Monthly Archives: December 2016

The Power of Radio in PR & Comms: csuitepodcast show 34 review

I was back in studios of markettiers for this episode of the csuitepodcast, which was quite appropriate given we were chatting about the Power of Radio in terms of PR & Communications, timed to coincide with the recent release of the Q3 2016 RAJAR figures of UK Radio Listening – now up to 48.2m adults across the UK tuning into the radio every week.

My guests were:

Topic areas we covered off related to the topic, included but were not limited to:

  • RARAR listener numbers and their relevance as a reporting tool
  • Radio beyond audio broadcasts
  • Radio PR & the impact of local Radio
  • Influence of Presenters

RARAR listener numbers and its relevance as a reporting tool
RAJAR provides the benchmark for audience measurement in Radio, but in Howard’s opinion it underestimates the total reach as well as power, influence and impact radio and its presenters can have on the behaviour of the listeners.  For example, in the case of LBC, where Ian presents, the station is no longer just for London, thanks to their online and digital output.  However, it’s also not restricted to being a National station either, as Ian’s audience includes international online listeners, which of course won’t be registered by RAJAR.  The other issue in terms of measuring reach is that radio is no longer just a live audio platform, and so shows have podcasts and video clips that are shared across social media.

Radio beyond audio broadcasts
We referenced a talk in September by Ben Cooper, Controller of BBC Radio 1, who said he wanted the station to become the “Netflix of Radio” and who has started to achieve this by commissioning programming that will be available on-demand and therefore not broadcast on the station in the traditional way.  Howard summed this up by saying that Ben is looking to serve an audience with content that they can consume, when they want, how they want and in what format they want and he doesn’t see any reason why Ben can’t achieve his aim for Radio1.  However he feels it’s also a huge opportunity for anyone to do the same, as there are no 24/7 airtime restrictions for the amount of content that can be produced for a broadcaster – a point that, as Howard said, he and I have been making for years since doing our early Convergence Media workshops when I worked at markettiers!

Howard used Radio X’s website as a classic example of there being lots of ways you can engage with the content, be that to listen live, listen again, watch the best bits, or subscribe to the podcast.

Ian added that, like many stations, LBC is now set up for visual broadcast as well as audio and his radio studio is now set up looking like a TV studio.

Ian Collins - on Radio or TV?

Ian Collins – on Radio or TV?

He said clips of the presenters get uploaded to Facebook and can reach two or three million views within a couple of weeks – a whole other audience, which as Howard reminded us, is not measured by RAJAR.

Of course, this being a podcast, we naturally got talking about how podcasting complements radio and how Ian’s own podcast, ‘Ian Collins Wants a Word’, was sponsored by Mitsubishi.  As Ian explained, whilst podcasting is still arguably in its infancy, some brands are happy to try and test the medium out even though, whilst you can get download figures, it’s still quite hard to get real depth of data in terms of profiles and locations of listeners.

However, as Howard explained, the challenge for presenters like Ian producing their own podcasts, or stations podcasting part of their shows, is that the brand, by tapping into their own huge followings on social media, can themselves become the broadcaster with podcasts, which won’t necessarily fall under the same Ofcom regulations as traditional broadcast does.

Radio PR & impact of local Radio
Despite the increase in channels and programming output through digital radio, internet and now podcasting, Howard doesn’t believe the job of a PR has got any harder, so long as you invest the time in understanding where the audiences are, what content they are consuming, on what channels and platforms etc., and that you serve it accordingly.  Of course, this takes time and resource, which is why, as Howard explained, agencies like markettiers exist.

Lucy then explained how important radio was for her PR campaigns at Direct Line group and that quite often, her campaigns will start by carrying out research, split regionally across the country.  This then helps from a Radio perspective when her spokespeople are talking about the findings in a specific area, as she believes listeners relate to it much more.

Lucy went on to talk about a recent campaign called ‘Churchill Lollipoppers’ that she had worked on with markettiers, where local radio was a vital part of the strategy and resulting outcomes.

The aim of the campaign was for Churchill Insurance, part of the Direct Line Group, to provide extra funding for Lollipoppers around the UK – the reason being that since it became no longer necessary for local councils to provide the funding themselves, Churchill had found that the numbers of Lollipoppers had been diminishing in particular areas.

To highlight the issue, Churchill researched child pedestrian accidents around school areas, and found that those areas with fewer Lollipop people had a higher rate of accidents.  Therefore to raise awareness of the issue, they carried out a series of radio interviews with their Head of Claims, Kelly Cook, who had first-hand experience of seeing the number of claims coming into the company about accidents in those particular areas of the country.

Lucy believes that, whilst it was an integrated campaign that included TV and radio advertising together with traditional PR, by engaging local radio listeners, and highlighting the stats in each area, Radio PR became a key factor in its success.  Therefore, when the next stage of the campaign launched, which was asking the nation to go online and vote for their local schools that they felt needed the support of a new Lollipopper, Churchill received over 50,000 votes.

Both Howard and Ian backed up the importance of local radio up.  Howard explained that to try and mobilise the behaviour in a particular region, you want to engage with the local station, as the national stations never rank higher than those in their local areas, although the ideal is a combination of both.  Ian added that in his experience of presenting on local radio, where as a presenter, he’d turn up to local events with the local station, they’d be treated as huge celebrities!  He added that now, as a presenter of a national station, he was recently asked to talk at a student radio festival in Cardiff alongside the breakfast show host on the local Capital station.  However, everyone in the room knew the local presenter more than they knew Ian, despite Ian being the national presenter.

Whilst we are not suggesting that in this discussion we came up with the ideal solution to measuring the power and impact of radio, one thing we all agreed on was Ian’s theory that when you get out of a train station and jump in a local cab, 90% of the time, they will be listening to their local radio station!

Influence of the Presenter
We talked in depth about how influential the presenters are, across all stations, national and regional, to their listeners, which comes down to the trust the listener has with them.  Of course, those presenters now have even more opportunity to influence beyond their few hours on air each day, as their loyal listeners will also follow them on social media too.  For the record, at the time of writing, out of my 110 guests that I’ve interviewed to date on the csuitepodcast, Ian was my 5th most followed on Twitter:

Pos. Guest Title Show Twitter Followers
1 Janet Devlin Singer Song-Writer 5 @JanetJealousy 335406
2 Joe Pulizzi Founder, Content Marketing Institute 27 @JoePulizzi 111770
3 Prince Ea Spoken Word Artist 25 @PrinceEa 65148
4 Hannah Witton YouTuber 12 @hannahwitton 64537
5 Ian Collins Presenter, The Late Show, LBC 34 @iancollinsuk 44560

Due to that influence, it’s no surprise that PR’s are now approaching Ian directly, bypassing the station researchers and producers, in the hope he’ll give their stories coverage either on air, on his podcast or across social media.  He explained that as a presenter, whilst he is currently full time at LBC, he is still freelance, and so has never been more aware of being his own product/brand, which he feels a lot of his peers in the industry haven’t necessarily explored.  He believes it’s vital to be able to take your ‘product’ as a presenter onto Social Media, although bringing it back to how we started in terms of measurement, he’s not sure how that will all be achieved, particularly in terms of RAJAR.

All previous shows of the csuitepodcast series are available on Soundcloud, itunes and TuneIn.  If you subscribe to the show, please can you give it a positive rating and review on itunes in particular as this helps it up the charts!

The show also now has a Facebook page and Twitter feed so please do follow and get involved in the conversation.

Internal Communications interview with IBM: csuitepodcast show 33 pt3

withSandra Grieden of IBM Europe

withSandra Grieden of IBM Europe

For Part 3 of Show 33 of the csuitepodcast [starting at 29:48] that I recorded at Quadriga’s Internal Communications conference in Berlin, I spoke with Sandra Grieden, Brand and IBMer engagement at IBM Europe.

Sandra had been speaking at the conference about how IBM is now emerging as a cognitive solutions and cloud platform company and how her team has to manage the internal communications of those changes to their 370,000+ colleagues, which she achieved by creating an engagement platform, built around IBM’s Watson technology.

For those unaware, Sandra briefly summed up Watson as being the core of IBM’s cognitive business strategy.  It’s a technology platform that understands human and natural language and uses machine learning to reveal insights from data and unstructured data (which could be visual content like videos, social media insights, books etc.).  Watson then analyses all this data, understands it and adds a layer of intelligence to it, as well as understanding complex questions or situations.  It evaluates all the possible meanings of the data and determines what is being asked, presents the users with answers and solutions, who can then make decisions based on the solutions they are being presented with.

Sandra then talked through how Watson was used in IBMs own internal platform, Think Academy, which is a learning tool that has new content uploaded to it on a monthly basis, to help with the strategic priorities for the company, and how it relates to all IBMers (the company employees).

IBMers were first invited to go to Think Academy and firstly get to understand what the company means by cognitive, and what can it do for them as an employee, for their clients and for the world at large.  They then had three months where they asked colleagues to submit ideas into the platform, ideas that could be about anything, and then team up to find the solutions through cognitive build.

Sandra explained that the teams, which could be virtual as they were in different locations, then had to, in effect, become a mini corporation/enterprise, i.e. have a CEO, head of development and someone in charge of promotion.  IBM provided the teams with collaboration tools based on design thinking, to help them, and then asked them to conduct agile sprints to think about their business model, create an initial feasibility study and perhaps even an initial prototype of their solution.

After the ideation phase, the programme went into an investment phase, which is where the entire company got involved, as every IBMer was given $2000 (virtual) to invest in one or more of the 8,500+ ideas that were submitted to the programme, all judged by cognitive coaches, which meant the teams had to promote their ideas across the business.

The ideas that received most funding from their colleagues were then shortlisted and divided into three categories:

  1. New apps/solutions for clients
  2. Improving an existing product of service
  3. Improving existing IBM business process

The top ideas in each category were then selected and representatives from 50 of the teams were invited to IBM’s design studio in Austin, where they met with business and technical mentors, that helped push the idea further and build a working prototype.  Finally, they the finalists were invited to a pitch fest to present to the board, from which eight were selected as winning ideas, which included:

  • Anti-terrorism screening apps
  • Calorie counting apps
  • Environmental apps
  • Chat apps when in need of emotional support

All previous shows of the csuitepodcast series are available on Soundcloud, itunes and TuneIn.  If you subscribe to the show, please can you give it a positive rating and review on itunes in particular as this helps it up the charts!

The show also now has a Facebook page and Twitter feed so please do follow and get involved in the conversation.

Internal Communications interview with Lloyds Banking Group: csuitepodcast show 33 pt2

with Louise Wadman of Lloyds Banking Group

with Louise Wadman of Lloyds Banking Group

For Part 2 of Show 33 of the csuitepodcast [starting at 12:43] that I recorded at Quadriga’s Internal Communications conference in Berlin, I spoke with Louise Wadman, Head of Internal Communications at Lloyds Banking Group.

Louise was the keynote speaker at the conference and at the start of the session she asked the audience to call out barriers that get in the way of them engaging with their colleagues, some of which included:

  • Cascading
  • Different perspectives colleagues have within an organisation
  • Lack of resources
  • Engaging line managers
  • Company culture
  • Having clear messages and calls to action
  • Job Security
  • General apathy
  • Engaging people in a peer-to-peer way

Louise spoke about three parts to Employee Engagement:

  1. Shared belief
  2. Desire to act
  3. Ability to act

A key part of all of this though, according to Louise, is the absolute need to get line managers on board and the need to encourage leaders to take ownership for the various internal comms activities and deliver very clear messages, something she has achieved through role modelling.

Louise explained that at Lloyds Banking Group, their cascades, particularly within the branch networks work very well.  However, as they go through each layer in a traditional cascade, the context can get lost, which is why it’s so important for that context to stay there so that colleagues know not just what they have to do but why they have to do it.

She also talked about the need for advocates in the company and shared a case study in her talk about how Lloyds Bank used ‘Brand Builders’, people in the business, not necessarily with a communications role, but who Louise’s team could go to as change was coming, and ask how processes, systems and customer services could be improved.  These were volunteers within the business who were passionate about serving their customers, who were frustrated at all the things that got in the way of doing so, and wanted to help change to make it better for them and their customers.  The result was that any change to the business had to go through the Brand Builders in some way, which could have been as simple as asking them to participate in a survey or in a focus group to examine a process with subject matter experts from elsewhere in the bank and look at how to improve it.

The other point Louise focussed on was ‘cut through’ of messages, something she said was a tremendous issues across the industry, particularly in the context of social media.

Louis also talked about how Internal Comms can learn from marketing, particularly in five areas:

  1. Engaging the heart and the mind – by using emotion and storytelling in communications, we engage much more of the brain and therefore the emotional connection is stronger
  2. Distinguishing between brand building and triggering sales – too often, in Louise’s opinion, internal communications has the same sort of purpose
  3. Humour – the fun things that are done often get the cut through that is otherwise often hard to achieve
  4. Importance of Video – a format that is easily shared and enables them to reach more colleagues
  5. Campaigns – making sure all channels are aligned on the same campaign

Finally, Louise shared some information about a case study campaign of her own – ‘The Great Debate’.  This was launched at a conference with line managers within the group, with the aim of giving all colleagues the opportunity to share their ideas over a two week period, in response to a single question about the business.  Ideas were posted online, where other colleagues could like it and share comments.  After the two weeks were up, the ideas were assessed, based on how cost effective they would be and what customer benefit they would have.

Out of the 1,230 ideas that were submitted, 27 were taken forward, some of which could be implemented immediately, which meant colleagues were seeing immediate change. However, some ideas on that shortlist needed to be worked through in more detail to see if they could be viable or not.  The colleagues who had submitted those ideas were therefore invited to participate in sessions with others who had commented on the ideas, Lloyds Bank Brand Builders and importantly, business subject matter experts, to explore if it was possible to implement the change.

All previous shows of the csuitepodcast series are available on Soundcloud, itunes and TuneIn.  If you subscribe to the show, please can you give it a positive rating and review on itunes in particular as this helps it up the charts!

The show also now has a Facebook page and Twitter feed so please do follow and get involved in the conversation