What brands can learn from Eddie the Eagle

April 28th, 2016 by Sarah Bartlett

Eddie 'the Eagle' Edwards

Firstly, if you’ve not yet seen Eddie the Eagle – you should be feeling a real sense of FOMO – it’s absolutely incredible. It tells the true tale of Eddie ‘The Eagle’ Edwards, a tenacious British underdog ski jumper who captured hearts across the world during the 1988 Winter Olympics. Critics described it as “Built to get an audience cheering” and “a thoroughly inspiring underdog tale”. Now I’m no film critic but anything that has an IMDb rating above 6 usually gets my vote. This has 7.6 – a pretty solid effort.

Without spoiling it for anyone who hasn’t seen it, I can safely say you’ll experience an array of emotions, including a raging sense of pride, embarrassment, heartbreak and childish humour.

So what’s this got to do with brands?

It’s true that everyone loves an underdog, like when we rooted for Reggie & Bollie on The X Factor (and remember Wagner?!). But what exactly was it that made us love them so (even if there was a little guilt attached)? I believe it’s because they remained true to themselves, their values, and didn’t try and mug us off with an elaborated front. The same can be said in business – both a business’ or brand’s customers and peers will see straight through a half-hearted, fake attempt at winning people over (remember House of Fraser’s emoji-gate?), so it goes without saying that if you’ve developed your business based on a set of core business values – stick to them. Eddie the Eagle didn’t win the world over by playing up to the Olympic committee’s rules and regulations; he did it in his own, somewhat odd, ‘Eddie’ way – and he became a national treasure, as well as a British record-holder.

In today’s cutthroat world of business and branding, competition is fierce and consumers are brutal, with brand loyalty becoming a distant memory as millennials bulldoze their way into the marketplace demanding instant gratification. Brands need to take their character seriously, developing it so they become ‘interesting’ and ideally even known for something. Failing to do so will leave them redundant in a sea of mere, mid-level ‘providers’.

But for those brands that stay true to their character and evoke a deep, emotional connection with their consumers (the Innocents, Aldis, and Ben & Jerrys’ of the world), well, they may just make it into the record books too.

Image via Flickr

Clients Are Like Snowflakes

April 26th, 2016 by Alex Price

five star rating

It’s that time again, ‘validate your role day’ – cue spotlight! As Client Services Director, consider this a tickle at the topline…

Over the past year, Boutique has been deploying a client services team which will ensure we’re delivering value beyond implementation. As an agency in fast growth it’s all too easy to churn out the basics without thought beyond the immediate box ticking.

We Are Boutique is a service provider; we’re selling what others create (excluding PR which is a different kettle of creative kippers!). We have limited influence on the product existence which means that agencies are flogging a very similar sell. The variation comes in the added value that agencies wrap the assets in and we’ve seen this become mandatory rather than price being the sole pleaser. Service is one of the ways to differentiate agency brands…


Some Essential Practice

– Ensure that we have multi-lead relationships. Do we hold positive relationships at all layers of the account? It’s crucial to empower the executives to build relationships with their opposite numbers client side as much as the senior squad at the top.

– We should play client advocate in the agency. Always pre-empt what the client’s response will be and nip any grey areas in the bud.

– Clients are like snowflakes: unpredictable, unique (and sometimes frosty!) which means bespoke attention and the ability to wear multiple hats.

– Question if we’re reducing client pressures. We encourage our contacts to open up about the challenges in their own role so we can make steps to support them and ease any internal peeve!

– Always think beyond our remit and individual roles. Offer opinions on creative, other brands, market insights, agency trends, industry shifts.


Snippets for Survival

– Lead, don’t manage meetings

– If things go awry, be swift, be honest and be sorry

– Be a chameleon, but don’t compromise your character

– Dignity before debauchery at social events

– Be concise, be creative and be gone

– Be a bag carrier but have an opinion

– ‘No’ is absent from your vocabulary

– Relationships aren’t developed at your desk.


Final Thought

The day you sign a client is the day you start losing them!

Multisensory marketing: next level engagement

April 15th, 2016 by Sarah Gough

man wearing virtual reality goggles

Back in 2013 I remember reading about London’s innovative plans for multi-sensory New Year’s Eve fireworks. Billed as a world first, the firework display promised to blow all previous celebrations out of the water by appealing not only to sight, but to taste and smell. With scratch and sniff programmes, fruity images projected onto buildings, edible flakes of flavoured snow, orange flavoured bubbles and much more (see a more in-depth review here), I was fascinated by the level of engagement en masse.

I think it’s fair to say that although this was one of the first events to utilize the senses to this extent, the idea of multisensory marketing wasn’t a new concept. Companies have long used desirable scents to sell their products – bread aromas have been pumped into supermarkets for years, and more recently M&M World Store in Leicester Square has (naturally) been designed to smell of chocolate. In these two examples, the smells have been designed to tally with the product being sold. They clearly work a treat and it’s easy to understand why, but what I think is really exciting is what multisensory marketing offers in terms of tailored comms.

As a nation we are exposed to an unbelievable amount of brand activity. Whether it’s on television, social media, billboards, city centre screens or in newspapers – it’s everywhere. Everybody is on a mission to source the best places and methods of communicating their brand in a way that cuts through the noise. Key to all of this is brand engagement – creating a way for target audiences to interact with a service or product to ultimately build brand advocacy. What better way to engage with an individual than with an entirely tailored piece of marketing? That’s exciting brand immersion.

The new(ish) kid on the block is virtual reality. Though they’ve been around for a while, it’s only really the last few months that virtual reality goggles have become more affordable to the masses. As this technology develops, companies are adding to the experience with the ability to release scents from the goggles in line with the video/game/experience. This seems a sign of things to come for marketeers, offering consumers the ability to adapt the experience to their own preference, further deepening the level of engagement. In our profession (earned media in particular), we pride ourselves on engaging with influencers based on the belief that what we are offering is genuinely valuable to them. We write tailored pieces of content according to media outlet subject matter, and their audience attributes/interests. Multi-sensory marketing takes this to another level.

There are obvious limitations of this form of interaction – the reach is far smaller than in a mass campaign, and associated costs are likely to be significant, but the depth of relationship built is so strong that in many cases it will see powerful short and long term benefits. Above all, multisensory marketing is an exciting prospect for our industry and something I think we’re likely to see big innovations in, in coming years. It’s a great example of the importance of being creative with creative. As they say, variety is the spice of life, and this is certainly something different from the norm.

TV, social maintenance & ‘fomo’

April 7th, 2016 by Steph Feather

old couple watching television

Having sufficiently scratched the travel itch after a hefty 19-month stint travelling and working abroad, over the past month I’ve not only been adjusting to cold weather again, but back to the reality of my Leeds life (which has been in hibernation mode while I’ve been away!) With a list as long as my arm of things to sort; House. Car. Phone… to name a few, internet connection and TV subscription were high on my list (priorities!).

Being a bit of a TV geek, I’ll shamelessly admit to streaming and keeping up with Corrie whilst living in Australia and now most evenings after work are spent binging on all things TV and popular culture. TV has always been part of my social maintenance and now more so than ever.

2015 saw TV advertising revenue in the UK hit the £5billion mark for the first time, so not only is it important to our social acceptance and understanding of what everyone’s talking about the next day in the office, but it continues to be ‘king of the castle’ in the advertising world.

Even the evolution of Christmas TV ads has escalated in the last couple of years with the race to be the first (mainly retail) brand to market and of course, make the nation cry. It has become an annual event and part of our popular culture in the lead up to the festive season in the UK, in which our reactions, criticisms and parodies then usually spread like wildfire over social media.

Australian TV leaves a lot to be desired. I’ve had many a cringe-worthy moment watching ads and feeling like we need more than an in-your-face salesman or a beautiful model to persuade us into buying something. It’s made me reflect on how much TV in the UK has progressed and how we’ve leveraged off emotions and ‘real-life’.

TV plays a huge part in people’s social bread and butter and acts as a platform for shared common ground, with talkability like no other. We can’t get enough of what opinionated strangers on Gogglebox really think of the country’s biggest TV programmes. But why? The importance and need to connect socially is something Thinkbox have recently focused on in their 2015 ‘The truth about youth’ study explaining how physical and more recently, virtual social maintenance, are fundamental human needs. I mean, nobody wants to experience ‘FOMO’ do they?

Although the way we watch TV is changing and becoming ever so increasingly fragmented, its need to fulfil our social upkeep is apparent more than ever.