Monthly Archives: September 2015

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day in the life of…

This month, our spotlight is on Account Director Richard a.k.a ‘Burni’, who is talking character building, clothing ranges, catwalks and Zoolander….

Us: “Hi Richard! So, for our blog readers, can you tell us a bit about your role as Account Director?”

BURNI: “I’ve worked at Creative Emporium for eight years, and I’m responsible for the strategic direction of Creative Emporium’s Key Accounts. Working with the team of experienced and dedicated Account Managers, we consult with our clients to provide the very best solutions to their promotional and marketing needs”

Us: “What three words would you use to sum-up a typical day in the CE office?”

BURNI: “Exciting. Challenging. Personal”

Us: “And what one word would you use to describe why you love your job?”

BURNI: “#CharacterBuilding!”

Us: “Can you tell us what has been your biggest creative challenge to date and how you overcame it?”

BURNI: “I think my biggest challenge was in my first year. My client, Nestle, needed 70 giant colouring crayons delivering to Norway at last minute – I was given three days to sort it. I missed the courier deadline from the manufacturer, so spent most of my evening trying to find a way to get them there. In the end, I had a taxi collect them and drive them to Heathrow airport to get them on a flight.

I managed to get it all sorted – but I was so close to having to catch a plane with them myself and hand deliver them! I could just imagine my crayons sat in first class being served champagne and nuts! It all seemed a bit extreme at the time – but that’s how dedicated we are as a team to provide the best service we can and meet client’s expectations.”

Us: “What has been your favourite promotional campaign or project for a client and why?”

BURNI: “We launched a new clothing range for a customer and were invited to present to their national sales team at their annual conference. We put together a full set of samples, rails and POS along with a presentation. We felt fully prepared…

…Upon arrival, our customer had one of those ‘light bulb moments’ and casually asked, “rather than handing round the garments, can you model them instead?!”

Image credit: Paris Fashion Week

Image credit: Paris Fashion Week

We were of course obliged to say yes, so all of our preparation was out of the window, and we launched into a full-on ‘cat walk’; strutting around, wearing the range whilst being compered by our client (and trying to channel ‘Derek Zoolander’ as we strutted our stuff!)

Burni doing his best 'blue steel' impression. Pretty close, no?

Burni doing his best ‘blue steel’ impression. Pretty close, no?

It’s a day that is still remembered by us and the sales team alike, who are still our customer to this day!”

Us: “Tell us your fave 3 promo products and why?”:

BURNI:

 

WATER BOTTLE

  • Water Bottle – Everyone needs one!

 

SPROUT PENCIL

  • Pencil Pod – Use and grow! (It’s a pencil that you can plant when you have finished with it, and it grows into a plant)

 

HOODIE

  • Hoodie – Always a winner!

 

Us: “In your own words, what do you think makes CE different/unique?”

BURNI: “We are experts in our field, working consultatively with our clients to provide solutions that are at the forefront of our industry. We produce excellent products with creative flare, delivered with immense passion.”

Complete Branding Solution

We’re experts in providing the complete branding solution for our clients, so please get in touch today to discuss your requirements and how we can help you with your branded merchandise and clothing. Call us on 08707 500057 or drop us a line by email.

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Why every marketing strategy would be lost without content marketing

We live in an age of information overload; in fact, we’re inundated by marketing messages – more than 2,900 a day. As a result, brands are scrambling for the attention of their target audiences. Content marketing is one of the tools to get your brand heard amongst the masses – it elevates your brand above those thousands of marketing messages – becoming the fuel for engagement with your customers.

Firstly, what is content marketing?

According to The Content Marketing Institute: “Content marketing is a strategic marketing approach focused on creating and distributing valuable, relevant, and consistent content to attract and retain a clearly-defined audience — and, ultimately, to drive profitable customer action.”

Put simply, good content marketing gets your potential customer to stop, read, think and behave differently.

Example content channels

Content marketing comes in many forms, for example:

• Social networks
• Blogs
• eNewsletters
• Webinars
• Infographics
• Video
• Podcasts
• White papers
• Ebooks

What problem does it fix?

The problem = Information overload

We live in an age of information abundance. We’re inundated by marketing messages – more than 2,900 a day, by current estimations. Prospective customers – not brands – are now more in control than ever, especially thanks to social media and the ‘internet of things’. As a result, audiences are becoming harder to reach as they filter out more marketing messages and clutter – risking missing out on ones they may actually be interested in (yours, for example!)

The Solution

Quality content marketing can be used to help, support, entertain and impress your prospects before they are even thinking of buying. Why? Because it delivers trust. The key to online sales!

“To make an influence on the purchase decision, your brand needs to be identified as an authority in your market sector and a solution to your prospective customer’s needs”, says CE marketing manager, Hannah. “If the right content is present at the right time and with the right message, you can build trust earlier in the buying cycle and top the short list of companies they plan to choose from.”

How Content Marketing Can Generate Sales

Done well, content marketing is a highly cost effective method of generating sales. “Think of it as a process,” says Hannah. “First, content marketing uses search marketing to generate inbound traffic to your website from your key target audiences – and brand awareness increases as a result,” she explains.

The content that you create acts to engage with your key audiences and build a relationship, positioning you as an ‘expert’, a ‘thought-leader’ and a credible supplier within your market sector. So it’s this process that could lead to an increase in sales and customer loyalty, because your audience grows comfortable with your brand and trusts you as a supplier so is therefore more willing to buy from you.

So if you’re planning on adding content marketing to your marketing strategy, let us leave you with a final piece of advice: Keep your content un-salesy and beneficial to your audience – such as helping to solve a problem, address a challenge your audience faces, educate them, or engage them emotionally (through humour!)

This is because unlike traditional marketing (such as press releases or brochure copy) your content should avoid being self-promotional. Your customers should be encouraged to use your content when doing their research, so that when they later engage with your sales people for instance, your business has the necessary credibility for them to buy with confidence!

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Product Focus: A sweet way to engage your customers

Everyone loves promotional products – especially us. Every month we focus on a particular promotional product to show you why we think they’re a great sales tool to boost your brand. We’ve looked at mugs, bags and pens, tech products and bespoke items. This month we’re discussing something truly delicious…confectionery!

Hands up if you love sweet treats?

Us too! What better way to show your appreciation, gratitude or extend congratulations to your customers, colleagues and staff than with promotional confectionery? From promotional mints, to branded chocolates and lollies, you can make like Willy Wonka and have your customers beating a path to your door in order to get some more of your sweet freebies.

Why confectionery?

Our account director Lesley, and marketing manager Hannah, have both worked on a number of promotional confectionery campaigns for our clients, such as loyalty brand Nectar; and are sharing their thoughts on why confectionery is such as useful tool:

“Confectionery is often underestimated and overlooked when it comes to promotions, as people may think it’s been done too many times before. But – it can be one of the most effective ways to promote your business, and used correctly, can help to establish a business relationship with new clients, or just to say ‘thanks’ to a long-standing customer,” explains Lesley.

Boosts brand awareness

Hannah says “Promotional confectionery gifts do more than show appreciation; they also remind people about your brand. More and more brands are looking at creative ways to increase awareness of their brands using promotional merchandise, and confectionery is one of the most popular and cost-effective ways of doing this”

…plus, it’s Fun

Branded Lollypop Cakes

Branded Lollypop Cakes

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“Using confectionery products as part of your marketing and promotional activities is a fun way to boost brand awareness and the memorability factor. This is because everyone loves confectionery – chocolates, fun shapes, sweet and sour flavours – the possibilities are endless”, adds Les.

It’s Bespoke

Image Credit: Lovehearts.com

Image Credit: Lovehearts.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

With the ability to customise the design, the flavours and even the colours, confectionery promotional products offer a tremendous amount of brand flexibility to promote your corporate image. You can adapt the packaging style and material to suit your corporate image such as pantone matching your brand colours.

“Tins are a really popular form of product packaging for confectionery which offer a fantastic printing area for your logo and brand messages, such as your strapline and web address. Other options are coloured wrappers, boxes, and jars, all adding a different experience for the customer”, Les explains.

What’s more, you can even get your logo and brand name imprinted into the sweet. A great idea is a love heart sweet with different brand messages embedded in the sweets!

It’s versatile

“Confectionery is suitable for giving out as a promotional tool to just about anyone to promote your brand and business”, says Hannah. “Promotional confectionery products work well for a variety of purposes such as giveaways at events and tradeshows, and are extremely popular as corporate gifts, such as a ‘thank you’ to new and existing customers”.

For example, it will serve equally well given to a large number of passers-by at a street event or to the managing director of a major company. “Few other promotional giveaways – or promotional tools of any kind – rival confectionery in terms of either its effectiveness or the breadth of its reach,” adds Lesley.

Cost Savings

Promotional confectionery is one of the most economical promotional products you can find, due to the volumes available and low price points. You can find a range of products to suit any budget – and they are most cost-effective when bought in bulk and then placed in custom containers.

It’s memorable

Perhaps the greatest benefit of promotional confectionery products is that they are unobtrusive, so people don’t really view them as advertising, which is probably why 97% of recipients keep promotional products they have received, according to research by the BPMA.

Indulging your sweet tooth…

We can offer a variety of promotional confectionery ideas to help you choose the best products for your next marketing campaign or brand strategy. Maybe we can inspire you? Please get in touch today to discuss your requirements and how we can help you with your promotional merchandise and confectionery. Call us on 08707 500057 or drop us a line by email.

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Will a tweet really cut it? The power of social media in a B2B environment

We know the power of social media in creating brand awareness, but are B2B marketers using social media to promote, engage and sell?

What is social media marketing’s role in your B2B organisation?

Our Marketing Manager Hannah says that why it’s fairly common for consumer brands to shout about their successes in social media marketing, finding convincing B2B case studies is a far more difficult task:

“The majority of businesses use social media as a marketing tool, to build brand awareness, by encouraging social sharing and gaining followers. However – as marketers, we must appreciate that B2B buying and sales cycles are much more complex than B2C, and often of much higher value. In a B2B environment, we often need to focus more on the functional, more tangible benefits of our products/services, as opposed to appealing to consumers’ emotions in B2C”

So in this context, it’s easy to understand why senior management is often skeptical about using social media as a sales tool – we mean, will a tweet really cut it?

Establishing credibility and thought leadership

When marketing your products and services, it’s important to establish your company and brand as unique – as leaders in your industry – trusted advisors to guide your prospects through the buying process.

One way social media and content marketing could be used in this context is to establish thought leadership, through a series of informative blog posts addressing a key issue or technical problem (and subtly, how your company’s products resolve the problem).

“It’s important in B2B organisations, for the marketing department to get colleagues ‘bought into’ the activity”, says Hannah – this is because it is more credible for a technical sales manager to be engaging with target customers than a marketing executive who may not be able to advise on the technical benefits of the products the company is trying to promote. “Here, what we’d advise is having a ‘social media & content committee’ who meet regularly to discuss the social media and content strategy, topics for blog posts and who will author the posts/respond to queries”. This committee could for example, include members of the sales, marketing, product development, after sales, customer service and technical teams. “This way you can ensure you are generating worthwhile, interesting and credible content which is useful for your target audience,” adds Hannah.

Integrating your networks

Most marketers now realise the value of LinkedIn as a social networking tool for B2B. You can use it to conduct research about prospects. Business managers can connect with key target buyers, and join groups that they are also part of. Business Development Manager Gavin uses LinkedIn for networking and advises that “By keeping an eye on what prospects are saying on social media, whether it’s in a status update or via a post/comment in a LinkedIn group, you can begin to understand their opinions and look to nurturing a relationship”.

“Each time you connect with a prospect (or existing) customer on LinkedIn, also check out if they have a twitter account. This way, as well as using LinkedIn, you can listen out for what they are saying on Twitter and aim to strengthen relationships on a more personal level,” emphasizes Gavin.

By integrating your social networks, basically what you’re doing is finding and scoping out who the decision makers are on LinkedIn, growing relationships in the groups, but then get a bit more interactive and personal on twitter to build rapport – with the aim of leading to a face to face meeting to discuss business opportunities.

Tapping into the social media nectar

The majority of B2B businesses are using social media for creating brand awareness through gaining followers and encouraging social sharing. But used in the right way, you can tap into its potential to generate leads and also conduct some research whilst you’re at it.

Everyone uses social media, right?

It’s important to understand though, that not all decision makers and target customers will use any form of social network. And not every social network is appropriate in a B2B context!

Bottom line…

“Yes you can use social media in a B2B environment – and successfully too”, says Hannah. But don’t forget that an integrated approach to marketing is the most effective. If your goal really is to target industry influencers and specifiers then your other marketing and communications activities should integrate with your social media activity. For example, contributing to articles and editorial pieces in leading trade publications (online and offline) which are read by your target audience. This could be accompanied by a strategically placed native advertisement on social media or a popular online publication.

Complete Branding Solution

We’re experts in providing the complete branding solution for our clients, so please get in touch today to discuss your requirements and how we can help you with your branded merchandise and clothing. Call us on 08707 500057 or drop us a line by email.

Were-Hiring

We’re hiring!

Are you passionate, energetic and ambitious?
Are you looking to work with big brands, on exciting projects?

Creative Emporium creates marketing and promotional materials for some of the UK’s biggest brands. We help promote and protect our client’s brands by producing original, accurate and relevant communication tools. We design campaign materials that use promotional giveaways, print and digital tools to engage our client’s targets.

We operate in a fast moving, bustling and energetic workplace. The passion we use to create our solutions is valued by the people who receive them. We want people to join us who can bring even more passion and energy.

We’re expanding fast, and to succeed we need high-calibre, committed and motivated people to work alongside us to deliver enterprising and exciting solutions for our clients.

ABOUT THE ROLE:

The successful candidate will be an experienced sales professional looking to further a career in Account Management with a portfolio of exciting brands.

Your job is to network our client accounts, present our range of services and discover opportunities for us to do what we do well!

Commercially responsible for the performance of your accounts, you will be passionate about finding the right solutions for our clients.

You will receive mentoring and encouragement from your colleagues and team-mates and in return you will show us that you can fuse passion, attention to detail and creativity, with a work ethic that reflects your desire to produce fantastic results and a personality to match.

You’ll be results orientated, good with numbers – even better with people and with the ambition to propel our business, the people who you work with and your own career forwards into a mutually successful and rewarding future!

WHAT WE’RE LOOKING FOR:

• Someone with 1-2 years’ experience in client facing Account Management roles.
• A proven track record in building commercial relationships and delivering sales targets
• Someone with a vibrant personality who wants to join and contribute to our team
• Competence drafting and delivering client presentations using standard MS Office software packages
• The ability to travel to where our clients are located to establish, develop and maintain commercial relationships
• If you have a background in Marketing Services or the Promotional Products sector – even better!

No role is ever one dimensional and neither is this…
…if you have skills and passion beyond what is listed here make sure your application mentions it..

PRINCIPAL RESPONSIBILITIES:

Account Managers are responsible for maintaining and developing our commercial relationships with contracted customers.
At an Executive level they are responsible for maintaining a relationship with the Account Sponsors, meet the necessary administrative actions to ensure that Creative Emporium remain the supplier of choice for each brand.
At a Working level they are the primary point of contact and escalation for all enquiries, supported by a dedicated in-house Account Executive team. They meet regularly with known customers, identify and network new contacts in the pursuit of new revenue opportunities.They co-ordinate the enquiry response process with support from the Account Executive team.
At a Commercial level they establish and agree the protocols and procedures for each account with the Customer Service Manager and the relevant Department specialists. It is the role of the Account Manager to keep these people informed of any significant changes from the clients and to design a plan for the efficient use of the services these teams can provide for the profitable delivery of the account.

A successful Account Manager will be measured against a set of KPI’s in the following areas:
• identification of new business opportunities
• top-line turnover
• average margin achieved

At an Administrative level they publish and maintain the necessary reports and documentation to reflect the operational efficiency of the account.

 
Specific role tasks:
• Manage existing customers service levels in-line with their agreed requirements, maintaining the Service Level Agreement (SLA).

• Build a strong working relationship will all existing customers and gain a full knowledge of their brand, product ranges and services, and present commercial solutions that can be provided by Creative Emporium.

• Ensure all existing customers have a full understanding of the products and services available from Creative Emporium.

• Develop a full understanding of the supply chain, and the products and services available to Creative Emporium.

• Routinely conduct external meetings with customers in order to establish a valued commercial relationship; understand any key changes within their business, build relationships with key personnel, offer solutions to any on-going issues, present alternatives to any products issues.

Reporting lines:
Account Manager report directly to their clients. Their success depends on their ability to cultivate profitable customer relationships.
Line reporting and mentoring will be provided by the Creative Emporium Managing Director

WHAT WE OFFER:
The chance to work with some great brands and people, develop as a person and as a client services professional. In return for your services we will provide a competitive salary, 23 days off a year (plus weekends and public holidays), an annual volunteering day, free parking and a modern workspace.

Creative Emporium is an equal opportunities employer.

No agencies please – we want to talk to candidates!

 How to apply:

Send your CV and covering letter to hr@creativeemporium.co.uk

Les

day in the life of…

This month, our spotlight is on Account Director Lesley, who is talking squid powerbanks, creative challenges, and making the impossible, possible…

Us: “Hi Lesley! So, for our blog readers, can you tell us a bit about your role as Account Director?

LES: “I’m an Account Director and have worked in the promotional products industry (and at CE) for over 16 years, so I hold the coveted title of being the company’s first employee back when we were a team of three (we now employ over 70 people!).

My role involves working closely with our team of superstar Account Managers to ensure that our client relationships are nurtured and looked after in the most efficient and effective way. This means building a strong relationship with our clients, providing the best customer service and experience, whilst ensuring our prices are always competitive and our product offering is unique to their brief.”

Us: “What three words would you use to sum-up a typical day in the CE office?”

LES: “Eventful, Exciting, Non-stop!”

Us: “And what one word would you use to describe why you love your job?”

LES: “Challenging”

Us: “Can you tell us what has been your biggest creative challenge to date and how you overcame it?”

LES: “Working with one of our long-standing clients on a big event for one of their retail partners. We had to create a stand that was eye-catching that also fit within a tight budget. We were restricted as we hadn’t visited the site and had to work from rough measurements alone (which, might I add, doubled a week prior to the event so we had to change everything!)

We had limitations as to how the POS could be displayed. Nothing could be attached to the existing structure, so all had to be free-standing. With Health and safety regulations to consider too, it was a complex endeavor!

I worked closely with a number of suppliers to overcome these issues, and the proof was in the pudding with the results….the final stand fit together seamlessly and looked fabulous. It was delivered on time, and most importantly, on budget – to the client’s delight!”

Us: “What has been your favourite promotional campaign or project for a client and why?”

LES: “There are too many to choose from so I’ll have to opt for the most memorable. I would say working with a large shopping centre client over the festive period. Not only did we create merchandise that could be handed out to staff as a ‘thank you’; but we also created giveaway merchandise for consumers, such as ‘reindeer food’ which was made from oats and edible glitter. We also supported their ‘Black Friday’ campaign which consisted of sourcing Flashing Christmas Jumpers and Elf Hats! The whole of this period was full of sourcing weird and wonderful items, that in some cases, we literally had to piece together. The short deadlines created the buzz and energy that I love – and the finished printed products looked amazing with the Christmas graphics.”

Us: “Tell us your fave 3 promo products and why?”:

LES:

• Squid Powerbank – Modern, Stylish, Useful

powerbank

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

• Packaging – Added Value, Brand Exposure, Luxurious

nectar box

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

• Custom Cakes – Unique, Tasty, Appreciated

cake

 

 

 

 

 

 

Us: “In your own words, what do you think makes CE different/unique?”

LES: “We’re constantly striving for improvement – we’re hungry for it and it’s this hunger that keeps us going. We like to make the impossible, possible – we can literally source anything no matter how ‘whacky’ it might seem, and we work closely with our clients to ensure we’re adapting to their needs and requirements.”

Complete Branding Solution

We’re experts in providing the complete branding solution for our clients, so please get in touch today to discuss your requirements and how we can help you with your branded merchandise and clothing. Call us on 08707 500057 or drop us a line by email.