There is a word for that…

“I miss you loads. I’ve got an ache inside because I miss you so much. I wish you were with me right now. I remember that last time we were together with great fondness and miss that.”

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Somehow, this doesn’t quite express what I really mean. According to my wife (who speaks fluent Portuguese), there’s a single great word for all of that sentiment. It’s saudades (sow-dar-jees) and basically crams all of the above into one handy expression. And the receiver immediately knows that it’s all there without you rambling on too much.

This got me thinking about how we naturally use language and adapt it to our needs. It’s not merely a communication tool but a complex reflection of culture.

English is a fabulous, expressive language but it can be a bit lacking in economy. We Brits spend far too much time being polite and modest. So when it comes to expressing a thought or idea, we have to borrow from other languages to get to the point.

Schadenfreude is a deliciously German way of expressing the pleasure you might feel over someone else’s misfortune. The French amuse bouche is a surprise little something from the chef with an unusual combination of flavours, literally “a mouth amuser”. I can’t imagine Brits coming up with that somehow. We’d complain there wasn’t enough on the plate. Ex pats in India spent many years borrowing language (amongst other things) because it just did the job a bit better.

Buckshee – apparently from the Urdu word baksheesh meaning money and indicating a bribe – has been widely used by the British army and according to the Army Rumour Service, has a complex meaning behind it:

“Buckshee kit is an interesting thing. Somebody can be in posession of considerable quantities of Buckshee equipment, without ever having bought it, or stolen it…Buckshee is a currency all in it’s own right similar to barter. No matter what you need, there will always be someone with a buckshee item.”

People have always been adapting language to suit and communicate more efficiently. Txt spk being an obvious example. Teenagers have for generations managed to create language that’s exclusive to them and makes other users look a bit er…lame? I mean, that’s like random right?

Which leads me on to wonder why so many brand owners resort to verbose and often meaningless mission statements/visions/aims or spend enormous amounts of time carefully defining what their brand is or isn’t? Who really cares that you “will become the first choice provider of widgets and first choice supplier partner by 2018 through an unrelenting commitment to quality products and excellent service….”?

As Simon Sinek has argued, people don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it.

Consider consumer brands that have (arguably) become part of the culture; Dyson, Apple, Facebook, Vespa, Marmite, Ronseal et al not only had strong products and great advertising ideas behind them, they were supercharged by cultural acceptance and became handy vehicles to express ourselves. Buying a Dyson was a statement of non-conformity. “A Marmite person” was quickly understood, “does what it says on the tin” a bluff rejection of complexity, Vespa is shorthand for a life of Italian cafe cool and 60s chic.

Customers rapidly join the semiotic dots and will “see” and use your brand accordingly. Make their lives easier, less complex and smoother running by plugging in to what they’re thinking about and what matters to them. Converse became the biggest brand on Facebook not by flogging trainers but through getting in flow with their buyers and their lives.

If your brand doesn’t become three dimensional shorthand for your raison d’etre and then you’re maybe wasting your time and company’s money. Spend time thinking about how your brand fits with the prevailing and specific culture of your customers. Why does it matter? Of course I mean to say, the zeitgeist. Handily, Google even measure it for you here.

Pronto!

Beware the sycophantic banana

… But be decent, legal, honest and truthful.

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As a freelancer, I’m privileged to be given this opportunity to be a guest spot blogger!…

Without wishing to slip on that great sycophantic banana, I felt compelled to provide some honest feedback following a period of a few weeks freelancing within Key Parker. Over many years in the industry, I have worked for and alongside many reputable and highly praised agencies. Now, agencies are very skilled at marketing themselves and exploiting client testimonials and endorsements so generally they do not need any help. (Some agencies are not so good – but we won’t go into that).

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Explaining finance boosts Audi website traffic

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Audi has increased visitors to the finance section of its web site by a massive 82% in February.

This is all due to the launch of 3 new videos designed to bring some clarity to the often confusing world of finance. The three videos cover Personal Contract Plan, Contract Hire and Hire Purchase, and seek to explain the detail behind the products in a simple and useful way.

The films were created by long time partner agency, Key Parker. “Finance is often the slightly dull part of buying a car. It’s double maths for customers” explains Nigel Bromley, Client Services Director at Key Parker.  “We set out to explain the concepts behind the products in a way that would give Audi customers confidence in their understanding”

Natalie Taylor of Audi Finance adds: “We set out to demystify finance, and to help our prospects feel more confident about selecting the product that best suits their circumstances. Encouragingly our research has shown us that 76% of potential customers say the films make them more likely to choose one of our products.”

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Contact Nigel Bromley for more information & images

Nigel.bromley@keyparker.co.uk

See the films at : http://www.audi.co.uk/explore-models/finance.html

Steamy, sizzling new client

Our latest client addition is bcg who are one of the biggest suppliers and distributors of plumbing, heating, kitchen and bathroom products in the UK.  Owned by the giant merchant supplier Wolseley, bcg specialise in the independent merchant and retailer sector and have appointed Key Parker to develop their brand strategy and all of their communications. 

23561 BCG BATHROOM BOOK AD_297x230_V3_KBN 23561 BCG KITCHEN BOOK AD_297x230_V3_KBN

3 tips to increase your email engagement

There is a perception that email marketing is:
•    easy-to-setup
•    quick-to-deploy
•    cost-effective
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Free PPC conversion rate checker!

Free PPC conversion rate checker!

If you have an eCommerce website and you are thinking of driving traffic with paid search activity, we have a PPC conversion rate checker to allow you to test-drive some figures. Read more

Creative? Let’s be the judge of that

Creativity is an innate human characteristic, born out of the compulsion to compete. And in a world of oversupply, marketers need to be creative in order for their brands to survive, let alone thrive.According to The Economist, we are bombarded with 1,600 selling messages a day. About 1,595 of these are filtered out almost straight away so the importance of great memorable creative has never been more important. But what makes good creative? Read more

Are you being ignored?

As a group, marketing folk in this decade are beset by a big scary problem that simply never existed before. And I’m not talking about the mundane challenges of having less staff, or less budget or the wrong agency or a tricky sales director. The big scary problem is this – your prospective customer is now brilliant at ignoring you.

Don’t be offended as this isn’t anything personal, it isn’t just your brand that is being ignored. We have all evolved to become effortlessly brilliant at ignoring marketing messages. So most brands are being ignored.

Think about it – we see thousands of messages every day. Some survey’s say 1,000 and some upto 3,000 it doesn’t really matter, the question is how many do you remember from yesterday? How many from the last week?

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As a benefit of spending more than £5 today with Waitrose I was given a free newspaper. I had a skim through and read a couple of articles over my morning coffee. In the interests of research, I’ve just taken another look – and do you know how many ads I had effortlessly not noticed? In the first 41 pages I counted a staggering 32 advertisments.

I don’t remember any of them. Worse still, I don’t even remember ignoring them. And SKY+ ensures that I haven’t watched a TV Commercial for several years now. And out of the 100 or more emails I received yesterday I can remember one of them in any detail.

Keep this in mind when you next look at your marketing plan, campaign brief or when you evaluate some creative work or review your next social post. Does it have impact and cut through, is it interesting ?

Strategy without action is only a daydream

Social media for most businesses has evolved from the perceived requirement that a Facebook page and Twitter account are mandatory, just to ‘keep up’, into a realisation that it is so much more than a channel. It is a strategy that should be ever present in every aspect of marketing.

So why then do we constantly see social media action bereft of any strategic objective or goal?

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Mobile website? 4 things to know.

Who is your audience?

This sounds really obvious, but unless the bulk of your audience are part of the mobile generation, you may not benefit from having a mobile site yet.

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10 step guide to planning your next App.

Step 1 – Which type of App?

Before you develop your next App, it is worth considering what type of App you need.

Broadly speaking, there are two types of App; Native Apps and Web Apps.

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The top 7 fears of social media

It’s okay, you’re among friends so this is a safe and secure environment where you can admit that you find Social Media a little bit frightening. Furthermore, I’m happy to tell you, you are not alone!

I’ve spent time with organisations at various management levels over the last few years and have seen at first hand the fear. In fact, I’ve just categoriesed the fears. See if you’ve encountered any of them personally or among your colleagues.

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Seven minutes of terror

We like problem solving. So seeing NASA overcome all obstacles to deliver a robotic explorer to Mars is an inspiration for reasoned thought with creative thinking.

This 5 minute video is their story.

The interesting thing is that even the best brains and the best ideas don’t always know the return on investment. Luckily they only had seven minutes of terror.

Flash in the pan?

Within the mobile market there has been much talk of HTML5 being the new Flash killer. But, before we kill Flash off completely, it may be worth a quick recap on where we are.

It’s true that the recent high-profile negativity around Flash is largely centred on mobile technology. Since 2008 Adobe has repeatedly claimed that a stable mobile Flash plugin is coming. In April 2010 Apple’s former CEO, Steve Jobs, famously made his distaste for Flash very public and posted his thoughts at http://www.apple.com/hotnews/thoughts-on-flash/

However, it’s fair to say that users don’t consume content on a mobile in the same way as on a desktop computer. They don’t necessarily need Flash. There are many app stores offering a plethora of choice. Apple’s trademark, ‘There’s an app for that’ has culminated in over 500,000 available apps for iOS devices alone, many of which are free.

Some might say that killing off Flash is the tail wagging the dog, and there is a big debate in the web development community about its place in the future. We all knew Flash wasn’t going to work with mobile. It would fry your legs trying to watch a video on a MacBook Pro so not a great prospect of it working with your phone’s processing power!

But in the desktop market, if we continue to have a need to develop highly interactive cost-effective rich-media applications, Flash still has a place – at least until everyone has upgraded to an HTML5 compatible browser (http://html5test.com/results/desktop.html) and until the HTML5 standard can better cope with more complex animation.

No doubt about it, HTML5 is the future. However, when we’re turning ideas into reality, our solutions are never led by end-point technology per se: they’re always about delivering the best possible experience true to the initial design concept. HMTL5 where we can, but occasionally we need to go a bit old-school, see www.keyparker.co.uk/how-we-do-it

Why words really matter again…

Once upon a time, back in the Mad Men days, copywriters were masters of the advertising universe.  (Donald Draper the character might exist in a moral vacum but the ad agency empire he helps build owes everything to his insight, creative flair and self belief.) In those days writers seemed to drive the ideas and the strategy followed, albeit post-rationally.

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