Tuesday, 27 November 2012

why recruitment needs a little creative love

We've been working a lot lately with one particular bus client to make their advertising, well... a bit more creative to be honest.

And they are reaping the rewards. Lots of positive feedback within the industry, local media praising their approach and their customers actually noticing what they are doing.

But while their customer facing work has seen this vast improvement, their recruitment work has seen little or no investment - which in turn means their recruitment itself is suffering. Lots of unsuitable applicants for particular posts, resulting in an inefficient use of their physical and financial resources.

Why are some clients happy just to resize the same old bus driver ad time after time? How many times do you see the 'Bus drivers wanted, £8 an hour, free uniform...etc' appearing in the press?

Can't they take a leaf out of other areas of the business, and be more creative?

Bus drivers are possibly the most important part of building a bus company's brand. They are quite often the only employee your customers will encounter, so will will have sole responsibility for brand perception.

So why the lack of thought when it comes to recruitment for such an important role? Is it because company bosses don't really appreciate the importance of the job or because HR is seen as a poor relation to marketing in terms of return on investment?

Does marketing work in harmony with HR in your company or are they left to fend for themselves - ignoring brand guidelines and sending out messages that are contrary to the positioning and brand recognition you have worked hard to build up?

So next time you're in the office and HR want a hand - spread the creative love.

Wednesday, 14 November 2012

Wednesday, 7 November 2012

a little courtesy is all we ask

A few weeks ago we were invited by a northern based bus operator to discuss their future marketing requirements.

The potential client had made it clear in their email that they were looking to contract one creative partner to deliver work against their marketing objectives, and that a select few agencies had been asked to meet them for initial discussions.

Under the old adage that you have to be in it to win it, coupled with the fact it would be a significant piece of business for us, I was happy to make the 2.5 hour journey to their offices to meet up.

I was there for an hour presenting to the managing director, marketing director and commercial director of said company. Among the many subjects covered were my thoughts on their product, their positioning and how I felt our experience in the industry could help deliver the 7% growth the m.d was expecting from his investment.

I left feeling pretty positive.

However, about a week later, I received a letter detailing that we would not be selected to go through to the next stage of their procurement process.

Although disappointed at the letter's content, I didn't have a problem with their decision itself. Part and parcel of agency life is the quest to grow your customer base and these type of meetings are common place. Some you win and some you lose - that's the game.

The one thing we do expect from a potential client if we are unsuccessful in these type of meetings is to be honest as to the reason for their decision. Too expensive? Not enough experience? Didn't like the look of you? Doesn't matter what their reason is, as long as its an honest one.

Unfortunately, despite two polite emails asking for feedback which would help us "improve for future, similar meetings" I have heard nothing from this operator. Not a bean.

Am I disappointed at their silence? Of course. Am I surprised? I'm afraid not.

Monday, 5 November 2012

why we WANT to work for free...

Believe it or not our ideal phone call would be from a company with a request to do all their advertising work for nothing - absolutely zilch.

Their proposal would be along the lines of 'Hi, we're company X. We want you to do lots of clever, advertising type work for us so we can grow our product and brand - but we can't afford to pay you. Are you interested?'

Most people's initial (and probably subsequent) reaction would be a polite but firm 'On your bike mate - do we look like a charity?!' Surely unless you actually make money out of a job it's not worth doing, right?

A short-term answer to that question is yes, but long-term there is an opportunity to grow our business by taking on such opportunities.

We spend a fair amount of time in the office bemoaning the fact that public transport marketing lacks ingenuity and real thought-provoking creativity. The majority of our work is for the larger Opcos where stakeholder influence is high and the willingness to take risk is low - so consequently the work their customers eventually see is reflective of this approach.

However there are some smaller companies out there who are answerable to no-one but themselves. And these plucky few are willing to take creative risk in order to grow their business. After all, they haven't got money so they have to think, right?

So why would we be happy to work for them for free?

Ever since we started this blog three years ago we have been lauding the merits of doing things differently to get results - a principle that we believe would work for as much for a transport company as it would for a local butcher, baker or candle stick maker. Yet very few companies are prepared to really let you off the creative leash as there is very often too much at stake in turns of money spent, people kept happy and boxes ticked.

But we believe the proof of the pudding is in the eating and are willing to put our creative thinking to the test. Once the approach has been proven to work, we will have a definitive case study to show other companies (who have significant budgets to spend) that being different can be commercially viable.

So if there is a company out there, big or small, who has the balls to ask us to do their work for free in return for total creative freedom, you might be surprised at the answer.

Thursday, 1 November 2012

helping to relaunch a First bus network

Over the last six weeks we've been busy working on material for First bus, helping to publicise the rebuilding their new network in East Hampshire.

If you've been anywhere around Gosport, Fareham, Portsmouth or Waterlooville over the last couple of weeks you may have noticed some of the press ads/wraps, roadshow material, 6 sheets, Travel Shop vinyls, street banners and 48 sheets (below) on your travels.

Clean, simple and straight to the point the communication tells people what's happening and when, driving customers to the mynewfirstbus.co.uk website where more information can be found.

If you see the work somewhere around we hope you enjoy it as much as we enjoyed playing with lego for the first time in years to make it!

click on the images to enlarge