Navigating Marketing Activity through Covid-19

Without question, 2020 has been one of the most challenging for SME’s, multinationals and just about anyone who owns or runs a business. In particular, hospitality, leisure, tourism and retail have been some of the hardest hit sectors. However, for those in utilities, telecoms, pharmaceuticals and tech, business has remained less affected by the pandemic.

Although the outlook for 2021 remains uncertain, now is the time to start planning your marketing activity to ensure your business not only survives, but thrives next year and beyond. A common misconception regarding our industry, is that it is not a considered advertising medium for SME’s with a limited marketing budget. However this is not necessarily true, and it is perfectly feasible to run a small targeted campaign for under £500.

Focal Point can take all the stress out of planning your next advertising campaign – we will look at which formats are best suited to your target audience, contact numerous suppliers for sites and availability, navigate through multiple spreadsheets, map locations, calculate minimum spends, diarise artwork deadlines and chase your printers – so you don’t have to.

The out of home industry operates a 90-day refund policy, offering a safety net, if for any reason you decide to postpone or cancel any booked activity. Why not contact us for a free no obligation quote for your business and get positive about 2021? Our team of dedicated and experienced account managers look forward to handling your enquiry.

If you need any further advice or guidance about “Out of Home” advertising, why not give us a call on 01256 767837 or fill in the form on our ‘Contact Us‘ page.

Client Account Manager – Job Vacancy

job vacancy advertising media out of home ooh

Based in Theale, we are a small but highly professional Media Agency specialising in Out of Home Advertising. A vacancy has arisen for a Client Account Manager to help with the processing and planning of client campaigns. Our working hours are 9 – 5.30 Monday to Friday. Essential core skills include: good computer literacy (Word & Excel), excellent communication skills, a confident telephone manner, experience of office administration (including high-quality level of literacy & numeracy) and good organisational skills. You must be able to handle pressure and working to tight deadlines. A media background is useful, but not essential as full training will be given. Competitive Salary and 25 days holiday a year (plus bank holidays).

To apply: please send your CV with a covering letter to richard@focal.co.uk

What Goals Have You Set For 2019?

advertising company out of home outside adverts

Since I set up my advertising Agency in 1987, I am constantly amazed by how few businesses goal set or even understand it. Without goals in our lives, business or personal, we pretty much just aimlessly wander through life with no direction.

I was fortunate enough to be introduced to a personal development programme when I was 24, nearly 40 years ago, and have followed this through my personal life and my business life since that time. Let me give you a couple of examples that you can probably relate to.

  • Most of you would have booked a holiday 6 or 12 months in advance. You know what it will cost and you would know how much you need to save per month up to the departure date to pay for the holiday. Guess what? If you don’t save the money for the time its due to be paid, you aren’t going.
  • Another example may be losing weight. We have all done it on probably more than one occasion, and for example, we set ourselves a goal to lose so much weight before we go on our summer holiday. We then break that down to a weekly amount to lose, as its easier to break any goal down into bite sized chunks. So we have a long term goal, maybe a year or a few months away and then we break this down to monthly, weekly or daily goals to make sure we stay on track. The danger is if we don’t stay on track we then either have to lose 10 kilos in the last week (because we did nothing beforehand) or we give up months before because we didn’t have the discipline.

Goals setting is worthless if we don’t have the discipline to follow through, and we do have to accept responsibility for our own actions. If we have discipline in our lives, we will succeed. If we don’t we wont. We cannot blame someone else for our failure. There will be loads of opportunities for us to give up our goals and then we blame someone else. Guess what? If you don’t succeed you have either set your goals too high or you lacked the discipline and responsibility to follow through.

Goals need to be a stretch but also achievable. If we stretch too far then we give up before we have started; bite sized chunks, remember?

Look at where you currently are, and then look at where you want to be before the end of the year, and work backwards. So where do you want to be by the end of Q3, then Q2 and finally Q1, and then look at where you currently are and where you want to be by the end of Q1 and make sure you have a goal that’s achievable by the end of March and then break down that 12 weeks into weekly or daily goals and make sure you do what needs to be done to achieve that 12 week goal – no excuses. If you can stay on track for the first 12 weeks, you will have set the stage for the rest of the year.

Goal setting is vital to your success in business. Don’t be average, AVERAGE PEOPLE HAVE WISHES AND HOPES, SUCCESSFUL PEOPLE HAVE GOALS AND PLANS.

Wishing you all success for 2019. Make a difference

Three Billboards Outside Ebbing Missouri

Three billboards outside Ebbing Missouri…
or they could be anywhere, and it doesn’t even need to be three!

lots billboards trying to get noticed

I can’t believe I have just watched this film for the first time, and it made me think about how the advertising industry works and how powerful a simple message can be on pretty much any form of advertising.

If you have not seen the film, the main actress purchased 3 billboards close to each other to create a very powerful message, and these were the strengths of the message:

The billboards were not cluttered with information – the message was big and bold and to the point.

The billboards were close to a local town and promoting a message to cars driving into the town and promoting someone (a business) in the town.

The message on the billboards proves the power of advertising if the message is promoted in the right way, in the right location, and to the right people.

So if I am going to give you any help about how to get the best out of your advertising campaign it will be this:

1. Have a very big, powerful bold message or attention-grabbing headline
2. Keep the message simple
3. Target your message to the right people
4. Use an advertising medium that will get your message to the right people

I am fully aware that all of the clients we deal with do not have a bottomless pit of money for their advertising campaigns, so money needs to be spent wisely. You need to plan the campaign well in advance to make sure you get the right message and also if you are doing any other forms of advertising – TV, Radio or press for example –then you need to make sure that the various messages speak to each other to ensure you maximise your advertising spend.


If you need any further advice or guidance about “Out of Home” advertising, why not give us a call on 01256 767837 or fill in the form on our ‘Contact Us‘ page.

Ollie the Outdoor Helper (OOH) Has Come to Help!

8th December:
So late on Friday, just before the weekend, a small little elf arrived from the North Pole and he told us his name was Ollie the Outdoor Helper #OOH. He said he was sent by Santa to help us get through the busy period running up to Christmas.

 

11th December:
However he may not be ‘helping’ after all, as he seems just a distracted by all the new office equipment he has never seen before. As you can see over the weekend he got up to all sorts of naughty behavior from eating the office chocolates and even managed to get inside the post box, until he fell out!

     

 

12th December:
So he can’t get up to any more trouble in the office, Richard decides to take him out and about to show him what Focal Point Advertising get up to when not in the office.  So Ollie gets to see some roadside advertising posters on a rather wet and cold morning after starting with a nice hot coffee.  As you can see he is trying to enhance a 6 sheet poster campaign by giving advise about the content of the poster.

  

 

13th December:
So when everyone arrived at work this morning, Ollie was again found keeping himself entertained by swinging on the Christmas decorations in the office. Seems it like he can’t be left on his own!

Sometimes Business is About Winning Brownie Points and Not Making Money!

sometimes business is about not making moneyI have been in business for 30 years and something someone said to me very early on in my business adventure was “Don’t worry about making money in business. If you know you have a product or service that is in demand, then concentrate on supplying a service and the money will follow”

I usually find when you worry about making money it does not happen. Your creative juices do not flow. What you do is put more pressure on yourself and you can’t think straight or positively.

If you just focus on supplying the best service you can and make sure you have plenty of “irons in the fire”, business will follow. I have been in business since 1987 and this thought process has never let me down. I am not saying it is easy or that business in a bed of roses, and there will always be highs and lows but with the right attitude and belief in your product or service and belief in yourself there will always be more highs.

I remember when I had been in business for just over a year and we booked an advertising campaign for a local bus company and then due to situations outside my control I could not honour the campaign, so I rang the client and asked if I could make an appointment to go and see him. At the appointment I explained the situation and offered to write him a cheque there and then with a full refund for the campaign. This was at a time – being so new in business – that I could ill afford to do this but it was the right thing to do. The client said to me that in all the years he had been in business no one had ever done this or been that honest with him. It was the right thing for me to do.

I am always on the side of my customers and if there are ever any issues with their advertising campaigns, I will always fight for them. Just recently, we booked a campaign for a client, and our supplier did not put their posters up and effectively they lost 9 days from a 14 day campaign. Our supplier offered us a 50% credit. No one did the maths and this just did not stack up, so I went back to my supplier saying that due to them not putting the posters on display, this massively affected my client’s campaign as they had booked other advertising to go along with the poster campaign.

I told my supplier that I wanted a complete refund of the campaign even though there were still 5 days exposure of the posters. I also told them I wanted a complete re-run of the campaign totally free of charge at a later date in the year. After a long drawn out battle we achieved this. I refunded the client the total cost of the campaign. We lost a decent amount of profit but without doubt, we won a few brownie points and I firmly believe my relationship with the client is stronger as a result of this.

Believe in your product or service, believe in yourself, make sure you have plenty of leads and always do the right thing.



If you want someone to be fighting in your corner, why not give us a call on 01256 767837 or fill in the form on our ‘Contact Us‘ page.

Job Vacancy – Sales Administration

Update Friday 3rd November 2017: This position has now been filled – thank you for your interest.

job vacancy advertising media out of home ooh

 

Based in Theale we are a small but highly professional media agency specialising in the outdoor and out of home sector.

A vacancy has arisen for a sales administration person to help in the processing and planning of the sales orders.

Working 20 to 25 hours per week over 4 or 5 days. You will have good organisational skills and be used to working in a small busy office environment. You must be able to handle pressure and work to deadlines using good communication and computer literacy skills. A media background is useful but not essential as full training will be given. Hours can be flexible and there will be opportunities to work additional hours to cover staff annual leave.

Please send your CV with a covering letter to richard@focal.co.uk

Outdoor Advertising – what has changed since 1987?

celebrating 30 years of Focal Point Advertising

I set up Focal Point Advertising on September 4th 1987 (although the business wasn’t called Focal Point back then) and we have seen an immense amount of changes in the industry over the last 30 years. So what has changed?

Well I have got 30 years older for one and have been working in the industry for half of my life. I guess to some degree I have been in outdoor longer than most people in the industry, and between me and my team we have nearly 55 years total experience in planning and booking outdoor and out of home advertising campaigns, so it does make us a very experienced and great company to work with if you are looking to book campaigns.

Another big change is that we had no internet, no websites, no emails and we had to phone everyone to make appointments and sales. It was not easy for people to find us, so we had to be very proactive and this is why we are still proactive today. We have never been a reactive company. It was not until the early 90’s that we had internet connection, an email address and web site. Back then it was dial up – no always on super fast broadband – and we had to unplug our telephone line to plug in the internet cable and make a cup of tea while it connected. Computers back then had a hard drive of about 16mb – wow, how did we manage. We used to use an A4 diary stuffed with bits of paper and by about March the spine had completely broken.

Back in 1987, there were no 6 sheet posters. All bus shelters and other small format free standing and wall mounted units were 4 sheet posters. You don’t see many of those around any more other than primarily at both overground and underground train stations. There are still a few independent media owners who own 4 sheet sites and this sized poster offers really good value for money. Over time all the 4 sheet bus shelters have been converted to 6 sheet which is – as best as I can describe – a European 4 sheet.

As regards these larger format posters, there were hundreds of small independent media owners who owned tens or hundreds of 48 sheet poster sites so it meant we had to make a large number of calls to build an inventory for our clients. There was also a large number of 16 sheet posters (one third the size of a 48) and there are not many of these around today but where there are they also offer great value for money.

I think one of the greatest changes is the number of what I call “non traditional” forms of outdoor advertising have come into being and there are so many that the “outdoor industry” has been renamed the “out of home” or “OOH” industry. It almost seems that anywhere that has a bit of blank space is being covered with advertising, and today there are over 50 services in the out of home sector. This is, what I believe, has kept the industry so interesting and fresh. It also means that so much more can be more targeted than ever before.

I loved the industry when I set up the business back in 1987 and I still love it today. I have made some great friends over the years, have some great customers and have a great team supporting me.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who has been a part of my business over the last 30 years and if you are not a supplier or customer of ours yet, I hope you soon will be – Kind regards, Richard Knight.

I can guarantee we are a breath of fresh air.


If you need any further advice or guidance about “Out of Home” advertising, why not give us a call on 01256 767837 or fill in the form on our ‘Contact Us‘ page.

Keys to a Successful Business Relationship – Trust, Honesty and Reliability

 

advertising business style honest trust reliable

Over the years, many times I have been asked what I look for when I am dealing with suppliers and I always say the same thing – someone I can trust, someone I can rely on and someone who is honest.

Life and business relationship are so much easier if we can work with people with those traits. Focal Point has been built over the last 30 years with a firm foundation on clients being able to trust us, rely on us and by being honest.

We are all very busy and often inundated with emails on a daily basis and building strong relationships with our customers and supplier is vital for continued business success and we have always been strong on responding to our clients when they email us a brief or an enquiry. If we cannot get round to acting on it straight away, we will always send them an email acknowledging we have their email and will get back to them as soon as we can. It’s a little thing but makes a massive difference.

If this is something that is important to me when I am dealing with suppliers on a personal level or business level then I know it must be important to my customers and it is key when building strong relationships.

Honesty is vital and should be part of everyday life for all of us but we all know some people aren’t honest. On the odd occasion that a campaign hasn’t gone to plan or a poster has not gone up when it should have done, we will always strive to get something of higher value for our clients. I believe that sometimes when things go wrong – as they will from time to time – if they are sorted as a matter of urgency and with the right attitude, then your relationship with your clients is that much stronger. They need to know you are on their side and fighting their corner.

We all need to be trustworthy and if you say you are going to do something then you do it. Its better to underpromise and overdeliver than over promise and under deliver. Your clients need to be able to trust you.

If, as consumers, we like to buy from people we trust, people we can rely on and people who are honest, then why should a business relationship be any different. If we can’t run a business with these 3 traits, then we should probably question if we should be in business in the first place.

So if you want a company working with you to help you put together an outdoor advertising campaign, a company you know you can rely on, trust and who will be totally honest with you, then you need to deal with Focal Point Advertising.

You will find us a breath of fresh air. We look forward to hearing from you.


If you need any further advice or guidance about “Out of Home” advertising, why not give us a call on 01256 767837 or fill in the form on our ‘Contact Us‘ page.

How Important is Your Billboard, Train Station or Bus Shelter Artwork?

poster advert shop queue commute advertising A couple of weeks ago I was having a coffee in a well known high street outlet with my IT support team and we were talking about numerous way to promote my business and get the message out via social media specifically, and what could we let our clients and prospective clients know that probably no one is telling them.

We were looking out of the window and directly opposite on the other side of the high street was a 6 sheet poster (same size as a bus shelter) on the front wall of a high street supermarket. It occurred to us that neither of us could read the message and even by taking a picture with our phones and zooming in, we could still not read any of the advert and could not even make out what the product was. We were only about 9 metres away!

I was always told when I set my business up in 1987 that an advert should first and foremost have an attention grabbing headline or a strong call to action at the top of the advert to make people want to read further and contact details at the foot of the advert. I started to wonder if any design agency is asking enough questions of their clients when they ask for design work to be done. Question like “What is this design for?” Where is it going?” “Who is going to see it?” How far away are they going to be from the advert”?

I am constantly amazed at how poor some design is for posters in my industry. It is almost like a designer has pulled an advert from a magazine and put it into a poster format with text so small sometimes that if you were right on top of the poster you would still not be able to read it.

So lets give you a bit of a rough guide to hopefully help you. Lets assume you are preparing an advert for a supermarket store, bus shelter or a train station. What might be good to know before you launch into the design is how far away are people going to be from your advert and how big does the text need to be to enable anyone to read the advert. I have met clients on a number of occasions who are looking to conduct a poster campaign at their local train station. I meet them at the station and we look across at the opposite platforms and I ask them to tell me what the smallest text they can read on the posters. We then go across to that poster and measure the size of the font they can read and I would then suggest this is probably the smallest font they need to have on that poster. Translating this back to a sheet of A4 paper, and if you are looking to do a 4 sheet (60 inch x 40 inch) or a 6 sheet (70 inch x 48 inch) advert, then we really cannot afford to have any text on a sheet of A4 smaller than 1 to 1.5 cms in height.

So I am saying to you that if your designer is not asking you where the advert is going, please tell them and please meet with the company who is promoting space to you and get their help as to the size of the font you should be looking at before you even launch into the design.

I have attached a couple of examples and I am not going to comment on whether these are good or bad adverts. You make up your own mind and please bear in mind what I have said.

Did you think about the advert artwork poster

 

Why not connect with us on Social Media and stay in touch for further useful articles (links in the header at the top of the page). Alternatively if you need any further advice or guidance about “Out of Home” advertising, why not give us a call on 01256 767837 or fill in the form on our ‘Contact Us‘ page.

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