All being well many of tonight’s (May 15) ITV’s Evening News regional programmes will be dedicating a sizeable chunk of their broadcast (between 6pm-7pm) to the role greeting cards are playing during this Covid-19 crisis as well as other difficult periods of British history.
This great opportunity to fanfare the industry came about as a result of Amanda Fergusson, ceo of the GCA contacting the media and signposting them to the new Thinking of You website which is now populated with positive stories and images about the sending of cards and the generous spirit of those in our community.
ITV journalist/presenter/camerawoman Lauren Hall met with Amanda on Wednesday to interview and film her outside (in keeping with social distancing rules).
Commenting, Amanda said: “As with all media matters the broadcast is not guaranteed as it depends on other news tonight, but as Lauren intimated to be it is certainly ITV’s intention to include the coverage on tonight’s programme in many of the channel’s regional news programmes.”
Highlighting how the 140,000 cards Colonel Tom Moore received on his birthday, how children have taken to making cards like never before, Amanda also explained how the sending of cards during World War II was seen as an essential part of the war effort to raise troops’ morale.
In addition, one of the leading journalists for Wired magazine and online platform has also been working with Amanda on an article based around the importance of sending cards to show you care, connect with loved ones and stave off feelings of isolation.
“Greeting cards are the ultimate in tangible communication – they are such a wonderful way of cementing those bonds of friendship and kinship. We are so lucky to work in an industry that does this,” adds Amanda.
Communication was also the key of a very successful GCA webinar on Wednesday targeted at helping greeting card retailers improve their online presence. Organised by the GCA, in just under an hour Simon Pryce, md of Nottingham-based web design and ecommerce company, Skylight Media explained, inspired and advised the viewers of how to ‘communicate’ effectively (and without breaking the bank) with a transactional website. GCA Council members, Daniel Prince, md of Danilo and Brett Smith, md of Emotional Rescue, as panellists, both shared their experiences, giving invaluable tips such as how to use Shopify and not waste money on expensive search engine optimisation.
Having built 40 websites for those in the greeting card world, from The Art File to Earlybird Designs, Cinnamon Aitch to Laura Sherratt Designs, Simon’s easy delivery was based on a total understanding of the market sector.
“Your website needs to communicate all about you, the brand values of your shop, what you stand for,” he stresses. He also highlighted how it should all be connected. “Even in lockdown, make sure your shop window catches the attention of passersby, include details of how you are operating online; do email campaigns, local leaflet drops directing them to your site, replicate it on social media. Communication is not optional, it’s essential, and not just in lockdown,” emphasised Simon.
Independent retailer Robin McLean, of The Parish Lantern in Walberswick said: “The webinar was very helpful to a Luddite like me. Our website is in its infancy, so it was particularly reassuring to hear advice which didn’t assume any great technical sophistication on my part. How do I approach the whole website/ web-sales/social media minefield when I know that everyone else is so far ahead of me and I should have done it years ago? Well, it was reassuring to be told that I am not alone in my ignorance, to be led gently through the early stages of technological awakening and given pointers on where to go next. Part of the pleasure of running our shop for the last 23 years has been engaging with people face to face. But, unfortunately, I have to come to terms with the reality that when those people aren’t here I need to take a different approach, and when they do come back will they want to buy the same things in the same way that they did before?”
The webinar slides are available on the GCA website in the members’ area. http://www.greetingcardassociation.org.uk/
Top: ITV journalist Lauren Hall behind the camera for some social distanced filming.