Functional Business – Marketing & Networking

Our studio director Laura Bevan was invited to speak to South East Business Magazine to share her insights on how branding helps businesses stand out. She spoke about her leadership style, her drive for personal growth and the invaluable lessons she’s learned from networking. Below is an extract from the full article which can be found at the link below. 

“One of the most important things a company can do is market itself. Not only does marketing raise brand awareness, but it can also boost sales, expand a business and engage customers. And we all want that, right? There’s no denying it – the pandemic significantly shifted the direction of marketing strategy. To come out the other side, many businesses had to change how they operate and communicate. Now, as we begin to recover from one crisis, we are thrown into another – a potential recession, which is expected to last several years. Whether it’s managed internally or externally through an agency, marketing will play a critical role in supporting and growing your organisation through this challenging period. 

Laura Bevan, studio director at Hythe-based digital design and marketing agency Oak Creative, encourages business owners to consider their brand purpose. “Your ‘why’ is your brand purpose,” she explains. “It is the intangible driver of your business and your passion, leading you to your overarching goal. Authentically communicating your purpose with conviction makes you totally unique and resonates with your customers”. Once you’ve identified your ‘why’, you can work on activities such as refining your audience and honing your messaging. You can consider every brand touchpoint on your customers’ journey to tune into their needs. Every piece of copy, every image, every interaction needs to be true to your brand.”

Oak Creative prides itself on partnering with ambitious brands. Last year, the team delivered a rebranding project to unite a group of companies into one. They set a whole new direction and begin a culture change. “When a business is going through a merger and acquisition, it can be a time of excitement and uncertainty for all stakeholders,” says Laura. Adding a rebrand into the mix might seem like yet another change, but very often it is necessary. Rebranding allows you to find out what employees like and dislike about the current brand and culture. Externally, it presents an opportunity to inform customers about the new business operations and set-up. Namely, what it means for them and how it will benefit them. Brand values and vision can be redefined to ensure business culture is exactly where you want it to be.”

Hiring a branding agency like Oak Creative gives a business access to a range of skills and a wider network. “When businesses are growing or when budgets are tight, there is the temptation to hire one person to do ‘everything’. By appointing an agency, you can be assured of well-considered and professional outputs for maximum impact. Something unique to Oak Creative is that we use peer networking to help our own business and our clients. Collaboration and connection with real people is key! There’s a buzz in knowing we are helping businesses grow and we invest a lot of time getting to know our clients so we can build collaborative Partnerships.”

Although marketing and networking are separate entities in the world of business, they do, very often, go hand in hand. Marketing and branding centres around communicating with your target audience and building confidence in your services. Meanwhile, networking is about building up your target audience. Developing strong, long lasting relationships and spreading the word about your company, brand or service.

Networking is fundamental to business success. It offers an unrivalled opportunity to source new ideas and perspectives, exchange the latest practices, and share grievances and solutions.

Networking raises your personal profile. You are no longer a faceless name at the bottom of an email, but a person others can connect with. This, in turn, boosts your business’s profile and amplifies your services or products.” page 24

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