Recently at Conscious Communications…

Here is a little taste of what we have been up to during the last month…

 

Dame Mary Archer unveils new Science Hub at St Mary’s School, Cambridge

We’re always proud to share exciting news for our clients. At the end of September, Dame Mary Archer officially opened the new Science Hub at St Mary’s School, Cambridge.

The school’s continued investment across its sites has resulted in five new state of the art laboratories, providing a first-class setting to inspire innovative learning for all subjects. The new Science Hub will provide the perfect platform to nurture female scientists of tomorrow.

 

Future Experience Points 2016 is born!

In a joint initiative with Cambridge Regional College, we have been busy developing Future Experience Points (FXP) – a mobile games design and development competition for students from Year 9 – 13. The first year pilot of the coding jam will take place in 2016 with 20 schools and colleges across the region involved. FXP has been designed to raise aspirations of young people, allowing students to build valuable skills. We have secured industry involvement with the likes of Cambridge University Press and ARM among others. Watch this space!

Programmatic, curated and cultivated content and SEO – what should you invest in?

“If you approach digital advertising in the same way as you would print, you would consider audience type, cost, reach etc. of different advertising spaces and weigh up which locations are likely to have the best ROI.”

Our Digital Marketing Executive, Hannah, recently commented on the different types of online advertising and its latest buzzword – ‘programmatic’. Take a read of the feature on Digital Doughnut to see what type of digital advertising could work best for your business. If you would like to learn more about our digital marketing capabilities then get in touch at info@consciouscomms.com or give us a call on 01223 421 831.

Recently at Conscious Communications…

Here is a little taste of what we have been up to during the past month…

Marshal Papworth on
Countryfile

We love arranging
great coverage for our clients.  At the
beginning of July, we worked with BBC Countryfile to showcase the great work of
the Marshal Papworth Fund in building knowledge and skills in sustainable
agriculture in developing countries. If you missed the students, look for them
on iPlayer (episode available until the beginning of August) or become a Friend
here.

Cambridge Science
Centre – Cosmic exhibition

This month we have been getting creative with
Cambridge Science Centre to help promote its brand new exhibition, Cosmic,
launching on 23rd July.  To
celebrate the launch of the new exhibition, we have invited press and VIPs to
witness the world’s first attempt to rocket power a punt down the River Cam fuelled
with nothing more than Fitzbillies’ buns – the most potent rocket fuel known to
Cambridge! We have been busy out and about filming each of the rocket tests,
the making of the famous Fitzbillies’ Chelsea Bun, and the reaction of the
general public in Cambridge to this world first! 

Calling all
Professors and Industry – Cambridge University Press needs you!

We have been
working with Cambridge University Press to develop Education Digital – a series
of thought leadership articles aimed at an international audience of teachers,
students and their families. With a focus on key subject areas including STEM
subjects, Psychology, Modern Foreign Languages and History, each article will
aim to strengthen the link between education and potential career paths, while
helping to inspire a love of learning.

If you have something
you would like to contribute or if you want to know a little more, please contact
us on 01223 421 831.

Investors in People finalists

We are extremely
proud to announce that we have been shortlisted as finalists for the Best
Newcomer Award (0-49 employees) in the Investors in People International Awards
2015. Chosen from 400 entries from across the world, we have been selected as
one of the final six in our category and are the only company in our category
shortlisted from East Anglia.

As a finalist,
Investors in People has recognised that as a business, Conscious Communications
shows an incredible passion, dedication and unswerving commitment to investing
in our workforce. We have a clear understanding of what we want to achieve!

This latest achievement
follows our Investors in People Bronze accreditation in November, which made Conscious
Communications the only public relations and marketing consultancy in Cambridge
with the accolade.

The Investors in
People International Awards ceremony takes place on 24 June – keep your fingers
crossed for us!

Our brand of marketing

Capturing the key points from a recent interview our MD, Alison Taylor, did with Star Radio’s Business Hub, here are Conscious Communications answers to some of the questions we are frequently asked by SMEs in the region.

How do I approach my marketing strategy when I have a tight budget:

We will always recommend taking an holistic approach to your marketing and communications strategy, that looks to deliver your messages efficiently via whichever channel is most effective in engaging with your specific audiences.  There will never be just one solution, you should look at all potential elements of the marketing mix and make informed decisions about where your money is best spent.

Set out with a clear set of objectives for what you want your marketing to achieve – these will always boil down to two broad objectives:

  1. Profile raising and influence
  2. Sales/support – this may relate to sales of a product or, in the case of charities or social enterprises, refers to the support they gain for their activities

Taking these two objectives in turn our advice is:

 1.     Profile and influence

  •  Don’t scattergun your marketing – aim for quality not quantity.  This is especially important for SMEs where marketing budgets are tight
  • Analyse your market – the types of companies/organisations you want to work with, where they’re based, who they’re currently buying products/services from
  • Look at what the competition is doing – aim to identify your niche and understand why potential customers will want to buy from you and not from your competitors.  You need to really understand what you’re offering – think in features and benefits
  • Don’t focus on talking about what your company does: talk about what it can do for your potential customers – how will what you offer benefit them
  • Don’t reinvent the wheel – that’s not to mean don’t be creative; but don’t waste resources and time – monitor and evaluate and learn from what you achieve
  • Don’t pin your whole marketing effort on social media.  It can play a role in what you do and can be a useful tool, but it is not a solution in itself and much time and resource can be wasted on social media channels/platforms that aren’t relevant for your customers

Once you understand your audiences and what they’re looking for, examine all the marketing channel options available to you; weigh up what they offer and the potential return: advertising, sponsorship, media relations, events and exhibitions, networking.

Much of your marketing may be ‘under the radar’ rather than overt – it may be that your business is best built on reputation and word of mouth, like ours is.  In which case much of your investment may be in the time it takes to be out and about meeting the right people at events, conferences, seminars.  Factor this into your budget and monitor and evaluate the results

A few tips for what not to do:

  • Don’t invest without measurement in place
  • Don’t ignore existing customers – they can be your best source of new business
  • Don’t ignore your mistakes – learn from them

 2.     Sales and support

Relationships are absolutely key to closing any sort of deal, even in this digital age –  people buy from people.  From a marketing perspective, there are three keys to successfully securing a sale:

  • relationships built on trust – this can be evidenced by word of mouth; endorsement from existing clients/customers.  This is true for business to business, and business to consumer markets
  • evidence that the product or service can and has previously been delivered, and/or that the product has previously been successfully purchased/used – examples, case studies, reviews
  • proof that there will be the required return on investment.  Your customers will want to assess a cost vs reward ratio – if I spend x on this product, I will receive x-worth of benefit, whether this is tangible, intangible or even subliminal!

All of the above can be evidenced in your marketing.  It’s not just about getting noticed, it’s about proving you’re the best one for the job, or that your products will meet and exceed your customers’ needs.

It’s worth bearing in mind also that you don’t have to go it alone; so much today is about partnerships and collaboration.  Look for likeminded organisations to work with and form mutually beneficial partnerships to market; you may be able to pool resources and budgets to make advertising more affordable for example; or you may be able to develop a joint event which people are more likely to attend because it’s hosted by more than one company.

Fanning the sparks of the sustainability revolution

The Growing British Business report says that ‘growth pioneers’ will be responsible for the UK’s recovery.   Learning from history, we know that this is true and we don’t really need a survey of 500 UK decision makers to confirm it.  Indeed, it is this pioneering leadership which we believe is the only way to a truly sustainable future for our planet, let alone for business. 

As a race, humans will do as little as necessary to satisfy external demands and mostly will only do this once self-serving motivations are fulfilled.  Every day, we hear that the only way for businesses to realistically adopt positive change towards a more sustainable future, is for change to be practical and for it to deliver to the bottom line.  This is, of course, true.  So, knowing that really self-less leaders will be the notable exceptions that headline in history, we are reliant on exceptionally successful business leaders, who can afford to take the high road, to dedicate their time and energy to leading the way forward.

The Growing British Business report shows some interesting regional groupings with Cambridge earning a top ranking for fostering many of growth pioneers in its ‘hi-tech hub’.  Dr David Cleevely of Analysys fame, Charles Cotton, Chair of Cambridge Phenomenon Ltd and Neul Ltd, and Hermann Hauser UK Computer Personality of the Year in 1984, are a few of Cambridge’s great names, and companies like Ubisense, Abcam, Amadeus, Redgate Software, RealVNC, Autonomy, Jagex have leaders snapping at their heels.

Growing British Business claims that Cambridge has reached the heady rankings of a ‘super city’, primed to spearhead the UK’s economic recovery and, earlier this year, The Guardian reported that Cambridge’s hi-tech cluster now sports 1,400 companies, supporting 40,000 jobs.  Indeed David Cleevely recently told Prince Andrew that the city has the potential to develop a new clutch of $10bn companies taking it to the ‘next level of global greatness’. 

So, maybe Cambridge, with its hot-bed of pioneering leaders, is where the real sustainability revolution is set to start.  We’re glad we’re here to fan the sparks!

The Water Industry Challenge

It was an eye-opener to hear at a water industry event, run by Cambridge Cleantech, that water costs just £1 a tonne to the customer.  This begs the question: ‘why the need to invest in new technologies?’

The answer, of course, is that the water networks around our region were built in Victorian times and therefore pose no end of problems – leaking, burst pipes, and so on.  The need for smart water meters is apparent and the benefits clear, but unfortunately it seems British water companies are struggling to implement them across their networks.  We were told that for Cambridge Water, only 75% of all water charged is metered and 83% of meters are encoded (legacy meters) and need to be replaced with smarter meters.

At Cambridge Cleantech’s event we were introduced to innovative technology companies, such as Syrinix and Sentec, involved with bringing new products to market to help water companies.  But, with no investment forthcoming, they are taking their products elsewhere – Sentec, for example, has taken its sensor technology to North America where it is being readily implemented.  In comparison to the UKs 20 water companies, USA has 30,000 water companies, including many municipals.  We can see where the attraction lies for new technology across the pond.

According to recent UK reports, there will be a 40% shortfall in water by 2013, which highlights further the increasing demand for smart water technology.  In Cambridge alone, there are 50,000 people employed in high tech jobs – having sweated over their research and development, it is only natural for them to want to see their product brought to market.  So, with no investment available, who can blame them for taking their products further afield, to Australia, Middle East and North America?

UK Trade & Investment told the Cambridge Cleantech event delegates that it wants to see synergy between ICT and the water industry.  Ultimately, technology developers and water companies have the same goals of adopting new technologies and network optimisation methods in pursuit of efficiency savings but, for collaboration to work, we need our water companies to take a long-term view and invest now to save later.  

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