Category: Blog

The Visual Power of Pattern

June 4th, 2021 by

The first picture of earth from space was taken by accident. It was captured 65 miles above the planet’s surface on Oct 24th, 1946, from a V-2 rocket as it fell back to earth. When the film was recovered from the desert floor, the grainy black and white image gave humans a brand-new perspective on the place we’ve lived for around 300,000 years.

While the rocket was meant to capture images looking out towards space, the shot became the first in a series of captivating portraits of our planet. Now retired, NASA’s former chief historian Bill Barry remarked, “During almost every mission we turn around and take a picture…there seems to be an irresistible tendency to look back at home.”

Today aerial and satellite images are part-and-parcel of our everyday lives: from keeping an eye on approaching weather fronts to checking out what’s in someone’s garden on Google Maps. The ubiquity of these images means they’re no longer the front-page news they once were.

Matt Manolides, Technical Program Manager at Google Maps explains that the company completes the mammoth task of replacing its photos of the world’s major cities every year. “We aim to update satellite imagery of the places that change the most. Our goal is to keep densely-populated places refreshed on a regular basis to keep up with a changing world”.

Yet while the images may now be commonplace, there’s still something compelling about adopting this top-down perspective. Their beyond-human scale means that the complexities and details vanish, and even the largest surface features are reduced to patterns. And it’s the new ‘visual shorthand’ that these patterns create that allows us – thanks to science – to derive meaning.

For example, satellite mapping based on images from the European Commission’s Copernicus Sentinel-2 11 allowed the British Antarctic Survey team to discover 11 new emperor penguin colonies – 20% more than they’d previously thought. While even the largest colonies are too small to be seen in satellite images, it was the giant stains that their droppings leave behind on the ice that made them easier for scientists to spot.

A few years back we worked on a satellite services-based project focused on the emerging field of precision agriculture. Improving how existing land and resources are used will be vital to help feed the planet’s rapidly growing population. While farmers have used satellite images of fields since the early 1970s, the new emphasis is about integrating high resolution satellite-based information directly into everyday operations.

Again, it’s the patterns that emerge from this birds’ eye view data – both visual and numerical – that allow machine learning systems to instruct automated equipment, accurately calculate yields and monitor crop health down to the level of individual plant.

So given the right perspective a picture can paint a thousand words. And it doesn’t always have to originate from orbit.

If you have something complex you need to communicate, Future Positive can help you capture it in a single hero image using out VISUALIZE service. Just without the penguin poop…

Bringing all of London into line

May 14th, 2021 by

Since its introduction in 1931, London’s diagrammatic underground map – based on an electrical circuit diagram – has since become a true design classic; imitated, parodied and emulated across the globe.

Having spent almost 20 years living in London, the mayhem and madness of commuting became part of my everyday fabric. Be it freewheeling down Kingsland Road on my fixed gear, the bristle of nylon against my elbow having scored a rare seat on the number 38 bus, or the cosseting silence of the Tube – a place of forced contemplation: headphones in, book out, eyes down, do not enter conversation or do so at your peril.

But with my daily commute came a strange affinity and friendship built over time with a reliable and trustworthy friend: the Tube map and its magical knack of transporting you wherever you need to go in the blink of an eye. During years of underground travel in my good-for-meetings/good-for-style trainers, a mere glance at Harry Beck’s inspired Tube map would get me where I needed; avoiding getting lost and visiting the dusty information desk.

Cramming in an incredible 270 stations, those 11 Tube lines have trains traversing an average distance of 76.4 million kilometres a year. Harry Beck’s map is both a fully-functioning and iconic marvel in equal measures.

Harry’s achievement of producing a map for an underground system now used by billions of shuffling Londoners (and tourists) each year was, and is, probably one of the most revolutionary and inspirational pieces of design ever created.

Since its introduction in 1931, London’s diagrammatic underground map – based on an electrical circuit diagram – has since become a true design classic; imitated, parodied and emulated across the globe.

It’s also gone on to shape the capital itself – providing colourful access to one of the greatest, most diverse and exciting cities in the world.

While Harry’s first map may have evolved, with additions from numerous contributors over the years to bring the information up to date, the artist’s signature remains firmly his.

From Epping to Ealing, Edgeware to Morden, Heathrow to Cockfosters and everywhere in between, its famous underground lines now transport tourists, fun lovers and locals to the best (and, no doubt worst) of what London has to offer, all via a well-orchestrated code of curved, coloured lines and strategically-placed stations.

Notoriously, the map is not to scale, but somehow the journey distances feel irrelevant. Harry’s triumph has been to take one of the world’s oldest, most complicated transport networks and transform it into a thing of beauty, making the complex not only compelling but exciting; guiding you through the nation’s vibrant capital with relative ease.

The result is a truly exceptional travel guide. An unflappable, steadfast and reliable friend that I know like the back of my hand.

Craig Brooks is Art Director at Future Positive – helping clients to BEAUTIFY their brands and campaigns.

Coaxing order from chaos

April 22nd, 2021 by

Do you have something complicated to communicate? While it sounds counter-intuitive, simplification isn’t always the answer. When you need to preserve key details and can’t risk dumbing things down, how you structure your content can help get people on board: it’s where classification trumps simplification.

Take chemical elements for example. At the height of the scientific revolution taking place in the 19th century, one new element was being discovered every year. From helium to calcium, how could all these substances with vastly different physical properties be brought together and expressed in an engaging way that would be meaningful to the emerging fields of science?

Bringing something new to the table

Building on the thinking of other 19th century chemists, Siberian professor Dmitri Mendeleev found that by arranging elements based on their weights and behaviours they naturally fell into family groupings with shared similarities. The result was the periodic table; an incredible amount of scientific knowledge contained within a single grid: value made visible.

(Just as Paul McCartney was said to have ‘received’ the classic Beatles song Yesterday fully formed in his sleep, it’s claimed that the complete arrangement of elements in his periodic table appeared to Mendeleev in a dream. Sounds like a great excuse for napping at work to us…)

Compared to the graphs prepared by his contemporaries, the periodic table was visually dramatic but universal acceptance wasn’t immediate. Mendeleev was dismissed by critics for predicting that the gaps created by the pattern of his table meant that there were still additional chemical elements yet to be found. He was later vindicated by the discovery of germanium, gallium and scandium. And today the periodic table is one of the most iconic pillars of scientific education.

There’s no denying that Mr Mendeleev liked a bit of order and organisation. In fact, he’s also credited with introducing the metric system to the Russian Empire.

Create your own one-page wonder

So, the next time you have something rather technical you need to communicate to others– a technology, a service or even your entire business – don’t start by stripping out components. Instead, take a leaf out of old Dmitri’s book and dream up a logical way to group and layer your information so that it fits onto one page. The result is a visual reference that will keep all your messages and communications consistent. Sound impossible? Here’s a single-page framework to help your thinking.

And if you still need a hand to corral complexity into shape there’s always the CLASSIFY service from Future Positive.

Not all confidence is created equal

September 23rd, 2020 by

I am not a religious person, but the line “In the beginning was the word…” from John Chapter 1 of the Bible has always had a special resonance for me; ever since standing behind a lectern taller than I was aged 11 to deliver the first reading at a school carol service.

Choosing our words with care was and is critical.

Even in today’s digitally driven, image-obsessed era, it’s still the words we listen to and the headlines we read that shape our beliefs and choices. They build our confidence. Words make things happen. And the use of words has never been more important.

From a marketing perspective one of the key roles of marcoms professionals is to deploy words to generate confidence in a product, technology, organisation, service or person. Building confidence is what we do. And, according to the Online Etymology Dictionary, confidence means: “certainty of a proposition or assertion, sureness with regard to a fact”.

To repeat: sureness with regard to a fact. Therefore, whenever we attempt to build confidence within others, we take on a great responsibility. Incumbent on us is the foundation of facts – for confidence to be legitimate – and the facts must be, well, factual. This is a maxim: confidence in any product is underpinned by the veracity of the facts that back it up, so we must choose our facts wisely. There are always alternatives.

Without this connection to a rational and measured reality, the building of confidence plays a darker, more sinister role. This is the ‘con’ in confidence: the confidence trick. This is the confidence built by the timeshare salesman – all promise and no delivery. It’s no surprise then that this is where the term ‘con’ has its roots.

Con (adj.) “swindling”, 1889 (in con man), American English, from confidence man (1849), from the many scams in which the victim is induced to hand over money [or other property such as loyalty or belief] as a token of confidence. Confidence with a sense of “assurance based on insufficient grounds”.

While great marketing generates a sense of assurance based on ‘sufficient grounds’ a great confidence trick is only a hair’s breadth away, generating ‘a sense of assurance based on in-sufficient grounds’.

These days we are all mobbed by words – beamed at us from multiple angles via a myriad of channels. In an age of hyperreality, facts and reality itself are difficult to discern. The message itself has become our reality. Every area of life confronts us with competing assurances demanding our attention and cajoling us, building our confidence to act – enticing us to make decisions one way or another.

The moral of this etymological tale? The responsibility rests squarely on us all to assess marketing’s facts as deeply and rationally as possible – whether we’re building confidence within others or building up our own confidence.

As both message makers and message receivers it’s our obligation to guarantee that the resulting confidence is based on as much fact as we can gather, and that those facts represent reality and have a substance to them way beyond any attention-grabbing headlines. Our confidence must run deep.

From experience I’d suggest that building confidence better than the other guy is a competitive advantage. But I also propose that not all confidence is created equal. Not to put too fine a point on it but when the resultant confidence has little connection to facts and reality then evil creeps in.

We all need to work hard to be sure we can discriminate good confidence from bad. As the saying goes “if it is too good to be true – it probably is…”

– Andy Graham

If you’d like to explore these ideas further or you’d just like to reach out, you can always get in touch with our team by emailing hello@futurepositive.agency

Many thanks to Online Etymology Dictionary https://www.etymonline.com/ – a great resource for all lovers of words

3 quick wins for the long game

June 10th, 2020 by

What hasn’t changed however is today’s intensely competitive environment. Online platforms and digital channels now allow B2B competitors from anywhere in the world to rapidly set up in your space, create some noise, offer your customers attractive deals and walk away with the business.

In fact, in its 2019 survey of Small and Medium Enterprises1, the UK Government found that the single largest obstacle to business growth is now competition in the marketplace reported by 46% of participating organisations. And with stricken economies keen for growth, international competition is only likely to increase.

When it comes to your brand and marketing, inactivity leads to invisibility.

So, until the economy is back firing on all cylinders it’s time to look at where your team can make some quick wins.

1 Reflect their new world

From the largest multinationals to the smallest microbusinesses, organisations across the board currently find themselves navigating a very different landscape. Any sales strategy based on business plans drawn up just a year ago may suddenly seem impractical or unachievable. Potential customers may have reduced capabilities. Holes in their supply chain. To avoid obsolescence, they may even be considering reinventing how they do business.

So rather than marketing yourself as you’d planned, revisit your messaging and make sure what you say now is aligned with their new priorities, themes and directions. Showing empathy in communications means they’re more likely to be well received and will put you in a more favourable position when the time is right.

2 Speak their language

Having worked closely with business-to-business brands for almost a quarter of a century it’s surprising how many times this one still crops up. It’s especially rife in technical fields where acronyms and jargon abound. While this may be fine when used in datasheets, elevating this language to prospect-facing content risks losing its immediacy. It also places an unnecessary cognitive strain on the reader or viewer having to ‘decode’ your content.

Instead use more everyday conversational language. After analysing over 5 million emails Boomerang found that those written using more universally-accessible language had a 36% uplift in open rates2 compared to those taking a more high-brow approach.

So write for real people, not robots. Be sure to use the words ‘you’ and ‘your’ in headlines to help draw readers into your world. And, regardless of how technical the subject matter gets, focus on communicating the emotive end-result that your products and services deliver: the human why behind what you do.

3 Make your valuable visible

With headcounts cut and resources stretched, the days when potential customers had to do all the legwork are long gone. They need to see at a glance not just what you do, but what you can do for their organisation. What makes you the best fit? It’s never been more important to make your brand and its offer relevant to customer businesses.

Think about how you can capture this in a nutshell. Can you put together a new (jargon-free) proposition that sums up your true value to customers in a few well-chosen words? An infographic focused on the right points can add visual impact. Quotes from customers about what you helped them achieve will lend an authenticity. Using the carousel format on a company LinkedIn post is an engaging vehicle for your new, improved content.

Oh, and whatever you create make it easy to share. In our experience if you save potential customers time they’ll thank you for it.

If you’d like to explore these ideas further or you’d just like to reach out, you can always get in touch with our team by emailing hello@futurepositive.agency

REFERENCES
1 https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/889656/LSBS_2019_employers.pdf
2 https://blog.boomerangapp.com/2016/02/7-tips-for-getting-more-responses-to-your-emails-with-data/

Leveraging the Brand Effect

April 28th, 2020 by

It’s beyond just business: a brand engages people in a more human, emotive way that the more physical and tangible aspects of a company – its balance sheet, manufacturing centres and supply chain – never could. Brands are all about people and helping to generate belief; and this is the basis of trust.

 

Experience the positives

During decades of working with B2B companies throughout major industry downturns and global recessions, we’ve experienced first-hand how brand can be used as a strategic tool to accomplish a number of enterprise-level goals.

When times are tough it’s initially tempting to divert budgets away from brand and marcoms activities. This is a default position that stems from seeing the marketing department as a cost centre, rather than its potential as an engine for true value creation.

Here are a few examples of the positive outcomes resulting from the brand effect:

Get everyone on the same page quickly
Inspire an organisation
Get to your goals faster

Combine what you have in a new way
Accelerate product development
Release latent value

Attract the premium price
Keep the competition out
Leave no value on the table
Turn losses into profits

Focus on what’s most valuable
Attract and retain the best employees
Strengthen non-contractual attachments

The brand effect in action

While its competitors suffered a downturn during 2019, Dubai-based TGT Diagnostics did the seemingly impossible and bucked the industry trend, attributing its record performance in part to a new brand platform.

“The business had a record year, outperforming the industry and I’d like to think that the new brand platform had a lot to do with that.” – Ken Feather, CMO, TGT Diagnostics

It’s why we believe that for B2B companies nurturing your brand matters more now than ever. If you’d like to explore this subject further or you’d just like to reach out, you can always get in touch with our team by emailing hello@futurepositive.agency

Necessity is the mother of reinvention

April 24th, 2020 by

While consumer confidence has always been a fragile thing, at the time of writing business to business organisations appear to be slightly more confident. In fact, a recent poll by Marketing Week1 found that 19% of respondents say B2B marketing campaigns are still continuing as planned, compared to just 11% of consumer campaigns. This may reflect consumers cutting back on ‘non-essential’ spending; something that is much less of a factor in the criteria-based, approval-driven realm of B2B purchasing.

To prepare here are four things you can do right away…

Give them what they need

Ok so customers may not be buying right now, but in such times B2B audiences have been shown to spend more time seeking out quality, accurate background information to build greater confidence in the purchasing decisions they’ll eventually make. Support potential customers performing online research by providing helpful digital resources: how-to guides and infographics, calculators, comparison tables, downloadable tools – anything that can help them decide.

Email is a good platform to keep up your brand presence by sharing updates and changes to strengthen relationships.

Reach out and ask

Staff may not be in the office, but people are still opening work email* – perhaps in a bid to impose familiar structure on their day after an increasing amount of time spent working from home. With a captive audience it’s a good medium to quickly poll customers on what they value most about your existing offer. The results may help you create revised service branding that addresses any new priorities they may have more visibly, or to put together a strategically themed portfolio of products.

* Sent out one week into the UK lockdown, we noted that the click-to-open rate of our last email campaign was more than 10% above the industry benchmark for a subscribed database.

Be human

Social distancing and self-isolation have given many of us the time to re-evaluate; to focus on what’s important, which relationships matter, to take stock of our physical and mental health, while restrictions on movement force us to consider how we spend our valuable time. It’s likely that B2B customers are looking at their professional lives through this new lens too. If ever there was a time for organisations to use branding to highlight the deeper purpose beyond the profits and to communicate on a more human level, then this is it.

Build a bridge

You may not be able to diversify your business activities, but repositioning your brand can help by building a conceptual ‘bridge’ between what your organisation currently says and does, versus what prospect companies may be looking for in the future. Will your new position be an evolution? Can you combine things in a new way? The positioning process is also an excellent opportunity to validate any revisions to your business strategy and provide additional clarity.

Remember, it’s what’s happening in the world around us that ultimately defines the value of a product or service to potential customers. So make sure that context forms a key part of your new positioning. And to help you get started you can download our free positioning canvas here: https://www.emberson-brand.com/positioningcanvas/

Whether you’d like an audit of your existing messaging based on a quarter of a century spent in B2B marketing, an online workshop, or if you’d just like to reach out to someone, contact the team today on hello@futurepositive.agency

References:
1 https://www.marketingweek.com/b2c-b2b-marketers-redundancy-coronavirus/

Turning physical into digital

April 21st, 2020 by

Underneath it all humans are sociable animals, which is why it’s often said there’s no real substitute for face-to-face interaction and physical contact. But if B2B organisations are to emerge stronger from the current Covid-19 pandemic, we’ll all have to look at what we can achieve remotely. And, of course, this means doing even more digitally.

Without physical offices and with individual staff located around the UK (not to mention customers on different continents) Emberson has been working in a distributed way since it was founded in 2010. Based on a decade of digital operations, here are four key considerations based on our experiences…

1 How does your brand stand up against digital-born rivals?

Even the oldest consumer-facing brands adapt their visual identity to aid visibility in our increasingly screen-based world. This is rarely the case however for B2B brands; even though many are innovators within their industries. We once worked with a transport-based client whose original logo had been created 25yrs earlier using taped-together photocopies. Perhaps unsurprisingly while it had somehow worked okay in print, it didn’t display well on a responsive mobile website. And it needs to: Boston Consulting Group expects the number of B2B queries made on smartphones to reach 70% this year1.

Just bear in mind that if you want your brand to compete against newer, digital-born rivals it may be time for an audit first.

There are some obvious design no-no’s that expose an older brand’s pre-digital origins such as long horizontal names, or combinations of small and large typography that don’t scale down to smaller screen sizes. Thankfully all of these pitfalls are now addressed as a matter of course by any identity designer worth their salt.

2 Adapt sales decks to fly solo

The ban on business travel demands that we all transform our Powerpoint sales decks into self-contained digital sales presenters. As you won’t be there to take prospects through your content think carefully about the order: start with the customer’s pain points and lead into your story from there.

Never put your offer before their context. Ask a colleague (or trusted 3rd party!) to review your presentation and see if it makes sense without the accompanying script: it may mean adding key messaging or takeout statements directly to existing slide content. Remember it’s always better to have a higher number of simpler slides than to overload each screen with bullet points. And to increase exposure don’t forget to upload it to LinkedIn’s popular Slideshare platform and send people a URL.

If you have a particularly charismatic speaker or in-house expert, you could also consider reworking your content into a TED talk-inspired webinar – just as long as you frame it carefully and make sure there’s valuable content for potential customers. You may not think it suits your sector and its complex buying cycle, but it’s worth noting Google found that, even in industrial and manufacturing industries, 67% of purchases were influenced by digital content2.

3 Time for a movie?

In its benchmark report3 Vidyard found that 82% of B2B marketers reported success during 2019 from their video marketing initiatives. While it’s never been easier for individuals to create their own videos, don’t be tempted to point a smartphone at your face selfie-style and start rambling like a YouTuber. Vidyard also observed that average video lengths are getting shorter, so plan how to capture your key messages in concise, easy-to-digest segments. Even the shortest clips benefit from a basic storyboard and script. And work with video professionals so that the quality and tone of your output matches the values of your brand.

At the other end of the scale we’ve been working with clients and specialist production companies to transform what would have been ‘corporate’ videos into more immersive 360° experiences. Originally meant to be shown at events on wrap-around screens, the availability of VR systems such as Google’s Cardboard and Facebook’s Oculus systems mean these videos can be adapted to create a memorable experience for prospects likely to be working from home for the foreseeable future.

4 Make more of what you’ve already got

Now is an ideal time to repurpose existing content from your website and marketing materials and use it to actively reach out to new prospects, perhaps in different markets, as business boundaries are being redrawn.

We’ve found from experience that tying content together with an engaging theme, building a GDPR-compliant email campaign and tracking interested parties can deliver engaged leads for less than many companies spend on a single exhibition appearance. And figures from the Direct Marketing Association found ROI from email marketing now stands at £36 for every pound spent by B2B organisations4.

So there you have it – fours ways you can create engaging digital B2B experiences to help you do business at a distance.

If you want to discuss a digital brand audit, simplifying sales presentations, video storyboarding and scripting, email campaigns or to just reach out, contact the team on hello@futurepositive.agency

References:
1 https://www.bcg.com/publications/2017/marketing-sales-digital-go-to-market-transformation-mobile-marketing-new-b2b-buyer.aspx
2 https://www.thinkwithgoogle.com/advertising-channels/b2b-buyers-online-and-offline/
3 https://www.vidyard.com/business-video-benchmarks/
4 https://dma.org.uk/uploads/misc/marketers-email-tracker-2019.pdf

10 ways to be ready for the new norm

March 24th, 2020 by

We’re bearing witness to perhaps the biggest shake-up of global markets since the emergence of the internet. And as the world prepares itself for a seismic shift in business and working practices, we ask ourselves what we can expect and how we can best prepare for what lies ahead.

 

Technology is key

The internet and subsequent mobile revolution promised to free us from the confines of the office years ago. However, in reality many of us are still beholden to inefficient or outdated working practices: especially when it comes to where, how and when people work.

While the gig economy has offered greater flexibility and freedom of choice, as current events highlight, part-time workers don’t enjoy the same benefits as full-time employees, leaving them without the job security and peace of mind of regular nine-to-fivers.

As the workforces of large and small organisations around the world are forced into a period of remote working, the roles, responsibilities and rights of both employers and employees will require clearer guidance, greater clarification and better definition. New routines will need to be established, old hierarchies abandoned, and new boundaries built between personal and professional life. The ramifications alone for HR, legal, technology, insurance, cyber security and data protection are bound to cause sleepless nights in the coming weeks and months.

All in the planning

While it’s impossible to predict with certainty how the current scenario will play out; the implications will be far-reaching and a have a lasting impact on our collective psyche.

The best course of action is to stay positive and prepare ourselves for whatever lies ahead.

Over the years we’ve helped many of our clients to manage, mitigate and navigate changing markets and hostile environments. By playing out various scenarios we can test and predict potential outcomes. Planning in this way requires some serious soul searching, deep thinking and internal engagement. Focusing people’s attention allows them to become familiar with unexpected changes, enabling them to be ready if and when they materialise.

Future opportunities

As with any crisis there also comes opportunity and building visibility during times of uncertainty will be vital to maintaining a position of leadership or market dominance. It also means you’ll be in the best possible shape to capitalise on your plans when the dust settles, and the new norm emerges.

To help you navigate this most turbulent of times we’ve developed a few handy tips.

1. Plan, plan and plan some more
Map out your current sales, marketing and communication activities. Look for ways to stress test them against various scenarios like restrictions on trade and travel, less money, fewer people, or shorter timelines. What impact will these outcomes have on your market predictions and budgets, and how can you mitigate against them going forward?

2. Market and communicate
Often, in scenario planning, budgets for marketing and communications are the first to get cut. It isn’t always easy to justify spend on marketing and comms when budgets are being slashed, belts tightened and jobs potentially lost. In our experience not doing so will be detrimental to your future endeavours and can put you behind the market when conditions begin to stabilise again. Build your case for marketing spend by demonstrating how budgets will be used effectively throughout this period.

3. Get social (albeit electronically)
Instagram, Facebook and LinkedIn can be cost-effective channels that still enable you to keep in touch with clients and promote your evolving business activities. They also allow you to communicate quickly to clients and customers and to occupy a position of thought leadership in uncertain times.

4. Update your website
Now is an ideal time to make updates or refresh your website with news, blogs or case studies etc. People may not be able to attend tradeshows or physical stores, but your website is the next best thing to getting yourself in front of clients.

5. Keep internal lines of communication open
It’s vital that you keep talking to colleagues throughout this period. You may be physically apart but keeping communication channels open and continuing to share vital information ensures everyone stays on top of changes and how they’ll affect business plans going forward.

6. Be open and flexible
New ways of working present their own set of challenges and can mean unforeseen eventualities. However, try to encourage people to stay open and flexible to these changes as they’re happening. By trusting them you’ll stand a better chance of navigating the changing landscape and engaging people along the way.

7. Offer help and assistance but don’t be afraid to ask for help
We’re all in this together so look for ways to support clients, colleagues and peers. Being isolated doesn’t mean that we’re alone in this situation. Let people know you’re there for them if they’re struggling or need help. Equally, don’t be afraid to call on colleagues and peers for help and advice yourself.

8. Try to stay positive
It’s easy to allow yourself to get bogged down in negativity, especially with so much news focusing on doom and gloom. Try not to believe everything you read especially online. Continue to check official and impartial sources of information, and look for more positive, upbeat news stories or those that offer help and advice.

9. Get in touch with clients
Clients are feeling the effects of this crisis too. Make sure you’re continuing to communicate with them. Let them know that you’re still there for them and have their best interests at heart. Look for ways to demonstrate your value to them that might not be about selling more products or services.

10. Keep calm and carry on
We’ve all seen the posters promoting calmness and the need to persevere in the face of adversity. This more than ever is the approach we need right now. We’re facing adversity but united together we can do this!

Office-free operations

10 years ago, Emberson set out with the ambition to disrupt the agency model. To provide an alternative approach to the inefficiencies and collective challenges we’d seen and experienced in our agency careers.

Being distributed (without a central office) from day one allowed us the freedom, flexibility and agility to operate in a way that provided a completely different approach. In the beginning it felt unfamiliar and scary. As time passed and the wheels started to turn, we found new patterns emerging, time became our ally again. But it’s not a hobby business or ‘virtual agency’: in 2019 Emberson was honoured with a Queen’s Award for Industry after growing our export output 3 years in succession.

As a group our mental well-being improved as did our physical health as many of us took up running, yoga and cycling. And importantly we did this at times that suited us, rather at the crack of dawn, an hour squeezed in over lunch or last thing at night! We spent time with our families, friends and pets (albeit virtually sometimes)! Our new schedules shifted to better suit individual working patterns – and we’ve never missed a deadline!

Go easy on yourselves, take it one day at a time. Be strong, stay positive and connected, you’ve totally got this! If you need any advice or want to talk things through, then don’t hesitate to get in touch. hello@futurepositive.agency

Get to the heart of things in emotive times

March 19th, 2020 by

These primitive areas are associated with fear, sex, and reward. Electrical activity in these regions influences and overrides what we often refer to as ‘rational’ behaviour and judgement. And while we remain largely unaware of them, it’s virtually impossible to switch off our emotional responses.

Successful consumer branding and marketing has spent over a century inducing thoughts, feelings and memories in the minds of potential customers – basically exploiting this emotive angle as a competitive advantage.

But it’s an approach that’s rarely employed with business-to-business audiences.

At first glance that would seem to make sense, given what we know about business buying cycles, and how the process differs from consumer purchasing. After all, the general public are free to define their own needs, spend their own money and can act on impulse, amongst other things.

Avoiding using emotion in your B2B branding and marketing may recognize these specific differences between B2B and FMCG sales. But it doesn’t acknowledge the larger factor that both groups have in common: every buying decision is ultimately taken by a human being. Until PurchaseBot 3000™ comes online of course…

And, as we’ve already mentioned, all people – from the Head of Procurement to the CEO – are subject to the same underlying anxieties and desires that make us human. By denying neuroscience and feeding potential customers dry information about your products and services, you affect how people feel about them (and indeed if they feel anything), whether they’re memorable, and whether your audience is compelled to act.

“We work so hard on the rational things in business, when so often it is the emotional that sustains us too”

But we’re not suggesting that you suddenly drop all of your carefully crafted technical content in favour of a heartfelt appeal — it’s all a question of framing.

The value of anything has two components: the emotional and the rational. To brand and market successfully demands we combine the traditional tangible attributes of the product or service with the compelling emotional qualities of the customer – what they believe, desire, fear and remember.

The key take home is this: Always communicate the emotional first.

Rather than competing head-to-head on product-based messaging, you can define and lead B2B markets with the more emotive and ‘intangible’ elements – ideas, concepts, and values.

In emotionally charged and uncertain times, B2B companies will benefit from getting to the heart of things.

If you need help getting to the heart of things, email the team today at hello@futurepositive.agency

References
(1) Functional resonance imaging (FMRI) studies showed activity in the reward centres of the brain when respondents viewed a new product, packaging and even advertising.
To read a more in-depth round up of neuromarketing by Harvard Business Review, visit: https://hbr.org/2019/01/neuromarketing-what-you-need-to-know