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Strategy

Looking for a Grant? It’s time to ‘Do Your Homework’!

StrategyAmanda StrowgerComment

 As we start a new academic year, it’s a good time to reflect on our priorities. As a Trust and Grant funding specialist, people are often surprised that I spend so much time doing research.

Being Human

StrategyEleanor YeoComment

Business is as much about what you know, as who you know. At McQueenie Mulholland we know the value of building and maintaining relationships with our clients, and Being Human is at the heart of everything we do. 

How to Develop a Successful Communications Strategy for Small, Local Charities

StrategySarah ThomComment

Having a successful communications strategy is vital for any organisation, especially small, local charities. Read more about our top tips for developing a successful strategy today.

Setting objectives for your charity’s communications and fundraising strategy

StrategyRob MulhollandComment

Making a distinction between your communication and fundraising strategies as a charity is important to ensure that you get the most out of both. Read more to find out about how to build successful communication and fundraising strategies for your charity.

Top tips to help you stay focussed and plan ahead

Strategy, MarketingEleanor YeoComment

Read our top hints and tips on how to stay focussed and plan ahead during the quieter times of the year. 

How can small, local charities get more out of Christmas?

StrategySarah ThomComment

Christmas is the season of goodwill and can be a successful time of the year for charity fundraising. But how do small, local charities make the most out of Christmas? 

Communications - who’s the expert?

Strategy, MarketingEleanor YeoComment

With everyone calling themselves an 'expert' in their field, how do you truly know who the experts are? At McQueenie Mulholland we start with the facts and work together with our clients to develop a successful communications strategy. Find out more and contact us today. 

Customer focus is the key to breaking into a new market

Marketing, StrategyJonathan AlderComment

Want to break into new markets? Focusing on the customer, and not your business is a grest place to start. Read more to find out why.

The power of clear communication in business

Strategy, DesignJonathan AlderComment

Clear communication can be the difference between success and failure in business. The ability to deliver the right message, to the right people, at the right time, is what sells products and changes behaviour

Don’t just see the income potential of customers, see the influencer potential too

StrategyRob MulhollandComment

Over recent years much has been written about influencer marketing. Particularly how it can enable organisations to reach fresh new audiences, which have the potential to convert into paying customers. But do you recognise the influencer potential in your customers?

Brand building: Where do you start?

StrategyJonathan Alder
Blog_brandbuilding.jpg

 

Your brand is a powerful tool. It will help you fulfil your dreams and aspirations. It will take your organisation from where you are now, to where you want to be – if you use it well. So, where do you start? The simple answer is, you start at the end: Where do you want to be? What’s your goal?

It doesn’t matter what your goal is, but it needs to be something you can measure, so you can gauge whether you’re making progress, or not. (If you’re not making progress something isn’t working, so you need to change it). Your goal might be a financial one – a certain level of income or a specific profit margin. Or it could be something like market share, or the number of customers you have each month, both tangible figures that are easy to measure, but not financial.

To do that you need to take a look at your organisation and consider two things: the internal perspective and the external perspective.

Once you know where you’re going, you can begin to plan your journey. To complete your journey in the most efficient way, and make the best use of your resources, be sure to build the right brand for your business. To do that you need to take a look at your organisation and consider two things: the internal perspective and the external perspective.

The internal perspective will help you to identify the purpose and values at the heart of your organisation; what it is that drives you. The external perspective will give you insight into your customers and your competitors; the people who will help you to achieve your goal (your customers) and those organisations that could slow your progress (your competitors).

When you have taken your organisation through this process you are in a position to start brand building – to build a brand that captures the personality of your organisation. The more clearly you are able to communicate this, the easier you will find it to appeal to your target audience and stand out from your competitors. It’s this clarity of communication that will help you to reach your goal and turn your passion into success.

So what do you need to do next?

Why use direct mail in the 21st century?

Strategy, MarketingEmma Cottle

 

There has been a seismic shift towards digital in marketing communications over the last few years, and we often find ourselves telling dubious clients that direct mail is still a very good option to promote their business. 

This recent study by Proactive Marketing found that 70% of consumers feel like they receive too many emails – which, when we think about it, is something we can probably all empathise with. InfoTrends found that 66% of direct mail is opened – and 86% of direct mail is read for a minute or more, compared to an average 11.1 seconds for email.

Here are a few more reasons why you should consider Direct Mail:

1. It stands out and cuts through the clutter

In contrast to the daily deluge of emails into people’s inboxes, a carefully-targeted piece of direct mail can capture their attention. Once you have piqued the recipient’s interest with a visually pleasing and clearly branded letter, you are more likely to get your message across.

2. It’s more reliable and more likely to get a positive result

Direct mail response rates outperform digital channels by a long shot, as found in a recent study. Direct mail achieves a 3.7% response rate, whereas digital channels see a combined response rate of just 0.62%. It is a more expensive medium, but you can’t argue with those statistics.

3. It’s more personal

Email users are in a rush – they are checking their inboxes on their commute, whilst at lunch or before dinner. They don’t have time for emotions, and are only using a little of their headspace to absorb the content. Direct mail can provide readers with both space and time to absorb material in their own time. 84% of consumers reported that personalisation made them more likely to open a direct mail piece. 

4. You can integrate it

Using direct mail doesn’t mean that you have to use this medium in isolation – far from it. Research suggests that using more than one method increases effectiveness by 24% on average over using individual methods on their own.

Have we convinced you? If you’d like help creating compelling direct mail for your campaign, let us help you communicate your message. Call us today on 01392 423060.

Your social media following: A value not volume game

Strategy, DigitalRob Mulholland

Do you place more value on the number of followers rather than the quality of followers you have on social media? You may be looking at it the wrong way, read more to find out why. 

What is Corporate Social Responsibility and how can it benefit your business?

StrategyEmma Cottle

More than ever, organisations are becoming aware of the importance of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), and growing more confident in vocalising their own commitments that they have made to society – whether that is in the form of charity donations, changes they are making to help the environment or offering services free of charge. This has come after a shift in marketing which has evolved from product-based to consumer-based to value-based marketing.

First of all, what exactly is Corporate Social Responsibility?

It aims to ensure that companies conduct their business in a way that is ethical. This means taking account of their social, economic and environmental impact, and consideration of human rights. There has been increased pressure from employees, customers and government bodies for businesses to be more transparent about their activities and maintain acceptable standards in their business practice.

Communicating your CSR commitments improves brand trust and loyalty both internally and externally, as discovered by this study by Nielsen in 2014 – who found that 55% of global online consumers across 60 countries would be willing to pay more for products and services provided by companies that are committed to positive social and environmental impact.

There have been a couple of excellent examples of this recently. Dell have outlined their Legacy of Good Plan, which details 21 ambitious CSR goals that they intend to achieve by 2020. These include designing out waste and creating a more sustainable supply chain. By highlighting their strategy, Dell are evidencing their long term commitment to society and the environment at large – giving them an advantage over their competitors in a market that is increasingly aware of ethical credentials.

Another example of a great CSR strategy comes from L’Oreal Paris, who have partnered with Prince’s Trust to improve confidence among young people. L’Oreal Paris have evolved from their ‘Because I’m Worth It’ strapline, to ‘All Worth It’, echoing their commitment to boosting young people’s self worth. L’Oréal Paris will run confidence courses quarterly at each of the 18 Prince’s Trust centres, addressing issues such as body language, communication and employability.

These are examples from large organisations, but any commitment – however small – is valuable. Emailing receipts to cut down on paper use and raising funds for a nominated charity are a couple of easy examples of making a commitment to CSR. At McQueenie Mulholland, we have made a commitment to offer marketing support to charities and local organisations and participate in fundraising events.

If you’re struggling for inspiration on what you could do to make a difference to society, we can help. Give us a call today on 01392 423 060.

What content should you post on each social media channel?

Strategy, DigitalEmma Cottle

Social media acts as the voice for your brand, and is increasingly becoming the first port of call for potential customers doing their research into the product or service that you offer. After all, social media is free, instant and accessible to an engaged audience of potential customers.

You may have read our recent article on the best times to post on different social media channels. But what is the best way to communicate with these audiences? The answer is that it depends on which channel you are using. Although it may be tempting to duplicate content across all of your accounts, and upload identical posts in bulk – spending time curating your content for each platform will pay dividends – we promise.

However, there is one overriding rule – make it engaging. Think about the most engaging people you know. They are most likely 1) interesting, 2) attractive 3) the most engaged themselves. This also applies for your content.

Here are some tips for successful content on each platform:

 

Facebook

  • Your posts will perform better with photos – Facebook posts with images see 2.3X more engagement than those without images

  • Organic Facebook engagement is highest on posts with videos (13.9%) and photos (13.7%)

  • B2C marketers place greater importance on visual content than B2B marketers – making Facebook the perfect platform for more visual content

  • Using emoticons will get your post more likes

  • Question posts have twice the engagement of non-question posts

Twitter

  • Tweets including images and hashtags can double engagement

  • Tweets with image links get 2x the engagement rate of those without

  • As with Facebook, photos are more engaging for Twitter users

  • Tweets with less than 100 characters get 17% more engagement – but tweets with links perform the best with 120-130 characters

Instagram

  • Invest the time to create interesting images to increase engagement

  • Use hashtags and don’t be afraid to use a lot! Spend some time curating a list of relevant hashtags

  • Use images that support your brand’s voice and ethos

Pinterest

  • Try adding text to images to give each product some context

  • Write keyword-rich descriptions and boards

  • Always add a link to your pin descriptions

  • Don’t just show your product – show what you can do with your product

  • Share tips and inside knowledge

  • Tell your company’s story in pictures

LinkedIn

  • Each post should focus on a specific topic that highlights your unique expertise

  • Write interesting, attention grabbing headlines, which include industry keywords

  • Add pictures, videos and presentations to your post. As with other channels, visual posts will receive more engagement
 

Lego: How it became the world's most powerful brand

StrategyEleanor Yeo

At a recent McQueenie Mulholland away day, we were asked to think about one brand that we’d love to work with – a fantasy client. Answers from our team were really varied, from Ecover to Land Rover and a good mix in-between, but one answer that stood out was from Sue McQueenie who would love to work with…Lego.

Why would somebody want to work with a business that is so well known and established?

Well, as we’ve been finding out, this hasn’t always been the case.

We often work with companies who are going through, or are thinking about going through a re-brand, or are diversifying their product range in some way. We’d probably ask them a number of questions to ascertain how much they know about the market that they have, and the new market that they’re hoping to move in to.

And from now on, we’ll also be likely to refer them to The Guardian article, “How Lego clicked: the super brand that reinvented itself” as seen in the paper on 4 June.

The article discusses that as recently as 2003, Lego, the internationally renowned Danish toy manufacturer was reporting a 30% loss year on year and was £800m in debt. Fast forward to 2015, and the company overtook Ferrari to become the world’s most powerful brand. So what happened between those years to change the fortune of Lego?

Consultant Vig Knudstorp was bought in to turn things around. According to the Guardian article:

“He slashed the inventory, halving the number of individual pieces Lego produces from 13,000 to 6,500 … He also encouraged interaction with Lego’s fans, something previously considered verboten”

So, rather than adding to its product portfolio, Lego started by taking things away, by simplifying it. And they also talked to their customers. They used the time to find out what worked and what didn’t.

This resulted in a clearer focus – on making the things that they knew they were good at, and that set them apart from other toy manufacturers. But they expanded this existing product range, to include ranges for girls, and for adults, instead of just those primarily aimed at boys. Another key success was partnering up with those who are also very good at what they do – an example being the films and TV programmes that grace screens worldwide on a daily basis.

The result? Lego has just announced the highest revenues in its 85-year-history. We’ll certainly be using them as one of the best examples of a company turnaround that we’ve come across and we hope they continue to do well for many years to come.

5 Social Media Marketing Myths Debunked

StrategySarah Thom

Social media has created a whole new marketing opportunity for businesses. It’s a place where businesses can build brand awareness and a potentially larger customer base without spending thousands on traditional marketing activities. But there are a few misconceptions about social media marketing that need to be debunked:

 

 

1. You need to use every single social media platform

There are lots of social media platforms out there and there can be an urge to create business profiles on every single one. This can be a mistake; instead of having a presence on every platform, focus your social media marketing on the channels that your customers or potential customers are more likely to use.

2. Social media marketing gives instantaneous Return On Investment (ROI)

The misconception about social media being an instant marketing success is one that can only lead to disappointment. Actually, a lot of time and effort needs to go into your social media marketing before you reap the benefits, to reach new customers and raise your brand awareness you will need to produce quality content consistently and post regularly.

3. Social media is free

You may not need to pay to set up a social media profile, but you will need to put in a significant amount of time and effort to maintain and grow them. If you want to significantly increase the reach of your campaign you could consider paid advertising on your platforms alongside your normal social media posts – paid advertising is significantly faster at reaching new audiences and customers than organic leads alone.

4. Social media is time-consuming

You may need to put in significant time and effort into your social media strategies but this doesn’t mean that it needs to be time consuming. There are lots of scheduling tools out there to help you manage your social media effectively. Tools like TweetDeck and Hootsuite are invaluable for cutting down on the time required to maintain a great social media strategy.

5. More followers = success

Many businesses think that getting more followers is the surest way to social media success; but infinitely more important is increasing the amount of engagement you get. Social media is about building relationships with your customers and raising brand awareness.  But as before, engagement doesn’t happen straight away, you will have to work hard to build up the relationship with your followers and engage them in conversation.

 

 

The most important thing to remember about social media marketing is that nothing happens overnight; a lot of time and effort has gone into accounts which have seemingly become overnight successes. If you’re thinking about how to take the next step with your social media strategy then call us today.

7 Top Tips to Make Your Social Media, Social Again

Strategy, DigitalSarah Thom

Social Media has become one of the main ways that businesses reach out to their customers online. But with so many different channels, it can seem like a daunting task to keep your eye on them all at the same time. To overcome this, many businesses use scheduling platforms such as Hootsuite to manage their various accounts. But whilst these tools can be very helpful when it comes to scheduling posts and managing your social channels, it is important not to rely on them completely. 

Audiences have come to expect more from businesses on social media than a few posts per day; they want to be able to reach the business and talk to them in real time. This is where some businesses fall short of expectations; they schedule all their posts beforehand and then put social media to the back of their minds, not responding to comments or questions as they happen.

This has led to a push for businesses to ‘humanise’ their social media. When customers (existing or potential) engage with you they don’t want to feel like they are being ignored, or talking to a robot, so it is important to show people that there are real people behind the account.

Here are our top tips for making your social media, social!

 

1.     Use everyday language – people don’t want to see posts filled with business jargon. Use the language that you would if you were talking to them in person.

2.     Post pictures – and not just professional ones! Share the everyday pictures with your followers. This will show your fun side and that you are real people, and not just a business.

3.     Make sure your social and your business presence is aligned – if your business is known for being quirky and fun, then make sure that this persona comes across online as well. There should be a seamless transition from the physical location of your business to your virtual accounts.

4.     Acknowledge mistakes – everybody makes mistakes, it’s life! So, if you make a faux pas then don’t just remove it and pretend it never happened, own up to it and acknowledge the mistake. Your followers will respond much more positively and forget the mistake a lot sooner.

5.     Engage with your followers – ask questions and respond to comments with personalised answers. Your customers will love you for it.

6.     Customise content on your different channels – some things that work well on one channel won’t work as well on another, and that’s ok! Don’t schedule all your posts to go out on all your social channels at the same time, it will quickly become boring for your followers if all your channels look the same. Spend time finding out what works best on each channel and personalise posts for each one so that they all have their own distinct style.

7.     Mention people – If you’ve just had a business meeting with a client then mention them in a post, or if you have got a new supplier then broadcast that out on your social media with them tagged in it. Building relationships with people is what social media is all about, so take advantage.

 

Make Evergreen Content the Backbone of Your SEO strategy

Strategy, DigitalSarah Thom

Evergreen content is an important component of any content marketing strategy, but what exactly is it?

Put simply, it is content which hasn’t got an expiration date.

Writing content for your blog helps your website rank well in search engines. But, whilst some content will only be relevant for a certain period, evergreen content stays relevant and therefore should be targeted at your top keywords. This is because, content which is evergreen has the potential to rank your website higher in search engines than content that has a ‘shelf-life' e.g content that includes information that is time-sensitive. 

Some great examples of evergreen content include:

  • Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) pages

  • How-To articles

  • Industry Tips

  • Product reviews and testimonials

Some examples of content which has a ‘shelf-life’ are:

  • Content with statistics or data that is subject to change

  • Current trends

  • Pop culture references

  • News reports

  • Product releases / service updates

We often advise clients to mix up their content marketing strategy so that there is a selection of blog posts which are evergreen and ones that are time-sensitive. This will help with the Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) of your site, which obviously could result in more visitors to your website.  
With more people researching companies and products before they purchase, your content marketing strategy is more important than ever. And evergreen content can be the difference between your website being ranked highly in search engines or not.

Are Influencers a Worthwhile Marketing Strategy for Small, Local Businesses?

StrategySarah Thom

There’s a new face in the marketing world, the Influencer.

Influencers are quickly becoming the ‘go-to’ for companies to reach those consumers who are turned off by traditional marketing and advertising strategies.

But, what impact can Influencers have on small, local businesses?

If you are a local business, and trying (yet failing) to reach a certain demographic or audience, then local Influencers are a great marketing resource to turn to. In doing so, they can promote your brand to their own unique audience and raise awareness of you to the very people who trust their opinions.

The rise of the Influencer is linked to the increased use of social media; the two have risen concurrently as millennials have turned to social media to follow their favourite celebrities, and look to them for the latest trends, attitudes and products. In turn, new personalities have risen to the fore around subjects, cultures, campaigns and geographies to become Influencers in their own right (due to the size of the digital following they enjoy).

It is this position of trust which makes Influencers so powerful. They influence their followers’ decisions through subtle, and more natural endorsement of a company or product, which can be much more positively received than more obvious traditional marketing methods.

So, you’ve decided that you would like to work with an Influencer, but where do you start?

It all comes down to selecting the right influencers. In doing so, as a local business, you will need to know:

-       Who are the people you want to reach?

-       Who do they follow on social media?

The answers to these two questions are the foundation of making the right choice about the Influencer to use. If you don’t pinpoint these details before you begin then you’ll spend time and money on a campaign which has limited impact and, therefore, may not give you a reasonable return on investment. But done correctly, Influencer marketing can have a huge impact on your business.

If you’re thinking about using Influencer marketing for your business then contact McQueenie Mulholland today.