Monthly Archives: July 2016

Inspiring Content Creators: Interview with Prince Ea & Fleishman Hillard: Cannes Lions csuitepodcast Part 5 of 9

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Starts at 8.34

I’m not going to lie; this was the best interview that I recorded at Cannes LionsPrince Ea is one of the humblest and most inspiring people I’ve interviewed so far in this podcast serie – below is a sample of his work.

It was a pleasure spending 15mins listening to him and finding out about his journey in becoming a Spoken Word Artist to fronting campaigns for brands such as Chevrolet.

Joining Prince Ea were Sean DallasKid, Partner for Content and Creative at Fleishman Hillard San Francisco and his colleague Miker Stovall who leads the creative team in their Dallas office.  All three of my guests had just finished presenting in ICCO’s House of PR on the topic ‘Brands as Activists: Shaking Up The World’, which Sean explained was about how brands have to be truly authentic to resonate with their audiences and that partnering with like-minded artists and content creators is one of the best ways to provide the trust that is needed to achieve it.

Prince Ea can be found across pretty much all social channels including Twitter and Instagram, but if you want to see him in action, visit his Facebook Page where he has over 3.6m likes or on YouTube where his videos have amassed over 66m views. Oprah, who he told me kissed him on the cheek only a few days before, used the words “Powerful Message, Visionary Filmmaker” when describing him.

You can’t help but want to listen when Prince talks.  Whilst he tries to inspire his audience with his work, his said that his own inspiration comes from people who embody love.  He explained that we live in a world where everything is very material, where everything is resisting love, and so he believes that people who have the courage to become love and to speak love is beautiful.  He used to be a fan of rappers like Jay Z and Eminem who he felt had amazing punchlines.  However, when he started reading ancient texts and scriptures by Buddha as well as the Gita, he soon realised their ‘punchlines’ were even more powerful and so he is also inspired by wisdom and truth.  Innovation and seeing people do things that have never been done before also inspires him.

Prince now gets approached by lots of brands and agencies to collaborate, but they would have to have the same authenticity and integrity as his own brand for him to consider working together.  The most important thing for him is synchronicity and alignment with the message and in fact in a lot of cases, it’s content that he would have produced even if a brand didn’t get behind it.  This also means that the feedback he gets from his followers is very positive.

The example that Miker showed in his presentation of where he has worked with Prince Ea was for Fleishman’s client Chevrolet in a campaign called #FuelYourHustle, as they were looking to partner with an artist who could inspire others to follow their passions, be successful and focus on what matters the most to them.

Working with Social Influencers can also work in a B2B environment too as Sean explained when he talked through a campaign he had produced for his technology client Avaya, which was all about Business Lingo.  In this instance, they collaborated with YouTube content creators Tripp and Tyler to produce a really clever and funny video.

What’s key in each of these examples, as indeed was discussed when I interviewed UK YouTuber Hannah Witton in Show 12 of the csuitepodcast on the topic of the Influence of Social Talent, is to allow the artists the freedom to create the content themselves.  However, as Sean explained, it takes trust with the client and artists for that to work.  As quoted by Simon Sinek in his popular Ted Talk (below), Sean said that “people don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it” and so that’s the power of working with content creators in that they are not [playing] a role but are themselves, creating content that is authentic to them and people want to buy into that authenticity because they care. According to Sean, that is the new reality.

As for the future, Prince Ea wants to see more individualised approaches to technology and to content creators.  He believes that it’s easy for technology to become a distraction. He questions whether the technology that we’re creating is truly progressing us forward as a species as he wants content creators and app developers to instil positive habits into people as opposed to addictive habits that make money off of people.  He therefore hopes that the altruistic platforms develop and spread in the years to come.

If you are interested in getting involved in this series podcasts, whether as a guest or as a sponsor, please do get in touch using the contact form on the show website.

You can also keep the conversation going on twitter around these podcasts using #csuitepodcast.

Talent Recruitment: Interview with Weber Shandwick’s Colin Byrne – csuitepodcast Cannes Lions Part 4 of 9

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Continuing with the series of interviews I recorded at Cannes Lions, the next guest to join me at ICCO’s House of PR was Colin Byrne, CEO of Weber Shandwick UK & EMEA.  This was actually Colin’s second appearance on the csuitepodcast, having previously been one of the guests on Show 8 discussing ‘The Social CEO’, so it was good to catch up with him again.

Colin was at the festival with 35 or so of his colleagues from Weber and his focus this year was to bring more of his younger creatives than senior people as he believes it’s a fantastic environment for young talent to meet other young talent and to look at trends that are driving change and innovation in the industry.

The key part of our chat was about the challenges the PR industry faces in attracting the best talent.  As mentioned in one of my previous posts, only five of 84 PR Lions were awarded to PR agencies (results that were announced after my interview with Colin), but when we chatted, Colin said he has no issue with the fact that advertising agencies win in the PR category.  In fact, he actually thinks that it’s great that he is up against some of the best creative minds in the world when competing for those awards.  However, where he sees the bigger competition is for Talent as traditionally, he believes that PR agencies’ approach for talent has been to steal each other’s staff but when you look at some of the work that was being presented at Cannes, he feels PR needs to recruit the kind of people who are currently going to work at Social Media Platforms or the World’s top Advertising and Digital Agencies.

This was a topic that  Fred Cook, CEO of GOLIN talked about too when I interviewed him at the World PR Forum in Toronto about his company’s ‘Unternship’ programme and Colin said he was a big fan of their approach.  However, where the focus is for Colin’s company is on what he called their ‘Engagement Engine’, which is built around four pillars; Creative, Content, Social Media and Strategy & Insights.  In virtually all of these areas, Weber are hiring people from other engagement focused industries such as Advertising or Digital and Social Agencies.  They achieve this by talking their language and showing them that Weber are doing the kind of work that they would like to work on.

As I spoke to Colin on the morning of the PR awards, he was, at the time, hoping for success with a campaign called House of Clicks for Hemnet by one of his group agencies Prime, based in Sweden. He said that this was a perfect case study of how to use Big Data to tell a story and to drive a client’s business.  In fact, Colin didn’t think it had anything to do with traditional PR at all, but he believes Big Data belongs as much in PR as it does with any of the other agencies represented at Cannes.

As it happens, Prime picked up a total of four Cannes Lions for the House of Click’s campaign: PR gold and Bronze as well as Cyber and Media silver,  and you can see the supporting video below:

Cannes Lions 2016: The House of Clicks, Hemnet (Prime Stockholm) from MediaCat TV on Vimeo.

If you are interested in getting involved in this series podcasts, whether as a guest or as a sponsor, please do get in touch using the contact form on the show website.

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Cannes Lions csuitepodcast: Part 3 of 9 Glass Lion Award and Women in PR

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For this part of the show (from 30min 46s), I was joined by Mary Whenman, Communications Director at Callcredit Information Group and President of the industry networking group ‘Women in PR’, which is affiliated to the Public Relations Consultancy Association.

Mary explained that Women in PR has two key agenda points:

  1. To get more women into the boardroom of the PR industry
  2. Advocate for gender pay equality

Women in PR has also worked with PRWeek to set up a PR Week mentoring programme where 15 mid-career women are mentored by 15 senior women from the industry.  Mary said that it’s been hugely successful and they are about to enter their third year or running it.

Mary had also been at Cannes judging the Glass Award, which is billed as the Lion for Change and was in its second year at the Festival.  The award was set up to tackle issues around inequality and injustice that are based upon gender.

From an industry perspective, Mary was concerned about the lack of entries from PR agencies and she believes it is a huge opportunity that PR should address as it’s certainly an area the industry is strong at, in terms of tackling complex issues around injustice and inequality and driving changes in behaviour and attitude.

There was actually only PR entry made it through to the shortlist of 18 for the Glass Award, which was from Weber Shandwick in India for their work on The Daughters of Mother India film, a documentary looking at the aftermath of a horrific gang rape in India in 2012.

One of the winners was a campaign called ‘Legally Bride’ from Leo Burnett for NGO Kafa, that focussed on the issue of child marriage in the Lebanon and that Mary described as striking and thought provoking.

If you are interested in getting involved in this series podcasts, whether as a guest or as a sponsor, please do get in touch using the contact form on the show website.

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Cannes Lions csuitepodcast: Part 2 of 9 Lions Health Awards & Virtual Reality

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For this part of the show (from 13min 31s), I was joined by two judges of the Lions Health Awards, Zuleika Burnett, Executive Director for Creative and Innovation at Havas Life Medicom and Martin Hafley, Creative Director at DDB Remedy London, together with a past Bronze winner, Khalid Latiff, Associate Creative Director at Publicis Life Brands Resolute (PLBR), whose company also picked up a Silver and Bronze this year too.

We talked through quite a number of fantastic award winning campaigns and from what both Zuleika and Martin were saying, having spent time with their fellow judges locked in a room going through all the entries, there was plenty to be inspired by this year within Health & Wellness sector from their peers who are clearly at the top of their game creatively.

Winning at Cannes certainly has some glamour to it as Khalid explained and without doubt elevates the agency.  Last year, PLBR won a Bronze for their ‘This is Stroke’ campaign, a 360-degree film, shot from the viewpoint of somebody actually having a stroke, but not just highlighting what that individual would be going through, but also the people around them.

Khalid explained that PLBR produced that film two years ago, and since then, technology has moved on and has become so sophisticated and elegant, something he said you could see across all the work being show at Cannes this year.  However, he believes that you have to be careful to ensure the technology is used to create a vision and not to outweigh the idea, as the idea should always lead.  Martin agreed that it’s about finding the appropriate use for the technology and this his agency’s ideas are based on insight first – technology is then used to amplify them.

In the little time I got to explore at Cannes outside of doing my podcast interviews, I’d have to agree with Khalid in that 360 films and Virtual Reality were certainly being shown all over the Festival.  For example, I was very privileged to get a lunch invite to the Hotel Martinez from Simon Sadie, Global Account Director at Mediacom, where they had a whole programme of presentations of their own running.  However, whilst there I got to try out PlayStation’s VR headset that they were demoing in Mediacom’s presentation area.  It was an incredible experience where I got play on a Football Coaching game, improving my heading skills!

Khalid also mentioned the OZO camera that Nokia were showcasing and so as soon as I had finished chatting with my three guests, I headed down to Nokia’s Cabana to check it out for myself.  The film I watched in the VR headset was incredible – I felt truly immersed in the experience.

Bringing the talk of technology back to the topic of healthcare, Zuleika explained that what we are seeing a lot of is product development and innovation becoming a new way to market for certain companies and brands.  She said that they are using a product development idea to create a buzz or raise awareness around a particular healthcare issue or topic.

I asked the Martin and Zuleika to pick out a couple of highlights from all the campaigns they had judged and Martin focused on one for Anchor Milk, a campaign by Fonterra Brands and Colenso BBDO, that they had awarded a Gold to.

Anchor – X-Ray Casts from Colenso BBDO on Vimeo.

The idea behind the campaign was based around the fact that, in New Zealand, 59 kids a day break an arm.  Therefore, Anchor created an x-ray cast, which worked by enabling the kids to upload their x-ray via a touchpoint when they were in ‘Accident and Emergency’ room, so that, the following day, they would receive a transfer of the x-ray of their broken bone in the post, that they could then heat up and stick onto the cast on their arm.  (What kid wouldn’t want that?!)  However, on the transfer was also a barcode, which enabled the kids to then go to the supermarket and get free Anchor Calci+ milk whilst their arm was healing.  Just brilliant!

Zuleika threw in ‘Colour for the Colour Blind’, a partnership between Velspar paint and EnChroma, maker of colour blindness-correcting glasses, which she explained amplified the issue of colour-blindness to bring the issue to the masses by creating an incredible film showing the experience that colour blind people have and the reactions when they saw colours for the first time.

Zuleika and Martin also talked about their own company award wins too.

For Zuleika’s Havas Life Medicom, two of her colleagues were shortlisted in the Young Lions Health Award (30yrs and under) for a response to a brief helping UNICEF raise awareness about the importance of children’s first years of life for their social, emotional and cognitive development.  Their idea was called ‘Mini Band’, with the aim of  creating a platform for Care Givers in low income communities to find out how to create their own musical instruments, discover activities involving music art and creativity and download a child friendly playlist, plus find local drop off points to donate musical instruments to be given to local community centres.

As for Martin, DDB Remedy won a Silver and Two bronze awards for an integrated campaign for Excedrin®, an OTC migraine treatment in the US, helping to address the issue that people often respond to someone with a migraine by just saying that it’s nothing more than a headache and not serious!   DDB built a simulated VR experience and mobile app using insight from migraine sufferers so that they could personalise their migraine and share it with friends and family to gain their empathy.

If you are interested in getting involved in this series podcasts, whether as a guest or as a sponsor, please do get in touch using the contact form on the show website.

You can also keep the conversation going on twitter around these podcasts using #csuitepodcast.

Show 24 – Cannes Lions Part 1 of 9 interview with H+K’s Richard Millar and Simon Shaw

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Last month, the csuitepodcast went on location again, this time to Cannes Lions, where I managed to interview 17 highly influential guests over three days, covering a whole range of topics in the communications industry.  Thanks to the good people at the International Communications Consultancy Organisation, I based myself at the ‘House of PR’ Cabana on the beach front, which made for a pretty nice setting to produce the podcasts.

First up were Richard Millar, CEO for H+K Strategies UK and Regional President for Europe and his Chief Creative Officer Simon Shaw.  We chatted about the brief to their team whilst at the event, and what they hoped to learn from being there themselves.  On that note, Simon made the point that Phil Thomas, CEO, Cannes Lions, talked about the rise of B2B clients at Cannes, clients who, according to Simon, traditionally you may not have expected to value creativity so highly becoming more and more relevant and prevalent. He explained that H+K also have clients from China who are looking to move from a culture of making product to one of explaining why they are making that product.

Whilst the event is billed as the ‘International Festival of Creativity’, as expected, data and analytics was high on the agenda and when we discussed this, Richard explained that the make-up of his agency had fundamentally changed over the last two or three years.   In fact, he couldn’t remember the last time he interviewed someone with a typical PR background and H+K are now hiring data scientists and more craft-led creatives.  However, essentially, he sees the agency as a canvass for a multitude of different skills and passions that they can bring to the benefit of the client who needs to engage with the public.  Richard said that H+K has an operating principle inside the agency, which is that they are always in beta, essentially empowering their colleagues to test and pilot new ideas constantly as the world is changing so fast and the agency has to keep up.  Another key part of H+K’s culture is the company’s 3P Philosophy, which Simon explained helps their clients perform, but communicate their purpose too.  He said that if you combine those two things together, it drives a preference from their consumer, whoever that consumer might be.

The key point that Richard made though is that the PR industry has to claim a greater share of the Lions awards in the future.  Given that I was based in the House of PR for the week, I witnessed plenty of debate around this issue, mainly caused by the fact that in the PR category of the Lions, only five of 84 PR Lions were awarded to PR agencies!

If you are interested in getting involved in this series podcasts, whether as a guest or as a sponsor, please do get in touch using the contact form on the show website.

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Interview with McDonald’s Canada CEO, John Betts

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In Part 3 of Show 23 (from 21min 55s) of the csuitepodcast that I recorded at the World PR Forum in Toronto, I got to speak to the President and CEO of McDonald’s Canada, John Betts.

Thanks go to Gordon McIvor, President of the Empire Club of Canada, who helped set up the interview and took part in the discussion too.

We started by talking about the challenges that McDonald’s has faced in adapting to local cultures as it has become a global brand (1967 saw Canada become the first country to have a McDonald’s restaurant open outside of the US), which John said is about remembering what’s important to the guests in a given market place around the world.  The key is to leverage the global brand’s framework, be that service or products that are being provided, but then to customise it so that it resonates in each local market.  In the case of McDonald’s, that could be on the menu – whether there are some nuances in terms of food offerings from either a cultural or local stand point.  Similarly, it could be the experience itself in how they deliver the service.  For example, John explained that in North America, Drive Through is the majority of their business, but in Europe it’s much less, as families tend to eat more together in Europe and therefore the McDonald’s have more seating inside their restaurants there than they do in North America.

What was interesting from John’s presentation at the conference though, was that there is one difference to McDonald’s in Canada, that hasn’t been adapted across the rest of the world and that’s the fact that the ‘Golden Arches’ in Canada have a small red maple leaf in them.

This was actually something that was done when McDonald’s first expanded into the territory, almost 50 years ago, and whilst John claimed he didn’t know how it happened back then, what he does know is that nobody has ever been able to change the logo since in any other part of the world!

Given the theme of the conference was ‘Communications Across Cultures’, I asked John about a statement he made in his interview with John in the conference that “you can’t translate culture”.  He used Quebec as an example, which is the only province in Canada to have a predominantly French speaking population, and highlighted that it’s not just about translating words as it’s about the food that’s being eaten or delivered from an experience stand point.

John also talked about successes and failures in adapting to local cultures.

From a success perspective, he cited the emergence of McCafé, as one of fasted growing and most successful brands in all of Canada over the last five or six years.  150m cups of coffee given away for free over that time have, according to John, really resonated with Canadians and helped changed the way they think about McDonald’s.

On the flip side of that, where John feels a global McDonald’s brand sponsorship hasn’t worked so well locally is with FIFA, as the format they were given didn’t resonate with the Canadian public when it came to aligning themselves with Soccer as he believes, in Canada, “Hockey wins, and Football stays home”.

For me though, the best thing to come out of the interview with John was that he left me with his business card – the best business card I have ever been given … Free Big Mac!  Get in!

john card

If you are interested in getting involved in this series podcasts, whether as a guest or as a sponsor, please do get in touch using the contact form on the show website.

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