Category: Branding

A view from PressPoint - Finding your voice

A view from PressPoint – Finding your voice

In business, the companies that shout the most, get noticed. They always seem to have something to say about their own products, sharing testimonials or simply interacting with their customer base. Most of the time, this converts nicely into sales.

The key to getting a message across while not alienating or annoying the audience, comes down to an engaging tone of voice. Company voice now goes beyond the traditional customer-facing aspects such as reception or face to face in shops, showrooms or at exhibitions. It applies to all platforms where a business is active, be that on the website, social media or in person. Company voice should be used to promote values, ideas and help a business or product stand out.

The wording on a website says a lot about the company it represents – it should be concise and informative, and explain exactly what a customer will get from the company.

Take lasagne sheets for instance. Tesco describes its product as “Dried lasagne pasta made from Durum wheat semolina” – simple, to the point, and the end user knows exactly what they are getting. However, the way in which Waitrose describes its version of the humble lasagne sheet, elevates the product and captivates the imagination of the buyer: “Our pasta is made in the village of Fara San Martino, in the Abruzzo region of Italy, from 100% Italian Durum wheat and water from the local mountain spring.” Both ways are describing the pasta are correct and can be instantly associated with the two organisations. Tesco is accurate, with a no nonsense description, while Waitrose is more detailed, including sophisticated messaging. The key is consistency of message. A consistent voice helps build trust and leaves a lasting impression on clients.

Nowadays, brand voice is most noticeable and, in many cases, damaging across online platforms. The way in which a business presents itself on social media via Facebook and Twitter is vital. Inactivity on official pages and lengthy response times set off alarm bells for customers. As do politically minded posts – social media makes the sharing of information incredibly easy, so keep personal opinions for your personal account.

Some companies opt to be loud and proud – shouting that their products or services are the best (Cillit Bang anyone?). If this is backed up with a good amount of testimonials, it gets the company noticed; it piques the interest of potential customers. From here, brand voice comes into its own – it is often the make or break of a transaction. If the voice doesn’t engage or jars with the customer, they’re only three clicks away from another supplier. However, if the voice is friendly and understanding, there is a far better chance a sale will be made.

House style has to come into the mix somewhere – such as how you greet or sign off messages – but content is far more persuasive if it has a human touch. No one wants a robotic, automated message – they want to feel that their question or problems has been taken on board and treated with individual attention. Humanising responses is important, be that using their name or repeating information they have sent to you – if they tell you their horse ‘Bert’ has an issue, include Bert’s name in the response.

For some, this may all sound like hard work. It takes time to personalise responses to each individual, but it is worth it! Just as a friendly face is important inside a store, a friendly, personal and human voice is important online.

Remind yourself, all is not lost if one exchange goes south. You can change your voice or rectify situations with honesty. Not notice a Facebook message? Explain this to the customer and maybe offer something in the way of a discount – do not just hope the problem goes away. The sender will take offence and will certainly not recommend the company to friends.

Going back to lasagne sheets – it is worth bearing in mind that the price differential between the two is quite large. While they are basically the same product, the reworked wording gives customers a reason to spend more, and many will do just that. Going that little bit further with developing your own voice may result in increased sales.

branding for rural businesses

Dirty Menus and branding for rural businesses

Does this ring any bells?… You pick up a menu, but you don’t get as far as looking at the enticing meal options as the first thing you notice is that the menu is stained with traces of dried food from previous diners.

The image that you form and the emotions that you feel are exactly the same when you come into contact with brands, and sometimes it’s just as negative too! Has anyone got anything good to say about a train company?

But the best brands have a purpose and they have a personality, they breed loyalty and they have value. Think about Barbour, think about Land Rover, think about John Deere, and then think about the premium price they can charge because of the properties which are invested in those brands.

But don’t ever think that this is unattainable or just for the big boys.

An effective and attractive brand is useful in so many ways for rural businesses in the UK, one of PressPoint’s clients is using the brand we created as a signpost to its quality, and to successfully sell their products into the regional arm of a major multiple retailer. In effect, his brand has opened the door to a whole new revenue stream. The retailer really bought into the brand and into the product, and the results are now on its shelves. It’s stories like these which emphasise the need for rural businesses to take their branding much more seriously.

When it comes to thinking about your brand, start at the very beginning. What drove you, or the founders of the business, to start the business? Of course time moves on and businesses change and adapt all the time, but the reasons behind the formation of the business are often at the root of what a business should stand for today.

Our client Allen & Page was founded as a limited company in 1936 but had been producing and selling feeds for a number of years prior to that. Their commitment to only using the highest quality ingredients in the feed they produce, to ensure healthy and happy animals, is as strong today as it has ever been. 

Animal nutrition has changed immeasurably since Allen & Page started manufacturing its feed and the company has kept on innovating to stay ahead of the competition, but each time they have developed or improved a product they have endeavoured to keep it as natural and wholesome as it can be.

Their feed products today contain no GM ingredients, no animal by-products and are manufactured in a drug-free mill. Whilst other feed companies have fallen by the wayside in terms of the composition of their feed, Allen & Page has gained and maintained its accreditation from the major food production and quality control organisations for their feeds, including the Soil Association, the Vegetarian Society and ISO.

This highly ethical stance underpins everything they do – from the way they do business, to their team of animal nutritionists who are meeting people every day and giving people truly unbiased advice on how and what to feed their animals. 

So when we create anything for Allen & Page; an advertising campaign, a product launch, a website or even a humble leaflet we understand that whatever we do create, must be true to Allen & Page’s core principles and crucially, convey to the audience that Allen & Page are still true to its own principles.

We like to think that if the founding fathers of Allen & Page could see their business today, they would very proud of the brand which has been created from the ethos they instilled all those years ago.

Whether you’re looking at your brand for the first time or looking to bring it up-to-date, don’t get too caught up in the marketing speak we agencies use as shorthand for common sense marketing principles. In future blogs we’ll attempt to demistify the jargon which surrounds branding for rural businesses and give you some hints and tips to help you understand how you can create a successful rural brand.

Content Marekting Graphic

How to understand and fix content marketing problems

Ensuring that your content marketing looks as good as possible is extremely important, yet many people make mistakes, most of which are totally unavoidable. What are the most common problems and how do you fix them?

Having a strategy will help you to steer your content marketing in the right direction. You have to understand who you are creating the content for and what you would like them to get from it. If you do not asses this from the outset, then you will have problems. Firstly, think about your customers: who are they and why are they reading your content in the first place? You have to realise where your brand is positioned as a result of this content. Once you have worked this out, then you can make subtle changes to your content as are necessary to see increased awareness, leads and sales.

Social media moves at a fast pace and fighting to respond as quickly as possible to posts can cause issues if you don’t stop to think about your response properly. You need to seriously consider how the content will be interpreted and how those viewing it can and will engage with it; because if you get it horribly wrong it can stick with you for a very long time.

Content marketing is not about you. It is all about your audience and those you are trying to connect with. This means that your content has to be relevant, which in turn means that you do not have to be in line with the current trends but that you fully understand what ‘your’ target audience is interested in. To understand this, use analytics to find out what they are looking at on your site, but also to find out what is being shared. Find out what successful content your competitors have been creating as this can help you understand the needs of your customers and by making sure you are authentic is crucial because this is what they expect.

There is no issue with you stamping your company name and logo on all of the content that you create but this is not the way it should be done. Some of the most effective content comes lightly branded and in some instance even non-branded and totally generic. Research shows that many people are now conditioned to ignore anything that remotely resembles an advert so if your audience are not responding in any way then there is a possibility that you could be over-branding. To solve this issue try delivering content that is relevant and useful, whilst ensuring that you give branding more of a background role.

It is quite surprising to find that many people still believe content marketing should include many keywords but this is not the case because a content strategy that can stand the test of time has to have the right content because the aim is to make it easy for people to find you and then keep them there. Thought leadership articles and key opinions should not be underestimated because this can really make your value stand out to your audience.

If you are creating content that you plan to use to target every channel, every day, then you are going to find It difficult because if you are trying to put your content out there, to everyone, you will not be marketing yourself effectively. To deal with this problem create excellent pieces of content and then turn them into other formats and this can be done by sharing key points through social media, creating podcasts and extracting quotes to create ‘quiet’ graphics.








Social Media including Instagram

Instagram marketing and its benefits

Instagram has over 300 million users and a large proportion of these are young adults. From a marketing perspective it enables you to really reach out to consumers who use the site. As a platform, it provides an opportunity to give your brand a personality and presence, which is why it has a number of benefits when it comes to marketing.

  1. The visual impact that Instagram offers cannot be ignored. It is the perfect platform from which you can show off your products. Make your customers think differently through portraying your products in a number of different ways.
  1. Instagram has grown extremely quickly in the last year, in fact it has the fastest growth of any other social site, proving that its popularity should not be ignored!
  1. Instagram is owned by Facebook, which means that it can make excellent use of demographic data to ensure that the right content is directed at the right people.
  1. Instagram is now seen as the main way of engaging with users when it comes to branded content in the world of social media. Branded content on Instagram created a per-follower engagement rate of 4.21% which is higher than that of Facebook or twitter. Therefore, interaction with customers is improved and relationships can be created.
  1. There is every possibility that your customers are already discussing you and your business on Instagram, especially if they have visited you in person. An example of this is hotels, bars and even restaurants where customers Instagram photos of their rooms and meals they have eaten along with comments and feedback which could be valuable. The simplest way to find out whether you have been posted about on Instagram is to post a picture yourself and tag the location of it. Once it is submitted and live you will be given a link that will allow you to see every other picture that was taken in the same location.
  1. Instagram enable users to link in their content with other social media platforms. This is a feature that you have to enable through the settings but it will mean that you can share to both Facebook and Twitter at the same time. This will make your post more powerful and will reach a wider audience. Also, make sure that the content you post is relevant. The marketing capabilities of Instagram are huge but you have to get it right in order to make your brand feel real which in turn makes it personal to those who follow you. If you create images that are replicas of the kind of adverts you would see on advertisement boards then members of the public cannot relate to it. Instead help them build a picture and visualise your image in their world. The whole aim of this is to keep it real and authentic because that will allow you to really maximise the potential of Instagram.

On the whole Instagram is massive when it comes to marketing and it has huge benefits that can really give your brand an image whilst connecting with people.

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The difference between iconic branding and fashionable trends

When developing your brandING you need to know the difference

Brand development is a process which should be handled with a long term strategy. Unfortunately, many brands emerging into the current market are not geared to the iconic but to the fashionable trends of the current market. These brands are currently seeing a draw to their products and services but once the fashion trend shifts, the branding will become obsolete. Understanding the differences between iconic branding and fashionable trending is essential to any business’ success.

Iconic branding is more than just a logo

One of the biggest mistakes with current branding trends is that the branding focuses primarily on the logo. Yes, you need a strong logo, but let us consider that if the logo is developed to current trends instead of proven sustainably, the logo is subject to revisions in the future. You can see that there are a few major corporations which have jumped on the logo branding train. Where a company may have a logo that has fonts and branding, if the logo of the branding is consistently having to change to keep up with the shifts in the market, then that brand is not iconic but fashionable. Worse, the branding is based upon a logo which is based upon fashion trends. Such a methodology in creating your branding is doomed to fail as the trends in logo design are consistently changing. Something as subtle as a trend shift from a specific color could cause your whole brand to falter.

Fashionable trends follow companies which are popular. Icon companies follow the successful ones

When planning branding strategy, a company needs to focus on the most successful companies, not the most popular. Branding and company worth is quickly established by some companies because they have a gap, which they can fill for a time. Do you remember how popular the Duck Dynasty and Duck Commander branding was a few years ago? Many outdoor companies focused their branding to mimic that of the company. But where is the popularity in the brand now? Many of those companies which followed the trend have to re-envision their branding strategy.

Modeling your branding after an iconic brand increases your chances of having an iconic brand yourself. Companies such as Coke, Apple, Caterpillar, and Microsoft have stood the test of time in their branding. Those which are establishing their brand should look beyond the logo and see how these companies have established their brand. How has the company used mobile marketing? What PR strategies have been used to build the brand? By understanding the mindset of these iconic companies, you can implement successful techniques to set your business a head above the others.

There is a difference between being modern and relevant and being “trendy”

Though it may upset a few companies, it is worth stating. Windows 10 branding for other companies is a fashion trend. Every Dick, Jane, and Sally is using the monotone colors in their branding so that it will “look good” on the OS and mobile devices. While companies should not abandon the desire to have such a graphic “accompanying” their branding, building an entire branding and marketing strategy based upon this trend is a dangerous and (quite frankly) cliché move. Establish a brand that will be sustainable when the minimalistic trend is over.

So, how do I determine if my brand is iconic or trendy?

The best way to determine if your brand is iconic or trendy is to ask yourself a few questions:

  • Is my branding dependent upon my logo?
  • Is my branding modelled after a company which has not been established for decades?
  • Have I focused on marketing strategies and PR?
  • If the desired market were to shift tomorrow would my company’s future be in danger?
  • If you were a customer and presented with your branding would it be unique or would it look like everyone else’s? Are you distinguishable?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, then the odds are that your branding has been mismanaged and developed to meet the current trends. Whilst your business will not fail, it is predictable that you will have to redesign your branding in the future. As we have seen, even if you are successful with your product, if you do not have a strong branding there is no way to tell you apart from all the other businesses out there.

We are here to help

If you find that your branding is less then iconic and want to establish a brand for your company which will stand the test of time, or if you have any enquiries as to the branding services offered by PressPoint please feel free to contact us.

Mobile Marketing - Countryside and Equestrian Blog

7 Reasons why the Mobile Market is where you should target your branding

How modernisation of your branding into new technologies will help your company.

When it comes to branding, there are many strategies which are effective. Yet, a great deal of the strategies fails to see the golden vein of mobile marketing. Recent research has shown that one out of every three people on the planet have a mobile tablet or smartphone. Facebook has reported that they have user accounts for one out of every seven people, and YouTube has stated that over a million videos are streamed each day. Now, consider traditional marketing and branding. You will see that although it is still important, that there has been a paradigm shift away from such mediums. Here are seven reasons why you should focus your branding on the mobile market.

Number One: mobile branding markets to the current masses

Branding which is geared to the mobile market maximises a businesses exposure. Where it may be that word of mouth carries a great deal of weight concerning a business’ brand, the internet is the new voice in which it is done. Internet usage on social media sites in the UK averaged 35 hours per month per person (As reported on )

Number Two: you have to have a website anyway, why not integrate it?

Any professional business needs to have a website. Due to the algorithm changes implemented in April 2015 by Google, those sites which are mobile friendly will receive higher SERPs (Search Engine Result Pages) than those which only have a laptop or desktop oriented page. Google is also discussing the integration of the social media into their algorithm. So to help your branding and SEO it is best to have it geared to the mobile market.

Number Three: mobile market branding establishes your business as modern

Businesses which use mobile technology, specifically in building their brand, are seen as being modern and up to date with the latest methodologies of business. Consider, if a business is relying only on business cards, a nice sign outside their business, and some local advertisement, their brand is really not saying “Hi, we are modern, we embrace technology”. Rather you are giving the message that you are set in your ways and that there is no bit of technology which will change that. Whether this may or may not be true, you do not want to convey that in your branding.

Number Four: branding through mobile media builds trust

One of the keys in having a great brand is having transparency with your business. If the consumer is made to feel like they can contact you through social and mobile media your businesses brand will become stronger, especially if you have a dedicated way in which for your customers to do so. Businesses which have no mobile and social integration are often seen as being distant and as trying to “cover something up”. If you want to establish a great brand for your company you need to be connected to the customers to whom you are selling your products and services.

Number Five: mobile marketing in your branding gives you quicker feedback for your business/services

Customer engagement and response time in the mobile world is almost instantaneous. You can quickly gauge how your brand is performing using customer engagement surveys, social media, apps, and so on. On the other hand, if you are not targeted to mobile marketing strategies in your branding, you have to rely upon field studies and analysing hard data. This is tedious, and realistically becomes outdated by the time it is completed. By allocating a great potion of your branding and marketing to the mobile market, your feedback upon your products and services will be guided quicker and more efficiently.

Number Six: brand accountability is maximized on the mobile market

Accountability is among the top things which make or break a business. If a consumer believes that a business does not care about their product or services, the business will fail. If a business has great services they need to build customer loyalty for the product or service. Whether you like it or not, your business is already being held accountable online. Posts and shares about your business are already on the internet. It would befit any business therefore, to ensure that they are focused on creating the branding that they want (and not give the power to the customer to create your brand) online.

Number Seven: mobile marketing is the least expensive and most extensive methodology to expand your brand consciousness

Where you may have a great brand and a great marketing team (which I hope you do), nothing will come close to reaching the market that your brand will reach if it is made for mobile marketing. With mobile marketing you can have apps for easy access to your brand, others can share and comment on your branding, the base is global, and you do not have anything but time that usually has to be invested.

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