This week New York magazine unveiled its latest front cover, a black and white portrait of 35 women who have allegedly accused Bill Cosby of sexual assault. Such was the interest in the cover/story that ‘35 Bill Cosby’ began trending on Twitter in America (and the site crashed, though that was later revealed to be the result of hacking).
It’s not for me to publically pass judgement on the legal proceedings themselves, but it’s fair to say there was a general air of surprise in the office that the magazine had chosen to be so vocal on the matter. The cover smacked of a publicity stunt, but that’s not normally coupled with such a sensitive subject matter. Indeed, it made a compelling purchase, but it also highlighted the ethical balance that media outlets face.
It’s usually pretty easy to pinpoint the political views of newspapers, with a general sway towards left or right wing angles on stories. It isn’t, however, commonplace for a media title to take such a clear political stance on an ongoing legal battle (in which nobody has yet been charged), particularly considering sexual assault is such a notoriously tricky and delicate subject. Additionally, the symbolic empty chair is almost a call to action for further accusers.
So I suppose the question is, are they exploiting or are they supporting? Is it good that they’ve given mass exposure to such a taboo subject, or is it concerning that they’ve given such a bold account of an ongoing case, ultimately to drive sales? Either way, sales, web and social traffic have rocketed. Controversy is something our society increasingly suffers and, equally sadly, controversy sells.
Sometimes it’s difficult to put your finger on why something simply doesn’t feel right.
Earlier this month Simon was interviewed by Business Quarter (BQ) Magazine. The opening line reads, ‘People are at the crux of We Are Boutique’s success, as MD Simon Bollon recognises. He chats to BQ to tell us more about how he came to buy the agency he was enjoying working for so much.’
Click here to read the full article.
What does good value mean? Cheap, perhaps? Buying something for less than it’s worth?
We all perceive value differently.
According to the Oxford Dictionary, value is “the regard that something is held to deserve; the importance, worth, or usefulness of something”.
This in itself suggests that something being ‘value for money’ isn’t actually cheap or a ‘bargain’, it just means you’ve paid the right price.
In many cases it’s spoken about in monetary terms, but value means much more than simply price.
On a personal level we talk about sentimental value. A wedding photo, for instance, probably has no monetary value outside of your family, but if your house burnt down that would be impossible to replace.
In business we often see price as the key value of any product or service, more so in the last few years, most probably as fallout from 2007-8. Times have changed, and defining what you sell by its price is lazy and outdated. I would even go as far to say that price is a hygiene factor, and that real value comes from elsewhere.
If you took a Ferrari and a Ford Focus, removed the price and asked people which one they would drive home, what would happen?
To many (including me) the obvious choice is the Ferrari – better looks, engineering, quality and SPEED, but to a parent of three doing the school run or towing a caravan, the Ford is the only choice. In that instance, price would have been irrelevant.
We are lucky in the UK. The ‘British’ brand has big value both abroad and at home – as Brits we like to know our products were made close to home, and further afield ‘Made in Britain’ is a mark of quality.
Our recent obsession with discount retailers and ‘Black Friday’ events may seem to contradict this idea, however these sales or events are run by large national brands whose real value comes from trust and recognition. If your local chippie did 20% off a bag of chips you’d be unlikely to run out the door to purchase.
In stark contrast we’ve seen the rise of brands like Uber who, when compared to a standard taxi, are more expensive, however I can’t remember the last time I used a local firm. Here I‘m willing overlook price in favour of a premium service I can’t find anywhere else.
You could then conclude that true value comes from being unique.
Don’t misunderstand; at Boutique we ‘get’ price and we know it’s important, but it’s more a hygiene factor. If you want the lowest prices possible we’re probably not right for you. We avoid media commoditisation and we won’t race to the bottom line in pitches. However, we’re seeing more and more clients demand value.
With us value comes from senior input, high service levels, experience, a hand selected team of individuals and an assiduity only smaller, privately owned businesses can REALLY deliver. Most importantly, we’re a strategically focused agency. We work with clients who need a step change, who need guidance in media implementation and need an alternative approach. The result is value for those businesses – price is only an element of the process.
We’re delighted to introduce the newest member of our team, Emily Holgate, who has joined to enhance our paid media proposition.
Hailing from MediaCom Leeds, Emily’s experience lies predominantly within the travel and leisure sectors with clients including Great Rail Journeys, the Austrian Tourist Board, Flamingo Land and Merlin attractions, as well as grocery/convenience brands SPAR and Booths.
Emily comes highly recommended from media owners so we knew she shared a desire to build strong relationships! She also shares a love for food (we’re excited to have another contender for our bake-offs) and enjoys dining out, cooking, and attending food fairs and farmers markets.
We look forward to Emily’s contributions to Boutique work and play!
Yet another blog was chucked out today about the lack of talent in the industry and frankly, it’s getting boring.
We’re in a rapidly growing and fast changing industry so naturally it has its challenges. Keeping talent development at a pace with the growth in the industry is of course something agencies, clients (and probably society) should be worried about. Universities acknowledge the issues and in Leeds, for example, the universities work hard to develop talent, make them accessible and work with leading agencies and bodies to create a clear path from education to employment. In Leeds, it works well. However, that’s half the problem!
I saw an article by one of the big four digital agencies in Leeds taking about how closely they work with the universities as they are seeing ‘rapid employment growth from education bodies’. What does this mean for clients? It means an agency full of inexperience, low income earners, fatter margins for the agencies and lower standards of work. No agency can argue that experience doesn’t count and I am yet to see one of these agencies reduce rates in accordance with the experience of the team working on the account.
The bigger the agency, the more critical a lack of available talent becomes which results in increased employment of graduates, greater hierarchy and a heavy weighting towards the bottom end of that hierarchical prism.
Don’t misunderstand me. Graduates come with enthusiasm, a passion for learning, a desire to develop and an assiduity gained from degree education. We employ graduates. However, they are blended into the wider team with limited reach but masses of learning room.
Getting back to the point of ‘talent being scarce’ I have to strongly disagree. The industry is teaming with talent. People who claim there isn’t industry talent are lacking the skills to find the talent.
There are critical errors agencies make when looking for talent that restricts them. Firstly, they don’t cast their net wide enough. People tend to look in the small pond that is there local area; Leeds agencies looking at Leeds agencies, web development agencies looking at other web development agencies. The talent you need might be in London, or Manchester or Bristol. If using recruitment agencies why not engage with agencies outside of the region to cast a wider net? People willing to move will be more hungry and more considered in their applications. Further, stop looking at me-too agencies. We work with some brilliant collaborative agencies and meet skilled individuals. I’d love to employ some of the account managers we have worked with because finding talent is the key. Part of being talented is the ability to learn, quickly, and on that basis agencies need to look for better people who have skills in account management, team management, client liaison, time management and more. If they can do all of that, there is a very good chance you can teach them the core skills quickly. This means they are less of a risk socially in terms of client facing skills, and that they will hit the ground running.
Beyond that, what agencies should acknowledge is that better agencies acquire better talent. Strong brands, growth businesses and those with clear career development opportunities will always be an attractive proposition. If you’re struggling to find good people, consider that the good people don’t want to work for you.
For us, we have a recruitment and retention strategy around ‘Gain, Train, Retain’. To ‘gain’ we focus on identifying the best talent and stealing it from other agencies. Of our last seven recruits, one was a grad, one was from a recruitment agency and five we pinched from competitors after researching the market, speaking to associate agencies, asking for recommendations, identifying good work and finding out who did it. It’s tough, its time consuming, but it’s rewarding for us and our clients.
We are a people business with Social Capital as our core currency. We guarantee our five people are better than five people in any other agency.
If you think finding talent is a problem, perhaps you’re not talented enough to find it?
At the recent RAR Digital Awards we were recognised for our online media buying. The award was based on the volume and quality of ratings we achieved for that service. Whilst slightly niche and of course only one element of what we do, it is lovely to be recognised by our clients for our sterling work.
Having sponsored the Chip Shop Awards the night before, only Tom was available to pick up the award on behalf of the agency.
Two evenings, three awards. Good work team!
Adwords is an ever growing landscape; enhanced campaigns, close match variants, keywords classified as low search volumes and audience layering are now all key components, and must be considered when structuring an account.
Ensuring you get the right structure in place is fundamental to the success and management of any Adwords account. It might seem like a fairly obvious statement to some, but the amount of accounts that we come in contact with lack in best practice and the ability to manage effectively.
So what should you be considering?
Has the account got every keyword available to them? Do we, or have we, had coverage on all keyword concatenations, themes and products?
Are each of the keywords in the account being given a chance to prove their worth?
Where are the different match types living in the account?
Very often we see accounts that don’t have all the generic keywords available to them: this could be right down to the colour and size of a product, to the location, or the type of service they offer. The level of granularity is key to the success of any account and including those keywords with low search volume could make all the difference. After all, a person that types in a long tailed keyword like ‘digital agency based in leeds’ and gets presented with ‘We Are Boutique’ has more chance of converting because they’re getting served with an ad that is entirely relevant to what they’re searching for.
Ensuring each of the keywords in the account are being given a chance to prove their worth seems like a given, right? But more often than not, keywords can get lost amongst other high volume keywords throughout the account. For example, you might have a campaign with:
£100 daily budget
10 different ad groups
10 keywords living in each of those ad groups
This is fine, but if there are 2/3/4 keywords in that campaign that are using 30% of that £100 daily budget, then the other keywords could be losing out on valuable impression share to prove their worth. It’s important to know that you can never have enough campaigns with their own individual budgets, housing as little as 5 keywords in them (especially if there is a lot of search volume around those keywords). By structuring accounts in this way you are allowing all of the keywords in the account to show what they can do and use what budget is allocated to them in an efficient way.
When it comes to structuring the different keyword match types in an account, it can be done in many different ways. But in terms of organising and understanding at a glance how campaigns are working and what keywords live where, we feel the best way to structure them is to have campaigns specifically for Exact, Phrase and Broad match keywords. Exact match keywords will tend to have less search volume as people are searching for that exact keyword e.g. [Digital Agency Leeds] and broad will tend to have the most because it’s also searching for keywords relevant to that keyword e.g. Digital Agency In Yorkshire.
Separating those keywords from one another is crucial to spending efficiently, improving click through rates and overall quality score. The same could be applied to shopping campaigns, which can be split up by different ad groups and product categories, giving that granular detail when making any changes.
Negative keywords are also essential to the success of a campaign and it allows you to organise and structure them in a manageable way.
All agencies are different in the way they’ll structure accounts but here at We Are Boutique we believe in efficiency, manageability and cleanness… And the results speak for themselves.