28
Jun

ARTIFICIAL PARADISE: THE INTERIOR DECORATION OF OUR REALITY

Picture this. You’re at a music festival. Your favourite band is playing. You’re among the raucous hedonists with flowers in their hair. However, there is one difference. You’re the only person who isn’t simultaneously raving and recording the whole thing on your phone and uploading it to Instagram, Snapchat and Facebook while it is taking place. This phenomenon has become our new normal. More and more people interrupt living their actual lives to construct a utopian online identity. And by doing so, they let this fantasy world supersede really living the experience.

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30
May

THE PERPLEXING WORLD OF THE TENDER

I found myself ruminating on the dark art of pitching and tenders today, particularly as the latter is becoming the norm. In a pitch you have three things to focus on: story, content and chemistry. That’s not to say it’s an easy thing to master but a clear narrative and a solid idea presented by likeable people is a pretty good foundation to land (or keep) an account. If you win you get all the gushing reasons why. Lose and you’ll be informed by phone or email that you were a close second – they don’t want to hurt your feelings. Dig a little deeper and you may uncover the reasons for your failure. And you need to learn from those reasons because sometimes you can trick yourself into believing the decision has nothing to do with you. 

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24
May

THE DEVIL’S IN THE DATA

When we formed Union Data a little over six months ago we had a simple goal: to drive more effective marketing for our clients by unleashing the creative power of data for the common good. An approach we call data sharpening. There couldn’t have been a better time. Client demand was high and data is a hot topic. In part because of the imminent arrival of GDPR but also because of the genuine opportunities opening up to us by the constant advances in tech. Then it happened. The Cambridge Analytica scandal. And in a moment the conversation turned from talking about the power of data to trying to work out if data was the devil.

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30
Apr

THE POWER OF MARKETING TO CHANGE THE WORLD

How advertising is helping fight bias and make the world a more accepting (and sassier) place. Laura Jones, Senior Account Manager at The Union, muses on hidden biases and how uplifting it is that advertising has grown from contributing to them, to smashing them.

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25
Apr

KYLE HARDIE – OBITUARY

Kyle Hardie
7 March 1971 – 16th April 2018

Devoted husband and father, marketing agency founder and leader.

Kyle Hardie, Managing Director of The Union Advertising Agency, and founder and Managing Director of sales promotion agency Union Connect, passed away after a brave fight with cancer having achieved success in the industry he loved. The tragedy is that, at only 47 years old, he had so much more still to achieve.

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29
Mar

INTEGRATION. AN IDEA WHOSE TIME HAS COME.

Marketing folk love buzzwords. The rise of digital channels has accelerated this trend. Hip new acronyms and fads are all the rage. ‘Customer experience’ meets ‘omnichannel’, whilst ‘behavioural economics’ crosses ‘360 degree’ thinking. So forgive me, but I’m digging up an old, and rather tired, buzzword from 20 years ago: ‘Integration’.  Or ‘integrated marketing communications’ to be more precise. It’s much less fashionable these days, but finally, after years of being an idea preached more than it was practised, its day has finally come.

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28
Feb

MARKETING AUTOMATION: CUTTING-EDGE OR JUST PLAIN CREEPY?

It’s likely you’ve already seen at least one over-enthusiastic salesperson at a roadshow or expo by now, gesticulating wildly about the easy wins to be had with marketing automation. Call it personalisation, ‘hyper’ segmentation, or ‘marketing to an audience of one’, but in the simplest sense, marketing automation is just using purpose-built platforms to give you extra insights about your customers and make automated decisions based on those insights.

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31
Jan

DOES THE SIZE OF YOUR AGENCY MATTER?

Union Creative Director, Michael Hart, muses on the importance (or not) of the size of a creative agency and what scale does and doesn’t offer clients.

Small is beautiful. Big is reliable. No-one got fired for hiring IBM. We’re all familiar with the maxims. In the communications world the small, fleet-of-foot startups sit in one corner while the big guns squat in the other. The small players will say they have smaller overheads, less bureaucracy, quicker reaction times. The big ones counter with scale, experience, dependability.

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29
Nov

EMOTIONAL ADVERTSING IS FOR LIFE, NOT JUST FOR CHRISTMAS

At best, marketers have a reputation as practitioners of an imprecise science. At worst, we’re accused of making it up as we go along. In advertising we are particularly known for backing our instincts. Gut feeling will always have a role to play, but evidence-based marketing continues to grow in importance. EffWeek, the IPA’s annual conference on marketing effectiveness, is built around measuring and understanding marketing success. In Planning at The Union, we geek out over data, but the real benefit lies in helping brands spend their money more efficiently. This year’s conference brought the usual treasure trove of insights, but perhaps the most interesting was around the power of appealing to emotion.

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17
Nov

UNION DATA LAUNCHED TO MEET GROWING CLIENT DEMAND

Due to client demand for more data services the Union Group has decided to set up a new company focussed on more effective use of marketing data and providing technical data solutions. The new business will be called Union Data, and be based at The Union’s main offices in Edinburgh. Daniel Batey is the Managing Director role of the new Union company. Daniel was the Head of Data Planning at Union Direct for the last seven years and he was also Head of Analytics with Paragon Customer Communications in London. Ian McAteer will be Chairman and Gus Chalmers, MD of Union Direct, will join the new company’s board.

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