17/02/2020

Our values: the heart of 22

Maybe it’s our Manchester roots that make 22 Group friendly, straight-talking, and confident. We're committed to our responsibility to deliver incredible results, with heart.

There’s more to crafting an effective and distinct brand than a knock-out logo or a sleek website. Whilst important, these more tangible aspects of brand identity work best when combined with what already exists at the beating heart of any solid brand: its values.

Strong marketing is built upon clear brand values. Integrating the message of a company into its marketing increases engagement with customers who admire and align with these ideals.

Showing what the company stands for - its personality, so to speak - resonates with people and reaps results.

For example, think of brands like IKEA who celebrate simplicity and are known for their minimalist style and easy to build products. There’s Spotify’s playful spirit, easily pinpointed in their 'Listen Like You Used To’ adverts. Or Dr Martens, who recently captured both their long-standing rebellious image and product durability in the ‘Tough As You’ campaign. Good branding also has a ripple-like effect, sticking with customers and helping to build brand reputation.

Essentially: think of your values as your brand DNA.

Brand values show your ‘true north’ (no geographical bias intended) as they act as an orientating guide for both your clients and colleagues. They define the business. The blueprint the business. They also show us here at 22 Group what each individual client strives towards and what, together, we’ll focus on conveying.

Distinguishing the message of a company goes a long way. And, whilst it’s important for us to be attuned to the brand values of our clients, we also realise it’s probably important to outline the 22 Group team’s shared ethos — so you know exactly who you’re taking the dive with. Of course, communicating these values is also key so prospective clients can clearly identify connecting strands between our brand and theirs.

So, we’ll go first ... Here’s what our brand stands for:

Friendliness.

A cornerstone of our company’s culture, we put this shared value into practice daily. Cultivating positive and long-standing working relationships amongst ourselves and with our clients is genuinely important to us. It’s all about being our best selves and bringing out the best in each other.

Straight talking.

Honesty and authenticity sets us apart. In a world inundated with options, decisions and choices to be made, it’s nice to know who you can rely on to get the job done. We won’t set unrealistic goals or mess around with your expectations. Building open and honest relationships is always our aim.

Confident.

We believe in ourselves - and you should too. Our passion for each aspect of what we do shines through into our work and you can trust us to give it our all. We recognise our capabilities and are comfortable to try new things in order to make the most of our talents.

Committed.

We take pride in what we do. Loyal and long-standing client relationships are just as important to us as project details. Each and every one of us is dedicated and genuinely invested in our work - and to upholding our brand values.

If it sounds as though we’re kindred spirits, or you’d like to make your brand stand out in a crowd, get in touch with our team: jess@22group.co.uk 

07/02/2020

Weaponise your copy now

Harness the power of copy - the neglected marketing force you never knew you needed.

If you’ve never considered the importance of copy before, it may well be the hidden pain point your business doesn’t know it has.

What exactly is copy?

Isn’t copy just words on a page?

If this is your first thought, you are most probably underestimating a vital component of your business’ branding. Copy is content, but the intentions of good copy extend much further than merely ‘filling a page.’ A good business is a business which understands the marketable potential of every word that is associated with their brand. A good business understands that all copy becomes an opportunity to shape and curate brand identity. Copy may take the form of web content, blogs or articles, campaign content or event materials. Each piece of copy should be subtly reinforcing your company’s mission statement. Think of copy as a call to action – a siren call, even. Good copy reinforces engagement; great copy has the potential to be the unifying voice of your business.

First impressions are everything

Imagine this scenario. You are approached by a salesman. He is wearing a stained suit, battered shoes and has a clammy handshake. Instead of direct eye contact, he avoids your eye and mumbles towards the ground. Does this sound like the best first impression? Decidedly, no. Many businesses pride themselves on their excellent websites, innovative branding and enthusiastic demeanour in person, but utterly disregard the state of their copy. This can be an overlook with potentially disastrous repercussions. Copy may well be the first port of call your customers have with your business and brand. Now imagine your copy is in the same state as the salesman: shabby, unconfident, utterly off-putting. Is this the first impression you want your brand to make? Good copy enhances the first experience your customers have with your brand. And quality copy can be weaponised as a powerful marketing tool. We may take words for granted as we encounter them so often, but the emotional sway they deliver can be potent. As the human voice of your business, copy had the ability to travel where design and branding cannot reach.

Interested? We can help

Here at 22 Group, we appreciate that producing good writing may eat into your valuable time. That’s why we offer a new in-house copywriting service for all your content requirements.

Harness the marketing force your business doesn’t know that it needs. Contact me to discuss a fresh and exciting content strategy now: jess@22group.co.uk

15/03/2019

Try talking to everyone

Who can buy your product?

I’m guessing there’s more than one answer to that question, and it’s the same for our business.

We do websites and digital marketing, so – in theory – pretty much any business that needs a website and some marketing could be our customer.

And because any business could be our potential customer, it’s tempting to try and create a message that resonates with – well – any business.

But here’s the problem: when you try talking to everyone, you end up talking to no one.

Instead, your message comes across as general and bland, and it’s ineffective as a result.

What’s the solution?

It’s simple: choose a specific target market and talk directly to them.

Make your website address their specific pains.

Showcase testimonials from people similar to them.

Drive specific, targeted traffic rather than general traffic.

Tell stories that resonate with your exact prospect.

Just to be clear: this doesn’t mean you have to work with one target market for the rest of your days; it just means you have to work a bit harder, with specific messages for specific groups.

Our business is a great example. 22 Group is our umbrella brand, but our two sub-brands PropertyStream and FinanceStream allow us to target our message and our marketing to clearly defined groups of people, and get us better returns from our marketing spend as a result.

If you want to talk to your audience more effectively than you do right now, let’s talk.

Robin

06/02/2019

Buzz phrase but for good reason

No doubt you’ve heard every man and his dog banging on about the importance of “online presence” and how businesses that are serious about success in 2019 need to have one.

They’re not wrong. Having an “online presence” is important.

But unfortunately, most people who tell you that you need an online presence don’t give you anything more tangible than that.

So, today, I thought I’d just be really clear about exactly what your online presence needs to look like in 2019, and how you can create yours:

Your website

Obvious, right? Facebook, Twitter and Instagram may be responsible for a lot of web traffic, but if you’re going to be successful online this year, you’ll still need a website.

What should be on it?

Well, your contact details are a must, as well as the geographical areas you work in and the properties you sell, as well as the ethos behind the business.

Customer testimonials should also be included, to ensure that any prospects know that you’re trustworthy.

SEO

Once you’ve got your website, you need some visitors! Most people looking for most things will hop onto Google, and that’s also the case in the world of estate agency.

The process of optimising your site is called “search engine optimisation”, and in layman’s terms, it’s about creating content that Google likes, bumping you up their rankings as a result.

Social Media

Social media will play a vital role in you getting found online, and as an estate agent, it’s vital you have a presence and that you engage with people who talk to you online.

A lot of companies have found that focusing on social media can help you get in touch with your customers in a more personal and direct way, allowing your enquiries to be dealt with much more quickly and effectively.

When you map out your social media strategy, it’s vital to consider how you’d like to “sound” – each brand will have a tone of voice, and it’s important to know how you want to come across to your prospective customer – this will inform the things you say and the words you use.

We won’t pretend that this is the whole list of everything you need to do to build your online presence, but it’s a good place to start – get a website, get people to it and get people talking on social.

If you need help with any of it, just give me a shout. robin@22group.co.uk

Speak soon

Robin

25/01/2019

Does your brand have the ‘WOW’ factor?

Create an unforgettable brand that gets results.

Ambitious companies know that their brand is their most valuable asset but whereas you may review your website on an annual basis, your brand sometimes gets put to the bottom of the list. How often do you talk to your management team and partners about how current and relevant your brand is? What is says about your company and if it speaks directly to your target audiences. As we all know business is fast-paced, more than ever it needs to adapt and a strong brand should do that too.

Here’s a several elements of strong branding you should be considering to get that all important WOW factor and ensure you stand out.

The branding wheel - This format captures the concept of your brand, the emotional heart and essence of your brand and how audiences respond to and engage with it. Brands that appeal to customers on an emotional level attract more loyalty and longevity.

Integrating your message across multiple platforms - Is your brand consistent across all platforms and marketing channels? Audiences need to see a strong brand identity reinforced with the same logo, colours and messages so they are easily recognisable.

Creating a strong logo and brand identity
Your logo is your brands personality, it should visually sum what you’re about and what you’re trying to say. Combine this with a short, snappy strap line and you a brand that’s ready for action!

10/11/2018

More than just a trend – Charities need to be more active on Twitter

You are probably aware of the popular online social networking website, Twitter. Founded in 2006, it now has over 310 million active users every month. You are quite possibly one of those active users yourself but are you using Twitter enough to promote your charity?

The word ‘twitter’ itself can be defined as ‘a series of short, high-pitched sounds’. That is exactly what Twitter should be used for. Spreading awareness through a series of short, high-impact messages that can be heard by your audience - Not just a quiet blur in the background that occurs once per week or month.

What is great about Twitter, is the ability to connect with an audience through a shared interest, an audience who want to speak about the same things and care about the same causes, an audience who are only 140 characters away...

Charities have found a new way to get their message heard by the right people. It doesn’t require an expensive TV campaign or 50,000 printed leaflets being handed out, only to be tossed in the nearest recycle bin. It requires a strong message and a hashtag.

As a marketer, I naturally check the trending column of Twitter each day (this shows what everybody online is tweeting about). Today 5 of the 10 viral hashtags belonged to charities. There were 3,511 Tweets about the #BigConversation for Dying Matters Awareness Week and 1,218 Tweeting under the hashtag #CoeliacAwarenessWeek. The others were #MCRHomelessnessCharter, which aims to tackle homelessness in Manchester, #ConcussionAware and #SunAwarenessWeek.

Whilst giving an insight into the level of competition in the charity sector, the amount of engagement the hashtags have received also show a trend in themselves... People online are willing to talk about a cause, they want to hear your message and in response they want to share their experiences and feelings. This not only strengthens brand awareness for yourself, it creates that short, high impact message that reaches the right people. Those who spread awareness and those who donate.

Whilst giving an insight into the level of competition in the charity sector, the amount of engagement the hashtags have received also show a trend in themselves... People online are willing to talk about a cause, they want to hear your message and in response they want to share their experiences and feelings. This not only strengthens brand awareness for yourself, it creates that short, high impact message that reaches the right people. Those who spread awareness and those who donate.

View some of our charity projects here.

If you need help making some noise on Twitter. Email hello@22group.co.uk or call 0161 672 7822 and we will help you put together a social strategy to really get you recognised.

08/11/2018

So, what’s your story?

For many companies and organisations their website is the first point of engagement for potential customers coming into contact with their brand and so it should effectively tell the story of the company. In fact the story of a company or organisation and how it came about is often a key starting point for defining your brand, establishing your business objectives and considering your key messages.

Statistics help promote an organisation’s results and outputs but stories bring a more human and emotive angle, helping the audience relate to your brand. Charities can really maximise on this idea, as not only do they have their own story to tell but the stories of all the people whose lives they have transformed through their work.

From compelling reasons to set up a charity, to how normal people have overcome great adversity to innovative fundraising successes and life-changing experiences - charities and the people they help have endless stories to tell. Charities also have endless reach, not only are you helping your target audience but often indirectly their friends and loved ones as well.

Here’s a few ways you can use the technique of storytelling to help enhance your brand and get your message out effectively on your website:

Tell stories which are relevant to your audience:

As with any organisation your people are your biggest asset, so let them tell their stories. Give everyone from staff and donors to those the charity supports and their loved ones a chance to talk about what the organisation means to them, this helps reinforce your core objectives. The Ovarian Cancer Action site does this well by showcasing stories from a diverse range of women’s experiences of dealing with cancer. It then goes a step further by also sharing the stories of some of the women’s partners and loved ones, again reiterating the impact and reach the charity has.  

Make it personal:

Your charity came about as the result of something! Quite often a personal experience or desire to advocate for something which will help make the world a better place. The Malala Foundation (developed by female education activist Malala Yousafzai) isn’t afraid of telling Malala’s personal story and inspiration behind the charity. Every message reinforces the need for girls in the third world to have a right to education and the impact Malala’s work has had so far.

Use relevant images:

Support your stories with real pictures of your service users and their families. Showing people at all stages of their interaction with your charity is a good way to highlight the positive work you do and reinforce the wide range of people (or animals) you help. Using images to highlight your friendly team and the great, varied work their do on a day to day basis is also advisable.

Give it some structure:

A story has a beginning, a middle and an end….but not necessarily in that order! Successful stories that encourage people to keep engaging encourage elements such as characters, settings, plots, problems and solutions - try to integrate these aspects into how you tell your stories.

Get creative with storytelling:

The Refugee Project do a great job of integrating highly emotive stories that tug at the heartstrings with hard-hitting data. The United Nations data used is supported by original histories of the refugee crises spanning the last 4 decades. This dynamic map feature tells the global story of refugees on a mass-scale which is then supported by images of individuals, demonstrating the human impact. Ultimately charities are about helping people, they naturally inspire trust and a human relationship dynamic so focusing on conveying this across the website and other communications is key. Tell your story effectively using words, images and multimedia really get across the good work that you do.

Ultimately charities are about helping people, they naturally inspire trust and a human relationship dynamic so focusing on conveying this across the website and other communications is key. Tell your story effectively using words, images and multimedia really get across the good work that you do.

13/04/2016

Come see us at the Northern Business Expo – We’ll make it snappy!

The team at 22 Group are exhibiting at the Northern Business Expo on 14th and 15th April. The renowned business exhibition, which is free to the general public, provides business owners with the opportunity to forge valuable relationships with potential customers and suppliers, gain solid business advice from over 150 exhibitors as well as the chance to take part in free seminars and skills packed workshops. Two of those will feature 22 Group members this year in the Digital Marketing hub. The Expo has always attracted leading speakers and thought-leaders, this year featuring supermodel Caprice talking about how she built up her global enterprise.

Our award-winning Creative Director, Robin Arnold is holding an ‘Introduction to Branding’ workshop at 10.30 each day, which explores how understanding the difference between branding, marketing, design and advertising can lead to business success. If online is more your forte, at 2.15 you can head over to hear from Marketing Manager, Amber Stevens at a fun social media workshop which will provide you with the basic skills and knowledge to get started online and advice on how to make your social media campaigns an ongoing success.

If you fancy a break from developing new skills and knowledge, pop over to stand A22 to meet the rest of the team and get your selfie snapped for a chance to win a luxury 2-night stay in the prestigious Mayfair hotel, 9 Hertford St, just moments away from Buckingham Palace.

You can register here for your free tickets http://www.northernbusinessexpo.com/tickets/

See you there!

24/03/2016

Icons from the past

Marilyn Monroe, Audrey Hepburn, Marlon Brando, Coco Chanel… just some of the icons from the past that have become ingrained in popular culture. Their pictures are still seen on posters, billboards, TV and the web, decades after their death. What was it that has meant their image has stood the test of time so they are ingrained in popular culture? Was Marilyn Monroe the best singer, or the best actress of her generation, probably not, but her personality, her reputation, her glamour, her beauty and ultimately her brand is timeless? I do wonder if current day celebrities such as Justin Bieber and Miley Cyrus will become such enduring symbols for decades to come.

Attention to detail, glamour, always making an effort to look and be your best. There is a lot to be said for this way of thinking in branding and marketing. Whether we like it or not, humans can be fickle. We are judged on the way we look, and the things we say and do and this can determine whether a customer would buy into our products and services. They need to buy into our brand before making a decision.

At 22 we believe that a company's brand is it’s reputation. It is the perception that others have. A reputation is formed, from a number of factors including: personality, customer service, value, style in the form of your corporate identity, and voice, as within your marketing.

This is why we have chosen the launch theme of the 22 website to be ‘icons from the past’. Relating back to a time when glamour, attention to detail, and reputation was everything. Going above and beyond to stand out from the crowd made these icons timeless.

Not only do they look cool but, this ethos mirrors our own company approach to branding, digital and marketing. Following a fashion helps you fit in. Setting the trends gets you noticed. As Coco Chanel eloquently puts it, “In order to be irreplaceable one must always be different.”

We treat each branding, digital and marketing project as a blank canvas and aim to help our clients convey their key messages, their personalities, in the most original and creative way possible. With the aim to get them noticed for today and tomorrow.

21/06/2015

Facebook accounts for 1 in every 5 minutes spent on a mobile!

Facebook has announced that in the US it now accounts for 1 minute out of every 5 minutes spent on mobile, as it unveiled its figures for the second quarter of the year. Users also spend an average of 46 minutes per day on Facebook’s apps, not including WhatsApp.

A Facebook page is a great free marketing tool for businesses, it not only offers the ability to market product offers and listings, it gives companies the chance to engage and capture their potential audience and receive feedback.

Facebook’s advertising platform offers classic ads which appear in the side columns of the site which include a headline, image and click-through to either the business’s Facebook page or an external web page.

There are over 1.3 billion Facebook users worldwide, businesses should take advantage of the large scope audience available to them.

12/01/2015

Loyalty or lies?

After doing some research… A recurring question has arisen that really got me thinking.

Is there such thing as brand loyalty?

When looking at brands who have once been thriving and reputable, but are now bust, it really provokes me into thinking is there such thing as brand loyalty. Even slight misjudgements and errors from businesses can result in them losing any customer “loyalty” and create customer outrage instead. Even worse so, brands can have the same loyal customers for years, but as soon as they don’t fulfil their needs, or stay competitively priced, customers will ditch the brand quicker than Katie Price can dump her latest baby-daddy.

So how can you try and prevent losing your customers?

At 22 we are professionals when it comes to marketing, and we know what your customers want. We have come up with a few tips to help you build customer loyalty, but if you would like to find out our more visit us on one of the following

TIP 1:Don't get overconfident. Just because you're customers love what you're offering now, ensure you keep up to date with what you're customers want and how you can develop and excel further. You are never too established for substantial market research 

TIP 2: Keep up to date with your competitors. We are all about standing out from the crowd, so see what you're competitors are doing and analyse what they are doing well, and what they aren't and use this to your advantage 

TIP 3: Stay personable with your customers. Don't always go on the hunt for more sales, engage the ones you have and make them feel appreciated for this will lead to repeat service which can be more beneficial than new sales at times.

TIP 4: Stay true to your values, the reason customers have chosen you, is because they like what you have to offer. If you change your opinions and values regularly customers will lose trust in you and look elsewhere.

02/12/2013

Working to make EweMove.com best in show

Having successfully designed the website and distinctive brand-style for Ewemove.com, the UK’s first choice selling and lettings agent, we faced a new challenge. Their offer of special business relationships was being promoted at the highly competitive National Franchise Show in the Birmingham NEC. So the 22 team created a stand that would definitely stand out. We matched this with an attention-grabbing Customer Brochure, Franchise pack, Facebook App and an upgrade of their website. Altogether it ensured that Ewemove.com was a showstopper.

Robin Arnold, 22's Creative Director, comments: "Working with such a forward thinking company is both inspiring and enjoyable. We have helped build the brand and it is incredibly rewarding to see the team’s creative and technical work being showcased on a National level."

Glenn Ackroyd, co-owner of Ewemove.com adds: "22's amazing stand design, 'hot off the press' customer brochure and Franchise prospectus oozed credibility and professionalism. And the results speak for themselves. Ewemove.com achieved five times more expressions of interest than we’d been told to expect."

Glenn Ackroyd, EweMove.com – Halifax

Manchester

+44 (0) 161 672 7822
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