The Secret to Show-stopping Content

Relevant, easy to access content is not a nice-to-have, it’s a necessity. An essential part of any marketing toolkit, creating great content will have plenty of knock-on effects for your business, like brand reinforcement and building trust with your customer.

Getting content with content

But you probably already know this right? And you’ve probably tried doing it yourself. But let’s be honest, creating a consistent flow of engaging, thought-provoking content is a drag. It’s tough coming up with new and interesting things to say. You worry about whether your post will perform and whether anyone likes it, let alone reads it. And making great content is one thing but evaluating it afterwards and knowing how to improve it often feels like a whole job in itself. Does it engage with the audience or lead to conversions?

You start to wonder… is it all worth it?

Finding the right message

Marketing is all about getting in front of your desired audience with a strong message that resonates and generates leads. Sounds obvious right? But do you really know your audience?  Is your data current and is it segmented so that the message you put out is not all things to all people? Strong content should be very targeted to the right people, otherwise it will never hit its mark.

If you build it, they will come

When you have a good strategy in place, and a structured method of attack, the road to great content and measuring its effectiveness can be a smooth journey. And when you make it look easy, it makes your brand look even better.

By focusing on multifunctional content, you can get more value for your effort because the material can be repurposed across various audience platforms. And when it comes to building multipurpose content, video is a great place to start. Video can be spliced and diced for a snippet or a story, it can be even mined for still images. A very hard-working medium, video can make a powerful impact on your target audience.

The medium is the message

As email campaigns continue to fight for attention thanks to the rise of BOT gate keepers, the path has been cleared for other mediums to make an impression.

Podcasts and webinars became supremely more popular as a communication tool throughout the pandemic. They’ve managed to remain in play post pandemic because they can help you rise above the noise to deliver your message loud and clear. They’re so effective in fact, that 58% of B2B marketers now use webinars as a promotional tool.

But on the whole, video is king when it comes to content that cuts through. Read HubSpot’s 50 recent video marketing stats to find out why video works so well compared to other types of content.

But wait there’s more…

So, it probably feels a bit overwhelming right now and we haven’t even mentioned blogs, infographics and newsletters yet.

It’s not just you, most businesses feel this way about creating content. It really is a full-time job that many organisations can’t manage alone. And that’s where we can help. If you’re struggling to create worthwhile, show-stopping content and want to know how the team at Fluro can support your content strategy, then give us call, we’d love to chat.

Take control of your content today. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Heroes, Villains and Catastrophe – Why Storytelling Sells

In our previous blog post, we looked at how storytelling can influence everything from brand story to design strategy. You can read more about the science of storytelling in this article, but for now, let’s figure out how you can apply the basics to your brand and learn how character and crisis are powerful tools in your storytelling toolbox.

Who cares about your message?

Great drama doesn’t exist without great characters. Whether you’re empathising with Hannibal Lector or Peter Parker, if you care about the character, you’ll stick around. The people in your story are your messengers, so if we don’t care about them, why should we care about the message?

Alfred Hitchcock said, “The more successful your villain, the more successful the picture”. While this doesn’t mean your ‘story’ has to have a bad guy, it does mean that your characters must have substance. When you build your brand story or next campaign, consider the characters at the heart of the story and how to bring out their most interesting traits.

Choosing a great messenger

John Yorke, who literally wrote the book on storytelling says, if there’s nothing to offend us, “then there’s certainly nothing to attract our attention either.” He believes it’s “the rough edges, the darkness” that draws us in. We might not want to admit it, but we all have a dark corners and while it’s rarely the obvious route when it comes to promoting your brand, it’s worth keeping in mind that ‘nice’ doesn’t always win hearts.

Remember Walter White from Breaking Bad? Such a deeply flawed character and so full of conflict but one of television’s most beloved characters. And don’t forget Cersei Lannister, Hannibal Lector and who doesn’t love the Joker? The beloved baddie is a little harder to find in advertising. While there’s been more than a few ads that didn’t quite manage to capture the allure of the baddie, Jaguar’s Good to be Bad campaign is a sterling example of how the bearer of your message doesn’t always have to be nice.

Find the crisis in your call to action

Creating a narrative is one of the best ways to persuade your audience to believe what you’re saying, and the key element to writing a good story is known as ‘the inciting incident.’

Yorke describes an inciting incident as the crisis of the story, or the problem that needs to be solved. The inciting incident is the moment your character is faced with an obstacle and forced to ask themselves the most important question, ‘what kind of person am I?’

In an ad campaign or brand story, it’s this crisis that provides the opportunity for your brand to provide the solution; it’s the ‘why’ behind your product/service.

Persil’s Dirt is Good campaign demonstrates a shrewd use of crisis. Persil insinuate their brand as a hero solution to the widespread concern that children aren’t playing outside enough.

A well-crafted, imaginative or dynamic inciting incident can lead to an equally excellent Call to Action. Give your audience to a reason to click, buy or call; give them a reason to care.

Story creates meaning

It’s a well-documented fact that when a person reads, sees or hears a well-told story, their brain reacts as if they are experiencing it themselves.

Stories have a unique ability to build connections and a great creative agency knows how to tap into this super power to create better, more engaging results.

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We’re the Firestarters

“So how can organizations win the talent war? By cultivating a workplace culture that engages, rewards and, most of all, inspires.”  Forbes

According to Forbes, 2022 is the year of Workplace Culture. In the face of The Great Resignation and talent wars, most businesses have had to rethink the way they do things. In short, they’ve had to start putting their people first.

Putting people first

It might seem like a strange concept to some of the old guard, but at Fluro, putting people first is an absolute no-brainer. People have always been at the heart of every conversation and every decision when it comes to running the business. To us it seems obvious that if your employees aren’t happy then they probably won’t give you their best and maybe it’s because we’re a small business, or maybe it’s the nature of our work, but we need everyone to bring their A game every day. For us, getting the best from our team has always been about fostering creativity, building relationships, and giving our people everything they need to thrive, not just at work but as individuals. We also think that the best place for that to happen is here, in the studio.

Swimming upstream

In a climate where hybrid workplaces are the default setting, it feels like we’re swimming upstream, because – at the risk of sounding unpopular – we want our people in the room. We know that means putting your good jeans on and leaving the house, but we also know that the effort pays off. Salmon don’t swim upstream for the exercise, they do it so their young have a better chance not just to survive but to thrive. And that’s pretty much how we see things. In fact, we think it’s one of the main contributors to our success.

It’s not that we don’t get it, because we do. We’ve read the same articles that you have, saying that over 80% of professionals don’t want to return to the 9-5 framework and there’s no doubt that in some sectors, things desperately needed to change. Maybe some businesses in our sector needed to change too. But for us, flexibility has always been on the agenda, most of us have families and we whole-heartedly endorse the benefits of a balanced lifestyle. And who doesn’t love working in trackies and walking the dog on lunch break?

Feeling the glow

But on the flip side, an agency like Fluro, is at its very core a creative and collaborative place. And in our collective experience, we’ve found that creativity often flounders in isolation. There’s a spark that ignites, a feeling that comes alive when you’re all in the same room, and that’s why we like to do our thing together, in the shared space of the studio.

We’ve taken on a lot of new people in the past year, a mix of seasoned pros and emerging talents, and there’s nothing quite like the shared, dynamic experience of studio life. “I love that buzz you get when an idea lands on the table and everyone knows it’s in the bag” says Jackie our Creative Lead. “Of course, we can do it on Zoom, we had to for two years, but I want work to be more than just learning to overcome, or doing your due diligence, I want it to be affirming and inspiring.”

There’s a certain kind of alchemy, an infectious enthusiasm that builds in the room when raw reactions collide with a hunger to excite and amaze. You might have forgotten what that feels like, but we haven’t, and we want more.

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Video Content: Your Audience is Ready, Are You?

Research shows that the demand for video content is outstripping the current supply. Which isn’t surprising if you think about it. We’re consuming videos at unprecedented rates; TikTok transformations, unboxing videos, DIY tutorials, gaming walk-throughs, explainer videos, webinars, demonstrations, and reviews. People are watching more video online than ever before – in fact the amount of online video we watch has almost doubled since 2018.

Audiences are watching more video than ever

While the time spent watching videos has risen consistently for the past 3 years, from 12.2 billion minutes to 14.6 billion minutes, the rate of videos uploaded has remained the same. This means that audience demand to watch is outpacing the supply.

Why do we love video?

People will…

  • be twice as likely to share video content than any other type of content.
  • watch 500 million hours of video content on YouTube alone, with only 16% saying they read text word for word.
  • remember more of what they watch than what they read. 80% can recall a video they watched in the past month whereas only 10% could remember something they read.

Don’t get left behind

  • 86% of businesses already use video as a marketing tool.
  • In a survey of 800 video marketers, the majority are planning to increase their output with a predicted increase of 10% on their original budget.
  • 87% of marketers believe they get positive ROI on their investment in video content.
  • Between 33 – 35% of companies said they were uploading video content monthly or weekly.

How long should a video be?

  • Videos under 1 minute are the most popular because research suggests that engagement drops off after about that time.
  • Facebook only accepts videos up to 90 seconds long while the YouTube standard is 10 minutes.
  • More companies are starting to create long-form videos (30+min), often in the form of webinars which are cost effective to produce.
  • Longer-form content creation is rising fast, but this relies on having loyal, existing viewers with brand affinity.

In summary…

People love video and they’re sharing it like crazy which means it’s become an essential tool in your marketing toolkit.  As a format it’s always expanding, changing, and evolving to satisfy consumer needs and emerging platforms. Whether you want to start making video content in your marketing strategy or continue creating great content, get in touch for a chat.

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The Secret to Great Strategy

Strategy at a Creative Agency

Whether it’s design, copywriting or strategy, at a creative agency, the work we do happens in the liminal space between an objective and its end. At Fluro, we use our creative skills to influence the means, or the way an objective reaches its end. To use a real-world example, if a carton of milk is the object, and the consumer is the end, an advertising campaign or the brand’s website is the means. The means in the context of a creative agency are the methods and channels used to communicate.

Our copywriter attended Uri Baruchin’s short course at D&AD about strategic thinking. This is a big topic, and there’s a lot of wisdom out there about how to ‘do strategy’. And while we don’t want to ruin the surprise, we thought it was safe to share the bigger lessons we learned from Uri’s Think, Plan, Act workshop.

We are all strategists

While you might not consider yourself a strategist, you are a strategic thinker. Apparently, we all are.

Uri used a 1995 research paper about public toilet stalls to demonstrate the role that strategy plays in the selection process. In the Psychological Science journal, Nicholas Christenfeld conducted a study on which public toilet stalls are most commonly chosen. He used this data to illustrate the way we use strategic reasoning on a daily basis.

And so, it became plain to us all, that when it comes to developing a creative strategy, it’s not always the sole realm of the strategists. Developers, designers and writers are all part of the strategic picture and we all contribute in our different ways.

As well as being an interesting way to break the ice, Uri’s example also helped serve his argument about the dangers of choosing “the middle stall” when it comes to strategic brainstorming.

Strategies that stand out

It’s very easy in a studio environment to get into a creative groove, where the same people keep doing the same things in the same ways. If you keep doing – strategy or creative – the same way every time, you will keep yielding the same results. Uri pointed out that there’s no benefit to staying in your own creative lane, on the contrary, it pays to open the discussion and always cast the net wider.

We’re all guilty of this, because in the end, it’s hard to not be you right? And as much as we fall into this trap as individuals, it’s also common to group work and even society at large.

Uri’s group task challenged the learners to come up with a strategy for a gin campaign. A zoom room full of strangers were broken up into groups to come up with a strategy for their chosen tipple. It was shocking to see how similar the strategies submitted from each group were. The reasoning and resulting strategies were incredibly alike.

This task provided the perfect example of why it’s good practice to cast the creative net wide and explore those less popular, less obvious perspectives.

Whether it’s a small group in an agency, a community, or a society – we often tend to think along similar pathways – and the result is that we all come to similar conclusions. Needless to say that this is not ideal approach to strategy at a creative agency, because we aim to create ideas that stand out.

Take the path less travelled unless you want to end up in the same place as everyone else.

Managing strategic and creative processes

The final lesson learned from Uri’s workshop was that coming up with a great strategy is messy work. There’s a lot of ideas and opinions flying about and it’s not always easy to distinguish the great ideas from the good ones. As much as there are some really useful guides and templates, workshops and mind maps available, there is no magic formula to making hard decisions. Being a good decision maker comes down to experience and judgement – which is why it’s always best to seek the help of a creative agency when it comes to your brand.

While Uri didn’t have the secret to making good decisions, he did provide a handy set of tools to help us guide ourselves through the hard parts; the messy processes between research, concept and execution.

After all, the act of creating is really just a series of decisions. A writer wrestles with decisions about words, narrative and motivation. Designers have decisions to make about colour, spacing, typography etc.

Perhaps the most powerful lesson of all was realising that not only are we all strategic thinkers, but we’re also all creative thinkers. And we will always do better when we work together.

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Mid-weight/Senior Designer

We’re a dynamic and ambitious creative agency looking for a mid-weight/senior designer with 5+years agency experience. To be a great fit, you’ll love delivering fresh, compelling work and collaborating with a spirited team of talented creatives across a diverse range of projects for web and print.

The Role:

Mid/Senior Graphic Designer
Bourne End SL8, Buckinghamshire

Who we are:

We are a vibrant, full service creative agency. We’ve been ranked as one of The Drum’s top 100 Independent Agencies in the UK and have been nominated for a number of awards including Best Web Design Agency, Best Design Agency, Best Direct Marketing Agency and Best Corporate Communication Agency by The Drum Recommends. This is a fantastic opportunity to be an integral part of a busy, growing agency, making a real name for itself.  We have some brilliant clients such as LEGO, Sennheiser, Asus, Merlin, London Dungeons and Brooks Running to name a few.

Who you are:

You live, breathe, eat and sleep design. You’re full to the brim with creativity and looking for a real challenge. You’ll be very strong on web design, UX and UI, and have an excellent understanding of concept and brand development. You’ve got typographic skills and know the “Creative Suite” inside out. Ideally you’re able to conceptualise on paper. Having an understanding of animation/moving image would be a bonus.

Your attention to detail is second to none and you have a proven track record with significant agency experience. As a vital part of a small team, you’ll need to be a confident self-starter who is happy to handle briefs from concept right through to delivery with guidance from our senior designers and developers. The role will be based on site as it’s super important to us to be able to effectively share and collaborate seamlessly on ideas.

What we need from you:

+ Solid agency experience
+ A brilliant portfolio showcasing proficiency on and offline
+ Excellent understanding of UX/UI
+ Ensuring a high-quality, consistent output of print-ready artwork, especially across digital media
+ A willingness to learn and grow
+ Competency in the Adobe Creative Suite, particularly Adobe XD, complemented by a solid knowledge of Microsoft Office
+ An active interest in keeping up to date with trends and technology, with a love for all that’s new and innovative

What we offer:

+ In return, you’ll get to work with some incredibly knowledgeable and passionate individuals that truly love what they do
+ Opportunity to grow and progress
+ 5 days paid-for Professional Development a year
+ Regular company events and socials
+ Company pension
+ 22 days holiday plus 8 days statutory
+ Birthday Holiday
+ Studio space close to the Thames

Sound like a good fit? Fast-track your application to the Hiring Manager by sending an email to hello@fluroltd.com
And don’t forget to include a link to your portfolio!

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Fluro Welcomes a Copywriter to the Team

A copywriter joins the team

As we head into 2022 seasoned experts of uncertainty, there’s no doubt that we’re all wondering the same thing; what will the new year hold? At Fluro we’re looking forward to quite a few new clients and some exciting branding projects to kick off the year. But before we look too far ahead, let’s take a look at the changes that 2021 brought our expanding creative agency.

In spite of the disruptions of a global pandemic, 2021 – thankfully –  was a good year for Fluro. After a period of growth we hired our first in-house copywriter. Her name is Lara. She’s from Sydney, Australia but has been here in the UK over 10 years –  and claims to “love the weather”.

What exactly is a copywriter?

If you’re not sure what a copywriter does, you’re not alone, Lara’s own family doesn’t quite understand what she does either. So, let’s break it down; a copywriter is responsible for words. Whether it’s writing the text on a leaflet or a website, proofreading documents or creating the dialogue for video scripts, copywriters are on the job. They have their finger in a lot of pies when it comes to a creative communications. Copywriters generate blogs, create social media content and they also come in handy for building brand stories and strategising.

What does a copywriter do?

In the past we’ve used freelancers, but there’s something reassuring about having our very own copywriter in the house. Lara brings with her a wealth of experience from many years working in digital media, journalism, promotion and communications. She’s worked in-house and client-side, pitched to editors and company directors, written about everything from vodka-caviar pairings to the compressed gas equipment.

How does a copywriter add value?

Before Lara came to work for us, she specialised in music, film and food and wrote for national titles like Esquire, Little White Lies, The Wire magazine and a host of local magazines and online publications. She co-wrote a book about animal music and has been the editor for 15Questions.net for ten years. Lara has also had short plays performed in London and stories published in literary zines and journals.

Like most freelancers though, Lara’s bread and butter came from developing websites, social media consulting and creating digital content and marketing material. So her skills fit nicely with our current scope of work, with plenty of opportunity to add value for future clientele.

Welcome to the team Lara.

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A Little Book of Big Values

A Little Book of Big Values

In September this year, Fluro held its first ever company day. It was the perfect time to share the news that in spite of the disruption caused by the pandemic, we’ve gone from strength to strength. But there was another, more important piece of news to share: the birth of our company values. Whether it was the scattering effects of the pandemic or our rapid expansion, we needed to consolidate our vision and our strategy. We also needed some new tools to help steer a larger team.

A small, black book with gold lettering and beautiful illustrations, Fluro’s Little Book of Big Values represents an important milestone – the moment we formally defined the ‘why’ behind our brand.

Little Book of Big Values

Why Are Company Values Important?

Establishing a set of values is tantamount to staking your claim in the world. They also help give your staff a reason for coming into work each day.

Austrian psychologist Viktor Frankl was the first theorise that the search for meaning is the most powerful motivating force in humans. Unlike his Nietzsche and Freud, Frankl felt that our need to create meaning was a stronger urge than the desire for power or pleasure.

A pay cheque is important, let’s not pretend it isn’t. But money isn’t the reason people like coming to work each day. Whether it’s swiping groceries or saving lives, each and every one of us needs to feel like our work is meaningful. Authors of The Why of Work, Dave and Wendy Ulrich, told the Harvard Business Review that “neither position nor salary seem to have much to do with finding meaning in work.”

Create a Sense of Belonging

Having a set of beliefs or values imparts meaning to the tasks and goals of working life. They also provides the framework to stimulate a sense of belonging. In her Forbes article, Tracy Brower used the psychological fall-out of the pandemic to highlight the importance of belonging. According to the author humans are hardwired for connection. The pandemic wreaked such havoc with our mental health because it took this vital factor away from us.

Belonging to a group is intrinsic to social identity. Belonging is achieved when you share a set of beliefs, because it results in a feeling of unity. But Jeanine Stewart, senior consultant to the Neuroleadership Institute says that being surrounded by people doesn’t guarantee a sense of belonging. To help your employees feel part of your team, you have to let them know what those shared beliefs are. But in order to share a set of beliefs or values, you have to identify them first.

Research shows that a strong sense of belonging can be a more powerful motivator than money. When people feel connected to their colleagues, the incentive to perform is higher. They’re driven more by their desire to maintain status in the group than by their pay check.

 

The Why Behind your Brand

Company values can also benefit your bottom line. In a previous post we explain how values help to harness the power of WHY . Author and TED speaker Simon Sinek believes that ‘people don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it.’ If you don’t know why you are in business, how will your customers be able to?

Performance management platform Plai claims that customers choose companies whose values they can relate to. “Study after study shows that companies with strong values have better financial performance, customer and employee satisfaction, and grow faster.”

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Why storytelling makes more powerful connections

The foundations of storytelling inform everything from logo design and key visuals to brand story. Find out how the basic elements of dramatic form apply to your brand and why it’s such a powerful way to connect.

A dangerous beast threatens a community. Only one man can kill the beast and restore happiness in the land…

This story sounds familiar doesn’t it? Well, that’s because it is. As John Yorke points out in the first page of his book Into the Woods, this story outline is also the premise of Jaws, Jurassic Park, The Exorcist and countless other films, but it’s also the story of Beowulf, the Old English epic poem.

Or what about the one about the man who strikes a bargain with the devil, his soul in exchange for powers untold? Ringing any bells? The story commonly known as Faust comes from the Bronze Age folktale The Smith and The Devil, estimated to be around 6,000 years old according to a BBC article delving into the surprisingly long history of fairy tales.

How Storytelling Impacts your Brand Strategy

It’s no coincidence that the basic shape of storytelling is so enduring. Yorke believes there’s a reason we keep going back to the same themes and using the same structures and that it goes a lot deeper than convention. How strange that we continue to get such pleasure and delight from essentially telling the same stories again and again? Yorke insists that dramatic structure is not merely a social construct but an essential expression of our humanity, “as important to us all – almost – as breathing.”

From the ancient oral traditions to teach lessons and caution the young, to religious canon, and Classical mythologies all the way up to today; everything from YouTube ads to reality television, storytelling dominates our lives. So, it makes sense to try and understand how and why it works.

Using Drama to Improve Your Brand Story

You’ve heard of the three-act drama, set-up, conflict, and resolution; it’s the building block of any story. Yorke believes that this structure is essentially the playing out of a theme, an argument about the world that comes in three parts. Love, hate, jealousy, courage, coming-of-age, revenge – theme is drama.

In Nike’s ‘Play New’ campaign the main theme, in its purest form, is overcoming failure – something we’re all familiar with. But Nike steps in, reminding us that we can all triumph just by having a go.

When we read a story that relates to us, we identify with it and it makes us feel ultimately less alone. The more universal the theme, the more relatable it is to a larger audience. Alternatively, if you’re trying to appeal a niche audience, then it can help to refine your theme into something more specific.

If you need help identifying the themes in your brand story, let us help you create some drama. Give us a call on 01628 525 449

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