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So, you're all signed up and wonder what happens next?

Again, for the big players with exeperience in marketing and advertising, what follows will be very familiar. But for the person with a growing business who suddenly realises he needs professional marketing, what makes a Marketing Company or Ad Agency a necessity is an understandable question.
Well, what happens mostly is a process called "Activation". We decide on a marketing or advertising campaign for your brand or a product, and "activate" it. In other words, we make it happen. And there's a whole load of things we do routinely, that you've probably never heard of. To understand how this works let's look at the activation process of a single social media post and you'll understand why so many businesses employ marketing agencies!
The post activation process is the journey from an idea or concept through to publication. As an example, we'll look at a simple still image post we used as a demo for a range of fashion clothing. activation photo 1

The first job for every post is to build the Creative. The creative is the foundation graphic from which the actual post images are taken. And yes, we do mean imageS because we need several images for a single still image post...sounds confusing but you'll see.
activation photo 2 Activation begins with setting the content parameters. In other words, we must establish the story that the post must tell before we can make a creative that can tell the story.
The next step is to gather the "Assets". Assets are the materials we use to build the creative, things like photos, video etc. In this case, as the story was about a range of clothing for a fashion boutique, it was important to include one of our fashion models. We have many photos of our models in our library, but found nothing suitable so we decided that a photoshoot was needed. A quick visit to the local rugby club and a model wearing something appropriate were organised (there's some behind-the-scenes pics over there). Then it was back to the office to process and select the one we needed.
Next, we had to create the background because the rugby club just didn't look right (often happens!). The background in a post image must give exactly the right impression - it must tell the story. In this case we we're looking for freedom, outdoors, travel (you'll see a few candidates in the next photo). We often say, the photograph must "Speak".
So, having gathered the assets, the next step was the simple matter of placing one on top of the other (the third photo shows the process). activation photo 2 We had to do some work on the photo of Khanyishe to remove the background. We gave it some basic tone grading etc to get just the look we needed.
The final step was to add the brand logo and hook (slogan) that would complete the post story.
We always build the creative as a vector graphic because the image will remain in its' separate component parts. In this way, we can easily go back and edit any of the parts individually if we need to. We always build the creative with an aspect ratio of 16x9 (normal video shape) as this is the one we need most often in our core operations.
The photo below is the completed creative. It's ready to go over to the publishing desk. activation photo 2 The publishing desk is a separate department within our business. The first job it does is creative scaling. "Creative Scaling" is making copies of the creative in the different aspect ratios used by the various media platforms the post is to be published to (and you'd be surprised how many there are!). Then, each of these graphics is converted to a .jpeg image ready for publication to those media platforms...hence, we end up with several photos for a single post...in this case, 4 images.
The next step would normally be to agree the publication schedule with the client. This can be important. The publication may need to be scheduled for a number of reasons. It may have to wait for a stock delivery, or coincide with a product launch for example. The post is published accordingly. If you click on the photo on the left, you can watch a video of the whole activation process from start to finish.

So now you know the work that goes into activating a single marketing image and you also know the kind of thing you get for your money. You can see a few more examples of how planning, photography and graphic design are combined to make up creatives on the Graphics page. There's a few finished creatives below, taken from actual campaigns. It's a similar process for every activation we make for you...and if we're doing 3 posts per week for you, well you can imagine.

If you're still thinking about what your marketing budget should be, before you jump back to our Foundation page, think about what you need to achieve from your marketing and advertising. Think about what your budget should be in relation to your planned gross retail revenue. Think about all the other aspects of marketing. Things like newspaper ads, newsletters, posters, table talkers, promo events, even TV ads. All of these things are tools we regularly use to promote brands and products - and none of them come free!
Most of all, think about what your business really needs to compete successfully in the market place?

Activation photo 5
Activation photo 6
Activation photo 7
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