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The Department of International Trade’s Export Strategy is an initiative aimed at helping British businesses to explore and make the most of opportunities to market themselves globally.  Export Champions have been selected as a crucial part of this strategy to encourage, educate and inspire businesses to begin this journey, and we are proud that Crowd has been chosen as a Champion for the third year running. 

We are one of the 30 champions of the South West region of the UK. There is a program of events and materials available to help businesses to realise their growth potential. As members of the Export Champion community, we are helping to create a movement that inspires more UK companies to grow through international sales and increase their exports.

Crowd is a global company that works closely on a variety of marketing solutions with many successful results. We are proud of the work we do and are honoured to be recognised as being a great candidate for a third year running. 

Take a look at our previous work with the Department of International Trade: Exporting to North America – support available for SMEs in Southern England and Export Champion Panel (Vimeo login required).

Speak to us about taking your business into new countries or global.

‘Up your social game’ – an new social media training company has launched with the aim of making mastering your social media accessible to every business and entrepreneur.

Social media remains a huge part of the marketing plan of most businesses, with 50% of marketers planning on increasing their investments in Facebook, YouTube, and TikTok in 2022 (HubSpot), while 73% of marketers believe that their efforts through social media marketing have been “somewhat effective” or “very effective” for their business (Buffer).

The Social Game is the vision of leading Bournemouth based social media agency South Coast Social’s Managing Director Clare Groombridge and Head of Training Emma Jones, who seeing the volume of people who came to the agency looking for social media training and advice, especially during the pandemic when many businesses had to quickly shift a focus to online trading, joined together as Co-Founders to launch the business as an all-new separate venture.

As Hootsuite commented recently, “The smartest brands will understand where they fit into customers’ lives on social media, and they’ll find creative ways of fitting into the conversation.” Overall social media user numbers grew by 424 million users in 2021 and as consumers are more and more engaged with social media, although it is more essential than ever that brands invest in their relationships with employees, customers, and influencers authentically online, many lack the skills in-house to be able to manage this effectively but are not ready to recruit a dedicated employee or agency to manage this directly.

Targeting freelancers, entrepreneurs, business owners and Marketing professionals, The Social Game offers a wide variety of training services such as bespoke social media workshops delivered either online or in person, tailored to the individual needs of each business. These cover every social network and all elements of strategy, paid and organic social media management as well as best practice, software recommendations and up to date expert knowledge, geared specifically to the industry of the trainee.

They also offer unique social media ‘Power Hours’ over Zoom – a highly focussed opportunity to spend time with a dedicated social media professional, and a wide variety of affordable, downloadable resources from LinkedIn Action Packs to Instagram Content Generators on their website.

“Social media is an ever-changing industry, especially with the emergence of networks such as TikTok and the rise of influencer marketing, and we feel that the unique perspective of a social media training company, brought to marketing professionals and business owners by a highly experienced agency team who work in social media day in and day out will be a game changer” says Co-Founder Clare Groombridge.

“We have already seen a huge volume of enquiries pre-launch and we’re excited to be able to bring our vision to life. Our Power Hours are proving especially popular to time-poor entrepreneurs and business owners, as they can book online, select a time to suit them and have a social media expert dedicated to helping them with their exact social media issue or query for an hour over Zoom” adds Emma Jones.

To find out more about The Social Game, visit thesocialgame.co.uk

SXSW is an intensive 10 day festival with a multitude of industries coming together to inspire each other and learn. Enterprises including, tech, film, music, education, and culture host many insightful lectures and events on current topics and the latest trends.

Crowd has attended for the past few years as representatives of the Department of International Trade (DIT) who help showcase UK businesses on a global scale. The DIT lead a series of events and roundtable discussions at the UK House venue, which Crowd partook in. This yearly festival was previously held virtually due to the pandemic so it was great to experience the intimate feel and real-life buzz of having the event in person again in Austin, Texas. There was so much to learn and experience so we have collated a few of our favourite key takeaways.

 

NFT’s will continue to grow

SXSW had a lot of information about Non-Fungible Tokens (NFT’s) and how they are on the rise with applications for many different industries. We now see that platforms like Instagram are starting to introduce NFT’s and many artists are now turning to them as a way to gain higher profit from their work – as well as a deeper connection and engagement with their fanbase. There is still some work to do to change the perception that many people have about NFT’s (they’ve been called ‘overpriced jpegs’), but we believe that NFT’s will soon become more mainstream and a common part of everyday life.

 

Hologram selfies and the unavoidable Metaverse

SXSW is at the cutting edge of technology and augmented reality but this year there was even more buzz about the future of the virtual world. We walked into many rooms with people wearing virtual reality headsets experiencing a range of different realities and games. There was also a big emphasis on the Metaverse coming our way, whether society felt ready or not. We need to try and use it for good, for people to connect and experience things they may not be able to within the real world.

We saw some of the best applications of this technology for healthcare, working more closely with professional teams and education. This year’s winner of the SXSW Extended Reality and Immersive Technology competition was Matsuko who promises to allow users to “experience true holographic presence using just a smartphone.” This is an exciting game-changer for the technology world. Who knows what it may mean if the average person can create holograms of themselves and share in the digital world. We also expect to see a shift in how people value, and increasingly invest in, their digital avatars over their physical selves.

The exclusive industry of space tourism

Demand for space tourism is on the rise and within the next few years, we should see the first commercial space travel beginning. However, this industry is extremely exclusive at the moment. SXSW hosted a range of startups and new technologies that are starting to make this sci-fi dream happen – along with a hefty price tag. For $50K you can take a 7-8 hour long journey up into the stratosphere and see Earth from above. More affordable approaches or the next best thing are impressive simulations with excellent videography but minus the zero gravity and carbon emissions!

Brand authenticity and truth-telling

This year’s event had a lot of focus and discussion around the importance of brands communicating and operating with clear authenticity and a meaningful purpose, which especially appeals to the Gen Z audience. This audience will seek out businesses that align with their own values, and hold the buying power.

Therefore, how a brand delivers itself to market and its values around sustainability, equality and diversity are key in achieving that audience cut through. Brands that are not considering their environmental and societal impact, or not staying true to their messaging, will be called out very quickly.

Re-shuffling of the 9 to 5 working lifestyle

Since the start of the pandemic, there has been a global mindset shift about the way we work and support employees. Many white collared roles experienced new flexibility that remote working offers and businesses have had to listen to their employee’s experiences from this.

It is now not about just tracking employees by hours spent but tracking the work achieved. Supporting employee development is absolutely critical. There has been much debate as to whether it is better to let the employees customise their working style to their individual needs and how they know they work best, while still ensuring people work effectively and cohesively as teams.

 

Crowd are always at the forefront of industry thinking and can use these insights to help promote your product or brand internationally. Get in touch today to discuss your project.

2U WIN FOR CROWD SPAIN

2U is an organisation that partners with top universities around the globe to transform digital higher education through a combination of industry-leading online education technology and brand stewardship.

They partner with universities and corporate partners using their online learning platform, edX, for online education and to ‘unlock human potential’ utilising the global reach that technology can provide.

Launching their coding Bootcamp with IE University in Madrid, 2U called on Crowd for help. We were asked to create a marketing strategy that included local efforts to build their presence in Spain and drive enrolments for their online classes.

Crowd’s main focuses to boost 2U’s marketing includes:

  • A social media audit and strategy
  • An SEO audit and strategy
  • A local keyword analysis for paid search

We are also currently running a 3-month paid campaign on Instagram, Facebook and LinkedIn, focusing on awareness, consideration and conversion to ultimately drive enrolments for their classes.

If you’d like to speak to us about marketing your services, then get in touch!

HELPING MYAKO GLOW WITH CONFIDENCE

 Crowd has recently created a new proposition for its long-standing client myAko, an online learning platform. We first started working with the brand in 2018 when we created their name, brand identity and accompanying brand guidelines, as well as designing their website and marketing assets which launched them successfully to market.

myAko allows people to study and complete courses, programs or accreditations that are required to maintain the appropriate compliance levels at work, as well as supporting other staff management functionality such as performance reviews, career development, staff rotas, holidays and a library of reference and training materials.

Until recently, myAko has been focused on the health and social care sector, but in 2021 the business started to expand into new sectors, including education, transport and logistics.

To enable myAko to expand into new areas and sectors, we were tasked with creating a new future-proof proposition. After intensive audience and landscape research, we developed ‘Learning with Purpose’ which aims to empower people by showing the real-life benefits that learning new skills can have on your work and personal life. With the proposition in place, the next step was a new launch video.

Inspired by the warm glow of achievement that people can feel after learning something new, we developed the ‘myAko glow’, illustrated by the brand colours creating an aurora around people. This positive, and eye-catching visual will be seen in both the video, the website, and other marketing materials, and proudly shows the emotive benefits of learning, as opposed to the logical, technical approach that myAko’s competitors normally use.

We will now be working closely with myAko to develop and execute marketing campaigns to keep on supporting its business growth.

If you’d like to give your branding a boost, why not get in touch?

​​Stirling Ackroyd has been a Crowd client for many years and briefed us to help them become the market leader within London and the South East.

Inspired by Stirling Ackroyd’s 149 years of experience, we created the proposition: It pays to have experience behind you. This simple idea combined the brand’s unarguable knowledge with the consumer benefit of enjoying a higher return.

This new creative route was brought to life with powerful imagery utilising the brand’s iconic logo – the legendary London griffin. This visual approach separated the brand from other estate agents who lacked the same level of respectability and heritage.

To ensure brand awareness Crowd produced an omni-channel campaign including radio, out of home, video, social, and a complete redesign and rebuild of the company website.

Crowd’s ground-up rebuild using the WordPress platform, focussed on usability and provides the visitor with easy access to a range of tools designed to make it as easy possible to find that perfect home to buy or rent.

The build involved producing a customised integration of WP Property Hive plugin that connects to the Reapit property data. This included customised search and property detail templates, and contact forms linked to the property’s assigned branch in a manner not native to the base plugin. The functions include flexible page builder within the CMS and an array of alternative layout options and configurations to meet the client’s varying types of content. The form actions also include dynamic event tracking.

Stirling Ackroyd offer a range of property services and these are covered through a simple and clear navigation system with key activities highlighted with calls to action that leap from the page.

We look forward to continue working with this fantastic brand and if you’re in London and Surrey, keep a look out for the Stirling Ackroyd out of home campaign launching soon!

Crowd offer a full suite of marketing services, why not give your brand a boost and get in touch?

 

The Arab Petroleum Investments Corporation (APICORP) is a multilateral development financial institution founded in 1975 by the ten Arab oil-exporting countries, providing corporate banking and investment solutions in the energy sector across the Middle-East.

When Crowd were first introduced in August 2021, APICORP were going through an important transition in business operations with green-energy initiatives and required a creative agency with experience in sustainability to tackle the challenge of revamping their new website, capture their value proposition and drive key messaging to stakeholders through an interactive online experience.

Whilst also supporting their corporate communication department with creative services including the launch of their ESG and Green Bond Framework reports, Investor presentations and other comms collateral, our strategy team started the website process by conducting a landscape review and competitor analysis. Through data gathering, we were able to identify and define a keyword strategy that would shape our SEO approach when planning content requirements for the new website. 

The new multilingual platform is built in WordPress and caters for both English and Arabic users, providing complete flexibility for internal teams to control future page updates and new page creations.

Since APICORP’s core audiences are targeting global investors, bankers, researchers and journalists, another important requirement was to develop a dynamic media centre that would feature both new and archived media including webinars, interviews, podcasts and press releases. We worked with the client to categorise these resources with filtering functions which would support the positioning of APICORP as thought leaders and industry experts.

Encouraging personal development and career growth plays an important role at APICORP. To capture this core value in the most authentic way, we worked with a Saudi-based production company to produce five short videos that delivered employee work culture benefits and featured these on both the Home and Career sections of the new site.

Overall, the website has been very well received both internally and externally with positive feedback on both usability and creativity. We delivered a best-in-breed website combining subtle animations and micro-interactions to make the content feel dynamic and interactive. 

To visit the website, go to https://www.apicorp.org/.

Why not take a look at our sustainability ebook which includes insights on how you can bring your environmental efforts to life through your marketing? You can download the ebook here.

If you need help in creating a world class website for your brand or organisation, get in touch!

 

The Arab Petroleum Investments Corporation (APICORP) is a multilateral development financial institution founded in 1975 by the ten Arab oil-exporting countries, providing corporate banking and investment solutions in the energy sector across the Middle East.

When Crowd were first introduced in August 2021, APICORP were going through an important transition in business operations with green-energy initiatives and required a creative agency with experience in sustainability to tackle the challenge of revamping their new website, capture their value proposition and drive key messaging to stakeholders through an interactive online experience.

Whilst also supporting their corporate communication department with creative services including the launch of their ESG and Green Bond Framework reports, Investor presentations and other comms collateral, our strategy team started the website process by conducting a landscape review and competitor analysis. Through data gathering, we were able to identify and define a keyword strategy that would shape our SEO approach when planning content requirements for the new website. 

The new multilingual platform is built in WordPress and caters for both English and Arabic users, providing complete flexibility for internal teams to control future page updates and new page creations.

Since APICORP’s core audiences are targeting global investors, bankers, researchers and journalists, another important requirement was to develop a dynamic media centre that would feature both new and archived media including webinars, interviews, podcasts and press releases. We worked with the client to categorise these resources with filtering functions that would support the positioning of APICORP as thought leaders and industry experts.

Encouraging personal development and career growth plays an important role at APICORP. To capture this core value most authentically, we worked with a Saudi-based production company to produce five short videos that delivered employee work culture benefits and featured these on both the Home and Career sections of the new site.

Overall, the website has been very well received both internally and externally with positive feedback on both usability and creativity. We delivered a best-in-breed website combining subtle animations and micro-interactions to make the content feel dynamic and interactive. 

To visit the website, go to https://www.apicorp.org/.

Why not take a look at our sustainability ebook which includes insights on how you can bring your environmental efforts to life through your marketing? You can download the ebook here.

If you need help in creating a world-class website for your brand or organisation, get in touch!

 

Colour is a powerful communication tool and can signal action, influence consumer behaviour, mood and mental reactions. For example, did you know specific colours are associated with increased blood pressure and induce anxiety?

How does colour psychology play into your social media performance and marketing strategy?

One thing to keep in mind, users tend to revert to the online world to pursue an informal retreat from reality. Although their goals and preferences may vary, they tend to opt for channels that are not cluttered and speak to them personally which in turn also affects their buying decision process.

That being said, we at Crowd have noticed an ongoing trend among top brands today.

For instance, take a look at Pottery Barn MenaLego, and Namshi. Even though there is a lot of action on all three Instagram pages, the colours selected are used to give off a calming, minimalist, and energetic feeling. It would not have been possible to evoke these emotions if the colours used were not carefully chosen. White, beige, and a wide range of pastel colours are carefully paired with powerful and influential colours like yellow, red, and blue which in turn are one of the main factors influencing the success of their brands online.

One easy way to put this theory to the test is for you to visit your favourite Instagram feed; you’ll notice colour compatible look or a similar feel. After conducting marketing research, we learned that up to 90% of the first impressions are based on colour.

Let’s talk about colours and how they impact your brand identity to transform a potential customer into adopting a habitual buying behaviour.

 

colour-psychology

 

Black, for example, makes your brand look powerful, whereas Blue brings a more pleasant and calming feeling to your brand. However, yellow is a great way to attract attention while also being cheerful, and the colour red sends out a bold message that can place you at the top of the food chain in terms of confidence, leadership, and power.

When you consider how different colours affect us, you can curate your Instagram feed to meet your desired effects. Our decision to purchase something has more to do with how it looks than we may realise, especially when we try it out for the first time.

We all encounter and interact with the world through colour, and it has an even more significant impact on our consumption of that world. Your brand’s colours help to communicate the moods and emotions that define it. For example, a company that sells sugary candy should avoid using yellow and green on their packaging instead of red, the colour associated with sweetness.

At Crowd, we strategically curate our client’s feeds to consider all the social factors we believe will impact the consumer’s purchasing behaviour and perception of the brand.

As part of our marketing plan, one of our initial steps is to identify our target audience and pinpoint their likes and dislikes. This way, we can gather the upper hand in presenting online users with content that captures their attention. Colour, tone of voice, topics, and imagery are all factors we believe influence how we assist our clients in expressing themselves successfully online.

It’s all about trying out what works for you and your brand. By taking the time to understand what colours your audience will respond to, you will be able to create a compelling and powerful feel that goes beyond just being aesthetically pleasing, for example, making your brand look strong.

Crowd’s international team of creatives have a deep understanding of colour psychology and use it to develop brands that create the right impression for new and existing businesses alike. Why not get in touch to see how we can help you?

 

Crowd have recently launched a new digital platform for our clients GigRealm.

The way live music events are managed is outdated and relies on a lot of word of mouth and manual management meaning that it can be difficult for new artists to get gigs and payments can be late.

GigRealm is a unique platform that exists to support both artists and those organising gigs. Artists can showcase their work and those organising one-off events like weddings or multiple events (such as pubs and clubs) find the artists to play.

It is a well thought through idea that makes event management simpler and easier with the automation of gig contracts and the streamlining of post-event invoicing and payments for artists.

With Crowd building GigRealm’s platform to pair artists with venues, we were briefed in 2020 to further the business model and expand the focus to include corporate entities. This includes venues owned as part of a chain. Once developed, this increased the audience and the market potential of the site.

To allow chains to get involved with the venues, an approval system was created, starting with tier 1 – head office, tier 2 – regional managers and finally tier 3 – the venues themselves. This system creates a reliable workflow for everyone involved.

Additionally, a custom hosted bank mandate form was created to allow seamless payments by BACS, as well as card, directly from the website via Stripe. Automatic weekly invoicing was also included to allow corporate finance departments to view consolidated payments in one PDF generated invoice which they can then always refer back to.

We have not found any other platforms which encompass both a fully integrated payments system, used by the venues to pay artists and the logic required for our client.

This original business concept required an immense level of unique coding for our web development team. It resulted in some of the most advanced integrations they have tackled yet, into a multitude of third-party APIs and systems.

With GigRealm launched and already in use by artists and venues, we’re certain that many successful events will be held thanks to the system and undiscovered artists may find themselves on the road to stardom!

If you need help turning your big idea into reality, get in touch!

 

Two of the South Coast’s leading agencies; specialist social media agency South Coast Social and podcast agency Podcast Labs, have joined forces to create “The Ultimate Podcast & Social Media Package”, allowing businesses to benefit from a huge combination of marketing services from experts within both fields.

Designed to offer companies a money-saving bumper deal covering a wide range of content over a 4-month campaign period, businesses will receive a 10-episode podcast series plus full social media management to grow a loyal online audience, generate leads and build a reputation as experts in their field. This is the ultimate package for any new brand or business personality to rapidly be ‘seen and heard’, and create a name for themselves, or for existing businesses simply looking to boost their profile extensively and reach new audiences.

Including full strategy planning, a uniquely designed podcast series and all social media requirements being looked after throughout the journey, this is a marketing package that can propel any business to the next level of online presence during a time where digital content marketing is becoming even more integral to business needs by the day.

South Coast Social, a social media agency based in Bournemouth, have an impeccable reputation for social media marketing, service and innovation and pride itself on helping brands develop an effective and successful online presence. Managing Director Clare Groombridge says;

“These difficult recent times have highlighted the vital need for businesses to ensure they have a strong online presence, so I’m thrilled the team at South Coast Social have partnered with Podcast Labs to offer this innovative new package – designed to bring together the combined knowledge and expertise of our two specialist agencies. Whatever your sector or niche, we can help bring your business to life and showcase your voice through a unique marketing campaign that ensures you hit your target audience directly with your brand messaging”

Podcast Labs are a first-class, full-service podcast production and marketing agency, also based in Bournemouth. Kelly Butler, Podcast Labs Agency Director says;

“This unique package allows brands to break into the booming audio space, revitalise their content marketing strategy and build new audiences. This collaboration between Podcast Labs and South Coast Social is the ultimate new business and lead generation tool.”

To find out more about how The Ultimate Podcast & Social Media Package can help your business in 2021, visit: www.socialpodcast.co.uk