We’re not ones to show off at The Real Adventure. And I like that. It’s a down-to-earth and endearing quality that makes it a nice place for employees and clients alike. The flipside is that we have a low profile in an industry where profiles count for a lot. Newcomers describe us as a hidden gem – an agency that produces great work and delivers impressive returns, but is largely unknown because we don’t shout about it.
So to get our due recognition, we need to practise what we preach. We have a clear proposition in Clever CRM with multiple reasons to believe, which we should promote with confidence and pride. Self-promotion needn’t be arrogant or brash. Indeed, there are many ‘shop windows’ that allow us to display our wares whilst staying true to our grounded values.
Those of you who worked closely with Raz, our erstwhile Creative Director, will know that he left The Real Adventure back in August to explore new adventures, albeit near rather than far-flung given he has taken up residency at our sister agency EMO.
Since then we’ve been busy searching for a replacement. And I’m delighted to say we’ve been lucky enough to get our hands on the multi award-winning creative Ian Bates – known to many, and surely soon to us too, as ‘Batesy’.
The internet once told me if you’re going to be anything in life, be a unicorn. Now there is no doubting that unicorns are indeed fabulous, majestic creatures, but apart from the fancy headgear there’s not much else to them. It’s all form over function which, if you’re in the digital business, is a big no-no.
So, if I had to be anything in life, other than someone who was incredibly wealthy and handsome, I’d opt to be a chameleon. That may sound like a bit of a naff, stock answer for someone in a job interview, but hear me out – there’s reasoning behind it and that reasoning is apparent throughout our agency…
A recent paper from TNS re-explores the old maxim that we humans are creatures of habit, that “most of the time, what we do is what we do most of the time”. Our brains like not having to ‘waste time’ making routine risk assessments and decisions every second of the day. We become accustomed to our environment and it can take a considerable and conscious shift in mindset to change our behaviour.
As a personal example, my Wonderful Wife recently suggested we move our kitchen cutlery to a different drawer close to the kettle (where we regularly need teaspoons for making tea!). Three weeks later we were all still opening the ‘old’ drawer to look for cutlery. We’ve since moved it back – it’s hard to stir tea with a roll of tinfoil.
The kids are back in school, politicians are back in Parliament and people are actually back at their desks. Planning for 2014 is in the air and next year is sure to be another challenging one.
If we agree with Mr Osborne that the UK economy is ‘turning a corner’ then it is even more important that we plan for the new challenges that we may face.
With this in mind, I thought that I would share some of my top tips on how to get to grips with, prioritise and manage your 2014 strategies so you are ready for the challenges ahead.
‘Better Together’… that’s the mantra of the Creston Group to which The Real Adventure belongs. It’s a brilliant sentiment: as a group we are stronger than as individual agencies. But too often mantras are nothing more than sentiments with little to no impact on the daily running and behaviour of a company…
…not so with Creston!
The agencies within the group recently took part in Creston’s ‘Next Generation’ programme – a group-wide induction and training programme, designed for people near the start of their careers who could benefit from a better understanding of:
- The Group – its vision, mission, strategy, structure and strengths
- Each division and its agencies – what it does, how it does it and for which clients
- The people – getting to know peers across the Creston Group
How to win friends and influence people
The ‘Call to Action’ (or CTA), is a ubiquitous marketing term used to describe a graphic or piece of text that prompts a user to take a desired next step. In print, a CTA could be a graphic at the bottom of a piece of direct marketing inviting the reader to dial a Freephone number. In the digital world, Calls to Action are more often than not buttons that prompt the user to interact with them some way.
Among the digital marketer’s closest allies, the humble CTA button is relied on time and time again for mission critical purposes such as enticing users to find out more information about a service, join a CRM programme, donate to charity, or make a purchase. We’ve all fallen victim to a Call to Action at some point, clicking that ‘proceed to checkout’ button to buy some shiny new trainers, or tapping a ‘find out more’ banner and subsequently signing up for a newsletter. The success of a CTA is often closely scrutinised – and rightly so for such a key tool in the digital world – so it’s important to understand what makes a CTA a success or failure.
You’d be forgiven for thinking that as a creative, I’d bemoan the whole concept of qualitatively researching campaigns and innovations.
Yep, I could talk about how the Guinness surfer ad absolutely bombed in research. Or that if you’d asked people even five years ago whether they’d share pictures of their lunch, they’d say you were mad.
But when handled correctly, qualitative research is worth its weight in gold. It can help creative take a massive leap forward. But equally, the outputs of a focus group can murder an idea. Sometimes gut instinct should be allowed to win through.
We’re a CRM agency. But as the ways we help brands engage over time with consumers largely involve the use of either online channels or digital technology, we are inherently a digital agency too.
So it was with some gratification that we discovered today that The Real Adventure has made it into the Top 100 UK Digital Agencies for the first time, a new entry at 81.
The report, published by Econsultancy, ranks agencies according to fee income from their UK digital activities, and found that:
- Agencies in the Top 100 reported an overall growth rate of 18.7% in their digital income in their last financial year.
- Creative activities drive the largest share of average agency fee income (17%), followed by technical development (14%).
In the tough economic climate we’re currently operating in, the implication that brands are investing more not less in digital is telling. As Econsultancy CEO Ashley Friedlein puts it: “Agencies remain the foundries of ideas that forge much of the UK’s success as a global leader in digital and ecommerce”.
As CRM specialists it’s great to know that our work is highly regarded by our industry peers, as well as our clients. So recognition in the form of awards is much appreciated – being shortlisted from hundreds of entries is an honour in itself.
So far this year we’ve been shortlisted for not one…but two Marketing Week Awards. The first, earlier this year, was the Data Strategy Awards – Best Use of Email Marketing, and the second is the upcoming Engage Awards in the CRM/Loyalty category.
Both sets of judges chose our 2012 Q-points Finance campaigns to be on their top table at the awards….and not surprisingly we’re over the moon!
The campaigns for Black Horse Finance are part of our Q-points loyalty scheme – where motor dealerships (players) receive points for every finance deal they do. They can increase these points by playing online games and then go on to purchase items in our online shop or use our personal shopper service. Each point is equivalent to one pound, so redemption value is quite high.