“It’s the most wonderful time of the year…” and whether you’re physically out and about or digitally browsing / viewing, there is no getting away from the fact the festive season is approaching.
While the kids are writing their Santa letters, we are busy writing company social media content, and at this time of year we are often asked:
“Should we post a holiday message on LinkedIn?”
“Do people like Christmas card style posts?”
“Is it culturally acceptable to post Christmas content?”
What’s the answer?
Honestly, there is no correct or definitive answer to this. How you communicate as a business depends on several factors, so here are a few things that are worth considering and reflecting on when deciding the best holiday messaging strategy for your business:
Does it align with your brand values:
Never produce content for the sake of it. Consider how holiday messaging aligns with your brand values. If the festive season resonates with your company culture, go ahead, spread the joy. However, if it feels forced or inconsistent with your brand, it might be worth exploring alternative ways to engage your audience. Perhaps an end of year summary or 2024 outlook piece would work better. Giving calendar appropriate content, but from a different perspective.
Many of our clients have an international focus and a customer base in regions which don’t share the same seasonal traditions. If you have a global audience, be mindful of cultural differences, but don’t automatically omit holiday post content, particularly if you’re from a country which does celebrate the holiday. Instead, consider creating content that focuses on universal themes like gratitude and reflection, rather than being overly focused on the big guy in a red suit. This inclusivity demonstrates an understanding and respect for your diverse audience, while enabling you to acknowledge your own traditions too.
Consider your terminology
Be mindful of the language you use in your holiday messages. Consider the diversity of your audience and opt for inclusive terms like «Happy Holidays» or «Season’s Greetings» to encompass various celebrations, rather than “Merry Christmas”. This can help your message speak to a broader audience. Also consider this from a visual, as well as verbal perspective and if relevant, select, or create images that are less aligned with a particular cultural reference… we are thinking of the big guy again!
Know your audience:
Consider who your audience is and what resonates with them. If your B2B clientele appreciates a more formal tone, ensure your holiday messages reflect that professionalism. On the other hand, if your audience engages well with a more relaxed approach, feel free to inject humour and warmth into your seasonal content. Also consider whether you are communicating for your clients, or if this content is more about employee engagement. Tailoring your messages to suit the preferences and expectations of your specific audience ensures that your holiday communication hits the right note.
Show your personality:
If you do want to embrace the festive spirit, then it’s a great time to infuse personality into your posts. Share behind-the-scenes glimpses of your team decorating the office tree or remotely celebrating. People connect with people, and the festive season is all about connecting and celebrating. So don’t shy away from letting your human side shine through and demonstrating your company culture by showing off your personality.
Balance is key:
Maintain a balance between festive content and your regular industry-related posts. If you do want to join in the holiday cheer, then maintaining a mix of content keeps your audience engaged without overwhelming them. Of course, Christmas countdown style campaigns can be fantastic ongoing content in December, but ensure the message is one that can last the duration and keep resonating, rather than boring your audience and turning them into the Grinch.
Whether you align it with a wider holiday message or not, the end of the year marks is an annual milestone and opportunity to express gratitude for the last 12 months. So, thank your clients, partners, team, and followers for their support throughout the year. Authentic appreciation goes a long way and sets a positive tone for the upcoming year. Remember, there’s no one-size-fits-all approach. Your holiday communication should be an extension of your brand identity. So, take a moment to reflect on what feels right for your business, and have fun spreading the festive cheer… if you choose to do so!
As a local female business owner, our Founder and Managing Director, Laura Lewis, was asked to speak at a PWN Norway event. We thought it might be interesting for others to get insight into what she said. So here is a summary of her talk. Hope you enjoy it…
In preparation for this evening’s talk, I reached out to a few friends and asked them a simple yet thought-provoking question: What does a tipping point mean to you? The responses I received were as diverse as they were intriguing. One friend jokingly referred to her husband, another spoke of her kids, and someone even quipped about the perfect moment when a wine bottle tips just right into a glass – a delightful analogy, although not exactly what I was aiming for.
So, I turned to Google and discovered a plethora of definitions, some veering toward discussions about climate change, others diving into societal tipping points where a significant portion of society alters its behaviour. Then, there’s Malcolm Gladwell’s well-known book, «The Tipping Point,» which delves into how minor changes can lead to major impacts.
Regardless of where you look for a definition, one thing is clear: Tipping points are abstract, and each of us likely has our unique interpretation of what they entail. However, as an English graduate, the classic Oxford English Dictionary definition resonates most with me: «Tipping points are a series of small changes that result in a bigger change.»
Fundamentally, tipping points are all about change, and I’d like to illustrate this with an analogy, which as I skier I particularly cherish: the avalanche. Picture a mountain blanketed in snow, slowly accumulating layer upon layer. Over time, this snowpack reaches a critical depth, and it takes just the smallest addition—a single snowflake, a gust of wind, or the sun’s glare—to trigger an avalanche, dramatically reshaping the landscape. The buildup of snow represents the accumulation of factors or conditions that eventually reach a point of no return—a decision—the tipping point.
Now, let’s bring this concept closer to home. How many of you are not originally from Norway but now find yourselves living here? I, too, share this experience. Each of us likely has a unique story, but I doubt any of us simply woke up one morning and boarded a flight to Stavanger. The tipping point that led us here was the culmination of a series of smaller incidents.
For me, it began when my husband started traveling to Norway more frequently for work. Eventually, he was asked to work Monday to Friday in Stavanger, a challenging proposition for a pregnant wife with a new puppy. After the birth of our son, when the request came again, we decided it wasn’t feasible: either we all move, or none of us do. So, in 2016, we relocated to Norway, a significant and life-altering change.
As we’ve established, tipping points signify change, and they can be viewed from both negative and positive perspectives. Negative tipping points often evoke the feeling of being «tipped over the edge,» but they can also serve as catalysts for transformation and substantial growth. These points in our lives can:
Be transformational: leading to significant change.
Result in growth: if recognized, they can be leveraged.
Enable informed decisions: they offer foresight for planning.
Facilitate adaptation: in a state of change, agility is crucial.
Fuel personal growth: opening new opportunities.
Create societal impact: encouraging innovation.
Empower us: enabling positive change.
The last point is especially significant. Tipping points often culminate after incremental changes, and recognizing them allows us to identify, control, and harness their power for personal empowerment. Although it might be an uphill battle, we can lay the foundation for change by putting in the necessary building blocks.
Change can be accompanied by feelings of uncertainty, resilience, and excitement. Remember, no change means no growth.
Now, let’s delve into the process of identifying tipping points in our lives. Do any of you recall the character Rachel from the TV show Friends when she ran through her life plan at her 30th birthday party? Well, I was a bit like that, working diligently toward my plan in my early twenties. My focus was firmly on climbing the career ladder, and by the age of 28, I had achieved the title of Vice President of Marketing, Branding & Communications for Archer VP—a significant milestone, or so I thought.
However, life has a way of revealing new perspectives. I had a serious boyfriend at that point, who is now my husband, and I soon realized that the corporate world, with its demands and the feeling of being pulled in all directions, was not quite as glamorous as it seemed. I knew that to achieve the next items on my plan, I needed a change.
Opportunity knocked when I stumbled upon a job opening with a small company that used sports to engage employees. They organized corporate sports tournaments, and they were in need of a marketing manager to shake things up. With my passion for sports and organization, I saw a thrilling opportunity. I accepted the job offer, even though it meant a 50% pay cut and a shift from a large corporation to a small team of eight. I was well aware of the dramatic change that awaited me, but I embraced it.
Intuition and gut instinct play vital roles in identifying tipping points. Knowing yourself and your skill set is crucial. Patterns in our lives can provide clues to impending shifts, and self-reflection on past tipping points can help us identify future ones. Whether these tipping points are substantial or subtle, recognizing them is valuable because they pave the way for empowerment.
Tipping points also mark the end of a buildup or accumulation, and once identified, we gain the ability to control and harness their power. They may require effort, but the incremental nature of change allows us to set the stage for the transformation we seek.
Furthermore, the outcome of one tipping point can serve as the starting point for another journey. For me, moving to Norway was a pivotal tipping point in my life. At that time, the oil and gas industry was in a downturn, I didn’t speak Norwegian, and I couldn’t start working until my son started barnehangen. I felt like I had lost my identity and craved something more. Despite the challenges, I leveraged my background and network to start my own business.
I began as a freelancer, offering flexibility to support different companies while accommodating my family. I joined the SR bank Grunderhus and embarked on the journey of building my business. Along the way, I became inspired and co-founded Requestify, a music app designed for collaborative playlists. This journey was like a rollercoaster, typical of startup life, and I tried to manage both businesses. Eventually, I committed to Project Neon and dedicated myself fully to my own company.
The point I’m making here is that the path to a tipping point isn’t always linear. We learn, adapt, and grow, embracing the changes along the way.
When making decisions and implementing small changes to reach a tipping point, it’s essential to consider what success means to you. Society often imposes expectations of what success should look like, but it’s a deeply personal concept. For instance, my definition of success at 28 was drastically different from what I aspire to today. Even during my seven years with Project Neon, my perception of success has evolved.
Initially, I wanted the freedom and flexibility of being my own boss, with control over my work hours to accommodate my family. However, as the business grew, so did my responsibilities. Success transformed from personal work-life balance to ensuring my team’s quality of life, a shift that continues to guide my decisions.
Change inevitably involves aspects of risk and vulnerability, but sometimes tipping points are entirely out of our control. Take, for example, the inevitability of certain life changes for us as females, such as menopause. While we can’t stop these changes, we can empower ourselves to navigate them effectively.
To do so, we must:
Acknowledge inevitability: understand that change will happen.
Maintain a positive mindset: embrace change as an opportunity for transformation.
Empower with knowledge: seek information and demystify the process.
Make healthy choices: prioritize nutrition, exercise, sleep, stress management, and mental health.
Cultivate adaptability: embrace the ups and downs of the journey.
Build a supportive network: find your tribe, share experiences, and seek advice.
Practice self-kindness: understand that it’s okay to struggle and take care of yourself during challenging times.
Tipping points offer the opportunity to redefine what you want in life, and one tipping point can lead to another.
To conclude, I’d like to leave you with a beautiful quote from Viktor E. Frankl:
«Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space we choose how to respond. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.»
This quote underscores the idea that we are in control, and we have the power to choose how we respond to tipping points. Yes, the journey to a tipping point can be daunting, and it may bring stress, pain, and anxiety. However, it also presents opportunities for transformation, growth, and freedom. In that space between stimulus and response, we have the ability to take the small steps needed to create a tipping point.
Change is not always easy, but it is always a chance for growth. Embrace it and remember that every tipping point is an opportunity in disguise.
Do you ever question whether your marketing material is delivering the right message? Are you developing the right type of content? Are you activating on the right channels? We all strive to stand out from the crowd and effectively communicate our distinctiveness, but how can we ensure we’re achieving this goal?
At Project Neon, when we start working with a new client, we kick-off with a «discovery» phase. This involves holding a workshop to explore the client’s business, goals, understand their offerings, the value they deliver, their target market, and more. Armed with this knowledge we then conduct a marketing audit, as a crucial part of this process. But what exactly is a marketing audit?
Defining the marketing audit
A marketing audit comprehensively evaluates a company’s marketing messages, activities, strategies, and assets. It involves a systematic and objective analysis of the different marketing materials and channels, and their alignment with the organization’s goals. Consider it a thorough check-up of your marketing endeavours, aiming to identify strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats.
The purpose of a marketing audit
The primary purpose of a marketing audit is to gain a holistic understanding of the current marketing landscape (establishing a benchmark) and identify areas that can be improved or optimized (how you can grow). Our goal is to see whether your marketing activity reflects and delivers, based on the information shared in the workshop. It explores your marketing approach, allowing us to give you our expert opinion and advice. Then you can make informed decisions and course corrections.
The value of a marketing audit
This audit is more than just a paperwork exercise. We ensure that marketing audits deliver valuable insights and create clear actionable outcomes. Here are some of the key benefits of conducting a marketing audit:
Evaluating your message: Your marketing messages serve as your brand’s voice, shaping how your target audience perceives you. Does your message resonate with your intended audience? Is it effectively conveying your unique value proposition, and differentiating you from competitors? Is it easy to understand? Are you delivering the same message across your different marketing channels, or do they differ? By looking at what you’re saying and how you’re saying it, it’s possible to evaluate your messages’ clarity and consistency, you can refine your communication strategy for maximum impact.
Assessing target market alignment: Understanding your target market is crucial for successful marketing. A marketing audit examines whether your current marketing efforts align with your target audience’s preferences, needs, and aspirations. By assessing what you are doing now we can help you refine your strategies to better connect with your ideal customers, driving higher engagement and conversion rates.
Optimizing marketing channels: In today’s fast-paced digital landscape, businesses utilise numerous marketing channels, from your website, social media, to email campaigns and content marketing. A marketing audit assesses the effectiveness of your current channels and how they connect you to your target market. There’s no point in spending hours on Facebook content if your customers aren’t there. Equally if you’re investing in attending an event, then are your other channels strategically aligned to maximise exposure? By reviewing and allocating resources strategically it’s possible to leverage the proper channels, maximize your reach and improve your return on investment (ROI).
Reviewing marketing assets: Your marketing collateral, such as websites, brochures, ads, and videos, represent your brand visually and verbally. A marketing audit evaluates these assets’ quality, consistency, and relevance, ensuring they align with your brand identity and effectively convey your message. This review helps identify outdated or ineffective materials which need to be refreshed or replaced to maintain a strong brand presence. Equally it can identify gaps in your toolkit.
Identifying growth opportunities: by taking a step back and taking a clear look at what you’re doing, it’s also possible to see where there are gaps in your marketing strategy. It helps you see where you can expand your reach, penetrate new markets, or capitalize on emerging trends.
Fundamentally a marketing audit benchmarks your current efforts and gives everyone the insight needed to evolve and improve going forward.
They say knowledge is power and to us, at Project Neon, having this information about a client’s existing marketing efforts from the start, helps us add value and do our role more effectively. Since every company is different a rounded understanding lets us ensure the work, we do for a client is specific to their needs, not just based on generalisation.
What do you think a marketing audit on your company would tell you? We’ll leave you think on that…
Over the last few weeks the focus on a sustainable future has once again been pushed to the forefront of the agenda. As we all waited on positive news in relation to a sustainable climate future, companies in the heavy industrial sector are focused on the importance of the green transition.
Being closely aligned to the oil and gas industry we observe how often the sector hits the headlines and is demonised within the mass media. No one operating within the industry would claim that oil and gas production is “green” but with Reuters estimating that “Oil use will rise by 1.7 million barrels per day in 2023 to 101.6 million bpd”, the short term truth is that unless our reliance on oil and gas reduces, or alternative energy sources becomes more widely utilised, the production of hydrocarbons it still needed. Therefore, the important thing for energy companies right now is to focus on what role they are playing in contributing towards a more sustainable energy sector.
No one within the sector will fail to have observed, particularly over the last 2 years, a shift towards greener production. The focus and commitment to net zero emissions by 2050 is being seen across the industry as everyone strives to develop, deliver and demonstrate more sustainable options. Our clients, who are primarily located in Stavanger and Aberdeen, share a common goal; to be part of the solution. All our clients are addressing how they can be part of the green transition as new technologies are needed to develop the next generation of energy sources. From hydrocarbon production to carbon capture and storage, land and floating wind turbines and green and blue hydrogen, the need and desire to transform is evident.
With the green shift leading to innovation and investment in technologies which aid decarbonisation, our clients, and the wider sector are repositioning their communication to “talk greener”. However, from a communication perspective this can create a slight paradox; how to tell a greener tale without overstating your claim. We’ve seen many logos turn green and before this visual practise becomes overplayed, companies need to find ways to incorporate the green transition, while remaining distinctive. So how do we advise them to do this? How do we help them stand out from the crowd?
Here are our top tips for communicating the green shift:
1. Make a commitment; if you’re talking the talk, then you need to walk the walk. We’ve seen companies in the US face lawsuits claiming false advertising on low-carbon energy claims. So don’t make false claims or pretend you’re doing something you’re not. Make a realistic commitment and a plan to achieve it. Communicate your commitment clearly and simply so that everyone within the business knows the goal. Our client FourPhase has evolved their ESG&Q policy which is widely shared throughout the business.
2. Be transparent; show the journey; No one expects overnight transformations. This is a journey, so once you’ve set your goals, demonstrate how you plan to get there. You can also communicate progress to date. Our client Neodrill wanted to share their developments and also issued a call for others to change their standard practises to utilise greener solutions. As a result, we developed a “Do what you CAN” campaign for them.
3. Validate; benchmark, gather and use data. If you are not already doing so then start to calculate the baseline emissions resulting from your own operations (scope 1 and scope 2). While often overwhelming as a task, data is the key to credible communication. If possible, don’t just look at your data today, assess whether there is historical data you can identify and use that benchmark to demonstrate change. By benchmarking and establishing data your communication can be underpinned by fact, making it all more credible. If this isn’t something that can be done internally then look at getting external support. When our client Fishbones commissioned an independent study, we were able to use that data to communicate their impact.
We believe the focus on green credentials is only going to increase and “green” is likely to be a deciding procurement factor, along with HSE and risk, in the future. Therefore, make sure you give this topic the required focus and action. If you need help to evolve your communication in a credible, transparent way, that is true to your business values, then please get in touch.
While it can be a little unnerving, change is good, and if 2020 taught us anything it’s that businesses need to change to adapt to market conditions, customer demands and obviously global pandemics. So as 2021 unfolds it’s natural to assess your business strategy and decide how your business needs to change and grow. But as a business changes, the company strategy adapts and with that the brand needs to follow (or rather, lead the way).
Brands are constantly changing over time and one of the common conversations we have with clients is whether that requires a re-brand or a brand evolution.
So what’s the difference?
A re-brand signals a significant change in direction. Perhaps you’ve acquired a new entity, are looking to enter a new market or want to shift brand perception, a re-brand reflects a change in the DNA of your business. In practise this can include a new name, logo, brand architecture, etc. The driver is a big change, not just the sense that your visual identity needs to be modernised or the messaging refined – that’s where the brand evolution comes in.
A brand evolution maintains your business DNA but gives the company a refresh, it keeps the company current, up to date and in line with industry trends. Whether that’s refreshing your colour palette, changing fonts, updating the website, redefining messaging or updating templates, a brand evolution maintains your brand equity but let’s you move with the times. Unlike a rebrand which requires a “launch”, a brand evolution can be as obvious or subtle as is required and can happen over time.
Over the years we’ve helped many businesses assess their brand development needs and define whether they need a re-brand or brand evolution.
Here are a few examples, all of which had differing motivational factors and requirements:
Ace Oil Tools
Ace Oil Tools wanted to modernise and professionalise their visual identity to reflect their growth to date and global ambitions. We maintained the “hot pink” core colour the company were well recognised for but updated their messaging, logo, website and sales collateral. The result was a more impactful, fresher, up to date yet recognisable identity.
Archer, a well-established industry brand, had refreshed their online presence and wanted to improve their product literature and PowerPoint template to bring it in line with the adapted look and feel. So while retaining all of their brand identity elements we supplied an updated, fresh design, which better reflected their enhanced online presence.
CannSeal were acquired by Interwell and as a result they needed a “part of Interwell” identity created. The goal was to retain the CannSeal identity but align it closer with Interwell and create a suitable brand architecture. As a result, we created a new logo which stated “part of Interwell” to clearly convey the relationship between the two entities. We also updated the typography and colour palette used by CannSeal, aligning them with Interwell visually.
Cegal had developed their 2025 strategy and wanted a refreshed visual platform to communicate this plan both internally and externally. As a result, we developed a new PowerPoint template and supporting PDF document which maintained the Cegal brand elements but provided them with a fresher, forward looking design. This has subsequently been rolled out to other external presentations.
These are just a few examples of some of the projects we’ve worked on. As you can see the reasons for change and the extent of the change varies dramatically. We fully recognise that terms like “re-brand” can be off putting for fear of cost, time, resources etc. However, as these examples illustrate, adapting your branding can take a simpler, less complex (and costly!) form by adopting a brand evolution approach. The core factor which underpins this decision is your business strategy. So while change is inevitable and vital, the extent to which you change depends on your business needs.
So, if you think 2021 might be the right time for change and you want to have a chat then don’t hesitate to give us a call.