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Archive for April, 2014

Penrith’s shining business stars – back for a third year!

Tuesday, April 29th, 2014

Penrith’s Stars of Business awards, organised by Penrith Chamber of Trade and Acorn Marketing is back for the third year; celebrating the wide variety of businesses in Penrith and the impact they have on the local economy.

The awards, sponsored by Dodd & Co Accountants, will be slightly different this year as the voting will take place online and will be open for the general public as well as business owners to vote for their favourite candidates in each category.  Voting is now open and the deadline for entries is Friday 23rd May.

The categories for the Stars of Business Awards have also changed this year to appeal to a wider range of businesses. There will be five categories in this year’s awards:

Independent Retailer of the Year (Sponsored by Armstrong Watson)
This category is specifically for independently run shops.  This can include food, gift, card, furniture, clothes shops for example.

Independent Business of the Year (Sponsored by Enterprise Answers)
This category is for everyone else – tradesmen, beauty salons, creative’s, sole traders, accommodations providers, food establishments.

Outstanding Contribution to Business
This category is for individuals who have made a significant difference to their business, or a business they work in.

‘Unsung Hero’ (Sponsored by Penrith Building Society)
Aimed at people that work behind the scenes, this category is for those who ensure the smooth running of a business.  This could be a chef, administrator, work experience, pot wash, gardener, chamber maid or waitress for example.

Star of the Community (sponsored by the Pride in Penrith Lottery)
This category is for community projects who were awarded a grant by the Pride in Penrith Lottery in 2013.   More details of projects included can be found on the online voting form.

The Chamber of Trade & Commerce encourages businesses around the town to get involved, encourage customers, colleagues and suppliers to vote for you.  Richard Utting, president of the Chamber of Trade & Commerce comments,

The Stars of Business awards are really important for the town to recognise the hard work everyone does, the impact this has on the local economy and to celebrate what a great town we live and work in.  Be sure to vote for your favourite shop, tradesman or consultant.  If you know of someone who works tirelessly behind the scenes in a local business as an ‘Unsung Hero’ be sure to vote for them to ensure the recognition they deserve.”

Voting is now open via the Chamber of Trade website.  Deadline for entries is 23rd May.  People can also download the voting forms online and post direct to the Chamber of Trade.  Once voting is closed, votes will be counted and the top three businesses in each category will be shortlisted as finalists.  Each of the shortlisted businesses will be notified and invited to send additional documentation and information to support their entry.  This will then be judged by an independent panel of judges, who will select a winner in each category.

The Stars of Business Awards winners will be announced at the Chamber of Trade and Commerce Annual Dinner to be held at the North Lakes Hotel on Friday 20th June 2014.  Tickets sold out last year and are already selling fast so be sure to reserve your place at this exciting event by contacting Penrith Chamber of Trade & Commerce.  More details can be found at

April Fool’s day marketing for Country Puddings

Tuesday, April 1st, 2014

As many of you will know I am a rather creative person and I love to find new ways of doing things and really thinking creatively about the marketing I’m doing for my clients.  Therefore April Fool’s Day posed the perfect opportunity to get that creative thinking cap on and run with something really fun.  The perfect client for this was Country Puddings (if you’ve not tried their puddings, you really should they are sublime – and they didn’t pay me to say that!)

I started out by doing a bit of research to see what other companies had done.  Many large consumer brands have developed campaigns around April fool’s Day; including Virgin developing glass bottomed planes, Proctor and Gamble introducing Bacon flavoured mouthwash to their range and IKEA selling self-assembly lawnmowers to their customers.  Country Puddings are a relatively small company compared to these ‘big boys’ but we didn’t let that stop us – all it takes is an idea and a little work.

There were various ideas I came up with, but in the end we went for something that was plausible and something that Country Puddings could potentially produce – we came up with a new range of ‘pudding inspired’ toiletries.
The campaign launched on social media with the announcement that the company had diversified into the health and beauty sector.  The range included Sticky Toffee Shower Gel, Tangy Lemon Exfoliating Soap, Chocolate Fudge Body Moisturiser, Rhubarb Crumble Shampoo and Creamy Vanilla Custard Conditioner.

As well as launching on social media, including a competition to win some of the new products, an e-newsletter was sent to customers, press release sent to local and national press, information added to their website and images created of the new products to ensure it looked convincing.

The campaign was executed like an actual product launch.  The response was fantastic and we had some great comments.  Many people were fooled, but several sussed that the campaign was an April fool joke.
The response we received from the public was staggering; there were over 2,000 engagements and interactions on Facebook alone and many new followers on Facebook and Twitter.  Visits to the website peaked by over 550% and was the busiest day their website has ever seen since being launched – the campaign even generated more hits to the website than when Greg Wallace wrote about their Rice Pudding!

At the end of the day this type of campaign  is a bit of fun, but has an aim at the end of the day – to generate interest about the existing product, increase brand awareness and hopefully sales.  It shows that you can generate interest in your brand with some creative thinking – it doesn’t have to cost a fortune or mean you have to be a large company to do it.

I feel exhausted now and if I didn’t have my invoices to do, I’d open a bottle of wine to celebrate a good days work!