HLN Meets: Pay-as-Hugo
Charlotte Nichols created Harvey & Hugo 11 years ago to provide other local businesses with flexible PR services. Now she’s about to make online marketing even easier for her customers with a brand new element to the business. We caught up with the Darlington entrepreneur to find out more
YOU’VE RECENTLY LAUNCHED YOUR NEW (BRILLIANTLY-NAMED) ENDEAVOUR, PAY-AS-HUGO – TELL US ABOUT THAT.
Pay-as-Hugo provides PR and marketing ‘snacks’ for your brand. These are essentially contract-free, fixed-fee brand building options. By making Pay-as-Hugo a standalone e-commerce website, we’re allowing our clients to browse and order easy-to-digest versions of our PR, social media and content marketing services, which are all available to be purchased individually or as part of a bespoke package.
When I launched Harvey & Hugo in 2009, our USP was our Pay-as-Hugo offering which made our PR services accessible to everyone. Harvey & Hugo still offers retained services too, which work better for building brands long-term, but its ’little brother company’, Pay-as-Hugo, is a good stepping stone for start-ups and smaller businesses to develop their brand how they want to.
What’s the danger with out-sourcing your brand’s marketing strategy?
The financial burden of committing to monthly payments – especially at times like these – can be really tough for small and medium-sized enterprises. Smaller businesses may not actually need the full package of monthly services offered to them, especially when it comes to PR. I’d never want to be massively anti-contracts or anti-agencies because it can work really well for certain businesses. But what Pay-as-Hugo offers is an alternative for businesses – where they have the power to decide exactly how much they spend and when they spend it.
You split your process into categories: Create; Share; Report; Care. What exactly do these mean?
Essentially, this is how I see the entire PR and marketing world in a really simple way. First, you need to create high-quality content: whether that be written, photography, video, animation or design. You then need to share it, whether that means with the media, via social media and influencers, on search engines or directly with your audience. It’s important to measure the results of your actions to improve, hence the need for reports. And it’s no accident that ‘Create, Share, Report’ spells out the acronym CSR [a common acronym referring to Corporate Social Responsibility’] – our care element is very important to me. I believe we must give back where we can and how we can, even as a small business.
Tell us how you use PR, social media and content marketing for your customers?
These services have always been at the core of what we do: each flows into the other as we see the lines between PR and marketing become increasingly more blurred. At Harvey & Hugo, we’ve always come at things from a PR background and use social media and content to build our customer’s positive reputations. Our content marketing offering has expanded over recent years so that it now includes graphic design, animation and video, because visual media has always been a very important PR tool.
It’s now harder than ever for brands to stand out from the crowd. What are your top tips for entrepreneurs?
You’ve got to be bold enough to be different. Always challenge the ‘standard way’ of doing things and develop a really strong brand story that sets you apart from the crowd. Most importantly, always be consistent in telling that story across the various media channels that your audience use.
Why should brands big and small use Pay As Hugo?
We offer a quick, flexible and affordable approach that’s also fun and effective for brands of any size. Customers can purchase as many of our services as they like, anytime. Plus, it will make one small, scruffy border terrier (Hugo) very happy!