We’ve created a new section in all our regions for Master of Ceremonies.
Professional MC Mark Jones has also given us his Top 10 tips for being an MC and how to make it look easy!
- Anticipate! That’s a word that works so well in so many circumstances, as you’ll see. If you’re going to MC / host an event, try and anticipate everything that could possibly happen. For example, if you have to do a Q&A with a well-known personality, a sports star, perhaps, remember that they are out of their comfort zone and not as relaxed or confident as they are out on the pitch. Talk to them beforehand and ask them for any lead-in lines or questions which can set them up to tell their favourite anecdotes or stories. The audience have come to see and hear the sports star and their stories, not the MC’s. Also –important bit here- ask them beforehand if there are any topics that they DON’T want to talk about. Maybe a recent bit of scandal or some potential transfer speculation that they could do without being mentioned. In extreme cases, it might even be subject to sub judice laws. Prison food is not recommended (apparently).
- Do your homework (again, that word ‘anticipate’ comes into play). Do plenty of research on your subject, much more than you’ll actually need or have time for, and don’t take everything on Wikipedia as gospel! I can recall hosting a rather prestigious, black-tie event in London and introducing an eminent Peer of the Realm, as ‘Lord *** of Little Hampton’ (not his real title, obviously) and his opening line was: “Oh, you’ve read Wikipedia, have you…?” Thankfully, he was very gracious about it, and it gave him a new opening story about Wikipedia and how they consistently got his, and many of his titled friends’ details wrong. He actually thanked me afterwards for giving him a new opening anecdote! I believe he still uses that story to this day. But remember, that’s the exception to the rule; you may not be so lucky and get away with it.
- ALWAYS try and mingle with the guests and make sure you make an appearance in the Green Room and make a point of showing your face to the organisers, the speakers, the sponsors (especially!) and have a chat with them. Make them feel at ease and comfortable and fully aware that you are in charge and you have everything under control, prior to what can be, for them, a nerve-racking event, especially if it’s their first time. Check if they need anything that they may have forgotten earlier… also check that there’s always some water and a glass available for each speaker on stage.
- Get to the venue early and check the sound and lighting equipment well before any guests arrive. It’s not just Pink Floyd who need to do sound checks. Make sure that every corner of the room can hear what you have to say clearly; if you have a (cordless) radio mic., (and make sure it’s UHF and not VHF), go around the room yourself and listen how it sounds for yourself. Listen for any ‘drop out’ areas where the microphone cuts out or doesn’t work clearly or distorts. Then, if you do wander round the room whilst speaking / hosting the auction, you know to avoid that part of the room. Also, the Production Company will light you up on stage and make you look a million dollars, but –more importantly for you- can you see your script on the lectern? No? That’s because it’s usually in shadow. Make sure there’s a bright light on the SCRIPT AREA of the lectern, otherwise you may be adlibbing during the event sooner than you anticipated. There’s that word again… ‘anticipate’… and even more fundamentally, check and make sure there’s actually a lectern there in the first place!
- One regular and easy-to-overlook item is the script itself. Yes, you’ve taken time meticulously writing it, re-writing, re-re-writing and subsequently editing it to the point where you’re totally confident and proud of its content, message and flow. But (and it’s so much easier to do these days with a computer) don’t forget to ALWAYS use a noticeably larger font and DOUBLE SPACING (use at least 1.5 on the ‘Spacing’ option in ‘Paragraph’). It’s easy to read in the in the daylight and privacy and seclusion of your home or office… but nowhere near as easy in front of several hundred of your peers when you’re amplified and illuminated on a stage. Trust me, it’s worth the additional few pages’ worth of paper and printer ink. And on the subject of scripts, try and learn as much of the text as you can; nothing is more off-putting than a host who is staring intently down at their script and seemingly ignoring their audience. Look up, get your head up, and make eye contact with members of your audience. Always make your audience feel involved.
- Make sure that the event organiser sends you a definitiverunning order prior to the event (a few days prior, ideally – NEVER on the day as you arrive at the venue) make sure it’s a DEFINITIVE (and matching the script) running order too. You’re the one in the spotlight who the audience perceive to be ‘in charge’ and know what’s their talking about. Go through it in your mind; check everything works logistically. There’s that word ‘anticipate’ again. If you have to collect money in for a raffle or for an audience participation-type game, make sure that’s done early on in the proceeding; early enough so that there’s enough time to collect the money in before the event starts. You’d be surprised how many event organisers put the cart before the horse on that old chestnut. And on the subject of ‘knowing what you’re talking about’, check any potentially suspect pronunciations beforehand (again, ‘anticipate’), and if you’re still not sure (you really should be at this point) say the name clearly and with confidence. And then keep your face straight…that always works for me (well, usually)!
- In your opening address, before the “Good evening, welcome to…” you’ll have needed to check if there are any ‘Rt. Hons.’, ‘Sirs’, ‘Lady Farquar-Ponsonby-Smythe’, or MP’s/JP’s/OBE’s/MBE’s; and always check if the Mayor is to be introduced as ‘THE Lord Mayor’, ‘The Mayor’, ‘His Honour, The Mayor’, ‘The Lady Mayoress’, or simply as ‘the Mayor’. Virtually every town or city has a different title for their Chief Executive. It rarely cheers them up if you get their Official title wrong. Again, as I said before, check pronunciation of people’s names; even simple, short names such as ‘Maher’, or ‘Gallagher’, can be pronounced in so many different ways. And make sure you always mention the Sponsors! They’ve probably spent a small fortune supporting the event, so make sure they get mentioned appropriately from the outset, AND in the ‘Thank You’ / ‘Credits’ and the end of the event. Keep them happy, you’ll keep the organisers happy (they’re the ones who are paying you, remember) and it should be easier for them to get sponsorship for their next event (…and you might just get re-booked too!) Also, and here’s the word ‘anticipate’ again, check with the organiser if there are any dignitaries or famous faces in the audience who may need introducing individually during your opening remarks. **Also check that these people actually want to be introduced. Sometimes they may want to stay off-radar and incognito so as to simply enjoy themselves on a more informal level.
- You should already know well before the event who you need to introduce –and in what order- for their speeches. Make sure each speaker knows their time allocation (especially politicians). If they’re going over their allotted time, the MC should discreetly stand in an obvious position (that is obvious to the over-running speaker), so that they know that you’re aware that they’re over-running. MPs and Politicians are notorious for over-running their allotted time. Give them an inch, and they’ll pinch your ruler! Explain firmly (and politely) before the event starts, that there are several speakers and everything must fit into a specific and tightly monitored time schedule. I always hark back to my radio days; on my breakfast shows the 8am news starts at precisely 8am (not at five minutes past or five to… Chris Evans / Zoe Ball take note!) Also ask each speaker before the event if there’s anything specific they would like added into their introduction, so that they can pick up on it with their opening remark… and then they’re off! (See para. 2, above.) Check what their formal, Official Title is, and introduce them in this order: “Now, to tell us the latest on his recent trip to Chipping Sodbury and its financial ramifications, please welcome the Chief Financial Officer of British ***, Sir Frederick Smith, OBE”. Remember: Topic (if necessary), then: Job Title / Company / FULL name. The speaker’s name must ALWAYS come last, as this is used as the cue for lighting, intro music, cameramen… and applause. Just watch how the Oscars do it!
- Ensure that the stage is easily accessible for all your speakers. A small step up the platform is usually provided, but it’s worth checking whether any of the people who may come up to receive an award perhaps, is in a wheelchair or disabled. Avoid any embarrassment and by anticipating (there’s that word again). Even in these enlightened ‘PC’ times, ALWAYS help a lady on to the stage. Long frocks and high heels are not conducive to climbing stairs (I’ve found I’m told!)
- Taking all that into account, by the time you say “Good evening…” all the hard work has been done. In football terms, if you train and prepare well during the week, then the match at the weekend should go well. It’s the same with events, just less mud and bruises. Oh, and a noticeably smaller salary.
Most importantly, ENJOY YOURSELF! If you do, your audience will too. Obviously, the opposite also applies; if you’re not enjoying yourself, the audience won’t; they have been known to squirm in their seats at an embarrassing host**. After a while, it all becomes second nature… but a list always helps.
**not me, obviously.
For more information: www.mcmarkjones.com
If we had to pick the biggest, buzziest buzz phrase of the year, it would have to be integrated marketing. Some call it omnichannel marketing, some prefer multichannel attribution, but whichever way you look at it, it’s all about functioning from a single perspective. Putting all your eggs in one basket can have multiple benefits for your business; here’s why we’re loving integrated marketing, and you should be too.
What does ‘integrated marketing communications’ actually mean?
In a small business or start up enterprise, chances are there is one person who is responsible for the majority of marketing efforts. This means that the messages, language and images remain consistent across all channels. This is what we call integrated marketing.
As businesses grow, or in companies which are already larger, there may be several people involved in marketing work. There could be sales teams, online and offline marketing teams, external agencies and more. This can often mean that the marketing message becomes watered down, and consistency muddied by the sheer variety of entities involved.
Bringing things back together, to function as a whole rather than separate parts, is what integrated marketing is all about. Numerous studies have shown that this teamwork based approach can be highly beneficial for a variety of reasons, helping to eliminate confusion and build increased loyalty among the target audience.
Why is integrated marketing important now?
Marketing integration has always been beneficial, but it is becoming more important today than it ever has before. There’s a good reason for this, and it’s all about digital.
In the past, marketing channels were pretty much limited to direct marketing such as phone or post, as well as advertisements on TV, radio and in print. With only a handful of channels to occupy, it was easy for brands to maintain a clear, concise message across all touch points.
But, in the modern world, there are infinite possibilities for marketing to occur, and for it to become confused, messages muddied, and loyalties smashed. Indeed, many brands rely on external agencies to manage various parts of their activities, often with different specialists in place for different outlets. The proliferation of channels for marketing has made it more important today than ever before that we strive for integration, to ensure a clear message at every touch point.
The benefits of integration
Marketing integration is not hard to do, but it can require something of a shift in culture if you’ve become accustomed to a disparate way of working. To make integration work for you, you’re going to need to be committed, consistent and confident it will get results. To help with this, here are just a few of the many benefits you can expect to enjoy when you take a more integrated approach to your marketing efforts.
- Better results: Traditional, disparate marketing will see businesses and their agencies planning separate campaigns for each marketing stream. Press releases, advertising, sales promotions and direct marketing will all have their own stomping ground, never the twain shall meet. With an integrated approach, however, all the components come together to work as one big, beautiful, shiny machine. The information from press releases is reinforced by articles and blog posts, advertising messages are bolstered by these outlets, and follow up using direct marketing further supports the communication, shepherding leads like moths to a light.
- Increased efficiency: Being consistent in your messages will not only make the overall impact stronger and more effective, it could save you money too. Images can be created once, then used across a variety of channels. Copy can be perfected, then repurposed for different media. And rather than using a host of different agencies, each with different specialisms, you can opt instead to work with one provider who is an integrated marketing expert. This could save you money on agency fees, and will almost certainly cut the time cost compared to dealing with multiple providers.
- Boosted brand awareness: Interacting with your customers in a consistent, focussed manner is beneficial for both your brand and the loyalty your audience feels towards you. Creating the same message across a variety of touch points serves to reinforce your messaging, helping the customer to feel comfortable and confident in who you are and what you stand for.
- Repeated success: Do you think your customers hear you the first time? They don’t. In fact, according to experts, the average customer needs to hear the message seven times before it really gets through. Integrated marketing helps you to reiterate the same message in a variety of different ways, so the chance of having it heard and acted upon is increased.
- Customer satisfaction: By integrating your campaign, you can be confident that customers will receive the same message, no matter where they encounter your brand. This means you can communicate with your customers to their preference, whether that’s by email, social media or otherwise, and be confident that they are receiving your key messages loud and clear.
- Organisational benefits: Achieving consistency in communication is always going to be beneficial for any business. It helps teams work together, saves wasted time and effort, and helps to streamline processes so that everyone works better together. By adopting an integrated approach to marketing, you can ensure that teams all function well together, and that there is less risk of confusion between departments, agencies and individuals.
There are many benefits to be had when you start to look at an integrated approach to marketing. To find out more about how this could work for you, or for help in getting started, why not get in touch with us today?
Whether you are an agency, marketer or small business owner, outdoor advertising (OOH) delivers value and results with one fell swoop. But how much does it cost to best utilise the world’s oldest advertising medium?
Cost-effective OOH ad booking
Whatever you call it – outdoor advertising, out-of-home or simply OOH, the principle is the same. OOH is the advertising you come across when outside of your home. As a result, it’s a fairly broad medium. Think roadside billboards, bus shelters, shopping centres and more.
If you’re looking to add outdoor to your marketing campaign, the size, location and length of ad play are some of the things that will affect what you pay.
The easiest and most cost-effective way to purchase OOH space is through an online booking service like Bubble Outdoor. With over 80,000 National ad spaces in every size and place you can think of – Bubble has you covered. But when it comes to choosing where and what, we’ve put some ideas together to give you an idea about how to budget.
How much does OOH cost?
There are several factors that affect outdoor advertising costs, including location, size, length of play and whether you have your own design ready to go or need some help. Typically, a standard billboard costs £400-£500 for 2 weeks and smaller advertising panels like bus stop shelter advertisements cost £1800-£2220 for 2 weeks.
When we talk about standard billboards, we’re talking traditional paper and paste billboards. But digital is becoming increasingly popular. Largely due to its flexibility and the fact that DOOH can capture attention in a way that drives interaction from your target audience.
Not sure which format is right for you? Here’s a guide to the pros and cons of the different types of outdoor advertising. Meanwhile, below you’ll find a cost comparison of the lot to help you get started!
6 sheets are one of the most popular sizes and can be found almost anywhere. When you learn what 6 sheets are – you’ll start seeing them everywhere. They are the most numerous size of outdoor advertising in the UK.
When it comes to local messaging, 6 sheets dominate in the heart of towns and cities, making them the ideal choice.
You can book your own 6 sheet campaign from £234 per two weeks, including print and placement.
Did you know there are now over 4000 digital bus shelters across the UK? Just like with Rail and Underground OOH options, you get a captive audience, with panels sold more like online ads!
You can choose the number of plays on a group of screens, to target your audience at prime locations across the country.
Packages of 100,000 plays of your creative start at just £5,000.
Billboards, or ‘big posters’ come in two sizes. Choose from 48 sheets (20ft x 10ft) and 96 sheets (40ft by 10ft) to give your brand the space it needs to sing.
These beauties are spread across the country and are ideal for making that big announcement. Most areas, from small towns to big cities will have the billboard space you need to make an impact.
Billboards mean the traditional vinyl poster version of this size. They can also come as backlights or digital in the same size for an extra ‘wow’ factor.
For the 48 sheet, you’re looking at paying from £484 per two weeks, including print and placement.
For the 96 sheets per two weeks, including print and placement, you’d pay from £884.
These premium billboards are lit from behind and printed on a single piece of vinyl. This gives a seamless display with the same mega sizes you can expect from a traditional billboard (48 sheets or 96 sheets). With backlight, you can also find some in portrait sizes, Mega 4’s and Mega 6’s.
If this is the campaign that really needs to make a splash – then this is what you need. Backlight billboards are big, bold, high quality and exactly where you need them – in front of your target audience.
To make the most of this premium format, the price comes down to size.
For 48 sheets you’d pay from £2000 per two weeks, including print and placement. 96 sheets are priced from £4500 per two weeks, including print and placement.
Then portrait Mega 4’s are priced from £2500 per two weeks, including print and placement, while portrait Mega 6’s are from £4000 per two weeks including print and placement.
Large Digital Billboards
When it comes to digital OOH, the billboard is the biggest and best. It’s up to you to choose which size and shape best suits your goals. Your options include Portrait Digital Super 6’s, Landscape Digital 48’s and Digital 96’s.
Digital billboards are fantastic if you want a reactive campaign that you can integrate into live data feeds. You can use this mega-space to display changeable things like the weather, traffic updates or countdowns to sales periods.
The best thing about digital, is you can buy flexibly to suit your target audiences ideal time, like specific mornings, afternoons or evenings, a day, a week or longer.
They’re also extremely affordable, priced from just £80 per day.
The smaller sibling of the digital billboard, you’ll find this size everywhere. With all digital options, you have the unique ability to choose flexible display periods.
Available in golf clubs, malls, post offices, petrol stations and many other places, these premium displays are sometimes called D6’s, and they’re ideal for targeting local audiences.
Even better – these screens are extremely affordable, available from just £100 per two weeks.
There are over 20,000 phone box locations across the UK. These traditional gems can be found almost anywhere – whether you’re heading for the seaside or shivering on the high street.
Phone Boxes are great for long-term branding opportunities, as they’re low cost with big impact.
You can book phone box advertising from £143 per two weeks, including print and placement.
Malls and shopping centres
Anyone who has spent any time in malls or shopping centres knows that most shoppers are there with buying in mind and time on their hands.
If you want to communicate a clear message with a large number of consumers in the mood to buy – this is the place to do it!
You can pick classic printed posters or state-of-the-art digital screens, use mall furniture, Adlifts or banners to get your message across.
Advertising in retail heaven is priced from £234 per 2 weeks, including print and placement.
What better than the moving messenger board of towns and cities – buses! These big beauties are perfect for branding and area targeting. Although not ideal for location-based or directional campaigns, since you can’t buy buses on individual routes.
What is great about buses, is all the different sizes and spaces you can purchase. From smaller posters on the rear to wraps that cover the whole thing. It’s hard to be missed on bus OOH.
Because there’s so much variation with sizes and bus routes, it’s hard to give an average price for this service (or pinpoint them on the map!) Contact the expert Bubble team for more info
The London taxi has made its way across most major cities now. You can use taxis to reach your ideal audience in Birmingham, Bristol, Cardiff, Coventry, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Leicester, Liverpool, London, Manchester, Newcastle, Northampton, Norwich, Oxford, Peterborough, Reading and Sheffield.
Taxis give you great coverage, and there are so many ways to use them to suit your campaign. You can do a full wrap, supersides or digital taxi top – whatever suits!
Because taxi offerings are so varied, it’s hard to narrow down a price for you here. Best to speak to the Bubble team directly if taxi OOH is the one for you.
The underground is a brilliant way to reach a captive audience on their daily commute. You can choose underground and metro stations in London, Newcastle or Glasgow – as the rapid transit network extends to other cities outside London.
Whether you’re booking a single site or rolling out an area-wide campaign, advertising on the underground gives you that all-important brand recall. We’re creatures of habit after all!
Because underground advertising can be anything you want it to be, it’s hard to give you an average price here. Jutst contact Bubble– we’re happy to help plan something to suit you.
As the urban areas get more and more busy (and expensive), even those who are cashed up are heading into the country and commuting. Rail is now the way a significant part of the country get to work, especially in London and the South of the country.
Since the wealthy commuter audience peaks at open and close of business, your ad will get all the target audience attention on the way to and from work. Potentially leaving a bored office worker time to Google on office hours?
For special events you can take over the whole station, or keep it subtle with local ads promoting small businesses. There’s something for everyone. For something to suit you – get in touch with Bubble’s planning service directly for a custom solution.
What you can expect from your OOH campaign
OOH advertising offers a range of formats and targeted locations to capture the attention of your ideal audience.
As digital allows more and more customisation of the locale, savvy marketers can use mobile, wireless, and digital OOH technologies to offer creative and innovative ways to interact and transact with consumers.
When it comes to brand awareness, and targeted, relevant advertising based on where your target market lives, works and plays – OOH is highly targeted.
Any extra costs?
The design of your outdoor advertising is everything. No matter how strategic you’ve been with the location of your ad – your creative should never be forgotten. If your ad isn’t communicating effectively, it’s not working as hard for you as it should be.
The cost of a billboard design should be factored into the budget for your OOH campaign. Crafting a message that connects in format, location and language is the key to effective OOH. It’s worth hiring a designer with extensive experience in creating billboard ads. This can cost from £150-£800.
Bubble offers a design service for £100 +VAT when you book advertising space through our website. Or if you’ve already nailed that high-impact creative – just upload it as a PDF when you place your order.
You probably know about the many benefits of using promotional products for your brand image, perception, awareness and promotion. They help convert prospects into customers and promote your brand; and also encourage customer loyalty.
Promotional products often serve as a business card and even formal representation. So, when selecting promotional products, at least one of the questions you should ask should be – How would I like our brand to be perceived?
Our thanks to the British Promotional Merchandise Association for information used in this article.
Quality and price.
Promotional products vary in terms of functionality, quality and price. However, not all promotional products are equally effective.
Generally, the cheaper and lower quality the products used, the more difficult it can be to make the branding elements when applied to the product look good!
What goes wrong?
When promotional products don’t perform, it’s very often down to them being poor quality. Here at Purple Promotions we focus on high-quality, but come across a lot of poor-quality products from other suppliers and think these are the top three issues:
- The visual quality of the branding imprint or print is noticeably poor.
- The colours don’t match those of the brand.
- The product is flimsy, obviously cheap and tacky and the expectation is that it will probably break after a short while.
Where you need to work to a budget – and who doesn’t, our top tip is, where possible, to buy fewer high-quality products than a higher quantity of poor-quality products.
No need to sacrifice quality for cost.
Clearly, you need your promotional products to convert well, to deliver a fair return on investment and oil the wheels of doing business with your customers. Consider the statistics from a recent study conducted by Promotional Products Association International (PPAI).
- 52% did business with an advertiser after receiving a promotional product.
- 55% kept their promotional products for over a year. (The products were probably high-quality).
- 1% reported that their impression of an advertiser was more favourable after receiving a promotional product.
These statistics show that you should carefully select the products you use to promote your business – from the higher-quality end of what’s available, because it’s unlikely that success can be achieved with cheap, low-quality promotional products.
Taste, this has to be the first thing to be concerned about when it comes to food. However, what happens when you are trying to sell food, or tempt people to your restaurant, and you have to rely on look?
This is where food photography comes into its own. Food photography, as the name suggests, is when you take photos of food that you have to serve. Whilst this may be obvious, what you may not know is why it is so important.
As professionals in a variety of photography approaches, we understand what it takes to take the very best photo and the importance of these images. So, with this in mind, we have put together our guide to the importance of getting food photography right.
It is a chance to showcase what you can do
When you are a chef of any type, showing off your food is part and parcel of the job. What better way to show off what you can create in your kitchen then by taking photographs of it? Of course, it won’t show the flavours and taste, but it will give a visual impression of what you can do.
You can use them to promote particular dishes
Have you found that some dishes are not as popular as others? Or perhaps you have some bestsellers that you want to give an extra boost to? No matter what product is, by having a beautiful picture of it to use online, you can create more of a buzz about it and ensure that you secure some more sales.
It is nice and easy to share on social media
Social media is incredibly important when it comes to promoting a restaurant, catering or hospitality business. After all, word of mouth is key promotion and this is something that social media relies upon. When you take images of your food, and they look good, you can use them to share on social media. A good looking dish will then be shared elsewhere, and you will see that your reach will grow and grow, and hopefully your sales will increase too.
All in all, food photography is important because it gives your audience a chance to visually taste your food. Of course, this doesn’t compare to grabbing a fork and digging in, but it definitely can help to draw people in to visit you.
Think that it is about time that your culinary creations are shown in the best light possible? If this is true for you, then why not get in touch with us? Whilst we may not be able to help you to cook the perfect dishes, we can make sure that they look good on your website, social media and menus too!