branding

Choosing the Right Voice for Your Brand

We’re told from a young age that “first impressions are everything”; they’re the ever-lasting picture a new person paints of you from the moment you meet. While we tend to take this with a pinch of salt when socialising with others, the idiom rings all the more true when there are physical barriers in place, such as communicating over the phone.

When it comes to the first impression of your business, the stakes are much higher, as this often determines whether or not a new customer will jump on board with you and what you have to offer. While meeting customers in real life gives you ample opportunity to charm with your smile and warm personality, interacting over the phone is an entirely different story, and it’s the initial aural handshake that truly counts.

This is why choosing the right voice talent for your audio production is so important to your branding and customer reach. If a new customer is calling your company for the first time, it’s imperative they’re greeted with a warm and welcoming audio greeting that perfectly reflects your brand.

If your business is in a delicate industry, such as respite care or a funeral home, your voice talent ought to be soothing, comforting, and informative, rather than energetic and bubbly. On the other side of the coin, a younger voice with bright tones and a vivacious energy will be better suited to a childcare centre or café.

Each of our voice talents offers varying degrees of tone, warmth and personality types, to mirror your company’s image. There’s Candice, whose glowing, cheerful smile can actually be heard down the phone line; Magnus offers a host of character voices; Grayton has an authoritative, deep tone that commands attention; and Annie’s mature voice connects with callers while being helpful and comforting.

The right voice talent for your audio production shouldn’t be so out of line with your brand that it distracts the callers: what your callers should be focusing on is the content of the messages, rather than the voice. If you currently have a welcome message recorded in-house by your nervous receptionist or ambivalent IT guy, then the impression you’re offering isn’t all that strong or professional.

Take a listen below and see what you think. Here’s an average run of the mill in-house welcome example:

 

And here’s something we rustled up with one of our professional voice artists, Adrian:

 

So what do you think? How are you greeting each and every customer and prospect over the phone?

The right voice talent for your brand will not only receive every customer with professionalism, they’ll also get your customers excited about your promotions, keep them informed with vital information, or even calm them down if they’re stressed out.

Think about your company and brand as a person. What are their values? What do they talk about? What do they sound like? Now head over to our massive voice talent library and find the right voice to bring your messages and business to life!

– Cassie

How Will You Celebrate Leap Day?

Unlike your favourite real holidays, which happen annually, you only get the chance to celebrate February 29, or Leap Day, once every four years. That makes Leap Day actually less frequent than once in a blue moon (which happens roughly every three years).

Motorbike

How should one celebrate this day? By taking a leap, of course! By trying something new that you’ve been putting off for far too long. That’s as simple as making a booking for a dance class, or trying a new restaurant, or bungee jumping in a chicken suit (if you do this, please send us photos).

I know what you’re thinking: Leap Day isn’t a real holiday. Well, neither is Talk Like A Pirate Day, but as more people support and celebrate these left-field calendar dates, we can change the world. I still hold out hope for a Leap Day miracle.

Leap Day William

We also think it’s a good day to take a risk with your marketing.

The best advertisements of all time all have an element of risk. Have you ever thought that a scripted message looks different to what everyone else does, or is a bit ‘out there’? That probably means it’s more effective. People remember things that are different. It’s one reason why we recommend updating your messages – to keep it different! After all, how do you expect to secure your competitor’s clients if you market your business in exactly the same way they do?

Old Spice

So if you’ve been playing it safe with your marketing, do one thing this Leap Day: ask us to write something wacky, wonderful and way out there. After all, there’s a Leap Day saying: if you want make a baby, playing it safe isn’t the best way to do it.

I’m on a horse.

Improving Your Business By Sweating The Small Stuff

You’d be surprised at how many silly errors a professional copywriter makes in his/her first draft. I should know! Before you see our work, we’ll have revised and scrutinized that piece of copy a dozen times; laboring over every word, comma and capital letter.

It’s very rare that your first effort is your best effort, whether that’s in business, sport or your personal life. But those few who stop, take a minute and ‘sweat the small stuff’ are the ones who create something brilliant.

“The people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world are the ones who do.” – Steve Jobs

Another person who sweats the small stuff is product creator Tony Fadell. In his compelling TED Talk, Tony tells us how as humans we’re hard-wired to get used to the way things are. That’s great for making our world a little less chaotic, but it’s hell for writing copy that leaps off the page – or creating a product that people fall in love with.

If you’re passionate about making tomorrow better than today, take the next 15 minutes and check out what the man behind the iPod and Nest thermostat has to say on noticing – and driving – real change in every area of business.

– Lachy

The Top Five Christmas Campaigns for 2014

Every year around early November, the internet starts to come alive with the excitement for the upcoming ad bonanza that is Christmas time. So in spirit of Christmas, here are our top 5 Christmas campaigns for 2014!

5) Sainsbury’s – Christmas Is For Sharing, made in partnership with The Royal British Legion. [Warning – turn your speakers down]

Talk about pulling on the old heartstrings! The famous war story of The Christmas Truce has been brought to life in this ad which at publishing date has had over 14 million hits. Sainsbury’s took a big risk with this one.  War isn’t a topic to be taken lightly. However if we look past the fact that in essence, the supermarket is using war to advertise their company, what we have is a beautiful representation of the spirit of Christmas. (Sorry for the saccharine, but if we can’t at Christmas then when can we?) What makes the campaign more palatable is the fact its promoting a chocolate bar of which all profits will be donated to the Royal British Legion.  A brilliant message indeed.

4) Tesco’s Wigan Light Show

Once upon a time, retailers would release one wizz bang Christmas ad and that was enough. Not anymore. UK Retailer Tesco has released a fun, sweet Christmas ad campaign which at face value is fine. But it’s not the official ad that we love. In 2013, Tesco customer Claire Hannah tweeted that her local Tesco wasn’t displaying the iconic ‘Tesco hat’. Instead of a miserly, boring response tweet, Tesco threw plenty of energy (and plenty of dollars) at a response (seen here) this year that’s already getting them plenty of free publicity. Not only did they respond to the tweet, but they added to their Christmas message this year in a spectacular, explosive fashion. It looks like the proof is already in the pudding in terms of free exposure thanks to Christmas-themed content.

3) David Jones – The Things We Do For Love

Speaking of saccharine! We’re proud to announce that Aussie retailer David Jones has jumped on the Christmas bandwagon and offered up a classic Aussie Christmas problem in their sentimental Christmas ad! Here in the wide, brown land, we’re not famous for our inclusion of chimneys in our architecture. This ad plays delightfully on this notion and reminds us why we celebrate Christmas at all. Because it makes the people we love happy. While this ad’s not racing up the viral stakes yet, we’re expecting a Christmas miracle!

2) Aldi – Aussie Christmas

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iVaZ1hvXW0A#t=55

Australians enjoy a fairly unique Christmas. While the romance of a white Christmas isn’t lost on us – most of us spend December 25 sweltering in the heat wishing we’d let the whole ‘hot food’ thing go. Aldi has jumped on this idea and offered a delightful mash-up of the traditional white Christmas and the quintessential Aussie Christmas. While the advertising elements of this ad might be a little overt, we’re willing to forgive it just to watch those zany Europeans having a crack at the slip n’ slide on the snow! And keep an eye out for the budgie smugglers – we didn’t know they existed outside Australia!

1) John Lewis – Monty The Penguin

And finally, it wouldn’t be a modern Christmas without a visit from Monty The Penguin. John Lewis must be rubbing their hands together in the lead up to Christmas now, knowing they’re days away from an absurd amount of free publicity. Before it was even released, the Twittersphere was abuzz with excitement. And, as expected, this year’s Monty The Penguin ad notched up 12 million views in the first week it was released. John Lewis pre-empted the insane response to the ad with more content marketing than you can poke a stick at including  a website where you can explore Monty’s world, a storytelling app, Monty’s Den in each of their stores and Monty the Penguin adoption toys which raise money for the WWF. Oh and Monty the Penguin has over 35,000 followers on Twitter. Not bad for a penguin. John Lewis spent £1 million on the Monty the Penguin ads but when you look at the YouTube shares, the interactive content and phenomenal free publicity this little guy has earned the retailer, it’s a small price to pay.

– Sophie

Marketing Messages: What Kim Kardashian Can Teach You

Whether you loved it, hated it, or thought it was the latest character in Ryan Murphy’s and Brad Falchuk’s American Horror Story, you probably saw the photo of Kim Kardashian’s behind. There’s also a good chance you shared it, tweeted it, liked one of the hundreds of memes it produced and discussed it with friends. While a great lesson in Photoshop, Kim shows us that just one carefully selected image can be shared, posted and published over and over again across social media, websites, and even in good old fashioned press. In a nutshell, if you have the right image, it can be seen by millions.

Kim’s Paper Magazine shoot is also a great teaching tool when you’re deciding how to market your small business. Whenever you upload, post, or interact with customers on social media, or update your website or online shop, words are only half the battle. To be truly effective, you need marketing messages with images – good ones.

 Bolster your marketing messages with compelling images.

Websites

If you have an online shop, take note that 56% of consumers consider images of products to be more significant than any other information you may provide, including detailed descriptions, reviews and ratings. Forget ‘images coming soon’ notices and grainy iPhone photos, consumers want images that are both clear and professional. This is because a) they want to know what they’re getting before it arrives at their door, and b) only tangible images will produce that “yes, this is exactly what I want” feeling.

If you don’t have an online shop, and instead just have a contact number, email and a two year old “under construction site” notice, (you know who you are) you still need an image. Upload one of your store front, or with your staff members standing in the foreground. Why? Because 60% of consumers are more likely to consider or contact your business if an image appears in local search results. Consumers want to put a face to a name and want to know that the company they’re choosing to do business with is a) real, and b) legitimate.

On Social Media

90% of the information transmitted to our brains is visual, and visuals are processed in the brain 60,000 times faster than text. This means when a person is scrolling down their Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn feed they’re 90% more likely to stop for an image than for text, not because your tagline isn’t engaging, but because their brain picks up on the image rather than the text.

The statistics back it up. Images are liked twice as much as text updates on Facebook; articles with images on LinkedIn get 94% more total views; and using images on Twitter increases retweets by 150% and click-throughs by 18%.

Pinterest and Instagram

If your business isn’t currently on Pinterest or Instagram, here are two figures that should change your mind. Pinterest saw a 1047% growth in unique visitors in their first year, (unique visitors refers to a person who visits a website more than once within a specified period of time) and Instagram has 130 million users who like 1 billion photos per day.

Whether you’re a fashion, furniture or fencing business, get an account and start uploading. Images are so important for your marketing messages because they let consumers imagine. Customers can picture themselves in your dress, imagine how their pool will look with a stylish glass fence, or envision how your dining set will look in their home. Plus, Pinterest and Instagram let you connect and interact with current and potential customers on a fundamental level, and by constantly uploading and updating, consumers are constantly exposed to your brand. And as we know from the Effective Frequency Theory – a consumer has to be exposed to an ad at least three times before they take action – more exposure to your brand can never be a bad thing.

The Bottom Line

Next time you’re updating your business’ Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn account I want you to stop and think about Kim’s oiled up bottom, and imagine what kind of photos will stop your customers mid scroll. Stay away from poor stock photos or images that looks too set up, and get creative – images that show your human side will create stronger connections with customers.

– Steph

Marketing Messages – What Really Gets Customers Through The Door

Would you buy your wine from Dan Murphy’s because they take “pride” in “offering the lowest liquor price guarantee?” Your new plasma TV from Retravision Online because they “guarantee to beat any advertised competitor price?” When your nephew or niece’s birthday arrives, will you purchase your present from Toys R Us because they promise their “prices can’t be beat”, and that they’ll “match any advertised price?” These retailers wouldn’t lie to you… or would they?

According to the University of East Anglia, lowest-price guarantees can actually work against consumers, potentially pushing prices up and discouraging them from shopping around. So, in fact, lowest or best price guarantees are not good indicators that a store is cheaper than its competition. Why, then, do we keep returning to and buying from these businesses? Well it’s pretty simple – you’re a marketing message sucker.

On average, five times as many people read the headline as read the small print. We as consumers don’t bother reading that: “In some cases there are prices which Retravision Online cannot match,” “The competitor store must be within 10 kilometres of Dan Murphy’s,” or that the Toys ‘R Us guarantee “Excludes competitor’s category or storewide discounts, conditional sales, package deals, discontinued lines, loyalty or third party offers, fire or liquidation sales, clearance/warehouse outlets.”

Marketing messages should excite customers with what you can do for them.

Our eyes and wallets are dazzled by lowest price guaranteed slogans. So what does this mean for the average business owner? You need to think about what you are selling to your customers. Retravision, Dan Murphy’s, and Toys ‘R Us aren’t telling consumers they’ve been in production for however many years, who they’re owned by, where they source their materials from, or where they hope their business will take them. Why? Because people just don’t care.

Most consumers have one thing they care about more than anything else. You need to work out what it is and sell it to them – whether it’s getting the product to them quicker, being cheaper than your competitors, or by ensuring that the quality is the best on the market. So, if your business has been running since 1969, don’t give them a history lesson from that year – it’s useless and frankly, it’s boring! Instead, mention that with over 40 years of experience under your belt they won’t be paying for you to learn on the job.

If your production takes place locally with locally sourced products, don’t just focus on the fact that this supports the community. Tell your customers because it’s right next door, it’s fresher and faster! In the event there is a problem, you’ll be able to solve it a hell of lot quicker because you have the part right on your shelf – they don’t have to wait weeks for shipping. And, in years to come when a part needs replacing – you’ll be able to do it for them – they won’t have to scour eBay for a part that hasn’t been manufactured in years.

To ensure your business can compete– you need marketing messages that excite customers with what you can do for them. Instead of dropping your pants on prices that might see a short term spike in sales, opt for something that will provide you with long term growth. Find the most compelling features of your business, and sell them.

– Steph

Unique Selling Point – Can’t Find One? Make One.

Conceiving a unique selling point in the 21st century is tough, especially in a field as mind-numbingly generic as the bottled water market. It’s a lucrative one – after all, we have to drink two litres of the stuff daily to perform at our peak. And that’s exactly what French company Vittel kept in mind when generating a unique selling point for their H2O.

Vittel commissioned advertising gurus Ogilvy & Mather to come up with something that would have them head and shoulders above the pack. They might have been expecting a great campaign, which is O & M’s bread and butter. What Vittel got was a remarkably simple unique selling point that no one else had.

Vittel created their own unique selling point

Vittel and Ogilvy & Mather found that only 20% of the French population reached that oh so elusive two litre mark. The solution? Make drinking the right amount of water easier and more enjoyable. Ogilvy & Mather designed a bottle cap that when screwed on tight, sets a one hour timer. Once 60 minutes is up, a flag pops out of the cap, reminding the consumer to, well, consume!

Vittel could have settled for an ad campaign that promoted the pristine location of their water source or the divine minerals in their H2O. But that would’ve been positioning their water as something more… watery than the rest. By giving consumers something they never knew they wanted – a water bottle with an alarm – Vittel have something far more powerful.

In reality, this is a fantastic execution of advertising 101 – inventing a need for the consumer. We see it thousands of times a day. “You need the latest processor in your smartphone”, “you need a foundation with more coverage”, “you need a bike with four more gears”… But Ogilvy & Mather didn’t really invent a need – they simply made consumers aware of a fact relating to their health, and provided a solution right there on their client’s product. If a Vittel consumer were to purchase another product, they would miss the alarm cap.

Sure – any water will fill up your tank, but as far as prospective buyers are concerned, only Vittel’s will actively help you get there. That’s a killer unique selling point!

– Magnus

Slimline Business Cards are just the Right Size

I’ve had years of practice at biting my tongue. However, a recent article by ‘self-employed’ journalist Joe Donatelli left a bitter taste in my mouth… a taste that can only be washed out by telling you why he is wrong. The article details how slimline business cards are embarrassing to hand over and create a poor first impression – if any at all. To that I say “rubbish!”

As the owner of a slimline business card (actually, over 500 of them) I feel it’s my duty to stand up for them. They’re half the height of a standard business card with all the impact – and if done correctly, very eye-catching. The role of a business card, first and foremost, is to simply provide contact details of one business person to another. Secondly, it’s to provide a snapshot of the business and/or person.

Slimline business cards – small in size, big in impact

There were a few lines in Joe’s article that stuck with me like a corn kernel between the teeth. Not because they were glaringly wrong (it is an opinion piece, after all) but because they just don’t give slimline business cards a fair go.

‘It’s embarrassing when someone hands you a mini business card and the look on your face is “Where is the rest of your business card?’

No, embarrassing is fumbling around for your business card and settling for the back of a shopping receipt. I’ve been in business and exchanging business cards with people for five years now, and not once, after being handed a slimline card, have I thought this. Perhaps if the card was torn in half, I might have entertained the idea.

‘What was wrong with the old way we did business cards? They were fine.’

You’re right, some are fine. Blackberry thought sticking to their guns in the face of smartphone innovation was “fine”, and today they spend most of their time eating Apple and Google’s dust. The point is being “fine” is being part of the pack. Being unique is the way to get ahead of it.

‘New-style mini business cards are easily lost in the chaos of modern pockets.’

I love this one. The concept of a ‘modern pocket’ is just visually brilliant. I imagine something from the movie Tron. You dip your hand into your jeans equipped with modern pockets and suddenly you’re transported into this neon world of chaos. Business cards, lint, chewing gum wrappers whiz past you at great speed. This bizarre hellscape is purgatory for pocket detritus.

The simple fact is you won’t lose anything, not even a slimline business card, in your pockets… unless you have a hole in them.

‘They’re virtually invisible in a business lady’s purse.’

This one I can appreciate – only because I have a man bag and love making the joke “I can never find anything in here” when at the checkout. If you take business (and your clients/business partners) seriously, you’ll safely stow business cards in the available slots of your wallet until you get back to the office – where they go into a designated draw or tin for future reference.

In my book there are only four mistakes you can make when choosing a business card:

1) Unclear or cluttered contact information

2) Poor quality stock

3) Not creative/clean design

4) Going too big

The lesson? Sure, some people might end up losing your slimline business card. Not because it’s small or because it had sharp corners so they had to put it down. It got lost because either it wasn’t memorable enough to keep, or because the first impression you left them with wasn’t enough to make them care.

– Lachy

A Good First Impression: How To Nail It

Talk show host Ricki Lake once said: “For me, being memorable is more important than winning.” In a world where trends come and go and the next big thing has become commonplace, how do you create a good first impression that stays in everyone’s minds?

Here are 5 ways to ensure that you’re making a good first impression that will last.

1. Get it right the first time

You only get one shot at making a good first impression. If you’re meeting a new contact in person, give them a great handshake and be genuinely interested. Instead of just nodding and looking away, make eye contact and repeat their name. Prospecting a new client over email? Make the effort to find out and address them by their name, making sure it’s spelt correctly. You’d be surprised how careless many people can be with little details that count.

2. Tell a great story

Don’t hold back when it comes time to share. Engage your audience, be it one or a thousand, with something real and honest. Whether you made your first million at age 21, have a bizarre talent for recalling the title of every Celine Dion song, or have a knack for extreme sports, share your story and give people an extra reason to remember you.

3. Get personal

Polite niceties are easy enough to throw about in conversation. How many times have you said “How’s it going”, “Take care” or “Stay in touch” and actually meant it? Make a difference by taking it a step further. Take the time to write a note congratulating a client on their recent promotion, or send your sympathies at a tough time. If you genuinely care for a friend or client beyond the superficial, the returns may far surpass your expectations.

4. Have a signature look

In fashion, a signature look can make you unforgettable. The actress Audrey Hepburn knew that all too well and worked it to her advantage with her minimalist wardrobe of button-down men’s shirts, headscarves, classic sheath dresses and cigarette pants.   And who can think of a black turtleneck without remembering Apple founder Steve Jobs? Find your look and you’re well on your way to standing out from the crowd. For businesses, never underestimate the impact of a powerful logo and the right choice of colours. The story of a famous fast-food chain might be quite different if they had gone for brown and white, instead of red and yellow.

5. Let your actions speak for you

Can you walk the talk? Words come easy and instead of telling your clients or potential partner how good you are, show them that you’re more than just empty words. Impress them with your sincerity, detail to attention and willingness to go the extra mile. You’ll find that they’ll do all the talking for you.

– Sharon