Why lockdown doesn’t have to mean shutdown

The coronavirus pandemic has affected every aspect of our daily lives from the way we interact with our families and colleagues, to the way we do our weekly shop. As lockdown restrictions are beginning to relax, the last few weeks have seen some businesses busier than ever and others at a standstill.

That said, in a crisis, a natural response is to batten down the hatches and safeguard the business in the short-term. However, from our personal experience we have seen some companies using this time to effectively plan a long-term response and focus on the things that will really make a difference when normality resumes.

So, as we start to approach what is being coined ‘the new normal’, what role does marketing play and why is it important that your voice is heard?

 

  1. Keeping customers informed – with uncertainty everywhere we turn, keeping customers as informed as possible in your business plans is important. Whether you’ve been operational from the beginning or are completely out of action – ensuring you communicate your actions is fundamental for business continuity.

 

  1. Staying connected – more people, including new and existing customers, are online and engaging with content more than ever before. This has opened up a world of opportunities for content and digital marketing. If you haven’t before, now is the time to invest in marketing to reach those people that you can’t meet in person.

 

  1. Building your brand – it may not seem like it now, but normality will resume eventually. Take this time to focus on your brand, the messages you want to convey and those jobs that usually get overlooked. Whether it’s updating website copy, re-branding technical data-sheets or re-evaluating your businesses’ story, use this time wisely.

 

Marketing will help you to stay in front of the people that really matter. During a crisis, keeping in touch and staying connected with your customers is important, but it’s also an opportunity to get your ducks in a row so you can be fast out of the starting blocks when the world fully reopens for business.

Re-thinking events: Taking them online

One of the longest standing forms of marketing, events are a major element in many businesses’ marketing strategies. Particularly well-established in B2B sectors, events such as trade shows, are the ideal opportunity for brands to elevate themselves on a relevant platform with a targeted audience. To launch new products, network with the industry or generate new leads, face-to-face events have been fundamental.

Much like every other area of marketing there has been a rise in digital formats in recent years – webinars proving particularly popular. That said, face-to-face events are still a major springboard for activity for many businesses.

However, as face-to-face events have halted for the foreseeable future, now could be the perfect opportunity to add digital events to your plan and get creative with the space to explore what works (or more importantly, what doesn’t) for your brand.

So, if you’re looking to get started, what are some of the practical things you need to consider?

  • Audio – Audio is the most important element in online events. Ensure you have appropriate mics and technology that you can rely on.
  • Video – Live video is not always needed, but if this is your chosen method, use it as an opportunity to share the experience – and most importantly, it has to be done right.
  • Time – Dive into the most important content quickly. It is vital that your audiences are engaged from the outset.
  • Customisation – By taking your content and localising it for different regions is key to engaging different audiences and creating evergreen content.
  • UX – whatever your chosen platform, the user experience needs to be simple from registration through to follow up. Give your audience easy access to everything they will need to further their understanding.
  • Plan – have a structure in place but leave room for spontaneity. Audience demands may lead the way, don’t be intimidated by this, ensure you can be agile.
  • Unique – be unique and have a personality. Bring your brand to life just as you would on a stand at an event.

 

While face-to-face events will always have a place in the marketing strategy of B2B brands, digital events can help to plug the content gap while we wait for normality to resume. And when it does, we expect to see much wider spread digital adoption given that they break down geographical and time boundaries, making audiences accessible without the need for travel.

In fact, the current situation could actually be the catalyst needed for many businesses to review event strategies and identify where digital has the potential to add value.

Tom’s TMPR highlights – a year in the making

Amidst uncertain times and new working procedures, Technical Marketing & PR has cause for celebration, with this week marking one year since Tom Martin first joined the team!

Looking back on his first year, Tom was spoilt for choice in selecting a few highlights. From the numerous personal development opportunities and training sessions to attending networking events on behalf of the business, it has been an eclectic and exciting time during which he has become a valued member of the team.

Tom took a hands-on role from day one, immersing himself in a wide range of activities and developing new skills – and has produced several successfully-targeted social media advertising campaigns.

Being the sole England supporter in the TMPR contingent has led to few rugby-induced heartbreaks along the way (much to the joy of the surrounding team), but Tom has fit right in with the company’s enduringly positive atmosphere. For England, there’s always next year – and Tom’s second year at TMPR will surely see him encounter new challenges and scale new heights.

From the TMPR team, we’re proud to have you on board – and look forward to toasting our collective successes once we can meet up again!

Building towards safer site procedures during the pandemic

As specialists in construction and manufacturing, many of our clients have been affected by the COVID-19 outbreak – either by closures, interruption of work or even just widespread confusion. In a letter to the construction industry, the UK’s Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy has now confirmed that the sector is essential and should continue to operate under specific safety guidance.

In accordance with the Chief Medical Officer’s advice, the Construction Leadership Council has published a set of guidelines to help site managers continue in the safest way possible.

The Council’s advice can be broken down into three key points:

 

  1. Enforce social distancing on-site

First and foremost, all non-essential site visits should be stopped with immediate effect. When on site, all workers should maintain two-metre distances at all times, physical contact should be avoided and any activities requiring skin to skin contact must be halted.

To aid this, site managers can stagger the start and finish times of their team members, reducing on-site congestion and contact throughout the day. Social distancing should be observed not only while working, but also in the canteen, toilets and anywhere else that individuals could congregate.

 

  1. Improve hygiene facilities

Site managers should look into installing additional hand-washing facilities on-site, and making hand sanitiser available where this isn’t possible. Regular hand washing should be encouraged throughout the day, especially following direct contact or use of shared tools.

Similarly, tools and equipment should be cleaned and sterilised between uses – doing so can significantly decrease the risk of the virus spreading.

 

  1. Ensure safe waste disposal

Site managers should be vigilant in ensuring that waste is disposed of regularly and safely. This includes general waste, but also single-use PPE and other disposable equipment. Cleanliness standards should be increased, and closely regulated.

 

In the construction sector, as in wider society, safety must come first in the current climate – but it’s important to keep the industry moving. By following the guidance provided, site managers can enable construction to continue in the safest way possible and protect both employees and ongoing projects.

 

For more advice on ensuring safe operating procedures during the COVID-19 outbreak, use the following links to access relevant resources:

Maintaining a long-term brand strategy during a crisis

The outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic has affected brands in almost every sector across the globe to varying degrees. Some industries, such as hospitality and travel, have been brought almost to a complete stop while others are adapting to remote working or reduced staffing policies.

Whilst it is a challenging time for all bringing sweeping lifestyle changes, it’s important to recognise that it is a temporary situation. It’s likely that we’ll learn important lessons through the crisis and return to a ‘new normal’, but it remains vital for brands to keep an eye on the future.

 

Keeping marketing in the picture

Ultimately, marketing is an investment, and should be treated as such – rather than as a cost. Although there is no precedent for such an impactful pandemic in the modern era, we can take a few lessons from the 2008 financial crisis, which saw many brands take a hit.

Following the 2008 financial crisis, strength of brand – or ‘brand equity’ – proved to be a significant factor in businesses’ recovery. Brand equity is made up of three key elements:

  • Brand meaning – how is the brand seen by consumers?
  • Point of difference – what differentiates the brand against the market?
  • Salience – how well recognised is the brand?

Of these factors, salience is the greatest indicator of a brand’s ability to recover effectively. It’s having a strong point of difference, however, that tends to indicate growth in the long term.

Brands can improve their salience by ensuring that they have an effective share of voice, which should be equal to their market share, if not higher. Despite the current situation, very few consumers are expecting brands to stop advertising completely, so there’s no reason not to keep developing brand voice provided the messaging remains relevant, reassuring, and avoids profiteering.

Marketing might not be the first thing on everybody’s minds right now – but it certainly shouldn’t be the last, and brands that continue to work proactively will reap the benefits in the long term.

Marketing in Construction Summit 2020

As specialists in providing marketing and PR support for businesses within the construction and manufacturing sectors, it was a no-brainer for us to attend the Marketing in Construction Summit. Having attended for the first time in 2019, this year it was Alexandra’s turn to make the trip to the big smoke as the face of TMPR – networking with industry partners and listening in on thought-provoking seminars all focused around marketing in construction.

Here she takes a few minutes to share some of her personal highlights:

 

Hosted at CentrEd at the ExCel in London, the Marketing in Construction Summit saw a series of sessions from industry leaders and opportunities to share best practice advice on brand awareness, digital comms and much more! But, a few sessions stood out to me and echoed the advice that we share with our clients, so I thought I’d share three top tips that can be used to enhance service offering for clients.

 

  1. Website Optimisation

Being found on the first page of Google is an ambition for most businesses in today’s technological world and SEO is more important now than ever before. Google assesses a website’s trust based on how it appears on a mobile device first and foremost and desktop later – so it is imperative that your website has been optimised for mobiles!

Also, SEO keywords need to go into the hundreds! Pick the battles you can win (eg. Location, specific businesses USPs) and you have more of a chance of appearing on that first page. If your SEO is up to scratch, that should work even better than PPC!

 

  1. Content is king

At TMPR, content is our area of expertise so one session that resonated with what we do as a business was storytelling. Within stories, the reader trusts the teller and influence is created through emotional engagement – and this should be the same with your marketing strategy. The construction industry has faced a lot of scrutiny over the last few years, and as marketers, we can change this by telling stories that we truly believe in and adapting our copy to the right audience.

Immersion, simplicity and familiarity are key!

 

  1. Crisis Communications

We’re PR people as well as marketers, so understanding crisis control is essential. It is important to have a crisis plan in place, but where to start? Begin by identifying what is most likely to occur and then move towards what is going to be most damaging… By being proactive and having a crisis plan in place, clients can focus their time where it is needed in an emergency and most importantly are able to keep communicating with stakeholders!

 

These are just three top tips that reflect what we believe as a marketing agency and share with our clients. The Marketing in Construction Summit is the only one of its kind in the UK and is a great opportunity to meet up with industry partners, share ideas and expertise, but most importantly, ensure we continue to deliver the very best for our clients.

To find out more about the event and mark a date in the diary for next year, please visit https://summits.ukconstructionweek.com/index.php.

Technical Marketing & PR welcomes back Alex

TMPR is over the moon to welcome back Alex Lambden back into the team and provide a further insight in what it takes to be a successful marketeer.

Joining the team for a student placement for three months last year, Alex learnt how to create cutting-edge copywriting and discovered a passion for industry standard video production. After a short hiatus for his Erasmus year in Spain, he has returned to Cardiff University for his final year and is eager to brush up on his marketing expertise.

“I’m really excited to be back with the TMPR team, and this time in their new office in Penarth,” Alex explains “It’s amazing to see how the company has grown, as well as being back under the team’s guidance who are so dedicated to expanding my professional skillset.”

The mention of the name Alex in the office has now produced an amusing situation, with two heads now turning instead of one. We’re still looking for nicknames to differentiate between the two.

It’s great to have Alex back in the swing of things, and we recommend other students to keep updated on any student placements that Technical Marketing & PR might offer in the future!

Technical Marketing & PR Named #1 Outstanding Small PR Consultancy in Wales

At the annual CIPR PRide Cymru Awards, Technical Marketing & PR has been awarded gold in the ‘Outstanding Small Public Relations Consultancy’ category. The awards ceremony which was held at Cardiff’s Exchange Hotel on Friday 11th October and hosted by TV and radio personality Jason Mohammad, celebrated the best of PR in Wales.

“Since laying down roots in South Wales, Technical Marketing & PR has gone from strength to strength with expansion of the in-house team and growing our South Wales client base. It is incredible to be recognised as the leading small PR consultancy in Wales whilst staying true to our core sectors,” said Louise Morgan, Director at Technical Marketing & PR.

The judges commented: “Technical Marketing & PR’s clear, well thought out strategy has supported profitable growth, with impressive global reach which has seen successful campaign delivery as far afield as Russia. Yet this dedicated agency remains committed to supporting its local community; delivering workshops through the local business network and building strategic partnerships with businesses in South Wales. The judges were extremely impressed by Technical Marketing & PR’s continued investment in its staff, with a strong focus on CPD and ensuring up-to-date knowledge of data compliancy and information governance.”

Congratulations to all of the finalists and winners from the night, there is some incredible PR talent in Wales. See the full list of winners and finalists here.

Managing change in manufacturing

The Technical Marketing & PR team recently attended an expert panel discussion covering change management in manufacturing, hosted by Darwin Gray. Joined by an audience steeped in experience within the manufacturing sector, the panel evoked constructive discourse around how businesses can capitalise on new opportunities in a rapidly changing industry.

Change is inherent in manufacturing – whether it’s the effect of new legislation on supply chain management, or a generational shift in working patterns. It is, as the old saying goes, inevitable. As the discussion progressed, it became apparent that change is not something to be feared so much as seen as an opportunity to excel.

So, how can manufacturing businesses start managing change?

 

Plan for change

Too often, specialist consultants and industry experts are brought in to oversee change management projects during times of crisis. The first thing that the panel was keen to raise was that things don’t need to be heading south for change management to kick in – in fact, it’s much better to take a proactive approach.

There’s always a lot going on in manufacturing, and keeping your ear to the ground can go a long way to making sure you are ready for any changes that will affect your sector. Failing to plan is planning to fail – there’s a lot of clichés we could lean on here, but it’s safe to say that those who plan are most likely to prosper.

 

Encourage a ‘change mindset’

Change management does not have to mean an overhaul of business procedures. By creating a culture that supports growth and change, manufacturing businesses will be able to change gradually and ensure that they are working effectively and prepared for the future.

It’s important to be open to change. This might sound simple, but it’s crucial to recognise that change is happening every day – it’s normal, and we must accept it in order to make the most of new opportunities. By embracing a change mindset, manufacturing businesses can be flexible and take any developments in-stride.

 

Communicate and collaborate

One of the messages that the panel was keen to impress was that there is a wealth of support available to manufacturing businesses. By surrounding yourself with experts in your field, you can ensure that you have access to all the knowledge you might need to progress.

It’s worth being prudent with anyone who you introduce to your business, but the panel agreed that being trusting and finding the right partners can be invaluable. Whether it is involvement in government schemes or engaging more closely with local professionals, there is a huge ecosystem around the manufacturing industry which can be tapped into.

 

While there is a question around recognising the need for change, it seems more sensible that manufacturing businesses take a proactive approach to change management. With a strong team and a willing attitude to change, you can prepare your brand for the future and ensure that you’re evolving day by day.

For advice on how marketing and PR support can help you manage and effectively communicate changes in your business, contact the Technical Marketing & PR team.

One year on… Alexandra’s TMPR Highlights

This week marks one year since Alexandra Davies joined our team as Junior Account Executive… and what an amazing 12 months it has been!

When speaking to Alexandra about her personal highlights, she’s always quick to cite that securing bylined articles in the trade press is one of her favourites (especially when she takes the printed copy home to share with her family and friends). She’s also fast become our resident social media guru, leading the charge with campaign set up and management using recently introduced platforms to the agency.

And aside from the professional progress she has made (which has been high quality and fast paced), Alexandra is a very valued member of our small but perfectly formed and specialist team.

In fact, Alexandra has assumed the official position of ‘Social Secretary’ which in the last year has seen TMPR head out to events such as the Wales v England rugby game, to ‘paint-a-pot’ when we needed coasters for the new office (Alexandra painted a bee on hers… which was no surprise), as well as to celebrate Beaujolais Day in Cardiff.

So, on behalf of your esteemed colleagues at TMPR, we’d like to thank you for being such a fab team member, making us laugh and being truly awesome at PR and marketing.

Enjoy the beehive cake!