Social media marketing, business branding and PR with an East Lancashire twang'

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The Brandspankin' Blog

Thu 06 Sep 2012
Pendle Witch Walk
We were delighted with the culmination of all our efforts a couple of weekends ago, when we saw 1,300 people attended the Pendle Witch Walk.

We believe that the Burnley and Pendle area has a rich heritage and enjoys some of the best countryside that the UK has to offer, so to have half of the attendees come from outside the area was something we’re really pleased about.

Of those attending approximately 850 did the walk, we broke the world record for the biggest gathering of witches, with 482 people in the appropriate attire as outlined by Guinness (i.e. Black wide brimmed pointy hat, Black full length cloak, Broomstick) and most importantly, we have raised over £30,000 for Pendleside Hospice.

We also generated positive media attention from all over the world – the US, India – even Armenia! Radio 4 and Radio 5 also did pieces about the event, as well as television coverage from BBC, Granada and CNN. We were delighted with the outcome because we’d sought from the outset to demonstrate that Pendle is a beautiful place to live with its wonderful countryside and fantastic heritage.

On the morning of the event artist Philippe Handford produced the “1612” guerrilla installation in 500ft numerals on the side of Pendle Hill. We supported Philippe’s efforts and generated some positive press for the project – and one of our team was up on Pendle Hill at 5:30am helping to create what was one of the defining images of the day!

The music event after the walk featured Shaun Russell (swing, big band), Lancashire Sinfonietta, Nelson Arion male voice choir, Leyland Brass and Vicky and the Big Combo (motown and soul).

Brandspankin’ MD and Pendle Witch Walk organiser, Julian Jordan said: “The day was a massive success – we had great weather, we broke the world record and we raised a huge sum for Pendleside Hospice, so we’d like to put on record our gratitude for all the magnificent support we received.”

Wed 11 Apr 2012
Oohh now that looks useful...
Having our lead designer currently located on the other side of the world, Sydney to be exact has caused one or two logistical issues, but they've been easily surmountable with modern technology, and there have been many benefits. I wake in the morning eager to find out what she's done or what interesting new little thing she's found or discovered and sent me during the night. It's like waking up to a little present every day!

This morning I got up and along with the finished artwork for a clients ad, she's also sent me a link to this little blog she'd found and thought I should share it with you as well. It does what it says on the tin - 101 most useful websites. It's from January this year and previews the most useful from 2011, so some have fallen by the way side, but the author has updated where he can at the end. The sites all solve one problem really well and all are there to help us 'improve our productivity'. But I've just spent the past half hour looking at them all, when I should really have been doing the VAT, so my productivity has probably dipped slightly because of it. However next time I need to generate some random numbers for a prize draw or a lottery I may be holding I'll know to go to random.org or if I want a less confusing view of time zones I know to go to everytimezone.com

Seriously though there are some excellent sites here, no doubt you'll all have heard of some of them but there's bound to be at least one that makes you go "Oohh now that looks useful". Go on have a look bit.ly/handytips

Mon 12 Mar 2012
MeganBrown.co.uk appoints Brandspankin' to manage media relations

NEWLY launched online gift store MeganBrown.co.uk has appointed Lancashire-based Brandspankin' to manage media relations and build awareness.

The Shropshire-based business focuses on selling unique and often handmade gift products that are made in Britain - such as natural bath & body products and handmade chocolates, jewellery and homewares.

To date the business has already built an impressive list of suppliers including Savonnerie London, Clifton Cakes, Hurley Burley and Gillian Kyle.

With recent research demonstrating that more than a third of consumers would buy British if it was made easier, Megan Brown's promise of only sourcing unique gifts that are made in Britain is set to benefit millions.

Building awareness around key values, along with driving online traffic and promoting sales were all considerations in appointing an agency.

Megan Brown said: "We're delighted to have appointed Brandspankin' to manage PR for us. They are vastly experienced in successfully delivering public relations campaigns and they share our values and commitment to the idea of promoting British design and manufacture."

Jacqueline Jordan, Director of Brandspankin', said: "It's fantastic to be working with MeganBrown.co.uk. They support the British designers and manufacturers who understand the UK market best and are renowned for their creativity and innovation. It's the perfect site to visit for birthdays, for mother's day, or just for a beautifully handcrafted indulgence!"

Mon 12 Mar 2012
Pendle Witch Walkers set to be world record breakers!

Guinness World Records(TM) endorse record number of witches attempt!

A HUGE Charity event planned to coincide with the 400 th anniversary of the Pendle Witch Trials in August is set to break a world record for the biggest ever gathering of "witches"!

Pendle Witch Walk, taking place on August 18 th - the exact date of the infamous trials - has been approved by Guinness World Records(TM) as an official world record attempt. And with over 2,000 attendees expected in witch-themed fancy dress, organisers are confident that they'll claim the record!

The event itself is a 5-mile circular sponsored walk from the beautiful Lancashire village of Barley - the epicentre of so-called Lancashire Witch Country!

The walk will take in the summit of Pendle Hill - which in itself is emblematic of both Lancashire and witchcraft, as well as being a site of reverence for both Pagans and Quakers!

Simon Tattersall, one of the organisers of the event, said: "It's great news that Pendle Witch Walk has been recognised by Guinness World Records(TM) as a World Record attempt. Clearly, that means we need as many people as possible to visit the website ( www.pendlewitchwalk.co.uk ) and register to join the festivities - then of course, attend the event in witch-style fancy dress."

"We only announced the launch locally a couple of weeks ago and the levels of interest have been staggering - we've already had dozens of people register for the walk, the website traffic has been phenomenal, plus we have 250 Facebook followers and 700 on Twitter!"

"We're hoping for a great event and a truly memorable day. The world record attempt for the greatest gathering of "witches" will give everybody's efforts an undisputable measure of achievement. It will bring huge attention to the Burnley and Pendle area and our tumultuous history, but more to the point we hope that via their sponsors, walkers will raise in excess of £50,000 for Pendleside Hospice."

Tue 29 Nov 2011
Why you should probably NOT spend money on print advertising!

IF YOUR business is a start-up, or just a small business, you face the challenge of managing your limited resources whilst trying to generate a return.

In difficult economic circumstances, winning new business - even generating leads can be hard. Then there's the question of building awareness more broadly, to ensure that when prospects make a "buying decision", your business is front of mind.

It's usually when you're toying with these imponderables that the phone rings and some slick-talking smoothie says that the publication he works for has an available page, they're due to go to print imminently and out of the goodness of his heart, he thought he'd offer it to you at a very reasonable discount. Yes, that old chestnut!

Well, I'm not suggesting that you say NO to every one of these media-sales types...just 99.9 per cent of them. Brass is better in your pocket than theirs!

In short, here's my advice regarding how to respond when approached to buy advertising space:-

- Ask if their circulation is audited by ABC (Audit Bureau of Circulation). If it's a radio ad, the equivalent organisation that audits radio listener figures is called RAJAR (Radio Joint Audience Research)

- If they say they don't have these metrics, but offer a "Publisher Statement", there may be little basis to whatever they claim as their circulation. Ask them to qualify the figure by giving you their print run.

- Ensure that they offer you a detailed demographic statement regarding listeners/readers. Ask yourself if this demographic is really who you need to be selling to.

- Ask them if they have successfully advertised a business offering services like yours previously. Can they qualify this? Ask them what return on your investment you might expect. If this is answered in a woolly fashion, ask them if they have case studies from businesses comparable to your own. Or better still, ask if you can have the contact details of an advertiser who has gained a measurable return on their investment from advertising with them.

- If at any point when you ask these sorts of things, you are given prevarication or evasiveness, it suggests they can't give you the assurances you need before you part with your money.

I was with a client recently when a salesperson from a lifestyle publication turned up. She flannelled through most of the stuff I've outlined, so I asked her to do a "taster" deal - and that if it worked my client would commit to a series of adverts. The taster I suggested was a free one page ad for my client and he'd pay them half of the profit he generated from any leads the ad generated. Suffice to say, she declined. More to the point, since then neither I nor my client have been approached by the publication. This speaks volumes about their confidence in their product to do anything beyond vanity advertising.

In fairness, you might want to advertise for reasons other than straightforward lead generation, such as long-term awareness building. In which case, at the very least this approach should get you access to better than rate-card prices.

Finally, as a test of a publication's commitment to giving you a deal that actually works, why not ask them to publish a press release for you? If you get a response to your story, it's reasonable to assume that if you advertise with them you might see a response too!

Fri 17 Jun 2011
Pendle Pub Walk Top 20

Greetings Pendle Pub Walk pop pickers!

Brandspankin' is very proud of its sponsorship of Pendle Pub Walk and tomorrow's walk is set to be the biggest and best yet, with over 500 walkers covering the 10 mile route.

We're hoping for good weather, but a few summer showers won't dampen the spirits - especially if you tuck into a pint or two of Spellbinder - the special ale produced for by event sponsor Moorhouse's Brewery.

In the meantime, here's our Pendle Pub Walk Top 20 -

  1. These Boots Were Made for Walking - Nancy Sinatra
  2. Zippin' up my boots (Going back to my roots) - Richie Havens
  3. I would walk 500 miles - The Proclaimers
  4. Running up that Hill - Kate Bush
  5. Walk On By - Dionne Warwick
  6. Walking in the Rain - The Ronettes
  7. Walking on sunshine - Katrina and the Waves
  8. You'll Never Walk Alone - Gerry and the Pacemakers
  9. I Can See For Miles - The Who
  10. Hurry up Harry (we're going down the pub) - Sham69
  11. Walk This Way - Aerosmith
  12. Run to the hills - iron Maiden
  13. I walk the line - Johnny Cash
  14. Walking back to happiness - Helen Shapiro
  15. Walk on the wild side - Lou Reid
  16. Don't walk away Renee - The Four Tops
  17. Walk of Life - Dire Straights
  18. Walking On Sunshine - Rocker's Revenge
  19. (You Got To Walk And) Don't Look Back - The Rolling Stones
  20. Raindrops keep falling on my head - BJ Thomas

Mon 18 Apr 2011
Funded PR & Social Media Marketing Courses are back!!

We have managed to access limited match funding for clients who want to come on our PR & Social Media Marketing Course. Total cost is £500 + VAT (?250 of which will be funded). Funds and places are limited, so please call us now to register your interest on 01282 878 301.

Our training courses have been extremely popular and have had a brilliant response from attendees - we guarantee that if you do the course and implement our advice, you'll get a measurable return on your investment!

The Brandspankin' PR and social media marketing course trains your business to:-

o Formulate key messages properly

o Write a compelling, "media-ready" press release

o Formulate an objectives-based Comms/Marketing plan that locks your

marketing activity into your Business Plan

o Understand the requirements of journalists and publication editors

o Use a series of freely available tools to monitor and measure the success of

your campaigns

o Understand how to optimise and best utilise your presence on social media

sites including Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Youtube and Foursquare.

o Use a variety of online PR resources to self-publish your news releases

o Use blogging platforms to self-publish

o Massively enhance your online presence - so-called "Digital Asset Optimisation"

o Significantly increase traffic to your website

o Significantly increase profitability

Fri 15 Apr 2011
SIMCAM Stan catches nuisance knocker in the act!

Disabled Stan's ingenious wireless camera system foils phantom nuisance

AN ELDERLY pensioner at a Hull Residential Home has slept soundly for the first time in five years, thanks to an ingenious system that is the brainchild of a disabled entrepreneur!

The pensioner had been plagued by a malicious door knocker for the past five years and had barely had an unbroken night's sleep. However, thanks to Stan Glover's SIMCAM the problem is now a thing of the past.

"I have been plagued with a phantom door knocker for the past five years", she said. "Thanks to that new camera they daren't knock anymore!"

Stan's clever device came about after he suffered a massive stroke in July 2008. He was told he would probably never regain his mobility, but plucky Stan, 58, decided to prove doctors wrong and teach himself to walk again. After a fall whilst teaching himself to walk again, Stan almost fallen into the fire and his wife worried about even going to the shops and leaving him alone.

The experience inspired Stan to come up with SIMCAM - a small, portable, alarm remote camera powered by battery or mains and fitted with a SIM card, allowing it to call mobile phones or send emails. The ingenious solution costs a fraction of orthodox CCTV systems and comes with a remote key fob, meaning that if a disabled user falls it activates the alarm/camera.

Solving the mystery of the malicious door knocker is the latest in a series of successful applications for Stan's SIMCAM device. The SIMCAM has also alerted Nursing home staff to the unauthorised presence of a young Male at 5:45am one morning recently. The Nursing home Manager has the images and expects to identify the person involved.

Andy Rollins, Contracts Manager from 24-7 Security Systems Hull, said: "Our Company had been asked to patrol this area to see if we could apprehend this vicious nuisance knocker. The lady's life had been made a misery, being woken up at all hours of the night by loud banging on her door."

He added. "We heard about SIMCAMS and Stan came out in person to show the full range of products. We immediately purchased one of each of his Alert cameras and simply located it near the lady's door, set it remotely via our mobile for infrared motion detection and lo and behold at 2.30 am that night an alert by text was received on the patrol guard's mobile. The SIMCAM had taken 8 pictures showing the individual in the act of knocking on this lady's door."

Karl Crossland, Managing Director of 24-7 added: "It really does give you peace of mind. We now have images transferred from e-mail to a cd-rom which can be used in evidence."

"The Nursing home has been shown the evidence. We feel this will be the end of the matter and we will no longer be required to patrol. For less than £200.00 we solved a five year long problem. I think we will be using quite a few of SIMCAMS products!"

Fri 15 Apr 2011
SIMCAM Stan catches nuisance knocker in the act!

Disabled Stan's ingenious wireless camera system foils phantom nuisance

AN ELDERLY pensioner at a Hull Residential Home has slept soundly for the first time in five years, thanks to an ingenious system that is the brainchild of a disabled entrepreneur!

The pensioner had been plagued by a malicious door knocker for the past five years and had barely had an unbroken night's sleep. However, thanks to Stan Glover's SIMCAM the problem is now a thing of the past.

"I have been plagued with a phantom door knocker for the past five years", she said. "Thanks to that new camera they daren't knock anymore!"

Stan's clever device came about after he suffered a massive stroke in July 2008. He was told he would probably never regain his mobility, but plucky Stan, 58, decided to prove doctors wrong and teach himself to walk again. After a fall whilst teaching himself to walk again, Stan almost fallen into the fire and his wife worried about even going to the shops and leaving him alone.

The experience inspired Stan to come up with SIMCAM - a small, portable, alarm remote camera powered by battery or mains and fitted with a SIM card, allowing it to call mobile phones or send emails. The ingenious solution costs a fraction of orthodox CCTV systems and comes with a remote key fob, meaning that if a disabled user falls it activates the alarm/camera.

Solving the mystery of the malicious door knocker is the latest in a series of successful applications for Stan's SIMCAM device. The SIMCAM has also alerted Nursing home staff to the unauthorised presence of a young Male at 5:45am one morning recently. The Nursing home Manager has the images and expects to identify the person involved.

Andy Rollins, Contracts Manager from 24-7 Security Systems Hull, said: "Our Company had been asked to patrol this area to see if we could apprehend this vicious nuisance knocker. The lady's life had been made a misery, being woken up at all hours of the night by loud banging on her door."

He added. "We heard about SIMCAMS and Stan came out in person to show the full range of products. We immediately purchased one of each of his Alert cameras and simply located it near the lady's door, set it remotely via our mobile for infrared motion detection and lo and behold at 2.30 am that night an alert by text was received on the patrol guard's mobile. The SIMCAM had taken 8 pictures showing the individual in the act of knocking on this lady's door."

Karl Crossland, Managing Director of 24-7 added: "It really does give you peace of mind. We now have images transferred from e-mail to a cd-rom which can be used in evidence."

"The Nursing home has been shown the evidence. We feel this will be the end of the matter and we will no longer be required to patrol. For less than £200.00 we solved a five year long problem. I think we will be using quite a few of SIMCAMS products!"

Fri 11 Mar 2011
New Facebook business pages

Well yesterday was the day! The day Facebook business pages automatically changed over to the new design bringing them more in line with the design and functionality of personal pages. If you haven't already looked, your business page may look a bit different today when you log on.

So what are the differences?

One of the first things you'll notice are the tabs have gone from the top of the page. The navigation is now down the left hand side. There on the left...yes there, can you see them? Small aren't they?!

According to Facebook it's what we all expect, so that's where they're staying. I'm sure at first the 'navigational links' will not get used as often as the tabs were - which could mean lost opportunities, but it does mean we'll have to be a bit more creative in letting people know about them and, like everything else in life, after a while what once seemed new, weird and different will become second nature.

Another change that will take some getting used to is the fact that wall posts now go through a filtering system and are no longer shown in chronological order. This can be very annoying and confusing, especially for admins - and comments left on facebook's help pages certainly seem to bear this out. A post made by an admin yesterday for instance could show further down the page than a comment a fan made last week, AND it's different for different visitors.

Why have they done this you may ask? It's confusing for you as an admin but apparently not for your fans or visitors. It allows the posts to be more relevant, in a social capacity - rather than placing the most popular post at the top. It also ties in with how many, if any, of your friends have interacted with, commented or liked a post. This is a social network after all and by doing this they are given greater preference to more 'social posts' rather than the "shouty" sales pitch that we may want to deliver. But again it just means we have to be more creative and engage with our visitors a bit more, which aint necessarily a bad thing.

Whilst some might see the changes listed so far as negative there are some good amendments. You can now 'like' a page and 'comment' on wall posts of pages that you have liked. This means that you can go off and find relevant pages to your business and 'like' them, which will then show up on the left side of the profile page, under your tiny navigational links, and will rotate with each page refresh. Then, as long as their wall is set to open where others can post freely, you can "like" posts, leave a comment, or post something up yourself. But be careful not to fall into the trap of liking dozens of other businesses and posting comments everywhere just so you get in front of loads of people. This could and should be seen as spammy and could get you banned and cause more brand damage than it's worth. Think about what and where you post and don't do it just for the sake of it.

There are other more techy changes to get your head around too, but from what I'm told these are going to make things a lot easier. So, gone is FBML and in comes iFrames. Anything using FBML previously will still be ok, but as of today you're going to have use iFrames. This, should open up a whole range of possibilities. You can basically put some content onto your website, ensuring its 520px wide, and then embed that page into a relevant navigational link (tab).

And that's about it really. I could go on and talk about the five thumbnail pictures you'll see at the top of the page or the fact you can see the activity summary when you log in or about spam monitoring or the fact you can now feature administrators to give your business page a more personal feel...or...or...or, but I think I'll leave it there for now and let you discover the rest for yourself. Feel free to get back to us with any tips or hints on the new Facebook business pages and we'll post them for everybody's benefit!

Jac

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