u.can cook with James Martin

January 9, 2011 § Leave a comment

PR agency Grayling have teamed up with Celebrity chef James Martin and Canned Food UK to create and promote the first APP to promote cooking with Tinned foods.

The app will have recipes with tinned food as a meal or snack. The app is also said to highlight the tinned food as a source of both nutrition and convenience.

Steve Thomas, chairman of Canned Food UK, on the PR Week report said: ‘How people access information has changed significantly, and we want to make it as easy as possible for consumers to learn about the benefits of canned food. The audience we communicate with now are using digital and social media more frequently – from silver surfers to parent bloggers. As a result, we have always tried to use digital content such as webcasts, podcasts, webchats and downloadable information to engage with consumers through channels including YouTube and our website. The iPhone app is another effective way to do this.’

The app is free so all for all you iPhoners, wiz in the kitchen or not, try it out!

Student Treats, my ‘Big Idea’

January 9, 2011 § Leave a comment

A proffessional report I did about 6 months ago outlining how I would market my ‘Big Idea’ Student Treats.

 Summary

This is a report into the marketing strategy of a new online company ‘Student Treats’. This company enables friends and family of students at university to choose personal items to send in a gift wrapped package anywhere in the UK. The items include food, stationary, home ware, toiletries and specialised items. The unique selling point of this company is that the packages are completely personalised and the customer can choose, online, exactly which items will be sent to the student, making it completely personalised.

The company’s demographic is ages 18+ this will appeal to both friends of students but also parents and grandparents too. This does pose one of the main threats to the company; it is likely many of the older demographic will not be familiar with the internet or online shopping, this may mean the company loses some of the custom it expected to have. Other threats lie in the competitive prices of groceries and home ware in supermarkets and also similar websites that sell pre chosen hampers or packages for students. Opportunities for the company will arise in seasonal periods such as Christmas and Easter, also at the beginning of each academic term. With the aid of a PESTEL analysis, the factors in Student Treat’s Macro Environment have been identified. The main being environmental, Student Treats will endeavour to use recyclable materials when gift wrapping and will encourage customers to recycle.

To market Student Treats effectively, it must be advertised in diverse areas, student websites such as UCAS and The Student Room will take priority so students and parents will be informed, it will also be advertised on social networking for the younger segment and magazines for the older segment of the demographic. Promotional discounts will be advertised during seasonal times and at the beginning of each academic term to ensure business and promotion throughout the year. It has also been advised to advertise in the places discussed above.

It has been recommended that Student Treats observe and challenges both financial competition from supermarkets and similar websites to ensure at all times the company is aware of its competitors. Student Treats should also observe and continue research into competitors such as supermarkets and similar websites to themselves.

 Introduction

This report is an internal report and is a marketing plan for the new online service Student Treats; this is an online shopping product which enables personalised packages to be sent to university students by family and friends. The website enables customers to browse a large number of products and select items to put in their package, for example toiletries, kitchen utensils, fancy dress and food items. The website also contains pictures of the gift wrapped products how they will look when they arrive with the recipient. The main selling point of this product is that the packages are completely personalised, customers can pick a minimum of five items from the wide range of products for their package so the student receives exactly what they like. Packages can be sent within two days of ordering and specialised packages can be sent for special occasions such as birthdays, Christmas and when a new academic year starts. This report examines the product and its marketing environment to create a marketing strategy to successfully brand and deliver the product online.

 Marketing Mix:

Product Student Treats is an online service allowing friends and family of students to send personalized packages anywhere in the UK. The contents of the package is chosen online and includes food items, home ware, stationary and specialized items such as fresher’s dressing up pieces. The packages can contain whatever the customer chooses and a minimum of five items can be chosen.
Price The prices of the items will aim to compete with those of large supermarkets such as ASDA. Profit will be made on the content of the packages; these will be bought in bulk. Profit will also be made through advertising on the website.
Place The product can be accessed on the internet, the structure of the website will be easy to navigate and will appeal to the wide demographic of 18+. With a large growth in internet shopping, the majority of the demographic will be able to access the product easily.
Promotion With a wide demographic the product will be promoted in a wide range of places. These will include social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter to appeal to the 18-40 demographic and in magazines such as Woman and Home to appeal to the 40+ demographic; this will be amplified during seasonal periods. It will mainly be promoted on UCAS sites and The Student Room. Promotional discounts will be advertised at the beginning of each academic term, ensuring business throughout the year. Direct marketing may also be used. Information about discounts and special offers may be sent to customers who have a log in account via email or direct mail. This will be done primarily in seasonal periods and at the beginning of the academic term. 

  Secondary Research

Internet research

Competitors in the market: research into the pricing and branding of similar companies, ensuring Student Treats have competitive prices and innovative branding.

  • thecookskitchen.com
  • unipacks.com
  • theunibox.com
  • unihampers.com

 Supermarket Research:

Competitive prices on products Student Treats are likely to make most profit on: the most competitive financial competition for Student Treats will be supermarkets such as ASDA; this research will enable Student Treats to recognise the pricing of the products that are likely to be most profitable to these.

 Findings

Primary Research

Marketing Mix

Taking information from the four elements analysed in the marketing mix, Student Treats can assess how each element and all the elements combined can promote and deliver the product effectively.

 SWOT analysis

Strengths: The strengths in this business lie in the pricing and the possibilities of expansion into other markets. The company will be buying all its products in bulk from their manufacturers, this will therefore mean buying cheaply and selling at lower prices, competing with similar brands and online sites. As it is mainly selling gifting ideas there are opportunities to expand into personalised gifting for children and also adults, sending personalised gifts to people at work or school. The company could also expand its student site by selling more expensive products such as rice steamers, slow cookers and electrical goods such as portable speakers.

Weaknesses: The main weakness in the company lies in pricing. Bulk buying may insure lower pricing; however Student Treats may find it difficult to maintain these low prices. A way to combat this would be to take some items that d not sell well off the website and eventually just sell products that are most profitable. Another issue would be storage space as for a new company; the amount of product and storage space to buy may be hard to judge, this could mean too much storage space and over spending.

Opportunities: Social and Cultural factors could have a positive impact on Student Treats. Firstly, due to the current economic state, it has been shown that many more are applying to university and higher education, this, for the company, means a higher number of people in their demographic. Another major opportunity is the huge growth in online shopping, with sites such as ebay and Amazon leading the market. Fishbein’s Theory suggests that demographic profile has a large effect on attitudes towards online shopping, research was conducted to assess whether gender, age, job designation, marital status and salary were factors in the amount one shops online. Research proved that people between the ages of 29-39 shopped online more than most (Hashim, 2009), this is a large section of Student Treat’s Demographic, parents and family members of students. The company will cater to seasonal demand, for example adding festive items to the site at Christmas, this will create a higher number of sales and the company will be targeting the older generation who may find it hard deciding what to buy a student.

Threats: The older generation, who will be targeted at seasonal times, may not partake in online shopping, if this proves to be the case the company may consider, in seasonal periods, advertising in news papers such as The Daily Telegraph and magazines such as Good Housekeeping and Woman and Home. A major threat may be that similar sites that sell pre made packages move on to a more personalised approach and may sell their products at a lower price, if this was the case Student Treats may have to decrease the number of products that do not sell. Many of the products sold on Studenttreats.com are products that are sold at supermarkets with very competitive prices; this indicates one of the main threats would be potential customers buying the products from supermarkets. To reduce this, Student Treats, through advertising, would increase emphasis on the gift wrapping and free delivery of the product.

    Recommendations

  • Student Treats must price their items competitively and challenge the prices of supermarkets such as ASDA and TESCO.
  • Student Treats should aim to be perceived as an environmentally friendly company and whenever possible make materials they use recyclable.
  •  For an effective marketing campaign, Student Treats must promote itself on UCAS online and various social networking sites. The company must also effectively promote itself to the older segment of its demographic by advertising in magazines and websites aimed at that demographic.

Splendid!

January 8, 2011 § 2 Comments

I have a keen interest in Public Relations and after writing an essay on PR on the web I came across Splendid Communications. The company is totally modern and exciting and this shows through their contemporary website and fab social media awareness. I am so excited to have been offered a placement there this summer.

Splendid are a communications agency with offices in London, New York and Australia. Specialising in creating communications within brand strategy, PR, social media and event marketing. Splendid have successfully worked with clients such as Marmite, Smirnoff, MAC and Spotify, creating films, events and hype for the companies!

Some of Splendid‘s most memorable work is with Marmite. Not only did they persuade Simon Cowell to declare his love for it on TV but they also cleverly devised a campaign during the General Election featuring two  parties the “The Love Party” and “The Hate Party“. The campaign was posted over all media platforms and was a great success! I myself, support The Love Party!

Splendid have a big involvement with music and events and  won the 2010 Music Week Award for Best Music & Brand Partnership for Smirnoff’s Creative Grants music event programme. They also organise a four-day music experience in Seattle, Bumbershot Music USA!

Splendid work closely with Smirnoff Creative Grants and encourage promoters to apply by telling the inspiring story of  Radio 1 DJ and Bestival King Rob da Bank, check out the video…

Splendid are so good because they are so aware of how fast the world is moving. They have superb awareness of social media and post info and job vacancies on their very active Facebook page! I am so excited to work with such a modern and innovative company!

Are Your Family Getting Social This Christmas?

December 13, 2010 § 2 Comments

It’s happened to many of us. Logged onto Facebook to find a friend request, not from a nice boy, nor cool new friend from work but from one of our parents. Mums, Dads, Aunties and Uncles and even Nans are getting on the social media bandwagon and it’s becoming more and more common to log onto Facebook and find a friend request from an older family member. Most of us cringe when we get our first photo comment from a relative or see that they’ve uploaded some hideously old family photo and tagged several more. But despite our teenage embarrassment is this a good thing or not?

When asked ‘Why do you use Facebook?’ most of us will answer ‘To keep in touch with friends and find out what’s going on’. Well, maybe our parents and our other senior family members are doing exactly the same thing. And it’s not just Facebook they’re jumping on, I’ve had numerous conversations with my brother, sister and parents on Skype and regularly chat on MSN Messenger.

As usual, there will be lots of catching up and arranging things with friends over Facebook for me this Christmas, so will my parents and family be doing the same thing? Will we be scrapping the tradition of phoning my Grandparents on Christmas day and send them a quick Facebook message instead? Or perhaps we’ll just email my Aunties to let them know we liked our presents.

An article on twittown states “In August of 2009, Nielson Polls reported that Internet users admitted that they were now spending about 17 percent of their surfing time on social networks. This time is up triple the amount from the 2008 poll“. It’s so true, we do spend a ridiculous amount of time surfing the web and playing on various social networking sites and yes, it is great that our families can stay linked on the web and stay in touch so easily, but is this social media boom ruining the good old one to one conversation?

We can’t get away from the fact that it is. Traditionally, the scene of a living room of an evening would see chatting, cups of tea and a television set playing the daily soaps and family programs. However, I have often found now my housemates and I will sit in the living room glued to our laptop screens, chatting over who wrote what on Twitter or some controversial photos uploaded to Facebook. Similarly, when at home my family and I will often have some kind of laptop, phone or games console in our hands while we probably should be chatting about how our day treated us and what everyone’s plans for the weekend are.

I don’t think we’ll be able to get away from the growing world of social networking, and I don’t want to, it’s great and a key ingredient in the new media world I want to get involved in. But this Christmas Day and festive season, I’m going to try to talk more and perhaps phone a friend instead of Facebook chatting them. Will be a bit more effort, but it’ll probably be a better conversation.

Appmania

November 29, 2010 § 1 Comment

After an interesting Web Communication seminar and the purchase of my new iPhone 4 I have become slightly obsessed with downloading mobile apps, and keep managing to find more and more on literally everything from BBC News to Twitter to WordPress to Games to Topshop and my personal favourite, the Philadelphia cheese recipes app. But how have these applications at the touch of a button become so popular?

I am a huge fan of the app, intact I’m using my WordPress app to write this now! Apps such as Facebook  have enabled me to keep up to date with social networking constantly and having news apps such as BBC and Sky News means can read the headlines and choose a story to read in seconds. I just wonder how many more can actually be created, and soon will everything we tap into be condensed into an icon on our screens?

Google apps such as Google Desktop , a desktop search application used to search for files local to your computer, became popular purely because they made life easier for the user. But, for me, apps have were made what they are today when my friend bought an iPod touch.

Apple claim that their App Store is the ultimate source for mobile apps, with a huge 300,000 apps in practically every category and that’s with more being developed all the time! Browsing through the App Store, it is truly amazing just how many apps exist. The categories range from Entertainment, Lifestyle, Finance, Sports, Travel and loads more. The Apps can be very entertaining and although I’m not a gaming girl, iCopter and TapTap revenge are extremely addictive. Most importantly, apps  enable the user to receive information such as breaking news, recipes, cinema times and programs such as Spotify to their finger tips from the familiar icon the touch screen. Click on the links to see just how many there are, and get downloading if you have a iPhone or iPod touch, loads are free!

Apple aren’t the only one’s with the App bug, other smart phones such as Blackberry enable very similar Apps to be downloaded.

So, it would seem  Apple and other corporations are constantly updating and modifying their apps to make them even better, and through the growing popularity of Apple technology and the iPhone, I believe more and more apps will be developed because right now, they do make life a lot easier and my mobile phone a lot more useful. I love apps.

A Photo Story:

November 9, 2010 § Leave a comment

Our First Adventure                                                                                                                

In July 2010 eight friends who met at University the year before took a plane from Bournemouth airport to Valencia, to a music festival, for a holiday to remember.

Our new home for the next nine days would be a very hot and very fun campsite in the small town of Benicassim, the campsite was filled with noise and excitement, and we knew our time here was going to be fun.

Our days were spent dozing in the sun, eating fresh baguettes from Lidl (with questionable fillings) and lazing on the beach and in the sea.

When the evenings came we made our way to the arena, the atmosphere was electric and the stages and stalls were always filled with people, our highlight was seeing Gorillaz, they played on the last night, with a huge band and mesmerizing accompanying animations.

When the sun finally set on our time at the festival we travelled to Valencia to explore for a few days before returning to England, this time in much more comfortable accommodation. Valencia is an amazing city, we admired the buildings and churches for hours.

On our final day we visited the L’Oceanografic Art and Science Complex, the complex itself was a futuristic maze of blue water and sunlight beaming off the curved glass structures, none of us had ever seen architecture like it. We spent the day in the beautiful aquarium and ended our holiday with a dolphin show!

 For all the photos from ‘Our First Adventure’ visit my flickr site.

Timeline: The Talent Show

November 4, 2010 § Leave a comment

In the 1960s Andy Warhol said “everyone will be famous for 15 minutes”, now 40 years later as long as you can sing, dance, or charm Simon Cowell you’re already there. How has this ‘Talent’ Show phenomenon developed?

1935: ‘The Original Amateur Hour‘, airs on radio in America. With contestants such as Frank Sinatra and Gladys Knight, no glitz, no glam, just the voices of the young hopefuls.

1948: Al Fisher produces ‘The Original Amateur Hour‘ on television showcasing comedians, tap-dancers, singers, jugglers, anyone with a talent and a dream.

1976: ‘The Gong Show‘, produced by Chuck Barris. Three celeb judges scrutinising contestants, gong sounded if they’re not happy. Much ‘Britain’s got Talent’.

1983: ‘Star Search‘, created by Al Masini. Showcases singers, dances, comedians, circus acts and fashionistas hoping to show off their skills to the public.

1990: Talent shows see a decline and game shows take the Saturday night spot on the television.

2002: ‘Pop Idol‘, talent shows get revamped. Showcasing both good and bad auditions. Talent shows go interactive. Public vote for who goes and who stays. After watching the contestants through their journey. Will Young wins and lands a record deal.

2004:’ The X Factor’, produced by Simon Cowell, viewers follow contestants singing through the process from auditions to live shows with massive live audiences. Viewers vote for who stays and who goes. Huge viewing figures, takes over Saturday and Sunday evenings. Winning contestants get a record deal with Cowell’s company, other high-ranking contestants may also get offered a deal depending on their popularity with the public.

2007: ‘Britain’s Got Talent’, produced by Simon Cowell auditions are to a live audience as well as live shows, three judges scrutinize contestants and viewers vote for their favourite, winning contestants get a chance to perform on the Royal Variety Show.

2009: Susan Boyle, overnight media phenomenon. ‘Britain’s Got Talent’ audition showcased in the paper, on the internet and all over the world in 48 hours.

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