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    MARKETING REPELS PROJECT MANAGEMENT Marketing brings creativity, and Project Management brings control. Combining the two is challenging, and delivering a tidy marketing campaign is only possible with a balanced mix of skills and experience. Creativity doesn’t tend to like boundaries, but in order for a project to be delivered on time and within budget, creativity needs discipline. Communication isn’t difficult, but it’s key; getting to know your clients, syncing creatives, and managing workloads keeps the project moving to schedule and budget. It’s about time. And time is not messy. It doesn’t jump, backtrack, pause or slow down. Focused, consistent and methodical planning ensures that a project is developed and implemented with ease, right? Lets see. Draw a line from brief to plan Draw a line from communication to clients Draw a line from clients to creatives Draw a line from creatives to ideas Draw a line from ideas to client presentation Draw a line from ideas to development Draw a line from developments to client updates Draw a line from development to implementation If you join all of the lines above, you’ll have a smooth continuous line, or project, right? Wrong. If you take all of those lines and curve, misdirect, double-back and link to another point, you take a linear sequence and turn it into a web. Project management is not a series of unconnected words or plans. It cannot be just about discipline, planning, overseeing or management. Great project management is about flexibility. Each project and client is unique, and a plan needs to account for this. Projects don’t move in a generic straight line, and you can’t just tick off a neat list of tasks. It’s more like a circle with a web of lines in between. And the end needs to go back to the beginning. The final outcome needs to be checked against the brief, to ensure that the original objectives have been achieved. Project management is about knowing that the straight lines will be crossed out, curved, rubbed out, moved and shortened; being prepared for unexpected changes, and having the experience to detour from the plan but keep the project progressing forwards. Messy projects will fail, and projects without flexibility will also fail. The difference between a messy and flexible approach comes with experience, communication, knowledge and organisation. It’s devising a logical strategy, and implementing it creatively.


    WHAT IS BRANDING? Branding is generally described as a company’s ‘identity’, or a set of guidelines to keep written and visual materials consistent across all platforms. It’s a uniform worn by anything you see, a voice heard across all copy, and a personality people want to befriend. Yes, it sets the tone and look of everything related to your business, but when branding gets really clever, it’s more than a superficial identify; it becomes a thought process, or ethos, that consumers want to take ownership of. Hold that thought. Let’s start by breaking it down into its three core areas: visual, written and strategic. WHAT IS VISUAL BRANDING? It’s what people see, the aesthetic representation, or design choices. Think web design, logo, typography, art style, image composition, and colour palette. These choices visually connect everything you publicise, and help people make quick associations with your brand. It needs to wink as people pass by, but then have enough substance to make friends and keep them too. Any material relating to your company is created according to brand guidelines, and is given one last branding badge before it is published or printed. Why? Because without it, everything would exist in isolation, and without purpose. WHAT IS WRITTEN BRANDING? How your brand talks. Develop a tone that is approachable and reflects your business, and implement this voice consistently across all platforms. It’s about putting out messages that easily communicate what you do, in a style that will appeal to your audience; think web copy, email content, social media content, article writing and brochure content. Consistent language choices and tone become the familiar voice of your company. The more familiar you seem to your audience, the more inclined they will be to talk to you. To be familiar, the tone needs to be consistent across printed and online marketing content. Anything produced by, or associated with, your company should sound instantly identifiable. It’s all about the brand voice; nail the tone, and people will make quick, subconscious connections between your content. And if they keep hearing you, they’ll keep thinking of your brand. WHAT IS POSITIONING? So you’ve got your visual and written branding, but what do you do with it? Where will it be seen, and by who? What do you want people to think of when they see your brand? How can you achieve this? Positioning is all about strategy; finding, targeting and exposing your demographic to your brand. Help people engage and relate to your brand, and want to become part of its culture.. WHAT KIND OF BRANDING DO I NEED, AND WHO SHOULD I GO TO? When a company says they offer branding, they might only be referring to one or two types. If you have the messaging and copy, and want to manage the positioning of your brand, look for a design agency or independent graphic designer. For a new website, expect to pay a credible freelancer between £850 and £2500. This will get you the front-end design, or what users will see. Check if they recommend or work with a developer too, as they’ll need to code the designs into the platform. It depends how big the website is, but expect to pay anywhere between £600-£2000 for a decent developer. If you can find an experienced copywriter who’ll take on the project for less than £800, you’re doing well too. Some agencies offer brand messaging and design. Tell them what your company is about, and what you want to communicate; they’ll turn your scribbles and ideas into designs and words, and produce guidelines to keep the branding consistent across all platforms and materials. You’ll get templates to help you make future marketing materials quickly and independently too. Agency prices vary dependant on size, location and project scope, but expect to pay anywhere from £11,000 to £60,000 for a complete branding project.


    WHY SO COMPLICATED? Marketing is not complicated; it’s just an interesting conversation. Conversation, not monologue. With at least two people talking. It’s not about static poses, and pretty, forgettable faces, it’s about leaning out of the picture and asking questions too interesting to ignore. SO, STRIKE UP A CONVERSATION. THEN WHAT? Make friends. Hearing people’s questions, and answering them clearly, intelligently, and with some kind of personality should do it. What is your business trying to say? Who do we tell? And what questions will your audience want answering? When marketing nails these points, businesses become people, products becomes usable, and selling become fun.

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