Poke Showcases Liverpool’s Creative Sector with Leading Tourism Destination

Dec Connolly Editor

Email business@thebusinessjournal.co.uk

A ‘disruptive’ creative agency based in Liverpool has unveiled its new vision for leading tourist destination Oxford River Cruises. 

Poke Marketing, which was established in November 2020, was chosen over its London competitors to rebrand the business’ overall offering, which attracts hundreds of thousands of visitors per year and has been in operation in the historical town for the past 18 years. 

Led by Andrew Binns, Mark Harrington and Nicola Docking, the Poke team took the wheel in creating a new brand identity for Oxford River Cruises, which aligned them with their sister company The Folly. They have introduced a more audience-focused website, emotive copy, imagery and videos, an email marketing campaign, and a thought-out search strategy themed around ‘Time to drift away’, allowing visitors to ‘see life through a pleasurable lens’.

Head of Strategy Nicola said: “We are really proud to have worked on this one and getting the ORC team’s complete trust was extremely important to us. We are allies for our clients, not a provider of services, and that’s exactly what happened on this particular project.

“As a business, our objectives are simple. We exist because companies need to make an impact, and through the segmentation of audiences, creation of contextual messaging and the delivery of work, we have that direct impact. We put in place robust KPI frameworks that identify the customer engagement journey showing the shift from unaware to conversion, and it’s this approach that is key to showing marketing as an essential part of hitting commercial objectives.”

Created out of a desire to put a stop to vanity creative, meaningless targets and ill-thought-out tactics, Poke has quickly established a name for itself within the region – and further afield – with Growth Platform, Liverpool City Council and the LCR Combined Authority all part of its solid two-year-old portfolio. 

Andrew added: “Bringing in experience from working on Madison Avenue in New York for four years, we were determined to shift the perception that agencies were lacking. We didn’t win some work at the start because we were so stringent in our insights led approach and we refused to fall into the ‘we just want a website/logo’ mentality that some clients have. 

“Whilst frustrating, it’s meant that we have only worked with those companies who value great marketing and by sticking to that, we are seeing the positive results of our approach.”

The agency was recently shortlisted in this year’s Merseyside Independent Business Awards (MIBs) for Best Creative Business and has previously featured as a finalist in the Prolific North Digital Awards for its strategic social media campaigns and in the Agency of the Year category. 

Mark said: “Our approach defines the why of marketing – to convert, to shift perceptions and to activate people into desired behaviours, which is what Poke is all about. We’re not afraid of disrupting what needs to be disrupted because this is what shifts an audience’s attitude. For us, it’s about elevating what Merseyside offers on a creative level.”