like
15. And if someone gets on your tits, does your head in or winds you up, it means you dislike them
16. You prefer to watch rugby league than rugby union
17. And you played tig, not tag
18. You bloody love saying ‘bloody’
19. And when you say ‘our lass’ or ‘our kid’ it confuses people from other areas
20. You understand that spice means sweet and snap means food
21. You feel a rush of pride when you’re away from home and you hear someone from Yorkshire
22. And if you’ve had a drink you’ll happily declare your love for certain strangers, just because they’re from up your end
23. You prefer to say ‘am right chuffed’ rather than ‘I’m very pleased’
24. You instantly know who this kid is AND where he’s from
25. And you know that this is a bread cake
26. This is tomato sauce, not ketchup or red sauce
27. And you’ve probably laughed at Gail Platt’s old parody Twitter account
28. You refuse to pay 25p for a Freddo. Ah much?
29. And you will only drink a pint if it has a head on
30. You understand that a kebab or McDonald’s is necessary after a night out
31. Unless you’re in that much of a bad way you need to go home
32. You love homemade Yorkshire puddings
33. And you’ve been to this place more times than you can count
34. You eat pie and peas and parkin on Bonfire Night
35. And your county is home to some of the best chocolates and sweets
36. You’ll only settle for a cuppa that’s strictly Yorkshire!
37. And you knew what a ‘Mardy Bum’ was before the Arctic Monkeys’ song
38. You love the cracking scenery you’re surrounded by
39. And you’re probably immune to the smell of cow pat
40. You might not be the best dancer when you’re out, but that won’t stop you
41. And you’ve probably been out with twenty quid before, and still come home with change
42. You know that the chemist who discovered oxygen was from Yorkshire (or now you do)
43. And that Captain James Cook, the first European to discover Australia, was a Yorkshireman
44. You’ve probably been to Whitby and walked up the many steps to visit the Abbey that inspired the story of this guy
45. And you know nobody actually says ‘Ee by gum’
46. You (might) have seen this guy. Or if not, you come across people very similar every day!
47. And you will remember how badly Rihanna pronounced Yorkshire on the Capital advert. Yerkshur?
48. Speaking of Capital, you might still call it Galaxy
49. Either way, it still annoys you and makes you hate songs you used to like!
50. Your accent was actually voted the most intelligent sounding in 2008
51. But you do realise that there are numerous different accents in Yorkshire and a ‘Yorkshire accent’ does not exist!
52. You’re proud of your county and you were over the moon when Jessica Ennis succeeded in the 2012 Olympics
53. And you might have seen this guy at a rugby game, if Leeds Rhinos were playing
54. And last but not least, you bloody love Yorkshire. And it loves you back. It is God’s Own County after all!
What are your favourite things about being from Yorkshire? Tweet us @WeAreBoutiqueUK and let us know!
Stacking and Meshing
October 8th, 2014 by Simon Bollon
Ofcom’s Communications Market Place Report in 2013 identified that UK media audiences have become ‘multitaskers’. They suggested there are two types of multitasking when consuming media: Stacking and Meshing. This focuses mainly on television viewing habits, and our client data from 2014 has suggested that this multitasking is now impacting greatly on the customer response process.
As a lover of good bakes, it seems fitting for my inaugural Boutique blog post to be GBBO-related.
Tonight, the nation’s avid bake off fans will discover their series five winner – and what a series it’s been. With tears, soggy bottoms and puns aplenty, it’s been a tumultuous time for contestants and viewers alike. As we count down the moments until our 2014 winner is crowned, I reflect on my personal highlights of this brilliantly British battle (which incidentally don’t include Mary – my admiration for her goes without saying).
When I hark back to my 17 year old self, I recall an awkward teenager struggling to concentrate on A-level revision. My weekends were spent worrying about ‘unfair’ life problems and trying to memorise the Highway Code to cement my independence. Eight years on, I’m watching 17 year old Martha Collison achieve TV stardom by competing with 11 other hopefuls in culinary combat.
Martha is an inspiration to a younger generation of budding bakers. Leaving in 5th place, she took little leaks in her stride and, despite a few tears, coped extremely well under the pressure to which many of her contemporaries crumbled. Studying Food Technology, Maths and Chemistry, she had a lot on her plate without the competition, but managed to deliver some real showstoppers. I think she has an amazing career ahead of her and commend her cheeriness, confidence and cool-head on such a young pair of shoulders.
Bingate (and the power of social media)
When Iain, aka the bearded man, fell at the Baked Alaska hurdle I don’t think anybody foresaw the social media frenzy that ensued. Iain’s exit was met with fixing claims and poor Diana became an overnight enemy. What stuck with me was how heavily this highlighted the power, and danger, of cunning editing and of social media. Yes, the producers created a dramatic moment and the brand received enormous levels of coverage and interaction, but they also risked the reputation of an innocent 70-year-old lady. With social media so prevalent in today’s society, we are subject to instant and often ferocious criticism. We must embrace its opportunities whilst remaining aware of its perils, and when in a position of power or influence, ensure we’re utilising it responsibly. Always consider how our actions could be played out online – because it’ll be there forever!
Chain retail reaction
Since the first series in 2010, sales of home baking products have gone through the roof. Retail giants have regularly reported huge surges in sales, with Waitrose even claiming a spike of interest in their Baked Alaskas after bingate. Sure, we can’t create a television programme every time we want to drive sales of client products, but it highlights the impact of topics in the public domain. If the conversations are there, let’s jump on the back of them.
What better excuse to share the baking love? I bring you… *drum roll*… a taste of the Boutique team’s own culinary efforts. To celebrate ahead of tonight’s grand finale, we clubbed together to create a home-grown spread Mary would be proud of – even if Paul would have something to say about the presentation. Take a look at what happened…
A great selection was presented, including a classic Victoria Sponge, some chocolate fudge brownies, a Bakewell Tart, and even an Oreo cheesecake.
You wouldn’t have thought it from the friendly faces, but this was a fierce competition…
I cut into my sponge, a little apprehensive after oven trouble last night!
Luke prepares his ‘deconstructed’ Bakewell Tart for the tasting.
Steve’s super proud of his lemon drizzle cake. He’s a first time baker, too – very well done!
Rory, another novice when it comes to baking, surprised with his fabulous raspberry and white chocolate muffins.
Charley and her delightful Oreo cheesecake. Even though it didn’t technically need baking, we’ve let her off… It was bloody delicious!
Luke was a little smug about his tart. He deserved extra points for making gluten free pastry, too!
Amy also brought a gluten free treat to the bake off – chocolate fudge brownies, complete with Boutique logos stencilled on top with icing sugar.
Me and my Victoria Sponge, which, thankfully, turned out to be fantastic, despite the problematic oven!
We’ve done the honours and completed an extensive test with entries marked on creativity, complexity, presentation, taste and texture. After much deliberation and an independent adjudicator… we have a four-way win! Charley, Luke, Rory and I were voted star bakers, but we think you’ll agree from the pictures it was a full house of proper good bakes.
Are you a fan of The Great British Bake Off? Which of Boutique’s baked goods would you most like to try? Tweet us @boutiquemc and let us know!
The Boutique Wall of Fame
October 2nd, 2014 by Sarah Gough
If you’ve ever visited Boutique HQ, you probably noticed the huge piece of branded glass sensibly located right behind the door. Initially it was intended for the boardroom table, but it was quickly superseded by this one, so it was demoted to an upright position against the wall until we could figure out what to do with it. For a while, the glass donned portraits of the team, exemplifying Simon’s impressive tracing skills. More often than not, it was on the receiving end of rather aggressive door-opening. Should we dispose of it, we asked ourselves? What’s the need for such a ridiculously large, glass table top? In the end, we decided what had to be done. It involved string, glue, and tiny wooden pegs (along with a reasonably priced online photo printing service). We present to you, the Boutique Wall of Fame: a fantastic montage of photos and memories featuring Team Boutique!
There’s plenty of space left to add things in the future, so now there’s even more of an incentive for taking plenty of selfies! It’s a great talking point in the office and great for when friends and clients visit; after all, who wouldn’t enjoy feasting their eyes on such a handsome bunch?!
Do you have a space in your office dedicated to team photos and memories? Tweet us @BoutiqueMC and let us know!
What we’d put in Room 101
October 1st, 2014 by Sarah Gough
Yesterday we posed the question to the team: “What would you put in Room 101?”
For those who don’t know, Room 101 is a BBC comedy series following a radio show of the same name. Inspired by George Orwell’s cult classic Nineteen Eighty Four, wherein Room 101 is a torture chamber filled with the victim’s worst nightmare, the show invites celebrities to discuss their pet hates and persuade the host to banish them to Room 101. The current stint, presented by Frank Skinner, has seen a range of popular celebrity guests (Stephen Fry, Ricky Gervais and Jeremy Clarkson, to name a few) along with a range of pet hates, including airports, babies in restaurants, and men with beards.
In an office renowned for daft questions (you can read more about those here), irrelevant tangents and the odd inappropriate conversation, putting the Room 101 question out there was pretty standard. And since the agency brims with outspoken individuals and strong opinions, we were guaranteed a great selection of answers.
The Boutique pet hates range from Apple chargers to the inappropriate use of the world ‘literally’, and in amongst the plethora of responses, there was a handful that got us thinking. It quickly became apparent that these pet hates were more than just petty bugbears. In fact, what were first considered as silly, trivial moans and groans were actually significant points of consideration for every business.
Elliot: “I hate automated phone systems that don’t understand my voice.”
Totally understandable, since Elliot speaks so eloquently. After all, what’s the point in a voice response menu that doesn’t understand the Queen’s English?! Initially, this pet peeve was shrugged off as another of his gripes (others include unjustified text and all drivers apart from him), but it’s actually 100% warranted and pertinent for all businesses. When paying or potential customers call a company, the last thing they want to be greeted by is an interactive voice response system – especially one that refuses to understand them, no matter how many times they repeat themselves. These systems make for laborious phone calls, going right around the houses before being put through to an actual human being in customer services, by which time you’ve lost all patience and gained a whopping phone bill. Of course, there’s no quick fix for this matter; huge corporations rely on automated phone menus, and systems that recognise (or attempt to recognise…) voice can gain the detailed information that can’t be communicated with ten digits and a hash key. It’s always worth considering all channels of contact into your business though – they should be as effective, informative and pain-free as possible. This will keep your customers (and Elliot) happy!
Luke: “I hate when I’m watching a film with someone, and they have such a short attention span that they can’t concentrate and end up asking questions.”
Again, this is a pretty justified aversion. People who talk through films are the worst, especially when they have to continually ask you to reiterate what’s happened. It’s a pretty common problem in the world of pet peeves; almost everyone has been to the cinema and been driven insane by the talkative couple a few rows in front. And in the world of business, it’s also applicable. Just swap the cinema screen and popcorn for an important meeting with a potential client – are they really going get on board when someone in your agency keeps spacing out and asking for things to be repeated? When it comes to business, these types of people should be avoided at all costs; those who lack attention to detail and regularly demand the help of others are much weaker links than assertive, independent individuals who can report back with ease. The answer? Try and avoid the former, and if you have an inkling that you’re the annoying, confused, question-asking film watcher, then try your very best to concentrate more in future. Luke will appreciate it.
Amy – “I really hate it when people don’t shut doors behind them.”
Were you born in a barn?! Once more, this bugbear regularly pops up in discussions of pet hates, along with those who slam doors, open them so aggressively that they fly back and bang against the wall, leave grubby fingerprints on the glass because they don’t know how to use the handle… Doors, such a complex phenomenon. At home, forgetting to shut doors behind you can contribute to excessive utility bills, and in some cases it compromises security. In the office, it’s even worse. If, like us, you share a building with other businesses in similar – if not the same – markets, leaving the office door open can jeopardise your privacy and allow important information to leak out. Office corridors also experience heavy footfall, so the noise of others trekking up and down can be distracting. The answer to this pet hate is simple – shut the bloody door behind you.
Simon – “I despise it when people take dogs to work and feature them on their website with a witty job title.”
Come on, do you really expect us to believe that Brucey the pug is your Managing Director? For some, visiting a website and coming across a portrait of a floppy-eared fluff ball on the ‘Team’ page is delightful, but – take it from us – it’s the height of unprofessionalism. These types of features evoke questions and doubt from potential customers: what’s this company trying to cover up with comedy? Don’t they take themselves seriously? Who’s actually the Managing Director? Don’t they want to admit it? It’s always great to have a sense of humour, but when it comes to business, you’ve got to really consider what’s appropriate. You might think the world of your pet, but that huge account that was coming your way has taken a swerve, opting for the guys with a sleek, concise, professional website, sans dog manager. Sorry Brucey.
What would you put in Room 101? Is your pet hate applicable to the professional world? Tweet us @WeAreBoutiqueUK and let us know!