We’ve had a busy few weeks travelling up and down the country hosting test-drive events for Volvo dealerships. We’ve hosted pop-up events in Castle Dargan in Sligo and Castle Leslie in Monaghan for McGinley Motors’ Volvo and The Johnston Estate in Meath for Finlay Volvo Naas.
We leveraged local media with outside broadcasts from Ocean FM and LMFM and social media was a key driver in securing test-drives on the day and generating leads for the dealerships.
Representatives from the dealerships used the event to capture data and tailor the test drive experience for each customer’s specific needs. Watching them work was a good reminder that, while online is a great tool for research, the face to face engagement at events likes this is what turns test drivers into buyers.
Customers were also able to test-drive and learn more about Volvo’s latest electric vehicles. The Swedish brand is at the forefront of electrification and the efficient power from its pure electric cars, plug-in hybrids and mild hybrid technology will change the way we move forever.
We had the great pleasure of spending the October bank holiday weekend in Kilkenny for the 13th annual Savour Kilkenny food festival. Upwards of 50,000 people descended on Ireland’s medieval city last weekend to celebrate Kilkenny’s finest local artisan producers and their produce. Joining them was a host of Ireland and the world’s most innovative celebrities and opinion makers in the world of food.
International visitors for this year’s festival included best-selling Australian author and national TV star, Kim McCosker who brought her 4 Ingredients thinking to the Savour stage. Kim is pictured below taking some time out of her busy schedule to chat to host Edward Hayden on KCLR FM.
Other familiar faces included homegrown Irish stars Paul Flynn of The Tannery, Dungarvan, Clodagh McKenna, Catherine Fulvio, Rory O’ Connell, Roz Purcell, Darren Kennedy and Mount Juliet’s Ken Harker and John Kelly.
As well as the KBC Wellness Stage and food and fitness bootcamp with Kathryn Thomas, other festival highlights included tented food and beverage stands, a Medieval Banquet at the Medieval Mile Museum, cooking demonstrations and talks, and kids fun and dining events.
Roz Purcell hosted a vegan night and also demonstrated how to cook vegan to a packed marquee. This year also saw the introduction of the new Food Provenance award in partnership with Kilkenny LEO and KCLR where local eateries were recognised for the focus they place on local and regional producers and seasonal cooking.
It was wonderful to experience the very best of Kilkenny’s vibrant food culture and to witness the city and county’s core commitment to supporting local growers and producers and local cafes and restaurants. See savourkilkenny.com for details of next year’s festival.
One of the best things about this job is getting to see ideas which started out on a Powerpoint slide come to life. After suggesting it in our initial pitch to Oakfield Park in 2018, we were thrilled to see #Oakfest rock the park in the summer of 2018 and 2019. Headline acts Hermitage Green and The 4 of Us took to the stage in 2018, supported by Ryan Sheridan, Little Hours, Mark Black & The Trips, ROE, Chelsey Chambers, In Their Thousands, Katie Laffan and Cronin.
As well as a top-class musical billing, Oakfest at Oakfield Park had plenty for the whole family to enjoy, including a mini disco for little music lovers, arts and crafts, face-painting, puppetry, nature walks, train heritage, folklore and storytelling. Oakfest 2019 included a stellar line-up of artists with world-renowned Alabama3Acoustic headlining on Saturday 1st June and chart toppers The Academic (pictured below) headlining Sunday 2nd June.
Away from the main stage, festival goers could experience jazz in the garden, music in the maze, folk music in the marquee and Trad on the Train. The event also has a strong food offering with some of the northwest’s finest artisan food producers in attendance over the weekend.
In January we were delighted to welcome Hui Chin Tan to our team. Hui is from Malaysia and came to Letterkenny to study a Masters of Science in Management and Marketing Practice at LYIT. She joined us for a three-month placement and we loved having her! Sadly, we said farewell to her today with an Easter themed afternoon tea, but before she finished up, she very kindly wrote a blog about the things she learned during her time here, which you can read below. We’ve kept it very much in Hui’s own words as that is part of the magic of the piece! Happy Easter everyone.
During my internship, I have learnt how Public Relations (PR) and social media can work for business. I have started my work practically from the first day of the first week of internship. Thus, I have learnt various knowledge and skills in marketing within the industrial training period. From this, I absorb about how a PR company can help their clients increase their brand awareness and thus increase their sales. And through my observation, I think that the impact of online social media is very important to all marketing sector for all business. Managing Director of The Right Angle is Mary Crawford who is supported by Grace Shields, Client Services Manager. Two of them is very kind and they had taught and assisted me on all the skills that I am unfamiliar with.
I have practically learned about some basic information in marketing skills which is very different from the things that I learn in theory. I have learned to do some business writing in order to help the business promote their products and events. And through this, I have a chance to improve my English writing skills.
In addition, I also learn how to use Canva to design graphic for commercial purposes. And I have done many designs for a different kind of business to promote their events and products. They also teach me about how to make a research on FM’s DJ and do a Press List in Excel to save all the information and details that I have found. Other than that, I have experienced the video shooting section while working in The Right Angle and this enables me to see the behind scenes of a video making. I have been observing how an interview is made and how the respondent introduces themselves and their company.
In addition, I have learned about the practice of Microsoft Excel. I learnt about how to work up a critical path for a business. I start to work on it by referencing a sample template and based on that format I start to plan and customise the events which are suitable for a business. Other than that, I also help to fill in the Excel spreadsheet template using names and email addresses from the company account. Not only this, but I also need to update with the event’s exhibitors list. And through this, I have learnt how to use Excel more expertly.
Furthermore, I learnt how to update social media sites for the clients’ company, for example, update their company’s website, Facebook timeline posts and information. And this is very important to let all the audience know about the company and what services and products that they offer. Also, I have done several types of blog posts for some business in order to introduce their places and thus encourage people to visit their hotel and restaurants.
Besides, I have learnt something new which is make up a PowerPoint file for the client’s company let the company know what The Right Angle has done for their advertising recently. Through this, the client can have clear details about how their money was spent based on the outcome.
Also, I gain some knowledge about how the social media competitions run when I work with the database collection. All the business needs to update a new database of their clients when there is a new competition for their audience. And most databases the company get, the more information the company get from their clients and this will help to boost up numbers of invitation for the next company events. In addition, I also run through the process of select and pick out potential winners from the competition and from this I need to make sure the potential winners have attended the competition with the rules required. This is because we need to ensure there will be no problems occurring because the winner did not match with the rules required.
During my internship, I have learnt and done a press release for some business in order to send to the journalist. In addition, I also work on listing press release for an event to find out more information about the event or festival in order to let the audience know more about the events. Others than that, I have learnt something new which is build up a mail Chimp for business and this can help to send the invitation to their existing clients. I learn how to use the mail Chimp step by step and I use about half an hour to pick up the skills.
Throughout my work placement, the most things that I have done is mainly based on the graphic design. I have designed numerous graphics included bios for those company, company logo, flyer, Facebook post, Facebook cover, banner advertisements, competition graphics and so on. Also, through my industrial training I have gone through some of Ireland’s celebration events, for example, Valentine’s Day, St. Patrick’s Day, Mother’s Day, Halloween and so on. I found that social media advertisement plays the main role during this celebration. Many companies will advertise heavily mainly in those few days in order to inspire consumers to spend on their products and services. And this really works.
We were delighted to work with the Central Bank team on an outreach visit to Donegal last week. Governor Lane, Gráinne McEvoy (Director of Consumer Protection), Kevin Mullen, (Head of Asset Management Supervision) Geraldine Hannon (Head of Banking Supervision) and Claire O’Gorman (HR Business partner) visited the county as part of an extended outreach visit to build understanding of the Central Bank and listen to a range of views from the northwest.
We brought Irish Independent journalist and broadcaster, Richard Curran, on board to curate an evening event in Letterkenny with representatives from a cross-section of the local community. Questions on the night covered a broad range of topics including Brexit, SME lending, Credit Unions and competition in financial services.
The following morning, Wednesday 13 March, the team visited Errigal College, St. Eunan’s College and Loreto Secondary School. This presented an opportunity to hear views from the next generation and answer questions on the Central Bank’s work in Europe, bond rates, the next economic recession and careers at the Central Bank.
Regulatory technology and governance were topics of discussion when the Governor addressed students from Letterkenny Institute of Technology (LYIT) later that day. The visit ended with a tour of the CoLab, Letterkenny IT’s innovation and incubation centre and an introduction to some of its 60 technology-based enterprises.
We’ve had the pleasure of living in, working in and visiting cities all over the world, but relocating to Ireland’s north-western shore is one of the smartest decisions we’ve ever made.
Regular trips to the capital keep us connected and fresh, but we’re living proof that you don’t need to be in a city to run a busy PR agency. In our experience, excellent service, a good broadband connection and the phone and tablet of your choice are all that’s required.
We relish the best of both worlds and love working with brands (big and small) to ensure they’re on the radar of key media and influencers. For us, work is what we do, not where we go, and ultimately, results are what count. Luckily we have plenty of those; have a scroll through some of our best bits below, and then give us a shout to see how we might help you in 2018….
THE GLOSS for BRILLIANT INC.
IRISH TIMES FOR CHAOSnHARMONY
IMAGE for ACUPUNCTURE COUNCIL OF IRELAND
IRISH EXAMINER for PUKKA HERBS
HOTPRESS for BREWDOG
WOMAN’S WAY for ACUPUNCTURE COUNCIL OF IRELAND
IRISH TATLER for FLORENCE FOOD CO.
IRISH TIMES MAGAZINE for EARAGAIL ARTS FESTIVAL
IRISH INDEPENDENT for THE SCOOP FOUNDATION
XPOSE for PUKKA HERBS
HOTEL AND RESTAURANT TIMES for SLIABH LIAG DISTILLERY
IRISH INDEPENDENT for EARAGAIL ARTS FESTIVAL
SUNDAY BUSINESS POST for RASCALS BREWING CO.
DERMOT AND DAVE AND KEY INFLUENCERS FOR PADDYO’S
IRISH INDEPENDENT WEEKEND MAGAZINE for MCNUTT OF DONEGAL & THE DONEGAL SHOP
IRELAND AM for ACUPUNCTURE COUNCIL OF IRELAND
IRISH INDEPENDENT CHRISTMAS GIFTGUIDE for MICHAEL MURPHY SPORTS & LEISURE
RTE’S NATIONWIDE for IRELAND’S FIRST OUTDOOR EARLY LEARNING SCHOOL
Get in touch today and let us help you get to where you need to be in 2018…. email [email protected] or call 0872774739.
There are many benefits to living and working in one of Ireland’s most beautiful counties. We have over 1,000 km of coastline on the Wild Atlantic Way and our natural landscape means we benefit from a sports and social club like no other.
National Geographic Traveller put Donegal at the top of its #CoolList for 2017, citing our world class wilderness as one of many things that set us apart. And while that wilderness is all around us, it’s also our connectedness that makes this a great place to live and do business.
And it seems we’re not alone in our thinking. The Local Enterprise Office, Donegal County Council commissioned this video highlighting some of the many great businesses running and growing their operations from our northern shores….
Marketing expert Geoff Ramm (@GeoffRamm) kicked off the week with an energetic and interactive seminar on marketing, sharing his observations, anecdotes and some memorable customer service and marketing ideas to demonstrate that marketing is so much more than just a leaflet.
2. Customer Service is King – no amount of excellent marketing can compete with a negative customer experience, so it’s imperative that you get that right first.
3. Make the Basics Work Harder for You – put the power of your brand in someone’s hand by being creative with your business cards and leaflets. For instance, if you’re an electrician, why not have a business card that glows in the dark? Or if you work in tourism, avoid the standard sized leaflets that every other business uses. Think differently to help your business stand out from competitors.
4. Get Personal – think about who you want to target and get personal. Refer to people by name and amplify your customer relationships by using Eyejot to send personalised messages.
5. Stack ‘Em High – when you’re exhibiting at an event, stack your brochures and leaflets high, rather than displaying them in a nice arrangement. People don’t like to mess with your display, if it looks too nice.
6. Give Added Value – think about ways to surprise and delight your customers. This petrol station in South Africa has been writing positive messages for customers on its noticeboard for the past 40 years. Thanks to @GeoffRamm for these tips…
7. If the competition is going one way, you go the other – don’t be afraid to be different. Geoff Ramm gave the example of the kids-only hair salon, which doubled its business by theming the salon for kids. Key attractions included characters which the children could identify with, as well as super-hero themed hair cutting stations and a front window with peep holes at children’s eye level to encourage engagement. Geoff gave another example of an ironing business that implemented this quirky mail shot and saw an 8% increase in business in one week…
8. Getting to Grips with Digital Marketing is Easier than You Might Think – Maeve Kneafsey, Marketfinder.com, shared her insights of how businesses can use social media to build their brands. Setting goals is key to success and before starting online, businesses need to understand what they are trying to achieve. Digital’s job is to support you in reaching those goals in a faster, better and sometimes cheaper way.
9. Online and offline are not two different worlds – they are the same world. Your objectives for online should be the same as those for offline.
10. Be consistent – this is key when using social media. @maeve-kneafsey referenced The Happy Pear and Hairy Baby as two businesses that have used social media to great effect in building their brand.
11. Understand your audience’s needs – you can’t be all things to all people. Do a profile of your target audience to segment the most important ones, then figure out how they want to engage with you online.
12. Ask Yourself Why? –Darragh Doyle, Audience Strategist, @darraghdoyle talked about social, SEO and strategy, emphasising the importance of not having social media just because everyone else has. Ask yourself why am I doing this and what do I want to achieve. Always think about who you’re talking to, why you’re talking to them and what you want to get out of it.
13.Think – @darraghdoyle had this advice for anyone posting online…
14. Keep it Local – share content that is of interest to your local area, for example, old photos are a great way to encourage engagement and social sharing. Here is Darragh’s online checklist for businesses and his recipe for success online…
15. Keep it Real – Darragh closed his presentation with this great line… ‘Be a person online and in real life’
16. There’s Lots More to Come – Donegal Business Week continues all week, so there are still four more great days ahead. Check out the range of events and make the time for your business by registering now at www.localenterprise.ie/donegal or contact LEO on 074 91 60735.
We’ve had the pleasure of working with many great brands over the years and it has taught us a thing or two about marketing and PR. While we appreciate that global brands have bigger budgets, we believe there’s a lot that SME’s can take from big brand marketing strategies. In no particular order, here’s our top ten:
1. Work Seasonally
Big brands work on a calendar led basis. They plan strategy and activity months and years in advance. They look ahead and research what’s coming up, and develop campaigns around that. The calendar provides a natural opportunity for SME’s to shout about their business… from New Year’s to Valentine’s, Patrick’s Day, Easter, Summer, 4th of July, Back to School, Hallowe’en, Christmas and back to the New Year again. Not to mention a host of international days from World Tourism Day (Sept 27th) to International Day of Happiness (March 20th), World Wildlife Day (March 3rd) and Universal Children’s Day (Nov 20th). Here’s how we put the calendar to good use for clients this year…
2. Adopt a Partnership Approach
Big brands are always on the look-out for mutually beneficial partnerships and opportunities to align their brand with like-minded organisations – it’s a natural way to reach a new and captive audience. Keep an eye out for events taking place locally that your business can partner with or support. For instance, in the run up to the Donegal Marathon, we hosted a RunWell Marathon Night at JT Physio. The event gave top tips and advice for those running a marathon including talks on physiotherapy, nutrition and training in the run up to the big day. And because numbers were limited, we captured the event on video and shared it with JT’s followers online.
Forming partnerships with other businesses can also be a good strategy, but it’s important to get the right fit. For example, working with Kinnegar Brewing, The Traveller’s Inn commissioned house beer ‘Baxters 1867’ in honour of the Baxter family whose connection to the building dates back to 1867. The beer is based on an American pale ale style in recognition of Samuel Alexander Baxter, who fought with the North in the American Civil War. The story generated strong local, national and trade coverage for both The Traveller’s Inn and Kinnegar…
Working with Inishowen Motors, we partnered with Letterkenny, Laois and Galway Shopping Centres and Relay for Life, Donegal. Inishowen Motors donated one of their top of the range Kia’s for a charity drive from Ireland’s most northerly point, Malin Head to Tarifa, in the south of Spain. This activity raised €10,000 for Relay for Life Donegal and generated strong local and national coverage for all parties involved….
3. Mark the Milestone
Whether it’s a launch, first birthday or tenth anniversary, marking the milestone is a great way to shout about your business and remind people of what you do. The Traveller’s Inn, Milford recently marked its tenth birthday with a week long celebration and live music every night. To mark the occasion, we commissioned a bespoke cake of the building from Selena’s Creations and the images landed in all the local papers. Michael Murphy Sports and Leisure also celebrated a great first year in business with a week-long promotion offering customers the chance to win a €1,000 gift voucher and Inishowen Motors, the car partner for Highland Radio, marked the station’s 25th anniversary as part of the car handover this year…
4. Be Brand Aware
This is something big brands do very well. Their brand identity and brand values influence everything they do. SME’s can also benefit from this approach and it’s worth taking the time to have a think about your brand identity and working with a good graphic designer to bring it to life. When the new owners of The Milford Inn wanted a fresh start, we worked closely with them, brainstorming suggestions for a new name and logo. We compiled a graphic design brief and enlisted the help of Fiona O’Reilly from On The Dot Creative, who then worked with the hotel’s in-house marketing team to bring the brand to life. We also worked with Donegal’s Early Learning Schools on a new name, logo and website. Big brands pay lots of attention to their social media channels to ensure they are engaging with consumers in the correct way. Your website is your shop window – if it doesn’t provide an up-to-date or accurate reflection of your business, then you need to change it…
5. See The Bigger Picture
As a small local entity, it can be easy to overlook or dismiss potential opportunities with national media. However, we know from experience that national media are always on the look out for good news stories. We’ve hosted outside broadcasts in Donegal with national broadcasters including Today FM and 2FM. Earlier this summer, we worked with RTE’s Nationwide as they filmed at Donegal and Ireland’s first outdoor school. You can check out the piece on the RTE Player….
6. Get In The Right Frame
Good photography forms a key part of any brand’s marketing strategy. Through our work with the Earagail Arts Festival, (and with the help of some beautiful imagery), we’ve generated articles and features across a range of national and local titles from the Irish Times to the Irish Independent, Irish Examiner, Sunday Business Post, RTE Guide, Image and Social and Personal. Getting the right shot to accompany your story greatly enhances the chances of coverage. From a business profiling point of view, it’s important for SME’s to have a good selection of photography to represent key spokespeople – more than ever, papers are relying on you to provide suitable photography. Reaching out to the relevant political representative or securing the right brand ambassador for the photo (and your business) is also worth exploring…
7. Give Insights and Added Value
Leading brands are always thinking of ways to surprise and delight their customers. One way to do this is to give added value through unique insights, customer loyalty schemes, in-store promotions, events, competitions and giveaways. Through our work with REN NET and Donegal County Council, we helped promote a renewable energy trade fair, giving members of the public free access to renewable energy providers across the northwest. And in a series of videos for Michael Murphy Sports and Leisure, Michael chats to leading sportspeople from Donegal, gaining a unique insight into their lives, such as this one with Ballybofey boxer, Jason Quigley….
8. Celebrate Success
Whether it’s an award for your business or your customers, celebrating success is a positive way to share your story. Mulroy Music got widespread coverage when its students excelled at this year’s Ulster Fleadh. We also worked with John F. Loughrey Financial Services to share the story of their second successive win at The LPI Awards in The Mansion House in Dublin. Whatever success looks like for your business, make sure to celebrate it in the right way…
9. Get Creative
Big brands are always thinking of innovative ways to create news hooks, so media will write about them. A good example of this is the below art installation, ‘ReflectYourself‘, which was fabricated by Henry McGinley & Sons in Milford and unveiled in Dublin as part of the St. Patrick’s Festival.
10. Use Video
According to this article published in The Guardian, 64% of marketers expect video to dominate their strategies in the near future and half of all businesses are already integrating video content marketing into their strategies. 100 million people are watching videos daily and YouTube has one billion UNIQUE users each month. With online video quickly becoming a key means for people to satisfy their information and entertainment needs, small businesses that fail to include it in their internet marketing strategies will do so at their peril. Video is a great way to communicate your customer offering and unique selling point. For example, The Traveller’s Inn, Milford hosts one of the country’s best traditional music sessions every Wednesday, so we worked with videographer Paul Doherty to capture the atmosphere and share it with our followers online….
There are lots of ways that small businesses can market and promote themselves in creative and cost-effective ways – the secret lies in the execution. If you’ve an idea you’d like to develop or an event coming up that you feel could generate publicity for your business, then let us know. We’d be delighted to help….