Monthly Archives: August 2016

Advantage Women: Gender Balance in the Workplace – csuitepodcast ECS special – Show 28 Part 1 of 3

Show 28 of the csuitepodcast was recorded at the European Communications Summit in Brussels where I interviewed three of the conference’s speakers.  In this first section, I spoke with Elaine Cameron who is a Futurist and Senior Director at Burson-Marsteller about Gender Balance in the Workplace.

Elaine has been tracking signals of change for eight years around women’s empowerment – politically, technologically and economically.  She gave an overview of the trends that are driving gender balance in the workplace.  For example, women now:

She added that we have also seen landmark legislation being passed around the world on pay parity and transparency on pay and women’s paternity leave.

However, Elaine said that barriers still exist to women in the workplace due to a number of reasons including:

  • cultural norms
  • they still carry the greatest responsibility for family care (highlighted in a report byFrost & Sullivan) – compared with senior level men who are five times more likely to have a stay at home partner
  • are under estimated in terms of the amount of business results they are driving

In the week before the conference I had read an interview with actress and activistEmma Watson discussing the #HeForShe campaign and her support for positive discrimination to address the imbalance for women.  Elaine shares this opinion.  She explained that we can’t wait 200 years to allow this to happen holistically over time, [according to a study undertaken by LeanIn.Org and McKinsey ‘At the rate of progress of the past three years, it will take more than 100 years for the upper reaches of US corporations to achieve gender parity’].  Elaine said that even Christine Lagarde, Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund, recently said that she doesn’t see how else we are going to achieve gender balance.

In her session, Elaine showed this really powerful video, produced for the ‘Inspiring the Future’ campaign, run by the charity, Education and Employers, that highlights the issue that gender stereotypes are formed at a very early age, between the ages of five and seven years old.

Elaine therefore believes it’s the responsibility of the parents to bring up their children in a way that is gender neutral.

To further address the issues Elaine was discussing, Burson-Marsteller have launched their Advantage Women campaign, which is a global offering focused on helping organizations take full advantage of the benefits associated with closing the gender gap and creating more opportunities for women to rise as leaders.

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B2B Demand Generation – csuitepodcast Show 27

Show 27 of the csuitepodcast was on the topic of B2B Demand Generation

I was joined in markettiers’ studios by Katy Howell, CEO of independent social digital consultancy, Immediate Future, and Joel Harrison, Editor-in-chief or B2B Marketing, plus Carlos Hidalgo, CEO of B2B demand generation firm Annuitas, and Joe Pulizzi, Founder of the Content Marketing Institute, joined me on the line from the US.

Joe, Carlos and Katy had all presented at Joel’s B2B Marketing Summit in June, and so I asked them each in turn to talk about their sessions.

Joe was first up and he talked on the topic of ‘A Proven, Strategic Model for Successful B2B Content Marketing’, which he explained was about how to build an audience that knows, likes and trusts a company before they even want to buy the product or services that it offers.  Joel said that B2B Enterprises are creating more B2B content than we have ever had before but rather than adding to the clutter, they need to better consider the audience they are trying to reach and what value they can add, outside of the products and services they offer.  His viewpoint is therefore not to just always focus on creating leads, but first of all to build an audience of subscribers who want to get your information, and then drive opportunities and leads.  Be believes that too many B2B companies are in it for the short term and that you will be more successful if you see it as a long term process.

In Carlos’ presentation at the conference, he highlighted some of the findings from the latest Annuitas Enterprise B2B Demand Generation Study, within which it stated that less than 3% of B2B marketing executives said they were highly successful in accomplishing their demand generation goals.  He therefore agrees with Joe and added that whilst there are a lot of content producers, do we have true content marketers/demand generation marketers?

Carlos highlighted the fact that in B2B, we have consensus buying, with up to five individuals who are part of a buying committee [see The Consensus Sale], each with their own bias.  People can access any type of information on the company and product, including down to an individual sales person.  He also made the point that buyers are so interconnected, plus we can do peer to peer networking without having to meet each other via LinkedIn in Twitter, yet what we see all the time are marketing organisations that continue to bifurcate, as we have email teams, web teams, event teams and sales marketing teams, yet very rarely to we see a marketing organisation that is aligned to a buying process.  To move in that direction, i.e. change management, and to do it well, especially at a cultural level, Carlos believes you are looking at a two to three year initiative.  However, what he finds is that a lot of executives don’t have that staying power or patience and so it resorts to the quick fix.

For Katy, one key part of the Demand Gen journey that most brands don’t even consider is Social Media although for her, it’s about Paid Social and targeting, the latter being something she doesn’t believe B2B brands are good enough at.  Without taking anything away from the creative, she feels that inevitably, we can get so fixated on the creativity and the content that we forget about the distribution, yet that science bit – the data – is essential, as this helps you to be in the right place at the right time for your customers.

We continued our discussion highlighting some favourite case studies of each of the guests and Katy kicked it off talking about a small six week campaign Immediate Future had carried out for Thomson Reuters on the Commodities Market.  Katy explained that their aim was to reach those traders who are involved in commodities only, so they had to work out which channels and platforms to find them.  However, more important was briefing Reuters on the content Immediate Future needed them to create to reach those individuals, which they call ‘shattering for social’, i.e., making as much content as possible in a variety of formats from videos to infographics to [editorial] copy, testing as much as they possibly could, optimising quickly.   The result was increasing demand gen for that segment by 1178%.

Joe unfortunately couldn’t share the client name of his B2B manufacturing case study, but he described how the company was creating content for 16 different channels without seeing much success. They therefore concentrated on creating relevant content on one main channel, which was their blog, and two secondary ones, focussing on email subscribership as their main KPI.  Email is something that Joe still believes is important to creating success for B2B companies because his concern at leverage followers and fans on social platforms is that you don’t control them, it’s Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter who control them and who can change the algorithm at any point that is required to reach them, whereas you do have control over your email mailing list – you just have to break through all the clutter.  According to Joe, the big catastrophe in B2B marketing is that most B2B email newsletters are terrible, something that Joel thinks is a huge opportunity for so many people.

They key learning from Joe’s case study in his opinion is that the company that he was involved with is actually creating less content than it was before, but that they are more focussed.  He believes that sometimes you have to simplify and go small and work where you can be the leading expert in something, instead of just throwing massive amounts of content out there.

The case study that Carlos shared was for PR Newswire, who had previously been going to market with a very product centric approach.  Carlos said they had to take a buyer centric view and that it was about the alignment of, what Annuitas calls ‘people, process, content and then technology’ along with Data, and after putting that in place, they saw a 22% increase in engaged leads, a 7% increase in qualified leads and a 7% increase in closed sales, driven by marketing.

[Read Annuitas’ full PR Newswire Case Study]

If you want to read more from my guests then try out the following:

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My record breaking interview: Cannes Lions csuitepodcast Part 9 of 9

Record Breaking interview: Cannes Lions csuitepodcast Part 9 of 9

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This interviews starts at 20m26s

For my final Cannes Lions interview that I recorded in ICCO’s House of PR, I chatted with Sam Fay, Senior Vice President, Global Brand Strategy at Guinness World Records (GWR).

Sam had been at Cannes presenting a sessions called ‘How to be a legend in your lunch hour’.

She explained that this talk was about sharing the five qualities GWR believe are needed to be a record breaker and the best in the world – Imagination, Differentiation, Dedication, Validation and Amplification.  Sounds like the start of a song by the late great Roy Castle!

I guess that’s where the surprise was for many people, myself included, about Sam’s session.  For people of a certain age, there is a lot of love for Guinness World Records, growing up watching Record Breakers on TV in the 80s and flicking through the huge book each year wondering how to get an entry into it for some of the more bizarre records.

But perhaps, what a lot of visitors to Cannes weren’t aware of, was how brands are now using world record attempts to amplify their messages and generate positive PR.  Sam was therefore looking to inspire her audience to do just that, whilst of course provide an opportunity to partner with GWR.

Whilst GWR have published their book for 61 years (now in 26 languages across 100 countries), they now have almost 11m likes on Facebook but Sam said that they have been working with brands and agencies for around six years and have actually worked with 48 of the top 100 brands in the last 18 months alone.  With over 50,000 records, she explained that there are opportunities for organisations in any industry.

In one of my previous interviews at Cannes, I spoke to Karen Strauss of Ketchum about Age Agnostic Marketing, and Sam and I agreed that breaking records is certainly one form of content that appeals across all ages. Watching the Olympics with my kids over the last couple of weeks is certainly testament to that.

In terms of her own highlights from Cannes, Sam really liked IPG MediaBrand’s session on Brand Dynamism where they talked about how to measure a brand differently by looking at four qualities – Agility, Responsiveness, Innovation and Sociability.

This struck a chord with Sam on how GWR has had to adapt from being just a publishing company to survive and grow over the years.  In fact, they are now moving into the live entertainment market as they are opening a Guinness World Records attraction next autumn in North America.

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Interview with Mark Borkowski: Cannes Lions csuitepodcast Part 8 of 9

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This interviews starts at 10m55s

I know it’s been a few weeks since Cannes Lions, but I am still writing up my show notes from each of the interviews I did in ICCO’s House of PR, so apologies that they are a bit late.  However, the podcasts are certainly still worth listening to, none more so than this chat with Mark Borkowski.

Mark was reviewing what he thought of the festival and how it has changed since his first visit around 20 years ago, but he still gets the same buzz from being there.

He had been to eight talks and two highlights included Brian Chesky, Founder of Airbnb, and  Madonna Badger’s inspirational talk about her life and career.

Now I wasn’t in either of those talks, so having done a bit of post interview research and I can see why Mark thought Madonna Badger, Chief Creative Officer and Founder of Badger & Winters, in particular was so inspiring. Here’s an interview she did on CNN.

and here is the full video from her # WomenNotObjects campaign

Mark believes Cannes is a dichotomy as the event needs talks like those mentioned above to make it feel sexy but ultimately it’s the networking and the deals that are going on that is the real driver for the week.  He therefore understands that the networking outside of the main hall is a huge part of being there but at the same time he doesn’t think that delegates are getting enough benefit from the presentations.  However, he feels that the younger attendees are seeing the talks and being inspired, which he said is brilliant, although it’s to the loss of all those who didn’t even see one talk.  He feels that you have to come to Cannes to learn and see what other people’s work is and that at the end of the day, “you can get pissed on any night of the week in any bar in any place in the world!” 

Mark also mentioned a party or two that he been to, and by the sounds of it, I need to work hard over the next 12months to raise the profile of the csuitepodcast series so that I can get invites on to the yachts next year!

With regards to the fact that, as mentioned in my previous posts, the PR industry had struggled to win many awards at Cannes this year, Mark felt that PR was on the cusp of doing something very significant a few years ago in terms of owning the space, but has missed the opportunity and the media and content agencies have now regained the ground.  He referred to blog post James Nester, Executive Creative Director, Weber Shandwick, which talked about the fact that lines between PR, Digital and Sales Promotion campaigns are blurring and so it’s difficult to choose [which agency you use].

However, Mark doesn’t believe PR is stamping down what PR can do greater than everything else, which is to reach mass influence, and feels the industry has lost it because it wants to seem relevant.  Of course he agrees the PR industry has to change but he strongly believes it still has to hit mass reach and so was frustrated when looking at a lot of the award nominees.  He said it was all about finding bloggers and influencers, but was bypassing what still has mass impact, which is mass media.

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Age Agnostic Content: Cannes Lions csuitepodcast Part 7 of 9

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To kick off the third of my podcasts from Cannes Lions, I was joined in ICCO’s House of PR by Karen Strauss, Partner, Chief Strategy & Creativity Officer at Ketchum, Gabriel Araujo, Creative Director at Ketchum and Adam Singolda of content discovery platform Taboola.

The topic of our chat was Age Agnostic Content.

Karen started by referring to a story that Ad Age ran in November 2015 saying that 2016 would be the year for Age Agnostic Marketing.  She interpreted this to mean that we will finally take advantage of the power of the Internet to identify people by shared interests and abandon the practice of writing creative briefs aimed at people by their age.  However, Karen still sees briefs targeted by demographics rather than psychographics, hence why she had put together a panel for Cannes to address when age does matter and when it should be ignored in favour of marketing to passions.

In their session at the event, Adam said that smart marketing goes beyond age and into value and passion and in our interview he added that the notion of demographic and what marketers are looking for is completely changing and evolving.  He believes that people are so overwhelmed with information and so as a marketer, you need to start with what is it that you are trying to address for those people so that whatever you create may be valuable to them.

Karen now pushes back when she gets briefs that talk about targeting age groups.  She argues the case for using data analytics to discover what the relevant and shared passions are, so that she can better understand who the client is trying to reach, as this will help understand what content needs to be created to make the right connection.  She doesn’t believe you will connect with people by reminding them how young or old they are!

Gabriel described a great example of a campaign for a brand that is challenging the Age issue.  He talked through a project that Ketchum produced for Pfizer in Brazil, where their brief was originally aimed at millennials about ageing.

Pfizer Age Shamelessly FINAL (Creative Data) from Gabriel Araujo on Vimeo.

Gabriel explained that their view was that the target audience on the brief wouldn’t care too much about the issue at hand, so they had to think of a way that would provoke them and get everyone to pay attention.  Ketchum therefore responded by filming young and old people answering the same questions about their lifestyle, the results of which showed a new reality.  Ketchum found that younger people are lazy, staying home, watching Netflix, don’t go out with friends and are not having sex!  With old people it was the opposite. They are active, playing sports, travelling, having sex and falling in love again.

The results of the campaign were fantastic across social media in Brazil.

I compared the campaign to the big winner at last year’s Cannes Lions, the #LikeAGirl campaign, from Always, which I still use as case study example in my Using Video in Social Media Workshop

Both videos are simply shot and rather than relying on visual effects, they work because the story telling is so good, which Gabriel agreed with.

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Understanding and measuring influence: Interview with H+K Strategies & Brandwatch – Cannes Lions csuitepodcast Part 6 of 9

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This interview starts at 25.21

For the final part of this second Cannes Lions csuitepodcast, I moved to the Haymarket Hive to chat to H+K Strategies’ Director of Content, Vikki Chowney and Ben Hackett of Brandwatch, who were there launching Sherlock+, the latest version of the partnership between their two companies.

As Vikki explained, Sherlock+ is a series of customised dashboards across all sectors, covering 45 core topics.  The platform allows them to apply data driven network analysis on top a list of the people who H+K believe to be the most important in those topics areas – a list that starts with who the team at H+K already know, based on their sector experience, which Vikki believes is a good gauge for a PR agency.  This enables them to then look at an expanded community of influence rather than just an individual one, to see what content they share, how they talk to each other and what hash tags they use, all in real time, providing a constantly updated view of who are the most important people.

Given Sherlock+ was only being launched at Cannes, Vikki explained how a previous iteration of the platform had helped Visa find out more about the people working in banks who were making the decisions on whether to work with Visa or not, how they make those decisions, who are they influenced by and what content they like.  This helped Visa find new people that they might want to invite to an event, do some media activity with or simply have a meeting with and get them involved in some of the work they do from a corporate perspective.

Naturally, with my Conversis hat on, I asked Vikki how they are going to roll the platform out in other territories.  She told me that whilst they are starting with monitoring in just English, they are aiming to allow local offices to create their own language versions of it.  For me, this is crucial to its success if monitoring global campaigns.  Conversis already works with clients translating discussions around products on social platforms such as NetBase, as the vast majority of people in each territory write and search in their own language.  Google Trends actually has a great tool showing the most popular searches by language in some of the world’s largest cities.  For example, in Berlin, 89% of Google searches are in German, 95% in Madrid are in Spanish and 93% in Paris are in French – I guess the phrase “No Shit Sherlock” is quite appropriate at this point!  But it is something many companies don’t take account of when planning their global web content and SEO strategy and is very relevant when searching on social discussions about brands.  You certainly can’t rely on tools like Google Translate to get correct translations, let alone understand sentiment, especially when trying to understand the new language that social media has created with shortened words, hashtags and txt speak!

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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