Join us for: Build Your Brand Muscle and Command Love and Respect with your Customers!

Business is all about selling – right?  However, in order to have any chance of doing business, you need to get potential customers through the door (technically speaking), whether its bricks & mortar, online or face to face.

Competition is fierce in today’s market – whether you are a lawyer, accountant, retailer or service provider – and prospective customers are surrounded by constant “NOISE” in the form of emails, cold calls, brochures postal flyers, online pop ups, price match, best deals …etc.

In the midst of all this “NOISE”, how do you make sure your business stands out and keeps customers coming back?

Does your brand command the love and respect of your customers?

What makes it stand out, engage hearts and minds, and be truly memorable?

Our marketing sponsor The Sourcing Team will share insights on how to build and leverage a brand to deliver sales and business growth.

So join us to hear more about building and managing your corporate and personal brand for continued business growth.

When: Thursday, July 14th 17.45 – 20.00

Where: Barclays Bank. 43 High Street, Sutton, SM11DR

Register here!

All attendees will be given a FREE white paper on the subject, and top tips to take away for themselves and their own businesses. There will also be the chance to raise any questions you may have with our speakers, and for an informal chat with any of our sponsors for more general business advice.

As always, drinks and nibbles will be provided while you listen and mingle!

The only asset that matters is Connection

At this year’s PPAI EXPO, our Gill Thorpe, MD of the Sourcing Team, was lucky enough to hear master marketer Seth Godin’s keynote speech on Invisible Or Remarkable: Notes From The Revolution, where he showed his interpretation of what marketing should be today and which gave everyone plenty to think about. Gill covers the key elements of his speech here:

Seth’s message was simple – the only asset that matters is Connection  – who you know, who knows you, who’s paying attention to you.

Seth’s insight is based on the fact that he believes a giant shift has taken place in marketing over the past 50 years. We are connected to people worldwide through the web. Using real life stores and examples, he explained where and how he thinks marketing is evolving. He believes that the world is moving from an industrial economy to a connection revolution. In his own words *

“Mass merchants demanded mass markets to sell more stuff.  The mentality was that if we advertise it enough, people will buy from us. This is all fuelled by bosses who keep saying the four-letter word to us over and over again. M-O-R-E. More market share, more yield, more profit per share. This leads to average products for average people. All products are average on purpose, because if you want to reach everybody, you better make something everybody wants to buy.”

“In the 90s, advertising stopped working – because we could ignore it ever more easily. The mass market stopped being a mass market and splintered into little pieces.”

The internet fundamentally changed our ability to connect. Marketing used to be the same as advertising.

“Marketing is the promise that we make when we tell someone the story about what we do. And that means that everything we do is marketing. And if everything we do is marketing, and the mass market is gone, average people buying average things is no longer a way to make a living. …It’s not about how can I be cheaper than the competition and sell average stuff to average people – marketing becomes something more human, something more real.”

He continued, “We have enormous trouble doing this because we were raised to be obedient students and be successful cogs in the industrial system. When you are a cog in the system, you are not allowed to say this might not work. That’s reckless. But if we are going to do something that will connect us, something that people are going to talk about, that people will pay extra for, we have no choice but to do something real and artistic. But what it means to do something artistic is to do something that might not work.”

While most of us were taught from an early age to be quiet and fit in, Seth Godin now begs us to do the complete opposite. As he explained, the rules have changed. “There is an entire industry that is falling apart—the one that drove the mass marketing concept of interrupting everybody is going away. We are going into a completely new way of thinking and lots of people are looking in the rear-view mirror and thinking ‘How do we drive forward?’”

“The argument I’m making is that mass has left the boat. The people who want average stuff don’t care that much and if they don’t care, they’re just going to sort by price.

“The privilege of delivering personal, anticipated and relevant messages to people who want to get them, drives so much of what you are capable of changing in industries that need your help.  Also, for the first time ever, it is easy and imperative to treat different people differently.”

People like us in merchandising completely understand this.

As Seth remarked, “the generic water bottle with a logo on the side isn’t going to make anybody any money, because the minute you have a client that’s going to buy a lot of them, they’re going to buy them from someone cheaper than you.” Instead we focus on the people whose world view is… “I am the kind of person who cares about this. I am the kind of person who wants to be known for this. I am the kind of person who will pay extra to get extra…”

What Seth said echoed our ethos.  We are right-siders and we work with clients who want our expertise and our insights.  We believe that what we create is highly relevant for today and for our client’s audiences – which is why they come back to us. Our products say we care. They don’t say – here is another give away to add to your collection.

As Seth said,  there’s that one kind of person you should work with, and they’re over here on the right while everyone on the left is the undifferentiated, bottom feeding mass. We firmly sit on the right.

*Excepts taken from his keynote speech and interview during the PPAI Expo 2016 in Las Vegas.

Our next event – Cyber Fraud Awareness

January 20th 2016, 17.45pm @ Barclays Bank, 43 High Street, Sutton. Surrey.

Cyber fraud is one of the hottest topics around at the moment, with an increasing number of businesses falling prey to criminals. Experienced owners and staff are being tricked out of substantial sums through a variety of well-planned scams, that are becoming more and more sophisticated.

Supported by the Barclays Digital Eagles and members of the police force’s anti-fraud division, our free event will inform you about the different fraud scams happening all around us now, how to spot them, and, most importantly, how to prevent them.

This will be a very interactive session and you will come away armed with top tips to avoid becoming a victim of cyber fraud.

There will be the chance to raise any questions you may have with our speakers, and for an informal chat with any of our sponsors for more general business advice.

Drinks and nibbles will be provided to stave off any early evening cravings!

Please register for this event on our Eventbrite page.

This event is public in nature and so photographs and videos taken during the event may be used for promotional purposes, by the Sutton Business Initiative, its sponsors and other event partners.

How to improve your online presence

Here are 5 quotes to help you improve your brand image online

Communication starts with the consumer/customer before you even get to say hello, consumers will often have a look on your website, social media channels, blog and plenty of other channels, to see if you and them are a perfect match … or in most cases just good enough. This means before you’ve had a chance to say hello, consumers/customers will most likely know about your brand image. It is imperative that your brand image portrays exactly who you are and what you want to achieve because if it doesn’t you may be attracting the wrong type of consumer/customer for your business. This leads to the question, what is the first reaction your consumers/customers get when they search for your company’s name?

Website design and Content:

‘Almost everyone will make a good first impression, but only a few will make a good lasting impression.’ – Sonya Parker

You can be the architect of your business’ future, as you have the ability to control what you put on your website, how it looks, how interactive it can be. Your blog can have up-to-date information, relevant to your sector and most importantly relevant to the customer. Plus you can choose to have an active social media presence that is interesting and engaging.

Have a website:

‘If your business is not on the internet, then your business will be out of business.’ – Bill Gates, Founder of Microsoft

Only a few companies and even less industries have the option of not having a website to expand their customer base, so for the vast majority of companies it is the first step in creating a strong brand image. So make sure your logo is prominent throughout your site and content is optimised for the pleasure of the customer as well as search engines, because they do need to find you first. Also, make sure you have an inviting “call to action”, as they should be on your site for a particular purpose, and to help this make sure all fonts and images portray what your brand entails. This should help your brand to shine.

Keep a Current Blog:

You don’t write because you want to say something … you write because you have something to say.’ – F. Scott Fitzgerald, Writer

Blogging is important for a few reasons but for this blog I’m going to focus on positioning your brand as an industry leader and developing better customer relationships.

Blogs have the ability show how your company is at the forefront of your industry, by writing thought provoking, engaging articles. So by sharing knowledge you are showcasing the skills of your business, service or product.

This is also another way to connect with customers. By connecting directly on your website or sub website, customers are able to further understand what you are able to provide without making initial contact, which may persuade them to take that next step. Be it making a purchase, enquiry or forming a relationship.

Be Active on Social Media:

‘Social Media is here. It’s not going away; not a passing fad. Be where your customers are in social media.’ – Lori Ruff, Keynote Speaker

Social Media has been an absolute eye opener for consumers/customers, as they are on social media religiously in one platform or another. It may be Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Linkedin, Google+, YouTube, Tumblr and so many more. To companies, it’s an easy and cost effective way to build an online brand presence.

Being active on social media does not mean having a presence on every social media network; instead try to concentrate your efforts on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter & Google+ which are great for SEO. But remember it is to communicate with your consumers/customers so find out what platforms your consumers use and focus your efforts on those. This will let your brand image resonate with your consumers and you’ll be able to find out even more about them.

Address Complaints and ask for feedback:

‘ Your Brand is what people say about you, when you’re not in the room’ – Jeff Bezos, CEO of Amazon

Consumers/customers, tend to be polite to your face and rip you to shreds when you have your back turned, if your business, service or product isn’t up to scratch! Now with the internet there are various degrees of anonymity and you may think your complaint is so small it will go unnoticed but you may be surprised!  Websites such as Yelp.com, RipOffReviews.com and social media are now platforms for dissatisfied customers. These websites are designed to give customers a voice. The backlash may be unkind, if they are handled incorrectly.

It goes without saying that you should always try to solve the problem; however, it is now an important part of protecting your brand reputation.  Critically, the consumer should always come first and if they don’t they will shout about it on social! Capture feedback (good and bad) so that you can deal with any negativity, onlookers will appreciate errors occur but value a process for resolution.

Maintaining a strong online brand image is the best defence against negative customer reviews. Make sure to embrace testimonials and reviews on your website to show prospects that you’re being authentic, as usually the high number of positive reviews should outweigh the negative.

Prepared by: Michael Omoseyin, Marketing Executive – The Sourcing Team