Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Irish Business Women Conference

The Irish Business Women website is a resource which I regularly make use of, and I have made contact with quite a few interesting and knowledgeable business people through this busy forum (both male and female, surprisingly enough). The IBW are also customers of ours, having purchased a Nomadic Pop Up Display stand and accessories in the last few years. For this reason I thought it was worth mentioning that their annual conference is taking place this year on the Thursday 29th May in the Mullingar Park Hotel. The theme this year is 'Inspiring Women' and the line up includes Susan Stockdale, author of "Secrets of Successful Women Entrepreneurs”, Maria Waters of, Senator Mary White, Noemi Beres of Reservacar, Jenni Woolfson of Poshfizz and Celebrity Cook and successful business woman Jenny Bristow. Discounted tickets are available if you book before the end of April, more info is available here...

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Nomadic Display & American Idol on Fox News

Its common knowledge that Nomadic Display's Pop Up Displays have been used for several years now as backdrops for American Idol, X-Factor in the UK, and Britain's Got Talent. These stands are perfect because they allow the production team to move them from venue to venue during the audition stage of the show, yet they have a fine digitally printed graphic and strong enough visual presence to be used as set backdrops during the studio portions of the show. But don't take my word for it! Nomadic Display president Pat Goeke was interviewed by Fox News about the company's history of providing portable backdrops for American Idol and you can view the video right here...

Friday, April 18, 2008

GAA Congress Backdrop

Conference Backdrops and Stage Branding are some of our favourite projects here at Applied Signs & Display, so we were thrilled to be asked to provide the graphic backdrop for such a prestigious and high-profile event as the 2008 GAA Congress, which took place last weekend in Rosse's Point, Sligo. The stand we provided was a 14m wide flat Nomadic pop up stand, with full graphic wrap which allowed for a striking large-scale graphic, and was complemented by branding for the table front and podium, uplighting and ceremonial flags and flagpoles. The beauty of this equipment is its reusability - the GAA will be reusing this hardware in a similar shape or in different guises for years to come. They also availed of set up and training in the correct use of this equipment so that they will be able to maintain and reuse the stands with a great deal of convenience. This was an especially exciting event as the GAA had recently anounced a new focus where marketing and branding is concerned.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Applied Signs & Display produce Backdrop at DIT Toyota Fashion Show

Last Wednesday Night the Toyota Sponsored DIT Fashion Show took place in Dublin's Vicar Street. This event has a prestigious history, having won accolades such as Best Event by a college nationwide at the 2005 BICS awards. Our contribution to this event was production of logo graphics which formed a backdrop for the Student Design Awards portion of the evening. For this backdrop, a Nomadic C33 Pop Up Stand was branded with digitally printed graphic panels to form a seamless wall displaying the logos of sponsors Toyota, Spin FM, and Teenline among others. This type of display is becoming increasingly popular for a number of uses: as Hollywood style red carpet signage, and as logo wallpaper graphics for sporting events, interviews and conferences. It is suitable for use on all displays from banner stands right up to wide format stage backdrops. The growing popularity of this graphic style is indicative of the trend towards sponsorship as a form of advertising.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Irish Motor Industry Advertising Trends: Online vs Traditional Media

In our second guest blogger spot, Emma Toner, Publicity Manager with Gowan Distributors, tells us why the Irish Motor Industry in general, and Peugeot in particular, are increasingly favouring online advertising channels over more traditional methods...

During 2007 advertising expenditure amongst the Irish Motor Industry increased by 14.3% to €56million. During the same period, online marketing spends in the industry grew at a huge rate of 144% to €814,000. Whilst the traditional media spends did not suffer a decline during that period, the % growth in press, radio, TV and outdoor media was much smaller in comparison. Forecasts suggest further growth in the online sector is almost certainly guaranteed this year.

The growth in online advertising in Ireland and in the Irish Motor Industry is undoubtedly as a result of many factors and has begun to follow that of the UK, which of course mirrored the growth pattern in the US and the rest of Europe. It is certainly linked to increasing broadband penetration and the subsequent increasing number of users.

With particular relevance today as we enter into economic uncertainty, budgets are being scrutinized the world-over and companies are no longer willing to spend cash on highly costly, mass-media that do not reach targeted audiences or yield measurable results. Most online campaigns are paid for on a click basis, eliminating any wasted media buying, which is good news for the budget-conscious. Where TV has not been an option in the past, due to budget constraints, online offers companies the chance to talk to their target audiences at only a fraction of the cost.

By its very nature, online offers more engagement and interaction on a one-to-one basis, directly with consumers you have identified. The individual choses to click on your advert only because she is interested in your product and as soon as she clicks on your website, you can start to measure the success of the campaign. Indeed, online is the most readily measurable medium available today. Companies can, with very simple software, measure anything from the number of unique users who visit their site, to the duration time per visit, the number of page views and as a result trace their behavior or shopping preferences to build a customer profile. Click through rates and cost of conquest / investment per contact can easily be calculated.

With such measurability, the review process of a given campaign is made so much easier and action taken to rectify slow results can be immediate. Low traffic generation to a website highlights a problem. The solutions are few and may be to change creative, divert media buying or to ensure the loop is being closed when online requests have been made. Online content can be reviewed on a daily, weekly or monthly basis or at any given time.

Whilst the benefits of online advertising are well known and the majority of automotive competitors in Ireland are active online, absolute spend levels remain relatively low at a mere 1.5% of the total spend and the approach has remained traditional with the use of banner advertising. As a result, Irish Motor Distributors who are currently investing in innovative and consistent online display advertising and search engine marketing can achieve maximum cut-through with increased brand awareness with relatively low investment.

Gowan Distributors Limited, Peugeot Importers in Ireland, allocated 3.1% of their annual media budget to online spend in 2007, over twice the average and was the third biggest online spender in the Irish Motor Industry. The company has developed a digital programme since mid-2005, culminating in the appointment of a Digital Agency in 2007, ICAN, to look after all Peugeot online activity in Ireland.

The company’s current strategy is three fold:

1) The company recognises the need for display advertising and sponsorships on high-volume Irish websites to attract those consumers in passive car buying mode. Display advertising is key to generating leads and increasing brand awareness.

2) The company understands the importance of innovative creatives and technology to stay ahead of its competitors and has employed take-overs, duo-formats, geo-targetting and video. Banner adverts are no longer as effective as they once were. Companies need to invest in and try out new formats as they become available.

3) The third and possibly most important element relates to search engine marketing, key to serving those in the active car buying phase. Search engine optimisation is a vital tool in an integrated campaign. Web users may pick up key messages from a press, radio or TV campaign. Key words typed into Google will then bring them straight to a relevant web page where they can learn even more information on a product. Over 49% of Irish web-surfers use Google as their preferred search engine and Gowan Distributors have developed a Google Adwords programme that runs at all times to ensure those interested are directed to the relevant web pages.

With substantial investment and a full online programme, Gowan Distributors now has a growing database of over 7,000 prospects. Online activity has promoted new model launches, special edition models, Peugeot Platinum Used Cars, Aftersales Services and Peugeot’s Sponsorship of the Rugby World Cup 2007 and generated thousands of visits to the Peugeot website. With proven success in online advertising, future spending is estimated to rise to 10% of the total Peugeot media budget by 2010, out-weighing TV and cinema.

Emma Toner is publicity manager with Gowan Distributors, Importers of Peugeot within Ireland.

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