Video is the Future

I recently attended a video creation and distribution workshop looking at how good content is created and then distributed to different news agencies around the world for use on their online sites, their stations or in their papers – and across social media channels. It was interesting as it highlighted what we do already know but sometimes may forget, how important effective and interesting content is and secondly, how important video is to selling a news item in today’s world.

As news outlets are becoming more and more digital, and there is a bigger focus on online content, it is no surprise that videos are becoming a more effective way of pushing news out. However, making sure your content is effective, engaging and draws in the attention of your target audiences is crucial and certainly tricky to get right.

However, brands are creating videos and those who are fast-moving are even creating their own media rooms which store own-produced content for media to access and download. Resulting in marketers  working more closely with content production teams to produce interesting and news worthy materials.

Understanding exactly what will work for the journalist and your target publications, however, is the most important part. Brands need to make sure they focus on the ‘news’ story and not publish a video which is too ‘marketing’ or advertised focused. If you are not targeting the media, then understand what will gain the attention of your social media audiences for example. From this, attention must be given when using banding in the video, as this will ultimately affect the pick up your videos receive.

Below is a great example of creating an engaging and provoking video which worked well to capture the audiences imagination and attract attention towards the product:

polarbear2701hA life-sized polar bear is spotted in London, roaming the streets and riding the tube. The 8-foot-long male, controlled by two puppeteers inside, is part of a promotion for Sky Atlantic’s new Arctic crime drama Fortitude.

Another recent example is the Danny Cipriani ‘Welcome Back to Milk’ campaign video… A simple concept, product and ambassador endorsement, but very well delivered in terms of the video creation. One thing is for sure, the video got a lot of pick up in the media landscape and buzz on social channels.

26F46A2A00000578-3009924-England_rugby_star_Danny_Cipriani_promotes_the_Welcome_Back_to_M-a-18_1427271919045However, once you do get this right, the viewing rate of a video press release or piece of video content can be over 50% higher (source: reelseo) than a release without a video and it helps your brand be at the forefront of the industry and establish a higher rate of share-ability.

Surely this all makes it worth it? I think 2015 will see some swift advancements in video production as equipment becomes more accessible, for example the Go Pro and organisations see the importance of video to make cut through for brands and organisations.

Headline image: University of Warwick

2015 is the year for Snapchat

Each year there are always expectations and research conducted into  which social media app will be the one to watch for brand campaigns. This year, if you haven’t heard of Snapchat, then make sure you sign up and understand what the craze is all about.

snapchat-logoFor brands and organisations which target 14 to 28 year olds – Snapchat is going to be a tool to take seriously when planning communication strategy.

Below – According to Business Insider, Nearly Half of Americans aged 12 to 24 have used Snapchat.

snapchat-growthThe app is developing new features quickly from being a platform where you can send a single image which is displayed for only a certain period of time (seconds), to been able to chat one on one, send videos, edit and scribble.  New developments have now introduced the new story features which are quickly becoming one of the most popular elements of the app.

The new ‘My Story’ feature is attracting over 1 billion views a day and is an exciting element for brands, events and organisations to explore.

There is the opportunity to create a featured video which is a combination of videos or images which will sit on friends timelines and offers brands the perfect chance to advertise to a targeted market. However, the creation needs to be extremely relevant to drive impressions as the Snapchat market is hard to engage with so this takes careful planning and execution.

A new feature and diversion of the app which has just been introduced is called ‘Our Story‘. I have seen many apps trying to create a similar idea however, it requires an app  platform which has very  high user engagement, especially between groups of friends, to make it work. The new element allows friends to create an ‘our story’ group where they can all input their videos and images to create a combined event combination. This is perfect for brands and organisations who focus on or deal with events or festivals. One thing to consider is that the app works on wi-fi geofence to collate the uploads so good connection is crucial. From this, brands can also create their own sponsored Our Story piece to drive engagement and promotion.

Watch the below video to understand:


Also, if you are an entertainment or media brand, make sure you check out the new Discover element of Snapchat. Young and creative news agencies or platforms such as lifestyle magazines are jumping on board to incorporate Snapchat into their digital strategy. The feature allows you to send news information which remains visible for 24 hours before disappearing and updating.

I have a feeling 2015 is going to be a BIG year Snapchat.

‘This Girl Can’… Every Girl Can Campaign

Sport England has created a new campaign video entitled This Girl Can which is been aired on TV during peak times and the chat online has been very reactive. The lottery funded campaign was designed on the back of recent research which concluded that 2 million fewer women than men do less regular sport.

The video is a celebration of women across the country who are doing their thing no matter how well they do it, how they look or how sweaty they get. The campaign which is aimed at women from between14 to 40 years old old, it challenges the cultural assumptions about femininity that prevents them engaging in sport and exercise.

The video reminds me of the ‘Like a Girl’ video by Always, in the way it’s empowering women to be able to fight stereotypical boundaries. This is still evident in our generation and it really shouldn’t be, as women are proving they can perform, achieve and as the Olympics showed us, win medals as much as our male counterparts – meaning there are so many inspirational women out there which girls and women can follow and aspire towards.

The video delivers the desired impact and showcases what a well-designed piece of video can do for a campaign, and how it can engage effectively with the target audiences.

However, one issue I see is that the campaign again refers to women as ‘girls’. Is this really the case? All the ‘girls’ featured in the This Girl Can video, are indeed women and I somehow think that referring to them as ‘girls’ again just highlights the stereotype that girls can’t do physical things… ‘You throw like a girl’.

Watch the video here:

I like the video and do hope that this is an inspiration for women around the country to do more whatever their shape. However, I can’t help but think that there should have been more of a focus on sport for friendship, sport for relaxing and well-being for dealing with work stress and the building of emotional strength, in the body and mind. In today’s society, with all the images of celebrities and other influences portraying what the perfect body should look like, I think a focus on mental positivity is just as important to helping ‘girls, women and men’ alike understand the impact physical activity can have.

More on their campaign here:

2015 Marketing Communication Predictions

It wouldn’t be right to not have a blog on predictions for marketing and communication trends in 2015, so here you go! Here are what I think will be the top areas which all communications professionals should be aware of. Let me know if you have any others you think should be included…


Video will flourish

Videos are now not just for fun, video will be a key way for marketing professionals and brands to engage with and gather the trust of their audiences. Creative brands will come forward with sharable and standout content. Innovative equipment such as Go Pros will increase in usage and technical ability, and those who don’t get involved will get left behind! 2015 is the year for more exciting video developments…

Increased importance and cost of social advertising

Anyone can be on social media however, results are not guaranteed, nor are they free! You have to pay for everything in life, and this medium is no different. Brands will need to shell out more on platforms such as Facebook and manage their channels better  to see a return on investment and engagement statistics which are worth shouting about.

Facebook fan pages took a hit last year as the ‘reach’ drastically decreased. This year, Facebook will also start banning over promoted posts and start basing it more around organic engagement. Simply, if you want exposure, you will have to pay.

Real-time marketing will be even more crucial

We saw the headline actions of big brands last year who caught the attention surrounding their effective and quick thinking real-time marketing, and this year, brands will need to be thinking the same. Brands reactive teams are growing to hold the demand for real-time marketing. Be bold and be standout.

Personalise me!

With the vast amount of ‘big data’ brands are collecting, there will be a time when consumers can personalise the products they buy, the things they watch or the way things are done. On the other hand, brands may look to personalise their messages to each individual consumer, we saw elements of this during Wimbledon and other events last year. Brands and organisations have realised it doesn’t take an unrealistic workload to achieve this result.

Mobile madness

Some believe that usage of the internet from mobile devices will increase and overtake desktop usage by the end of 2015 meaning brands need to be mobile savvy. Therefore, one thing is pretty certain, more and more investment will be made in mobile marketing and app development over the coming 12 months.

Influencers will be more important than ever

With increased noise online, targeting and speaking with key influencers is becoming more and more important. Celebrities and sports personalities, all the way to top Instagram profiles, are ever more in the media eye and visible online therefore making them an attractive target for brands to get messages to their key audiences.


The changing face of PR

I keep finding myself reading articles on the world of PR and how the PR industry is dead as we know it. When I started reading, I was admittedly slightly concerned, however, the more I delve into the subject and use insight from my own experience I come to realise quite the opposite. PR is not dead but transforming and re-shaping into a new era of PR which is much more complex.

Traditional PR is certainly not how it used to be and this is the PR which is becoming a dying breed. Those still adopting solely traditional methods of PR are falling behind in the race. Not a dead horse by any stretch although agencies and communications professionals have had to adapt their traditional PR methods to keep up with the new and ever evolving environment. This landscape is now made up of fragile ecosystems of shared interests connecting, chaotically, across diverse communities. Everything and anything can become public to any type of audience, across any part of the world and to any type of individual/ group/ or organisation. The term ‘public’ isn’t what it used to be.

What has brought the biggest change in the industry? Simply, digital developments. These inventions are the new communication channels and are most commonly known as social media. Social media has brought about a new area of PR and communication which brands and communication professionals have had to adapt to include within their environment. It was only a few years ago when a whole raft of agencies came forward, showcasing themselves as ‘offline PR specialists’ or ‘digital agencies’. This is just not the case anymore. The industry has realised that there should not be any strict distinction between digital communications and PR alongside other forms. They are intertwined and should work together to compliment and accommodate each other. This has lead to a new type of agency with a ‘take all’ approach. More and more digital agencies are claiming they can ‘do PR’ which in my view should be considered carefully and approached with caution – but this is another matter.

Going back to the development of agencies within the industry, I believe agencies now need to differentiate themselves from their competitors within other specialist areas – whether this be by industry type, or by specialism i.e. creativity / innovation… and demonstrate their skills in doing so.

The rise in digital channels and additional methods outside of the traditional PR space has only highlighted the importance of effective PR and communications for brands, organisations and companies. The competition in 2014 across all industry sectors in stronger, faster and more cut throat. Organisations and brands need to have their voice heard within the crowded marketplace with the knock on effect on agencies and PR professionals who now need to have the tools and knowledge to utilise the opportunities for the essential coverage which will generate the required impact for brands.

PR as an industry has developed and now understanding the multiple channels available, PRs can have the upper hand. Delivering and outreaching content which can drive cut-through coverage is the direction agencies are and should be moving towards. In an industry which is extremely quick paced, dynamic, innovative and creative, there is only one way PR can survive and that’s to adapt and develop – something PR is very used too – ensuring PR and communications is not dead, but still very much alive.

Vodafone pull plug on F1 to move totally social

F1 vodafoneThe rise of the internet has proved to be a game-changer for many a business and Vodafone is no different. One of the F1’s most high profile sponsors, the mobile phone group is pulling the plug on sports sponsorship of the extremely successful F1 series to move all their eggs into social media execution.

I think this could be great if executed well, as the idea fits well with their brand because they can use their technology expertise to move the boundaries in social media development and campaigns. However, it’s a big risk, as they have spent millions on the partnership with the F1 so making this drastic switch could be dangerous.

Now they just need to make people care about their new ‘Firsts’ campaign to make it work. I will be watching closely to see how they get on.

A Good Day for Red Bull Marketing…

So today has seen both the F1 2012 Korean Grand Prix and the World Record Stratos mission come into the limelight, in which both are heavily associated with energy drink, Red Bull.

Red Bull Racing’s Sebastian Vettel dominated the 2012 Formula 1 Korean Grand Prix to make it a hat-trick of wins in his last three races. Never mind Olympic 10m platform divers… as today at 5pm Red Bull Cliff Diving World Series Final aired to the world from Oman, showcasing the world best divers elegantly diving off insainly high cliffs (which was won by a Brit!). Not forgetting, of course the live coverage of the space free fall jump by Austrian Felix Baumgartner, saw another incredible sponsorship and marketing campaign by Red Bull which places them nicely in the media headlines, is currently generating an enormous amount of positive comments on Twitter and puts the drinks brand in the forefront of extreme sports and outrageous World Record attempts – allowing them to lead the way in this area of extreme ‘sport’.

I was also watching several Red Bull X-Fighters YouTube videos this afternoon, and once again their presence was noted in this mental sport. A few videos here:

Senior Account Manager | Comms / Digital / PR / Marketing / Sponsorship / Sports / Travel / Entertainment


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