Comments Off on Confined to the UK as traveling abroad brings quarantine headaches? No problem! Just join some Great British clubs for a Great Staycation.
Let the National UK staycation commence! Make the most of your country by visiting all the wonderful spaces that makes Britain Great.
Following the recent relaxation of the lockdown rules, it’s wonderful news that membership groups National Trust and the RHS are slowly opening their parks and gardens again. They’re doing this through a controlled booking system so you might want to get in quick!
Seeing as we’re confined to the UK for a while, it’s made me wonder if more of us will take up membership to contribute to and make the most of the different organisations that champion Great Britain. There are so many wonderful spaces for you and your family to visit and you reap more benefits if you become a member of those places. In turn, your visit and membership supports them more than you could know.
The running costs of these Great British spaces are relied on heavily through public support, membership fees and selfless volunteers so it’s vital we support them following the pandemic.
Aside from the National Trust and RHS, you have English Heritage, The Woodland Trust, CAMRA – who is currently driving campaigns to save breweries and the Great British pub, Caravan & Motorhome Club for a post-lockdown staycation. You also have all the extensive museums and galleries – IWM, The Tate, British Museum, The V&A… the list is endless! Plenty to make the National UK staycation a great one.
If there’s one thing for certain (apart from the obvious), lockdown has surely taught us to appreciate what’s on our doorsteps and make the most of our exquisite British spaces.
Comments Off on Running a business and having a baby in the midst of a pandemic… among other things…
It’s a funny thing – life. It carries on regardless of everything happening around it. I knew my baby was somewhat mis-timed when I first carried out the pregnancy test, but it didn’t matter. We were still overjoyed. After two miscarriages – one ectopic, one ‘just normal’, we had begun to wonder if a second baby was even possible.
BUT, the timing was a little unfortunate. I had just gone back to working full time and had also agreed that when our financial Director – Kathy – retired at the end of March, I would take over the bookkeeping for Mulberry. Baby was due in April – the end of our financial year and my first month as financial director (among all the other hats I wear).
Perhaps I should explain that, as a boutique agency, my fellow partner and certified angel – Claire – and I have to take on multiple roles. From actually doing the work we love and have trained in, to now also running the business and everything that goes with it. Understanding employment law, becoming an expert in the finer details of BT contract wrangling, keeping up with the latest office tech and support programmes, plus HR, client liaison, etcetera etcetera.
So April was always going to be a little challenging, but we were ready, we had prepared. Plans had been made. Then the world decided to throw Corvid-19 into the mix and it all got a little weird.
But baby was coming all the same so there was not a lot we could do except – accept, do our best, try and stay sane… and DON’T PANIC!
Oh! AND we were also meant to be moving offices … which we sort of did but not to where we expected… by the 17th of March we had all moved to working from home.
Having a baby in the midst of a pandemic is an unusual and somewhat unsettling experience. My final midwife appointments and hospital scans were very different to those early on in the pregnancy – when everyone was blissfully unaware of the sh#t storm heading our way. Now my appointments took place in virtually empty hospitals and waiting rooms.
The friendly reassuring faces of consultants and midwives were covered with masks, and everyone was frantically following my every move with antibacterial wipes and sprays. Any receptionist I came across had a 2 metre barrier around them, so I had to hand over notes awkwardly, while my feet carried on social distancing.
The most stark contrast to my previous pregnancy was the birth itself. For my second born I ‘chose’ an elective c-section. In the weeks leading up to the birth, my husband and I looked out for news about whether he would even be allowed into the hospital. Helpful people warned that he may not be allowed at the birth at all. I don’t mind admitting that the prospect of not having him there to hold my hand, and meet his son in the immediate aftermath, terrified me. It was an added anxiety to what was already a worrying time.
As we headed towards the inevitable birth, I also had the additional pressures of running a business impacted quite severely by coronavirus. Many of our clients have big events over the coming months – these were all cancelled, much to everyone’s disappointment. It meant that all the communication materials we designed around these events were also cancelled, significantly hitting our income. As a result I had to furlough a number of our team – including myself. Our clients were equally worried and making big sacrifices – many of our contacts were similarly furloughed and any communications they were creating had, in many cases, been taken in-house to reduce costs. All eminently understandable but equally very worrying as we saw our income dwindle.
I was left to navigate the government website to find information on claiming the furlough costs back, along with hunting out how to apply for the small business grant – absolutely fundamental to our survival. This of course was on top of sorting end of year accounts, plus all the other usual financials a small business has to do each month. It all needed to be sorted before I went into hospital.
We also had to decided who was going to look after our little girl while we were in hospital. My parents and my husband’s parents are classed as vulnerable. So it didn’t seem right to leave our first born with them, or have them over to our house to babysit. Fortunately my sister is fit and healthy – and available to come to ours to look after our daughter. She had to come the night before because we needed to be at the hospital by 7:30am. We were very lucky she could stay a couple of days because we knew I would be in hospital for at least one night if not longer.
When the day came, the rules in place meant I had to enter the hospital alone. This felt very strange and overwhelming. I went up to the pre-natal ward, where I was prepped for theatre (this predominantly consisted of filling out paperwork and donning some very attractive compression stockings) and awaited news of when I would be taken to theatre. This was dependent on the other planned c-section women and who was a priority case, plus if there were any emergency c-sections, which would naturally take priority too.
My husband waited in the car, in the hospital car park, not knowing if he would be there for minutes or several hours. I was told that I would be able to call him to join me once I was about to go into theatre. He would be there for the birth and then allowed into the recovery room with me, but as soon as I was moved to the post-natal ward (probably around two hours later) he would have to go home.
I was extremely lucky. We got to the ward early – because, quite frankly, I couldn’t really sleep and was up at 5am. There were no emergencies and so I was first into theatre. Everything went relatively smoothly and baby arrived at 10:08am. My husband got a few very precious cuddles in with our little boy before having to leave me at around 12pm as I got wheeled onto the postnatal ward.
What a major difference awaited me to my first experience of post-natal ward life. The ward was virtually silent. Last time the chatter of excited couples filled the space. Now with no husbands and partners by bedsides everyone was virtually mute. There were hushed phone calls and occasional babies’ cries for milk or comfort, but that was it.
Last time we were surrounded by intimate family life – some of it beautiful, some of it positively lewd and crude – as couples adjusted to the latest addition to their family. This time there was an eerie quiet that would have been very restful, if it wasn’t for a palpable feeling of fear of the unknown and anxiety of what was to come.
In the middle of the night the woman in the bed next to me developed a fever. This caused mild panic on the ward (although I have to say the midwives and Doctors seemed to take it in their stride – how they remain so unflappably reassuring at such times I have no idea). My baby was wonderfully peaceful for most of the night but I don’t think I slept a wink. I worried about the poor woman next to me who was shivering and scared. I was on high alert to every noise – not just to the snuffles of the baby sleeping comfortably by my side. When breakfast arrived I was grateful that it was now a respectable time to be awake. The woman in the next bed seemed to be improving and I overheard the Doctor say they were certain it was not CoronaVirus but an infection. The whole ward breathed a collective sign of relief.
It became clear as the day progressed that anyone fit to go home would be discharged as soon as possible. I was hoping that my little boy and I would pass all the necessary checks and be allowed home too. We each got through the various tasks we needed to as morning turned to afternoon. Our home seemed to be getting closer by the minute. Unfortunately for the woman beside me, her stay would have to be extended and I felt so sorry for her.
I finally got discharged at around 4pm. The midwife helped me down to the reception area with all my hospital and baby paraphernalia, along with more drugs than Keith Richards takes in a month of Sundays.
I was so pleased to see my husband and finally head home. I had an extremely excited toddler waiting to greet us. She was clearly so pleased to see both of us back home and meet her baby brother for the first time. We had tried our best to prepare her for Mummy going into hospital and baby brother coming home, but a few days after we were back she was lying in bed and suddenly said, “I missed you when you went away and I couldn’t come.”
“When I went into hospital to have your brother you mean?” I asked.
“Yes,” she replied “I wanted to come too!”
“I know” I said, “but you know why you couldn’t?”
“Yes,” she responded “…because of stinky rotten CoronaVirus!”
Comments Off on What’s the best UK Christmas 2019 advert?
Halloween is over, Bonfire night has gone with a bang… and the supermarkets having been stocking up with Christmas goodies since late July 😂 but now we can all officially get in to the Christmas spirit because the John Lewis Christmas advert has launched today!
We give a round-up of the best Christmas adverts for 2019 and yes John Lewis 2019 does feature. So pop on a festive pullie, jingle your bells and dust off your baubles… Christmas is here!
Mulberry’s pick of the festive adverts in descending order…
Marks & Spencers give not just one but two adverts for Christmas one covering their food offering the other for clothes. Both adverts are… fine. If they had been produced for say Iceland they might even have crept up to a higher position but unfortunately these big budget productions are just NOT ON BRAND!
The choice of celebrity endorsement is just wrong for such a premium quintessentially British brand. We all know that M&S products are not the cheapest on the market… indeed their food is probably the most expensive unless you count the like of Harrods! So perhaps the likes of Emma Thompson and Stephen Fry might have been better choices of celebrities?
This advert is not bad and is obviously pitched at the Frozen obsessed young family. This is probably Iceland’s core market and it makes good business sense to hook up with a major film (John Lewis did this last year with Elton John coinciding with the release of Rocketman). However it does feel a bit unimaginative and lacks that classic traditional Christmas vibe.
This is a big production affair… but it just misses the mark for us. The idea is a bit weak and the story is poorly told. With a little better writing and a bit more made of Christmas magic and perhaps just a level up on the acting this could have been so much better.
This is a great little Christmas advert except it feels like it could have been made 10 years ago…
This is proper Christmas and only loses out slightly because Barbour have been going with variations on this idea for the last 4 years.
This is a sweet advert, totally on brand and a lovely idea. Great effort Argos!
This was a very popular advert in the office. The injection of humour at a time when we’re struggling as a nation to see the funny side of anything is the perfect balm to bloomin’ Brexit! And let’s face it Christmas just isn’t Christmas without a little Mariah. Thanks Walkers x
2 John Lewis
It’s a beautiful advert and so nearly made our top spot… but someone else just pipped it at the post! As you’d expect from JL, this is charming, funny and heartwarming. If my three year old was in charge she would have probably give it the Christmas crown. She would definitely want her own Excitable Edgar! The cinematography is exceptional and the design of Edgar truly delightful. Well done John Lewis you didn’t disappoint. x
The surprise entry for 2019! BUT it deservedly takes the top spot. One member of team Mulberry (who shall remain nameless) had to take a moment to compose themselves after watching it. Full of proper Christmas magic and a bit of a tear-jerker too. Well done Asda – a real Christmas treat!
Comments Off on Watch the John Lewis 2019 Xmas advert #ExcitableEdgar
As you’d expect from John Lewis a truly beautiful advert that oozes quality. The design of Edgar is charming and the cinematography is simply spectacular… but, it wasn’t quite enough to secure this year’s top spot for us. If my excitable three year old was judging it would probably have won – and she most definitely would want to have her own Edgar for Christmas🤦🏼♀️ but as an adult there was one other advert this year that just pipped JL at the post…
Are you tracking the results of your campaigns and marketing communications, do you know what works and what doesn’t?
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By building up a profile of each customer, which in turn drives automated and triggered relevant communications, is the key to success.
By working with our data partner, we create a flexible marketing platform by consolidating disparate data sources into a centralised Single Customer View database to run campaigns. Using this consistent, accurate and real-time view of individual customers and their interactions, we restructure marketing activities accordingly.
This enables data exploration and mining for easy segmentation and selection. By enabling the creation of relevant, automated and triggered campaigns, we improve customer satisfaction. This allows us to track the effectivity of these campaigns quickly and easily, cut marketing wastage and drastically reduce costs.
Comments Off on When did you last test and research?
Have you got the latest information on your market, do you know what really works for them?
We listen, research, understand, gain insight and are proactive.
Mulberry work with a fantastic research partner to utilise multiple research and profiling tools to build a comprehensive picture of current customers. This informs further research programmes that enable us to establish clear profile groups that have a strong propensity to convert into new customers. From this we create innovative multi-channel campaigns that clearly communicate your business’s KSPs (Key Selling Points).
Detailed profiling also enable us to target long tail leads.
We create interest within the sector and target similar user groups using affinity marketing.
We care, plan for the future, nurture, innovate and evolve.
The key to achieving high levels of customer satisfaction is to recognise customers at risk of leaving the purchasing journey at an early stage. By building a clear picture of each individual’s journey we recognise and target those customers to tempt them back.
Customer retention programmes include targeted, automated and triggered communications via multiple media channels.
All data generated by these activities is collected and then fed back into the system, enriching customer knowledge and enabling us to refine your campaigns.
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Comments Off on Spring Clean your marketing communications
I know, I know it might be a case of pot calling the kettle black here (seeing as we are in the long and slow process of updating our own communications, the way things are going… check back with us on this in a year or two!) BUT we have been very, very busy helping a number of clients really get to the root of the purpose and effectivity of their marketing materials.
For most of these clients the process starts with ensuring there is a deep understanding of their current customers through research and data analysis. What most clients find is that although the ‘type’ of client they have may not have changed – i.e they are still in the same age bracket, gender bias, economic position etc. etc. – because technology and society as a whole has changed they way they like to be communicated with is quite different.
For example imagine that your target audience is a 55 year old man, (middle class, middle Britain you get the gist). This guy is significantly different to someone who was 55 fifteen or ten years ago. This man will have been a teenager in the 70s and 80s listening to Blondie, The Sex Pistols, The Jam and Madness, his language and self image will almost certainly differ from someone born a decade earlier who would have been born in the aftermath of WWII and would have been a teenager when the Beatles and rock and roll were just emerging.
These differences are even more vast when you look at younger markets – someone who’s 20 now, won’t remember a time without mobile phones, the internet or even really social media, whereas someone born a decade earlier will. The use of language and the media we use to communicate with our different customer types must evolve with them. We should be constantly testing and evaluating how we talk to them, what visually stimulates them and which channels we use to reach out.
In order to keep track of this ever changing landscape it’s important to build in ways to keep up with what interests your customers. Ensure that when capturing their data you are asking a few vital questions to ensure you understand what they need from you. When planning your marketing budget allow for some spend on focus groups and proper data analysis.
Most importantly how are you tracking the effectivity of your campaigns, are you keeping on top of your website’s Google analytics, what do your social media stats tell you and how do you measure the effectivity of your print comms?
Now’s the perfect time to spring clean your marketing materials – why not drop us a line to find out how we can help you!