Market Love

This post was written by chief boss-lady and littleBIG founder Sally Harley (née Urquhart). 

We have had the pleasure of working with many of Melbourne’s wonderful fresh produce and general merchandise markets for six years now, including the magnificent Queen Victoria Market, Melbourne’s most visited tourist attraction. I will never stop pinching myself over this fact. Melbourne’s markets are such amazing places.

After attending our VIP launch for the Queen Victoria Market’s Winter Night Market 2017 season Wednesday night, I’ve been bitten by the market love bug but again and I’m buzzing. We got a taste of the warmth, flavour and intrigue our Wednesday nights now have on offer thanks to: amazing lighting installations from John Fish (“think hazy walls of red smoke, glowing neon lights and bright white beams illuminating the entire main food hall,” as Timeout put it); incredible eats from Pacos Tacos, 400 Gradi, Southside Smokers and so many more; and awesome design and gift shopping including Out of Anakie’s epic leather and canvas bags and purses and deliciously smelling Coconut Revolutions goods.

And that’s just the Winter Night Market. In Melbourne, every day of the week but one there is an authentic market experience to be had. I can’t think of anywhere else you can replicate it. WE ARE SO LUCKY.

Where else do you find every ingredient you could possibly wish for, and countless ones you never knew existed – fresh, blissfully free of ridiculous superfluous packaging and at great prices (crazy great prices come 3-4pm!!!)

Where else do you find down-to-earth, knowledgeable, approachable salespeople (traders) who make grocery shopping a delight not a chore?

Where else do you find local craftspeople making clever and creative jewellery, art, fashion, furniture… you name it… and selling it direct? Where else do they get that opportunity to make a buck from their own ideas without crazy retail rents and multi-national overlords dictating their prices/brand/direction?

Where else can you grab a great coffee, a comforting meal from one of Australia’s best chefs (hello Pickett’s Deli & Rotisserie), gorgeous flowers for home, a gift for your girlfriend and your grocery shop in the one place? Only one tram-ride, stroll or car-park required.

Where else not only provides us incredibly fortunate Melburnians with a soul-feeding place for all of the above on the regular, but is the place we send our interstate and overseas friends to spend time on their Melbourne holiday. Because “you have to experience a Melbourne market”. We’re not sending them to Aldi, Coles or Woolies, that’s for sure!

Ah, markets. I love you.

STAFF UPDATE: INTRODUCING JOEL

This month we are thrilled to welcome our newest Designer to the team, Joel Langford. Joel has been part of the littleBIG family as an intern for some time now so you may be familiar with his face. He joins us in a more official capacity after putting in the hard yards and kicking creative goals.

Get to know a bit about Joel…

Something you can’t live without? 
Food. Quite literally, but jokes aside, eating is without a doubt my favourite activity. Breakfast, lunch or dinner, I’d be out 7 days a week if it were possible.

Highlight of 2017 so far…
Without a doubt it would be seeing one of my favourite bands, Catfish and the Bottlemen, live. Amazing band, amazing venue filled with amazing friends, it really cant get much better…

Favourite place to eat? 
A quiet little Japanese restaurant tucked away in Ivanhoe – Kanda. They serve some unbelievably high quality traditional Japanese cuisine. Truly a hidden gem. 

What are you passionate about? 
The beach. Any chance I have to get myself on a beach, I’ll take it.

What do you enjoy doing when you’re not working? 
I love sports and exercise. If I’m not playing football, I’ll be playing basketball, and if I’m not playing basketball, I’ll be at the gym. Few things are better than running around getting fit with your mates.

The PR power of the effective visual

This post was written by littleBIG’s PR Specialist Camilla Speirs, one of Melbourne’s all time PR guns. Camilla’s a pro when it comes to media communications and smart strategy so listen up y’all…

We’ve all heard the cliché, a picture tells a thousand words and in today’s landscape, it’s never been so true.  The impact of imagery on our daily lives is at an all time high with the constant bombardment of unavoidable visual stimuli evoking an array of emotions at any given moment, from joy to sadness, bliss to fear and humour to elation.  Thus, the power of the visual.

From the moment we awake, our minds are submerged in a world of varying imagery, all of which our brains respond to and the world around us becomes a veritable smorgasbord of stories. Images created with a particular message or story in mind, when created well, can be a brand’s most valuable tool. And with the rise of social media, we are now incessantly consuming and reacting to more visuals than ever before and a clever but conscious marketer will know and understand how to best use imagery to tell a story which will ultimately illicit a response.

No one can argue that unlike text, a strong visual can tell a story that will remain in our neurological library for years to come. Pictures not only help us recall experiences they enhance our emotional response so, it’s no surprise that visuals are paramount when it comes to communicating a brand ethos or a campaign message.

So, if the main ingredients for telling a story or selling an idea are words and images, PR’s are required to be outstanding in both areas.  This requires educated thought and the ability to respectively work with a myriad of visual talent such as photographers, illustrators and graphic designers alike.  And with rapid digital processing at our fingertips, there is no excuse for poor visuals when it comes to creating an impactful and relevant media kit.  The industry is filled with talented photographers keen to hone in on their skills and produce engaging and impactful images so brands need to willing to invest in quality imagery in order to clearly tell their brand story when it comes to PR.

Quality imagery in a media kit can mean the difference between standing out and demanding attention or falling to the bottom of the pile.  Storytelling visuals in a media kit create greater recall relating to both product and brand.  So when communicating with media and consumers alike, strong visuals are imperative.

So, the moral of this story is to invest in great imagery because as a crucial ingredient to selling a story idea, if content is king, then visuals are the crown jewels!

 

The science of hashtags: How to develop a # library for your brand

This post was written by the magnificent Stephanie Hyde, a littleBIG Marketing & PR Account Executive with a special knack for influencer marketing and social media. 

If your Instagram account isn’t feeling the love, it’s time to consider boosting your hashtag game.

Thinking strategically about your content pillars and developing a hashtag library is one of the easiest ways to increase engagement to your brand’s account, and it’s a great way to connect with consumers who might not have previously known about your product/service.

Forbes article ‘Big Mistake: Making Fun Of Hashtags Instead Of Using Them’ sums up the importance of having your #HashtagGameStrong by noting that “when individuals use a hashtag, engagement can increase as much as 100%; brands could get an increase of 50%. The reason for this is because a hashtag immediately expands the reach of your post beyond just those who follow you, to reach anyone interested in that hashtag phrase or keyword.”

But how do you ensure you’re finding and using the right hashtags? We’ve broken down some helpful tips for you to follow below…

  • Monitor trends and do your research

Check out Instagram’s ‘top trending’ hashtags. These #’s can throw you into a large feed that consumers are already searching for, and are great for increasing engagement (likes and comments) on your posts. However, don’t just use them for the sake of it. It’s important to ensure that the ‘top trending’ hashtags are relevant to your brand and the image you’re posting.

Consider celebration days and keep a calendar so you can hashtag strategically in conjunction with them. For example, with Mother’s Day coming up, you could hashtag #MothersDayGifts in the lead-up as Instagram users may be looking for inspiration and you’re strategically reaching potential consumers through this hashtag.

Research competitors and relevant influencers and note down what they’re hashtagging. This is another great way to push your content into the feed of consumers from your ideal target market.

  • Don’t worry about the number of hashtags you use

Did you know interactions are highest on Instagram posts with 11+ hashtags? Hashtags were invented by us (the user) through our obsession with categorising our interests into specific areas (who doesn’t love Pinterest for this?!).

Instagram allows 30 hashtags per post, and by using the maximum amount you can extend your reach into a variety of categories that your target market may be interested in and searching for. Using maximum hashtags also increases your chance of increasing followers at a quicker rate than those who don’t use hashtags.

  • Use online tools which are designed to help you succeed

Online sites such as Hastagify.me and All Hashtag will help you build a solid hashtag library with minimal effort. Simply type in an area of interest and it’ll come back to you with relevant hashtags that you can note down to use on your posts. 

You can also use sites such as Tagboard to monitor hashtags across Instagram, Facebook and Twitter and see all recent content using that hashtag.

  • Create a simple spreadsheet to keep track of your hashtags

We’re a little bit spreadsheet obsessed when it comes to social media planning here at littleBIG and we find that it’s easiest to organise hashtags into ‘Brand’, ‘Trend’ and ‘Content’ sections to ensure we’re covering all bases.

Brand hashtags are hashtags that are specific to your business. E.g. #CatProtectionSocietyVictoria or #WinemakersOfRutherglen.

Trend hashtags are hashtags that are currently trending in your industry. E.g. Clean eating and vegan-related tags are really popular for our client Australian Blueberries.

Content hashtags are hashtags that are relevant to the image you’re posting. E.g. If it’s an image of Blueberry Biscuits referring to a recipe in the copy, then we would hashtag #HealthyRecipe, #HealthyBiscuits, #CleanRecipe, etc.

Don’t use “Click Here”

This post was written by our web legend Michael Urquhart. Michael is great at translating web-speak for us mere mortals and builds a mean site, be it simple or complex.

Often as I sift through the series of tubes that is the internet I come across things that, as a web developer, frustrate me.  One of the most frustrating things is the use of “click here”. This term is used quite widely, but in reality has no place in web copy. Let me explain why.

Firstly it’s redundant. The Internet has been around for long enough for people to figure out what you can click on. They don’t need to be told where they can click. The copy should be written and the links should be styled in such a way that it’s obvious where the user can click.

Secondly it’s poor SEO (search engine optimisation). The user should be able to determine the expected link destination based on the content of the link, e.g., “…please contact us for more information…”. Search engines broadly “read” pages in a similar manner. If you use “to view our portfolio click here” it may make sense to a human, who can preface the click here, to figure out the parable link destination but to a search engine it does not. They assume that the link referring to information is about ‘click here’ not a portfolio. The correct use would be simply “view our portfolio”. That way the search engine knows that the link is about our portfolio.

Thirdly it’s bad accessibility. Websites should be designed so anyone can use it, no matter what their situation. A classic example of this is visually impaired people who “view” Internet using screen reading software. They should not be disadvantaged. One of the many features of these screen readers is listing all the links in a page, so a user can navigate quickly. If all your links are click here the software would it just repeat click here, click here, click here… you get the point. The user is none the wiser of what these links are and where they go. This goes hand in hand with my second point.

During my university work experience I had the privilege to work with a totally blind web developer. It was an eye opening experience to say the least (pun intended). At one point he unplugged his headphones so I could hear what the screen reader sounded like. It was like chipmunks on acid it was reading so fast.

These a just a few reasons why ‘click here’ should not be used. So if you are writing copy for the web or email in the future please think twice before using it.

P.S.

A perfect example of where its unnecessary:
Wrong – “Click here to view our services”.
Right – “View our services

The five W’s of your events plan

This post was written by Kristina Manasieva, littleBIG’s Studio and Account Manager with a special skill and penchant for the adrenalin-filled world of events. 

It’s no secret that event planning is one of the most time consuming and high-pressure parts of our jobs.  When we’re in that last week pre-event, pulling our hair out, running all over town, questioning “why on earth did we agree to this again?!”, we always say it’s the last time. Never again!

Then we get to the event and we realise how much fun it is, how happy everyone is, the brand results are epic..! And we remember – ah yes, this is why we do it; this is why it’s worth it. At least that’s how it is for me, some of my colleagues may disagree.

Having had a few years in the game now, I’ve learned that the pressure of every event can be eased with strategic planning from the outset. I like to keep it simple, so the five W’s work for me.

Keeping these in mind throughout the (sometimes long) planning process will bring it back to basics whenever you start to get a little lost…

WHY?

Why are we here? This is where we determine the purpose of the event – the objectives, what we are trying to achieve.

With the ‘why’ of any event as top of mind, decision-making on almost every other part of it becomes easier – concept, theming, timing, guest list, catering, entertainment, budget spend, etc. Every part of your event should always serve the ‘why’.

WHO?

This question can be split in two parts:

  1. Who is the target for your event? Who do you want to attend?
    Is it media, influencers, certain industry professionals, artists, musicians, models, pet owners, kids, teenagers, adults, women, men, etc?  Define exactly who you want to be at your event before you conceptualise it.
  2. Who do you want to work with?
    Are there any suppliers, stylists, sponsors, etc that you want to get on board? Work out who they are and how far in advance you need to get in touch with them.

WHAT?

Closely related and usually stemming from the above two questions… What will your event look like?

This is the fun part. Put on your creative cap, round up the team and get out the whiteboard.  This is where you get to brainstorm the blue-sky, most ideal version of what the event will be. Be imaginative, think BIG.

Things to consider:

  • How will you best meet the objective/s of your event?
  • How will you best reach the target audience in an appropriate, on-brand and also fun way?
  • Event format – Will it be a workshop, seminar, cocktail party, breakfast, etc?
  • If it is a public event, will it be ticketed or free?
  • Does it need a social media component?
  • Theming
  • Catering
  • Invitation style
  • Budget (if you already have one)

WHEN?

This is a pretty obvious one – when will your event be held? Think about both the time and the date specifics.

Things to consider:

  • Where you can, make estimated guesses about guest availability for your event.  For example, if the event is aimed at corporate workers who generally work standard business hours, consider post/pre-work timing. Many bloggers still have day jobs, media events are best during the working week, etc.
  • Public holidays – If it will be considered a ‘work thing’ by your guests, they may not want to attend on a public hol. Similarly, if it’s a short working week due to a public hol, they might be too busy to be able to commit to the time.
  • If media coverage is a key objective, best to avoid other major events that will dominate news, i.e. AFL Finals, MFWF, Spring Racing Carnival, Christmas, etc.
  • Search through Facebook, Social Diary, online event listings and relevant industry platforms to check for any other competing events that may be held on the same day.
  • Once your ‘when’ is set, produce a detailed timeline to ensure everything is completed to schedule.

WHERE?

Simply, where will you host your event?

Often your client will already have a venue in mind or their digs will be the venue, i.e. the launch of a new restaurant or retail store. If that’s the case, great. One less thing for you to do.

If not, consider the below:

  • A location that is relevant to your target audience – How will they get there and what is most convenient for them?
  • Is nearby public transport essential?
  • Is the venue suitable for the number of people you’re expecting?
  • Does the venue have all the facilities you need? For example, seating/no seating, bar, TV, DJ space, dancefloor, projector, AV capabilities, stage or space for a stage, disabled access etc.
  • Is the venue licensed for catering or will you need to organise this?
  • Space – Depending on your event, do you need people to be able to move freely or does the vibe require a packed dancefloor?
  • Budget
  • Be sure to do a site visit before booking any venue and then on an as-per-needs basis in the lead up to you event.

 

My final piece of advice? Please have fun! Yes event work is at times demanding, but is has also been some of the most rewarding for me. Be as prepared as you can be but remember too, you can only plan or predict so much. Sometimes s**t happens that is out of your control. That’s just life!

 

 

Strategy, strategy, blah blah blah

This post was written by chief boss-lady and littleBIG founder Sally Harley (née Urquhart). 

We marketers love bandying around the word “strategy”. You’ll often hear us saying “our strength is our emphasis on great strategy”, “we’ve created a really solid strategy”, or, “it’s important the creative is working hand-in-hand with a sound strategy”. We ensure a “strategist” sets the plan for each client and that we always return to the “strategy” to ensure things are on track and to help us make decisions along the way. But I completely understand when clients and other ‘civilians’ get frustrated with the term.

“Strategy, strategy, blah blah blah,” they’re thinking. “Just get on with it guys!”

Let me put your minds at ease. We will never spend time (in other words, your money) creating a strategy for strategy’s sake. It’s for results’ sake and it’s something we think sets us apart from other agencies.

As I heard that super-legend Todd Sampson say in his Wilosophy podcast interview with Wil Anderson (I think, maybe I heard it somewhere else??? Anyway, listen to the interview, it’s the best.), (and I paraphrase) “Strategy is getting the boat in the right place, creative is getting the fish on the hook.” Got to get that boat in the right place people!

There are indeed times when we can just get on with it. Some clients have blessedly sound marketing (slash PR, social, web, brand, etc. – I’ll call it all “marketing” from here on in) strategies blissfully briefed to us. They say, “Our aim is to achieve X by Y. Your role in this is to Z.” If we’re on the same page, off we go and do. If we’re not on the same page, we’ll question and collaborate until we are confident we’re in the best spot to catch those fish.

Quite often however, clients aren’t quite clear on what the strategy is or should be. They might say, “we want media exposure”, “we need to rebrand”, “we want a radio campaign”, “we want to do ‘stunts’ and go ‘viral'”… When questioned why though, the answer is not always clear. This is where a sound strategic process is essential. We work together to really understand what the business, marketing and communications objectives are and ensure the marketing strategy is intelligently created to reach these objectives. This might require: a research process (budget allowing we’d suggest some level of research is mandatory but acknowledge it’s not always doable/essential, depending on the level of existing insights); an in depth month (or more) of strategic analysis, investigation, budgeting, timelining and planning; a couple of hours from a senior strategist to lay out a sound plan with realistic outcomes; brand and positioning analysis and clarification; some important pointed questions from us/you in the initial scoping process; and/or other initial groundwork.

When we work with clients to undertake this strategic process, we find the resulting implementation and, most importantly, results more efficiently achieved and tangibly advantageous.

It’s also important to note the importance of regular reviews of implementation/results against strategy. Is our plan coming to fruition? If not, why not? Should we change tack? Is a new strategy more relevant now due to unforeseen external factors? Is one element working better than others, hence should we reprioritise? A set strategy needn’t feel like being shackled, indeed inbuilt flexibility measures are essential.

So that’s why we drone on about strategy all the time. Forgive us. We only have your best interests at heart. We’ll minimise the marketing jargon within and won’t strategise for strategy’s sake. Promise.

strategically caught fish

 

The web design trends we’re loving…

This post was written by littleBIG Senior Designer Andrew Vohmann. He’s quite the star at designing for web so read up kids!

I’ve been looking through the archives of my bookmarked sites. I tend to always save sites that grab my attention by featuring minimal & simplistic effects. Small but thought out design features make user experience more memorable and create a nice point of difference from brand to brand. Below are a few that I think have been executed perfectly.

Static / Interactive Typography 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

When landing on bigyouth.fr you’re greeted with a nice blend of typography that sets the tone of the site. The large hyper-blue, serifed font complimented with the monospaced body copy works amazingly as a showcase for the digital agency. When you scroll over the text you realise you can interact with every element in the site. It’s great.

Simple Side Menus 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I like side menus because they de-clutter websites. Obviously there’s always a time and place for these, but they are often a nice touch if the homepage is content heavy. wokine.com displays the menu with slight animation that isn’t overbearing & it’s easy to navigate back to the homepage.

Awkward  / Offset Grid 

 

Awkward and offset grids are a way to steer your site from becoming tiresome & soul-crushing. Although it might seem bizarre, it’s actually organised chaos. To me, this device must be used in a restrained way, so the user can always engage & become accustom to the site’s UX. adamunderwear.com do this well by sparsely using colour & showing heaps of negative space. The structure works really well with their playful identity.

Layering & Collage 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This example may be a bit hectosh, but the way Adidas have integrated their product with flat colours, textures & moving shapes gives the product context & feeling. They’ve managed to provide movement to a static product which will engage your customer on a different level. The loop plays as long as you hold down on the mouse button & gets more intense the longer you press – furthering the level of engagement.

Working With Influencers – The Dos and Don’ts

This post was written by the magnificent Stephanie Hyde, a littleBIG Marketing & PR Coordinator with a special knack for influencer marketing and social media. 

It’s 2017 and influencer marketing is looking to be even bigger than last year.

This 2016 study showed that 72% of people rely on social media to inform their purchasing decisions and 92% trust recommendations from trusted authorities and peers.

For those unaware of the term, influencer marketing generally refers to brands collaborating with digital influencers to promote their product or service through Instagram, Facebook and Snapchat (for the purposes of this post anyway). It’s a powerful way to build brand awareness and trust through engaging, authentic content, drive sales and drive a brand’s social numbers. There are lots of different ways to collaborate with influencers. So many, I’ll reserve that for another post.

Here are a couple of ‘Dos and Don’ts’ to keep in mind when working with influencers.

Do: Consider micro-influencers

Learnings from 2016 show that an engaged audience is key, not necessarily a huge one. Micro-influencers (between 5,000 – 50,000 followers) tend to have more relatable, authentic content that their audience is likely to engage with.

Do: Make calculations

Following on from above, it’s important to make engagement calculations when considering whether an influencer on Instagram is right for your campaign.

Using our client’s new Instagram page, Australian Blueberries as an example, we’ll show you how to calculate an influencer’s average engagement rate via easy steps below.

  1. Calculate the number of likes and comments on their last 10 posts. (2,463)
  2. Divide this number (2,463) by 10 to calculate an average. (246)
  3. Divide average (246) by number of followers (1,968) and express as a percentage to calculate an overall average engagement rate.

= Australian Blueberries have a huge 12.5% average engagement on posts.

Generally an engagement rate of between 2.7% – 3% is good for brands, so this shows that Australian Blueberries have extremely engaging content that their followers are interested in.

Do: Consider your target market (and any aspirational target markets)

Before you even consider an influencer marketing campaign, know your target market and brand ethos. Who you choose to align with says a lot about your brand and this should always be at top of mind when considering collaborations.

For any influencer-based campaign to work, you must have a clear understanding of your ideal consumer – including their interests and what kinds of people they follow. Then, you can research and find influencers who have the ability to reach and influence them.

If your goal is to shift the target market, then do research and approach influencers who you know will help you reach them.

Don’t: Supply generic copy

Supplying an influencer with generic copy can be detrimental to your campaign (most won’t comply anyway). It will come across as commercial and inauthentic to their audience. Dedicated followers love to engage and appreciate authenticity. There’s nothing worse than a model holding a product in a photo with a scripted caption (which is sadly done way too often).

Supply key messages and tags you’d like put across, but give the influencer creative freedom to work it into their own style. Do however ensure influencers send their photo/caption to you prior to publish, in order to ensure they’ve used the right tags and hit key messages before it goes live. This should be a mutually agreed collaboration.

Some of our recent influencer collaborations…

#AustralianBlueberries

#TheNightMarket

#Picabooki

 

Squarespace vs WordPress: What’s the difference?

This post was written by our web legend Michael Urquhart. Michael is great at translating web-speak for us mere mortals and builds a mean site, be it simple or complex.

Squarespace is one of the most most popular ‘DIY’ website builders around today. WordPress is the most popular open source website development platform. So what are the fundamental differences between the two?

Side note: There are actually two ‘branches’ of wordpress, WordPress.com and WordPress.org. For the purpose of this article I’m referring to the self hosted WordPress.org version. In addition, as this is a broad comparison, you could substitute Wix with Squarespace, their biggest competitor, as their functions are broadly the same.

Ease of use
One of Squarespace’s biggest selling points is its ease of use/usability. You can, with very little website knowledge, sign up and start building a great looking site. This is not to say that WordPress’ usability is bad, it’s just the time to a completed site is quicker with Squarespace.

Hosting
Squarespace is what is known as a SaaS (software as a service) solution where WordPress is self hosted. With a SaaS solution you pay a subscription and they take care of everything (hosting, updates & support). Self hosted means you need hosting for the site to ‘sit’ on and you also have to periodically update the site. Broadly speaking, if you are doing the updates yourself, self hosted solutions will be cheaper in the long run. There is however a certain piece of mind that comes with knowing that is all taken care of, as with SaaS.

Customisation
This is where WordPress comes into its own. Because WordPress is self hosted and open source it means you have full access to the source code so you can customise whatever you like. However most of the time you don’t need to as, thanks to the massive WordPress community, for most problems they’ve already a developed solution. You can still do a lot within Squarespace, it just lacks the ability to mould it to your specific needs.

Conclusion
Basically if all you will ever will need is a basic site, Squarespace is a great solution. If you need, or may need in the future, the site do to a specific thing or look a specific way, WordPress is the go.

There are obviously a whole bunch of other differences between the two but hopefully that gives you a basic rundown.