How Pancake Day stacked up on social

Pancake Day crepe-s up on us every year and then bang, brands are tossing out pancake-related content left, right and centre. We’ve stacked up our favourites for you to see who really has the batter social content creator in their frying pan.

Links to actual tweets which we’ve screenshotted for some content:


Social Media content types for your company

When you think about the sun, it is only really in a positive way when it is beaming down on you and you feel its warmth/get a sun tan. The same can be said for social media.

Social media is only effective and good if you’re reaching people enough to impact them and leave a mark. You need to find a way to make it beam (like the sun).

 So how do you do that? Easy.

 Your social media presence should contain 4 different types of content:

 Brand

Obviously your primary goal is to improve brand perception and awareness (or maybe even revenue). So the best way to do that is to make sure you have a good amount of branded/company created content that is shared. This makes it easier for viewers/readers to establish the connection to your brand and ensure that your companies’ point of view is given.

 Employee

Part of your social media strategy should include an employee programme, be it an advocacy programme and so making it easier for employees to post about your brand, or sharing content created by employees. It all helps. If employees are happy and proud to be linked to the company publicly, it tells you something about that company’s values etc thus making it more appealing to both perspective employees and even customers. This is applicable for both B2C and B2B organisations. Utilise your employees to improve your brand reputation.

 Advocates

Also known as influencers. You need to find people/customers who are happy to talk positively about your company. This can be through their own social media channels or through the use of customer testimonials etc. that are then shared out through company owned channels. However you do it, just do it. Nothing is more valuable than peer-to-peer influence (in my opinion) – and part of that comes down to human nature of wanting the best. Why would you settle for something second rate if you’re friend/colleague/competitor has something better?

 Market

It goes without saying that every company wants to be seen as an expert in their industry. Fashion house? Okay, so what are the latest trends? Who are the latest models? Technology company? What’s hot at the moment? What’s the latest technological breakthrough? Whatever world you work in, your company needs to be that expert for your customers so you need to be sharing content that shows that. Get your latest facts and figures, understand what’s happening in your market and talk about it.

 If you do this, you should be on the right track to increasing engagements and everything else – of course paying attention to engagement metrics, following etc. to see how your content is resonating with your audience.

 What other social media tips do you have? 

This article was originally posted on LinkedIn, September 2017


Workforce diversification – a marketer’s perspective

With an increased focus on reducing the gender gap between men and women in employment, it begs the question: how will this and how should it impact a company’s marketing strategy?

It’s a well-known fact that within different businesses men dominate the decision making positions. This is particularly true when looking at the target audience for technology companies, although I’m sure is common across many different sectors. This means that companies build their strategy based on trends associated with males due to the need to find commonality across their audience – often this leads to sports.

Sports is a huge industry that is tapped with sponsorships. You just have to look at all major teams, across pretty much any sport, to realise how many companies have skin in the game when it comes to marketing investment. Football, Rugby, Golf, Formula 1, American Football, Cricket, Tennis, The Olympic Games – you name it, there is sponsorship. It’s a no brainer when you look at the fan base – majority male which means that there is a high chance your company’s target audience is included within that fan base. But as stats from sports clubs show that their audience is predominantly male and efforts are being made in business to ensure women are in decision making positions – are companies at risk of missing the mark and creating a marketing gap?

What happens when the workforce does become more equally weighted between genders? Will sports still have a role to play or, will companies need to think about where else their target audience is consuming content? I’m not suggesting that this will happen overnight and that everyone should start pivoting away from the sporting industry as a leverage point with their customers, but one eye on the future does help.

Gender isn’t the only way in which job positions are evolving. Millennials are increasingly moving into roles where they have influence over decisions and even the power to make them autonomously. With each generation that moves into the workplace, marketers need to remember how their customers’ consumption habits & interests are also evolving.

What’s the latest social platform that is absorbing people’s attention? What media outlets are people trusting? Are they trusting media outlets at all? What roles do influencers play? What are the new generation’s interests?  Will e-sports outgrow the traditional sporting industry? How are consumers engaging with their interests? Does linear TV exist still? Is print completely obsolete or has it made a comeback?

There are so many variables that as marketers we need to stay aware of in how our industries and the people within them evolve.

It’s not just a generational movement either – of course we have to be aware of how the different generations are moving to different stages in their career but another area of focus is how the workforce is generally becoming younger. And this is current. There are a huge number of large companies now that focus on intern/graduate programmes and bringing ideas out from these populations into the boardroom. Stretch projects get assigned to teams of young employees to allow for a fresh perspective.

Imagine you’re a company with a solution to a problem that is being investigated by interns & graduates – aged generally between 18 and 25 years. Are you targeting them? Are you putting yourself in a position whereby this group of people could propose you as part of the solution? Or, are you so focused on hitting the c-suite, the older generation that you’re neglecting the fact that these young people have real influence?

Of course, it is a balancing act. Not all companies are entrusting the younger generation with decisions/influence points and it shouldn’t be a 100% pivot to only focusing on these audiences. At the end of the day, companies are waking up to the fact that a diverse workforce produces diverse thinking which produces success. So as marketers, we need to be where of that, not put all our eggs in one basket and not alienate groups of people that aren’t considered our traditional target audience.


Connect; to humans.

Digital disruption is the biggest buzz phrase of the business world right now. I don’t remember the last time a day went by and I didn’t hear someone talk, read an article or see a job advertisement about digital transformation. Almost every company and every job function is affected by this and marketing is no exception. But what does it mean?

 A few weeks ago I wrote an article about how the landscape has changed and how we are always online (you can read it here), it got me thinking even more about how we should be marketing to consumers/businesses and the implications of this.

It used to be very clear cut what “type” of marketer you were – you either did B2B or B2C. Each one had its own set of properties. Now it isn’t that simple. With the acceleration of technology improvements and enhancements over the past decade, marketing organisations and functions need to be ahead of the game more than most when it comes to preparedness for digital transformation. Often the marketing teams are responsible for that first piece of interaction a customer has with a business. Be it a view of a social post, a view on a website, appearing in Google search, seeing a display ad or appearing on an affiliates site and so on – there are so many ways in which customers (businesses or consumers) interact.

Marketers need to think about the expectations of their customers and in case you hadn’t guessed already, I don’t mean based on whether they are a business or a consumer. Marketers need to think about the expectations of their customers as humans.

 As a consumer you expect to be able to access content cross device, whenever you want and wherever you want. Being in an office (or being in office hours) doesn’t suddenly move your expectations back 5 to 10 years. Just because you are shopping/investing/browsing for your organisation doesn’t mean you expect anything less than an integrated digital experience. 

Just because you are acting on behalf of an organisation doesn’t mean you aren’t a real person.

Yes, the content should be different and yes, there may be more research needed because let’s face it: messing up and ordering the wrong pair of shoes for yourself is okay and you can send them back, but messing up and ordering the wrong type of IT infrastructure for your organisation, your job is pretty much at risk.

Marketing organisations, regardless of audience, need to be digital (where their customers are). They need to be able to produce personalised content (but not too much so it’s creepy) that is correct and up to date (fed up of receiving emails from a mechanical company telling me my MOT is due for a car I haven’t owned in 2 years) and they need to be able to record every interaction with every piece of content to keep on succeeding. People want seamless experiences. They don’t want to be buying from a company (business or consumer) that has a rubbish website or isn’t mobile friendly. They don’t want to sit through grainy video footage for more than 5 minutes let alone a whole hour, or read ridiculously long reports that uses ridiculously long language. People want snackable content – something that isn’t a huge time investment. Content that gets to the point quick and addresses their needs when they are ready to engage with it. People need content that is interactive, that can enable them to get answers quickly, provide access to experts if needed (I’m thinking down the line of online assistants/live chat here).

In order to do this successfully marketers need adopt the latest technology such as good data management systems, good content management systems and ensuring they have the ability to interact with each other – rather than operate as separate entities. Then, they need to couple this with remembering that at the end of the day, they are marketing to people. People whose expectations have evolved with digital disruption and need marketing efforts to match them. 

This blog was first published October 2017, available here.


Brands vs. People – who’s at fault for marketing campaigns gone wrong?

*This article was written in October 2017 following the uproar around a marketing campaign activated by Dove*

Dove recently came under fire for being racist. Dove. The women’s skincare brand that has always championed uniqueness and beauty in everyone. How does that happen?

 A makeup artist shared a picture (the still of a video) on the internet of their latest campaign – the internet took hold of it and went wild. It appeared as though Dove were advertising a black woman taking off her top to reveal a white woman underneath. So you can see why people thought it was racist… it doesn’t look good. I clicked the article showing the image myself thinking how can a brand get away with this?!

 For anyone who hasn’t seen the full ad yet, it was intended to show how Dove is suitable for all skin types, which is way more in keeping with the general perception/values of the brand. Though, unfortunately, the still illustrated something entirely different. Dove publicly apologised for the content and the way it had been perceived but since this, thousands of people have viewed the full ad with everything in context and subsequently supported the brand. Apparently there is no need for them to apologise – the video ad in full has a lovely message. But everyone has their own opinion. (View the ad here).

 Another example of a campaign gone wrong is the use of a # for pizza company DiGiorno – #WhyIStayed. They meant this to be used in a light hearted context about pizza being why people stay together or stay somewhere. However, this was also a # for a domestic abuse campaign. The company received a ton of complaints about being insensitive etc but of course, this was not the intention at all.

 There are even more examples of campaigns that have gone wrong here.

 What I wonder though, is how have we come to presume negative motives? How can we be so quick to judge something without seeing it’s full context? Why are we so quick to see the negative in things? Are we just wired that way?

 Last week I attended an event held by DigitasLBi called “Make the internet great again”. There were many thought provoking conversations had, mainly around how the internet used to be this amazing place and now it’s full of hate, criminals and fake news. I can’t help thinking back to some of those conversations when reading about Dove. Had the ad only been seen on TV in its full entity, would this have happened? Probably not.

The internet is a wonderful thing – most of us couldn’t last much more than a day without logging onto something – but we do have a responsibility to keep it that way. Does this lay in the hands of brands? Should they be more careful about how all the individual elements can be taken out of context and be construed in a negative way? Or should we as consumers remember to look at the full picture, get the facts and try hard not presume anything negative was intended?

 In my opinion brands do have a responsibility to culture check (and # check) everything and then, double check again for anything that may cause offence or be taken out of context to be seen in a negative light. Especially when such sensitive topics are involved. The most important thing to a brand is peoples’ perception and we as consumers love to share negative stories, so brands need to consider this. I do, however, think we have a responsibility, as consumers, to understand full context and intention before partaking in viral negativity.

I am also wholeheartedly in agreement that those who are offended/upset/angered by certain situations/comments/campaigns are within their right to feel that way and that those not in their situation have no right to dictate how they should feel.

This blog was first posted October 2017, available here.


“It’s funny how on MSN we used to say BRB, we don’t say that any more. Now, we live here”

The way we view digital needs to change – it’s no longer a single channel that we just need to incorporate into our strategy. It’s a do it or die situation (in the context of a company’s bottom line), it’s a way of life now with its own ecosystem. Not just another way to reach an audience.

 I’ve seen this phrase posted on a lot of channels such as Instagram and Facebook:

 “It’s funny how on MSN we used to say BRB, we don’t say that any more. Now, we live here” 

It’s so true. When was the last time you worried about not being able to communicate online? For those in the UK, even keeping touch while in Europe has been made easier with the reduction in data roaming costs. Most mobile network providers also offer packages/offers for those travelling outside of Europe, not to mention the fact that Wi-Fi seems to be a necessity now. We’re transitioning from a world where Wi-Fi is a luxury and something you advertise, to assuming it is always there – and when it’s not, restaurants and hotels, or where ever you are use it a selling tactic (in a, let’s switch off from the outside world kind of way). We are always connected.

I remember when moving away from your friends meant only speaking to them on the phone occasionally or sending postcards etc (I am only 25 so this was not that long ago). Now, two and a bit years after finishing university I still talk to my best group of girls every single day, despite the fact we are spread across the entire of the UK, Switzerland and soon to be Australia. A bad or good day at work, a new outfit, a new date and even what we had for dinner – we all know within minutes. They know everything about my life and I know about theirs. We are all there to talk, swap stories and help each other when needed. We don’t need to schedule in time to be have a conversation – the time is always there because we are always there, online, connected, in our WhatsApp group chat.

 So what does this mean?

It means that everyone is competing against everyone. Companies no longer just have to compete against other companies. They have to compete for time and engagement against friends, family, work colleagues, media and the list goes on. Brands have to reach their audiences on devices, platforms, channels (whatever you want to call them) that are already saturated with activity from let’s face it, way more interesting sources.

Companies/brands need to be clever. They need to know the right time, the right place, what and who to target with their content. They need to be available with all the right information on whatever device the user is using. It’s no longer enough to have a website – you need to have a responsive design, your load time on mobile needs to be reduced and you need to refresh the content regularly to work with Google’s algorithms. You need to have the ability to be super analytical so you can understand who is visiting your website, what they are doing, where they leave, why didn’t they complete their transaction? You need to be on social – at the right time, with the right content and with the right team behind it ready to react when needed. You need to recognise users and their behaviour so you can deliver ads at the optimal moment that they want to click through to your website.

Think about companies like Uber, Deliveroo and Netflix. They all address one thing: the desire for cost and time effective immediacy and convenience. You can get an Uber car within minutes to your precise location with no money in your pocket, you can order your favourite food from your favourite restaurant to your own home and you can watch your favourite TV shows and films without leaving your house.

Consider this from a marketing perspective: you need to make it easy for other companies or consumers to get the information they want – people don’t want to travel, people don’t want to dedicate an hour of their time to one topic. People want to be able to finish reading an article or watching a video on their phone/tablet when they have to leave to go elsewhere. They don’t want to and don’t expect to have to wait until they reach their desktop again to resume what it was they were doing. So you need to make sure you can provide them with this.

But you also need to think about the other side of it. Yes, your content needs to cut through the noise but not too much customers feel like you are invading their privacy, their online space. Ads that appear in articles and cover your phone screen are just irritating. I couldn’t tell you what the last one that appeared on my phone was because I didn’t care – all I cared about was where the “x” to close it down was. I get irritated when I am reading something online and all of a sudden it feels like the I’m reading about something completely different – only to realise that I started reading an ad. Please just stop doing this. Companies also need to know when to stop. I bought a pair of trainers after clicking through on a Facebook ad once, but then after I had bought the trainers, I was followed by these ads for months and months. I found myself regularly telling my computer/phone screen that they were stupid because I had already purchased them (from the very website the ads were driving me to).

 It isn’t enough to just be there, online, you have to play your part in the digital ecosystem to stay relevant.

This blog was first published 27th September 2017, available here.