How We Work

METHODOLOGY

We deliver integrated marketing solutions. Although each solution is unique to the specific requirements of individual clients, we follow a structured process which can be broadly split into six definitive stages – client briefing, market research, strategic development, creative concepts, project execution and performance analysis.

We don’t like to cut corners, although this does not mean that we have to spend significant time and money in all of these areas.

IT’S IN THE PLANNING

Where the project scope is simple and small scale, where there is a good business plan in place and a clear briefing document exists, where we are provided with the right information about customers, marketplace, products, services, historical activities, sector-specific issues, competitor activities and so on, where a marketing plan is communicated to us, where a marketing strategy is in place and where there is a very clear and definitive set of goals – then we are able to move efficiently and effectively through to the creative stage in the process, which is where clients understandably like to spend most of their time and money.

The role of a framework such as ours is to deliver better results. It is not to slow things down, or to create unnecessary work or expense.

CLIENT BRIEFING

The initial client briefing can make or break the process.

Firstly, we need to establish the core objectives a client wishes to achieve.

We don’t like too many wishy-washy aims as this will potentially lead to a lack of focus when it comes to execution. We also need to ensure we know who is involved in the decision-making process from the word go, so that they are explicitly involved in the sign-off process at key development milestones. We need to know everything there is to know about your customers, and we need to understand the features and benefits of your product and service propositions inside out.

We interrogate. We ask difficult questions. We seek insight.

IT’S THE ABILITY TO TALK

Each client project will also have a series of specific factors, which we group into a final “What else do we need to know?” section.
Core Objectives
Key Stakeholders
Customer Profiles
Features & Benefits
Budget & Timing
General Information

MARKET RESEARCH

Once we have completed the client briefing stage (which will include an in-depth interrogation of the key objectives, budget and expectations), we begin our internal process with market research, to ensure that we understand our client’s business to the necessary level of depth, followed by a brainstorming session which will help to establish some key insights that will drive development of the outline marketing strategy. The extent of research which we undertake will be determined by need and resource. It will probably involve internal and external conversations with management, staff, customers, partners and competitors – as appropriate. It potentially involves desk research, qualitative and quantitative procedures – dependent on available budget.

IT’S THE ABILITY TO TALK

The nature of these three sections is dependent on the type, scale and scope of the project and might include the purchase of economic data and third party industry sector reports, a review of the client’s business plan and a general internal corporate health check, face-to-face consultations with staff, mystery shopping (where appropriate), competitor analysis, qualitative focus groups, quantitative online questionnaire, one-one-one telephone conversations – and so on.

The purpose of research is to provoke meaningful insight through thorough understanding.

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Industry Survey
2
Client Analysis
3
Competitor Study
4
Staff Consultation
5
Focus Group
6
Online Panel

STRATEGIC DEVELOPMENT

For our purposes, the core component parts of a marketing strategy are likely to include an investigation and recommendations regarding some or all of the following key elements: identification of corporate issues, establishment of brand values, product and/or service positioning, unique selling propositions (USPs), audience profiling, sales pipeline processes, marketing media mix, creative direction, the acquisition of new customers, the retention of current customers, cross-selling to existing customers and the creation of brand loyalty amongst ambassadorial customers. If the demands of the outweigh the resources available, then it is important to concede that 100% achievable of the objects might be unrealistic.

It is worth noting that strategy is an often misunderstood word or concept.

IT’S UNDERSTANDING THE USP

We define it as follows – the most efficient use of resources to try and achieve stated objectives. “Resources” generally refers to three key factors: knowledge, commitment and money – without these constraints, any objective would be possible.
It is useful to note that a marketing strategy is not necessarily the same thing as a marketing plan, which is often a much more detailed business plan model that looks at product research and development, customer pricing and special offers, showroom locations and so on.

That is why the word “try” is so important.

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Corporate Vision
2
Brand Proposition
3
Product positioning
4
Customer Engagement
5
Sales Process
6
Creative Direction

CREATIVE CONCEPTS

Once the marketing strategy has been reviewed, revised and agreed, we will then – and only then – commence the creative stage of the process. We always offer three different visual concepts for our clients to consider – these concepts will include key messages derived from the strategic direction our creative brief will refer to. We will demonstrate how these creative concepts will work across all relevant collateral, and we will then revise and amend the designs until they meet with the complete approval of our clients.

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

IT’S IMPORTANT TO LOOK GOOD

Armed with this information, we are now able to design and deliver all of the necessary marketing collateral in whatever media format is required – for websites and internet marketing, for printed sales collateral, for event marketing purposes, and so on. We will bring in our specialist team of photographers, cameramen, 3D animators, retouching experts, copywriters, artwork specialists, print managers etc. as required for each project. Once a specific creative approach has been agreed, we will develop and agree an appropriate tone of voice for copywriting purposes that will appeal to the target audience in support of brand values. We will create guidelines as required, especially important for corporate branding projects and long-term strategic campaigns. These guidelines will also consider imagery and typography as well as those areas already mentioned.
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Strategic Direction
2
Concept Visuals
3
Primary Statements
4
Project Guidelines
5
Graphic Design
6
Media Deployment

PROJECT EXECUTION

Quality project management is perhaps the most underestimated stage of the process – and yet it is just as important a talent as each of the previous stages. The ability to fine tune the strategic and creative approach during the process of delivery is a consummate skill, borne out of years of experience – alongside a genuine desire to deliver the very best solution possible. We predominantly think of the delivery stage as coming after the client briefing, the development of the marketing strategy, and the completion of the creative process.

IT’S IN THE DELIVERY

Project execution is the spirit of the corporate philosophy behind an agency’s DNA.

It is the on-going practical demonstration of the values and beliefs of the agency. We believe that high quality project management is what makes the difference between OK delivery and an amazing outcome. Unlike other marketing agencies which tend to push delivery onto junior members of the account management team, we believe that experience and knowledge are critical when it comes to execution, which is why you will only ever deal with a senior project management consultant. Delivery begins from the word go – it is the essence of the entire process. It ensures adherence to the various stages of the methodology.
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Timing Plans
2
Contact Reports
3
Team Management
4
Budget Control
5
Milestone Analysis
6
Continual Improvement

PERFORMANCE ANALYSIS

Some marketing projects are easier to evaluate than others.

When it comes to brand development or the creation of marketing communications materials, these in themselves are difficult to measure in terms of increasing sales – unless you are launching an e-commerce website, of course. When it comes to pay-per-click advertising, one can measure how long people remain on your site, which pages they visit, how many times they return – and so on. One needs to understand how the sales journey process is likely to work for your product or service, as the actual sale might take place a long time after the activity has taken place.

IT’S ALL ABOUT RESULTS

But we can still put performance criteria in place and tracking mechanisms. Sometimes, the important thing is not necessarily to use performance analysis to look at specific results but to use it as a tool to review how well the process has worked and to ensure that perception and fact are in close alignment. This part of the process can also identify issues and make recommendations for continual future improvement.

The growth of social media has provided an environment where it is easier to encourage longer term relationships with prospects and customers.

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Measurement Criteria
2
Performance Tracking
3
Data Analysis
4
Insight Generation
5
Key Recommendations
6
Continuous Improvement