Backing Buy North-East Initiative

Aberdeen and Grampian Chamber of Commerce has launched a new campaign to persuade businesses in north-east Scotland to source more products and services from within the region and in turn support fellow local firms.  The aim is to retain more money in Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire and give the local economy a shot in the arm.

buy-north-eastBuy North-East is being run in conjunction with Aberdeen City and Aberdeenshire councils, Scottish Enterprise and Aberdeen Journals and encourages local private, public and third sector organisations to procure more items from local suppliers.  The Press & Journal and Evening Express newspapers are highlighting the importance and benefits of sourcing products and services locally with regular editorial articles.AberdeenHundreds of businesses of all sizes and operating in all sectors have signed up to the initiative, including ourselves here at Innes Associates.  As an Aberdeen-based advertising, marketing and PR company we know the importance of using local suppliers.

Explaining why Innes Associates is backing the campaign, managing director Charlie Innes said: “We have always aimed to use local suppliers as much as possible.  Working with suppliers who are on our doorstep allows us to build strong relationships with them.  Nothing beats discussing a project face-to-face and having that personal relationship can help when last minute projects crop up.

Charlie Innes, managing director, Innes Associates

Charlie Innes

“Our network includes freelance designers, photographers, video production companies, gift suppliers and printers, and although each varies in size, they all contribute to ensuring we have a diverse economy here in the north-east.

“This campaign gives us the opportunity as a business to explore how we can support more north-east suppliers to fulfil our own needs and those of our clients.  Businesses should also be encouraging their staff to examine where they spend their money and inspire them to shop locally where and when they can.  If we all make some small changes it will have a positive knock-on effect right down the supply chain.”

For more information on Buy North-East visit www.buynortheast.co.uk.

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Innes Associates Launches Summer Adventure Campaign

Summer has always been a time for adventures. Whether it was building sandcastles and exploring rock pools at the seaside during your six-week school summer holidays or jetting off from work for two weeks on the sun-kissed beaches of the Mediterranean, discovering something new has always been part of summer.

#InnesAdventures ideas - Scotland

This summer we’re launching something new and have some great prizes up for grabs. Over the next eight weeks we want to come along with you on your summer adventures. We know that you’ll already have your suitcase jam packed, so we’ve something far more manageable for you to take on your travels, an #InnesAdventures card.

What we want you to do is pick up one of our adventure cards and take a selfie with it while you’re on your holidays. Once you’ve taken your selfie upload it to Twitter, Facebook or Instagram using the hashtag #InnesAdventures and add the location of your snap.

Our competition runs from today – Monday, 29 June – until Friday, 21 August and we’ll be awarding a prize for the furthest travelled selfie and the quirkiest selfie. If you’re sunning yourself in the Seychelles, exploring China’s Forbidden City or heading off on a road trip round Scotland, make sure your Innes Adventures card is packed and then get creative (within reason as we don’t want you doing anything dangerous just to get a quirky picture) with your photography.

#InnesAdventures cardsFeel free to pass on your Innes Adventures card to family, friends and colleagues and get them involved too.

Instructions

  • Pick up an Innes Associates adventure card and head off and visit some sights.
  • Once you have arrived at your destination, simply take out your phone and your Innes Associates adventure card, and then take a selfie with us.
  • Hold the adventure card with the white megaphone facing the camera, get your landmark in the background and smile.
  • After you have taken your selfie, upload it to Twitter, Facebook or Instagram, or even all three. Include our hashtag #InnesAdventures, and add the location of your Innes picture.

#InnesAdventures ideas - LondonSelecting the winners

We’ll be awarding prizes in two categories:

  • Quirkiest Innes Selfie
  • Furthest Travelled Innes Selfie*
    *Miles will be calculated from our office at 1 Little Belmont Street, Aberdeen to the location of your snap.

The winners will be able to choose from a selection of prizes – including vouchers for cookery classes at the Nick Nairn Cook School in Aberdeen and a champagne afternoon tea for two people at Meldrum House.

Remember, your #InnesAdventures selfie must be submitted by Friday, 21 August.

If you have any questions, or want to get involved, contact Bronwyn on bronwyn@charlieinnes.com or 01224 925051.

Innes Adventure ideas - Dunnottar Castle and Pennan

Innes Associates helps to mark some milestones

Innes Associates at 10It seems that 2013 is quite a good year to be celebrating an anniversary in Aberdeen.  This  year Innes Associates celebrates a decade a business and we’re not alone in reaching a significant milestone.

Also celebrating ten years in business are subsea intervention firm Bibby Offshore and Belmont Street eatery Books and Beans.  Others who are blowing out candles on the top of their tenth birthday cakes are the Press & Journal’s monthly Energy supplement and Aberdeen and Grampian Chamber of Commerce’s Northern Star Business Awards.

This year marks 40 years since the first Offshore Europe exhibition and conference was staged in the city.  Originally held at the University of Aberdeen and called Offshore Scotland, the event has grown into the largest oil and gas production event in the eastern hemisphere.  This year’s event is expected to attract over 1,500 exhibitors and welcome around 50,000 visitors over its four days.

Another Aberdeen business celebrating a major landmark is Roustabout Energy International, one of the leading oil and gas publications in north-east Scotland.  Its first magazine came off the printing press in September 1972 and nearly 41 years later its 500th edition has just been printed.  Thanks to modern technology you don’t have to have a printed copy to be able toread it as its digital version can be read on a desktop, tablet or mobile phone.

Charlie Innes

Charlie Innes, managing director, Innes Associates

It was this combination of advancing technology and significant milestones that led to Innes Associates managing director Charlie Innes putting pen to paper – or fingers to keyboard – to look at how technology and the way we communicate has evolved over the past 40 years.  From telex machines to touchscreens and tablets, and how jobs in the oil industry have changed, are all covered.  To read the full article and have a look at the new look Roustabout Energy International has received to mark the 500th issue visit their website.  You might also spot a dashing young Charlie Innes!

Can running benefit your business performance?

The name McLaren has long been associated with speed and never more so than in the Innes Associates’ office of late…

Our very own PR account manager Ian McLaren recently completed a hat trick of 10K runs held in the north-east and at each of these events – The Glenlivet 10K, Run Balmoral and the City of Aberdeen Baker Hughes 10k – he finished in under 45 minutes. (Well done again!)Ian_McLaren_Race

Like many exercise enthusiasts, Ian enjoys running for a variety of reasons. Along with all the well-documented benefits, there is now a growing belief that working out can help a business’s bottom line as well as the employees’ waistlines!

According to Zest magazine you can increase your mental functions by going running as it boosts blood flow to the brain and helps it receive oxygen and nutrients, making you more productive at work. This theory is echoed by greatruntraining.org, which also states that running is positively beneficial to your grey matter. Their website quotes a recent Swedish study, which found a clear link between high levels of aerobic fitness and better results in an IQ test – making running the ideal workout for a brain boost.

Many businesses today also encourage staff to take on physical challenges in order to raise money for worthwhile causes and, indeed, Ian used his trio of races to gather sponsorship for VSA, one of Aberdeen’s major social care charities.

Increased fitness + increased mental agility + increased support for good causes = a very healthy hobby. Time to grab those trainers?

Small businesses warned not to skimp on marketing

Improved marketing could add value for SMEs.

Improved marketing could add value for SMEs.

Recent research carried out by technology services company Pitney Bowes and the Centre for Economics and Business Research (CEBR) reveals that the SME sector is losing out on up to £11 billion in sales by allowing marketing to slip off the radar. While 77% of companies recognise that marketing is important to the success of their business, a third rate their efforts over the last six months at under five out of ten, with 11 per cent admitting to doing none of the marketing they had planned.  When asked what’s holding them back, SME owners cite time (21 per cent) and money (36 per cent).

At Innes Associates we understand the challenges faced by SMEs and work closely with our clients to develop marketing plans and communication activities that deliver. Keen to chat things through? Simply get in touch to arrange a no obligation consultation.

The full article about the benefits of improved marketing for small and medium-sized companies is available to view here.

Augmented Reality (AR)

It’s been around for a while but we’re hearing more and more about augmented reality or ‘AR’ as it is often abbreviated to.  So what exactly is augmented reality, how does it work and how might it affect the way that you communicate with your customers?  Read on to find out more…

What is augmented reality?

Wikipedia describes augmented reality as ‘a live, direct or indirect, view of a physical, real-world environment whose elements are augmented by computer-generated sensory input such as sound, video, graphics or GPS data.’ 

A shorter – and perhaps simpler – description is provided by Oxford dictionaries. It refers to augmented reality as ‘a technology that superimposes a computer-generated image on a user’s view of the real world, thus providing a composite view.’

Augmented reality is different from virtual reality, where the real world is replaced with a simulated one.

How does it work?

The reasonably new technology of augmented reality blurs the line between what’s real and what’s computer-generated by enhancing what we see, hear, feel and smell.  The basic concept behind AR is to superimpose graphics, audio and other sensory enhancements over a real-world environment in real time.

Perhaps the best way of understanding augmented reality is to experience the technology in action.  You may have already done so without realising it – particularly if you are an IKEA customer.  The Swedish furniture giant’s 2013 catalogue app was the most downloaded branded app of 2012 and featured an augmented reality viewer that allowed readers to use their tablet or smartphone to visualise furniture from its catalogue in 3D, along with related video and digital content.

A recent Business Insider article highlighted some recent clever AR campaigns that achieved what many organisations strive for: They created a positive ‘buzz’ around the brand.  A couple of our favourite examples are highlighted below:

Ford shows off some of the features of its Grand C-Max via an outdoor AR campaign that offers the next best thing to actually test driving the vehicle.

Food processing company, Heinz, uses augmented reality technology from blippar to allow customers to access a virtual cookbook by scanning their Heinz ketchup bottle. All of the different recipes used ketchup as their “secret ingredient”.

How can I use AR to communicate with my audience?

As smartphones and tablets are becoming increasingly sophisticated and their use more prevalent, augmented reality offers organisations another opportunity to bring their brands and products to life for prospective customers.  AR is therefore likely to secure a place in many companies’ advertising budgets in the future. It is estimated that the market for augmented reality in the US will reach $350 million in 2014, compared to $6 million in 2008.

As with many types of technology, there is always the risk that some will use augmented reality incorrectly, or in a ‘gimmicky’ fashion.  When used properly, however, AR has huge potential as part of an organisation’s marketing efforts. By its very nature, it allows individuals to interact with the brand and its products or services.

Augmented reality also offers new opportunities for non-commercial purposes, such as educational or charity campaigns.

Two very different examples below show how a charity has used AR to highlight the serious issue of domestic violence, while National Geographic embraced the technology to introduce members of the public to ancient dinosaurs.

Non-profit domestic abuse campaign

National Geographic’s live augmented reality campaign

If you would like some assistance with your organisation’s communication activities, please get in touch.

Offshore Europe 2013 – it’s just around the corner

Make your stand space visually appealing.

Make your stand space visually appealing.

Offshore Europe 2013 is just around the corner but don’t let yourself be driven around the bend by leaving everything until the last minute.

The secret to making the most of exhibitions, events and trade shows is to be prepared.  Time spent now is time saved later – and costs can be more easily controlled if you have the luxury of time to play with.

The very first question to ask yourself is whether the event is right for your organisation? Stand space at major events is priced at a premium – and these events can be very worthwhile if you exploit their potential – but make sure it makes sense for you to be there.  Don’t feel pressured just because your competitors are exhibiting.  Remember you can always ‘walk’ the event instead.

Once you’ve made the decision to exhibit, your next priority is to secure the best possible site within your budget.  If you are a regular event exhibitor, chances are you’ll be given first refusal for the space you occupied last time. If the event is a new one for your organisation, get in early to try to give yourself as many options as possible. Bear in mind that a small stand with good footfall might be a better investment than a larger one that no-one passes.   It may sound obvious but paying for the stand space is only the start of the exhibition spend – you may also need to purchase or hire furniture, audio visual equipment, literature and giveaways so don’t blow the budget at the outset!

Once the space is secured, you can turn your thoughts to stand layout and design.  Never underestimate the importance of getting these two aspects right.  An uninspiring or tired-looking stand sends out the wrong message about your organisation and its products or services.  If you can’t be bothered to make an effort when trying to attract new business, then potential customers aren’t going to trust you to go the extra mile for them.  Work on making your stand space visually appealing, open and accessible and this will translate into increased visitors – and potential new sales leads.

Similar principles apply to your stand literature and giveaways: Put some thought into these at the outset and make sure you spend your budget on well designed literature and promotional products that people will read or use!  We’ve all heard tales about cupboards full of leftover giveaways – but equally you don’t want to run out of brochures halfway through an event.  Think through your targets for the event – how many leads are you expecting to generate? You’ll also need to brief your colleagues on the exhibition stand, so they are clear about who makes a suitable recipient and who is a timewaster.

Preparation for an exhibition doesn’t just refer to organising your stand and the associated marketing materials, you also need to promote your attendance and stand number to your target audience in advance.  This might include an electronic or physical mailshot to existing and potential clients, or something as simple as including an extra line in your email signature, stating your stand number and the event title and date.  Remember also to make full use of the publicity opportunities on offer from the event organisers, such as the exhibitors’ manual, trade show website and any event newsletters.  At the event itself, there may also be a press office on-site that you can target with any newsworthy announcements.  (Yet another aspect of the preparation is to ensure that you’ve thought about topics for press releases in advance and briefed your public relations agency accordingly!).

Seems like a lot to think about? Innes Associates has been working with clients to maximise the benefit they get from exhibitions, including Offshore Europe, for years.  If you’d like support with any aspect of your next event, drop us a line. We’d love to help you to prepare for success.