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INTERVIEW: Rock Solid reveals how traditional retailers are using their online presence to get ahead

Laura  Barnes
INTERVIEW: Rock Solid reveals how traditional retailers are using their online presence to get ahead

Rock Solid is a specialist marketing agency formed by ‘passionate music fans and gear nuts’. We sat down with CEO Mark Bower to find out how the firm revamps websites and why it thinks social media is vital for businesses.

What does Rock Solid do?

Rock solid is a marketing agency providing a full range of marketing services to businesses within the MI and associated sectors.

This could include anything from brand development, advertising, websites, video content and social media, in fact absolutely anything to do with getting your brand or business in front of your target audience in a compelling and highly engaging way!
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Tell us about your work with the Vernon Sisters?

I was referred to the Vernon Sisters who were initially looking to rebuild their rather dated website. Despite being fabulously talented and having some seriously awesome testimonials (including one from HRH The Prince of Wales!) the current website was doing a very poor job of conveying the ‘up market and sophisticated’ nature of the show.

It quickly became clear from delving into the kinds of potential customers that the girls were looking to target that a complete overhaul and ‘repositioning’ exercise was required in order to properly align the offer with the expectations of highly sophisticated and demanding buyers.

First of all we developed a creative brief, clearly defining the target audience and their expectations. This would be our yardstick against which we could measure all of our subsequent work. Next came the development of a new logo. We knew that the logo had to embody the feminine, high-class and sophisticated, so I brought in a very talented designer to complete this vital part of the process. One we’d settled upon a final logo design – after several rounds of changes – we then moved on to completely redevelop the website in accordance with the creative brief, again embodying the ‘essence’ of everything that the brand wanted to communicate and taking design cues from the new logo and colour palate.

We also developed a couple of new, high impact videos to really showcase the glitz, glamour and sophistication of the live shows, one of which we decided should form part of the homepage of the new site.

Why is it so important that businesses and brands have a good website and social media presence?

Today’s audiences are so incredibly savvy when it comes to researching products. Nine times out of ten, their first port of call will be some kind of online resource, be that Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, YouTube, your own website or online reviews.

These channels are all vitally important for brands and businesses to reach their target audiences in a way that supports them and hopefully, increases the likelihood of building a relationship with that customer that will result in a sale.

To not be present, or to have an ineffective or even detrimental presence across these channels is effectively business suicide in today’s market.

You definitely will lose customers as a result. And this isn’t just limited to ‘the kids’. Social media and online research is absolutely part of the buying process for a large proportion of the ‘older’ audience, especially when considering higher value purchases.

Will a strong online presence hinder a business, such as an indie MI retailer that only sells offline?

I honestly don’t believe that it can. Whilst some may argue that the online thing erodes margins and destroys ‘traditional’ retail, I think that the smart retailers are using online to support their physical outlets by showcasing them to wider audiences and developing stronger bonds with their ‘fans’.

The challenge is that, if you aren’t offering anything ‘special’ then why should I (or anyone else) bother coming to your store, as opposed to just buying online for the cheapest price? This is the real challenge for ALL retailers.

Retail is in the process of changing forever. It’s no longer good enough to just have a store with products hanging on the walls. Consumers can get up close and personal with products via online videos, images and impartial, third party reviews these days. So the question is, why should I come into your store? Don’t get me wrong. I’m a BIG fan of physical retail and do want to see things improve. I just think that store owners need to start taking ‘online;’ seriously - as seriously as they take the physical store - and this means investing in it in terms of time and effort and yes, money too!

They also need to get more imaginative about how they think about the physical space that they have. What’s it for? How can we make it more interesting, more compelling, more useful, more essential to our target audience?

Let’s face it; music shops can be a bit intimidating at times. How could we make them less so? How could we encourage younger audiences in to get them interested in playing? All of this can be talked about and promoted online for very little cost.

By embracing the channels, as opposed to railing against them, I believe that retails could harness unprecedented opportunities to get to know their customers and build loyalty.

How can businesses get in touch if they want to work with you?

Our contact details are on the website www.rocksolid.agancy or you can email me direct on

Tags: marketing , Interviews , mark bower , rock solid , rock solid agency

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