Whenever I’m given a creative brief my first response is to ask ‘Why?’ Sometimes out loud, sometimes in my head, but always with purpose.
Why are we doing this? Why in this medium? Why are we saying what we’re saying? I don’t do it to be difficult. I do it to make things easier.
There’s a great quote attributed to Abraham Lincoln: “Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I’ll spend the first four sharpening my axe”.
Once you get past the oddity of the US President being timed in a tree-felling challenge – though it would no doubt make great Saturday evening TV – you’re left pondering two things: preparation and efficiency.
1000heads Foursquare vending machine for Nokia
Preparing, organizing and planning is one of the secret weapons I bring to the creative process every day and I urge everyone around me to do the same. It’s preparation – from asking difficult questions to undertaking detailed research; from the hours spent fueling the mind in galleries and dark rooms, to serious contemplation of the issue at hand – that leads to efficiency.
As Einstein later said (probably not while wielding an axe): “If I had an hour to solve a problem I’d spend 55 minutes thinking about the problem and 5 minutes thinking about solutions.” Preparation leads to efficiency.
So what does that mean for communicating with young people? For me it boils down to knowing what you want to say. You need to be prepared for the conversation you’re entering into.
Whenever you communicate (and whatever audience you’re addressing) it helps to know what you want to say. If you’re communicating with an audience you’re not naturally comfortable with, or one that’s likely to be wary of what you have to say, then you won’t get away with anything less than clarity.
A youth audience – and I’d urge you to think of all people in this way, it’ll make you a happier person – aren’t stupid. Echoing the aesthetics of their heroes and mimicking the tone of their peers won’t fool them into believing something that has no value to them. My plea therefore as a creative, and on behalf of the audiences who have to consume the content brands create for them, is to consider the ‘Why’ before you consider the ‘What’. We can handle the ‘What’ in a number of ways (from ‘very simple, but won’t put anyone off’ to ‘exquisitely inspired’) but without the ‘Why’ we may as well be crafting a corsquinelle. No idea what that means? Exactly.
Effective communication with young people needs to say things that are of value to young people. If you’re not convinced you’ve got something of value, then all the graffiti and txt spk in the world isn’t going to save you.
Even successful products sometimes need a social boost. Benefit’s POREfessional, which launched in 2010, is the UK’s best selling primer – but we wanted to ensure that women across the country weren’t taking their beloved shine-killer for granted. It was a great chance to create a social campaign with produce sales at the heart of experience, making it extremely effective in terms of tracking ROI.
Time for Pore O’clock…
The simple central idea behind this campaign was to position 4pm– a time when women commonly complain about makeup slip after a long work day – as Pore O’Clock, the perfect opportunity to retouch your complexion and lift your spirits with Benefit’s POREfessional.
So how to spread the word?
Benefit already has a great brand identity, full of life, enthusiasm and fun. We made the most of this with a guerrilla marketing technique, whereby a team of SpyGals set out to ambush selected offices around the country, handing out free samples of POREfessional, offering makeovers and generally rejuvenating the workforce at Pore O’Clock. An alarm bell announcing their arrival, pumping music and a group dance routine all ramped up the drama, which we experienced ourselves at 1000heads London HQ (the men in the office seemingly needed a lot more work than us girls!)
With the unexpected mayhem unfolding around them, the people in the chosen offices dived for their phones to capture the experience in photos, videos, tweets and blogs; which led us to …..
The campaign hub
Once we’d stirred up emotions, we needed a place for fans and consumers to engage and interact with the entire Pore O’Clock content. Created by our in-house production team, the PORE O’Clock hub features all the social media content created by Pore O’Clock in a real time feed., and a competition to win a visit from the SpyGals complete with custom makeovers and POREfessional gifts.
The website takeover
However, this had to be a fully integrated campaign. The design team took over Benefit’s main website and stamped it with a prominent Pore O’Clock message. Visitors to the site are encouraged to visit again at 4pm for an exciting SpyGal mission. When a real-time clock featured on the site’s homepage strikes 4, SpyGals descend from above and dust off a board to reveal: a free deluxe sample of POREfessional with any purchase.
Tweet for a free treat
We also created a system whereby users who tweet using the #poreoclock hashtag are automatically tweeted a personalised voucher for a free sample. While excitement and awareness around the product was building fast, a broad base of people were also getting hands-on experience testing out the product.
Watch this space…
To date the campaign has received over 300million impressions. From trending on twitter, to dramatic increases in sales, we have some seriously exciting – and seriously trackable results emerging. We’ll issue a full case study video when the activity has wrapped, but for now it’s clear that Pore O’Clock has struck – and its message continues to chime.
“I don’t want to live in a society that does these sort of things… I do not want to live in a world where everything I do and say is recorded. That is not something I am willing to support or live under” – Edward Snowden
Let’s not beat around the bush: one of the services that 1000heads offers is the tracking of online public conversations to help businesses make better decisions about how to engage their customers, and to optimise business practices. But we only track public conversations; that is, we only track open forums, public posts on social networking sites, and freely accessible blogs. The data we track could technically be tracked by anyone, but the cost of developing the infrastructure to capture all the data, store it, make it searchable and develop insights from it, is simply not economically viable for either an individual, or even a large enterprise. It’s not their core business; it’s ours.
We do this because we feel it’s important to listen to audiences, to converse with them, and to find ways of delivering better customer experiences. We strive to ensure we are working with conversations conducted by adults, and we are deeply conscious of the responsibility placed on us to protect customer data, and to ensure we are only collecting information that is considered to be in the public domain. We respect that not everyone wants to contribute to public conversations, and we are willing to facilitate the exception of any data – even after public sharing – that a user prefers us not to track. We are guided by a clear ethical code, and we have a history of turning down projects which would require us to support brands that have acted in an exploitative fashion.
In other words, we’d like to think the tracking we do is a positive thing both for consumers and for businesses.
The trouble is that the companies that own the networks where social conversations happen online, and the government intelligence agencies like the NSA in the US, are saying very nearly the same thing: it’s all for the good of our customers / the people. The difference is that they are tracking not just public conversations, but also private conversation. And in the case of government intelligence agencies and other network intermediaries, there is the possibility that institutions are demanding access to such data, without the knowledge of the users who have accessed private channels for communication.
I should acknowledge that this mass data collection exercise may all be benign; a learning exercise to help understand how to better facilitate communication, and to protect the community. But it doesn’t feel like it. It feels intrusive. And if the revelations of Wikileaks and Edward Snowdon have taught us anything, it is that data can be used not just to learn and to improve, it can also be used to subordinate and to control.
It’s too simplistic, and indeed dangerous to suggest that all governments and businesses should simply stop listening to commentary online. As citizens and as consumers, we wish to be heard; we want organisations to meet our needs. But we don’t want to lose our autonomy, our integrity and our capacity to choose our own destiny.
Marketing may be about influence but it is not, and should never be, about domination. And data tracking should always be used to inform strategy, not to subjugate.
Every day, along with the rest of our team at 1000heads, I work hard to ensure I think about, learn about and try to improve our data analysis. Careful vigilance is needed to ensure we support not just freedom, but civilisation, progress and quality of life. That’s how seriously we take what we do.
The waters of social data tracking may be murky, but it’s our job to keep the tank clean to achieve transparency. Only then can we be sure we are working for social good.
Shawn Levy’s new film The Internship shows just how weird and competitive the world of internships can be. In a tough job market, internships have an increasingly bad name; is all too easy for firms to exploit young people desperate for a foot in the door and some schemes are little more than unpaid slave labour.
So what does it take to create a truly valuable internship in an agency like 1000heads – and how can prospective interns find the perfect fit?We set up our intern scheme in October 2012. We wanted to do things differently, setting up an ethical paid scheme that would either lead to a permanent role within 1000heads or provide top quality skills enabling our interns to secure a role elsewhere.
What works? Giving each intern a line manager, with clear goals and objectives that are reviewed monthly. Getting past interns to mentor the current intake. Encouraging them to integrate themselves into the agency, providing experience on live accounts across all the sectors of the business. And collating 360 feedback at the end of the scheme, so that even if they don’t secure a role, they know their strengths and areas to develop.
In the past year we have taken on 15 interns and 7 have joined us on a permanent basis. We now receive over 300 applications each quarter for the scheme, which now includes Design, Developer, IT and HR roles. Interested? Get in touch! But first read what three of our interns-turned-full-time-employees have to say about their experiences…
Ben Parsons, Account Executive
Having done a handful of internships before 1000heads, I felt like a veteran traveller of the intern world, but my first day felt like a breath of fresh air compared to previous companies. We were introduced in the Monday morning ritual of Heads Together and then thrown straight into the company.
During your first few weeks you are made to feel at home, getting completely immersed in your team’s work. Working on team with a client as big as Nokia was great and gave me a glimpse into what 1000heads was all about. It was a genuine eye opener and a real learning curve for me in my first month. By the end of my internship, working as part of the Nokia Connects team was a real buzz.
Following my first month I was put into a team that was pitching for a new client. Once again I was treated as an employee, not an intern. Being brought into brainstorming sessions and being given the opportunity to express my thoughts on the direction of the project meant I could really get stuck into living and learning the WOM way.
I discovered 1000heads through my uni careers website and was immediately pulled in by the unique nature of the agency. The 3 month paid contract was a real draw as I have done several unpaid internships; it was great to see a company respecting their interns!
Michael Anton, Word of Mouth Analyst
Getting thrown in the deep end did feel daunting, but after I’d written copy for CBS’s Look for Longer competition, kicked off a research project about how people watch catch-up TV, and brain-stormed ways to crowd source video footage from live music events -all in the first day – I knew my time at 1000heads was going to be anything but boring.
By treating every new intern like a new employee, rather than a new tea-brewer, I instantly felt valued and quickly started learning a ton of brand new skills, which isn’t something that every other intern I know has felt…
Whilst work started off with a little bit of everything, I soon realised that the sort of project I most enjoyed was research-based. A couple of conversations later, I’d been assigned to gather the insights for a whole range of current and potential clients. It was empowering to get trusted with so much as an intern, and just as liberating and exciting to know that I could help steer my own experience in the scheme.
Despite the online focus of some of the work at 1000heads I actually found my way into the internship by using a really old-school technique; I went and met people. That’s not to say that emailing a faultless CV, sprucing up your LinkedIn profile or uploading engaging cover letters isn’t important, but, by meeting our HR Manager in person at a careers fair, and asking our Creative Director some questions after I saw him give a presentation about our Say it with Skype campaign, I really managed to get my foot in the door.
I’d seriously recommend that those interested in WOM and social media do the same and start attending events, talking to people in the know, and, of course, coming to see some of the current ‘heads speaking at events around the country.
Ebru Karatufek, Community Executive
Finding the one is tough. That awkward silence, the sweaty palms, the anxious looks across the table, the nervous wait for them to call. The intern-employee dating scene has really stepped up, and seems to require almost comical reserves of cash, patience and skills. Here are my top tips:
1. No one will love you until you do
Whether you need to buy yourself a crisp new shirt, reread that article from Mashable or note down everyone’s names; do what you need to do to secure your confidence when you walk through the door. Nothing will represent you, your experiences and all your capabilities better than you. Be conscious of your skills and what you have to contribute and don’t be afraid to show them.
2. Make time for each other
To get to really know each other, like really, you simply have to put the time in. Say yes to everything, never moan, never stray. Read around the hot topics they would care about (make a list of bookmarks of relevant websites and read them every morning), contribute your opinions and ideas (you simply have to have an opinion and speak up), and engage with their concerns and dilemmas (be proactive, join conversations, offer an alternative viewpoint). Chocolate tiffin squares for the desk probably won’t hurt either.
3. Make the most of your differences
This is just as important for the employers as it is for the interns. Really listen to the experiences and characteristics that make the person who they are, rather than another potential tea maker. Capitalise on the individual and push them so that they are challenged and valued. Interns are hungry and want to prove themselves, so give them something to really get their teeth stuck into.
One third of consumers will take to social media to vent about bad customer service. Of these, women are twice as likely to take out their frustration online. This shouldn’t come as any surprise: women talk, women talk in great detail to their friends, and women will go out of their way to share a bad experience. This is a particularly thorny issue for the beauty industry. Operating in a space which can be full of confusing jargon and competing claims, beauty brands can come under serious fire if their service doesn’t live up to their hype.
On the other hand, beauty inspires huge volumes of passion and advocacy, and women are eager to shout about the products that really work. 71% of customers will recommend a brand that gives them a ‘quick and effective’ response on social media, so a presence that is helpful, knowledgable and friendly can cement the reputation of a beauty brand.
Liz Earle’s scrupulous approach to customer service is something we have held in high regard since long before we started working with them. From the outset, founders Liz and Kim established clear principles for the company. Their commitment to the highest standards of quality and service goes beyond customers to embrace everyone who works there was well as their associates. In short? Happy workers equals happy customers.
Liz Earle’s focus on fairness and rewarding customer loyalty translates into social media, as the example below demonstrates, incredibly well.
Working with Liz Earle has taught us three golden rules to beauty customer service:
1: Know your product inside out. Confidence inspires confidence.
2: Be genuine. If a product won’t suit a customer’s skin – (translating that to agencies, if a certain campaign idea simply won’t achieve the results your clients are after) – be honest. You’ll almost always end up better off. Trust is more valuable than an unsuitable sale.
3: Be prompt. Social media moves quickly and people won’t wait around for your answer – they’ll find someone who gets back to them straight away. If you’re going to be present on a real-time platform, you have to be prepared to play by the rules.
Times have changed. Mobile communications now form a core part of people’s work lives far beyond the clichéd city boy. Here’s our very own Richard Potts representing modern business with his Nokia Lumia 920.
We kicked things off with reviewing the Nokia company page on LinkedIn and made some immediate changes to the editorial strategy:
- Nokia’s +160,000 followers are spread across the globe – we tweaked the publishing schedule to cover more countries, with a focus on the beginning and end of day in Europe, America and Asia, immediately more than trebling the response rates and volume of impressions for status updates.
- Much of the content shared via LinkedIn status updates was a replication of engagement from other Nokia channels – we shifted the editorial focus of the page to three core pillars: product KSPs for business, smarter working and innovation.
- Nokia careers updates were already strong and a vital recruitment tool for the company, so this element stayed put.
Next we tweaked the page visuals:
- LinkedIn offers four slots for banner images shared across the main page and the products & services tab. We updated these to reflect Nokia’s business messaging.
- We also added an element of social endorsement by creating banners that feature a Lumia user, their profile pic, and a quote taken from their Twitter feed that communicates why they love using Nokia Lumia.
- We also added testimonial content to the video slots on the page – like this one from Benjamin Ellis.
- Rather than simply create a list of the product range, we used this as an opportunity to communicate the benefits of using Nokia for work purposes.
- We added a section each on MS Office integration, navigation, security, support, accessories.
- We also added calls to action to trial a Nokia Lumia for your company, follow Nokia on Twitter, and to check out Nokia’s smarter working content – themed around designing your day.
“The Nokia LinkedIn page is a core channel for us in engaging professionals and business decision-makers, distributing content and fuelling conversations that drive consideration of the Nokia Lumia range as the best smartphones for business. Adding also the opportunity to trial a Nokia Lumia for your company has turned the page into a lead and advocacy generator that delivers measureable business value.”
LinkedIn’s Category Head for Tech & Teclo Will Koch said:
“Nokia’s LinkedIn Company Page gives them a real social media presence and allows them to create relationships with their audience, tell the story of their business and showcase both their brand and products. Offering their LinkedIn followers the opportunity to trial a Nokia Lumia for their company is a unique approach that is resonating with the business decision makers on LinkedIn that they are targeting.”
1000heads’ leadership in the evolution of B2B marketing was recognised recently with an award for our creative work on Royal Mail’s Market Reach. We’ve also been helping Western Union Business and Getty Images with their social strategy and activation. We’re really proud of the work we’re doing in this field, so if you know someone in need of some support on B2B social, well, this might be the perfect time for a cup of tea.
When sports giant Salomon came to us at the end of last year asking how we could help them achieve their business objectives through digital and social, we knew we were embarking on an exciting journey. Having monitored conversations for Salomon for a while now, we rapidly identified a big opportunity with Salomon’s highly engaged and passionate customers, and two particular areas of growth for advocacy.
First, we looked to Salomon’s global Facebook page, with the aim of growing its fan base as well as its vibrancy. With more than 11,000 fans acquired in the first quarter and an engagement rate of 0.5% (more than twice the average for a page this size), the page is proving a great way for Salomon to connect with its audience.
In parallel, we developed an influencer programme focused on stimulating positive word of mouth for the brand through product trials and reviews by trusted members of the running community. The Insider Program is set to kick off this weekend alongside a series of UK city trail events, designed to coincide with Salomon’s new brand campaign: #DesignedForFreedom.
As an enabler of greater freedom of movement since 1947, it only makes sense that, 66 years later, Salomon should reaffirm its core brand values through a fresh new campaign. This week, #DesignedForFreedom kicked off with an inspirational short film, as well as some front page action on Salomon.com.
The video aims to capture the spirit of the brand while showcasing the obsession of Salomon’s core consumers – outdoors – in a heartfelt and artistic way. Niclas Bornling, Marketing Director at Salomon explains: “In the work to tie the brand’s many product categories, practices and consumers together we drilled down into the core of the Salomon brand and found one single common denominator: everything Salomon makes is designed to enable greater freedom of movement so that the consumer can experience greater freedom of spirit. The campaign, Designed for Freedom, encapsulates this commitment and aims to speak to the very core reason to why everyone, from top athletes to recreational consumers, do mountain sports.”
For Niclas, digital is the media of choice for this campaign: “We choose to launch the campaign through digital media as this allows us to transfer the emotional nature of the message in a very compelling way. It also gives a platform to engage in a dialogue with a wide consumer base spanning through a multitude of sports communities and local cultures.”
It’s just the beginning of exciting things to come from Salomon in digital and social, as the conversation around the campaign already shows. So what are you waiting for? Get out there and let us know what#DesignedForFreedom means to you!
On Friday 17th May I had the chance to wear my kilt. I like wearing my kilt because it generally means one of two things: Either, someone is getting married or, some of our work has been nominated for an award…
The Rev Awards celebrate the best digital work from the UK (not the best sermons) and this year our work for Skype, CBS and Royal Mail was plucked from the entries and given pride of place on the nominations board. But it didn’t stop there. On the night we were chuffed to pick up Best B2B campaign for Real: The Physical Network, our innovative B2B project for MarketReach at Royal Mail, as well as a commendation for Say it with Skype – great recognition for everyone involved.
But wait! Just this morning, the month got even better as we discovered we’d been awarded not one but two Bees Awards – the international social media awards based out of San Francisco. This time Nokia Agora picked up and award alongside Say it With Skype – a fantastic scalp for the social and data teams at Nokia and 1000heads who’ve worked to create a product that’s useful, impactful and looks darn sexy too…
The great thing about picking up awards isn’t the dinner or the celebratory gin (it is this a bit though), but the knowledge that without a client, a brief, an insight, a strategy, an idea and an awful lot of hard graft from a lot of people – AKA ‘the work’ – it wouldn’t happen.
Here’s to plenty more great work (and congratulations to all the other winners too).
Every day mothers and fathers around the globe go through a storm of strong emotions as their children grow up. Witnessing them learn to walk, talk and make sense of their world is one of the most powerful journeys most of us will go through. And far from just providing distraction, children’s TV can be a major supporter of that learning process when produced in the right way. Not to mention an education for parents, who find themselves getting to know some pretty extraordinary characters along the way!
So when BBC Worldwide Australia & New Zealand approached us to help them build engagement on their pre-school channel’s CBeebies Australia Facebook page, we jumped at the chance. Sharing that journey with parents is a privilege, not to mention an exciting opportunity to prove the value of social in an area that has important practical significance.
Over the years, the CBeebies Australia Facebook page has become a great place for parents to engage both with the channel and with each other. With tips, trivia and suggested activities to do with the kids, parents are able to share their points of view, swap advice and generally feel connected at such an intense time. Our job was to build that community while driving advocacy out into the wider web, as well as into these parents’ lives. So we created a dynamic hub that would live on the Facebook page for the entire year. The hub displayed relevant videos and programming information in real time, then every two months became the gateway to programme-themed competitions.The emphasis was on enabling parents and kids to explore together, and on reflecting the CBeebies motto of educating and entertaining little ones through play.
The first competition was aimed at highlighting their popular show, ‘Mr Bloom’s Nursery’. We decided to focus on growing fruit and vegetables, the show’s main theme, creating questions that children and parents could answer together in a 14 day trivia competition. We supported the competition with Facebook promoted posts, and managed to get a CPC lower than the national average, all the while increasing the CBeebies Fan base by 10% in just 2 weeks.
We are launching the second competition in 3 weeks and we are very excited about what’s ahead over the next ten months. For every piece of engagement, we want to emphasise the joy that parents share in learning with children in these crucial formative years. Stay tuned!
That was the question at the heart of Gorkana’s breakfast briefing last week, and I was delighted to be invited to present our ongoing work with Nokia Connects. It was a fantastic event; not only were my fellow speakers – Warren Johnson, Amy Butterworth and Azeem Azhar - of the highest calibre, but the audience had some super-sharp questions.
I am unashamedly proud of our Nokia Connects programme. It captures everything I believe is essential to a great social campaign:
- a people-focused approach
- the combination of social media and the real world
- the integration of multiple channels and business departments
- fantastic, tangible business results
- an incredibly close and robust relationship between agency and client
- a long-term commitment to bringing a brand closer to its customers, in big and small ways.
Below is the video of my presentation but do visit Gorkana’s site and watch the full set. There is always more to learn when it comes to listening to, engaging with and growing advocacy, and it’s an essential skill for businesses that want to survive and thrive.