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Posts Tagged ‘Marketing’

“Advergames” are subject to regulation too

Monday, June 4th, 2012

As you must be aware, businesses have started to advertise their products via computer games on their websites, and also on social media websites and as downloadable content or apps on mobile devices.  If you too are thinking of developing an “advergame” in order to advertise your goods or services, please note that as with any other on-line advertisement, you must abide by the CAP Code (the UK Code of Non-broadcast Advertising, Sales Promotion and Direct Marketing).

In 2008 for example, The Advertising Standards Agency (ASA) investigated a football game available on the free games website Mousebreaker.  The game in question featured Carling lager branding, and was linked to the Carling lager website.  Carling’s parent company, Coors, had paid for the link.  The game, it turned out, was effectively an advert for an alcohol brand, and because over 25% of Mousebreaker’s audience is under the age of 18, it was held to breach Rule 18.15 of the CAP Code.

If you have any concerns or queries regarding the legality of your marketing strategies, please contact Jo Tall at jo@offtoseemylawyer.com.

Developing Your International Potential – Exporting Success Programme

Thursday, May 31st, 2012

Are you looking to expand your business overseas?  If your business is based in Greater London; has been trading for over one year; and employs less than 250 people, you will be eligible to apply for a programme which has been developed by North London Business to help businesses develop their international sales opportunities.

The programme comprises up to 12 hours of one to one advice with an Export Advisor, guidance and practical support to:

–          Explore new export markets;

–          Maximise your sales techniques to promote your products abroad;

–          Develop your website or portals for online sales, with minimum cost;

–          Prepare an effective export marketing strategy;

–          Understand export documentation and incoterms; &

–          Find distributors or agents abroad.

The programme is partly financed by the European Union, and is free for you to enrol.  However you will be expected to invest your time and resources on the project, and the 12 hours of support must be delivered within 3 months of your initial referral date.

If you are interested, please contact North London Business for an Exporting Success Enquiry/Referral Form on 020 8885 9203 and speak to Roya Jahanbin; or E-mail roya.jahanbin@northlondonbusiness.com

Is your promotional material legal?

Monday, May 21st, 2012

As many of Off To See My Lawyer clients are running businesses related to the health industry, we thought you may be interested to hear the outcome of a particular recent Advertising Standards Agency enquiry.  Six complaints were made about the claims of Miruji Health & Wellbeing’s product “Sit & Slim”.  Miruji Health & Wellbeing had made claims in an advertisement in the local press, and on their website, that their “slimming and therapeutic massage chair and programme” had been clinically proven by the NHS to induce weight loss, relieve stress, and lower blood pressure.  It even went on to say that the chair could provide a solution to obesity.

The ASA established that there had in fact been no formal NHS clinical research.  A casual study had taken place at a mental health hospital among staff participating in a free trial.  The hospital in question did not treat obesity.  Therefore this aspect of the advertising claims being made by Miruji Health & Wellbeing was a misleading endorsement, and as such held to breach two of the CAP Codes.

With regards the claims that the chair could treat high blood pressure, the ASA considered that high blood pressure is “a medical condition for which advice, guidance and treatment should only be conducted under the supervision of a suitably qualified health professional”.  The advertisements therefore also breached one of the CAP Codes (- in this case, the “Medicines, medical devices, health-related products and beauty products” rule).

On the subject of obesity treatment, and the claims that customers could lose weight using the chair and programme alone – the advertisements were held to have breached the CAP Code relating to “weight control and slimming”.

If you have any concerns about the legality of your own advertisements or the claims you make in your promotional material, please contact Jo Tall via jo@offtoseemylawyer.com and she will provide you with appropriate advice relating to the CAP Codes, and any other legal issues that require consideration.

Female Entrepreneur Focus: Gennese Williams

Wednesday, May 16th, 2012

The test for a true entrepreneur is to see whether the person in question has turned an adverse situation into a successful enterprise.

When Gennese Williams lost the sight of both her eyes in 2007, she decided she could no longer work for anyone again.  Far from burning her bridges, however, she built upon her existing experience in beauty, music and management to start her own business, MGW London.  She merrily believes in the mantras, “What you think you are worthy of, is what you will attract”; and “You change your reality when you change your mentality”.  In addition, when times are especially difficult, she recommends taking a break and “switching off from everyone” in order to recharge one’s motivation and creativity.

MGW London is an ambitious management and business consultancy agency.  In addition it has its own in-house production, make up, hair stylists and fashion stylists’ team, and a graphic design team (run by her brother); and together they provide a range of services to manage events, projects and brands.

Ms Williams says that the most effective way of attracting clients is by word of mouth and personal recommendations.  In addition she favours social media as it gives prospective clients “the freedom to check me out before they approach us”.

Her advice to other business owners is to remain dedicated to clients; to “be professional at all times, master your craft and listen to your clients’ needs”; and to “always be steps ahead to achieve the best and don’t sleep until you know the job is complete for that day”.

Event: Getting To Grips With Finance Workshop

Thursday, April 26th, 2012

Where: O2 Workshop, 229 Tottenham Court Road , London W1T 7QG

When: 12 June 2012 from 10:00 to 14:00

How much: £65.00

Johnny Martin has extensive experience turning around businesses such as Baring Venture Partners, JO Hambro and Monument Trust.

Mr Martin will be leading the Getting To Grips Workshop, offering financial advice for setting up a business, working with accountants, raising capital, and cash flow management. Attendees are asked to bring their laptops!

To book your place, visit: www.women-unlimited.co.uk/getting-to-grips-with-finance-worksho/ (Note that for £65, you will not only get to attend the workshop, but you will receive a few added extras and bonuses!)

Crowdfunding – a viable alternative for raising capital?

Tuesday, April 24th, 2012

Aiming to bring businesses and backers together, US crowdfunding site Kickstarter specialises in film, art and design.  It allows for people to pitch ideas for which they need financial backing, and for potential backers to come forward with offers.  A deadline is set by which a certain funding target must be met.  If it is not met, backers’ pledges are returned and no money transactions take place.  And if the funding target is met, the party who has pitched its project retains complete creative control, but Kickstarter retains 5% of the total funds raised.  The backers are given a role in the development of the product; the right to give feedback on its progress; and a copy of the finished product.

Justin Kazmark (Communications Director at Kickstarter) explains, “There’s always a value exchange between creators and the backers that pledge financial support to a project.  In exchange for pledging, backers receive creative rewards, one of a kind experiences and behind-the-scenes access to the creative process as the project comes to life.

Kickstarter was founded on the idea that there is value in the world beyond things that can make money. Ideas should be able to exist because people feel an affinity toward them, not because of the promise of profit.”

San Francisco-based developer Double Fine Productions has successfully raised a phenomenal amount of money by pitching the idea for their game “Double Fine Adventure” on Kickstarter.  It took a mere eight hours for the required £250,000 to be raised by thousands of on-line backers; but people continued to contribute funds for several weeks.  The final amount raised reached £2 million ($3.3 million), and the number of backers exceeded 87,000.  The game will now be developed for the next six to eight months and will be available on PC, Mac, Linux, iOS and android.

Greg Rice (Producer of “Double Fine Adventure”) enthuses, “Kickstarter allowed us direct communication with our fans and ultimately means we’ll be able to make the game we want and also directly benefit from it financially.”  He states that crowdfunding websites like Kickstarter are “getting more and more important…  It’s truly amazing that people with a great idea now have a way to fund making those ideas come true and are able to do that by speaking directly to their customers.”

New legislation in the USA,  the “Jumpstart Our Business Startups Act” will allow backers to own equity in the companies they invest in and let those businesses raise up to $1million (£600,000) through crowdfunding websites such as Kickstarter.

In Britain, one crowdfunding website is already offering equity to investors without the need for any change in the law.  Exeter-based Crowdcube launched last year and has already funded 15 projects, raising £2.8million.

Crowdcube vets in-coming business plans, and presents the approved ones on its website in a video clip, awaiting offers from potential backers.  Crowdcube functions in a similar way to Kickstarter, in that it takes a 5% fee on pitches that reach their target.

Luke Lang (Co-founder of Crowdcube) boasts, “We’ve completely democratised the whole investment industry…  We’re trying to make investing in business easy and inclusive rather than it being the exclusive preserve of the elite who have got lots of money or lots of experience…  We’ve broken down those barriers and enabled ordinary people with modest amounts of money to get behind small businesses.”

Crowdcube’s greatest success story is the £1 million which was raised for the Rushmore Group to build a new private members’ club in London.

There are other crowdfunding sites such as London-based PleaseFund.Us, which has raised around £100,000 for projects since it launched last September.

Could Britain be spawning a new generation of entrepreneurs?

Monday, April 23rd, 2012

British educational institutions are increasingly encouraging students to launch their own businesses by providing bursary schemes and training courses in entrepreneurship.  For example the University College of London runs a technology entrepreneurship masters programme – and it offers a one-year scholarship, where students with existing business concepts can test their ideas to see whether they will work.

If British Universities are successful in their endeavours to produce a new generation of entrepreneurs, the UK economy will of course benefit.  One thing to bear in mind, however, is the fact not all University students in the UK are British.  Therefore the UK Border Agency has just launched a graduate entrepreneurs’ visa, in order to enable non-EU students to remain in the country for an additional 12 months after graduating, if they have an idea for a business venture.

There is a long-held belief that American culture fosters entrepreneurship more readily than European.  Due to the relatively weak welfare state and liberal free-market economy of the USA, Americans are perhaps more inclined than Europeans towards starting enterprises of their own, and taking risks.  The Fulbright Commission are promoting an educational exchange programme with the UCL, for American students interested in enrolling on the UCL’s technology entrepreneurship masters programme.  It may seem a little perverse that American students are being encouraged to come to the UK to learn about entrepreneurship.  However, by enticing foreign talent into the UK and facilitating their chances of staying, Britain may start to lead a new wave in entrepreneurship!  Only time will tell…

Selling the Easy Way

Thursday, March 22nd, 2012

On Monday 16 April 2012, Women Unlimited will be hosting an evening (venue TBC, but in Central London) presented by Jo James, whose experience in sales spans the pub, health and recruitment industries.

Ms James will offer advice on how to expand your business and improve your selling techniques.  At this event you will also have the opportunity to network with other business women.  Tickets cost £20, available online: http://www.women-unlimited.co.uk/business-club-networking-selling-the-easy-way/

Q&A: 3 Pertinent Questions from the public to the Business Section of BBC’s Website

Tuesday, February 21st, 2012

Q: How do you find out whether there is a market for your product, or if it is something that is unlikely to succeed?

A: President of computer games business Eidos, Ian Livingstone, advises against trying something purely on a whim.  He emphasises the importance of researching the market you’re interested in entering: “All markets change over time, sometimes dramatically as witnessed during the current economic downturn. However, with challenge comes opportunity.  The current transition from traditional retail to e-commerce, from product to service, from analogue to digital whilst challenging from some, offer great opportunities to others.  The important thing is to spot the real opportunity for which you have the skills and go for it.”

Q: If you have not had much sales experience, what is the best way to learn how to sell your products/services?

A: Founder of US food chain Smashburger, Tom Ryan, points out the fact it is becoming increasing complex for entrepreneurs and retailers to reach customers, due to the proliferation in different types of new social and digital channels.  He states, “We use a layered approach at Smashburger, primarily based on a fundamental understanding of our customer target.  A combination of traditional advertising, primarily print and radio, coupled with Facebook, website and digital/ loyalty works for us.  We also use public relations to drive trade area, city wide, and national awareness. Of course, having a solid sense of how to communicate the consumer benefits and differentiators of your brand is key.”

Q: How do you work out what to charge your customers/clients?

A: Founder of luxury of German hi-fi company Burmester, Dieter Burmester, charges up to 150,000 euros (£125,000) for his hi-fi systems.  He says, “Just like any other traditional manufacturer of luxury goods, we have to take into consideration development costs, component costs, expenses for the manufacturing process, and the marketing measures when we calculate the price for one of our products.”  Because his products have become known for their good quality and reliability, customers are prepared to pay more.  Burmester quotes the carmaker Sir Henry Royce: “The quality is remembered long after the price is forgotten.

Did you know that the ASA will soon begin to regulate marketing communications on your website?

Monday, February 14th, 2011

From 1 March, the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) will begin to regulate marketing communications on companies’ own websites under the CAP Code. With that date fast approaching, CAP Copy Advice has introduced a new bespoke website audit service for advertisers who want the peace of mind of knowing that their online marketing communications are likely to comply with the mandatory rules.

Copy Advice Website Audits offer a tailored and expert assessment of your marketing communications on your website against the CAP Code with a view to encouraging and promoting compliance with the advertising rules.

The audits identify:

?         The parts of websites that are likely to feature marketing communications covered by the advertising rules

?         The broad regulatory issues raised by marketing communications on websites e.g. price claims, health and nutrition claims, availability of goods or services, environmental claims, protection of under 18s and children etc.

?         Examples of marketing communications on a company’s website that are likely to breach the CAP Code and advice about how to amend them

?         ASA adjudications or other information relevant to the potential breaches of the CAP Code identified on the website.

Copy Advice website audits are provided as a premium service. A standard audit costs £800 + VAT and takes up to 10 working days to complete. As the content and depth of each website can vary significantly, the Copy Advice team will undertake an audit only after confirming the scope of the request and the final amount payable. Non-standard requests that require more extensive resources may be subject to an additional charge.

Interested?  Please visit the Copy Advice Website Audits section to see an example of a standard Copy Advice website audit and details on how you can take advantage of this new service.

Why gamble with the ASA? Make use of CAP Services for all the help you need to comply with the Advertising Codes, from free newsletters and online tools to training events. Sign up to CAP Services now!