As some of you may remember we visited the University of Surrey recently after being asked to deliver a lecture to students at the “Guildford School of Acting” about the importance of promoting yourself on a digital landscape. Greg provided an engaging two part seminar about the importance of portraying the right image to perspective employees when seeking work after leaving further education and divulged industry secrets as to how students can ensure their Facebook profiles / Youtube videos and so on can stand head and shoulders above the rest in terms of relaying information and capturing an audience.
Since Greg’s initial seminar The CC has been working closely with staff members of the GSA to help design and build a new website - www.labanarium.com. The Labanarium is an “online international resource and network centre for the movement community”. Focusing on the teachings of movement theorist Rudolf Laban, The Labanarium seeks to foster an exchange between members of the movement community and is open to the breadth and diversity of practices which explore all human movement.
The CC’s developers worked closely with lecturers from GSA to develop an easy to use, informative site, designed to capitalise on the exchange of knowledge and passion of Laban enthusiasts. A crucial aspect of the website build was to include a ‘members area’, where users of the site are able to create profiles, offer contributions, liaise with other members of the site, share research and findings, join existing groups as well as creating their own. Membership is completely free and you can find a full list of membership benefits here: https://www.labanarium.com/benefits-of-membership/
It’s always a pleasure to build a site for a client, even more so when that site is aimed towards bringing communities together with a view to exchanging theories, bouncing ideas off each other and ultimately nurturing a passion for a given subject. It’s a global movement Laban himself could have only dreamed of.
The logistics behind developing what is essentially a social network were challenging at times and we’re grateful our developer is such an incredible human being (even if he does get a flat tyre on the way to a talk to discuss how incredible he is). We’re thrilled to be able to share The Labanarium with you – especially if you just so happen to be a big fan of Rudolf himself. A lot of work goes on behind the scenes when creating a bespoke site such as this, especially one inclusive of its own bespoke community and we’re very excited to watch from the side lines as The Labanarium continues to flourish, all the while hoping we pick up some cool dance moves along the way.
Here at The Coast Collective, we are constantly asked how much a website costs. Without the informative hand of supporting information, this is akin to asking a plumber how much a swimming pool would cost; How big is the pool? How deep would you like it? What kind of tiling are you looking at? How are you managing the treating and heating of the water? Do you prefer stone, tile or plastic surrounding? And this is similarly true with the options businesses and business leaders face when tackling a new web project.
The varying permutations and options available to those considering producing a website are often so convoluted and difficult to grasp technologically that it can seem daunting to those wanting one but without the experience of their variables. Hence this blog post!
Below I will describe differences in web installations which largely affect resource, time and therefore cost and is the main reason website quotes vary so much. They can start at four or five hundred pounds right up to the £35M that Marks & Spencer spent in 2014 for their website.
The Self Builder:
Have you ever heard of Wix, Squarespace or Mr Site? These are website ‘Template Builders’ that aim to allow their customers to create their own websites themselves through a series of browser based tools and interfaces, many with simple WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get) drag and drop functionality.
As with all things in life there are a number of pros and cons in deciding to build your website yourself, with one of these. Broadly speaking, with D.I.Y Self builders these tend to be:
- Very Cheap
- Quick and Relatively Simple process
- Simple functionality befitting of a one man band / sole trader who simply needs a web presence regardless of what it does or how it makes their business appear to their consumers
- No external assistance, sole internal workflow and content management
- Look and feel cheap
- Very limited design options
- Very limited functionality
- Poor S.E.O control and optimisation
- Nothing bespoke to your site/business/offering
- Not professionally made
- Hosting, language, functional, Search and Database parameters
The Middle Ground (Consultative Building):
Many agencies and freelancers alike will further the mysticism around the knowledge and technology in order for you (The Business owner) to become so entrenched in confusion, with so much seemingly important necessities flying over your head that you just hand over vast sums of money for them to take care of it for you.
Whilst many installations can use complex functionality and program languages (Of which there are many) it is rarer that the small independent trader would require such a solution. Like the proverbial sledgehammer to a Walnut.
This consultative middle ground involves industry professionals strategizing in conjunction with your business goals and aims a series of steps for you to follow so you have the peace of mind that what you are doing yourself, are the right things to be doing, for you.
You can follow and augment in any way you want. Digital to do lists on the back of a fully optimised digital strategy in conjunction with where you want to be as a business affords the flexibility and cost saving of you undertaking the work how you want it done within the context of doing it in a clearly defined and reasoned way, benefiting and aiding your business goals.
- Cost saving against fully bespoke solution
- Industry best practice strategy and to do’s
- Clearly defined immediate roadmap & long term rationale
- Bespoke to your business and offering
- Design, build and functional limitations to platform
- Limited Search and keyword optimisation within the installation
- Limited by the platform’s capabilities & Existing functionality
- Cheap look and feel
- Not professionally made
The Design & Build of a bespoke installation tailored exclusively for your business and its digital needs.
This process is best undertaken by anybody with an offering comparably greater than a soul trader who is happy making a lifestyle wage, uninterested in growth. If you want to actively grow your business and future proof its digital estate, 9/10 times you’d be better taking the time and effort now to get something designed and built which will serve you for years to come.
You have the peace of mind following a consultative audit, that what you’re getting designed, built and created is tailored to the needs of you and your business as well as how you want to run it.
This does not just translate to the design and build of a website but also encapsulates; Customer Relationship Management (crm), promotional mailers, social media, eCommerce, Shop, Worldwide shipping etc. and anything else integral to the growth of your offering. Moreover, you know that it’s being built and created by industry leading professionals, especially for you.
To borrow a relatable tradesman metaphor; Would you rather hire a professional to re-wire your house, or try and do it yourself with no training?
- Tailored to you and the needs of your business
- Completely unique and bespoke, to you/your business
- The integration of everything you need in one place on-site: CMS // eCRM System // Sales Force // Analytics // Mailers // D.B.A etc
- Future Proofing. Your solution will cater for the needs of the business for years to come, without the need for expensive re-designing/updating/re-build/expansion/moving. Buy cheap, buy twice.
- Strategy, delivery and execution by professionals with proven track record working on your business and its success
- Economies of Scale in pricing deliverables
- Peace of Mind and Time & Quality guarantees; If it doesn’t work as agreed, don’t pay for it.
- More expensive than D.I.Y
- Bigger project, larger initial resource outlay for long term solution
As we touched on above, there’s not strictly a right or wrong method. It’s down to what you want for your website and any time and financial considerations that brings.
Nobody knows your business like you do. And nobody knows digital like we do.
If you’d like a no obligation discussion around your digital needs or would appreciate any of the above elaborated upon, feel free to get in touch here.
Social Media & Social Marketing campaigns: The burgeoning, cuddly area for brands that wish to appear to make friends rather than customers, who have light-hearted 'chats' rather than sales conversions; The how you appear being as important as the how you are.
I was there at the birth of social marketing within digital, I watched as early adopters tried to figure out ways the social media phenomenon that everybody started using could be exploited for Mad Men style ad men and how the eyeballs that were flocking to social screens could be turned into cash. After all, we've known since the early 80's that where there are eyeballs the money men will come knocking.
This social boom in part drove the dual screen movement; The practice of audiences sitting for an evening in front of their TV/Smart TV with a phone or tablet on their lap checking their social profiles. This, in turn drove the funding and movement toward larger screens and mini computers (Smartphones to you and I) as linear, personalised audience experiences exploded.
This makes a company's social media channels a unique tool to be reactive (to current topics, conversations and events), responsive (to their customer queries, sales pipeline and demographic conversations) and personalised (by speaking to customers about issues that matter to them in a tone of voice they respond to, to create the feeling of being looked after by that brand) in a way that only social media, as a communications platform can.
So, now we're in 2016 and most companies would agree a social presence is vital. So vital in fact that many businesses choose to secure professional help from digital agencies to represent their brands online effectively. We often hear fellow business owners may not have the technical knowledge to fully optimise their channels, their strengths may not include reacting with their audiences in the most appropriate way relative to their brand (which should be data driven), or more often than not they just don't have the time to be constantly interacting with their customers in ways that have become more and more expectant of social media in recent years. A unique social identity.
For example, with any presence seemingly a more viable alternative to no presence at all, there are many companies in close proximity to me which all offer the same updates, at the same time, every week. Fact of the day: it's boring. Within a matter of days a brand's unique social identity has lost it's uniqueness and it's identity. If we're honest it's not particularly social either.
If I can rely on a channel putting out the same, scheduled content every day of every week, the same as every other business which is also publishing the same content every day, of every week (which also negatively impacts cut through and dilutes the message being lost in others of the same ilk) then I have no reason to continue to want to follow that brand.
It's of no use to me on my social feed, it does not inform, inspire, educate or entertain because I already know what's published and when; To the extent that I could predict and write it myself, like clockwork.
Where's the behavioural content feedback? Where's the bespoke messaging relevant only for your brand's demographic? How are you making that audience feel special? Listened to and valued? Where's the reactive nature to relevant topics and talking points important to that audience? Where's the up to the minute company offering/updates? Where's the red-hot flash promotional messaging? Where's the social side of social marketing?
When we put the reason d'etre back into social media and a that fuzzy, loved feeling back into our followers hearts we can all call ourselves a little more socially rebellious.
If you'd like your social media channels to work for you and pay for themselves, drop us an email.
In a first for The Coast Collective, we are opening up our blogging platform to contributors, academics and thought leaders outside of The Collective who share our philosophy.
This week, we sat down with Lucy Gower from Lucidity:
Playing at Work:
Most of us turn up to work and leave our authentic selves at the door in an attempt to be professional, successful and climb the career ladder. This over professional approach could ultimately be bad for business because according to the research of psychologist Donald MacKinnon as far back as the 1970’s, for creativity to flourish we need to engage ourselves in a childish sense of play.
MacKinnon found that creativity is not a talent as such, but more a way of operating - a state of mind. And the most effective way to unlock that state of mind is through what he described as being in a ‘playful’ state.
John Cleese refers to this in his excellent talk on how to be creative and sums it up by saying “If you want creative workers, give them enough time to play.”
However creativity for creativity's sake is a waste of time. The real benefit for business is what you do with those good ideas. How you turn ideas into a reality that makes an impact on the bottom line. We’ve been doing a spot of play ourselves and developed a tool to help you tap into your playful self as well as help your team work together to make your creativity happen.
What innovation animal are you?
It's a tool that aims to identify which innovation animal you're most like.
It’s simple. Answer the 13 quick questions. You will receive a one page report direct to your inbox that outlines your animal type and your innovation traits as well as which animal buddy to team up with for best results. Maybe you are an owl, reserved, questioning and thorough, or a wolf known for speedy and decisive action.
Take the quiz to find out. We developed the quiz to be a playful tool and it is also designed to help your team innovate and make your creative ideas a reality. If you understand your own innovation style and preferences and the style and preferences of your team, you can play to each other’s strengths to make ideas happen. Creativity and innovation is a team sport and the best ideas happen when they are shared and built on together.
If you would like to know more about developing your creative capacity, innovation animals, and how to improve your performance, do get in touch! :)
We all know that Facebook is a breeding ground for marketing campaigns. Companies often hold numerous competitions by asking followers to like and share a particular post with the promise of winning anything from a weekend break for two, to a lifetime supply of chocolate. These competitions are a great way for a company to raise awareness about their overall brand or a particular offering and serve to also drastically increase the number of likes on their page in a short amount of time.
The promise of a freebie is all the more appealing knowing it’s only two clicks away. Click like, click share, job done. You’ve done your part and you’ve even shared the potential prize with your network of friends and followers who may also jump on the free prize bandwagon. It almost seems too good to be true, and we all know what that means.
Scams are commonplace on the internet and are rapidly increasing in volume on social media platforms such as Facebook. Phishing is defined as “the attempt to acquire sensitive information such as usernames, passwords, and credit card details (and sometimes, indirectly, money), often for malicious reasons, by masquerading as a trustworthy entity in an electronic communication.” Your information is a valuable asset in the world of business and there are simple and easy ways to ensure you are keeping your personal information safe.
Last week a Facebook page named ‘Expedia UK’ shared a post offering the chance to win a dream holiday in a dream destination courtesy of Expedia for you and a loved one. All they asked is you liked and shared the post to be in with your chance of winning. This was a scam. Expedia UK has no affiliation with the official Expedia page and if you were unfortunate enough to have fallen for the scam there are some simple ways to ensure this doesn’t happen again.
The Rule of the Tick
Facebook introduced a new feature some months back where pages could verify that they are who they say they are by offering them a chance to feature a tick on the timeline next to their name. Most (if not all) legitimate businesses will have done that by now. By supplying a publically listed contact number of their business, companies are provided with an activation code which will in turn verify their page. This is the most effective way to determine whether you are liking and sharing the people you think you are liking and sharing. Does the page you are on have a tick? It will be a blue tick in the case of a public figure, media company or brand, and it will be a grey tick for a business or organization. If there is a tick then try hovering over it, a small message will pop up to say the page is verified. If there is no tick, there’s a strong chance you shouldn’t touch it.
The Rule of the Tick is the most effective way to make sure you are not falling for a scam. But there are other things to look out for. What is the URL on the link that is being shared? Many pages now use a still image which when clicked will lead you to an external site away from Facebook. In this case, if you are on an Expedia page there is a very strong chance the link should read expedia.com/giveaway or something similar which will redirect you to their official page. If a company such as Expedia is using URLs such as holiday-giveaways4u.jaja then alarm bells should be ringing. Stay away.
The first time I saw the ‘Expedia UK’ post on my timeline I noticed it had 21,000 followers. This is a relatively large amount (especially considering it’s a scam) but it has nowhere near as many as Expedia’s genuine page which has over 5 million followers. Expedia is a global brand with a huge audience. It would make no sense for a company who has a followership of over 5 million to carry out an awareness raising campaign from scratch. The first thing they would want to do is utilise on the 5 million strong followers they’re worked so hard to amass. If the followership isn’t relative to what you’d expect – do some research. Type in the company name in the Facebook search bar, does an alternative with a larger followership come out trumps, presumably with a tick next to the name? That’s the one you want!
The Age of the Page
Expedia has been established for many years and their Facebook page reflects this. Does the page you’re on have a regular history of posts on it’s timeline. Most scam pages are found within a matter of weeks and as such it is likely a scam page will never be older than a week or so. If you find a huge company with an established brand has opened a Facebook page less than a week ago and is now giving away loads of free stuff – avoid it!
Do the company details listed on the page match with those which are publically listed for the company? Is the contact number a publically listed contact number? Is the website exactly the same? Does the description read “The official page of Expedia” or “for fans of expedia”? The clues are in the detail.
Course of Action
In the case of Expedia UK, the page directed followers to an external site where they asked users to register using an email and password. While this seems harmless enough (no bank details right!?), scammers know there’s a strong chance the email and password you provide is more than likely to be the same email and password you use to access your Facebook account. We’ve all heard the rule about having different passwords for different platforms but in the days where we have a Facebook page, Twitter handle, Pinterest board, Linkedin bio and a Tinder profile that occasionally gets blasted when we’re hungover on a Sunday it’s hard enough to think of 10 different passwords, let alone remember them. If you are one of those people who has a universal password for all of your channels, once hackers have access to that password… you have problems. There’s a strong chance you may have already fallen for a scam such as this, if you think you have then you should probably think about changing your passwords – you may also want to consider whether you have any bank details stored in the adverts section of your Facebook account.
Additional Dangers to Consider
As well as hacking your Facebook account, or extracting bank details, there is another danger you should consider with these type of scams. Since writing this article we have noticed another suspect page pop up on our news feed (we told you they were common).
‘Ibiza Holidays’ is a new Facebook page which promises you the chance to win a dream holiday for you and your friends by liking and sharing their post. This page is a day old and has already amassed over 20,000 followers. It has failed the tick test and has no contact details listed whatsoever. Additionally, the page seems to have no offering. Any awareness raising campaign will be partnered with a brand or offering which the company is trying to promote through raising awareness, this page doesn’t seem to have one. There’s no mention of airlines, hotels, sightseeing tours….nothing. It also directs you to an external site disguised as a Facebook page. The URL (address bar) shows us that this is not a Facebook page.
As mentioned before these types of scams are usually discovered within a week or two so scammers will often change the name of their page before they are discovered. Facebook won’t allow drastic name changes but you are allowed some name changes. Next week it is very plausible ‘Ibiza Holidays’ will be ‘Ibiza Sunglasses’ with a huge range of sunglasses for sale. 70% off Ray Bans / Order Online – that sort of thing. It won’t take long before the page is recommended to your friends (because you’ve already liked it), your Great Aunt Nora sees the prices, trust it’s a legitimate offering (because you’ve already liked it!!!) and hastily hands her bank details over.
By utilising the above steps you can feel safe in the knowledge that you are interacting with legitimate businesses, and not those shady ones looking to exploit your online presence (or that of your Great Aunt Nora). We would also like to clarify this does not refer to the website expedia.co.uk which is an official branch of the Expedia website catered towards their UK audience. This article refers to the Facebook page ‘Expedia UK’, which has since been taken down… but we have a funny feeling it will be back.
We hope this article helps to prevent any future cases of potential scammings. And don’t forget to share this post… You probably won’t win a holiday but you might just help a friend avoid a lengthy phone call with the fraud department.
So, I thought I should probably practice what I preached to the great minds at The Guildford School of Acting & University of Surrey by talking a little about what we did and how it went.
But I have a client meeting in half an hour and have under ten minutes to compose the rest of this blog if I am to get done today.
After the success of the first session (read all about here below in our earlier blog) we were invited back in to present another lecture on digital insights, bespoke feedback for students and data optimisation.
As I had said in our social posts about the day, I was blown away by the response from the students in their engagement, interest and enthusiasm for what they confessed was such an overwhelming topic, new to them.
Still, undeterred they jumped in at the deep end immersing themselves in the digital challenge I had set them, the insights and how to make the most of their data and analytics as well as the shape the industry looks like it'll be taking in the very near future; with the emergence of interconnected datasets and big data mining, now possible.
After debriefing a bespoke review of student work within the session, students were able to not only see how to improve the digital dexterity with which they market rich media but also how to quickly and easily optimise their work for given audience's based on a user's digital footprint and collated dataset.
This was received particularly well by a number of students who even stayed behind and commented after the session, how valuable they found it and how it has affected and optimised their own self-promotion strategy.
I'd like to reiterate how great all the M.A guys did in the session, can't wait to have another!
If you'd like to find out more about the sessions and workshops we can offer your business/staff please get in touch here...
We were recently asked to design and develop a website to be used as a new research project in association with The University of Surrey. ‘The Labanarium’ aims to be a resource and research centre for teachers and makers of theatre and performance. Their website will invite users to register as a member and members will be able to contribute to discussion boards and blogs.
During our time developing the site we were asked if we’d like to travel to Surrey to give a presentation about digital media, and explain the dangers and pitfalls of marketing yourself online to a group of Masters students who will soon be seeking employment through a variety of disciplines. Never ones to shy from a challenge we equipped Greg with a packed lunch, an informative deck and a fountain of knowledge to go and do what Greg does best.
The talk was a great success, the students were engaged and took on board all of what Greg had to say. He explained the importance of relevancy when posting online, the dos and don’ts of putting your life online, the difference between hosting and embedding videos, the difference between template and bespoke build websites, the power of blogs and vlogs, the importance of information architecture, he even briefly discussed an escort agency in Chelmsford – that’s just how we roll.
We are booked in to give our second talk next Friday 4th of March where we will explore the power of insights on any given social media channel, and how to capitalise on the data provided with a view to maximising the potential of any posts made. We love preaching about what we practice and look forward to hearing the success stories after our proposed plans are put into action.
If there’s one thing The CC has taught us it’s when one door opens, there’s usually lots of doors behind it which can also be opened. One initial website creation for one department has led to the offering of lectures to University students and we are currently discussing the possibility of offering our advice to additional divisions of the university in the near future.
We have attached various photos of both Greg at work and some example slides from the presentation which can be found on our Facebook page:
If you’d like any more details about what we do you can get in touch through any one of our channels. Alternatively, all of our contact details can be found under the ‘Contact’ section of our site.
2016 is here (We're almost positive you knew that) and brings with it a new year, new opportunities and lots of potential for exciting new innovations and movement in the digital arena, particularly for consumers. The end of 2015 saw the introduction in Britain, of Apple Pay whilst giant leaps were made in consumer content across Virtual Reality, Augmented Reality, 360' Youtube videos and both gamification and gaming in general which promise 2016 to be the most exciting year yet for digi-savvy consumers everywhere.
Along with all these exciting innovations comes the opportunity to craft some very exciting campaigns for clients, campaigns that make a brand's target audience want to build loyalty and brand following.
I mean, we've got some great examples on this very website. Our Trends page has an awesome experimental video of a computer generated spaceman dj-ing his own street party in full 360' immersion. This is just a fun clip demonstrating the technology; the real value of such technology and others like it is in their application.
Whether that field be medicine which allows surgeons to virtually attend and instruct on complex procedures from miles away, or a military force that can utilise the technology to keep their troops at a safe distance from danger. As we saw with the USAF & NASA's use and augmentation of The Xbox Kinect technology for the piloting of unmanned drones and 3d augmentation of military surroundings often consumer technology has almost limitless applicable functions.
Top Tier sports organisations such as The NBA, The EPL and Formula One all use augmented consumer technology to further the learnings and fan immersion of their respective sports which, as is the case with brands and their digital marketing increase spend and loyalty among their fans and audience.
2016 is sure to be an exciting year for brands and their fans alike; and not just because of technological innovations becoming more accessible and not even just because digital content and digital technology that connects us is more ubiquitous than ever. It is sure to be an exciting year online as the shift from offline consumption habits, ad spend and purchase decisions continue to grow and improve through a brands representation of their online experience, offering their consumers greater value and feeling of worth at no extra cost. This is the strength of well strategised and executed digital campaigns, for a little; you really can do a lot. The online digital arena and the way it affords brands the opportunity to communicate with their audience on a personal level that's relevant to them has never been so accessible, or so exciting...
This month The Coast Collective has gone gold to help raise awareness for childhood cancer awareness month in association with Hattie’s Heroes. Hattie’s Heroes is a campaign organised by a local family and focuses on a young girl named Hattie who was diagnosed with Acute lymphoblastic leukaemia (ALL) at a very young age. Since the diagnosis Hattie’s family have tackled cancer head on and thought of numerous ways to encourage others to help fight the disease. More information on this particular cause can be found at: Macmillan, here and Justgiving, here.
Upon hearing of the recent Going Gold campaign this September we wanted to get involved. The campaign asked as many businesses in the local area to display gold in one way or another with a view to getting people talking about the golden presence, ultimately raising awareness of the dangers of childhood cancer, and the devastation it can cause with a view to increasing funding for diagnosis’ and cures.
The Coast Collective already has numerous business contacts in the local area, and so we decided to capitalise on these relationships hoping to get as many people involved as possible. We’re all about collaboration and pulling together and we were not surprised to see the strong sense of community spirit in the local area. Before long the campaign had snowballed and we were spray painting piggy banks to be distributed in participating stores. The piggy banks are currently sitting on shop counters with a note reading “Ask Why I’m Here….” We introduced the piggy bank scheme because we felt it was a great yet unobtrusive way to raise money at the same time as raising awareness, and by leaving the note, it left the conversation in the hands of the customer. Half way through the month we were already replacing the first round of piggy banks in some stores and can’t wait to tally the total amount raised at the end of the month! A list of the various shops and stores involved can be found at the end of this article.
The CC have been working closely with the local press for this campaign and have been involved with numerous articles throughout September which have helped raise the profile of the campaign by reaching a wider audience. It’s all very lovely.
We were very excited to be given the chance to be involved with going gold and enjoyed offering our professional input as and when it was needed. The whole movement is exactly why we enjoy doing what we do and is a great example of local businesses all pulling together to achieve a greater outcome as a whole. A huge well done to all involved – same again next year!
Shops & Stores Involved With The Going Gold Campaign & The Piggy Bank Scheme:
- Gregory Dean
- Natural Edge
- The Estuary Restaurants
- Jon Sturgeon
- Ruby Rooms
- Club Hundred
- Jasmine Spa
- Kit & Kaboodle
- Just Glowing
- Miss Annabel Dee Gallery
- Kiss Kiss
- Picture This
- Jolly Good Times Party Shop
- Oasis Café
- Ruby & Willow
- Made in 94
- Jewellery Design
- Home Sweet Home
Welcome to our first blog post. By ‘our’ we mean The CC which presumably is how you’ve ended up reading this. Thanks for checking us out!
It seemed a discussion on launching a disruptive, new-to-market business model within the digital landscape as great a place as any to begin our blog and our story. Hopefully some of the experience we’ve had along the way can help you navigate through the myriad of opportunities (and dangers!) that come with launching a start-up, whilst we hope we can also provide some insight on best practices within the digital content landscape and how it works.
It’s been a hell of a ride…
Back in early 2014, after little over a decade in the digital marketing & communications industry; whilst at one of the top 25 NMA agencies I (Greg, hi there!) came to the realisation following the closure of a large, successful digital campaign that clients were being grossly overcharged for their work because of age old issues within the services sector standard practice business models. Models that were designed and conceived a long time before the emergence of the digital landscape. Before email, before the internet at a time when phones, fax machines and traditional media ruled along with antiquated, dated and clumsy methodologies, processes and financial models.
In short, clients were not just paying for the work that agencies did for them. They were paying for their offices, their couches, their staff even when they were not actively working on that account, travel, utilities, even their fishtanks as well as any other overheads they may have. This largely applies and multiplies based on the amount of clients that agencies had against a ratio in the growth of their outgoings.
I found myself working on projects that were turned around in a matter of weeks but exuberantly costing the client thousands upon thousands of pounds. This just didn’t seem right.
The final straw came when I alone (meaning there was no other resource on the project such as a developer, UX expert, designer etc) spent x5 days on a socially lead, digital content strategy and execution and charged a client the agency rate of £3,500. Broken down to a day rate, I was being charged out to the client at a rate of £700 p/d! I could see since I had broken down the costing for the project that this was including regular overheads of my agency and its retained offices, staffing and resource requirements. I knew I could offer the same quality of award winning work for a fraction of the cost.
So I, along with my business partner Josh Adams started a company existing in the space between freelance and agency that does just that.
As anybody with experience in using freelancers will know, however good they are within their given field it’s almost impossible to get the kind of consistent resource expertise and results on multi-channel projects that you get with an agency. As well as lacking the foundational and holistic strategy which ties a digital project together. Work tends to be completed by soloed freelancers that can’t help but be blinkered to their deliverable and not how it forms part of a larger puzzle contributing to a wider brand message.
Here’s a visual (Which the keenly observational among you will notice appears on Why We're Different):
Simply put, this is why The CC exists. We’re a large, growing collective. All industry experts within specialised fields that operate co-operatively, relevant to the centrally strategized campaign connected and delivered as well and as consistently as a top agency with the rate of industry leading freelancers.
Check back next time to see more in the series of our journey up to this point...
Hit us up via your refereed channel to find out not only what we can do for you but the kind of reductions from a traditional agency we can apply!