Monthly Archives: May 2015

image (15)

How to come up with BIG marketing ideas

Having  a “big” idea at the heart of your marketing strategy is the only way to ensure that your target audiences will take any notice of your campaign. But how often do you actually create an engaging big idea that they cannot resist?

What is a big idea?

A ‘big idea’ is what underpins your marketing campaign. It’s the recurrent theme that runs throughout, the key thing that ties everything together. It helps to inform and determine which marketing channels you use to promote your message – such as advertising, PR or social media. Sometimes, the media used can be the making of a great idea!

However, with millions of creative marketing agencies across the world, and some of the biggest brands all clawing for our attention, it seems the best ideas have already been seen and done. Nowadays, brand differentiation has become more difficult to achieve than ever before because all businesses can claim USPs such as quality and service – but what makes your brand truly stand out? How can you create marketing campaigns that attract customers? That’s down to your big idea.

Key principles to creating your big idea

1. Understand exactly what your objective is

Your objective sets the benchmark for your campaign. Your big idea will form once you really know what you’re trying to achieve. It also acts as a yardstick upon which you will measure the campaign’s success – were the goals and objectives met, if not, why not?

2. Know your customer…

“You need to really understand your customer and that requires ’empathy’. You’ve got to become the customer and imagine what is going to get them to take notice, what language is going to get them to remember your message, and take action”, says our Creative Services Manager Christos.

3. …and what their needs are

People have a range of needs/motivations that act on their decision to purchase. Individuals and business professionals buy things for a combination of different rational, emotional and psychological reasons, in different ways, within different time scales. For example, in B2B says our Marketing Manager Hannah “triggers can include the need to save money, change suppliers, save time. Does your product/service fill that need? Can your ‘big idea’ demonstrate this?”

4. Match the message with the audience

You need to be absolutely clear why your target audience will believe your message/proposition. What is the support for it? Can you engage them in a conversation across their favoured media channels i.e. Twitter/television/radio? How can you interact with them? Get them to participate? Sample your product/service? Find out more information?

Tell your brand’s story

Good marketing is often about good storytelling, and people respond better to marketing messages if they trigger emotion and use storytelling to deliver their messages. For a big idea to work, what you need is not only a good unique selling point, but a strong story for your brand that only you can tell. Your big idea should play on the big E of marketing – Emotion, and captivate your audience.

For example: You’re an independent food retailer and your ‘big idea’ centres around provenance and ethics in your supply chain. You can then tell a story through your marketing communications – perhaps a series of e-shots, in-store demonstrations, and blog posts/case studies about the local suppliers you work with, to show how the food you sell in your shop makes its journey from ‘farm to fork’ using local suppliers and demonstrating your commitment to ethical sourcing of produce and being transparent about where your products come from.

The best way to get your big idea across is to employ a strong copywriter who is a master of the written word, along with powerful visual imagery, to make your marketing message cut through the clutter and attract your audiences’ attention. There is a reason why great fiction writers such as Tolkien and J.K. Rowling have sold millions of books – it’s because they were able to conjure vivid images that draw people in and make them feel as though they were actually there, feeling whatever emotion it is the characters are dealing with. “Communicating your BIG ideas using powerful visual and written imageries are hard to resist and will make your audience more receptive to your messages” adds Hannah.

Complete Branding Solution

We’re experts in providing the complete branding solution for our clients, so please get in touch today to discuss your requirements and how we can help you with your branded merchandise and clothing. Call us on 08707 500057 or drop us a line by email.


image (13)

Day in the life of…

This month we’re shining a spotlight on our Creative Services Manager, Christos ‘Stos’ Vayonitis.

Us: “Hi Stos! So, for our blog readers, can you describe a typical day in the CE office – in no more than three words?”

Stos: “Making Beautiful Things”

Us: “Love It! Very eloquently put. So can we call you ‘Mr Beautiful’?’

Stos: “Yeah if you want. I’ve been called worse!”

Us: “Okay! So you make beautiful stuff, but which one word would you use to describe why you love your job?”

Stos: “Passion”

Us: “As Creative Services Manager your creativity is used every day, but can you think of a scenario when your creative skills were pushed to the max?”

Stos: “Case studies for a tender! Tenders are long and arduous creatures with lots of finite detail. My team and I were tasked with creative product photography – basically making a bunch of quite mundane looking products look exciting. We took photographs of previous products we had created before to use as examples, and then we retrofitted content onto the images (e.g. ‘super-imposed’ it on to the images using our design software). In a lot of cases, they weren’t the most exciting products, so it was about working with our photography team to frame the photos in such a way that allowed for the content and image to look aesthetically pleasing whilst conveying a visual message too. Dealing with framing and lighting and making sure there was a consistency throughout each of the photos was very challenging. It seems less complicated now talking about it, but the project tested every aspect of my design skills and took me out of my comfort zone! Having said that, the challenge was worth it because we won the tender, which goes to show that sometimes you need a challenge to bring out your creativity.”

Us: “What has been your favourite promotional campaign or project for a client and why?”

Stos: “Nectar’s ‘Cheers for 10 years’ campaign’. I think due to the size of the client and because it was very early on in our relationship with them, it was important to get the campaign right. We produced an eclectic and innovative range of products that ranged from the ordinary – e.g. pens and mugs – to the extraordinary – e.g. giant cakes – and all in a very short timeframe. I don’t think we’ve looked back since.”

Us: “Being one of those ‘creative types’ we bet you love a good logo! Can you tell us what is your favourite brand & logo, and why?”

Stos: “Firstly let’s just think about what good brands do: they’re memorable, and connect with their customers on an emotional level. They’re also able to take their values and communicate them through a plethora of mnemonics, from visual to verbal to written. They have the ability to cover and distort their logo and still let you know who is speaking to you. So my favourite brand logo? It is the brand that inspires you to ‘Just Do It’ no matter your circumstances. It’s the logo you can make out even in a dark room. Nike.”

Us: “Tell us your fave 3 promo products and why in no more than 3 words each”:

1. Chocolate in a tin – “I LOVE CHOCOLATE!”




3. SmartCube Stationery – “TRANSFORMER COOL ORIGINAL”


Us: And finally, what do you think sets Creative Emporium apart – what’s our USP?

Stos: “We have a fantastic team of people who all love their jobs, are passionate about promotional products – we literally live and breathe it here – and creative solutions to client’s marketing…but most of all, we want to leave our clients with a great big smile after every project! That’s the difference in my opinion. We’re a bunch of people who love people, and are dedicated to providing clients with outstanding customer service. When you back this up with a strong infrastructure, in-house production, our innovative CO3 system and a great network of suppliers, I think this is what makes us stand out from others in our industry. Plus we’re from Yorkshire, so we’re a friendly and humble lot!”

Complete Branding Solution

We’re experts in providing the complete branding solution for our clients, so please get in touch today to discuss your requirements and how we can help you with your branded merchandise and clothing. Call us on 08707 500057 or drop us a line by email.

image (12)

Meet our A-Team! The superheroes of your promotional story

The movie industry is full of action-packed team-spirit films of late – with movies like ‘Fast and Furious 7’ and ‘Avengers: Age of Ultron’ great examples of friends and colleagues coming together to solve a problem or a challenge. Whilst we can’t promise fast cars or fancy hero costumes, we do like to think we have our own superheroes here at CE, who are committed to championing outstanding client service! We’ve recently re-structured our team to ensure we continue to meet and exceed client expectations. So, whilst we’re feeling inspired, let us introduce you to our A-Team…


The past 18 months has seen us grow at superhuman speed, with the growth of our team, internal promotions and new hires across all functions of the business. We’d like to think that we can attribute this growth to the way we look after our clients. They’re happy, so they stick with us long term. This, as well as winning some awesome new client accounts, has led to the growth of our business and team. But with rapid growth comes the need for structure, to ensure the right people and processes are in place to provide all of our clients with world class service, says our Head of Client Services, Lauren:

“We’ve structured our business in a way that allows us to maintain service levels that meet and exceed our client’s expectations”, Lauren explains. “It also ensures that we’ve got sufficient capacity to cope with activity surges / fluctuations and unexpected absence due to sickness, so that we can maintain excellent contact with clients with no drop in service levels.”


…So, with this in mind, say “hi” to your client service super heroes:

Darren Cohen – Managing Director

DarrenDarren is our man at the top. As Managing Director and owner of the business, Darren doesn’t take a back seat approach and is instead very much ‘hands on’ with the day-to-day operations of the business, and remains heavily involved in the delivery of Client Solutions, keeping closely involved with all client accounts so that you benefit from senior level experience and fast decision making. Connect with Darren on LinkedIn

Gavin Faulkner – Business Development Director

GavinGavin is all about building relationships – with his winning charm and charismatic nature, he builds new business and also ensures there is a smooth integration into the Account Team at the start of a Client project. Having worked at Creative Emporium for over 8 years, previously as our Sales Manager, in his new senior level role Gavin uses his expertise in relationship building to work closely with the Account Managers and Client Services teams to quickly understand the Client’s requirements and create great solutions. Connect with Gav on LinkedIn

Hannah Potts – Marketing Manager

HannahHannah is our marketing pro who manages all CO3 website design and builds to ensure sites are launched on time, on spec and with minimal disruption to the overall Client service. Having successfully launched over 30 web-portals, Hannah is the Queen of project management, with ‘work flows’ and ‘critical paths’ all planned out with stellar precision to ensure the best outcome for our clients. Connect with Hannah on LinkedIn


So you’ve met the A-Team but our day-to-day heroes are the Account Management team, who, committed to client service delivery, are supported by a suite of services from our head office here in Leeds. It’s this centralised shared resource that means we can give our clients joined-up solutions – from branding, design and web services, through to customer service, production and project management.

Lauren – Head of Client Services

LaurenLauren has overall responsibility for 10 internal Account Managers and Internal Account Executives ensuring we offer a uniform level of customer service to all clients. With a Marks & Spencers graduate training scheme behind her, Lauren uses documented training plans and ongoing mentorship to develop the team.  Connect with Lauren on LinkedIn

Lesley Levi and Richard Burniston – Account Directors

Les and BurniLes is our most experienced Account Director, and has worked for CE from the start – making her part of the furniture! Based in Brighton, Lesley is ideally located to service clients in the south and Greater London. Richard (a.k.a. ‘Burnie’) is our northern based Account Director. Together, Les and Richard combine over 20 years’ experience working for Creative Emporium on large accounts exceeding individual turnover in excess of £1million. Because they’ve grown with the company they’re fully aware of how to deliver complex campaigns and programmes, and as our lead Account team they provide a fusion of organisation, creativity and energy to our branding solutions. Connect with Les and Richard on LinkedIn

These guys are supported by our team of 10 Internal Account Managers, Account Execs, plus our Production Team – and working together they form a fluid and scalable function – which basically means we can allocate resources to client accounts as required, to respond quickly to your needs.

The Producers

Nick and AmyAll great superhero movies rely on a great production team to bring it all together – and we like to think that’s what our in-house production team do, too. Overseeing the production of all client projects is our Production Manager, Amy Smithey. Acting as a conduit between our Client Services Team and the Client, Amy works with our in-house production facility, which includes screen printing and embroidery, as well as with the relevant product suppliers, right from start to finish – to ensure the final result meets the client’s brief. Amy is supported by Nick, who is our Production Co-ordinator. Connect with Amy and Nick on LinkedIn.

Now you’ve met our A-team, keep following our blog where we’ll shine a spotlight on a member of the team each month, so you can find out a little bit more about the people behind the titles and see what makes us tick. Read last month’s feature on Account Manager Emma K here.


So the next time you need help with your promo campaigns, give us a call for superhero support, compelling creative ideas and outstanding customer service – from start, to finish!

Complete Branding Solution

We’re experts in providing the complete branding solution for our clients, so please get in touch today to discuss your requirements and how we can help you with your branded merchandise and clothing. Call us on 08707 500057 or drop us a line by email.


image (3)

Putting the ‘experience’ in Experiential Marketing

Experiential marketing is usually delivered at large events or roadshows, and is a marketing technique that has embraced well in consumer marketing, especially for fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) brands such as health and beauty and food products. But we think it’s a great tool that any business can use to engage with their target audiences (and it works amazingly with promotional merchandise too!)

What is experiential marketing?

‘Experiential marketing’ has become one of the latest marketing buzz words of recent years – but what is it? An experiential campaign tends to be a live, memorable and interactive brand experience that aims to build positive engagement between your brand and your customers.

For inspiration, check out some great examples of experiential marketing that have been rounded up on the EConsultancy blog, who emphasise that:

“The premise is to create a closer bond between the consumer and the brand by immersing them in a fun and memorable experience. If a brand event stirs genuine positive emotions within people then they are more likely to associate those emotions with that brand, which is more effective than just showing them a Facebook ad”.

Here are ten benefits of putting the ‘experience’ in your marketing for great results:

1. It engages with all five senses.

Most marketing uses just two senses: sight and sound, but experiential benefits by being able to use all five! It’s the ‘multi-sensory’ experience that helps brands form an emotional bond with their consumers to achieve a deeper and longer lasting impact with their brand. Obviously, you need a super creative idea that will attract and hold your audiences attention too!

2. It’s (said to be) the ‘most memorable’ marketing technique.

It is an engaging and often entertaining way of presenting your brand and product’s key emotional and functional benefits, face-to-face with your potential target audience! Meeting face-to-face means that your messages are not only communicated, they are understood and experienced. BUT – it’s also one of the more expensive mediums due to its need for physical resources such as people, clothing, product samples etc…

3. It can increase short term sales

There’s no doubt in our minds that experiential drives immediate sales better than most marketing techniques. Why is that so? Well, if your experiential campaign is targeted to the right people, you can generate interest, and if your event staff (brand ambassadors) are engaging, with the right samples and promotional products, that give people a reason to purchase. According to research by ID, experiential campaigns have generated up to 3000% sales spikes in a single day!

4. It’s good at changing brand perception

Experiential is one of the few marketing channels where consumers can interact face-to-face with your brand, and brand ambassadors can ensure that consumers interpret the brand’s messages in the right way (and so improve your brand perception!)

5. Consumers enjoy the experience

In a survey of 1000 consumers, 87% preferred the chance to interact with a product than be told about it on television (Source ID research 2004 (MyVoice research); 2005 (HPI research group)

6. It encourages advocacy

On average, 64% of consumers who interact with an experiential campaign will tell at least one person about their experience. (Source ID research 2004 (MyVoice research)

7. Consumers respond well to the personal touch

Experiential is the generous discipline. This is not a hard sell method, and the consumer gets a personal reward from participating, such as a promotional item, which is likely to enhance brand loyalty. (Source ID research 2004 (MyVoice research)

8. Complex messages can be easily explained

It is also a powerful way to prove or demonstrate the promises that your brand makes in your marketing materials and advertisements. For example, the presentation of a new product feature is always best done face-to-face where questions can be answered, and queries clarified, and people can physically trial the product.

9. It can act as a powerful support to other marketing…

Consumers that have engaged with a brand’s experiential activity are more likely to notice and respond to its other marketing communications. (Source ID research 2005 (HPI research)

10. Experiential marketing stands out.

Did you know, that as consumers, we’re subjected to up to 4000 marketing communications per day?! That’s a heck of a lot of messages – and a bit too much noise and clutter in our opinion! But with this in mind, it means it can be hard to make your brand messages stand out from the pack. Experiential stands out from the media clutter as it stimulates all 5 senses and requires a voluntary, physical engagement.

Ideal products for brand experience events

“Experiential campaigns are closely linked to promotional merchandise as they often include some form of promotional”, says our marketing manager Hannah. “Bespoke promotional products help to maintain brand visibility and are an essential part of any experiential marketing campaign”, she adds.

The ideal kinds of products that you can use for brand experience and experiential marketing events include things like:

  • Promotional clothing
  • Cotton shoppers
  • Promotional bags/Carrier bags
  • The possibilities are endless

Can we help with your experiential campaign?

All of the above can be produced by us to extremely fast lead times – so for those last minute ideas, we can make them a reality for you! We’ve got bags (no pun intended!) of experience in coming up with great ideas for marketing campaigns and events, working with events and experiential agencies as well as directly with our clients’ brands. We can produce sampling stands that can be used to display bags with promotional giveaway items for the audience to take away as a lasting memory of your brand. Why not get in touch to discuss your requirements further?

Complete Branding Solution

We’re experts in providing the Complete Branding Solution for our clients, so please get in touch today to discuss your requirements and how we can help you with your branded merchandise and clothing. Call us on 08707 500057 or drop us a line by email.