Content marketing; has it changed everything, or not?

Once upon a time, it was all so simple and straightforward. There were messages that you paid for: advertising, in all its forms, and there were messages that you didn’t pay for: editorial (of course, you did pay for that too, but not directly; you paid your PR company and they – hopefully – got your messages across via journalists).

Now though, it’s all different; the Internet has given organisations and individuals the ability to access a potentially global audience via blogs, tweets, Instagram, Tumblr and all the other platforms, so now it isn’t simply a question of pushing messages out, it’s making information available via interesting content and hoping to attract readers who will eventually turn into customers.

Personally, I always have to have a picture (or infographic as people insist on calling practically everything these days) to make sense of things; this is my picture of how content marketing has changed things.

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Great, lovely. So here we all are, chasing our customers via multiple touch points, SEO and organic search but, as we can see from my handy diagram, while it undoubtedly has become hard to define exactly where advertising stops and editorial starts, they are both still there, and one still depending on the other for its livelihood.

Phew, so that’s all right then; I’m not entirely redundant, and people still need great creative ideas to help them sell stuff. Hurrah!

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Branding and marketing: what’s the difference?

brtanding & marketing imagesMany people don’t appreciate the important differences between brand and marketing.

Brand and marketing, and the differences between the two, aren’t just misunderstood by consumers, they’re misunderstood in most companies, even in their marketing departments.

 

So, because we love to help, here’s an easy guide to help you navigate your way between the two areas and see their potential to improve your business.

Branding imageBranding: “promise delivered”

You make a promise to customers and colleagues with everything you do and, to be successful, you must deliver on that promise every single time. The idea that a brand is a badge, a name or a colour is just a tiny fraction of what a brand actually is.

Some businesses take the trouble to articulate what they are from day one and, as long as they stay small and keep the same employees, then they may not need to repeat this exercise. However, for most firms, things change – sales drop, people leave or a competitor threatens your patch. Then what do you do? If you define what your brand stands for then it becomes easier to make decisions: who you should hire, what products to sell, how your communications should sound and even what your office environment should look like.

The key to unlocking the power of your brand is involving your employees. Take them with you through this process and have a brand expert on hand to help guide you. This does not need to be costly or take up too much time. However, once this is done, it could set up a brand strategy for your business that lasts for years.

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What marketing delivers

Marketing is defined by the Chartered Institute of Marketing as “The management process responsible for identifying, anticipating and satisfying customer requirements profitably”.

Marketing, then, is an integral part of your brand. It helps you to communicate the promise that you want customers and prospects to know about. Your marketing should also be based on your brand positioning, personality, values and tone of voice that have all been defined and communicated among your staff.

In essence, marketing is what you do to get your message or promise to customers, while your brand is how you keep the promise made through delivery to customers and colleagues.

Where Bull Rodger can help

Much of our most successful work has revolved around branding: helping companies to understand where they sit in their competitive landscape and how best to differentiate themselves. We’ve developed brands and sub-brands for the likes of Lloyds TSB, Panasonic, Cotswold Outdoor and BP Chemicals, as well as a host of smaller, niche operations. By getting their brands right, they’re able to grow market share in a sustainable way.

If you get the foundations right, there’s no limit to how high you can build the house.

Comic Sans and the sense of humour by-pass

The gallons of vitriol that have been poured over poor old Comic Sans in recent years by a lengthening queue of indignant graphic designers is really not fair. THERE’S NOTHING WRONG WITH IT, it’s simply that, since Microsoft issued it 20 years ago, it’s been misused by 857,972,604* ordinary people who don’t know no better, bless them.

And it’s not like Comic Sans is the only poorly applied font in history; I mean, if some stylish young stud decides to use Blackletter for the number plates on his car, you don’t blame the font, you just laugh at the lunacy of using such an illegible type style and wait for Old Bill to feel his collar.

But I digress. Full marks to McSweeny’s, that very fine vendor of interesting books and affiliated merchandise, for producing this lovely mug. Just the thing for the graphic designer in your life.

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You know Christmas is coming and all, and you can find out all about it here: http://bit.ly/1tMklsD

Your pays your money, you takes your choice.

It’s never a good idea to poke fun at other people’s writing, especially if, like us, you’re far from perfect. That said, these two delicious cards came through the door recently – about a week apart – and raised quite a few smiles in the studio.

Taslimi

First came Mr Taslimi, whose fully confidential advice covers a bewildering array of subjects, but he has been completely eclipsed by the much more impressively named Professor Sankoun.

Sankoun

The good professor promises, amongst other things, that he can ensure the person we love will come back as a dog. The fact that he also offers to accept payment after result does tempt one to try him out, not that I would prefer any of my loved ones in canine form, but there’s a bit in there about attention of client which might come in very handy…

Greetings from hopes.drums.moves

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Thanks to the Wiki Man, Rory Sutherland, for alerting us to what3words.com, a great new concept in location finding. They’ve divided the world into 3m squares — 57 trillion of them, maybe Heinz should be talking to them about some kind of sponsorship — and given each one of them a unique, three-word address; large.chest.front, for example, is just west of Chicago O’Hare airport.

The really clever thing is that these verbal addresses are immeasurably easier to share by phone, email or text than conventional grid references and, at only 3 metres square, they’re accurate enough to locate you precisely; your exhibition stand at Excel, or tent at Glastonbury.

Oh yes.

It always pays to check.

Doilies

When I saw these, I was convinced I was looking at a monumental and hilarious typo. I mean, everyone knows that it’s spelt doilies, right?

Wrong.

Wikipedia reckons that Swantex are not in error, and that this is only one of several possible spellings. Ah well, even the smartest smartarse has to be wrong sometimes.

On the subject of checking though… found this in a store in Maine recently.

Decal

And, we’re back in the room.

It’s true what they say about the cobbler’s children; we really have been so busy, we haven’t blogged for ages or updated the website (on the upside, we have lots of new work we can put up – when we have a minute).

Anyway, we decided to start from scratch and pretend we’ve never blogged before.

First up in the ‘stuff we really like’ department is this great poster from weliveunbound.com. Rarely has the prospect of camping seemed so glamorous and attractive. Love it.

five-billion-star-hotel