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Welcome to Aspire 4.0

Welcome to Aspire’s new website. Since we began trading nearly 20 years ago, innovation has been a cornerstone of our success. Over our two decades of performance our constant research and agility have enabled us to deliver outstanding value to our clients.

Our new site is a reflection of what we like to think of as ‘Aspire 4.0’. This is a repositioning of our company premised on the aspiration to provide our clients with world class, strategy led marketing solutions and value.

We have for some time been known as a company with a strength in repositioning the brand strategy and image of our clients. Our new offering leverages this expertise and ensures that your brand delivers enduring value and becomes a long term asset for your business.

This proposition is captured in Aspire’s vision: ‘great brands for great companies and organisations’.

We have also added a new service called Aspire Reach and Connect. This service is designed to offer our clients strategy led, state of the art digital promotion coupled with traditional media. It is ideal for raising brand profile, increasing sales or perhaps promoting a specific event or conference.

And of course all of these things we continue to deliver in our long held tradition of customised, individual client solutions. Our clients deal with our senior people only and we use our know-how specific to your needs.

I welcome you to Aspire 4.0 and hope you can join us to co-create a great brand or marketing solution for your organisation.

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Colin Knox
Managing Director 

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The billboard is watching you!

A recent furore in the United States revealed just how far the advertising and marketing industries have progressed in the digital age.

It was revealed that the digital billboards in Times Square interrogate the profiles of pedestrians’ mobile devices and adjust their advertising to appeal to the audience. In other words, the advertising is customised to be most relevant to the audience physically present at any one time.

The technology is called RADAR and is quoted as utilising:

‘Anonymous, aggregated mobile data, from privacy-compliant third-party data providers to understand where your customers go and the best locations to reach them’.

Naturally, consumers feel a little uneasy about this invasive technology and many, including the government, have questioned its ethics.

The concept and technology will no doubt continue to provoke more debate, but this new development raises an interesting marketing question for smaller scale business to business marketing. How can we benefit from new technologies in an ethical way to reach and connect directly with a target market or individual who may be interested in our goods or services?

Some of the answers to this question have been around for some time, with those pesky email newsletters offering tracking that enables providers to view the email addresses of those who have clicked a link.

With the right content plan, such reporting enables a provider to discern a reader’s interest and qualify a sales follow-up in an intelligent and powerful way. Of late, this technology has even been used in individual emails, with applications like Contact Monkey and others leading the way.

Further to this ‘push marketing’, there are also powerful new ‘pull’ tools available on platforms such as LinkedIn, where you can map out a specific person’s skill, seniority, industry and demographic profile and target advertising and InMail ads to reach this specific individual. The strategic marketing impacts of these B2B context marketing technologies are very significant. They may not be as sexy as massive digital billboards, but they can greatly improve sales prospecting and targeted brand awareness.

At Aspire, we are using these techniques in an ethical way to help our clients increase revenue and profile through highly effective B2B marketing.

To find out more, read about our new service Aspire Reach and Connect.

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Great company, great brand?

Do you have a company or organisation that is a leader or expert in its field? Perhaps a technical one? Do you feel that your marketing and brand image are really doing your capabilities justice? Would you like a great brand to go with your great company?

To answer these questions, we begin by discussing what’s in a great brand and why great brands are so powerful yet strangely intangible. To do this lets take the time to consider how we experience brands in everyday life.

For example, trust and recognition are two characteristics that affect our preference for one brand or another. If we know a product or service and it has delivered a reliable experience for some time, why would we choose a competitor’s? Well, sometimes for a range of reasons we do, but the most powerful brands make that a difficult decision. We feel we are sacrificing something when we abandon what we have always trusted, and therein is the power of the brand.

A great brand forms an emotional bond with its prospects and loyalists – a bond that is difficult to break and helps defend our business against competition whilst commanding a price that’s commensurate with the value delivered.

For the past seven years Aspire has worked with a number of organisations in the electricity industry and we believe that branding is even more powerful when we deal in the technical domain.

This is because often the brand owner has a great company or organisation that has not really told its story effectively and created an emotional connection with its customers and prospects. Often its competitors also fail in this respect and herein we find considerable opportunity.

At Aspire this is our ideal client: an organisation that has a great untold story waiting to be told. We are passionate about taking on these sometimes complex challenges. To meet them we employ an ethical approach that distils key organisational attributes and builds them into an appealing brand story. We then create value by helping our clients to communicate this excellence in an integrated and professional way.

That’s why we call our vision ‘great brands for great companies and organisations’. So if you have a great company or organisation and want to be more successful, contact us and make a great brand the cornerstone of your marketing programme.

To find out more about the three key steps in building a great brand, visit our brand solutions page. more >

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Introducing Aspire Reach and Connect

Today, if you are seeking to grow your brand’s profile, promote an event or generate new prospects for your products and services, you can achieve global profile at a fraction of the traditional costs. But planning is essential.

Following a decade of convergence with IT, marketing has evolved to a point where it offers a plethora of opportunities but a perplexing range of choices for organisations.

This complexity is constantly accelerating, and making informed strategic choices is a significant challenge. This is particularly true for organisations that can’t justify in-premises marketing / technology departments. At Aspire, we are passionate about change and offer expertise and solutions to client organisations that are otherwise out of reach.

Our ‘reach and connect’ service has been created with this in mind. We demystify the marketing and sales challenges and bring clarity that enables organisations to achieve global reach and profile without the traditional big ad spend.

Aspire Reach and Connect helps you to answer five critical questions:

  1. Where to focus your marketing efforts?
  2. What to say?
  3. How to best use each medium?
  4. What to spend?
  5. How to measure the results?

Our technology informed strategic marketing process enables us to answer these questions for you in a highly focused way. We will create a state of the art digital campaign underpinned by a channel, content and creative plan that will deliver strategic value and tactical focus to your organisation.

We will show you how to utilise new platforms such as LinkedIn, Google and email marketing as part of an integrated programme that also harnesses your traditional sales and marketing techniques.

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This combination of new and old creates a powerful level of cut-through that gets your messages in front of the right people in an appealing and highly distinctive way.

So if you have a brand, marketing or prospecting goal, ‘reach and connect’ with Aspire. We will develop for you a customised programme that will bring your strategic vision to life and maximise your sales potential.

Aspire Reach and Connect more >

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Crystal ball gazing – the Semantic Web is coming

While all of us try to come to terms with the digital age and the impacts of Web 2.0 and its social media revolution, the next revolution, and therefore challenge, is just around the corner.

The Semantic Web, or Web 3.0 as some term it, is set to become a reality within the next decade. It’ s more than a little upgrade – of that you can be sure – and its ramifications for the marketing discipline are numerous.

Semantic Web “Semantic savvy people brought up on this new semi-automated version of themselves”

Aspire intends to publish a series of articles here on how we see it impacting the marketing mix. But to begin with we will first introduce what it is and where it’ s going to take us.

What is the Semantic Web?
The Semantic Web is the first step along a journey that will lead to artificial intelligence. Put succinctly, the World Wide Web as we currently know it is a medium for the exchange of documents and ‘ dumb’ data. We use our computers to search for these documents but they still have to be read, understood and acted upon by us.

Ultimately, to exploit this you will likely have a digital version of yourself that trawls the Semantic Web to find, assemble and act on information that will help facilitate your life.

Some things it will do automatically, some you will instruct it to do and for others it will request your permission. This personal agent will become your most powerful tool in a new digital world where data transcends the nodes from which it is born.

You will be able to set your own level of automation according to your specific needs and indeed perhaps your level of confidence in the strange new world that will result from this watershed.

Where is it taking us?
As we know in marketing, there will be early adapters and also many who resist the change. But over time, like earlier changes, it will become fundamental behaviour as older people are replaced by semantic savvy people brought up on this new semi-automated version of themselves.

It’ s all quite radical and the challenges to business and the marketing discipline are beyond vast. However we can take comfort that these changes will take time. Whilst the technology will forge ahead, people will adapt gradually. This means as businesses we will be able to follow the trend at a sensible pace. Just as we have since the birth of the Internet age.

In the Semantic Web, data becomes more intelligent and your computer can assemble and perhaps even act on it in a way that best meets your needs.
In the Semantic Web, data becomes more intelligent and your computer can assemble and perhaps even act on it in a way that best meets your needs.

That said, it is Aspire’ s view that those companies who take the time to crystal ball gaze and try to understand what all of this means will be best placed to make the most of the opportunities as they occur.

Also, in Moore’ s law we do find a warning. It would seem processing power is not the only thing increasing at an exponential rate. People’ s behaviour also seems to be changing at a faster pace. So that future in the crystal ball may not be as distant as we anticipate.

The Semantic Web is going to be a brave new world. Join us here in the future to read more about how we see it impacting on the marketing discipline and businesses’ competitive position.

Author: Colin Knox, founder of Aspire.

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The connected brand

The connected age is upon us. Organisations and companies around the world have, sometimes unwittingly, moved into this new paradigm.

This paradigm has seen the emergence of an abundance of new marketing opportunities enabled by internet trends such as web2.0 and the social media revolution. Soon the goal posts will move again with web3.0, sending us towards dizzying heights as data becomes intelligent and ultimately artificial intelligence is globally born. The first stage in this process is already happening and by 2020 the Semantic web will be as much a reality as email is for us today.

The Semantic web will see data becoming intelligent and it will be mined in the future by your online personal agent. This digitally cloned version of you will trawl the world-wide-web, find what you need and might be interested in and provide it to you at an opportune time. This future is radical and the changes are already happening. In this world you will need an agency that understands the new paradigm, its future and most of all its impact on your brand and marketing activities.

Aspire is such an agency. We will ensure your brand stays connected with your target audience quickly and cost-effectively in spite of these dramatic changes. We will adapt and assimilate your brand value to the online world with the Aspire connected brand portfolio of services.

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Connected brand
When you choose Aspire you do so with the reassurance that you have a company working on your digital material that not only understands the media intimately but also understands your brand strategy and how to connect this with new media.

Aspire will ensure your brand is connected, integrated and delivered across your online portfolio now and in the future.

Connected benefits of a Aspire services

  • Prepare for the future by getting on board someone who has the vision to see what’s coming and understands the ramifications.
  • Make the most of the new age and new technology by using it in a strategicand integrated way.
  • Bridge your brand into the medium without losing what it stands for.
  • Integrate your offline material with your online presence.
  • Give your clients or consumers the impression your company understands and embraces the technology revolution.
  • Focus your spend to generate maximum return on investment in new media.
  • Deliver content that is appropriate to the new channels.
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Branding in the 3.0 era

In the 13th century, the Italians began the brand era by using brands to watermark paper. With this humble beginning, the idea of marking your property, and ultimately a product or service, to differentiate it from others was born.

Mark Twain once said, ‘Civilization is the limitless multiplication of unnecessary necessities.’ We see this idea embodied in many things in the modern era – an era where brands have evolved in a commercial sense into sophisticated marketing tools that are absolute necessities for a successful enterprise.

Companies invest substantial amounts of money, resources and passion into ensuring their brand both captures their value and embodies their points of difference.

This process has reached a watershed. The explosion of the industrial revolution that gave birth to the modern brand idea has been replaced by the digital revolution.

Traditional high-value brands are coming under increasing pressure to remain contemporary and relevant in an online world.

Gone are the days of the cleverly woven advertising campaign that built brands in customers’ minds on a proposition or promise.

Brands today must deliver. Period. We cannot promise what we can’t deliver because new media has given global voice to our customers.

We must today offer brands that are both optimised for visual, and sometimes physical, delivery over a digital platform. We must also shape our promises in a way that ensures they meet the expectations set by our marketing messages.

Empty promises will yield empty results. This unique environment has seen brands become connected. They are connected in every way and in all directions, from creation to delivery. Companies seeking to build great brands in the modern era need to recognise the importance of the ‘connected brand’.

A connected brand must be optimised for the new channels in its visual and written execution, and it must have tried and proven credentials to give it the substance to back up its promise.

Increasingly these things must also be supplemented by the need to engage with customers in a way that lets them take some ownership of the message.

This ‘participation framework’ has also become a cornerstone of the brand in the 3.0 era. In short, we must find ways to engage more deeply with our customers and value their participation in our promise.

Companies that seize the connected brand opportunity will be the big brands of the future; those that don’t are destined to be consigned to history.

To quote Mark Twain again: ‘Everything has its limit – iron ore cannot be educated into gold.’And in this we must understand our brand may be successful today but it will soon be consigned to the scrap heap if we do not adapt.

Author: Colin Knox, founder of Aspire.