09.08.2016

Oi, you, look at me

With creative work, whether it’s branding, design or advertising, the most important thing is to be noticed (old skool AIDA). If no one is looking at you, they’ll never see your message, let alone do what you’re trying to influence them to do.

This article, Using every trick in the book to be remembered, from Campaign features some of the common tricks used in TV advertising. Making sure you stand out with your creative is one easy way to make your marketing work harder, which is why I’m always surprised that so many marketing directors are scared of being different from their competition and the market.

Take a position, have an opinion, do something a little unexpected and yes, you might not appeal to everyone but you’ll make those that do like you like you even more, and they’ll be far more likely to be evangelical about your brand. Surely that’s better than blending into the crowd, where nobody notices you and nobody cares?

After all, those brands you admire that you mentioned in your brief probably did something a little different, which is what got you raving about them in the first place. Isn’t it time you joined them?

Author:
Stephen Holmes
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29.07.2016

It’s (not) fantastic!

The latest round of Go Compare’s TV adverts are even more irritating than usual (hard to imagine, I know).

Clearly, the brief said “we want everyone to think that Go Compare is fantastic!”, and okay, I can see how that’s a good thing. But where they went wrong was thinking the best way to meet the brief was to include the word ‘fantastic’ in almost every sentence – in effect, keyword cramming like it’s 1990s SEO. Count them in the 60-second spot below: seven times!

That sadly means their advert’s lasting impression is anything but fantastic 🙁

Author:
Stephen Holmes
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06.05.2016
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Something for the weekend: Ducks, death and dogs with jobs

Happy sunny Friday, marketing fans! As always (well, sometimes) we’re here to save you, ohhh, at least five minutes by tracking down the best of the week’s online gems so you can click and read and laugh and learn all the live long day. No need to thank us, although we do like Cadbury’s Fingers a lot at the moment if you’re passing Sainsbury’s.

Design

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Writing

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Everything else 

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Have a lovely weekend, ya filthy animals xxx

Author:
Siobhan O'Brien Holmes
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04.05.2016

Come on, come on, let’s work together

I know we haven’t had a chance to tell you how wonderful Pollen was last month, but rest assured it was wonderful. Thank you so much to the 120-odd attendees who dragged themselves to central London on a Tuesday evening to talk to strangers and play bingo. We had an excellent night and met so many lovely people, and we’re already looking forward to the next one.

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Traditionally, networking events have been something I’ve feared and hated with the passion of a thousand suns. I’m not a natural ‘joiner’, and I don’t even like being around all my best friends at once let alone total bloomin’ unknown grown-ups in suits. Steve is fabulous at chatting to strangers and never runs out of things to talk about, so he can’t understand why I hate these situations so much, but I know I’m not alone! Around 50% of the population are introverts, and if anything sends an introvert into a spiral of fear and nausia it’s a networking event. But they can be so useful in terms of meetings new people, finding potential new clients, maybe hunting for a new role, so it’s a real shame that half the UK avoids them like the plague.

Pollen is great for me because it instantly gives me a reason to talk to people, and that’s always been my biggest worry: won’t people think I’m annoying or weird if I just walk right up to them and start talking? Well, no, they won’t, because that’s sort of the point of networking, but it’s easier said than done. If you’re having trouble with the approach, I recommend planning out what you’re going to say to people when you introduce yourself. Tell them a funny fact about yourself, or something weird that happened to you at work today, or just be honest and tell them you’re a little nervous because you find networking a bit awkward. There’s a 50/50 chance that this person feels exactly the same way and will be delighted to chat to somebody on their wavelength, but if you’ve chanced upon an extrovert, relax: they’ll be more than happy to steer the conversation and prod your sales pitch out of you.

There are loads of websites full of networking tips for nervous Normans like us, such as:

But one of the best suggestions I’ve found is contacting / researching people in advance. Go through the guest list, see who you want to meet and read up on them so you’ve got a ready-made icebreaker when you get there. Email them in advance and tell them you’d love to chat on the night. I, for one, fear the unknown in these situations, so having somebody I can seek out and speak to on arrival makes things a little bit easier. Another tip is to get there early. I usually rock up to these things as late as possible so I get minimum face time, but getting there before everybody else and settling in with a drink positions you as the person new arrivals want to talk to. You’ll probably get chatting to the hosts too, because they’ll be standing around waiting for the masses to show up, and you can grill them for some extra insight into who’s coming and what to expect from the event. Plus, you can leave as early as you like because you were the first one there and that always earns brownie points.

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So, if you are the shy and retiring type or you’ve never been to a networking event and think it sounds dreadful, know that I will do my best to make it easier on you if you come to Pollen! Hang out with me until you find somebody better to talk to. I won’t be offended.

I’d love to know what you like or don’t like about networking events and how we could make Pollen even better, especially if you’re an introvert! Leave us a comment and we’ll send you positive vibes.

Author:
Siobhan O'Brien Holmes
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29.04.2016

Sio’s copywriting swipe file #4: Apartment Therapy

Typically, 404 pages fill me with rage and leave me fiddling furiously with the URL until I figure out where some over-worked marketing assistant has forgotten to put a hyphen or backslash. But a nice error message like this one tends to soothe me a tad:

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This one isn’t as much about the copy as it is about the overall concept. It comes courtesy of Apartment Therapy, a ridiculously popular home interiors blog I read sometimes, and the ‘we missed a spot’ idea is cute given the theme. But I really like the consolation links they’ve provided, offering suggestions for finding other lost things, like missing pets and a silent phone. It’s funny, it helps revive old posts (one of them contains a few affiliate links so the extra clicks won’t hurt) and it makes you think they really do feel pretty crap about sending you on a wild goose chase.

Why every brand doesn’t bother crafting a bespoke 404 page I’ll never know. This article gives an interesting little summary of the anatomy of a 404 page, along with some super clever pages like this one from, of course, Virgin Holidays.

And of course if you’re curious, you can go hunting for Bloodybigspider’s 404 page. See you there!

Author:
Siobhan O'Brien Holmes
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