Tag Archives: marketing

How to Use Marketing in Summertime to Your Advantage

marketing in summertime-pop up shop on beach

Summertime and the living is easy. At this time of the year, businesses might be tempted to relax their marketing activity for a couple of months. For some small and medium enterprises (SMEs), there’s even a perception that marketing in summertime is pointless.

They look on the summer months as a period of slower business and fewer opportunities for growth. Unfortunately, the perception can become a self-perpetuating prophecy.

“Everybody is on holidays” is the common refrain. That statement might hold some truth here in Ireland, in that if we get a hint of a heatwave, we are distracted by what’s rare and wonderful. Worried that the heatwave will not be a recurring experience, we want to seize the opportunity to rejuvenate the batteries in this rare and relaxing environment.

What’s more, in the absence of such heatwaves on this Island, many people decide to travel abroad to get their ‘fix’ of Vitamin D. This adds to the SME perception that marketing in summertime is a waste of time and money i.e. when nobody’s around new business is harder to find.

We in O’C&K like to look at this in another way. If a business owner is to have any chance of new business, their company has to be front-of-mind, or at least more so than their competitors. So to reduce marketing communications at any stage, never mind the summer months, could result in competitors gaining an advantage.

I would suggest that using marketing in the summertime is actually a smarter business move rather than a wasted activity.

I will use the rest of this post to outline some ideas for how you might go about this.

Use Marketing in Summertime For Your Business Advantage.

Think about it, if many businesses do slow down during July and August then there will be less competition for your promotional efforts. There would also be fewer people attending networking events, which means your relationship building can be more focused. And, if the aforementioned inertia exists you should get more bang for your marketing buck.

If nothing else, summertime is also a good time to check your progress against your start-of-year business plans and to stockpile some fresh ideas.

Summertime is a good time to check your progress against your start-of-year business plans and to stockpile some fresh ideas.

Here are some ideas for using the summer months to build competitive advantage:

  • Write blog posts, take videos or do interviews and create a stockpile for future use
  • Audit the content on your website and if required, update for better SEO
  • Catch up on your industry related reading – those ones you placed in Evernote for reading later
  • Bookmark content that may be of interest to your existing customers
  • Identify previous content for repurposing on industry specific sites
  • Audit your social media presence for branding and professionalism
  • Have a look at how your competitors are promoting themselves (online and offline)
  • Brainstorm with staff in relation to marketing in summertime initiatives
  • Write a thank you note to your top customers. Not selling, just showing your appreciation
  • Plan for the back-end of the year, based on performance to date

Of course, we all need to take a break every now and then, but if you use your summertime constructively, you just might sneak ahead of your competitors by the pool.

8 Ideas for Marketing in Summertime

For instance, summertime is a particularly good opportunity to run online contests. People are more relaxed (on holidays perhaps) and are more open to entering relevant competitions for fun. Here are some tips if you are going to use a summer giveaway in a contest:

  • Make sure the headline includes the benefit of entering (i.e. the prize)
  • Prizes could include: tickets for a local event, a shopping spree, a night out, a day trip or clothing
  • After a person enters, prompt them to share the contest with friends (if they do they can enter again)
  • Run an advertising campaign. Organic reach won’t be enough, so you might invest a little money
  • Share-to-enter contests (on Instagram and Twitter only) – increase reach to common audiences
  • Give away your product, a gift card or a joint-promotion coupon with a similar brand in your industry
  • Set up a Facebook group and host an online summertime sale
  • Host a photo contest with a summertime theme

I believe that the warm summer months definitely offer opportunities for smarter marketing. Even if you don’t sell items that relate to the summer, chances are that you can still build a summer-themed campaign.

Boosting Summertime Sales

Let’s presume that the weather, on the whole, is better during the summer months. This allows business owners to try on-street marketing initiatives in the local market. Examples would include: handing out flyers with coupons, using street artists or entertainers, providing free samples or relevant giveaways. Giveaways would include, beach towels, sun cream, water, coffee, picnic samples, ice cream etc. The idea is to make the giveaway relevant to the audience and if possible, to your brand.

You might offer discounts if customers share the love by sharing a picture of their purchase on social media.  You could link discounts to the actual temperature outside. Open up a pop-up store on the beachfront or at a local festival. Any activity that gets your brand to where the audience is – is worthwhile pursuing.

Finally, not that you should limit your showing customer appreciation just to the summer months, but summertime allows you say thank you in novel ways e.g. host a BBQ, or offer free outdoor classes (wine tasting, craft making etc.).

13 Activities for Marketing in Summertime

  1. Use outdoor banners at festivals for hashtag competitions
  2. Place postcards at tourist centres and flyers at shopping centres
  3. Run social media photo sharing contests
  4. Host an event that relates to your business and issue invites to the public
  5. Partner with non-competing businesses to package attractions
  6. Use sponsorship for awareness and product sampling
  7. Use street side teams to distribute product samples
  8. Try professional graffiti branding in unexpected places or chalk drawings on pathways
  9. Piggy-back on unique holidays
  10. Leave business cards in leisure facilities or hotels (with permission of course)
  11. Generate summer newsletters full of summertime activities and news
  12. Write a summer themed blog for the local press or be interviewed on local radio
  13. Use table tents, with holiday tips, in your own premises (if applicable) or other agreed venues


Marketing in summertime can really help to boost sales or build the profile of the human side of your brand. Most people are in a positive mood during the summer so cash in on the sentiment with your marketing. It is a time of year that you can try out new marketing tactics (which can also be a test for future use).

The main thing to remember is to have fun, be smarter about your marketing – and don’t burn the hamburgers.

“Thank you for reading our blog post today, we hope our pointers will help your business grow.

Cheers –  Aidan & Jim.

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How to Boost Your Efforts and Get the Most Out of Trade Shows


Trade shows, conferences, seminars, meet-ups etc. are very powerful marketing mediums, because they can bring together hundreds or thousands of people, in one place and in a short space of time. They do mean busy days though, with lots of people milling around and lots of conversations.

Whether you’re an event planner, a trade show veteran or attending your first event, we have tips below that will help you engage with people and make connections. If you haven’t time to read on, here’s a simple spoiler:

Maximise your time at a trade show by ensuring that all of your conversations are as meaningful as possible . Thereafter, if you are set-up to nurture leads, back at your office, then the trade show will have been a success.

Speaking of success, what’s driving me to write this particular post is the forthcoming www.bizexpo.ie event. Not only because it is imminent (26th April – City West Hotel, Dublin), but because I recently met with the owner/organiser, Barbara Gordon. When asked, she explained to me, why she is involved in something outside of her comfort zone i.e. she is not a formal event planner/organiser.

When the first shoots of Ireland’s economic recovery started to appear, Barbara, herself a small business owner – www.whatswhat.ie – felt that small and medium enterprises (SMEs), should be able to benefit from it as well as the large corporates. Her idea was to organise an inexpensive platform for Irish start-ups and surviving SMEs, to showcase their wares and attract new business.

True to her word, Barbara organised (with no professional help), the first BizExpo in 2011. Next week’s event is the culmination of six years’ experience, support from a team of friends, loads of stress and hard work.

There will be over 135 exhibitors and just over 1,000 people (no admission fee) have registered to attend next week. “I remain true to my original goal of attracting small to medium sized businesses, from around the Country, to showcase their work, to grow, prosper and engage with people outside of their normal networking area”….says Barbara.

What strikes me about this event is Barbara’s selfless rationale. She runs the event on a breakeven basis and on her own time. That being said, she has become very adept at securing ‘voluntary’ inputs. Her only mission is to ensure that Irish SMEs have a platform to grow and, oh yeah – she runs her own successful business as well. Congrats Barbara.

Register here and get yourself out to the City West Hotel on the 26th April and experience the optimism for yourself. Sure, you might even do a little business, while you’re there.

We Love a Good Lanyard – Don’t We?


Whether as an organiser, an exhibitor or an attendee, I believe that we all love a good lanyard. It can be a symbol of exclusivity, access behind the scenes, a VIP, a guest speaker or indeed celebrity. Right here, beside my desk, I have a box full of lanyards from all of these roles (not celebrity, I might add). I was thinking to myself what is it about this simple piece of plastic that binds people at an event together. With www.bizexpo.ie, in my mind, I thought a recap on investing your time at trade shows, might be opportune.

I intend breaking the post into three sections (types of lanyard) that will address tips for a) the event organiser, b) the exhibitor and c) the attendee.

The Organiser’s Lanyard for Trade Shows.

Trade Shows VIP Access

Events are constantly changing, driven by technology and attendees’ expectations. As a result, organisers need to stay on top of current trends. We have all attended events that have a stale feel to them, which I believe is due to the organiser using tactics that no longer work.

Here are some of those tactics that might not work for you:

  • Not personalising the message. With today’s technology, there is no excuse for sending out the one-size-fits-all email message to everyone.
  • Choosing speakers that you like to hear. Attendees want maximum value for giving up their time. Listening to a speaker splurge about their own company is not what they want to hear.
  • Using social media as poster advertising. Whilst social media is a wonderful medium for engaging people, video and images should be the focus for engagement, not text.
  • Not staying connected with past attendees. For instance, there is no excuse for not undertaking remarketing campaigns or building online groups/communities to stay in touch.
  • Believing everybody still uses their PC for registrations etc. Adapt your web design and event technology to take account of this. Think mobile.
  • Cold Calling and Spam. If people aren’t interested don’t waste your time and money. Blanket marketing is rarely effective.
  • Registration Queues. Use auto-check- ins, scanners, apps etc. and avoid annoying the very person you want to impress.

Business Events Are Experiential Brand Marketing Platforms

If you are an organiser, and the event is to be a platform offering an experience of your brand, your goal is to ensure that the attendee becomes a repeat customer, again and again. The minute you take the eye off this ball, your attendees’ needs will be unmet and your event will fade into the noise of similar shows.

So, if you are never to fail your attendees again, here are 10 simple event mistakes that should be avoidable in this day and age:

  • The event website is the event’s front door, make it user-friendly and responsive
  • Excellent external directional signage is a must have
  • Good WiFi is as much a requirement as good toilets are
  • Communicate the event’s schedule in a clear and simple way (apps?)
  • Give advance notice of the event #hashtag and twitter handle (if appropriate)
  • Use a previous year’s video highlights to promote
  • Mix-up the speakers – male, female, topic, geographic etc.
  • Cater for people with disabilities
  • Have a wow-factor during the day – for people to remember
  • Have good food options and watch the alcohol availability
  • Protect your attendees’ data from spam operators

The Exhibitor’s Lanyard for Trade Shows.

Trade Show Access All Areas

Trade shows should form part of a business’s marketing activity. With the right event, a large portion of attendees will be your business’s target audience. Other reasons why an exhibition might prove to be worth the expense would be, nurturing relationships, generating leads, sales, or because competitors are there.

I believe there are three basic benefits to exhibiting. First of all, it facilitates brand recognition. The second is that it provides an opportunity for real face time and thirdly, it offers the potential to build a prospect list.

Like the list of mistakes outlined above, for organisers, there are sins to avoid for exhibitors but there are also things to do that will help your return on investment.

Here are 16 quick tips that we have found to be important:

  1. Have business objectives in place before the event so as to quantify your return
  2. Check the exhibitor’s agreement for what’s/what’s not supplied to avoid last minute panic
  3. Promote the event like you’re the organiser
  4. Consider your stand’s design/graphics so as to communicate effectively – you have about 7 seconds to attract a passer-by. Oh, and stand, don’t sit
  5. Dress professionally and appropriately for the event but be comfortable (no chaffed collars or new shoes)
  6. Do not put a shy staff member on the stand – they are your brand’s touchpoint. They must smile and make eye contact – no chatting with friends on the mobile
  7. Never eat at the stand
  8. You or your staff must know your elevator pitch, everything about the company and be prepared to listen. The visitor should always walk away with information (e.g.flyer)
  9. Do not discuss prices of your product/service with a nod-and-a-wink. Be transparent
  10. Use technology to capture leads – it’s more impressive nowadays
  11. Offer business cards to people who genuinely appear to be interested or will accept a call from you after the event (some exhibitors leave cards on a table – I’m not one of them)
  12. Focus on meaningful conversations with attendees – not other exhibitors (unless they are a prospect)
  13. If possible, avail of the opportunity to be a guest presenter/speaker
  14. Get back to new connections quickly and have a plan for follow-up
  15. Never pack up early – it reflects badly on you and the organiser. Anyway you need to milk your investment
  16. Enjoy yourself – being relaxed portrays your personal brand in a better light

Trade shows such as the www.bizexpo.ie are invaluable opportunities for networking, especially if you are a start-up or building your brand presence. Making connections with potential partners, new leads and nurturing relationships is the name of the game.

The Attendee’s Lanyard for Trade Shows.

Trade Shows Lanyard

Most events will provide a list of exhibitors on their website. We would recommend that as an attendee you go over the list in advance and decide who you want to see or talk to. You might even be able to arrange appointments.

If you research the schedule, you should plan what presentation, workshop or forum you would like to attend. Also, decide what you would like to learn from a specific exhibitor. For instance, I am aware that the www.bizexpo.ie is planning to have a ‘Knowledge Hub’ manned with experts that can answer a myriad of relevant questions for SMEs. Attendees should prepare questions in advance.

Another time-saving method, I have used when attending trade shows, is to map out your initial route to ensure that you get to the most important exhibits (that you’ve identified) first. This saves time walking around looking for exhibits of interest.

Many people feel bad about walking by an exhibit without engaging the smiling person behind the table – don’t. Just like you, they are attending the event to generate new business and don’t want to waste time talking to somebody who isn’t a potential customer.

It can be difficult to lug around a plastic bag full of brochures etc. so choose wisely. Only take those that you actually want – and you definitely do not need 50 promotional pens. Go one step further and bring your own bag to carry brochures, catalogues and product samples, if that’s what you’re there for.

Use your time wisely to meet potential customers, get intelligence on your competition and make industry contacts. Here are some top-of-mind reasons to visit a trade show:

  • Interact with peers in your industry and discover trends
  • Get new ideas for your business
  • Evaluate competitive products, suppliers and prices
  • Place orders / negotiate contracts
  • See novelties / latest innovations
  • Get specific products/services
  • Deepen your knowledge
  • Nurture existing relationships with customers
  • Generate new business contacts
  • Attend workshops, networking or panel discussions
  • Get away from your office/place of work to a neutral environment


I have referred to the www.bizexpo.ie from three different points of view, symbolised by lanyards. There are many tips included above and I didn’t really get into the marketing of events, as such. So, to finish, I will address an organiser’s scenario of having only one week left to an event and a need to promote it.

We recommend you continue to use normal promo channels such as email, flyers and free listing sites. Here are 5 other tips that may be used to bolster activity:

Social – change your social media profile pics to the event logo

Website – Put a big banner on your own website to catch visitors’ attention

Sponsors – Get your sponsors to spread the word through their own channels

Competition – Develop an online competition (e.g. tickets for retweets)

Video – distribute a video of a previous event or create an animated one

Remember, today, a great event and location are not enough to guarantee return attendance. You have to make sure that your event remains top-of-mind throughout the year and pitched at the right price to keep attracting attendees.

See you at the www.bizexpo.ie

“Thank you for reading our blog post today – Aidan & Jim.

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‘Tis Time to be Boosting Your Seasonal Marketing


As we fast approach the Christmas holidays we believe that it is never too late to add some sparkle to your seasonal marketing. Even if you haven’t the time or experience to implement these over the next few weeks – you have approximately 52 weeks left to get ready for the next one.

Every year we can count on a few seasonal stalwarts: decorations will be up earlier than the previous year (people will be complaining about this), the John Lewis ad and Christmas FM will single the real start to the festive season and the Miracle on 34th Street movie will start showing on TV.

What is changing slightly, though, is the effect of the internet on shopping habits and behaviours.

The over-riding message of this post will be that it is really important for small business owners to boost their efforts during this hectic season of impulse buying. The rest of this post will offer 28 activities you can start, continue, or consider for next year. In fact, most of them are transferable to other holiday seasons also.

Seasonal marketing lends itself to much more than just SEO and advertising. People are usually happier and appear more open to interacting with brands. These interactions may be through channels such as social media, on-site reviews, blog comments and video feedback.


Because buying behaviour is different around this time of year, driven by festive cheer and promotions (discounts and special offers), – a simple seasonal marketing plan therefore, might include some or all of the following:

– A festive-themed landing page to promote an offer / attract the Christmas audience

– A PPC campaign that has identified keywords from your clients rather than popular festive ones

– Branded video content that will encourage positive comments from browsers (or sales)

– Email and social media activity to generate a buzz around your brand (share discounts)

– Joint marketing activity with regular activity you have planned (use search & social data)

Before we continue with the tips, however, we have two recommendations. Our first one is to check out what worked, online, for you last year. Google Analytics is a great tool for determining which channels were responsible for most of your sales. They can even reveal how your customers found you.

Our second recommendation is that right now you should review your budget. If you have budgeted a specific amount for seasonal marketing – check if you’re on track. If not, don’t worry – you might still be able to put aside a small amount to do some of the activities listed below.

Whatever activity you pursue, though, it must serve to attract traffic to your website / outlet, generate sales and/or enhance your brand.

Make your Seasonal Marketing Smarter and Wonderful this Year

Content Marketing:

  • Think about the content you share. It is a time of joy and goodwill. Relax your tone, have a bit of fun and go off-piste with your content (if you dare).
  • Share seasonal content with your audience e.g. useful seasonal tips get shared the most.
  • Spread a bit of holiday spirit in your campaign – relax the sales pitch (e.g. John Lewis)
  • Change you visuals graphics to be more seasonal – especially for smartphones
  • Organise a (brand-relevant) Christmas competition e.g. share a funny Christmas jumper pic
  • Include a specific Christmas offer in your content (free shipping, BOGOF, special discount)


Digital Marketing :

Increasingly, shoppers have begun to rely on online shopping and this year looks no different. With such growth in online shopping, the number of ways your business has to reach people has increased significantly. Try these ideas to differentiate your business:

  • Offer a gift messaging service – allow recipients know when the gift is en route
  • Use your data base to personalise messages via SMS to customers
  • Set-up push notifications to reach people when they are shopping
  • Produce and share gift guides e.g. videos, flipbooks and segment into categories
  • Use seasonal emojis in your messaging
  • Use geo-location (beacons) to offer deals when customers are close by
  • Ensure that your website has a responsive design (check here)
  • Integrate your social media promotions across all channels you use
  • Make use of seasonal hashtags (try hashtagify)
  • Make sure your business address, directions and opening hours are correct
  • Offer live support on your website (try drift.)

Use your imagination when engaging your customers, be it online or offline. Get people excited about Christmas and your brand. As competition increases around Christmas like no other holiday, don’t miss the opportunity to really engage with your audience through smarter marketing.


Christmas Hashtags

Tips and ideas to boost your seasonal marketing

Almost any organisation can add a bit of seasonal sparkle to their branding. If there is a small cost, well we reckon it can be justified as a renewable resource year on year. Spread sparkle on such things as social media profiles, header images, emails, online ads and of course eCards. In addition to the tips outlined above, here are 12 others that might help boost your activity:

  1. Remember – don’t skimp on the decorations (use brand colours if possible)
  2. Reward social media friends / followers with exclusive seasonal discounts
  3. Use a specific theme for a campaign e.g. tips over 12 days of Christmas
  4. Place your print catalogue / book / holiday brochure online and share ideas
  5. Check your campaigns / SEO for keywords that reflect your seasonal campaign
  6. Use remarketing and create a sense of urgency in your advertising
  7. Get involved with a charity campaign locally (host a fundraising event)
  8. Distribute exclusive offers to customers that have downloaded your app (if applicable)
  9. Form a group to promote the local community
  10. Get branded Christmas cards, sign them personally and send to customers
  11. Provide free chocolate samples and have gift cards available at cashpoints
  12. Provide gift wrapping and tagging beside impulse buy points in store


It is never too late to add some sparkle to your seasonal marketing. In this post, we provided business owners with 28 practical tips on how to boost their marketing activity this Christmas. Many of the tips will work for all types of organisations and if not perhaps it is time to start planning for 2017.

Our last tip is to make sure you load up your Spotify app (O’C&K has no affiliation) with suitable music. Although there are many playlists available for the special day – how about collaborating with the family and create a fresh one to suit all tastes.

“Thank you for reading our blog post today – we wish you Season’s Greetings and a Prosperous 2017″ – Aidan & Jim.

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Are You Wasting Your Time and Money in the Content Strategy World?


It is almost a year since we ventured to write a post about content as part of a marketing strategy. It’s probably not surprising that it has been this long as the topic is extremely well documented upon. You could almost call it a shock of content – to borrow a word. (borrowed from here)

Anyway, we were reminded recently of how precious time can be wasted in a business environment. We were discussing a potential client’s digital marketing activity. They were proud of their efforts in that they activated an online presence through a website, social media and a blog. So far so good – you say.

We asked to see their strategy document, be it an overall marketing or a digital one. They replied that they hadn’t written one down. “No problem, ” we said and asked them to tell us what topics they shared with their audiences. They replied “really interesting information about our brand / products etc.”

We had a quick look at the aforementioned prospect’s online activity and noticed that a) there was no real SEO being undertaken, the blog read like an advertisement and they were cross distributing posts across Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. Even their social media profiles were inconsistent and definitely not brand aligned.

Nor did they measure engagement rates but they did know their followers /page likes figures.  And therein lies the problem with brands on ‘digital’ nowadays. Sometimes their activity does not form part of an overall cohesive marketing strategy. Most of their online activity is a waste of their time.

“Is this not marketing”, they asked, to which we replied “yes, but not with any empathy for the customer’s experience of the brand.” In fairness, their intentions were good and all they lacked really was a vision; a strategy as to what they want their brand to be known within a specific audience.

Like many businesses who are caught up in the allure of the ‘shiny online baubles,’ this organisation doesn’t concentrate on building a congruent and relevant brand experience across the web.

Our discussion motivated us to pen this article in relation to the much-abused words content and strategy. We will spend the rest of this post outlining why we think it is important to have a content strategy and how to implement it in a way that doesn’t waste anybody’s time or money.

Having a strategic approach to content is a no-brainer

Our point is that more time should be spent developing a strategy, up-front, and not jumping straight into producing videos or hopping on social media channels etc. This should be a no-brainer for your organisation, really.

Not having a content strategy manager role in your business is also a good start. Our opinion is that everybody who works in your organisation should become a content strategist – because everything is content. Different people can bring it alive through user experience, blogging, ad copy, your website architecture, CTA buttons, packaging and social media etc.

If it is understood that all content should be focusing back to a core objective then every piece of content will say something (add value to) about your brand.

Be it educational, entertaining or informative – all content produced should have some link to a core marketing strategy. Of course great content doesn’t just happen, which is why we must plan tactics for search, social and offline marketing.

One word that we haven’t mentioned to this point is measurement. We don’t mean measurement of outputs – we mean how the content can be tested for relevance. Measuring relevance means, if your actions / content aren’t having the desired effect then it can be changed accordingly – saving time and money. An editorial calendar is fine as long as it can be changed when and if, needs be.

If you are a start-up business, an organisation with a cause or an SME, try and communicate some personality and character in your content. Good content is in abundance so with a little more effort, excellent content shouldn’t be far behind.

What does engaging (clickable) content look like?

We are all aware that we can pay for audience reach online through search engines and social media platforms. The real challenge, however, is after achieving a targeted reach – making your content clickable i.e. inspiring enough for people to click-through.

Here are 6 ways that an organisation can make their content more engaging:

  1. make your content relevant for the platform that you are on e.g. LinkedIn vs Instagram
  2. have an emotional element in your content to make it shareable
  3. ensure your style is conversational  – it is social media after all
  4. make it unique, valuable or at least compelling
  5. spend more time developing a great headline
  6. make sure it is well written i.e. structured well and free from grammatical errors

Whether owned or paid for, creating clickable content is key to spreading the word about how you can solve customer problems and inculcating your brand story.

How about outsourcing your content strategy?

We know that Google is eradicating old (bad) SEO tactics. We also now know that they are encouraging the use of content to prove search result relevancy. This is only right, in our opinion. But, what if you don’t have the staff, time or the experience to manage this element for your organisation?

Unfortunately, what’s happened is that many content gurus have appeared on the scene – promising you the world and its mother. Let’s call this activity they offer – online marketing.  Many of these gurus don’t appreciate that providing different types of content for use online only forms part of your overall marketing strategy.

The danger is that other, possibly simpler and more relevant, forms of marketing might be neglected. Communicating online should not be a stand-alone marketing activity.

Also, it is not as easy as they say it is. Imagine trying to be an SEO and social media expert, a journalist, a project manager, a community builder and an analyst. On top of this, you must have a sound knowledge of the business and a pleasant disposition (this last one is not an option).

Here are some considerations for you if want to outsource but avoid the said gurus:

– they should have the skills to research and write, informative and valuable content

– they should know what to write when to write it, how to distribute it and analyse the results

– they should be able to explain how they will conduct on / off page SEO and show results

– they should be able to outline how they will get good value for any paid-for activity

– they should have examples of successes achieved with other clients

Tips on how to make your content strategy stand out and how to avoid mistakes

Every bit of research is telling us that the availability of content is ever-expanding. It’s a huge element of online marketing and has become a favoured lead generation tactic for many organisations. There are mistakes that can be avoided and to help your content stand out in a crowded marketplace, here are some Dos and Don’ts, we recommend:


– Write what you want to write about – get potential reader insights

– Pump out truckloads of content as a box-ticking exercise

– Forget that relevant content distribution is 50% of any success

– Write the piece, neglect to edit and publish under time constraints

– Miss the opportunity to engage further or convert a CTA

– Be inconsistent by not sticking to a schedule (whatever frequency that is)

– Be afraid to voice your opinion on heartfelt topics – originality is good

– Ignore design, layout and optimisation for search

– Forget analytics so as to be informed as to what’s working and what’s not


– Align your content strategy with your business plan

– Make your content relevant to a specific audience for a specific pain point

– Reinforce your brand’s positioning by incorporating your branding elements

– Use appropriate channels / formats for how your audience want to absorb your content

– Curate content as well as creating content and re-use offline where appropriate

– Make it user-friendly and findable

– Commit the resources, both human and financial, internally or externally

– Use owned, paid and earned media to achieve your business objectives

– Measure CTAs and conversions


The importance of a content strategy is becoming more evident which, in turn, is being driven by Google’s search algorithms. However, producing content is still de rigueur. This is fine if it is attracting the right target audience and getting them to take appropriate action as a result of them engaging with your content.

It is imperative though that your content strategy is integrated with your business objectives to ensure that it yields results. The one caveat we would have is that a successful content strategy is not something that is achievable in the short term, it can take a long time.

If you do decide to implement a content strategy, though, just remember to be yourself (define your brand), speak in a language people understand and make it shareable. Then you won’t be wasting your time in the content strategy world.

“Thank you for reading our blog post today” – Aidan & Jim.

 Would you like us to notify you, by email, when we publish new content? If so, just let us know by clicking here. Of course, we can always meet face-to-face, just leave your details here and we might grab a coffee, cheers. Jim – O’C&K

Is your brand surviving in the modern world?


It is probably fear that drives you to read articles / blogs about brands or branding such as this one. If you’re like us, that fear may well be rooted in your own brand surviving in this constantly changing world.

As an SME owner, you might recall the old days when you could have an idea, start a business, design a logo and mass communicate your message better than your competitors. In the current, technologically connected world and changing consumer attitudes towards business, mass messaging etc. won’t work on its own – if at all.

If any message is to break through the noise, it helps if your brand means something to people i.e. how relevant is it? Why? – because relevancy can lead to brand loyalty. Loyalty has always been important for successful brand building. However, these days we believe we need to go one step further and distinguish between emotional loyalty and functional loyalty.

The former is about feelings and experiences which don’t drive the bottom-line, in the short term. The latter does drive the bottom line in the short-term but, it could be argued, is more about ease and habit. Businesses that attempt to achieve both types of customer loyalty will do the best.

Our point is that if brand owners are aware of both types of loyalty and addresses them in their business planning, it should be possible to help the brand surviving into the future and drive the bottom-line. For example, activities such as corporate social responsibility (CSR), social media as a customer service channel and a customised after sales service are tactics that can help develop a relationship and subsequently, an element of trust. There will be no loyalty without trust.

Put simply, we always say that a brand is the perception that people have of your business based on what you do and say. In other words, your brand is your voice in the marketplace and it is how you tell your story. Effective storytelling addresses emotions and therefore is the key to your success and your brand surviving in the long term.

We meet prospects from time to time who outline their ‘problem’ as people not knowing “who we are & appreciating that we are the best!” Well now, it is quite clear to us that if these prospects can’t, or aren’t telling their story then nobody else will. We advise them that as a business owner it is their job to tell the story including their mission and raison d’etre.

Consistent communication is one element of brand strength.

It is not our intention here to outline a single route for brand survival but there are probably five suggestions we could make, to help along the way.

  1. Find your unique story and tell it repeatedly through different communication mediums
  2. Discover what the perception of your brand is by existing and ideal customers and build on it
  3. Find out where your customers touch your brand, both online and offline, and converse with them there
  4. Analyse your main competitors in every aspect particularly their brand positioning and promise
  5. Ensure all your communications reinforce your brand message and reflect your authenticity

Most of you well attest to the notion that to be conscious of building your brand by retaining customer loyalty is a sound theory. The real challenge, however, is to appreciate that it takes time and effort to do so while at the same time keep the bottom-line ticking over.

Short-term sales won’t ensure your brand success but attention to the managing of what you do and say will contribute to your brand surviving in the long term.

Building a brand that will survive.

As we’ve alluded to already, everything a business does and says, contributes to developing a brand. So, if the power of a brand is one that influences a person’s propensity to purchase and earn loyalty then what we say & do becomes that power.

What we do needs to be different or nobody will care. What and how we say things amplify our actions. The aim is to maintain a simple image of what your brand is – in the minds of the consumer. For example, is there one word that can describe your story?

What is more, if your story is your brand promise, delivering on it is paramount if people are to believe what you say about yourself. People must be convinced that you are more than a profit-making machine. Therefore, how people experience your brand goes a long way to building loyalty.

It’s not just for bricks-and-mortar brands, being available (mobile friendly), handling complaints, advertising messages, and customer service all form part of the experience. Being credible and reliable is all a consumer wants in reality. So, build your brand by building on your credentials.

[ctt template=”4″ link=”61fR_” via=”no” ]Being credible and reliable is all a consumer wants in reality. So, build your brand by building on your credentials. [/ctt]

Tips that will assist with a brand surviving

We’ve all come across brands that have failed. Failed for many reasons such as entering a saturated marketplace, not fully understanding the target market, business inexperience etc.

We cannot offer a panacea for brand survival here, but here are nine practical tips that we have picked up from our experiences to date:

  1. Know your ideal customer and talk to them in their language
  2. Generate value for others before asking for anything in return
  3. Be the best in your niche and align all your messaging for consistency
  4. Use emotive appeal in your communications – most buying decisions are emotional in nature,
  5. Deliver on your brand promise in a consistent way across all touch points – it builds trust
  6. Use word-of-mouth testimonials through influencers in your specific niche
  7. Don’t try to be something you are not. Offline should reflect online activity
  8. Listen to how you explain what you do, to people. This is probably what you really do.
  9. If you love what you do, but others don’t need it – it’s a hobby.


Where do you start when building a brand that will survive in today’s business world of distractions, options, outputs and shiny new toys? For long term brand survival, this blog post provided many tips above. The one sentiment that underlies them all is that a brand owner should focus on communicating a real value that can be added to a customer’s life.

Consistent communication is, therefore, an integral part of brand survival. Don’t feel trapped by the brand’s style guide’ – effective communication is what is required for eliciting emotions and understanding. Authenticity is the key so don’t mistake familiarity for a successful brand.

“Thank you for reading our blog post today” – Aidan & Jim.

 Would you like us to notify you, by email, when we publish new content? If so, just let us know by clicking here. Of course, we can always meet face-to-face, just leave your details here and we might grab a coffee, cheers. Jim – O’C&K