IGTV and you – everything you need to know

 admin  15/Sep/18  no responses.

Never one to shy away from innovation, Instagram has recently announced a brand-new platform. Called IGTV, this desktop and mobile app is set to contend for YouTube’s crown as the social video platform. In this feature, we look at exactly what IGTV is, how it’ll work and tactics for grabbing attention, increasing customer loyalty and driving digital footfall into your online store, website, or product pages.

On the 20th June 2018, Instagram CEO Kevin Systrom stepped excitedly onto the stage in San Francisco. Streamed live over Instagram, he had something to say, something that had been cycling through the marketing rumour mills since early June: “We’re announcing our most exciting feature to date: IGTV, a new app for watching long-form, vertical video from your favourite Instagram creators, like LaurDIY posting her newest project or King Bach sharing his latest comedy skit. While there’s a stand-alone IGTV app, you’ll also be able to watch from within the Instagram app so the entire community of one billion can use it from the very start.”

Before we dig into the details as to how IGTV will work (and how you can make the most of it for your equine brand), let’s take a step back to appreciate what Instagram does and can do for your bottom line.

Instagram – far more than Kardashian pouts and preening

Instagram was set up on a relative shoe-string budget (at least in the world of start-ups). With $500,000 of investor funding, two entrepreneurs had an idea that today, a mere seven years later, has led to a user base of 1 billion users as of June 2018.

This platform has long since shook off its reputation as a medium exclusively for models, the young and the famous. However, if you’re yet to be convinced about the value of Instagram as a business marketing channel, you may want to take a read of these stats:

– “80% of Users Follow a Business on Instagram” – Business Instagram

– “An estimated 71% of businesses use Instagram (almost double the number of businesses (48.8%) that used Instagram in 2016)” – EMarketer

– “65% of top-performing Instagram posts feature products” – Gartner L2

– “60% of users say they’ve used the platform to learn about a product or service” – Gartner L2

IGTV – The details

While going after the same broad target market as YouTube, IGTV is setting itself apart in a few core areas. First, it will be built for how people use their phone – displaying them in full, on a vertical screen. Second, as mentioned, they’ll be no one-minute time limit (as is the case with Instagram) – allowing for up to 60 minutes of video. Third, IGTV will be a simple, separate app (though it will be accessible from a button on the Instagram home screen).

They’ll be no need for users to search for content from the businesses, brands and people they follow on Instagram, as their feed will already reflect who they follow on the main Instagram app. IGTV will also present video suggestions based on what Instagram knows about each user’s interests and preferences.

Users will swipe up to explore – switching between For You, Following, Popular and Continue Watching. Users can also like, comment and send videos to friends in Direct, just like Instagram.

Finally, IGTV will also provide you with the platform to create your own channel which your audience can subscribe to – allowing for links in the description of each video to drive traffic to your website, landing pages and products.

How to get started on IGTV

Step one – Download IGTV

If you’re yet to download the app, you can do so in the App Store and Google Play.

Step two – Log in using your Instagram or Facebook account

Once downloaded, you’ll login to IGTV using either your Instagram or Facebook account. As soon as you’ve logged in, you’ll see that a video immediately begins to play, and immediately after one video finishes, another starts.

Step three – Get to know the IGTV interface

Imagine that the IGTV app is a remote control for flicking through IGTV – all in all, there are seven buttons dedicated to exploring and watching videos:

1. For You: This will present videos IGTV believes you’ll like (working in a similar way to your Instagram feed on the Instagram app)

2. Following: For watching videos of those you follow on Instagram

3. Popular: Watch videos of people you don’t follow (this is comparable to the ‘Explore’ page on Instagram)

4. Continue Watching: Just like Netflix, you’ll find that any videos you’ve not finished watching will appear in the ‘continue watching’ area.

5. The Search Bar: Accessible via the magnifying icon, search allows you to track down your favourite channels or search for content using terms such as “equine news” or “equine business”.

6. Your Profile Photo: Over on the right, you’ll see your profile picture from your main Instagram account. Tapping on it will take you to your channel.

7. The Settings: In the settings, you’ll be able to follow Instagram accounts, link your IGTV channel to your Facebook profile (you can also set your IGTV to automatically post to your Facebook page) and do other tasks, such as reporting an issue or logging out of the app.

Tips, tricks and tactics for tackling IGTV

Make best use of vertical video

First, a basic rule – you need to record with an aspect ratio of 9:16. Let’s keep this simple – recording on your smartphone vertically will handle this for you.

Now for the trickier part – creating content that naturally lends itself and capitalises upon the vertical format.

Keep it short

That’s right, despite IGTV allowing for videos of up to one hour in length, research consistently shows that videos between two and three minutes in length result in the best engagement. That said, there are some instances where long form content is the obvious choice – such as interviews, exhibition reports and in-depth industry analysis.

Make your video content useful and unique

Your videos need to serve up content that is defined by two foundations – it must be unique and it must be useful. These two factors apply whenever you make video content, whatever the platform you’re making it for.

A simple way to create a video content plan is to study your competitors’ blogs and your own blog to understand what content has proven to be the most popular. What has got people talking? What download guides, reports or whitepapers have built your email list most significantly? Look at the amount of social shares, your own website analytics and the level of engagement on social media – indicated by comments, likes and retweets.

Then, with this knowledge in hand, consider how you can transform this content into video – and (of critical importance) think about how presenting this content in video format will bring something fresh to your audience.

IGTV features an insight tool. Use it.

Any type of marketing should involve analysis, and handily enough IGTV hands you an analytics tool for reviewing the effectiveness of your videos.

In order to view your video insights, you’ll need to tap on the three-dot button on any of your videos and select ‘Insights’. Here, you’ll be able to explore key facts and stats, such as how much engagement your video generated and viewer retention rates.

Embrace your brand

You have (or at least should have) a brand – a tone of voice, a visual style and personality. These things should be evident in your video content – reflected in the words you (or someone else) speaks, any branded background behind them, and your overall message.

Ask yourself – what are you hoping to convey? Are you a voice of friendly authority? Do you want to build a community of fellow equine business owners? Answer these questions before you so much as even think about the content you’re going to create, and how it will align with your brand.

IGTV is in extreme infancy – you should continue to look at how others are harnessing this medium and using it to drive results for their business. At PressPoint, we can’t wait to watch how the story of IGTV will play out.


If the thought of creating 60 entire minutes of video for IGTV leaves you feeling unimaginative and (frankly) rather intimidated, PressPoint Countryside & Equestrian is here to help. We know your marketplace, and we understand your target customer. We can engage, inspire and educate your audience on IGTV – getting there before your competitors have even put together their content plan. Call our team on: +44 (0)1953 851513 or email us: [email protected]



Link building masterclass: Getting started (and getting it right)

 admin  15/Mar/18  no responses.

Some say that link building efforts are dead and buried, and that social has overtaken traditional SEO efforts. Don’t be fooled. For now at least, links remain the way the internet works – an interconnected roadmap that provides signs to Google and the like as to what your website is about, who your audience are and how valuable the quality of your content is.


So, the next question: just how the heck can you get started building links when you’re an expert in equine, rather than marketing? Answer? With this tick list for your link building mastery and Google domination, that’s how.


Just a moment – isn’t link building plain-old bad SEO practice?


You may have heard the much-misunderstood news – link building is bad for ranking. Depending on who you’ve listened to and what you’ve read, you may even believe that link building can lead to Google banning your website from their results altogether. So what’s the truth of the matter? Here’s the rub – links can indeed damage your search ranking, but only, only, if they’re black hat. A few shady examples include:


– Posting meaningless links on other blogs (ergo: spamming)

– Displaying different content to the search engines through web design trickery such as text that’s the same colour as the background on which it’s displayed

– Injecting hidden links on another website you don’t own through hacking

– Hiding keyword links on a page that only the search engine can read


Now onwards and into the link building tasks that you should be focusing on…


Five sure-fire ways to win Google-boosting links


1. Firm foundations: undertake keyword research


What words and terms are your target market using to discover your products or services? This is the very first question to be answered before anything else. For this, you need to use Google’s Keyword Planner. Simply enter a list of products or services and select “Search for new keyword and ad group ideas”- this will lead you to a long list of suggestions based on Google data. This firm foundation can then help you brainstorm content ideas based on what your target market are searching for, and what they want to read.


PressPoint Pro-tip: Opt for a keyword inclusive business name


‘Businesses that have a strong keyword in their business name rank 1.5 spots higher than if there is no keyword in the name’ – Local SEO Guide. Business name with no keywords? Don’t worry – it’s not time for a rebrand and expensive relaunch, it’s simply a bonus if your company name (and therefore your URLs) naturally feature a valuable keyword.


An alternative is to use a website address that’s keyword rich. Let’s look at an example:

www.smithswholesalers.co.uk could use the URL www.smithsequinewholesale.co.uk


2. Be found: list your equine business on local and industry directories


Google my Business? Check. Yelp? Done. 192? Check, check, check. Hopefully you’ve ticked these three important directories off when it comes to adding your business. Now? You should research local directories and industry specific listings – these can help boost your local traffic and help strengthen your signal to Google that you’re in the equine industry.


3. Carefully construct a content plan


Here’s the most important takeaway from this entire blog – high quality content attracts links. At the crux of this is the fact that your fellow equine businesses link to content that’s worth sharing, so each piece must make for a valuable read – sharing your insight, experience and guidance. And it’s not just blogs that you should create – a rich collection of differing content types can boost social shares, ranking in Google images, and links from a wide variety of differing websites. So considering creating:

– Videos

– Podcasts

– Infographics

– How-to guides


PressPoint Pro-tip: create blogs that are 1500 words+


A Backlinko report revealed that longer content tends to rank higher. The average first page result on Google contains 1,890 words.


You may have noticed that our blogs are always around the 1500-word mark, and with good reason. So-called ‘long-form’ content tends to rank better on the search engines, as proven time and again by stats and facts.


A word of warning however – the quality rule applies. There’s no point in creating 500 words of insightful content, with 1000 words of fluff and filler. Only write to a length that suits the topic being covered.


4. Be my guest: invest in guest posting


Waiting, and waiting, and waaaaaiting. There’s no escaping the fact that waiting for links back to your content can be frustrating. One way to overcome this is to put the feelers out for guest posts on other websites, which link directly back to your website.


PressPoint Pro-tip: reaching out to other website owners should involve a two-step process


  1. Get involved on their blog – comment and share their content on social media where appropriate. When it comes to guest posting, flattery will get you everywhere.


  1. With the website owner flattered and primed, send them an email pitching your guest idea. The template below provides you with a good idea as to how this should go, but you should certainly customise it as according to the receiver.


Subject: You should blog about [insert your guest blog post topic]


[insert their first name], as an avid reader of [insert their site name] I would love to read about [insert guest blog post topic], and I think your readers would as well.


Your content on [insert existing post from their website #1, insert existing post from their website #2, and insert existing post from their website #3] is great, but I think you can tie it all together by blogging on [insert guest blog post topic].


I know you are probably busy and won’t blog on it, so I’m going to make you an offer you can’t refuse. How about I write it for you? Don’t worry, I’m a great blogger and have had my posts featured on [insert previous guest post URL #1] and [insert previous guest post URL #2].


Let me know if you are interested. I already know your blogging style, plus I understand what your readers love as I am one.


Look forward to hearing from you,


[insert your name]”


5. Make the right friends – with strategic partners


Forming partnerships with fellow equine businesses and local companies isn’t only good business sense when it comes to the power of networking, it’s also a way in which you can gain links and content shares from naturally complementary websites in your world.


6. Be sociable


Networking online and in-person is only ever going to take your website visitor count up – so get out there and head off to equine events and trade shows (just don’t forget your business cards, complete with social links). Then follow up by posting social updates mentioning those you’ve spoken to, with a blog event round up summarising the highlights of the event.


7. Reinvigorate old content


You may have read this with a worsening feeling of dread if you’ve created tonnes of content with no consideration paid to link building. Fear not, we’ve got good news: ‘updating and republishing old blog posts with new content and images can increase organic traffic by as much as 111%’ – Backlinko.


Whilst undertaking this content overhaul, you should also implement those keywords where it makes sense to.


At PressPoint we revel in all things PR and marketing related, but we know just how overwhelming challenges such as link building can be (not to mention time-consuming, resource-sapping and super frustrating awaiting the fruits of your labour).


Ready to talk? Call our team on 01953 851513, or send a message over and we’ll be right back in touch – [email protected].


Crystal ball predictions: marketing in 2018

 admin  15/Feb/18  no responses.

2017 – what a year it was. We received a masterclass from brands the world over as to how social conscience should be demonstrated; we saw a fresh focus on long scrolling websites; and we watched in awe as video marketing surpassed all expectations in terms of uptake and the results it can secure. For you, the average equine business owner, this rate of change was perhaps head-spinning.


Unfortunately, one thing’s for certain – the world of marketing waits for no man, woman or horse business. Getting ahead of the competition today demands that you get a firm grasp of upcoming digital marketing tools and techniques before they’ve become mainstream. So let’s talk about what’s going to prove hot property in the marketing world, over the coming 12 months.


Content is STILL king – but it‘s all about to become plenty more personal


For those who haven’t heard, ‘content is king’ is just about the most over used expression in the marketing sphere. In short, it describes the power of blogs, articles, videos, eBooks and so on – not only for Google ranking, but for creating trust, building a social fan base and sparking conversations.


In 2018, the content businesses create will become more personal to smaller groups within an audience. No longer will a single campaign feature just one blog, but it will direct different groups to different versions of a blog.


Known as hyper-personalisation, or smart content, this approach will be teamed with ‘native’ advertising for a smooth journey from Google search to relevant content.


The content race could be won by those who invest in influencers


Over the past few years, content marketing has become so widely employed that it’s now reaching the point of saturation. When everyone has taken the time to create valuable content, target markets can become overwhelmed with options – watering down the investment you’ve made in those oh-so carefully crafted blogs and guides.


The role of the influencer will be more important than ever

Influencers are those who hold authority in the equine world – individuals who people listen to and trust in. It is in teaming up with influencers that we predict the real ground will be gained in 2018 – a tactic that can ensure that you stand out, and aren’t fighting tooth and nail for attention that does your content justice.


Need ideas for making an equine influencer part of your approach? Here are three:

  • Interview your influencer – either at a trade show such as BETA, or at your place of business.
  • Reach out to influencers by asking to guest post on their website – this has the added bonus of boosting your organic website traffic, as well as growing your fan base (if, and only if, your content captures their audience).
  • Commission a live social Q and A – this could be with an influencer who’s a natural fit for your target market, or a source of admiration – such as stars from the equine sporting realm. Which brings us on nicely to our next point…


Annnnnd action! In 2018, video will go live


Video marketing has boomed in recent years, and little wonder why when we look to just a few of the impressive stats and facts behind this medium – stats such as 80% of consumers preferring live video over and above reading a blog. And facts such as 67% being more likely to make a purchase after watching a video demonstration.


But it’s time for a little honesty – are you still ignoring video marketing for your equine business? This is the year that businesses will increasingly capitalise upon the interactivity of live streaming.


Your options for streaming are growing, too, with the following social platforms now each offering a tool for live video, made instant and easy:

  • Facebook live
  • YouTube live
  • Instagram live
  • Twitter
  • Periscope


Of course, not everyone has the presentation skills of Clare Balding (notwithstanding her once terrible faux pas), so it may be that you need to turn to the professionals for live video production.


Companies in every industry will (or at least should) meet Generation Z


Not so long back we wrote about the unique traits of Millennials, and how your business should already be adapting to this up-and-coming generation. Fast forward some 12 months and we’re already talking about the next new in-take. Known as Generation Z, the iGeneration, Post-Millenials, or the Homeland Generation, these are individuals who were born in the late 1990s to mid-2000s. But don’t let their youth fool you – these individuals are far from the wet-behind-the-ear types they’d have you believe.


Don’t be afraid to go live – it’s what consumers want!

They are willing to hang up an answered business call after 45 seconds, they search out information online via mobile before forging ahead with a purchasing decision and are more than willing to post a product review given the right impetus – good or bad.


Given this laundry list of expectations you may need to consider a customer care overhaul; a mobile ready, content smart website and a new campaign innovatively pushing for reviews.


The social media lands will become a more baron place for those unwilling to pay up


Only 38% of businesses spend cold hard cash on social media marketing, but times are changing. And not through choice, either.


Saddle up, it’s going to be a bumpy ride on social platforms this coming year. 2018 will be the year that free reach all but disappears. For some time now, as social platforms have pushed their advertising solutions, the average FB update or Tweet has reached fewer and fewer people’s feeds. Now? Organic reach is as low as 2% over on Facebook. If that weren’t depressing enough, the real kicker is that 2018 may be the year that Zuckerberg makes it a prerequisite to sponsor every, single, post. In short, you’re almost certainly going to have to take social PPC seriously if you wish to continue winning business on platforms such as Facebook and Twitter.


Websites will be bright, bold and beautiful


We’re entering a new era for In. 2018 will see authentic team photos becoming not just advisable, but essential (so Sally the stock photo receptionist should really be consigned to the history books). Fonts will also become blockier and layouts more minimalistic (goodbye clutter!).


Q and A sessions are great for growing awareness of your brand

Other web trends to tap into for your web presence should include a doubling down on your efforts to understand your audience – consider their key questions, concerns and hurdles, and create your content around it.


The customer has always been right. But in 2018, he’ll become the be all and end all


In 2018, more than 50% of organizations will redirect their investments to customer experience innovations.


Customer experience is set for a shakeup – one that should involve asking your customers for feedback to improve, providing chatbots for instant online answers and employees who are re-trained to put the customer at the centre of all they do.


Big data – joining the dots of the customer journey


41% of marketers create content to match specific points in the buying cycle. Are you amongst them?


‘Big Data’ may seem a marketing buzz word reserved for corporate big boys, but in 2018, it’s really a concept to get to grips with. While you may not need vast swathes of market data, being an SME in the equine world, you should ponder how data can help inform your strategy. Customer journey mapping – understanding your customer’s buying process and the information they seek – could and should be shaped by the data you gather. At this point we’re going to blow our own trumpet, as way back in 2016 we put together a piece for Equestrian Business that walked through the process of sales funnel creation. In 2018, some two years on, it seems that it’s never been more relevant.


But where exactly do you get this data? Forget expensive research, privately purchased data or complex questionnaires – simply speak to your customers, find out about their journey from A (when you were unheard of) to Z (when they became a repeat purchaser). Focus on understanding the micro decisions they made along the way and the concerns that they face today.


The coming 12 months promise to be a whirlwind of live streaming, paid social ads and customer journey maps – offering plenty of opportunities to canter right on past the competition if your strategy is on point. If you’d prefer to be doing what you do best, it may be time we talked about how our equine marketing can help. Contact PressPoint Countryside & Equestrian – call our experts on +44 (0)1953 851513 or email: [email protected].



How to use Twitter to drive engagement

 admin  15/Mar/17  no responses.

Are you looking for more replies, engagement, clicks and retweets for your Twitter efforts?


Let’s be honest – any business that takes the time to network on this platform is looking for all of these things, and it seems images could provide the answer for each. Let’s consider some statistics. MassPlanner states, “Infographics are “liked” and shared on social media three times more than other any other type of content.” Buffer Social found that “Tweets with images receive 150% more retweets than tweets without images,” while Twitter states, “Tweets with photos get 313% more engagement.”


So now that we know why we should be spending time on images for Twitter, let’s move onto how we should be using them.


Images for Twitter – 5 top tips (and the mistakes to avoid)


Brand your visuals


Don’t allow your efforts to go unrewarded when your images are re-tweeted – use a tool such as Pablo to add a watermark to the images you create. This can also easily be done in Photoshop (with helpful tutorials found on the Adobe website) by using templates, ensuring the design and font is the same with each image.



Create original visual content for Twitter and Twitter alone


Don’t re-use images across all of your social channels – doing so will impact engagement. Buffer Social found that Tweets with Instagram images are 42% less likely to be re-tweeted, so in order to build engagement it is important to take different images for each platform you want to post on.


It is also worth remembering that images shared from Instagram to Twitter don’t actually show up on the Twitter timeline – instead the tweet includes a link to Instagram. If you were to remain sharing photos from the Instagram platform, it is vital to post them with an engaging line of description and relevant hashtags to influence people to click through. However, it is much more effective to simply upload using Twitter’s dedicated image uploader – this way the image will show up on timelines and stimulate far more interest.


Infographics – share-ability, engagement and expertise


Whilst written content on your blog provides you with a chance to demonstrate your industry knowledge to your fellow equestrian businesses, images are more digestible and grab attention more easily than content that must be clicked through to.


Infographics provide the best of both worlds – capturing audience attention with vibrant visuals, whilst also allowing you to provide value in the way of facts, stats or tips. For example, if you’re a specialist equestrian feed manufacturer, your infographic can demonstrate trends in the industry that your equestrian retailers will be interested in. This could include growth in the market for certain products and price rises and falls in percentages owing to trading conditions.


Nurture engagement by running a competition


Foster engagement by using your images for competitions and online contests. For example: ‘CONTEST: First three people that can guess where our filly is grazing wins…. #findthefilly.’


Competitions make for extremely shareable content and the addition of relevant images help broaden the audience as well as build attention. Again watermarks or some form of branding should be added to ensure all attention is focused on your company, and this also helps to build brand awareness with the online community you are targetting.


The key components of a succesful Twitter competition are having a defined goal with carefully selected plans. Make sure you track your campaign to learn what works well for your target audience. This includes looking at prize value, entry requirements, optimum tweet times as well as information about the entrants, such as age, location and potentially, some pointers on income.


Image size and composition – get your dimensions right


Twitter works to set measurement ratios for images – resulting in images that are automatically cut down, with images that are two tall or two wide having parts removed unless the user clicks on the image to see it in its full size. Whilst this may be ok for an image of a Shetland pony, you may find your Shire isn’t being fully shown unless clicked upon. To make sure your image displays as it should, edit it to be 800 x 400 or 1,000 x 500 — or any size at a 2:1 ratio (Twitter also has an upload limit of 3MB, and you need to work to a maximum image size of 1024 x 512).


Tapping into the equestrian community


Twitter is an extremely useful tool for sharing but more importantly, for interacting with your clients, potential clients and the general equestrian community. It’s ease of use and speed at which interactions can be made makes it one of the most user-friendly forms of social media. The number of equestrian users has also increased dramatically and finding out how to tap into this audience is very useful to improve engagement.


The online equestrian community has organised dedicated daily hashtags, creating a huge conversation for all who use the relevant hashtags. Mainly held from 8 – 9 pm each evening of the week, these hashtags include:

Monday: #HorseHour

Tuesday: #DressageHour and #PonyHour (9-10pm)

Wednesday: #EquestrianHour

Thursday: #RiderHour

Friday: #HorseBizHour (4-5pm) and #TackRoomFriday

Sunday: #EquineHour


Joining the conversation with relevant hashtags not only brings your tweets onto the timeline of interested users, but it also brings opportunities of free advertising as well as collaborations. The users that run the main hashtag accounts (such as #HorseHour) organise regular sponsorship opportunities for companies, which benefit the company by displaying its content to a wider and completely relevant audience. This can be in the form of a competition, simple hashtag or regular mentions to send users back through to the company’s official Twitter account.


Twitter and images go together like a horse and cart – however that’s not to say that this platform, like all other social networks, aren’t without their challenges. The need to keep up with the latest trends, tips and changes is a must – and to make the most of this medium, you may need a professional helping hand. If you believe that we could help you, feel free to get in touch to find out more about our social media marketing.


Twitter basics


For those of you yet to explore all that Twitter has to offer, here is a roundup of all the basics you need to know before sending your first tweet.


What is a tweet?


A tweet is simply a Twitter message. It can contain up to 140 characters of text, as well as photos, videos, locations and other forms of media. Public by default, tweets will show up in Twitter timelines and searches unless the account is private.


What is a Retweet?


Retweets are tweets that are ‘re-shared’ to the followers of another user. You have the option to either ‘Quote Tweet’, which allows you to add a comment or image along with the original tweet, or just a simple Retweet that repeats the original tweet onto you timeline. Retweets are a great way to add your voice to a topic, show support and it enables you to connect to the original poster while furthering the message.


Does my handle matter?


Your handle is simply your user or account name, such as @PressPointMedia or @EBTrade. It is important to use consistent handles across all social media networks, so try and use the same name across Facebook, Twitter and Instagram – it really helps with discoverability.


Been mentioned?


Twitter allows you to tag another user’s handle within your tweets, otherwise known as a mention. Mentions notify the users that have been tagged, enabling them to respond. Mentions work like hyperlinks, allowing users to click the tagged user and visit their profile.


Going direct?


Direct message (DM) allows you to communicate privately with other users, but DM’s can only be sent as long as the two users follow one another.


If you need expert advice on how to make Twitter work for you, PressPoint Countryside & Equestrian is here to help.



Dirty Menus and branding for rural businesses

 Vanessa B  22/Aug/16  no responses.

Does this ring any bells?… You pick up a menu, but you don’t get as far as looking at the enticing meal options as the first thing you notice is that the menu is stained with traces of dried food from previous diners.

The image that you form and the emotions that you feel are exactly the same when you come into contact with brands, and sometimes it’s just as negative too! Has anyone got anything good to say about a train company?

But the best brands have a purpose and they have a personality, they breed loyalty and they have value. Think about Barbour, think about Land Rover, think about John Deere, and then think about the premium price they can charge because of the properties which are invested in those brands.

But don’t ever think that this is unattainable or just for the big boys.

An effective and attractive brand is useful in so many ways for rural businesses in the UK, one of PressPoint’s clients is using the brand we created as a signpost to its quality, and to successfully sell their products into the regional arm of a major multiple retailer. In effect, his brand has opened the door to a whole new revenue stream. The retailer really bought into the brand and into the product, and the results are now on its shelves. It’s stories like these which emphasise the need for rural businesses to take their branding much more seriously.

When it comes to thinking about your brand, start at the very beginning. What drove you, or the founders of the business, to start the business? Of course time moves on and businesses change and adapt all the time, but the reasons behind the formation of the business are often at the root of what a business should stand for today.

Our client Allen & Page was founded as a limited company in 1936 but had been producing and selling feeds for a number of years prior to that. Their commitment to only using the highest quality ingredients in the feed they produce, to ensure healthy and happy animals, is as strong today as it has ever been. 

Animal nutrition has changed immeasurably since Allen & Page started manufacturing its feed and the company has kept on innovating to stay ahead of the competition, but each time they have developed or improved a product they have endeavoured to keep it as natural and wholesome as it can be.

Their feed products today contain no GM ingredients, no animal by-products and are manufactured in a drug-free mill. Whilst other feed companies have fallen by the wayside in terms of the composition of their feed, Allen & Page has gained and maintained its accreditation from the major food production and quality control organisations for their feeds, including the Soil Association, the Vegetarian Society and ISO.

This highly ethical stance underpins everything they do – from the way they do business, to their team of animal nutritionists who are meeting people every day and giving people truly unbiased advice on how and what to feed their animals. 

So when we create anything for Allen & Page; an advertising campaign, a product launch, a website or even a humble leaflet we understand that whatever we do create, must be true to Allen & Page’s core principles and crucially, convey to the audience that Allen & Page are still true to its own principles.

We like to think that if the founding fathers of Allen & Page could see their business today, they would very proud of the brand which has been created from the ethos they instilled all those years ago.

Whether you’re looking at your brand for the first time or looking to bring it up-to-date, don’t get too caught up in the marketing speak we agencies use as shorthand for common sense marketing principles. In future blogs we’ll attempt to demistify the jargon which surrounds branding for rural businesses and give you some hints and tips to help you understand how you can create a successful rural brand.

The difference between iconic branding and fashionable trends

 Vanessa B  29/Sep/15  no responses.

When developing your brandING you need to know the difference

Brand development is a process which should be handled with a long term strategy. Unfortunately, many brands emerging into the current market are not geared to the iconic but to the fashionable trends of the current market. These brands are currently seeing a draw to their products and services but once the fashion trend shifts, the branding will become obsolete. Understanding the differences between iconic branding and fashionable trending is essential to any business’ success.

Iconic branding is more than just a logo

One of the biggest mistakes with current branding trends is that the branding focuses primarily on the logo. Yes, you need a strong logo, but let us consider that if the logo is developed to current trends instead of proven sustainably, the logo is subject to revisions in the future. You can see that there are a few major corporations which have jumped on the logo branding train. Where a company may have a logo that has fonts and branding, if the logo of the branding is consistently having to change to keep up with the shifts in the market, then that brand is not iconic but fashionable. Worse, the branding is based upon a logo which is based upon fashion trends. Such a methodology in creating your branding is doomed to fail as the trends in logo design are consistently changing. Something as subtle as a trend shift from a specific color could cause your whole brand to falter.

Fashionable trends follow companies which are popular. Icon companies follow the successful ones

When planning branding strategy, a company needs to focus on the most successful companies, not the most popular. Branding and company worth is quickly established by some companies because they have a gap, which they can fill for a time. Do you remember how popular the Duck Dynasty and Duck Commander branding was a few years ago? Many outdoor companies focused their branding to mimic that of the company. But where is the popularity in the brand now? Many of those companies which followed the trend have to re-envision their branding strategy.

Modeling your branding after an iconic brand increases your chances of having an iconic brand yourself. Companies such as Coke, Apple, Caterpillar, and Microsoft have stood the test of time in their branding. Those which are establishing their brand should look beyond the logo and see how these companies have established their brand. How has the company used mobile marketing? What PR strategies have been used to build the brand? By understanding the mindset of these iconic companies, you can implement successful techniques to set your business a head above the others.

There is a difference between being modern and relevant and being “trendy”

Though it may upset a few companies, it is worth stating. Windows 10 branding for other companies is a fashion trend. Every Dick, Jane, and Sally is using the monotone colors in their branding so that it will “look good” on the OS and mobile devices. While companies should not abandon the desire to have such a graphic “accompanying” their branding, building an entire branding and marketing strategy based upon this trend is a dangerous and (quite frankly) cliché move. Establish a brand that will be sustainable when the minimalistic trend is over.

So, how do I determine if my brand is iconic or trendy?

The best way to determine if your brand is iconic or trendy is to ask yourself a few questions:

  • Is my branding dependent upon my logo?
  • Is my branding modelled after a company which has not been established for decades?
  • Have I focused on marketing strategies and PR?
  • If the desired market were to shift tomorrow would my company’s future be in danger?
  • If you were a customer and presented with your branding would it be unique or would it look like everyone else’s? Are you distinguishable?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, then the odds are that your branding has been mismanaged and developed to meet the current trends. Whilst your business will not fail, it is predictable that you will have to redesign your branding in the future. As we have seen, even if you are successful with your product, if you do not have a strong branding there is no way to tell you apart from all the other businesses out there.

We are here to help

If you find that your branding is less then iconic and want to establish a brand for your company which will stand the test of time, or if you have any enquiries as to the branding services offered by PressPoint please feel free to contact us.

7 Reasons why the Mobile Market is where you should target your branding

 Vanessa B  01/Sep/15  no responses.

How modernisation of your branding into new technologies will help your company.

When it comes to branding, there are many strategies which are effective. Yet, a great deal of the strategies fails to see the golden vein of mobile marketing. Recent research has shown that one out of every three people on the planet have a mobile tablet or smartphone. Facebook has reported that they have user accounts for one out of every seven people, and YouTube has stated that over a million videos are streamed each day. Now, consider traditional marketing and branding. You will see that although it is still important, that there has been a paradigm shift away from such mediums. Here are seven reasons why you should focus your branding on the mobile market.

Number One: mobile branding markets to the current masses

Branding which is geared to the mobile market maximises a businesses exposure. Where it may be that word of mouth carries a great deal of weight concerning a business’ brand, the internet is the new voice in which it is done. Internet usage on social media sites in the UK averaged 35 hours per month per person (As reported on thegaurdian.com )

Number Two: you have to have a website anyway, why not integrate it?

Any professional business needs to have a website. Due to the algorithm changes implemented in April 2015 by Google, those sites which are mobile friendly will receive higher SERPs (Search Engine Result Pages) than those which only have a laptop or desktop oriented page. Google is also discussing the integration of the social media into their algorithm. So to help your branding and SEO it is best to have it geared to the mobile market.

Number Three: mobile market branding establishes your business as modern

Businesses which use mobile technology, specifically in building their brand, are seen as being modern and up to date with the latest methodologies of business. Consider, if a business is relying only on business cards, a nice sign outside their business, and some local advertisement, their brand is really not saying “Hi, we are modern, we embrace technology”. Rather you are giving the message that you are set in your ways and that there is no bit of technology which will change that. Whether this may or may not be true, you do not want to convey that in your branding.

Number Four: branding through mobile media builds trust

One of the keys in having a great brand is having transparency with your business. If the consumer is made to feel like they can contact you through social and mobile media your businesses brand will become stronger, especially if you have a dedicated way in which for your customers to do so. Businesses which have no mobile and social integration are often seen as being distant and as trying to “cover something up”. If you want to establish a great brand for your company you need to be connected to the customers to whom you are selling your products and services.

Number Five: mobile marketing in your branding gives you quicker feedback for your business/services

Customer engagement and response time in the mobile world is almost instantaneous. You can quickly gauge how your brand is performing using customer engagement surveys, social media, apps, and so on. On the other hand, if you are not targeted to mobile marketing strategies in your branding, you have to rely upon field studies and analysing hard data. This is tedious, and realistically becomes outdated by the time it is completed. By allocating a great potion of your branding and marketing to the mobile market, your feedback upon your products and services will be guided quicker and more efficiently.

Number Six: brand accountability is maximized on the mobile market

Accountability is among the top things which make or break a business. If a consumer believes that a business does not care about their product or services, the business will fail. If a business has great services they need to build customer loyalty for the product or service. Whether you like it or not, your business is already being held accountable online. Posts and shares about your business are already on the internet. It would befit any business therefore, to ensure that they are focused on creating the branding that they want (and not give the power to the customer to create your brand) online.

Number Seven: mobile marketing is the least expensive and most extensive methodology to expand your brand consciousness

Where you may have a great brand and a great marketing team (which I hope you do), nothing will come close to reaching the market that your brand will reach if it is made for mobile marketing. With mobile marketing you can have apps for easy access to your brand, others can share and comment on your branding, the base is global, and you do not have anything but time that usually has to be invested.

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