Are you ready for Christmas?

We’ve made a (task)list, and checked it twice

They say timing is everything… So when should you start preparing for Christmas?

Well, the right moment to start preparations was on December 27th last year and we’re guessing you’ve missed it. Your next best option is today. What we’re trying to say here is, it’s never too early to be prepared.

But fear not if your business is nowhere near ready for the festive season, we’ve come up with the ultimate task list to make sure your Christmas season will be one to remember (for all the right reasons)!

 

First off though, a couple of pro Christmas preparation tips:

Focus on last year’s data to determine your most effective strategies. You should bank on what proved effective last year and invest more in the winners.

Also, any customer/client/user data collected throughout the year can be put to good use during the festive season to increase loyalty.

Now, here’s our list of things you should be doing during the lead up to Christmas. Or talk to us of course, as we can definitely help it all!

 

IT Related Issues

  • Check your website’s health and ensure it is loading fast enough.
  • Prepare your servers and IT infrastructure to manage extra website traffic.
  • Make sure your website is as secure as it can be, as Christmas is also a peak period for cyber attacks.
  • Make sure your website is not going through any major upgrades or dev work in the next 2 months, to avoid any downtime.
  • Dedicate a member of staff to working on website maintenance for these important months

 

Website Preparation

  • Add a nice Christmas design on your website
  • Create a special Christmas landing page right now, to showcase any special promotions. Be sure to optimise it for Christmas relevant keywords as well.
  • Create discount codes for pre-Christmas and Christmas periods to provide users incentives.
  • Try to collect as many reviews as possible and showcase them on your website.
  • Check if the website has easy to use navigation and is optimised for conversions.

 

Marketing Preparation

  • Prepare your offers and sort your email campaign/s
  • Have your Christmas page up and running and start your link building process for your best sellers to gain traction on Google
  • Speak to us about setting up your Google Ads campaigns right now.
  • Budget well and try running your campaigns early to get a better ROI. Advertising costs will peak from the beginning of December.
  • Update your Google Business Profile (with seasonal opening hours etc etc).

 

Social Media

  • Tailor your content around key events taking place across the holiday season.
  • Set up and schedule your social media posts to be sent out automatically using scheduling tools such as Buffer.
  • Make sure you promote your offers, but don’t over do it (a healthy content mix will be key to retaining customer loyalty and, ultimately, growing your business)
  • Post your updated business hours and pin them to the top of your Facebook page
  • Use the profile photos to promote offers or services

 

Lastly, start planning for the next year

After the holiday season is over, take the time to closely analyse the performance of your marketing activities. What worked well? What didn’t? Which of your social media posts had the greatest engagement? These learnings can be incorporated into next year’s strategy and help to drive business growth.

Black Friday – for retail only?

If you’ve not heard of the global retail phenomenon that is Black Friday then we applaud your lack of consumerism. As we get nearer November the rest of us can’t avoid it however.

Traditionally the day when retailers shift from loss to profit for the year, or from red to black, Black Friday first appeared in the UK back in 2010 (thanks Amazon!), and last year sales through online channels saw stellar growth. Despite global supply chain issues and the negative impact of covid-19, even in-store spending was up by a few percent.

So with sales of $10bn attributed to Black Friday in 2021 in the US alone, it’s fair to say the 2022 Black Friday weekend (25th Nov – 28th Nov) should play an integral part in the annual sales strategy of most retail businesses.

But what if your business isn’t in retail?

Some retail sales tactics have already proven to be a hit with hoteliers, car dealerships and even supermarket chains. And if they can do it, so can you! Read on to find out how to make the most of Black Friday – even if you’re in a non-retail sector.

UK Black Friday searches 2021

Recruitment

This industry is obviously nothing like retail but seasonality and peak periods are definitely a factor in the creation of annual revenue. So even if recruitment doesn’t live or die by the holidays, there are some good lessons to apply to Black Friday weekend.

Although there may be no such thing as “recruitment sales” you should think about other, creative ideas to drive greater use of your services. Here are a few to consider: offer a discount for first-time clients; offer reduced fees for hiring a candidate out of your database; or perhaps offer volume discounts.

The downside of Black Friday is, of course, that it has trained consumers to only make purchases when they get a deal. So if you can’t afford to lower your margins, perhaps consider a free gift for those finding a new role through your agency?

There are definitely ways to create excitement for the services you sell, so don’t miss out!

Estate Agents

Black Friday really is a state of mind driven by several successful sales strategies.

Although we don’t expect (but live in hope) to see any “70% off selected properties” kind of deals, why not experiment with using a code to offer free staging fees or a free seller’s pre-inspection in return for a registration?

There’s also a great opportunity to boost your credibility as a local expert in several ways. For starters you could create a curated list of local Black Friday deals from businesses that will help your clients. Forge “Black Friday alliances” to get your clients a unique deal on a new fridge, or help them hire reliable contractors (for less?).

And don’t forget about the buyers. Perhaps a slight (and temporary) reduction in commission will create “FOMO” (Fear Of Missing Out), which is a key driver for any Black Friday promotion.

2021 Black Friday sales on mobile

Financial Services

Believe it or not, there are ways even banks can find their Black Friday moment! And what better time to find new ways to make customers happy, generate goodwill and develop customer loyalty than when consumers are looking for discounts and extra value!

Why not “surprise and delight” customers by offering practical, relevant and personalised promotions that help them save even more money during Black Friday? Simply offering customers the opportunity to earn 10% cashback on their online shopping if they invite one person to join the bank with a referral code might just do the trick.

There’s also a huge opportunity to capitalise on the high frequency of interactions, as well as the increased log-ins to banking apps that Black Friday brings with it. This may require some out-of-the-box thinking, but incentifying app downloads could prove to be very successful and obviously beneficial in the long-run.

Another one to focus on could be to raise the business’ profile through scam awareness and the offering of greater protection.

Law firms/Legal

Although Black Friday is traditionally reserved for the retail sector, its influence has already started to extend into other professions, such as Legal.

Several UK Law firms have already jumped on the Black Friday bandwagon by offering highstreet vouchers to entice the instructing of a conveyancer, a percentage off their range of services or free initial appointments.

(And of course, if your field of expertise is personal injury, you’re in luck too! The in-store sales of Black Friday have historically led to broken legs, arms and worse during the mad scramble to snatch sale items before they disappear off shelves.)

UK Black friday spent 2021

Hospitality

With no more travel restrictions in sight, it should be easy enough for hotel chains to cash in on Black Friday. But restaurants should also be thinking of ways to profit from the annual sales rush. After all, even the toughest shopper will get hungry at some point.

A free starter or dessert could go a long way, when you try and set your business apart from the competition. Alternatively you could focus on the sale of gift vouchers (this will also take the pressure off your staff during the Black Friday weekend, as vouchers can be redeemed at a later stage). Maybe consider offering special deals to increase sales, like an extra £5 on top of the voucher’s original value.

Partnering with another local business is also a fantastic opportunity to drive sales, with the added benefit of expanding your customer base. Why not offer joint vouchers by partnering with a business that has a similar ethos to yours?

As you can see, with a bit of outside-the-box thinking Black Friday can be a success for pretty much any business, regardless of what industry it’s in. Luckily this is something we’re great at, so why not get in touch today and see what’s possible? We’d love to hear from you!

AI generators – creating images from text

What is it?

Is there anything artificial intelligence can’t do? It seems like every month, there’s a mesmerising new technological breakthrough. And the latest AI trend creates a painting or an image from a sentence you type.

Yes, this is the one you’ve been waiting for. Text-to-image uses AI to understand your words and convert them to a unique image each time. Like magic. This can be used to generate art, or for general silliness. Although to be fair, with many apps/generators you can’t expect the quality to be too photorealistic (yet).

Another thing to keep in mind is that, although text-to-image generators certainly have fantastic creative potential, the output of these systems can be racist, sexist, or toxic in some other way.

Why is that we hear you ask? A lot of it is due to how these generators are currently programmed.

These systems need a hell of a lot of data, and most researchers – even those working for tech giants like Google – have decided that it’s too time consuming to comprehensively filter this input. So, instead the AI scrapes huge quantities of data from the web, and as a consequence learns to use all the hateful content you’d expect to find online.

Photorealistic images of brids, created by Google's Imagen

There’s also an argument that the current results are being cherry-picked to show the systems in the best light. Both Google & OpenAI have declined to release code or a public demo that would allow researchers to put them through their paces. Part of the reason for this is a fear that AI could be used to create misleading images, or simply that it could generate harmful results.

There’s a bunch of options to choose from but in this article we focus on the 3 most noteworthy ones (in our opinion), namely: Google’s Imagen, TikTok’s AI Greenscreen and OpenAI’s DALL-E 2. And even though two of them are not available to the public today, we’re sure they will be as soon as it is safe to release them into the wild.

Google’s Imagen

Earlier this year Google announced its Imagen AI tool that takes simple sentences and turns them into photorealistic graphic designs. It’s scary-cool how good the pictures look and you can actually try a small (pre-defined) demo on their website. Needless to say that the internet is already in favour of Imagens end results. It also has super-resolution model that allows the generation of 1024×1024 images (for reference, DALL-E 2 produces images with a 256×256 resolution).

According to Google AI lead Jeff Dean, AI systems like Imagen “can unlock joint human/computer creativity”. Worrying? Maybe. Interesting? Definitely.

Images created by Google’s AI image generator

TikTok’s AI Greenscreen

The video platform has quietly launched its own AI image generator, an effect called “AI Greenscreen”, that allows users to type in a text prompt that the software will then generate as a rather abstract and swirling image. This image can then be used as the background to a video.

Perhaps intentionally, the output of TikTok’s system is pretty basic compared to that of Imagen or DALL-E 2. Regardless, the appearance of AI generated images in the world’s hottest app serves as proof that text-to-image AI systems are definitely gaining in terms of both ability and popularity.

Images created using TikTok’s AI Greenscreen effect

DALL-E 2

Until recently DALL-E, a program created in January 2021 by commercial AI lab OpenAI (and named after the artist Salvador Dalí and the robot WALL-E), was the leader in the field. Its latest version – DALL-E 2 was only released back in April but is already rivalled by Google’s Imagen (launched in May).
However, one of the features that set DALL-E 2 apart from other solutions is “inpainting”. It applies DALL-E’s text-to-image capabilities on a more granular level and allows users to start with an existing picture, select an area, and tell the system to edit it.

Another cool feature is “variations”, which is basically an image search tool for pictures that don’t exist. Users can upload a starting image and then create a range of variations similar to it. They can also blend two images, generating pictures that have elements of both. What a time to be alive…

A series of images created by DALL-E 2

What will the future hold?

It’s been less than two years since the release of DALL-E and the tech is already in the hands of millions via TikTok. So, given the potential of these systems for both harm and good, things are probably going to get stranger from here on in. Only time will tell.

What we do know is that, since launching Imagen, Google has created a new benchmark called DrawBench (and obviously claimed that its own tool produces consistently better images than DALL-E 2, based on said benchmark).
And although it isn’t a particularly complex metric it is likely going to be used by the industry in the future, when comparing the accuracy & quality of AI generated images.

Some also predict that human illustrators and stock photographers will soon be out of a job because of AI generated imagery. In reality though, today’s limitations with these AI solutions mean it will probably be a while before they can be used by the general public.

In the meantime, if you need the help of our human illustrators let’s chat!

Colour in branding

Have you ever wondered why companies like Facebook use predominantly blue, while those organisations focused on growth and creativity choose green? The answer lies in the psychology of colour and design. Because the fact is, up to 90% of first opinions come from colour alone.

What exactly is the psychology of colour?

In simple terms, colour plays an essential role in creating a strong first impression for your customers or clients. The problem is, not every person will respond to colour in the same way. In fact, it’s not always a particular shade itself that has the biggest impact on your audience, but how “appropriate” that colour feels in the context of your brand.

So, the key to success is not only understanding what each colour means from a psychological perspective, but learning how your ideal customer will respond to the chosen colour(s).

The importance of psychology in colour and design

The psychology of colour in marketing and branding

When it comes to the psychology of colour in branding and marketing, research suggests that colours improve brand recognition by up to 80% (Tiffany blue, anyone?). So, needless to say, it definitely needs to be considered in pretty much everything from logo design, to your marketing materials, and even the way you build your website.

In other words, a company shouldn’t just cling to a certain colour because it’s appealing to them, or because they think competitors in their space have done well using similar shades. Things like purchasing intent, customer affinity, brand relationships and even marketplace position all come down to how the target audience views a brand’s personality and identity, so pick a colour that works for them.

Choosing brand colours is actually not that hard if you know what you’re trying to communicate. But once you establish that, and what your brand’s personality traits are, how do you determine which colours will work best? It starts with first learning the emotional associations of each colour.

The psychology of colour in marketing and branding

What’s the meaning of different colours?

Here’s a summary of meanings and the effect that different colours can have on people. But before you check out the below, keep in mind that the effect of a brand’s colours depends on the style and design they are used in, as well as the chosen colour combinations. Our list is fairly basic too. Our connection to colour actually goes a lot deeper than this (for example, too much yellow can actually cause anxiety).

 

Needles to say that we’re absolutely in love with Pantone’s Very-Peri (for obvious reasons)! To find out more about it visit their website.

If you want to learn more about how colour impacts emotions and behaviours or need help with your branding, then why not have a chat with us. We’d love to help!

Why you should move to GA4 now

In March this year, Google officially announced that Universal Analytics (UA) properties will stop processing new hits and will permanently shut down in mid-2023, to make way for the latest version of Google Analytics, putting many businesses at risk of losing valuable data.

Universal Analytics was originally introduced in 2012 and set a new standard for how user data was collected and organised. UA offered new tracking codes for websites and features that more accurately measured user behaviour.

What is GA4?

Google Analytics 4, you’ve guessed it, is the 4th generation of Google Analytics. It was actually launched 2 years ago and has several advantages over the current Universal Analytics.

It’s privacy-focused and offers seamless integrations with Google’s advertising platforms to optimise campaign performance and drive greater marketing ROI.

But best of all, GA4 also has Machine Learning (ML) at its core. This enables it to make predictions about the future (like, which visitors are likely to convert in the next 30 days) and helps it fill in the measurement gaps (ie. show revenue from clicks even when that customer is using an ad blocker), how cool is that?

Google Analytics 4

Here’s what’s going to happen

Until July 1st 2023, the current Universal Analytics will still continue to collect data on websites in your GA account.

After July 1st 2023, you’ll be able to access historical data in your Universal Analytics account for up to 6 months.

Why is Google doing this?

Well, for starters UA uses cookies (20 year old tech) to collect data when someone visits your website, and cookies have become more unreliable over time (ad blockers, end of 3rd party cookies, regulations, iOS changes etc). Believe it or not, privacy is actually one of Google’s 3 key priorities for 2022: Measurement, Privacy & Automation.

GA4 is at the heart of all of those. But to achieve their goals, they needed to build a totally new version of Analytics from the ground up.

switching to Google Analytics 4

What do you need to do?

Start planning!

We strongly recommend switching to Google Analytics 4 as soon as possible to ensure that there is sufficient historical data by the time that Universal Analytics is put to bed.

Rolling out a full GA4 implementation requires a bit of planning, new code on your site (some of it custom), configuration, and time to get familiar with the new interface and reports of GA4.

Dashboards and other reports using UA data will also need to change. And of course, if your marketing relies on UA ‘goals’, these will need to be updated or worst case, completely redesigned.

But you have 15 months right?

Well, if you want to analyse year-on-year data after the July 2023 deadline, you’ll need to have a fully working GA4 property live in July 2022, meaning there’s no time to waste!

Setting up GA4 properties

How we can assist with GA4

As well as setting up GA4 properties for your domains, we can configure the tracking to meet the requirements for your reporting needs, including event set up and eCommerce tracking.

We expect further details to be announced over the coming weeks and months, but contact us today to discuss how we can migrate your Google Analytics data and ensure that you are ahead of the curve.

Our new Jersey home

What better space to feel creative inspiration than an art gallery? That’s why we’ve made our new Jersey home for Offshore International at the prestigious CCA Galleries International.

To open with a bang, we sponsored the latest exhibition by Chris Orr and Jim Moir (AKA Vic Reeves) in the gallery. All the island’s great and good came to see the art, chat to the artists, and even had a good old snoop around our new pad.

The show is on until June 10th, so now that we’ve got our feet under our new desks, why not come over, be inspired by some great art, and maybe try out our new coffee machine?

And while you’re enjoying a macchiato, let’s chat and see how we can get results for your business. Just let us know when you might be dropping in!

We’re under new ownership!

In summer 2021, Jonny Welch and a team of investors purchased the agency – and have already set the wheels of change in motion. Our new owners have existing businesses and partnerships within the Channel Islands.

So, to add to the high level of creativity and great work we have provided to clients over the years, the new structure will bring greater stability, as well as additional services and areas of expertise that we will offer our clients in the future – including NFT, blockchain, technical support, and strategy planning.

“This is a superb opportunity to build on the existing client relationships and evolve the business by adding our teams of specialists and additional services, including greater digital support, PR, and much more. We love everything about the Islands – the environment, the people and the pace. We can’t wait to work with clients.” – Jonny Welch (CEO of Oi).

The beating heart of Oi is, and always has been, its employees, so we’re delighted to say that the team has recently increased with three new staff members as well. On top of that, we’ve secured leases for not just one but two new studio spaces – one in Guernsey, one in Jersey – exciting times!

10 years at the top award received

Oi has gratefully received a commemorative award from the Institute of Practitioners in Advertising (IPA) in recognition of its long-standing contribution to the advertising industry.

The award is for Oi’s decade long relationship with the IPA, the world’s leading trade body for the advertising industry, which also represents the UK’s top 200 agencies, and for being an IPA CPD agency for the past eight years.

“This marks a milestone for your agency’s membership with us. Members are the lifeblood, and it is your talent and enthusiasm that helps to make the IPA the world’s leading authority on the value of advertising,” said Paul Bainsfair, Director General of the IPA.

Marketing Agency of the Year?

An institution since 2009, the Awards are firmly established as the most coveted marketing awards in travel and tourism. Each entry is evaluated by an elite judging panel of senior marketers, and only the very best work makes it onto the Awards shortlist.

According to The Travel Marketing Awards website it “recognises the most original, creative, innovative and best performing campaigns of the past year, as well as teams and individuals excelling in travel marketing.”

Oi’s ‘How do you want to feel?’ campaign for Visit Jersey was shortlisted for Best Digital Marketing Campaign for the 2019 Awards. The campaign, produced by Oi, partly shot in London featured real people being asked both how they were feeling and how they wanted to feel. Many of their answers highlighted some of the general stresses associated with living in a city, leaving Oi perfectly placed to position Jersey as a tonic to city life.

 

The immensely successful video was seeded out through Visit Jersey’s social channels and amassed over 1.5 million views as well as helping to achieve a 17% increase in visitors to the island in October and November last year.

Another campaign by Oi for Visit Jersey was runner-up in the Best Integrated Campaign category at the 2017 Travel Marketing Awards for the brand launch campaign. It included some of the first use of 360 degree videos for a tourism brand. The agency also live streamed a sunset at St Ouen’s Bay onto a giant screen at a venue in Shoreditch, London, packed with travel media, bloggers and vloggers.

The same campaign won Best Brand Building Campaign at the 2017 UK Chartered Institute of Marketing Awards.

Sherlock Holmes, reinvented

Oi has reinvented the book cover design for the nation’s favourite sleuth, Sherlock Holmes, as part of its ongoing ‘English Classics, Reinvented’ marketing campaign for St. James’ Court Hotel, London, A Taj Hotel. The agency’s progressive design of the English classic cover depicts several of the key trademarks of Sherlock Holmes in one beautiful multi-layered image; the Westminster skyline, Sherlock’s profile including his pipe, and deerstalker cap – all captured in a fingerprint. The books were produced by Macmillan Publishing in a hardback format, finished with a luxury gold foil. An integrated marketing campaign by Oi, the ‘English Classics, Reinvented’ series was initially launched in 2015, with a thematic plan designed to amplify the concept across all consumer touch points, from advertising, marketing collateral and PR to events, food and beverage offerings as well as strategic brand partnerships.

The initiative has received accolades honouring outstanding achievement and service to the communication profession from the global Association of Marketing and Communication Professionals, winning the Platinum International Hermes Creative Award for ‘Marketing / Communications Campaign of the Year’ as well as finalist for the Drum Marketing Award for ‘Re-brand / Re-launch Strategy of the Year’ in 2016.

As part of the Oi Group:

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