Boutique Double Act Takes Gold

October 30th, 2015 by Sarah Gough

Tom and Rory - Gym Members of the Month!

Our very own double act, Tom and Rory, have been jointly awarded Gym Member of The Month at Motive8 North!

Not only are we proud of their athletic achievements, we’re also tickled by their thoroughly Boutique Q&A.

We’ve posted below for your amusement. The original post can be found here and our resident champions can probably be found at ‘Chester Zoo’ (leg day unlikely).


How long have you been a member of the motive8 gym?

R – Since January I think.

T – 2 years in January – But I’ve only been coming regularly for about 9 months!


Why do you train at the motive8 gym?

R – It’s right next to where I work and it’s got everything I need in there to get a real pump on.

T – It’s next to my work so I have no excuses not to go, oh and the banter is pretty great, apart from Chris. And there is plenty of room for me to dance between sets.


What was your goal when you started at the gym?

R – This award

T – Trim down so my mates would stop ribbing me for getting fat. I used to be an athlete you know….


What is your current goal?

R – To continue going 3-4 times a week so I can wear EVEN tighter T-shirts.

Not be too top heavy!

T – Buy a ticket to Shredsville… Ha! On a serious note, I’ve built strength and bulked up a fair bit, I really want to start focusing on getting lean now.


What’s your biggest accomplishment since you have been training?

R – Being able to walk over to the big boy weights at the start of a weights session.

T- Having to buy some new clothes. My trousers kept falling down, without my permission.

Totes Emoji

October 29th, 2015 by Sarah Bartlett

three wise monkeys

Monday morning in the Boutique office saw us revelling in emoji heaven when usually we’d be headfirst in a caffeine fix. I’m talking unicorns, turkeys, telescopes and even upside down smileys (but still no ‘fingers crossed’ – come on, Apple!) Nevertheless iOS 9.1 was blessed upon us over the weekend, bringing with it a whole host of colourful characters to keep us as far from the Queen’s English as possible.

2015 has truly been the host of the ’emoji boom’, with six billion emojis getting sent every day – we’re amidst a generation of sentence-hating, code-loving emoji fiends. Traditional linguists must be curling their toes, in fact Noam Chomsky himself told The Drum he had heard nothing of the emoji language, which only highlights it being a language lost on an older generation – and especially highlights the need for being selective when it comes to brands and their use of emojis (i.e. know your audience!). It doesn’t mean, however, that using emojis is a second-rate or ‘lazy’ form of communication. It simply spells out a development in the digital age, and quite frankly it’s fascinating to watch it progress.


Taking over the world, one brand at a time.

Aside from a bit of messaging fun, emojis are close to world domination (if only Pinky and the Brain knew!), having been adopted by big brands in strategic marketing campaigns. Dominos recently won awards for offering an express emoji pizza ordering service, and Coca-Cola became the first brand to get its own emoji as part of their #ShareaCoke Twitter campaign. And there’s no sign of ’emojification’ slowing down any time soon, with the rising need for brand loyalty, companies are constantly finding new ways to engage with and relate to their consumers on a different level – especially with generations Y and Z.

So why do we feel the need to communicate in this way? Psychologically speaking, people build relationships through the reciprocal act of sharing emotions. So, by sending each other a string of emotion-laden emojis, we’ve really just found a quicker, easier way of telling someone how we’re feeling and, at the same time, solidifying relationships and giving context to a conversation (much in the way gestures do for real life). In addition, the human brain responds positively to seeing faces, even more so when these faces are smiling (angry faces, not so much…). We are fundamentally wired to seek out faces in our environment, so with a continued stimulus throughout the day in the form of emojis, this is going to please our facial recognition centres to no end!


Don’t be a dad dancer…

But what about those brands that don’t appeal to the Millennials? Should they be using emojis to communicate with their audience? Such brands are at risk of being the mum that wears her daughter’s clothes, or the dad that thinks dad dancing is cool. Using emojis needs to feel like a natural extension of our expressions, not a forced use of advertising. Brands that can tap into this will be the most successful. Those that are marketing with emojis for the sake of the old bandwagon are going to devalue the sentiment and ruin it for everyone else, I mean, can you imagine a world without emojis?

It doesn’t  bear emoji thinking about…

Head over to The Drum to see how well you can really ‘read’ emoji… And in the meantime, translate this:

Emoji sentence


Share your emoji stories with us on twitter @WeAreBoutique and test our emoji-reading skills!




Say hello to Sarah (B!)

October 28th, 2015 by Sarah Gough

Sarah Bartlett, Earned Media Executive

We’re very pleased to introduce our latest recruit, Sarah Bartlett, who has joined to enhance our earned media proposition.

Joining from an in-house PR and social media role at Wren Kitchens, Sarah wanted to work in an agency team where should could “learn from the best” (her words, not ours…) and we’re delighted to have her in the team.

A self-confessed avocado addict, outside of work she’s a whiz on the piano, loves to travel and is a wannabe yogi (not the bear…). She has a habit of crying excessively when she laughs, even if something’s only mildly amusing.

As a complete curve ball, Sarah recently told us that she once made a feature length version of Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. Make of that what you will.


PPC and the Dreaded Question

October 23rd, 2015 by Ryan Roodt

Pay Per Click

One of the many joys of digital marketing is the new and different questions we ask ourselves, and are asked by our clients, every day. There are, however, some questions that make us quiver at the very thought, and we were dealt that question last week during a client meeting. On the face of it the question was a simple one… But one that was littered with twists and turns and potential pitfalls if not dealt with carefully!

The question was “Where and how does paid search fit in our marketing strategy and what effect do the generic keywords have?” and more specifically, the time period was Christmas 2014!

We love a good challenge at “We Are Boutique” and we wanted to use this question as a real opportunity to explore and understand where and how generic keywords played a role in a digital marketing strategy.

We didn’t want to create the bog standard report that contained the usual metrics of clicks’ cost and revenue, we chose to look a little deeper into the relationship between the paid search users and the website/brand. In order to achieve this result, we focused on three additional sets of data, which were the following:


  • Sessions: the number of times visitors are actively engaged on the website. Generally speaking, every visitor has at least one “session” when they visit the site, but they could have multiple depending on the circumstances.


  • Average Session Duration: the average length of visitors’ sessions. Again, longer sessions indicate that users are more engaged.


  • Bounce Rate: the percentage of visits that are single-page only (i.e. people who visit one page and leave). Usually a high bounce rate is a sign that people are leaving your site (or a certain page) because they aren’t finding what they are looking for.


We felt that these metrics gave us a better understanding of the keyword and site engagement. We then created our own grading matrix which gave each keyword a guideline score, the report was then split into two sections; converting keywords and non-converting keywords.  It will come as no surprise but the majority of the keywords that converted were brand orientated, but what was more interesting was that there were a very large number of generics that were graded very high in our matrix due to a large amount of time on site, low bounce rate and a large number of pages viewed. This result suggests that consumers were landing on the site and spending a considerable amount of time on the site and not bouncing off straight away.

The non-converting keywords were dominated by generic keywords but again their overall time and page sessions were very high and there is certainly ground to assume that these consumers could have returned via another digital channel. If you had to compare to a real life scenario, you are more likely to have a new or returning customer the longer they spend walking and looking around your store.

As part of our research we also looked into the paid search attribution funnel, which gave us a visual birds eye view of common paths that were carried out in the purchasing process and the total conversions associated to each. The results were brilliant and it clearly showed that paid search played a role in the consumer buying/searching process, to be more precise over 45% of the common paths consumers used over that period in December were attributed to paid search. Understandably paid search does have a cost associated to it but there is a lot to be said about the role it plays in site conversions and its place in a digital marketing strategy.

As part of our conclusions and recommendations, we have put a digital plan in place to really push the generic keywords and to really use this busy Christmas period to generate sales and brand awareness. We will then compare the year on year results and more importantly the conversion funnels! We will certainly be posting our results so keep checking our blog to see how we got on.


Big Hairy Ambition

October 14th, 2015 by Simon Bollon

Ambitious traveler

I read a great article on LinkedIn this morning by Miles Welch. Miles is a Board Advisor for agencies looking at rapid growth, strategic development, merger, sale or acquisition. I hope that’s about right Miles?

He talked about ensuring your corporate vision was big enough and motivating enough for the organisation to buy into and believe in.

It got me thinking….

We have a very clear corporate vision and one that everyone in the business could state. It is that we aim to be the most famous independent agency outside of London. It’s big, its hairy, its bold, its motivating and it creates focus. Ours is a business people want to be involved in and we think that ambition is a powerful tool for growth, not just internally but also externally to potential recruits and potential clients.

I agree wholeheartedly with Miles that businesses should have very lofty corporate visions. Who doesn’t want to work with and for the best, most recognisable, most famous, most service-focused, most empathetic….or whatever your business aim might be.

However, when looking at that goal it’s important to always do two things….

1 – Celebrate small steps

Wanting to move from £10m to £100m or from 10th place to 1st is a long journey. We all know the story of the overnight success who took 20 years to get there. No business achieves their goals in the short term. If they did, their goals were too low. With that in mind it’s important that the business celebrates every successful step up that ladder. Celebrate moving from 10th to 9th to 8th and so on. Those landmarks are important, they are motivating, it creates an opportunity to take stock and is a health check that you’re on the right path. Whatever is at the top of your ladder, ensure you know what is on each rung of the ladder also.

2 – Be mindful of now

We’re a growth business achieving 62% growth in our last financial year and we’ll do something similar this year. Heady growth. I’m proud, we’re moving in the right direction but we’re not there yet. Actually, we are. We here. We’re now. Right now we’re 17 strong, turning over more than £10m, we’ve invested significantly in the business, tools, resources and people. RIGHT NOW we’re in good shape. Too many growth businesses fail to acknowledge, however momentarily, what they have right now and that can lead to demotivation, a lack of understanding how you’ll get to the goal and a lack of appreciation for the people who have got the business to where it is.

A culture that is focused on growth can often lose sight of today.

So if you are on a steep curve and your team are fully bought into a long term objective it’s important to acknowledge the baby steps and every now and then stop, realise where you are and celebrate that too. With that in mind we have a business away day next week. It’s about where we are, where we’re going and how we’ll get there. The ‘where we are’ is pretty cool. There’ll be a drink to celebrate so don’t try getting hold of us on Tuesday…or Wednesday before 10am!


Leeds Business Week 2015

October 13th, 2015 by Sarah Gough


This week, much of our local business community is gathering to attend some or all of Leeds Business Week. Held in various locations across the city, hundreds of speakers will ‘present their ideas, share their knowledge and inspire thousands of delegates at 100+ events’. This year, we’re getting in on the action.

For us, Leeds Business Week is a chance to meet some individuals and businesses close to home. We might be able to make quick-fire suggestions to help an emerging entrepreneur get on their feet, we might set up meetings to discuss a particular business’ short term comms needs and how we might service that, or we might strike up a working relationship that is still going strong ten years from now.

If you’re attending the week and want to catch us, below is our schedule of attendance. It culminates in a drinks evening which promises to be a corker (and which we happen to be sponsoring). We’d love to see you there – tweet us @WeAreBoutiqueUK with the hashtag #LeedsBizWeek!


Wednesday 14th October

We Are Boutique – exhibition space

When: 09.00 – 16.00

Where: The Leeds Club

What: Sarah and Tom will be manning a stand in the exhibition area. Not only will they be poised for questions and advice, but they’ll also be providing sweets and refreshments…


Simon Bollon – seminar

When: 11.00 – 11.45

Where: The Leeds Club

What: Our MD Simon will be presenting his seminar entitled ‘Why my business is better than yours.’ With almost two decades of experience, he’ll discuss common traits he sees in the best agencies – traits which are so often missing across other business sectors.


Thursday 15th October

Leeds Business Lunch

When: 12.00 – 15.00

Where: Bibis Italianissimo

What: Put simply, we’ll be joining up to 200 fellow diners to network while we eat.


Big Drinks Evening – as sponsors!

When: 18.00 – 23.00

Where: Chaophraya

What: We’re delighted to be sponsoring this year’s big drinks evening at Chaophraya. We attended last year and loved it so much that we wanted to return with gusto! As well as drinking and chatting, we’ll be offering the chance for two new business acquaintances to win a bottle of bubbly. Keep your eyes peeled…

Lead, don’t manage.

October 8th, 2015 by Simon Bollon


As I sit her watching extended highlights of Chelsea capitulate once again, and having heard Jose Mourinho’s post-match comments, I can’t help but ponder the idea he’s very wrong.

Whilst I’m sure there will be hundreds of books and articles from esteemed scholars of management talking about football management versus the real world, I feel compelled to ruminate on where the Special One might be going wrong in his leadership of the club…

One core vision

What is Chelsea’s? What is Mourinho’s? He likes to state ‘I’m the best and with me teams win’? Well that isn’t working and he has no plan B. On the basis that sporting teams are assessed on a season by season basis, they look lost and disjointed now that plan A is out of the window. All managers need to be flexible and nimble, respond to surroundings and constantly assess the ‘where are we, where are going and how will we get there’. They may have a long term ambition of titles and trophies but HOW will they get there? Sorry Jose, four out of ten here.

It’s you not me

Successful teams are steered but they drive themselves. A bit wanky I know, but it’s an important trait to always consider when leading a team. Mourinho has a need for it to be about him. He has the longest press conferences and says ‘I’ more than any other manager. We all like to be acknowledged for great work but that needs balancing with an appreciation of the team. Win when you’re winning but also win when you’re losing? That doesn’t quite work so some humility might help. Critically, a strategy needs to be identifiable around action points, responsibility and next steps. Blaming referees is not a solution.

Obsess over your competitors

Good businesses are obsessed with their competitors. Not jealous, not envious, not dismissive, not rude. They just know what others are doing, they see them recruit well, develop offerings, change their style. Other clubs have watched, learnt and developed tactics to compete with the ‘better’ teams. Mourinho has little time for his competitors and when things go wrong and others stride away, you only look foolish and lacking in an ability to learn and develop? Too much naval gazing meant he took his eye off the competitors and they caught him up. How did his team feel about their leader falling short versus others?

What’s going to work..?

Yes. Teamwork. That old adage; get people working together and you’ll reap the rewards. What if members clash, different agendas set them apart? Well (A) you got your recruitment process wrong and (B) that’s your bloody job! ‘Problems in the dressing room’ is a favourite line of the Match of the Day pundits, but it is present in an awful lot of companies but leaders make teams work. Getting the best out of people, identifying strengths and weaknesses and creating a spirit of togetherness that means people don’t just work for themselves but everyone around them. In a high pressure, high stakes environment like football that is an arduous task but there’s little sign of progress being made at Stamford Bridge. Rather, his behaviour in verbally attacking players and making public statements of incompetence (subbing a sub for those that missed it) will only further enhance divisions.

Don’t manage, lead.

From a business point of view I find the current struggles of Mourinho fascinating. He’s never been in this positon, he has no tactic to get out of it and is closed to looking outside of his normal routine (he doesn’t use consultants and is one of only three clubs in the top tier that doesn’t have a psychologist working in his senior management team). Football management is often a brilliant example of how to build groups of individuals from whom you withdraw every last bit of knowledge and expertise and in turn lead a group of individuals (that’s a team!) to success. Drop someone into a well-oiled machine with process, structure, KPI’s, recent history of success etc. and that machine should remain well-oiled. The challenge of managers is when they need to be leaders; setting a tone, being the example, being willing to adapt, creating a collective bought into a vision and culture. Sorry Jose, I personally don’t think you can do it. The question isn’t whether the results can improve but what the process is for improving results. Lead, don’t manage.


I love Garyvee. Here’s why:

October 6th, 2015 by Thomas Selby



There is so much bullshit going around that it’s becoming impossible to see past it and, even more worryingly, not to add to it.

Agencies in particular are bad at this… what the hell do you actually do!?!?

Agencies have swapped short and concise with long and elaborate. I appreciate things are rarely black and white but I’m getting sick of watching grey paint dry….

And it seems I’m not alone.

The colourful shoots of change are beginning to sprout from this canvas of grey manure. It seems we’ve been crying out for something or someone to be itself/themselves.

For those of you who don’t know (sort your life out) Garyvee (Gary Vaynerchuck) is an American entrepreneur who took his family wine business (Wine Deals) and turned it into a massive success. He now owns VaynerMedia “one of the world’s hottest digital agencies” and is a prolific angel investor.

He has his own show (which you should watch #AskGaryVee) and frequently speaks publicly.

These are some of the reasons I love him, but above all else he doesn’t bullshit. His views and approach are divisive, he swears and pushes unpopular points of view but they are his views, he says what he means and doesn’t care if you disagree. He is himself at all times and with hundreds of thousands of fans around the world you’d struggle to justify a different approach.

He’s not the only one, love or hate her (99% hate) Katie Hopkins is on the rise, a new contract at the Mail Online and ‘Britain’s biggest bitch’ doesn’t seem to be going anywhere. She doesn’t give the useful well-formed ideas and advice of Garyvee but with the majority of other social commentators firmly nailed to the fence you can see why she has traction, even if it’s completely offensive.

Beyond people and personalities you can see the same shift when it comes to brands. This week the latest CoolBrands roster was published, and as you go down the list there a couple of things that stand out, aside from being instantly recognisable or just genuinely good, each brand is exactly that….. itself.

And that is why they are cool. That’s why Garyvee is cool.

Brands can no longer tell people who they think they are, manufactured provenance is so rife that it’s become wallpaper.

So next time you can feel yourself talking bollocks, stop and say what you really think, it’s your brand.

Oh and watch this, 2:15 is big G making my point for me: