What is a persona?

What is a persona?

Aside from the single most useful part of your marketing research? Let’s start with what it’s not:

  1. A job title
  2. A propensity to buy rank
  3. Any specific demographic bracket

All too often the word ‘persona’ gets used when actually, the people using them are actually talking about a job title or a combination of age/gender brackets (i.e. females between 25 and 25). Whilst this is a great start and is included within the information you should be collecting, a persona is more than any of the above, or to be honest combination of the above items. A persona is an entire profile of your desired target audience and should help inform your entire marketing strategy. A persona helps you understand the type of content they’ll respond to, the channels they’re spending time on and how best to reach them.

You should be building a profile with the below 7 points:

  1. Demographic information
  2. Profession & income level
  3. Likes & dislikes, personally & in relation to your products
  4. Hobbies & interests
  5. Lifestyle & family information
  6. Important values
  7. Consumption habits

Once you have all this information you can apply this to your marketing efforts in relation to your overarching objectives. You will be able to plot out key moments in the year to amplify your efforts around, areas of passion to lean into and distribution mechanisms to help engage with your customers. It’s this vital research (and the application of it) that levels-up a brand, its customer acquisition and retention. It removes that cold business feel and allows your customers to feel connected to your brand at a personal level. And when you have connection at a personal level, you get loyalty.

If you’re looking for more information on how to apply this to your marketing plan you can book in for a 2-hour Persona & Strategy Workshop (price: £200) – just fill in the form below!

Or, if you’re a small business with not enough budget, you can purchase our Brand & Digital Marketing Guide Book here.

Why have women in marketing?

Sometimes I feel like I’m having an identity crisis (and not just because I’ve entered the last year of my twenties) but because: I am a woman, I work for a technology company, yet sometimes I feel like a fraud for calling myself a “Woman in Tech”. 

Why? Because my role isn’t technical. There’s a lot of focus on getting women and younger girls into technical roles. This is the right thing and I am not trying to detract from that. But, it is equally important to ensure that women are visible within marketing, communication and HR roles at technology companies. I’m starting to come to the realisation that I am still a woman in technology and that just because I’m in a marketing role, it doesn’t mean it’s any less value than others. Here’s my thoughts on why:

The thing with privilege is it’s hard to recognise in yourself without being called out on, usually by those with less privilege than you. It also means that it can be harder to recognise when external representation of you or your brand doesn’t match up to the internal values you hold. For example, as a woman, I nearly always pick up on when content only includes or refers to men. On these occasions, when bringing this up to a man, they nearly always say “oh, I didn’t even realise”. Similarly, I admit I have been in a position in the past where I haven’t noticed straight away the lack of racial diversity within content. Awareness of inequity and lack of representation definitely helps us to recognise gaps and although it isn’t the responsibility of underrepresented groups to tell us when we’re failing them, we do have a responsibility to culture check and listen to those who look and think different to ourselves.

Am I allowed to squeeze in an early 2000’s cheesy rom-com reference to talk round my next point? The film, What Women Want, is the story of two advertising executives trying to succeed – one male and one female. The male is, at the start, hugely chauvinistic and thinks he’s the greatest gift to women and knows exactly what women want. The woman is hired because she kicks arse and manages to secure a pitch for the much lusted after Nike campaign – to appeal to women. Of course, the male thinks he knows what is best (i.e. how to market to women) but it’s only after a freak accident that enables him to read the minds of women does he realise he doesn’t have a clue.  He ends up reading the mind of the female marketing exec, stealing her ideas (of course) and then winning the pitch. Anyway, the point I’m trying to make is that the male point of view on how to appeal to women wasn’t aligned with how women actually wanted to be marketed to, and this happening isn’t just limited to the film.  This is why it is important to have a diverse team in your marketing and communication departments. Diverse people lead to diversity of thought, which is a necessity for companies looking to break the status quo and create a more equitable workforce. Don’t expect to attract top talent who aren’t white heterosexual men, if the only people in your marketing and HR teams are white heterosexual men. Likewise, don’t expect your content to appeal to women if your marketing team is entirely men.

I truly believe that technology has the potential to be equitable for everyone . It is SO important to show young girls and women that a career in technical roles can be for them. It is important to provide the representation so those thinking about starting a career in technology have role models to aspire to be like. It’s important that these role models represent not just white able-bodied women but all women.

It’s important that all women are represented across the entire organisation.

I am a proud woman in tech, that gets to ensure that we are telling the stories of other women in tech.

Choose to Challenge

Every single person has a responsibility to show kindness and to help undo the bias that exists in society between different groups of people. International Women’s Day is not about putting women over men, it’s about equality. So, regardless of gender, be the force for change. Challenge people’s bias comments. Challenge the nastiness. Support women, because yes, it is needed. The world is so bias towards men that we NEED to over rotate the focus onto women, we need to help women make it into tech/science/leadership roles so that we can live in a more equal society.

I’ve been really torn on how I wanted to tackle International Women’s Day 2021. Last year I wrote an emotionally fuelled piece for International Women’s Day; I was infuriated and needed an outlet. The above is an excerpt from my piece last year. I bring it up now because this year, the International Women’s Day theme is Choose to Challenge and I thought I could write a piece that showcased some of the actions taken to pave the way for gender parity. I have felt more uplifted over the past few months about the actions I am seeing companies make. However, upon watching various events unfold throughout yesterday, (cough, Meghan, Harry, Oprah, cough) I realised that we still haven’t made the progress we need to. I can’t share a piece that doesn’t reflect my internal emotions and is at complete odds with what’s being seen in the UK media this week.

So instead, I’ve decided to write something about how we can all choose to challenge gender bias, stereotypes and inequity. Now is the (overdue) time to let the frustration fuel the action. Changing a culture doesn’t happen overnight – we know this. It doesn’t come from statements from huge corporations once a year, it comes from everyone choosing to play their part every single day.

I will be doing a much longer piece on the role of media vs. sexism, racism, hate vs. businesses. So keep an eye out for that. But for now, just how can we all play a part in our own success (as women) and other women’s success (as people)? Some practical tips, as a woman:

For the woman…

  1. Seek out mentors: don’t fall into the trap of JUST seeking out women to help guide you, think about strong male role models as well. I speak from personal experience when I say that a male perspective can help you breakdown the anxiety around being in a male dominated world.
  2. Look for opportunities to ask for experience. Don’t sit their idly wanting things but never taking the action to do something about it. Use your voice. If you’re nervous then find an ally who can help sponsor you in asking for opportunities.
  3. Educate yourself from other women who don’t look like you, especially if you are white, heterosexual and able-bodied. Understand that intersectionality has a huge part to play and that we need to learn about the experiences of all women. Women need to be allies to each other, and we can’t do this unless we educate ourselves and challenge our own unconscious bias. We should be making sure we are lifting up women, particularly those who are from other underrepresented groups – whether that be by race, sexuality, gender, disability or other.

For the man…

  1. Listen: when a female member of your team is voicing a concern and listen when they are silent. Often women, particularly younger women in the workplace, feel intimidated to speak up. Learn to notice those moments and understand how you can help them use their voice.
  2. Actively look for ways to champion the women around you. And do so. Put them forward for opportunities, showcase their achievements to the people who matter. Advocate women to men. Encourage other men to champion women. It really is true what they say – people relate to and believe people who look like them. If a man is standing up and championing a woman, fighting for equity then you can be sure as hell more men will follow suit than if it was a woman standing there asking.
  3. Be open for advice & mentoring. Please, if a woman has plucked up the courage to ask for your mentorship/advice/thoughts.. share them. It’s SO important to be a good role model, be an ally and use your privilege to help those in underrepresented groups.

Do you have any other tips?

One year Tabloid-Media Free

It’s been exactly a year since I called it quits with UK Tabloid Media. You can read more about my anger towards media outlets here, an emotionally fuelled piece that I shared on IWD2020.

Reasons why I am 100% sure this was the right decision. From a human level through to a business owner.

  1. I am happier – once your behaviour, in this case consumption habits, align to your ethical/moral values EVERYTHING feels better. No longer am I plagued with the guilt of fuelling the morally bankrupt media outlets that make money out of people’s misery, despair and misfortune. Not only that, I’m not reading as much content that angers me to my core. Click-bait headlines have no place in my life.

    ~side note~ the catalyst for me cutting out tabloid media was Caroline Flack’s suicide and how events leading up to that moment were written about. HOWEVER. The benefits during the pandemic have also been astronomical. Avoiding the fear mongering headlines have prevented me from spiralling into a scroll of doom that so many people have suffered through the past 12 months.
  2. I am more open minded and balanced – it’s not that I didn’t consider myself this way before but the amount of unconscious influence the media can have on you is staggering. I have found since calling it quits that I’m not jumping to as many conclusions or as quick to accept headlines as truth. I research myself, I listen to the voices of others, particularly those from under-represented groups, and consciously seek out opinions that differ to my own.
  3. My business actions align to my personal values – this is a really important one. I always tell my clients that moral & ethical values should be seriously considered and defined when creating a brand. Your culture and values are everything. For me, this presents itself in never recommending tabloid media for paid placements or earned coverage. It means I will never place adverts in publications that are fuelling hate and greater divides between groups of the population. I don’t care how much reach you may get. As someone who wants to run an ethical business and can’t stand the tabloid media in their personal life, I couldn’t sleep at night knowing I am helping to keep them in business.

Why you should call it quits with tabloid media:

The less they are consumed, the less they are advertised on and slowly, we might be able to reduce their readership to the point where they can no longer sustain their publication. It’s not a quick fix. It requires lots of individuals banding together and it requires the people in BUSINESSES who are funding these platforms via ad revenue to pull back. It’s the right thing to do.

So please, personally: stop consuming content on these sites. And, if you have the power: stop buying ad space on these sites.

Brand Collaborations – unlikely but genius partnerships

This post was inspired by the recent collaboration between Gucci and The North Face. On the surface two brands which don’t really align together. But, maybe this is why it’s ingenious.

Let’s take a look at some surprising yet brilliant partnerships from brands, we’ve managed to keep this to our favourite three, focusing on the luxury fashion collaborations:

Print display of League of Legends with Louis Vuitton Branding

Louis Vuitton X League of Legends (2019) – when I first heard about this collaboration I was so confused. Why was Louis Vuitton partnering with an e-sports company? League of Legends is an online, team based game, developed by Riot Games. For the 2019 World Championship, Louis Vuitton partnered with Riot games to create a travel case for the trophy. I actually managed to attend the World Championship Final in Paris which is where I first heard about the partnership. The entrance to the venue had printed displays ft. the cobranded artwork – at first I thought, wow that really looks like LV. A collaboration didn’t even cross my mind: it was during a behind-the-scenes tour that it was brought to my attention. What’s at the heart of the collaboration is a joint passion for innovation and benefits for both brands. League of Legends has a huge following of not only gamers, but also spectators of the online game – a huge audience for LV to be exposed to, globally. Whilst for LoL, LV adds that level of exclusivity – taking them from an exclusively gamer brand to one of higher esteem. A joint collection of clothing and accessories allows gamers & fans alike to add another dimension to their immersion in the LoL world – play the game, watch the game, look the part. It’s ingenious.

Smeg X Dolce & Gabbana – this one I stumbled across whilst looking for kitchen appliances when I moved home very recently. Seeking out a new toaster, I scoured the internet for something both aesthetically pleasing and functional. And that’s when I saw it: this beautifully decorative toaster (with the beautifully high price tag to go along with it, spoiler alert, I did not purchase). Smeg’s products are not cheap, period. Already your target market are those after something slightly more elite and of course, timelessly stylish. But it is pure genius to work with a luxury brand and expand their footprint further. The chances are, if you have the income to support a D&G habit, then you have the income to buy slightly more upmarket home appliances (and also the desire for them to look good).

Gucci X The North Face – we couldn’t finish this article off without referring to the one that inspired it all. Whether you like the products or not (you have to agree they have a very particular style) the joining of a luxury brand with the edgier, outdoor-wear based brand opens up a whole new audience for both groups. I can’t help think about the timing of this collaboration particularly either. We’ve been in this pandemic for a year now and especially here in the UK, people have been taking more advantage of the outdoors. With overseas holidays and indoor gatherings/parties on hold for the foreseeable future, more and more people are turning to the outdoors in their local areas to give them the escapism they so desperately crave. For those who have been lucky enough to not be facing financial difficulty the Gucci X TNF partnership gives them an ideal outlet to spend some of their disposable income.

The question is, if you’re a business owner, how do you go about a brand collaboration? What makes them successful and how can you evaluate if one is right for you?

We’ll cover it next week – subscribe to make sure you don’t miss out!

NOLO: Durham Drums

NOLO: Durham Drums

Welcome to the NOLO Blog Series! This series is all about exploring out how small businesses or freelancers have built up their businesses with little or no budget for their marketing. On the last Friday of every month we’ll be sharing the stories and advice from real people.

How does it work? We send out some questions to a different person each month and they provide their answers. Simple!


This month: Sam Durham, founder of Durham Drums
www.durhamdrums.co.uk

Follow on: Instagram, Twitter, Facebook & YouTube at @durhamdrums

TELL US A BIT ABOUT YOUR BUSINESS

In a nutshell I teach music; perform and record music; and sell music related products.

Firstly my business is teaching music – both privately and in schools – to adults and children.

Secondly, I am a professional drummer and percussionist, working in bands and as a solo performer, both live (gigs, festivals, events and weddings). My time doing this is split between playing the drum kit and, at separate events, playing my light-up bongos on the dance floor.

Finally, this year I have more my business to support the sales of products, including clothing and sheet music.

September 2017 was my launch but I started preparing, while still working as a primary teacher, in January of the same year. In teaching my customers include beginner, intermediate and advanced drummers of all ages and backgrounds – it’s wonderful working a range of abilities and levels of experience. Playing live involves working directly with venues and clients to arrange performances, but also working with different musicians, DJs, radio and TV staff to deliver the performance they would like. My products are aimed at drum enthusiasts, whether they’d like to learnt their favourite band’s new song or a fashion piece to show off to the world they are a drummer.

WHEN YOU STARTED OUT, WHAT WERE YOUR GOALS FOR THE BUSINESS?

At the start of my business I had one aim: to follow my dream to be a full-time drummer. Additionally there were aims to use my training as a teacher to help educate developing drummers and showcase my drumming in various setting. As being a primary school teacher, I was seeking a better work/life balance in order to improve my health, both mentally and physically.

I have been very blessed to be surrounded by a lot of friends I’ve made over the years to go to for advice. This included people who had been successful in the music industry for sometime and were willing to give me the time of day to help me learn what I needed to do to become established.

There were three key people I spoke to during my planning, pre-launch stage, and who have continued to support me throughout the journey. The first is my father, who has never run his own business, but has worked in company strategy for a long time. He really helped me to set targets and stick to my goals when starting out. Also making me consider best and worst case scenarios for all the decisions I had. He continued with me on the journey, helping review my business plan every 3 months, then less often as I become more established, but still helping me to develop and grow to this day.

The second is my friend Delroy, who I met through a teaching placement in London and we stayed in touch ever since. He has been successful in the music industry for, perhaps, 35 years, and was really encouraging to me when I was thinking about my change of career. His golden piece of advice was to have many streams of revenue. This has been a good model that he knew worked and helped me think differently to the high risk strategy of just playing live and touring, for example. Particularly over the last year of 2020, this has been crucial to keeping the business going, as many live performances have been cancelled. I am ever indebted to him to the time and wisdom he gave me over the years.

The third is my friend Will, who I have known since I was at primary school, who has run his own Photography and Videographer company since he was 16. He was a big reason I felt confident enough to “go solo” as a self employed business owner. Through learning from his achievements, he always helped me learn to price my time more effectively. His advice was always – will you be happy providing that service for a client at that price. This has stuck with me and I continue to learn a lot from him.

HOW DID YOU GROW YOUR BUSINESS WITH LITTLE OR NO BUDGET?

I didn’t start with a big budget but I had started to put away what I could with the months leading up to the launch. I’ve definitely had to learn about how best to make every penny count, through trial and error on advertising, for example. Do some trials, then review, if successful continue…if not learn, adapt and move on! I found that being “google” friendly with my website and targeted Google Adwords worked well. I don’t run it when I have enough work, but I know the click of a button can bring results.

I use social media – mainly my Facebook page and Instagram, although I’ve started to increase my YouTube presence this year. Everyone will always tell you “oh you need to on TikTok – everyone’s doing it”, then proceed to tell you about some person no-one had heard of a couple of months ago is now a millionaire because of one TikTok video. By all means listen to ideas, but always ask yourself two things:

“Could this social media create new revenue or a growth in my customer base?”

“Do I have the time to invest in many new content?”

If the answer to either of those is no, then perhaps put it on the back burner and keep focussed on your aims. If either answer is yes, then build a strategy around the content – don’t just post there because a friend said you should.

Stay true to your business aims and keep your workload manageable.

TELL US ABOUT A CHALLENGE YOU FACED OR SOMETHING THAT WENT WRONG

I definitely went through a process of elimination when it came to which marketing to use. It took months to work out what would work for my location-based business – localised Google Ads – and what works for my shippable products – social media campaigns. There is a reason people have jobs like ‘SEO Manager’, ‘Social Media Marketing’ and “Search Engine Optimisation’ – because each area is complex and different skills are
needed.

As you experiment with different advertising forms, take one step at a time, review as you go and if it works do
more of it!

WHAT’S ONE PIECE OF ADVICE YOU WOULD GIVE TO BUSINESS OWNERS WITH NO BUDGET?

Network honestly.

Always try to connect with people – not with a motive other than: you want to know more about what they do and they’ll no doubt ask what you’re up to. By developing good relationships with people you’re more likely to be known for the thing you do. While the contact you make may not bring you work directly – they may be asked to recommend someone. If you’ve got a genuine connection built up over time, they’ll say you.

Talk to other people who are success in your business field to gain advice: those relationships are give and take so always try to be helpful and supportive back.

By surrounding yourself with good, honest and successful people you will learn more and feel less isolated when starting out.

Overall be a good person, even when times are tough – make time for people and they’ll do the same back.


Thanks for reading! We hope you found this super insightful – if you loved what Sam had to say, or are interested in his business make sure to find him on your preferred social channel: Instagram, Twitter, Facebook & YouTube at @durhamdrums

Interested in being part of our NOLO Blog Series? Just fill in the form below!

Don’t forget we also have our NOLO Guidebook available to buy here.

Two things to ensure success in 2021

Two things? Not, three or five or ten or even twenty one? No. Two.

  1. Ask your audience
  2. Test & learn

Budgets are tighter (in most cases), competition for attention is higher and the market is tough. We don’t need a reminder that 2020 has changed the world forever, particularly in marketing. What we do need is to understand how to quickly pivot, stay relevant and interesting to our clients – be they business owners, service providers, consumers etc.

The easiest way to find out what your audience are interested in and will respond to is to ask them. Stop guessing, just ask. Surveys, focus groups and quick polls on social media can give you enough information to get started. Then all you need to do is figure out how to best implement this into your strategy, in the most profitable way, which brings me to my second point…

Test and learn. Put things in market, quickly, then assess the results: engagement, shares, clicks, purchases, etc. whatever your goal is. Then, ditch what doesn’t work and keep doing what does.

This isn’t a one-off thing to tick off your list, this is something you need to do continually. As much as the world outside changes, the needs of our customers do too. Stay relevant, ask them what they want, implement quickly and learn fast.

2021. Business update.

Hi. Happy New Year (it’s only 5th January at the time of writing this so I feel it’s still just about acceptable to say). Pink Digital will be a year old in a little over a month and it’s been one hell of a year. My goals and aspirations for us have changed hugely during that time, mainly due to the P word which I don’t want to mention too much. As such, I thought it would be useful to do an update on where Pink Digital is heading and what you can expect from us. This isn’t going to be a hugely reflective piece, more forward looking, but I do want to say a huge thank you to three groups of people:

  1. My friends (for supporting me)
  2. The handful of clients I have worked with this year (the incredible 721 Challenge Team and Pause Books to namedrop a couple)
  3. Everyone who bought a copy of NOLO (special kudos to those that also told me how useful they found it).

Okay, so the future:

We’re pivoting on where we are going to focus, categorising these focuses into three key areas.

  1. Consulting: working with businesses on their brand and/or on campaign specific activations. We’re open to consulting on a one off or regular basis. Limited availability.
  2. Social media coaching: whether it’s a one off strategy workshop, ongoing support or coaching non-marketing folks in a business how to use social to help the business.
  3. Small business: we’re going to grow our NOLO sub-brand this year. Extending beyond just the guide, providing affordable and accessible guidance to small businesses. Watch this space.

This isn’t vastly different to what we’ve been doing this year but is a more specific offering list, hopefully articulating our expertise and how we can help you. You’ll see a lot more focused activity moving forward and specifically across our social channels, we’ll be adapting what we communicate, when and how.

We’ll continue to bring content to you around exciting things we’ve been seeing, tips and tricks, more updates on our clients and of course, continuing important conversations within our blog posts. The NOLO guide will really come to life with specific content developed for those with little or no marketing budget.

Of course feedback is key so if there is anything you want to see more or less of, let us know. We can’t wait to continue to grow and help businesses move forward in 2021.

2020, the Christmas Ad edition

It’s 10 days until Christmas Day (or maybe it’s even closer by the time you’ve stumbled across this blog) – I know that I’m not the only one to be shocked at where this year has gone. One thing that I was super curious about (and still am) is how the advertising industry would respond to the year that no one could have anticipated.

Budget shifts, unknown restrictions, absent loved ones. How do the biggest companies react and produce adverts that we can love in the current climate?

We’ve rounded up our favourite five… so in no particular order, because frankly it was too hard to rank them, we have: Co-op, DFS, Aldi, McDonalds and Sainsbury’s.

Co-Op: it gives you that happy glow inside. It’s summarised the community spirit that a lot of us would have felt during the 2020 pandemic. It’s a yes from us.
DFS: leaning into pure British nostalgia via Wallace & Gromit. I can’t be the only one that feels this duo epitomises Christmas. The warmth this brings me.
Aldi: never, ever thought I’d see the day when Aldi’s ad team had me putting them in my top 5. Thank you for comedic relief after a very difficult year.
McDonalds: this is a tear-jerker. I think we can all relate to this. The perfect reminder to let your inner child out, especially during the holiday season.
Sainsbury’s: Relatable. Familiar. Hopeful.

What have been your favourites?

Brands: don’t give into racism.

Back at the end of June I wrote a blog post on how marketers can play their part in creating a more equal world. Given the racist backlash that Sainsbury’s are facing following the release of their Christmas 2020 ads, (well one particular part – Gravy Song – part 1 of 3 Christmas ads), it seems relevant to reiterate the importance of businesses doing the right thing.

One thing is sure: this ad has made it impossible for those more ignorant, and blind to their own privilege, to pass racism off as a US only problem. It’s real. It’s global and it needs to change.

Now is the time for businesses to band together with Sainsbury’s and do the right thing. Christmas advertising accounts for the majority of annual ad spend, particularly within the retail sector (that’s no secret) and with the weather getting colder, lockdown across the UK very much being a thing, there are many more eye balls on the TV and across social media. This isn’t the first time a supermarket has come under fire for representing non-white people within a Christmas ad – back in 2017 Tesco faced similar backlash on social media for including a Muslim family celebrating Christmas.

The problem is, white people are so privileged to always see themselves represented on British TV that when they watch something without white representation, it’s noticeable. It shouldn’t be but that is the reality. What matters is how we react to it and how other brands react to it.

For white people, myself included, we should be acknowledging the level of privilege we have been afforded just by being white. We should be checking ourselves for never realising that we are over represented consistently. We should be sharing the content and brands representing black people. We should be amplifying black voices, continually educating ourselves on how to better allies.

For brands, the social media backlash should serve as a call-to-action. Don’t be influenced by the threats of boycotts. Stand by your beliefs and values as a company. Brands, particularly huge consumer brands, have vast amounts of marketing budget at their disposable. That means they have the money to develop both incredible pieces of content AND generate the reach of this content across multiple channels. It’s a time (well, long past the time) to show support for the Sainsbury’s ad (and any other ad that includes people who aren’t just white) and amplify it. Amplify the ads of businesses owned by black people. Put money where your mouth is – act like most companies said they would when the Black Lives Matter protests were brought into mainstream media eye.

For Pink Digital, we’ll soon be doing our round-up of our favourite Christmas ads and in a bid to do what’s right, will be only including those with diverse casting. To make sure you don’t miss out subscribe to our posts and keep an eye on our social channels.

And, if you’re interested, here’s the now infamous Sainsbury’s ad – which by the way, we love!