Content marketing

What Marketing Directors Should Look For When Choosing An Agency

Whether your company is looking to create a TV advert for a new product, you feel like a bit of a rebrand complete with shiny new logo is in order, or just you just want a bit of help piecing together some copy for the blog. Deciding on the right agency to work with is rarely an easy choice. 

After all, the very thing creative agencies are there to do is to help brands understand, and engage with their audiences. It only stands to reason then, that these agencies are all pretty adept at utilising their skills to gain new business.

So with all the smoke and mirrors an agency could employ to impress you, just how can you be sure exactly which agency is best for you?  Obviously, the right answer would be to just get in touch with Vivid (we’re really not biased we promise…) but if you want to play the field a bit, here’s some things to look out for: 

 

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They don’t rest on their laurels

This is common among many of the larger agencies. Rather than pitching with enthusiasm and zeal about what they could do for you, they will instead talk about what they have done for others. 

While it’s an impressive boast to mention to your colleagues that one particular agency has previously worked with the big dogs like Coca-Cola or Virgin, that does not mean they are the de facto best fit for you. You don’t even know if that this particular agency was retired from its previous accounts for failing to deliver. 

Like  when interviewing a prospective employee, it’s good to know an agency has relevant experience in the field you operate in, this should not be the sole factor that you base your decision on.

Give all the agencies a chance when they pitch and really listen to what they propose they could do for you. 

 

A diverse team

It's all too easy to find yourself reassured by the assumed experience of a team of old industry veterans, or seduced by the trendy charms of a group of youngsters. It's better to  look out for agencies that offer a mixed bag of people with a wide range of ages and backgrounds. 

Team diversity is the secret ingredient when it comes generating original ideas that will really help your company flourish.

 

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You’ve got chemistry 

Ok, it’s all very good to have found an agency that you think will be able to help you generate the vital content you need to gain a competitive edge, but if you’d cross the road to avoid their account manager on your lunch break it’s just not going to work out well. 

Getting on with the team you’re going to be work with isn’t just an added bonus, they’ll work harder for you, you’ll be more confident in telling them what it is you’re looking for, and if you really hate something they produce, you'll be better prepared to tell them exactly what’s wrong with it. 

 

You have some shared values 

Now this one seems like a given, but it can easily be forgotten in all the noise and haste that surrounds a business when it’s looking for a new agency. Forming an alliance with a business that shares common values and ethics to yours, is more likely to result in a successful and long lasting relationship. 

If you’re a green consultancy you’re unlikely to want to work with an agency, that doesn’t even have a recycling bin. 

 

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They’re multi-talented

Ok, so there is much to be said about it being “better to do one thing well, than ten things poorly” but lets be frank, it’s even better to do ten things brilliantly than one well. There’s a vast sea of agencies out there who might make great print, digital, or video content. Having an agency that’s a bit of a Swiss army knife when it comes to what they offer gives to the versatility to mix up exactly what your content output is, after all convergence is the name of the game these days.

It’s also going to save you money, even if you think you only want to work on one channel. If you one day decide to try a new medium you’re not going to have to scour the earth looking for agencies all over again.

OmCap launches Vivid website

OmCap website Vivid Content Marketing

We are delighted to unveil a sparkling new website for our newest client, OmCap. Not heard of them? How very dare you – OmCap are financial and logistics wizards acting for clients who need to fund the purchase of what they call ‘big ticket items’. We thought a big ticket item meant a car or a washing machine, it turns out they mean entire fleets of commercial aircraft or container ships that are larger than some villages.

Vivid designed and built OmCap's website and new identity from the ground up. It stylishly conveys a potentially complex business in very a straightforward way and it's as sexy as hell. Much like the OmCap team themselves!

But don't take out word for it, take a look for yourself. 

The Ultimate Guide To Converting Your Loft

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We've just put the finishing touches to our Experts' Guide to Loft Conversions for home improvement innovators, Opun. This 32-page guide is the ultimate resource for any and everything there is to know and learn about converting a loft. Ever toyed with transforming your home by expanding upwards? This comprehensive guide will help you navigate any questions, concerns or queries you may have before, during, or even after you have completed your project. 

Apple’s HomePod marketing copy is just ridiculous - I’m still getting one though

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Apple loves to arrive late to a tech product category with the best solution at a premium price. And everyone loves to get upset by it. Every time it happens nerdy journalists (nerdalists?) proclaim the new gadget launch to be nothing more than ‘the emperor’s new clothes’, ‘dead on arrival’ and ‘over-hyped’.

It happened with the iPod ("overpriced... who wants to digitise music?" – single-handedly revolutionised the entire music industry), the iPad (“it's just a big iPod Touch" – fastest selling electronic product of all time), iPhone ("no chance of significant market share" – biggest selling consumer electronics product of all time), we could go on...

And so here we are again with the Apple HomePod. A smart speaker due to launch in two weeks time that’s again late to the party (by about two years). This time it's up against fierce competition from Amazon's Alexa-enabled Echo range, Google's Google Assistant powered Home range and Sonos (who've hurriedly bolted-on some smart features to keep up). When you consider that a quarter of all UK homes received some kind of smart speaker this Christmas, Apple's had better be pretty special if they want to make a dent in the speaker universe!

Well, late-to-market pressure seems to have got to Apple's marketing team. While they need to tell their story and explain its technical innovations in as exciting a way as possible, is there any justification for the copy madness that's live on the HomePod section of Apple's website?

Setting up HomePod is quick and magical
— Apple

Sounds like sports day at Hogwarts! Does being magical make it easy to setup or do I have to learn spells and stuff?


So you get amazing sound without even thinking about it.
— Apple

Imagine not having to think about a basic human function such as hearing – what a time to be alive!


Each with its own amplifier and transducer.
— Apple

Has anyone seen the beginning of my sentence? I'm sure I left it around here somewhere.


Buffering that’s even faster than real time.
— Apple

Can anything move faster than real time? Does it have a flux capacitor?

An Apple-designed A8 chip powers the most complex audio innovations in HomePod. Like real-time modeling of the woofer mechanics. Buffering that’s even faster than real time. Upmixing of both direct and ambient audio. Beamforming so the microphone can hear you over the music. And advanced echo cancellation.
— Apple

Is the comma key broken on the Apple marketing laptop?


HomePod is wrapped in a seamless mesh fabric designed for both aesthetic and acoustic performance
— Apple

Aesthetic performance you say? Have you been drinking?


Available in white and space gray, it’s gorgeous from every angle — yet virtually transparent to the music.
— Apple

"Virtually transparent"? Looks pretty solid to me. Sorry, "virtually transparent to the music"! Of course, music is well known for its keen eyesight. Makes perfect sense.

 

And through all that – the smiles, the winces, the shock, the purest example of 'drunk marketing' I've ever read – I have to say... I'm convinced. I believe the thing is going to sound amazing. Go figure. They must be doing something right because I bought one! 

We couldn’t bee happier with our new video

Ok, yeah let’s start this blog post by apologising for the abysmal pun in the title. We just really couldn’t help ourselves, there’s just a bit of a buzzzz in the office with it being a bank holiday weekend,  along with the fact that the National Trust South West has put the video we made for them live. 

The video which we've unofficially dubbed 'Bee Movie 2: Where's Jerry Seinfeld?' required one intrepid copywriter (cough-me-cough) to handle an iPad Pro barehanded while being swarmed by an entire colony of irate flying-stingy-things. Happily however, we think it really paid off. Take a butchers for yourself: 

Putting a smile on the National Trust's most famous faces

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The National Trust South West has a rather impressive collection of artwork, in fact their £30million Rembrandt self-portrait might even put Vivid Tower’s collection Mondo movie prints to shame. While all these old portraits are lovely…many of the the subjects in these paintings don’t half look grumpy. 

In the spirit of the summer arriving and blessing the UK with plenty of sunshine, bringing with it much joy. We thought we’d take advantage of last month’s must-have new app ‘FaceApp’ to put a smile on the faces of some of the National Trust’s most famous works of art. 

We also used the app's ‘age’ feature on some of the Vivid Team and now none of us are talking anymore but that’s a story for another day. 

Click the logo below to check out the full set of smiley images. 

 

What film director David Fincher can teach us about content marketing

David Fincher is a master of movie deception. A true innovator. Fincher has directed some of the most creative and gripping movies of the last 25 years (Se7en, Fight Club, The Game, The Social Network, Gone Girl, Zodiac), but what most people don't realise is that the average David Fincher movie contains more CGI than the last Godzilla movie. You just wouldn't know it.

How does this relate to content marketing you ask? Well, Fincher only reaches for the very latest tech in order to bring depth to storytelling or solve a storytelling problem. Every piece of CG trickery is used purely in service to this story. His best technical feats are designed to be invisible to the audience and there only to immerse. There's a lesson here for Marketing Directors. The next time your agency tries to talk you into using AR, VR, selfie drones, pixel tracking smoke and mirrors, 360 video rigs, pocket steadicams, interactive page turners, over animated UI, bespoke apps, etc - ask yourself if they're using it to quietly service your brand story or just because it's a new toy that they'd like to play with.

After watching the brilliant video below always ask yourself "what would Fincher do?" before reaching for new tech toys to tell your brand story.

FULL DISCLOSURE: Vivid just bought a shiny new drone. It's a brilliant toy and we're going to tell great stories with it. So there. 

Take a peek at the website we created for Lisa Comfort

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When it comes to making things look good, the delightful Lisa Comfort certainly knows a thing or two, which is why we hope she’ll be rather pleased with the website we’ve just created for her. 

The blogger and founder of the hugely popular ‘Sew Over It’ brand isn’t just an oracle of knowledge when it comes to sewing and sartorial matters. It turns out she’s a bit of a genius when it comes to craft and DIY things too. 

With so many ideas to share Lisa needed a new dedicated website, separate from Sew Over It. to house them all, and we were more than happy to oblige. The resulting site, built from the ground up in WordPress, includes distinct sub-sections to house all of her brilliant how-tos, travel guides and vlogs. 

On the site you will find a nearly inexhaustible stream of inspiration for wholesome actives you could complete on a rainy Sunday, to make you feel better about having spent the whole morning hungover in bed, we particularly like her guide to sprucing up the stairs with wallpaper.  

Check out Lisa’s site here and let us know what you think. 

5 content marketing predictions for 2017

Hey hey, it’s that time of the year again where brands and organisations start to make predictions about what the running themes will be within their industry in the new year, just so that they can do slightly smug “we told you so” link backs in future articles. 

Well… we’re no exception! We did try taking our ideas to the bookies, but believe it or not Ladbrokes just aren’t interested in giving you odds on the ever-increasing percentage of mobile usage. 

 

1) More video, way more video, so much video

It may be costly, but video content offers the highest return of investment of any format. Offering a click through rate of 1.84%, the best of any digital medium. In fact, video on social attracts 1200% more shares than text and images combined. With more and more brands realising this the amount of video you see is only going to increase. 

 

2) Skynet will rise 

Well maybe not quite in true James Cameron style. But the technology is now here for artificial intelligence to automate the management, publishing and in some instances even the creation of content (think about those Facebook friend anniversary videos).

With a plethora of tools already out there to help content marketers both track and analyse the performance of their content. Training in it’s best use should be firmly on the agenda of all marketing departments. 

 

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3) Virtual reality is going to start being a thing (finally!) 

Well, we have for several years now been told all about how important VR is going to be. To the extent that you're now completely sick of hearing it, but with the reducing costs of headsets, 2017 could be the year that big brands begin truly utilising it. 

The North Face have already used VR headsets in stores in South Korea, to illustrate to customers how good they’d look in their new jacket piloting a dog sled. Judging by the typical UK-based North Face aficionado do you think they’ll create a VR simulation entitled  ‘Sitting in a Coffeeshop in Hackney Doing Your Graphic Design Coursework' for the British market?

While we may see VR tech being used more commonly among big brands, it’s likely still going to be outside of the affordability of smaller brands for several years yet. 

 

4) Brands will try to focus on consistency 

The amount brands spend on content marketing has already eclipsed what they spend on advertising. However, most fall down when it comes to developing a consistent loyal audience that frequently engage with them.

Marketing managers are now realising that they need to step away from the clickbait tactics commonly used today, and instead look into better ways to increase their subscribers, which as Youtubers already know is a more effective method to secure regular engagement. 

Lets hope this means more creative ways to boost subscription numbers than than those “Hey if you like this why not…” forms that pop-up within two seconds of you opening a page, because, frankly at that point most visitors would rather give a brand the soul of their first born than their email address. 

 

5) We’re all going to realise that UGC is awesome 

User generated content, is all about getting your audience to do your job for you. And the best thing about it? According to Adweek 85% of users are more influenced by it than brand created content. 

UGC comes in many guises — comments, shares and retweets all count. But, it gets really interesting when we start talking about getting your audience to create and share their own copy, photos, and even videos. 

The kings of this at the moment? Urban Outfitters. Using a simple branded hashtag on Instagram they’ve encouraged thousands of users to create content for them, essentially turning their customers into brand ambassadors.

The great thing about this approach is it’s a two way street, Urban Outfitters get their products advertised on social for free, reciprocally the content creator is likely to see their personal social audience grow, especially if UO features their content, which in turn is likely to again aid UO. 

 

Header image curtesy of Thomas Chung. CC