Tag: smwldn

Social Media Week London 2020 is Cancelled

In light of COVID-19, we have made the difficult decision to officially cancel our Social Media Week London conference, originally scheduled for 21-22 October. Our aim is to return in 2021 when it is safe to host in-person events.

As a team, it is our mission to continue to use this moment to explore new whitespaces and opportunities in the hope that we can help our loyal community members, like you, exercise their minds and become the best versions of themselves. Enter SMW+ — our new live streaming service for marketers who are looking to level up in their careers.

Claim your free 30-day trial to SMW+

Over the past few weeks, we have launched 10 exclusive and original content series led by some of the world’s greatest thought leaders, innovators and marketing practitioners:

We’re inviting you to start your 30-day free trial today to see what SMW+ has to offer including even more shows launching soon featuring Google’s Raashi Rosenberger, Reddit’s Will Cady, Weber Shandwick’s Randa Stephan, Nestle USA’s Orchid Bertelsen, and many more!

We appreciate each and every one of you who has embarked on this journey with us and we cannot wait to see you in-person very soon. Stay tuned in the coming weeks for some announcements and key updates about our 2021 programs.

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PODCAST: Truth, Joy and How Positivity Will Win the Day with James Lamon (Head of Content, BuzzFeed UK)

This week’s episode of Social Media Week’s Leads2Scale podcast features James Lamon, Head of Content at BuzzFeed UK.

During the conversation, James discussed:

  • How BuzzFeed thinks about its responsibility online and the checks and balances they have in place to continue delivering truthful and joyful content to their audience
  • How the creative process has changed at BuzzFeed and how he has adapted
  • What metrics BuzzFeed cares about the most and which ones he feels matter most

Listen to the full episode below:

Subscribe to Leads2Scale on Anchor, Apple Podcasts, Breaker, Google Podcasts, Pocket Casts, RadioPublic, Spotify, Castbox, Overcast, or Stitcher.

If you have suggestions for who we should interview or what topics you would like us to cover, please reach out to us at leads2scale@socialmediaweek.org.

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Why Humanity is Key in Connecting With Audiences in Social Media

In the modern digital landscape, we face the risk of becoming more disconnected than ever. The more technologically connected we become, the less connected we can feel. It’s time to really question what we mean by the phrase ‘connection.’

In this article we recap a session hosted by Karmarama during #SMWLDN that unpacked this idea.

Here are the primary insights and takeaways:

  • Empathy is Everything
  • Revamps Start with Discovery
  • The Three Stages of Audience Engagement: Get Acquainted, Observe, and Collaborate
  • Be Kind, Start Small, and Have Fun
  • Put Users at the Heart of Your Rebrand

Empathy is everything

“We really believe in empathy,” announces Will Hodge, the company’s Executive Strategy Director. “There are cultural and dynamic shifts going on and it’s harder than ever to be a brand on social media. We like to think about loops and like to put empathy and people at the heart of what we do, with sharp ideas that spur cultural resonance.”

It’s easy to fall into the trap of viewing social media as the starting point for a campaign and not part of an entire ecosystem. There are vast amounts of tools readily available to create invigorating content, yet the key to a successful one will ultimately circle round whether the brand or creative agency have taken the time and effort to understand what it’s like to walk in the shoes of its desired audience.

Revamps Start with Discovery

Hodges uses Karmarama’s work with NCS (The National Citizen Service) as an example of an entire brand revamp and campaign with empathy at the heart of it. As NCS is a voluntary personal and social development program aimed at 15 to 17-year-olds, Karmarama spoke to and spent time with that demographic in order to understand what they wanted.

They needed to develop a clear brand platform and proposition that was flexible enough to work with any touchpoint imaginable and bring the brand world to life. They needed to know what young adults were watching, doing, thinking, saying and what they cared about, in order to discover why they would and should care about NCS.

The three stages of audience engagement: Get Acquainted, Observe, and Collaborate

Hodges talks about the three stages of audience engagement they applied. First, they got to know them through work-shops and in-depth interviews. Then they saw what they were into via Whatsapp chats and dinners to the likes of Nandos (in other words, cultural immersion). Finally, they created work together in the form of mobile concept development and in-home and real-life executional tweaks.

Be Kind, Start Small, and Have Fun

Katie Hunter, Social and Influencer Lead at Karmarama concludes they found ten insights and whittled it down to three essential ones: They felt they were in a type of independence purgatory and battle, they wanted to be kinder (activists) starting with the small stuff and that they liked fun, but loved funny. “We saw this as an opportunity to shout about the independence NCS offers, how to make the small changes that they want to see and we decided to not be dead serious with our tone of voice.”

Put Users at the Heart of Your Rebrand

The new logo reflected the new maturity of the brand, too. Hunter concludes, “we told a story and we needed to do a campaign with longevity. There had to be no linear campaign structure, so NCS wouldn’t have to keep starting over again to drive sign-ups. We tapped into influencer marketing and we tapped into news and cultural moments.” Karmarama focussed on peer advocacy and, whilst they spoke to teachers, put students at the heart of the rebrand and it paid off.

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How Sentiment Analysis Can Be One of Your Brand’s Most Powerful Tools

One of the UK’s best-known health charities, the British Heart Foundation relies on social media to help raise awareness of its work and to reach those who need its help the most.

During #SMWLDN, reps from the organization including Jo Eden and Helen Skipworth came together with Meltwater Social‘s Claude Springer to explore the power behind sentiment analysis and social listening.

Here are the primary insights and takeaways:

  • Forging Communities Naturally with Handles and Hashtags
  • Reaching New Audiences With Personalized Animated Videos and Chatbots
  • Make Social Listening Effective By Cutting Through the Noise
  • Offset Automation By Tapping Through Sentiment

For context, panelists outlined that the BHF partners with Meltwater to obtain social listening data and implement their findings in invigorating, thought-provoking marketing strategies. Meltwater provides social insights reports which allow companies to foster and gather communities in order to create tailored content and rival commercials as well as non-profit organizations.

Thought-provoking Marketing Strategies Begin With Data

Jo Eden, Social Media Manager for British Heart Foundation explains that the company use social media primarily to connect, promote (retail branches and events), broadcast (research breakthroughs), inform (pushing for policy and talking to healthcare professionals)and celebrate warming stories.

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Helen Skipworth, Social Media Executive for British Heart Foundation mentions a Twitter account set up, with the handle @bhfprofessionals, for healthcare professionals, nurses, GP’s, researchers and scientists. “We thought thoroughly before setting the account up because a lot of company accounts get abandoned and set up just because the company feels like they should [have one]”. The account illustrates BHF’s work with NHS and enables them to share research news in a less consumer-facing way.

Forging Communities Naturally with Handles and Hashtags

On Instagram, the hashtag #BoughtAtBHF was born naturally. “It came from natural consumer behavior online,” Eden says. “We started responding to people using the handle and tagging us, asking them to use the hashtag instead. It shows what you might see in shops and helps people start a community and because it was actual, authentic behavior, it was easier to galvanize.” BHF went on to do its own photoshoot around Camden, inviting micro-influencers and is working more on its relationship with them.

Reaching New Audiences With Personalized Animated Videos and Chatbots

Skipworth works on personalized videos, which are sent out three weeks before a major event or charity sport via email to those partaking. These videos act as cheerleaders and provide vital information as well as forming unique consumer relations. “I refer to the donation amount and activity by pulling in live data. People can feel awkward about asking for money so this is a nice way to do a bit of hero worship for our supporters and help them with their fundraising,’ she nods.

BHF also ran a CPR chatbot on Facebook Messenger via social listening. It reached those who may not have considered BHF as a place to find support as well as information, and people who may be at risk of high blood pressure and circulatory disease and not know it.

Make Social Listening Effective By Cutting Through the Noise

For social listening to be effective, you need to cut through the noise. Eden justifies BHF’s use of it. “It’s not creepy at all or intrusive. We think that we have something to offer certain people, that they may not realize. They may need prompting to seek medical support. No response through BHF is automated, though. We always have real people on the end.”

Skipworth adds that “social listening helps us spot the myths in heart problems and cardiac arrests. For example, there’s actually a difference between a cardiac arrest and a heart attack.” They’ve even discovered an unconscious bias with women and heart attack care.

“There are no symptoms that are specific to either sex – it’s part of the reason women aren’t getting the care they need,” stresses Eden. Monitoring is difficult when there is so much ‘noise’ around the phrase ‘heart attack’ on social media. It’s used colloquially frequently and most tellingly, it’s primary use is in relation to spiders.

Offset Automation By Tapping Through Sentiment

BHF filter their content by sentiment. Eden says that “relying on sentiment [for BHF] will provide entirely negative results because what we’re putting out is so sad. We will generate upset by a campaign but doesn’t mean it’s failed. We need to offset automation by looking at results with our own eyes.”

She concludes, “it’s hard to temper our serious brand with the humor on social media. We have to push; it’s difficult, but having a big team means we can spread the load a bit.” Her final piece of advice? If you’re a brand on social media, use it.

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Where Do TikTok and Instagram Belong in Your 2020 Marketing Strategies?

The influencer marketing space has seen a massive evolution, including facing its fair share of fragmentation. User-generated content is thriving thanks to apps such as Instagram and TikTok granting consumers creative control.

Yet, as the market continues to grow, do they both hold a critical space in influencer marketing and social strategies for marketers in 2020?

In this article, we recap a session hosted by TRIBE during #SMWLDN that grappled with the answer to this question.

Here are the primary insights and takeaways:

  • User-Generated Content Drives Higher Engagement
  • Integrating Platforms Has a Variety of Benefits
  • Marketers Need to Trust Creators
  • Different Algorithms Deliver Unique Experiences and Gratifications
  • Retail is in TikTok’s Future
  • Each Social Media Platform Is Like a Different Country

User-generated Content Drives Higher Engagement

Lisa Targett, UK General Manager at TRIBE sees room for both. “Creating for customers can be difficult in-house because it’s low volume and expensive. A statistic from Facebook itself is that user-generated content on the platform drives 6.9x higher engagement than brand-generated content.” That user-generated content is the basis of TikTok.

Nicole Davies is an influencer and creator (@nicolefdavies) from Canada, living in the UK. “Having followers on Instagram is like having monopoly money if you’re not doing anything with it,” she says. Over the past year and a half, Nicole has worked with 71 brands via TRIBE, primarily on Instagram until very recently.

Integrating Platforms Has a Variety of Benefits

“I started posting it on TikTok because when you’re scrolling in your bed, you don’t have anyone to laugh with.” Nicole shared her TikTok’s and spoke about them on her Instagram stories, merging the platforms, after she realized she could fool the Instagram stories algorithm. “When I would post those TikTok on my story, I noticed that that story was getting way more views because people were actually watching it. From there, I enjoyed consuming [TikTok] for around four months, before I started creating primarily on TikTok.”

Ryan Martin, Commercial Strategist at TikTok, notes this as a success of TikTok’s ideal intent. “Hopefully it empowers people to go out and make short-form video content. TikTok allows people to feel really good and really confident editing video.” Despite keeping numbers close to its chest, TikTok doesn’t seem too far behind Instagram, which revealed it had 1 billion active monthly users this year.

Each Social Media Platform Is Like a Different Country

Targett wonders whether, if all the Tribe creators who are creating for Instagram create for TikTok, how the content on Instagram will then evolve. Will it become less curated and less polished and, if so, what does that mean for brands who are still struggling to let go of the creative reins?

Martin explains, “a lot of brands have realized that TikTok is this really different language. They’re asking who knows TikTok best and finding it’s people who create on it all the time. So they’re then working directly with these influencers on these platforms. For example, Pretty Little Thing works with a TikToker who helps them manage their content in line with what they want. TikTok is able to facilitate those conversations and bring people on the journey.”

Nicole believes that “with Instagram, it’s a lot more polished and on TikTok, you can let your personality shine through a bit more. That’s the fish hook that you reel people in with. Instagram is more of a catalog. You hear people say: where would I be if I got into Instagram right at the beginning? So, I’m not going to make that mistake twice. I’m prioritizing TikTok.” From a brand perspective with deciding what platform to use for campaigns, it boils down to what the company wants to achieve and get out of the campaign itself; there are complimentary opportunities and different content works in different scenarios.

Marketers Need to Trust Creators

In Influencer Marketing, you have to trust the creators because they know their audience. Targett believes that “we’re at a stage operationally on TikTik as marketers, where we’re able to set up to test and learn and invite someone into a campaign. To understand how to AB test and look at vanity metrics and real results and iterate on that over time.”

Different Algorithms Deliver Unique Experiences and Gratifications

In terms of how the apps operate differently: Instagram differs from TikTok in the sense that you know what you’re going to see when you open it up. “You choose who you’re going to follow, people you like and have met and build a social graph” understands Martin. “TikTok works differently, so when you go in you get what’s known as a For You Feed – a feed of video that’s there as you swipe through, the machine starts to understand what you like and builds up a content graph. It’s not declared interest like Instagram.” The Discover Tab utilizes both an algorithm and in-house staff to determine the feed. “We have a team of guys that are talking to the community and understanding what trends are happening and what is happening elsewhere.”

Retail is in TikTok’s Future

As for the future, Instagram shoppable links are expanding which will shape and change the marketplace massively, in a peer to peer, native way. Creators will be driving retail and it’s going to be embedded in one platform and not through affiliate links.

Nicole is looking forward to it. “It’ll be a lot more efficient than trying to find links somewhere else. I would be more inclined to use it within the app, to keep people on my content and improve my algorithm – killing multiple birds with one stone.”

Whilst brands aren’t yet using TikTok in this way, they’re evolving and their product offering and shopability, whilst running successful campaigns through the app. “GymShark has adopted it really well. We’re seeing different movie studios will do it for an individual film or exploring the possibility of having it as a studio as a whole,” Martin concludes, promisingly.

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Earning Trust: The Key to Success in a Pay-to-Play Digital World

Steven Bartlett was 22 when founded The Social Chain, a global, social-first marketing agency and production house. Now, at 26, he leads a company that is quickly disrupting the ever-changing social sphere and has been named Great British Entrepreneur of the Year in 2018 and Most Influential Agency Figure in 2018.

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On the second day of #SMWLDN, he shared his entrepreneurial insights to help us distill the state of social media in 2019.

Here are the primary insights and takeaways:

  • Our Industry Faces a Fundamental Reorientation Around Trust and Privacy
  • The Influencer Marketing Space is Ripe with Fraud
  • The Future of Social is Private Messaging and Groups

Where is social media at right now?

Our industry faces a fundamental reorientation around notions of trust and privacy. Users desire the freedom to connect freely in safe and trusted spaces and that their information won’t live permanently online.

With scandals like Cambridge Analytica, we see the scapegoats and the larger impact on public perception. Primarily, these instances continue to shape how we perceive and define authentic and truthful storytelling.

“Increasingly, we are a nation and a world of distrust,” explained Bartlett. Less than a quarter of individuals believe what they see on social, 53 percent worry about being exposed to fake news online, and 64 percent claim they can’t differentiate between good journalism from rumor of falsehood.

But with these threats to transparency, there’s a genuine and powerful marketing opportunity to redefine these terms.

Taking our brands from black boxes to glass boxes

For the last few decades, companies have existed as black boxes, where perception of brand and the company is painted on the outside.

“In a world where we don’t believe the person holding the paintbrush and communication is so democratized, it’s no longer effective to operate as a black box.” Instead, we need to operate as glass boxes.

Barlett continued this analogy to explain how this fundamentally shifts the notion of company culture. “In a glass box world, you don’t have internal company culture, you have public company culture. Your company culture is your brand.”

By leveraging transparency, business leaders can better reach their consumers and target audience—and thus, build trust and open communication.

The fraudulent influencer marketing industry

The marketing industry will spend $1.6 billion on Instagram influencers this year alone. And this shows no signs of slowing down. By 2020, global influencer spend will be between $5 and $10 billion. Leveraging truth and emotion are the two fundamental keys from taking your efforts from good to great in this case.

“Good influencer marketing as we see it will make you believe the message. Great influencer marketing will make you believe the message, but also make you feel something,” Bartlett shared.

While there are many benefits to working with influencers, this space has increasingly seen a market for frauds using tactics like fake endorsements to build reach.

Enter the rise of micro-influencers. These social-media users typically boast a smaller, yet more impactful following and are more likely to facilitate sentiments of likability. According to Sara Ware, CEO of Markerly, micro-influencers with 10,000 to 100,000 followers are four times more likely to get a comment than those with 10 million followers.

“Brands that are really smart have started to realize that if micro influencers are powerful, then their customers are powerful,” said Bartlett. Why? Because all of your customers in their own right are influencers.

Where is social going?

Social media is designed to magnify what is already being magnetized. Strong emotions will continue to trump mild ones and in the post-organic reach era where reach continues to decline and people are sharing less than before. Mild emotion simply won’t get its fair share of attention in the presence of a strong emotional message.

With this in mind, Bartlett urged attendees to not overlook the power of private messaging and group culture. Indeed the future of communication will increasingly shift to private, encrypted services. This is due to the overwhelming preference of social media users to interact one-on-one or with just a few friends linked to privacy concerns (47%), a sense of spending too much time on platforms (31%), and hearing negative news stories in the media (20%).

Ultimately, the channels that offer depth will see the most success. “In a world where it’s increasingly become pay to play, earning your audience is and will continue to be more important than ever.”

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Harnessing Social Insights for Successful Trend Prediction

Staying abreast of trends in our industry is imperative – but what does the phrase ‘trend prediction’ really mean? What role does human expertise play in this process?

In this article, we recap a #SMWLDN session featuring Linkfluence CEO, Guillaume Decugis and Danone’s Chief Strategy and Insights Officer, Elaine Rodrigo, who took a close look at these important questions.

Here are the primary insights and takeaways:

  • Relevant and Accurate Results Depend on Refined Data
  • Don’t Overlook the Power of Human Nature
  • Trend Prediction is Costly for a Reason

Rodrigo notes, specifically concerning Danone, “in order to affect health, one really needs to understand how people consume food and drink products. Food culture is the dominant culture out there; breakfast is the most Instagrammed meal of the day.”

Danone works with Linkfluence in order to obtain and translate and interpret trend data – this, in turn, helps them make business-based decisions, for example, introducing yogurt in pouches so customers can make their own breakfast bowls out of them.

Relevant and Accurate Results Depend on Refined Data

The desire to be more accurate and ahead of the culinary playing field sparked looking into AI-driven data prediction.

Danone asked Linkfluence whether it was possible to design predictable models using social data to identify tomorrow’s star ingredients and could they leverage these ingredients to inform product innovation. Decugis interpreted this brief as giving an edge on the market to Danone. Yet, he explains, “whilst we have AI that can predict the end of a time series, and therefore a trend, raw social data is too massive and heterogeneous to monitor everything. When you give [AI] all the data, you’re giving it rogue data. It has to be structured.”

Data has to be refined in order to achieve accurate and relevant results. Algorithms and exhaustive social media social listening apps such as Linkfluence’s Radarly, can learn to identify patterns – these can determine whether there’s a high probability of what ingredients are going to be popular.

Don’t Overlook the Power of Human Nature

“When you have likely ingredient suspects, you can go back to human data. You need to combine AI with market expertise – people who can look at the most interesting way to frame the data,” explains Decugis, “we have a lot of customers in different industries and the same methodology can be applied. It’s about taking a large set of things that could be potential trends and then narrowing it down using statistical technologies.”

Naturally, a trend in one company may not be applicable in another. “We try to tailor what we do by industry, application and by market,” says Decugis. “You have some express data and there’s inferred data. At Linkfluence, we have an interface model that has a 92% precision score that infers the location of people on Instagram or Twitter based on AI prediction.” Rodrigo mentions that Danone asks Linkfluence to look at somewhere between 16 to 20 country’s trends. “Local languages is extremely important. What conversations are happening in a country itself?” She asks.

Trend Prediction is Costly for a Reason

Free trend prediction tools aren’t readily available for non-profit organizations just yet, however, Google Analytics makes a good starting point. “We can’t make low cost because we can’t do it with just software. We need analysts and scientists and expertise and they have a cost,” announces Decugis.

As well as trend predictions, it’s extremely important to be able to catch something before it goes into decline, as well as whether it’s seasonal, and the same tools and methodology is extremely useful for doing this.

What about Mintel?

Rodrigo concludes that Danone hasn’t given up one source of data insight entirely though. “We can no longer make decisions for certain business questions based on one piece of data. It’s all about collecting data, which leads to data analytics. For example, Mintel data is complimentary and will always feed into the ‘what’s next?’ model.

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How to Become a Purpose-Driven Storyteller Like National Geographic

Sixty-five percent of global consumers are making belief-driven purchases, a 50 percent year-over-year increase and sixty-percent of consumers are looking for brands to make it easier for them to see their values and propositions as important issues.

More than ever, consumers are looking to brands to be a voice for good in the world and a global leader in this space is National Geographic.

During #SMWLDN, Nadine Heggie, Vice President of Brand Partnership, National Geographic Partners shared insights into how the brand is dominating the social landscape by creating a virtuous cycle of purpose-led storytelling.

Here are the primary insights and takeaways:

  • Purpose-led Stories are Fueled by the Truth
  • Be Thumb-Stopping by Pushing Boundaries and Creating for the Platform
  • Harness the Power of Communities to Boost Relevancy
  • Reimagine Cultural Moments to Target New Audiences
  • Empower and Add Value Through Interactivity

Purpose-led Stories are Fueled by the Truth

“In a world full of doubt and unease about the validity of content and authenticity, NatGeo is committed to science and fact-based reporting is our true north,” shared Heggie.

To underscore this point, she offered examples including Jane Goodall, Steve McCurry, most famous for his photograph Sharbat Gula also known as the “Afghan Girl” periodically featured on the cover of National Geographic, and Joel Sartore, head of The National Geographic Photo Ark project, a 25-year effort to document the approximately 12,000 species living in the world’s zoos and wildlife sanctuaries.

By emphasizing these efforts, NatGeo effectively taps into storytelling to fundamentally shape how we understand our planet and our role in it. “Purpose is at the heart of everything we do, and it’s a virtuous cycle…When we understand the world we are more likely to care for it and therefore take more responsibility,” said Heggie.

Be Thumb-Stopping by Pushing Boundaries and Creating for the Platform

For NatGeo, being thumb-stopping has everything to do with investment in storytelling. Particularly, an underlying goal of the company no matter what platform is being discussed is the achievement of strong visual storytelling.

“At the heart of our yellow border and what has fueled our brand is exploration, collaboration and an unmatched passion to push the boundaries.”

Heggie shared the example of a YouTube documentary hosted by Bertie Gregory titled The Big Freeze. The combination of the story of his journey to Manitoba, his charismatic personality, and the intention to create the film it specifically for NatGeo’s YouTube audience has been critical to success. Video views are garnering 8x as many engagements as normal video content and the first episode of the series was one of the highest-grossing videos on youtube in July this year.

It is these types of decisions that have translated into impressive outcomes for the brand including attracting 444 million followers on social and earning a total global audience reach of 760 million globally.

Harness the Power of Communities to Boost Relevancy

“At NatGeo we like to think that our social communities are just beginning of driving real social impact,” said Heggie.

She elaborated on this point by pointing to the brand’s Women of Impact community, launched in 2018. The collaboration with Facebook and Deloitte digital is primarily focused on spotlighting women in the areas of conservation, science and photography and has now grown to 70,000 members. This group, as Heggie put it, serves as the “springboard and inspiration” for the NatGeo editorial team which has recently taken a close look at the wider context behind the Me Too movement.

In 2019 the editorial team polled the group to gather their perspectives on harassment issues, the job market and feminism today. The results were shared just the other month in a dedicated edition of National Geographic Magazine.

Reimagine Cultural Moments to Target New Audiences

How do you engage with social at a time when there is a lot of noise around a cultural moment that is arguably one of the most viewed in history? How do you add value? How do you add value to your communities?

For NatGeo, it’s about tapping into authenticity and begin organic. A recent example of how the brand did this successfully is live-tweeting around the Apollo 11 expedition in commemoration of its 50th anniversary. For four days the brand tweeted about the piece of history and was able to share this cultural story in an innovative way that resonated with a new, younger generation of consumers.

Empower and Add Value Through Interactivity

NatGeo recently partnered with St. Ives in a program celebrating World Mental Health Day and tapped into Snapchat and Instagram in order to target Gen Z audiences and communicate the positive benefits of spending time in nature.

The campaign featured a photo contest where 16 winners will be chosen to travel with a NatGeo photographer to Yellowstone National Park to document and experience their own nature reset.

Separately, the brand’s partnership with Rwanda emphasized the symbiotic relationship between tourism and conservation.

Using polls on social media for people to vote on naming baby mountain gorillas, NatGeo effectively used interactivity to fuel its storytelling purpose and raise awareness of the country’s efforts in saving endangered species.

“Let’s go further together,” Heggie said to close the session.

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Do Trust and Clarity Still Exist in Influencer Marketing?

Fraud undermines one of the core strengths of influencer marketing as a whole — that brands can use it to tap into authentic, engaged audiences for the purposes of enhancing their campaigns. This battle is not new and continues to present friction in our industry. In fact, fake followers are predicted to cost advertisers $1.3 billion this year alone.

During a SMWLDN session hosted by Takumi, Adam Williams (Chief Executive Officer, Takumi) dug into this topic addressing key questions such as do trust and clarity still exist in influencer marketing?

Here are the primary insights and takeaways:

  • Companies Are Willing to Spend More on Influencer Marketing
  • Marketers Want Improved Ad Guidelines
  • Disclosure is Integral to Maintaining Audience Trust
  • Influencers Crave Creative Control
  • Brands Pick Up Inauthenticity
  • Influencer Fraud is a Real Problem

Companies are willing to spend more on influencer marketing

Williams notes that there’s been an $8.5 billion spend in influencer marketing this year and that companies are willing to spend more on it, so it’s important they’re investing their money wisely.

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“Trust is still high but it’s becoming more nuanced,” he says, “we [Takumi] did a survey involving 4,000 people across the UK, Germany and the US. We asked marketers, influencers and consumers about their thoughts on the influencer industry.

There’s still room for improvement with the ASA guidelines

Takumi found that 88 percent of marketers felt that the ASA (Advertising Standards Authority) respective guidelines on labeling paid-for influencer content were clear, 56 percent felt that, although clear, needed more development and 19 percent flagged influencers not labeling posts correctly as a concern. Across all three territories, 62 percent of influencers have been pressured by brands to contravene the guidelines at least once.

Disclosure is significantly important when maintaining audience trust

At Takumi, #ad needs to be the first thing influencers mention in their post – 37% of UK consumers surveyed trusted influencers to clearly signpost paid partnerships using #ad or paid partnerships tag. “The industry seems to be self-regulating, as 67% of consumers said they’d unfollow an influencer if they discovered they’d incorrectly labeled posts,” says Williams.

”Without trust, the industry is nothing. Influencer marketing can build trust quicker. Especially with influencers who have specialist knowledge in certain topics. For example, beauty, health, fashion, fitness,” he concludes.

Influencers need and want creative control

The survey also found on a global scale that creative control is the influencers no.1 priority when working with a brand, although 36% of UK marketers feel that they should have it over the written captions and visual elements of an influencers post they’ve paid for.

Williams stresses, “in the US, 36% went up to 45%. The influencer understands their audience more than anyone else, so you have to allow them to take you brand and communicate it in the right way to their audience. If you have complete control, you’re going to reduce the creativity, cut through and awareness.” It’s important to get the influencer in, early on in the process.

The marketing rubix cube

Arjoon Bose, Marketing Head of New Ventures, Europe at General Mills recognises the importance of influencer marketing. “Starting up, we put influencer marketing at the heart of what we wanted to do so we put 30% of our budget on influencer marketing because we really believed in that stream,” he says. When it comes to influencer marketing itself, he calls it a rubix cube puzzle. “We have to solve a puzzle where you’ve got content, context and eventually commerce, and you’re going to have to juxtapose that with reach, resonance and relevance. Think of it as the three c’s and the three r’s coming together to help you solve that puzzle.”

Brands pick up inauthenticity

In makes no sense for Rahul Titus, Head of Influence at Ogilvy, to not give an influencer creative control. “The whole reason with working with an influencer is that you trust them to get to an audience better than the brand can do themselves. You’re not being authentic to them as an influencer. If you have a partnership that doesn’t work for the influencer and the brand, walk away. The biggest mistake you can do is be inauthentic, as the brand will pick it up.”

However, he reminds us that, by definition, influencing is not limited to Instagram. “It is magazines, TV, radio; everything. I can categorically tell you that when it comes to those channels, influencers may not have a point of view on that, but when it comes to their channels, they definitely will. That balance is where we need to end up and we’re not there. It’s not as smooth as where I want it to be right now.”

Fake followers are becoming easier to spot

Influencer Ellie Jansen (@petiteelliee) has never bought followers and denounces those who have. She takes work that is relevant and authentic to her brand and that she knows her audience will enjoy. She also mentions tools that can be used to determine whether an influencer has bought their followers, unfollowed and followed in bulk and pods, such as Social Blade and Brand Audit, though reminds that influencers are humans too and that you can just ask them to provide their metrics and insights.

Fraud should not be ignored

Fraud is an apparent overruling theme and whilst influencer marketing is suffering a dip and difficulty with its authenticity, it can and will get better if consumers, marketers, and influencers are educated properly. “I think the platforms need to put in a lot more work because they know fraud is happening but it’s not in their interest to stop it because it’s not going to drive revenue dollars. As an industry, brands who are spending money on the paid stuff need to start pushing the platforms to sort [out] some of this,” Williams offers.

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The post Do Trust and Clarity Still Exist in Influencer Marketing? appeared first on Social Media Week.


How are Brands, Creators, and the Music Industry Approaching TikTok?

TikTok has amassed 500 million users worldwide and is rapidly moving from niche to mainstream with no signs of slowing down.

To help us navigate the app’s unique offerings, European Director of Partnerships Inam Mahmood lead a panel during #SMWLDN addressing burning questions that include: why TikTok is different and in what ways is it paving the path for a new generation of influencers?

Here are the primary insights and takeaways:

  • TikTok is a Powerful Hub for Exploration
  • Prioritization of Personalized Experiences Over Vanity Metrics Makes for a Positive and Collaborative Community
  • Going Viral Boils Down to Simplicity, Replicability, and Authenticity

For those unfamiliar, he first defined TikTok as a destination for short-form videos on mobile with the mission to “inspire and enrich people’s lives by offering a helm of creative expression and an experience that is genuine, joyful, and positive.”

To take a close look at how TikTok fits into the broader social media environment, he turned to Toyin Mustapha who heads Music Content and Artist Partnerships for TikTok, Rachel Waller, the Global VP of Digital Marketing at Burberry, and Holly H, the UK’s biggest name in TikTok who has attracted 16M+ followers on the app.

TikTok is a Powerful Hub for Exploration

There was a general consensus that TikTok’s core strength and most unique capabilities lie in its ability to serve as a promotional and discovery tool at the same time. For brands, a unique opportunity to test and experiment with new approaches is both exciting and refreshing.

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“Through the TikToK discover page I found friends, new music, different trends and it’s the best way to explore. It makes me want to be more creative,” said Holly. She finds these insights into other types of content valuable as they shed light into different avenues she can take with her content that inspires her to get outside of her comfort zone.

From the music standpoint, Toyin shared, “TikTok is a great promotional tool for artists and labels and a great discovery tool for fans. We have our sound page but users can find music just from content and videos they see in our for you or following feed.”

“TikTok has made us really think about how we connect our brand values with our consumer’s interests and passion points through content,” said Rachel.

Prioritization of Personalized Experiences Over Vanity Metrics Makes for a Positive and Collaborative Community

The panelists also shared their appreciation that TikTok doesn’t emphasize vanity metrics, but instead prioritizes personalized viewing experiences. For this reason, the group agreed that platform is much more community-led, collaborative, positive and proactive compared to other channels.

“TikTok is one of the most positive platforms on social media. In the comment section it says say something nice which is different compared to other platforms that just instruct you to drop a comment,” said Holly.

Rachel added, “I think the most interesting thing is how responsive the community is. It feels so proactive and reactive compared to other places you can look that are more passive. This is so refreshing and really positive and I love this idea that this is a place where there’s no barrier to entry to a conversation of complete self-expression.”

“A song can feel old or be considered old after a week. Spaces like TikTok allow artists and their music to continue growing,” shared Toyin.

Going Viral Boils Down to Simplicity, Replicability, and Authenticity

TikTok’s SIS principle is the platform’s guide to virality; creating something that is simple, imitable, and suspenseful. The panelists each offered their own best practices and insights as to what makes something worthy of being shared pointing to three key characteristics: simplicity, replicability, and authenticity.

“For something to be viral, it needs to be easy to do first and foremost. It needs to be easy to replicate, something people that all walks of life can engage with. If you have something niche you’ll only focus on that one group,” said Toyin.

“Being authentic is a massive one. If you’re not a real person or coming across a real human being people aren’t interested. Reliability is important too. If someone can’t relate they won’t share your video,” said Holly.

“Simplicity is everything. Human truths are also very powerful and knowing yourself as a brand and becoming comfortable with entertaining. It doesn’t need to be more complicated than that,” said Rachel.

Towards the end of the conversation, Holly shared her best advice for fellow creators looking to carve out their own TikTok experiences, “Be yourself and try new things. People want to engage with you; not a version of you.”

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The State of Influencer Marketing: 2020 Projections from Julius

In less than a decade, influencer marketing has rapidly evolved into a multi-billion dollar industry with more brands, agencies, and influencers entering the scene with each year.

But where is it headed? Julius surveyed 100 agency and brand marketers to learn about their biggest wins, hardest lessons, plans for 2020, and thoughts on how influencer marketing will change over the coming decade.

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During #SMWLDN JuliusDanny Palestine distilled the results of the survey to help marketers take their influencer marketing to the next level. Here’s a breakdown of the highlights:

Leveraging influencers enables companies to access a one-to-one intimacy with target consumers that they wouldn’t be able to otherwise, as well as simultaneously gaining quality and credible content.

Micro-influencers offer more leverage over insights

Brand, Content, PR and Social Marketers can and should all consider implementing influencer strategies and should be targeting both micro and macro tiers, according to Palestine. Micro-influencers offer 65 percent  leverage compared to the 10 percent macro offers, and provide access to community, whereas macro offer culture insights.

Palestine understands that 80 percent of managers, directors and other specific roles are responsible for influencer marketing, as opposed to 56 percent sharing the role, demonstrating that a large amount of strategy goes into it and it is made up of an ecosystem of seniors and specialists.

Bigger budgets

Investment in influencer marketing is on the rise and 100% of PR practitioners are expected to maintain and increase their spend. In a budget breakdown, Palestine notes that the majority of the money should be spent on paid promotion as exposure does not pay the bills. Marketers are increasing their investment because they’re seeing brilliant results, however, with that comes more work so there will be more investment in software and agencies in order to help marketers achieve higher goals.

What does the future look like?

Predictions for 2020 include mining data to find the right influencers for set campaigns and working more intimately with them – asking how content can be bettered and seemingly natural.

Gemma Albin, Social Influencer Partnerships Manager at The LEGO Group mentions a LEGO partnership with presenter and creator Maddie Moate that made perfect since. “We made an education series covering scientific content made with lego bricks. It was better working with expertise as it made it more holistic than our other campaigns.” Albin also mentions the importance of creative freedom in relation to authenticity. “We generate an environment where [influencers] can say no though, because we want to make it clear that we treating them as creative consultants.”

Brand Marketing roles are predicted to become more specific

When you go beyond sponsored posts, you reach strategic consulting, generate long-term partnerships, affiliate programs and e-commerce as well as generating events. This enriches your brand as it drives enthusiasm and generates energy and passion in regards to your influencer relations. It goes without saying that collaboration takes work and it’s important to feed the desire influencers have for wanting to obtain more followers. Timelines, expectations and deliverables need to be manageable.

Palestine predicts that whilst influencer marketing is primarily owned by Brand Marketers, next year that role will grow and continue to specialise. Lizzie Rabone, Associate Director of Strategy and Analytics at Edelman mentions needing “an influencer marketing manager because it [influencer marketing] touches everything. Everyone should be a part of the conversation, but one person to bring it all together is good.” Frankie Hobbs, Global Director of Campaigns at The Goat Agency notes that not one size fits all, though.

Influencing, by definition, isn’t restricted to social media

Influencers will also be more relied on to down-funnel, and for strategy roles as opposed to raising initial awareness. Goat Agency came from a brand and they are looking to diversify into TV and radio. “Influencers should be used in every other marketing channels, like TV, Radio and Billboard. Brands shouldn’t just use influencers. TV has a role to play too,” Hobbs explains, “also, having people that are actually recognisable in campaigns is going to help the campaign. Hyper Local Campaigns, for example having someone from Geordie Shore advertise in Newcastle, work well.”

Overall, the future of influencer marketing looks promising. As we look to navigate the complexities, new players and cross-platform storytelling strategies that enter onto the scene, these insights will be helpful to keep in mind as we hone our approaches.

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Is Honesty Important In Marketing Today?

With the term “fake news” engulfing the current media landscape, consumers are increasingly questioning the validity of the content they engage with. What is authenticity and does it still exist?

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In this article, we recap a session hosted by YouGov during #SMWLDN that unpacked their research into how people process the information and the content they see every day.

Here are the primary insights and takeaways:

  • Younger People Are Avoiding Facebook in Favour of Snapchat
  • Younger People Are Avoiding Facebook in Favour of Snapchat
  • Brands Must Engage Authentically Rather Than For Publicity
  • People Trust Their Family But Not Celebrities
  • People Are Increasingly Distrustful Of Endorsements
  • Celebrities Who Are Raw And Candid Are Trusted More

YouGov conducted a quantitative study in August 2019 titled, “Honesty and Social Media – A Case of Sharing Without Caring?” that examined the platforms 2,000 social media using adults — those aged 16 years old and above and who occupied social media at least once in the past 30 days — as well as how they process the content they see.

The results revealed that Facebook is the most used social media network (71%), with Whatsapp coming in second (54%), followed by YouTube (52%), Twitter (34%), and Instagram (33%).

Younger people avoid Facebook and favour Snapchat

Only 14 percent of those interviewed favoured Snapchat, however, the study found that the usage of Facebook was significantly lower used amongst 16-24-year-olds compared to other age groups. Feldman suggested that the percentage for Snapchat would increase if those under 16 years old were taken into account.


When asked about the assumption of honesty and accuracy portrayed by the groups (family, friends, companies, brands, celebrities, influencers etc) followed on social media, 66 percent deemed family members the most honest. Companies captured more trust than celebrities which begs the question: what’s the real reason behind following a celebrity if people are wary of the honesty behind the lifestyle they’re subjecting themselves to seeing? Is it purely for entertainment?


Out of those surveyed, 27 percent have seen endorsements; 16% have seen endorsements from celebrities and influencers, whereas only 10 percent have seen them from companies. In the study, one interviewee noted, “some endorsements are so bad that I think less of the celebrity/influencer.” It appeared that if the partnership didn’t feel authentic, then the level of trust in the celebrity/influencer decreased.


Companies are harnessing social media in order to generate real and genuine user interactions between their demographic and brand. For example, when an ASOS customer received a match on Tinder but her potential date didn’t like the dress she was wearing in her display picture, she tweeted the horrific ordeal and copied in ASOS, who then went on to engage with her story and use her as a model for the dress online. Of those interviewed, 74% agreed that this exchange would not have been possible without social media. However, 52% were skeptical and believe ASOS only engaged for publicity. Yet, in total, over a third felt more positive towards the brand.


A skeptical outlook proved a running theme in determining trust. For example, in regards to celebrity mum Stacey Soloman’s stripped back, candid and raw Instagram posts about her journey pre and post-pregnancy, whilst 62% found it refreshing to see celebrities being honest in this way, there were still 18 percent who felt posts like these were in a bid to gain more followers.


Feldmen explores two other case studies, Kim Kardashian’s Instagram and the tragic death of Justin Edinburgh, the manager of Leyton Orient and former Spurs player, in order to conclude that dishonesty online is recognised, but celebrities are followed for escapism and amusement.

People tend to trust stories from people they actually know and can relate to and social media’s power is undeniable: ultimately, it has some positive associations.

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Connecting the Digital Dots of Social Insight with Talkwalker

Even if a social media team has “a clear vision of what [it] can do with social listening,” Talkwalker’s Arnaud Steinkuhler is aware that it’s not always easy to get the proverbial powers-that-be on board. Alongside Porter Novelli’s Peter Tomlinson, Steinkuhler sought to outline key methods to get C-suite executives to buy into the message that social intelligence can change the way that business is done—and not just for the digital team either.

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“Social listening is not only about creating better leads, better communication, but it’s also about having a great customer experience,” Steinkuhler insisted. Tomlinson mentioned that in earlier times, his team would painstakingly plan presentations to sell clients on what they could do in every area of the organization, but the vision he and his team were charged with crafting got overwhelming. Social intelligence, he found, made the vision more manageable. With all that said, however, there are key needs that must be addressed in order to make this often unfamiliar strategy palatable to higher level executives.

All Aboard! Crafting Common Currency

A significant portion of Tomlinson and Steinkuhler’s time together focused on a need for this work to be collaborative. As Steinkuhler put it,

You have to design a product correctly. You have to go to market with meaningful ideas. You have to have great creative. You have to have good monitoring of your campaigns. At the end, you have to deliver good customer support, good care service. Everyone has to be involved.

Tomlinson confirmed this as he discussed the process for his team in building a social listening strategy. For Porter Novelli, it included convening the “digital transformation” team, 12 digital specialists from all across the company who could weigh in on decisions regarding tools, adoption processes, and information sharing. As a result, several disparate data tracking and analysis systems were eventually consolidated into one.

Embed It in the Organization

Another key part of Porter Novelli’s strategy for social intelligence: changing the way they addressed a need for it with clients. Tomlinson mentioned that several clients had approached them with the goal of using social listening to monitor and resolve a crisis. Their response? “Social listening isn’t something you can turn on and off; it’s something that’s embedded in the organization.

In fact, Steinkuhler identified early in the session twelve different ways that social intelligence can advance an organization’s goals. By talking about the resulting data and its potential usage in these twelve areas—falling into general buckets of Protect, Measure, and Promote—it can help to dispel the illusion that (a) social listening is all about monitoring vanity metrics, and (b) that real, strategy-affecting insight can’t be pulled from these sources. What we can get from this data goes “over and above what the client tells us,” Tomlinson noted. Convincing clients of that by developing integrated frameworks for data collection, reporting, and analysis, along with clear benchmarks of current performance and anticipated future performance, can all play a massive role in moving the needle toward action.

Dominance Beyond Data

A pair of questions at the tail end of the session offered some additional insight into how the changing landscape of social might impact the success of social intelligence efforts. First, the fair question arose of how such efforts might work in light of restricted access to user data (between the advent of GDPR and forthcoming options to clear history or restrict third party access). While it is a valid concern, Steinkuhler optimistically offered that even with gaps in available data, “what matters is, are you still able to answer your questions? Obviously there are some gaps, but it’s not an obstacle to what you’re trying to achieve usually.”

And a second question about influencer data allowed Tomlinson to address the flexibility that collecting data can truly have. Whereas a lot of data is mined with tools like Talkwalker, the tool is also agile enough to allow supplemental data to be added for analysis—such as the online panel research that Porter Novelli conducts to evaluate influencers. This process helps mitigate the bad rap that influencer marketing has at times earned, while also allowing that data to seamlessly exist alongside other more quantitative data. By developing and implementing a process that values a “unified framework,” they can craft and maintain a strategy that appeals to practitioners and executives alike.

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What’s the Secret to Reprioritizing Fun in the Digital Age? Simplicity and a Blank Canvas, says Grey

Social media was founded on the premise of global connectivity and fun experiences. Somewhere along the way, however, this has become neglected. Where did fun go?

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During #SMWLDN, Grey’s Kenny Gold and Jonathan Lee came together for a candid discussion on why it’s become so challenging to differentiate real fun from “fake fun,” and how a more rewarding social media future can be achieved.

The deprioritization of fun

“Social context, political realities, changing trends, everything in the world is being reprioritized over fun. Social media is not exempt,” explained Gold. Instead, we put forth and prioritize our responsibilities that are more important because they’re part of our lives.

Gold and Lee added to this point citing the top three general life focus areas: taking care of family members, financial stability, and physical health. Fun came in at eighth for the U.S. and ninth in the UK.

As a society, there are things we think we should be doing for fun, but we attach other reasons for doing them rather than pure enjoyment of the activity itself. Put simply, we pretend to have fun. Two examples mentioned in the talk include reading for mental wellbeing and exercise for physical health.

“The way these networks have evolved and the way we all behave on them, have fundamentally changed the way that they exist. As a result, people are feeling isolated, lonely and stop coming to social media for fun. In turn, users bases of these networks have dropped significantly,” added Gold.

What makes social fun versus not fun

The top three reasons cited that make social media fun include validation, seeing showing others are up to, and sharing what we’re doing with others.

The same fundamental principles of social is what everyone says is fun but they’re also what everyone says is not fun.

“The validation that we crave is actually is the driver of the pain and the angst that goes along with the questions: am I funny enough with this post? Is this going to be interesting enough? The FOMO of not being at that event creates a lot of issues. It pulls the fun out of what was, in its purest form, something very interesting and enjoyable to do,” said Lee.

The overarching question then becomes, are people still having fun while they’re prioritizing their loved ones, careers, and health? The answer is yes and no. When asked whether or not they were having more fun compared to five years ago, 36 percent of people cited they are having more fun compared to 39 percent who report they’re having less fun.

Making social fun again: a brand’s opportunity

What is real fun and how can brands help redefine how we as marketers define the term and harness it in our stories to create a more rewarding future?

After speaking with a number of industry specialists and psychologists, Lee summarizes real fun is:

  • Simple
  • Being your most open self
  • Fundamentally freeing
  • Unleashing creativity

The majority of people agree that if they could have more fun they’d feel less stressed, they’d be happier, and they’d have stronger connections with their friends.

For brands, this translates into emphasizing content that is fun and easy to share, forging supportive communities of like-minded people, making it easy for people to disconnect, and providing users with canvasses to enjoy life and express themselves unabatedly. In turn, marketing has a much broader role to play in other areas of our lives including our productivity.

There is still money in fun

If we could get people to invest more time and effort into seeking out fun, would that have a return on investment for a brand? Can a brand help you have more fun and if so, would this be profitable? The short answer is yes.

Seventy-three percent of people wish that brands helped them create fun. Fifty-percent of people are more likely to consider a brand or if they knew they’d have that fun delivered and of percent, three-quarters (75%) said they’d pay for that privilege.

The pocketable takeaway here, stats aside, is: brand who provide fun can help people solve problems they didn’t even know they had and make money doing so.

While the concept of creating a formula for fun carries contradiction, that doesn’t negate the fact that we have a tremendous opportunity to address one of our most neglected, unrealized, deprioritized, essential human needs.

“Understand who your consumer is and what they like to engage with and find the white space in their life that could be fun and insert it there,” Gold shared as a final parting word of advice.

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What’s Key to Unlocking Organic Growth? Targeting Influential Communities, Says Edrington

It’s not often you have the face of your brand persona in the room with you, so it was a nice source of laughter to see that “Rory,” mentioned in Edrington’s session on creating content with community in mind, was not just an idea but rather a living breathing person.

“Rory has many sides!” Creative Lead Anna Lisa Stone exclaimed as one photo of him turned to many on the slides. Alongside her colleague James Kim, Rory represented the opportunity we have to not just look at people through stilted personas, but rather through the company they keep and the communities they participate in. This strategy, according to Kim and Stone, allows us to move beyond who people are, and toward what makes them that way. “Community allows us to, within the larger demographic […] get him really excited and advocating for our brand.”

“Do We Have a Right to Play There?”

During Social Media Week London, Stone and Kim outlined the shift that marketing has undergone. Where we once existed in a broadcast era, we now exist in a digital era that enables “many to many” communication, versus the “one to many” model that once allowed brands to be authorities who guided action. But in a framework where many to many is prized and praised, there’s more power in speaking with one another, than at one another.

In communities, influence is built more organically, as people vouch for or sing the praises of something, and affinity grows based on trust. That’s not an easy path for brands to walk, which is why Kim included the vital question for brands who are considering reaching out to communities: “do we have a right to play there?” But when that right is earned, its efficacy can change the way brands exist in the minds of consumers.

“Modeling” the Development of a Community Audience

There’s a calculated way to align your brand with its chosen community, and it starts with a deep understanding of your brand’s DNA. When you understand your values, goals, and larger appeal, then you’re able to look for populations that align with what you have to offer. Kim offered a word of caution here: citing the quick overuse of the “bartender as influencer” model, he urged attendees to seek out prospective communities that aren’t already (pun recognized) overserved. Instead, he encouraged them to “dig deep” as they did the tight positioning work it would take to find their ideal target.

From there, effectively serving that group would allow for the brand’s appeal with interconnected communities…and from there influence spreads. By the time the brand is widely visible to the general public, a brand connection will already solidly exist. Case in point: Edrington’s Macallan is a brand that was systematically targeted at country clubs, social clubs, and other affluent members of society. By the time word trickled down to the general public, it was known for its appeal to the rich and powerful.

Varying Ages of Affluence

Of course, this isn’t a foolproof strategy. Stone did mention the possibility that a brand could become emblematic of a group in a way that a brand doesn’t expect – Patagonia and wealthy tech and finance professionals comes to mind – but more often than not, the brand does have a sense of control over who it aligns itself with. And moreover—coming back to the originally voiced challenge—there’s nuance even within these communities. Kim mentioned the difference between the more legacy-based affluence of current Macallan drinkers, and how it’s clashed with the imagery that comes with wealth earned in Silicon Valley. They look at themselves differently, and so “wealth as community” doesn’t resonate with them.

But when done well, this microtargeting around multiple, more detailed facets of personality and affinity can pay off beautifully. In honor of Halloween, Stone cited a prior Halloween campaign that had originally simply targeted Halloween fans who liked whiskey. This year, they instead targeted Scottophiles: a similar group demographically, but more deeply focused on a love and appreciation for Scottish culture. That understanding, paired with collateral that highlighted the Scottish origins of Halloween, resulted in a limited edition release that did 6x typical engagement, 10x typical organic reach, and sold out the product online in 18 minutes…all by targeting a group of people with a specific connection to their heritage. In that way, Edrington lived up to the goal that they have used to define solid community-based marketing” when they think of them, they think of you.”

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Cheers! #SMWLDN 2019 is a Wrap!

On behalf of the entire Social Media Week team, we want to thank all of our attendees, speakers, partners, volunteers, and everyone in the SMW community for making the 10th annual Social Media London conference such a successful and inspiring event.

We’re tremendously grateful for the platform our programs offer and the opportunities they present for us to come together as an industry and identify the opportunities we have to ensure marketing is a force for good in the world. Though this event marks the end of our 2019 flagship series, we’re confident his year’s global theme, “Stories: With Great Influence Comes Great Responsibility,” will continue to fuel insights into how we can ensure our stories leave a lasting impression.

Over the course of the two-day program, we hosted two main stages, a brand new Brand Leaders Stage, our inaugural London Academy Program, the Rising Stars in Brand Leadership Awards including 12 recipients, 1.5k+ attendees, and more than 100 sessions and speakers. These panels featured a number of leading brands, platforms agencies, and publishers including Social Chain, TikTok, BuzzFeed, Instagram, Snap Inc., Twitter, Google, and That Lot, and a diverse lineup of storytellers that included several influencers with over 37M combined followers.

This year’s event would not have been possible without our sponsors: Grey, Julius, Karmarama, Takumi, Social Chain, Sprinklr, Meltwater, Linkfluence, NetBase, YouGov, Socialbakers, Talkwalker, NatGeo, Grey, TikTok, Tribe, Tommy, Storyful, Zoho, Open Influence, CreatorIQ, YouScan, Sotrender, DIT and PlayPlay.

We’d also like to thank our Content Partners, Media Partners, and Technology Partners for supporting #SMWLDN 2019.

If you weren’t able to attend in person, you can see everything you missed on SMW Insider, our on-demand platform, plus more than 350 hours of past talks, presentations, and interviews from prior Social Media Week events. You can also read recaps of select sessions on SMW.news.

In addition, your membership will guarantee your streaming access to our forthcoming SMW New York (May 5-7) conference. The #SMWNYC 2020 event submissions are now open! Apply to speak or host an event here.

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Minding the Gaps in Data Gathering and Data Effectiveness, with Socialbakers’ Imre de Daranyi

Socialbakers’ Imre de Daranyi started his SMWLDN talk with a statistic that marketers should find startling: 32% of chief marketing officers consider marketing analytics to be a vital support to their company’s strategy. “It should be 90%! It should be 100%!” the Senior Director for Global Client Solutions lamented. And a pair of additional statistics undergirded the core of his presentation: while 61% of marketers say they’re doing a good job providing clients, customers, and followers with quality content via their social channels, just over half (51%) feel like they’re seeing too much irrelevant or “noisy” content.

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How can the wide gulf between how much loud content exists, and how much good content exists, be closed? How can the wide gulf between how effective we believe we are, and how effective we actually are, be closed? And what role can data play in those goals? Using the outlet de Daranyi drew from for his session – Instagram Stories – we can explore what data can do to create a better customer-creator match.

“Wait and See” Can Work…When Done Well!

Socialbakers operates with a “graded” content model, that allows the system to grade content based on how it performs in its initial deployment. Within the first two hours, de Daranyi said, posts, blogs, videos, and the like can be graded from A+ to D. And to the surprise of few in the room, he reported that just over a third of content (33.5%) is graded D.

The highest graded content takes advantage of the unique attributes of the platforms where they’re posted, and helps the reader or user solve a problem or learn something new. For Instagram Stories, this means using features like polling, format-customized video, and opportunities to let customers or users meaningfully participate. Following these cues from your best performing content, rather than just creating without looking at how these grades are being earned, is your best opportunity to learn from the data that is constantly being presented.

What Once was Dwell Time, is Now Completion Rate. Use that Dwell Time Wisely.

When de Daranyi was at AOL, he frequently monitored a stat called “dwell time,” or time on site. Now, at Socialbakers, he thinks about “completion rates,” or the time that users spend in a Story before clicking out and moving on. Many of the same stats that were once monitored for web traffic, also matter deeply to traffic and time spent on social. “Social data and web data are not mutually exclusive,” he declared, pointing out that each can effectively inform the other.

The data that’s pulled from web engagement has the potential to inform the creation and maintenance of updated customer personas. If these personas are frequently updated, content can be designed, redesigned, and “re-graded” with the goal of preserving that reach in Stories that many are lamenting the loss of as the feature’s use increases.

(Thoughtfully) Peek at Other People’s Papers

Anytime the notion of being graded comes up, thoughts of studying can come up as well. In the case of Socialbakers, this means comparing your brand’s rates of engagement or exit against direct competitors, others in your vertical, or even across verticals. These rates can serve as a crude rubric of sorts, helping you define a goal to aim for.

Data on attention and engagement can be helpful in this process, but so can other qualitative measures like relationship to story. In this way, the focus isn’t wholly on numbers, but also on the feelings that drive people to stick with you and what you create. “We know AI isn’t flawless; there are countless instances where it could go wrong,” de Daranyi was sure to point out; while AI can help with the data part, the creative part—the human part—is up to us. And by ensuring that both are in play at all stages of the marketing experience, we can ensure that our strategies are efficient and productive, but also heartfelt and humanized.

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Move from Push to Pull, and More Methods for Managing Marketing’s Trust Gap with Grey

As moderator Jamillah Knowles was quick to point out, the Grey-sponsored panel on social media and trust had a timely development to discuss: Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey’s ban on paid political advertising. Grey’s Strategy Director Asad Shayk likened Twitter, and any other platform where people seek to congregate, as a private party.

Brands entering these spaces, then, is akin to “bust[ing] into the private party, [shouting] ‘I’m here! I’m amazing! Love me!’” Given how most of us would treat a person who behaved in such a way, it’s no surprise that 58% of consumers in a YouGov and Grey study of 2000 UK social users don’t trust influencers, that 76% don’t think advertising on social is scrutinized like it is in other media, and a whopping 83% want political advertising regulated.

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So in light of those statistics that would make it challenging for marketers to do their work in these spaces, what is the right way to navigate them in a trustworthy fashion?

Less Leaning on Labels

The Coca-Cola Company’s Tom Hidvegi wants to see marketers rely less on labeling—of strategy, or of generations or target audiences. In doing so, brands are moving away from how people speak or would like to be spoken to in these spaces that were originally designed for social interaction. Even as their corporate objectives move ever farther from that initial goal, the average user still wants to be able to use it to connect with people. And to fit in these spaces in a trustworthy fashion, marketers should respect that wish. “If you’re [talking about the brand] passionately, they will join you.” His goal? Less classifying or measuring the work, more “waiting for that magical moment where someone says, ‘I love that brand.’”

Shayk agreed with Hidvegi on the measurement point, invoking Goodhart’s law: “if a measure becomes the goal, it’s stopped being a good measure.” When marketing chased first vanity metrics such as likes, favorites, and retweets, and then the nebulously labeled engagements, we got away from that feeling that Hidvegi talks about. By continuing to value that feeling, and working in earnest to cultivate it in the work, we’ll move back to the side of trust.

No More Noise. There’s No Need.

HMD Global’s Delphine Varenne put it elegantly when she acknowledged, “the brand has become selfish in the past few years, pushing. Does [the content] matter? Do people use it?” And Hidvegi picked up on her choice of language here, observing that what we make should pull people into a conversation willingly, not push them there without consent or desire. Given how quickly data is proliferating over time, and how often the veracity of that data needs to be confirmed, being a trustworthy marketer should mean being thoughtful about how what we put out—to humans who are likely just as busy and overwhelmed as we are—and behaving with that knowledge in mind.

For that, Varenne elaborated with a series of questions that can prevent marketers from manufacturing noise, and instead guide them toward crafting meaningful content:

When we start creative, we ask: why would someone be interested in us? What do people need? What are they looking for that we can address? What conversations can we meaningfully contribute to?

This approach, of knowing where our voices are needed or wanted and going there, can help rebuild some of the trust that years of aggressive but inattentive social strategy has eroded over time.

“Make Ideas Channel-Agnostic”

It was refreshing to hear the panel in agreement on the idea that proposed regulation doesn’t have to hinder the work that marketers do on platforms. In a number of ways, it will force it to be more interesting, more thoughtful, and more creative. “If creative ideas rule, monopolies can’t exist because they don’t have the rules of engagement to say what works and what doesn’t work,” Shayk shared, acknowledging that his stance may seem a bit contrary coming from the “numbers guy” on the panel. “Numbers have been imposed on us by monopolies.”

Similarly, agnosticism of channel means that we can stop declaring premature death of the channels that could ultimately amplify our messages. Hidvegi lamented the “[blank] is dead” mentality that so many seem excited to deploy, noting “nothing dies, and nothing [else] is perfect. It doesn’t have to be either/or…we all need each other!” By acknowledging that the channel is far less important than the message being shared on it, we can dispense with “hacking” tactics and go back to what many got into this work for: the opportunity to creatively give people what they want or need. And this task will need to persist even if regulation does go into place.

The good news, in Varenne’s eyes? We have the choice to let these prospective regulations guide the work. “It’s our challenge to rebuild trust [on] these platforms, by listening and delivering on what they say. It’s good and healthy to be challenged.” And with any luck, brands worldwide will take on this challenge to bring trust back to these seemingly compromised places.

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Separating Data from Insight, and More Lessons on Social Media Insights with NetBase

When it comes to McCann’s Mariam Asmar, the question isn’t whether marketers have the data they have to be successful. Instead, she wants to position herself in a way that allows her to ask: “what’s the insight? What’s the behavior? What’s the takeaway from that?”

Alongside Huawei’s Thomas Curwen, L’Oreal’s Jane Fieldsend and moderator John Tyrell of NetBase, Asmar was thoughtful about the reasoning behind carefully distilling the volume of data that marketers have access to on a daily basis, and managing it in a meaningful way…with the indispensable help of AI.

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During the panel, all the panelists mused on how AI had helped them make meaning of the data they were faced with in their industry, and how these insights were not just driving their work, but the success of their respective organizations.

Putting a Pretty Face on Data from New Places: L’Oreal’s Newfound Emphasis on Data

When asked during the panel about the major milestones her company had reached in terms of adopting and accepting social, Fieldsend was frank: without such acceptance, her role wouldn’t exist. Originally a researcher in a more general capacity, she advocated for a position that explicitly aggregated and sought to make sense of the data that was arising on social. This data went far beyond conversations had about the brand and more into the nature of beauty and skincare as concepts the Internet cared about. AI has been particularly important for their data analysis with the advent of visual and video analyzing capabilities, detecting the frequency and use of color for cosmetics and hair. “[It] is at the core of social listening [for us,” she shared.

At the same time, she was open about the fact that her work can’t—and shouldn’t—be framed as a cure-all for anything that ails the organization. While it is a place to gather a great deal of data, and that data is valuable for discerning brand insight and guiding corporate decision making, “we need to hold up our hands and say, ‘not everything can be answered through social media analytics.’”

Social as Part of a Larger Marketing Mix with McCann

Asmar agreed with her fellow panelist on this last point, touting social not as a panacea for any challenges a company might have but as part of a larger marketing mix. In her experience, she’s had more success “selling” social media to higher-level executives at her client’s companies when they are part of a strategy, rather than the bit that all success hinges on.

Moreover, she acknowledges that while there’s value in being able to make these decisions with the knowledge that data can bring, this doesn’t mean just using metrics—particularly vanity metrics—all the time. “I’m super happy that something like the Fyre Festival happened,” she said, “because it forced us to stop and think.” Now, rather than trying to select influencers based on their number of followers or engagements on posts, marketers and those seeking influencer relationships know to instead look for things like consistent engagement across both branded and typical posts, or how often the influencer successfully drives their followers to the brand’s handle and account. “How are people living across the [buyer’s] journey?” she asked. “You have to look after your folks, and the market [they’re participating in].”

Deciding What Data’s Important to You: Handling Huawei’s High Profile Year

Huawei’s placed particular importance on looking at their own brand and other brands in tandem, after a particularly high-profile year. The data they’ve been looking at has come in largely in the form of news mentions, and Curwen praised AI’s ability to help the company sift through those seemingly countless data points in search of insight that could drive conversations about—or even changes to—product. But in finding ways to effectively distill and share this information, even if it’s not always positive, an organizational shift has taken place.

“Now there’s a sense of looking forward to reporting,” he told the panel. “At first, it was basic and only a few people knew what it was about. Now, even a few hours after campaigns go out, people want to know how things are performing.” A related, and crucial, result? Colleagues the literal world over are asking “more and better questions” about the impact their work can have. “Social analytics is a tool to create a picture of how we’re doing, and to compare ourselves against others within the industry.”

Even after a robust conversation about the importance of data points, categorization, and pulling insight from seemingly endless information, the panel was adamant in their final words about how we classify the consumers we’re hoping to reach. Both Jane and Mariam were adamant about dispelling mythology behind generational divides in marketing. “It’s more about life stage than age,” said Asmar, while Fieldsend insisted that even though generational categories can make our data discussion easier, “it devalues differences in human beings.” Affirming the respective takes of the panelists, NetBase’s John Tyrell chuckled, closing the panel by highlighting that a key part of doing this work of seeking insight “is knowing how to ask the right questions.”

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How Purpose-Driven Storytelling Can Be a Force for Good: Insights from National Geographic Partners

Today sixty-five percent of global consumers are making belief-driven purchases, a 50 percent year-over-year increase.

More than ever, consumers are looking to brands to be a voice for good in the world. From another recent report, sixty-percent of consumers are looking for brands to make it easier for them to see their values and propositions as important issues — a notion that can be summarized by the phrase “belief-driven buying.” Put simply, this term refers to a consumer that chooses principle over product when engaging in purchasing decisions.

On 31 October, the kickoff of #SMWLDN, we’ll take a hard look at this topic during a session led by Nadine Heggie, Vice President for National Geographic Partners. During the conversation, she’ll distill key insights from the last year and explore the fundamental ways the brand looks to social platforms as tools for offering unexpected ways to engage consumers.

Leveraging success stories from previous work with global partners, she’ll specifically point to best tips and practices around leveraging social media’s influence as a force for good in the world and identifying the right partnerships for your story, and the important principles to keep in mind as you share your stories across social channels.

Given the momentum of this movement, opting out of purpose or sustainability is no longer a viable option. Brands with an authentic, well-communicated purpose will continue to consistently outperform others as this consumer trend evolves. Taking a stand isn’t just about doing what’s right; it’s increasingly become what’s best for business, too.

There’s still time to join Nadine and many more speakers 31 Oct. – 1 Nov. at the QE II Centre – so act fast and join us for our biggest UK event yet! Browse the full agenda and secure your pass online for a discount off your full conference pass!

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Announcing TikTok as an Official Partner of Social Media Week London!

TikTok has amassed 500 million users worldwide and is rapidly moving from niche to mainstream. And you’re going to want to stay ahead of it.

Ahead of Social Media Week London, here are the sessions you should bookmark if you’re looking to learn more about the app and how your brand can get involved.

TikTok: The New Frontier for Musicians, Brands, and Creators

Joining the London lineup is TikTok’s European Director of Partnerships, Inam Mahmood, who will lead a panel exploring the unique business capabilities of the app and how the platform is paving the path for a new generation of influencers.

The ABCD & E of TikTok: Fundamentals for Success

To educate you on best practices for TikTok, we’re also hosting an Academy session that will include real-world examples of how brands and creators have broken through on the emerging platform. Join Commercial Strategist Ryan Martin and Brand Partnerships Manager Anastasia Nicholl, who will share insights needed to craft your brand’s unique TikTok experience.

There’s still time to join us 31 Oct. – 1 Nov. at the QE II Centre—so act fast and join us for our biggest UK event yet! Browse the full agenda and secure your pass online for a discount off your full conference pass!

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The Ultimate Guide to Our 10th Annual #SMWLDN (31 Oct – 1 Nov)

Social Media Week London is only a week away and we’re incredibly excited to kick off our 10th annual conference.

If you haven’t been able to follow all of our announcements leading up to the event, consider this your all-encompassing preview of the most important highlights you need to know.

Insights from Top Brand Leaders, Platforms, and Agencies

Learn how to increase the relevance of your brand’s story in a way that resonates and is authentic and prepare for the future with insights from names including Instagram, Twitter, Snap, Google, TikTok, BuzzFeed, Grey, That Lot, Social Chain, and more.

SMW Academy Program

The Academy sessions will delve into a number of important themes aimed to help marketers hone skills and strategies, including topics that cover:

  • The power of social listening
  • How to harness the value of paid social
  • Tips and tricks for aligning paid media with creative
  • Best practices for optimizing your social analytics
  • The ins and outs of TikTok

The Brand Leaders Experience and Rising Stars in Brand Leadership

Recognizing the next generation of brand leadership, the Awards and Brand Leaders Stage will feature individuals representing brands including:

  • HSBC
  • Virgin Trains
  • Lastminute.com
  • Dyson
  • Hyundai
  • Zipcar
  • Spotify
  • Unilever

IRL Networking: Lounges, Co-Working, Rising Stars Award Reception and more!

We have created an unparalleled number of ways for our attendees to network this year including our designated conference breaks, an Opening Reception, and a special Rising Stars Awards reception.

Closing the event, join That Lot’s David Schneider as he explores the worst and best of Brexit-related social media and key tips for crafting effective satirical content.

Livestream and Mobile Experiences: Topi, WhatsApp and SMW Insider

Watch the Livestream via our video streaming platform, SMW Insider, chat with attendees through our official SMW Networking App Experience, and join the official #SMWLDN WhatsApp Group to connect with fellow attendees before, during, and after the event and keep up with all of the latest with conference updates.

There’s still time to join us next week (31 Oct – 1 Nov) at Westminster’s QEII Centre, so act fast and join us for our biggest event yet!

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10 Events You Don’t Want Miss at #SMWLDN Next Week

Our 10th annual Social Media Week London conference (31 Oct – 1 Nov) will continue the powerful conversations started in New York and Los Angeles around this year’s global theme: “Stories: With Great Influence Comes Great Responsibility.

More than 70 speakers will come together to help us close the chapter on our 2019 flagship series across 70+ sessions, panels, and keynotes. If you’ll be joining us at the QEII Centre and are still finalizing your itinerary, check out our curated list of the 10 most important events you must attend:

Think Forward 2020: The Social Trends Brands Need to Know

By understanding the latest trends driving the use of social media and people’s attitudes towards them, brands can turn constraints and challenges into open doors for creativity and innovation.

In the opening session of the conference, We Are Social’s Mobbie Nazir will exclusively share the company’s “10 2020 Social Trends Brands Need to Know” research and outline the steps we can take to use these to maximize the potential of our brands and more effectively engage with audiences on social.

Employing Data for Effective Stories on Social Media: Best Practices from OMD Create

Join Global Agency OMD’s Managing Partner Matthew Breen as he shares how the company employs data to deliver effective storytelling. He’ll describe how an iterative approach delivers the best result for both creative and media and offers actionable ways to integrate a variety of data sources into your strategy in a way that maximizes performance.

How The World’s Most Valuable Brands Deliver Great Customer Experiences

We can all recognize that transparency, immediacy, and personalization are in high demand but this poses a significant challenge to brands and companies who, to meet these needs, must establish cohesion throughout the customer-facing elements of their business.

In this session, join former Microsoft CMO Grad Conn as he discusses how the world’s most valuable brands deliver great customer experiences through more human-first content.

Should Brands Embrace the Cold Shoulder in a Post-Trust Social Landscape?

More and more users are changing how and where they share and connect online – leaning towards niche and closed spaces where they can ascertain safe and trusted interactions.

In this panel, hear from Grey Group’s Asad Shaykh and Coca-Cola’s Tom Hidvegi and gain insight into whether brands embrace Facebook’s cold shoulder in a post-trust social landscape.

It’s 2019 And Your Brand Needs To Think Like A Media Company

Understanding the ways your brand can emulate the qualities driving success for today’s media companies can be challenging but also a good incentive to step outside your comfort zone, challenge assumptions, and try something new.

In this session, join BuzzFeed’s James Lamon, who will share best practices for navigating these decisions and get your prepared for 2020 by sharing his perspective on the state of social in 2019 and what it means to be audience-first.

Storytelling On Social: Unlocking the Power of Platform Specificity

As marketers, our stories have the power to shape a culture, spark a movement and fundamentally change human behavior in positive ways.

To help us act on this meaningful opportunity, David Schneider and David Levin, two creators at That Lot, will offer their understanding of how to succeed at storytelling on social in today’s landscape and present an overview of the critical platform formats and underlying benefits of platform specificity you need to guide your content strategies.

Navigating an Ever-Changing Digital World: Insights from Social Chain’s Steven Bartlett

On an average day, 100 million images or videos are uploaded to Instagram, 500 million tweets are posted on Twitter and 1 billion hours of video are watched on YouTube.

On the second day of #SMWLDN, hear from Social Chain CEO Steven Barlett as he shares his entrepreneurial insights around harnessing the advances in social media to our advantage and ways we can be innovative and stay relevant in 2020 and beyond.

Innovation through Instagram Stories: Vertical Video and Brand Storytelling

More than 500 million people use Instagram Stories daily yet the vast majority of brands are still not getting the most out of one of the most powerful media formats available to them.

In this session, join Instagram’s Jane Kinnaird and We Are Social’s Gareth Leeding, as they explore the very best and most innovative uses of Instagram Stories, the features you need to incorporate into your marketing toolkit, and the dominant trends influencing how brands are using Stories to drive their business goals.

Harnessing the Influence of Snapchat: Preparing for Gen-Z

Over the past few years, marketers have catered to millennials and simultaneously made predictions and projections about how to shape their strategies for the next generation: Gen Z.

To help your brand prepare, hear from Christopher Cox, Head of Marketing Science – UK & EMEA at Snap Inc. as he addresses fundamental questions such as how has Gen Z been shaped by—and responded to—emerging technologies, recent history, and a shifting economy? How do their media consumption habits compare to those of millennials?

Interviews with the Class of 2019 Rising Stars in Brand Leadership

We’re thrilled to be recognizing the next generation of leaders in our industry shaping the future of marketing in the UK and Europe as part of our new Brand Leaders Experience.

Throughout the two-day event, hear from individuals across 12 brands who will take The Brands Leaders Stage, including HSBC, Virgin Trains, Lastminute.com, Dyson, Hyundai, Zipcar, and Unilever. During fireside interviews, they’ll share their career experiences, insights fueling their successes, perspectives on the state of digital marketing, and more.

There’s still time to join us at the QEII Conference Centre 31 October – 1 November. Browse the full agenda and secure your pass online today for a discount off the walkup price.

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5 Questions With Marcus Foley, Co-Founder, Tommy

Our industry is at a critical point during which potential readers and consumers are more guarded with their attention than ever before. Content is consumed at the pace of technology and, in turn, more brands are converging into narrowing spaces and facing competition from a myriad of companies both within and outside of their sectors.

As a result, we as marketers must rethink how we cater to a generation that has developed a reflex for opting out of and scrolling away from content that doesn’t match their values and interests.

View the full #SMWLDN agenda

On Friday, 1 November, during #SMWLDN, join Tommy Co-Founder, Marcus Foley, for a discussion that will address this topic exploring five practical strategies for ensuring your work is seen and not ignored and insights for reframing our strategies to catering to audiences of content experts.

Ahead of his session, we sat down with Marcus to get his perspective on the key difference between disrupting and earning attention, what brands he’s observed that are successful in their engagement tactics, the evolution of content marketing over the last few years, and more.

SMW: In the context of the ‘attention economy,’ what are a few standout examples of brands who are doing a good job in earning attention? What are their key tactics?

MF: First up, in the highly-competitive fashion category, for me, Pretty Little Thing are head-and-shoulders above their peers. Their goal is to make every woman feel like they’re ready to take on the world and they certainly celebrate everybody. It oozes effortlessly through everything they do on their social channels.

The way they celebrate body diversity is beautiful, their approach to building endorsements through influencers and peers is carefully considered, the way they speak their brand truth is ever-present and their commitment to constantly giving back to their community is clear to see; consistently identifying opportunities to engage and stand for so much more than just selling their products. Add to that punchy copywriting, a distinct digital brand world this is craft at its best.

Often one of my go-to’s is Nike Running. I simply love their Instagram channel and often benchmark their content. From click-bait carousels that make you want to explore more, vertical formats that move beyond the AV edit, by transforming a linear piece of content to tell a story in a unique and interesting way, or serving a piece of content that grabs your attention for all the right reasons. For example, disrupting your feed at that one moment you’re doing anything but going for that run “You’re all caught up. You can now put your phone down and go run”. Nike knows how to consistently earn your attention.

For me they are living proof if you’re willing to invest in content marketing, you can leave your competition behind. By being playful, mischievous and contextual at their core, they are winning through in the attention economy.

In your perspective, what is the difference between earning attention and disrupting? How should we, as marketers, reframe our thinking around earning attention?

Firstly, in the context of creating content for social media, disrupting is a tactic to grab someone’s attention. Think impact followed by the narrative. It should be a single-minded obsession with how you disrupt their feed and stop them from scrolling past you.

We consider how to seduce the viewer into examining the work and there are a number of tactics you can deploy; from mimicking the scroll, hacking the UI, subverting the familiar in an interesting way or simply creating a piece of content that is visually stunning. Whichever tactic we deploy, we never lose sight of our moment of impact and are always brutally honest when we ask ourselves “does this stop us mid-scroll, does it deserve our attention”. If the answers is no, then push back, start again.

Secondly, earning attention is about figuring out how to get people to keep paying attention to you because once you earned the right, audiences will give you more of their time. Once you’ve unlocked their attention you must hold that attention and use that attention effectively. This is the fundamental challenge we have to address as marketeers. Ask yourself what are you bringing to the party, do I deserve to turn up in their feed, do I deserve a few moments of their time and am I consistently earning the right for the audience to keep paying attention to me?

We need to be honest about the capacity for human attention, figure out how to get people to keep paying attention. If content lacks variety, intelligence, and inventiveness we will zone out.

How has content marketing evolved over the past several years? What are the core qualities that set effective content marketing apart from the noise?

We are now marketing to a generation of content experts who are so much more in control of what they take in. We are converging into narrowing spaces, facing competition from a myriad of brands and over the last seven years we have all caught up with our content marketing. As we head into 2020, we need to sharpen up our content strategies and start asking different questions.

If you start with ’they just don’t care about you’ then ask ‘do we deserve your attention’, then you’re setting off on the right path. The answer is not always comfortable, but as output has become predictable and the repetitiveness has killed the ability for your content to command attention, then we need to bring a brutal honesty into our content marketing efforts and start asking these questions.

Over the years our agency has constantly evolved to embrace the trends in digital and exploit the creative potential of each new era. Now our model focuses purely on earning your attention. No matter where you are across the content eco-system, we just focus on the most scarce resource of all, time. How we get some and then ask ourselves honesty “do we deserve some of it”.

And those core qualities that are cutting through and earning attention; brands who don’t let their competition dictate what they do, who offer variety, intelligence, are inventive, playful, contextual to the core and are clearly committed to investing in their content.

In what ways is capturing attention within the entertainment industry different from other industries? Is there a distinction between securing long-time engagement that is sustained versus a more short-term, immediate strategy to capture eyes and ears?

Marketing entertainment has always presented a set of unique challenges. Whether you’re building a global audience from scratch, re-engaging fans in a franchise or driving membership subscription, you need to understand audiences around the world and how to entertain them. Certainly, the art of grabbing attention has been the one ever-present over the years, be that for short-term activation or a more meaningful long-standing hit.

Our campaigns have always had innovation at the heart, with a relentless pursuit to find new and fascinating ways to surprise an audience and grab their attention. Whether that is leveraging start power in a unique way or ensuring your first to market with a new format on a social channel, being agile has allowed us to seize the moment.

Those strategies based on grabbing attention and building fame are relevant more than ever, no matter what category you are marketing to.

Aside from campaigns, purpose, sustainability, etc., what innovative ways have you seen brands earn attention from their audiences?

I always love content that taps into the human instinct to play. The sooner you let an audience take control of the content, the longer they will stay and play. The content becomes a reward in itself. I am certainly seeing lots of great examples with formats like IG stories that play into this principal. More importantly, from a neuroscience perspective, it creates a more memorable experience and a positive association with your brand. I will certainly be covering some of this off during my talk at Social Media Week London.

Don’t miss your chance to explore the power of content marketing with Marcus during #SMWLDN (31 Oct – 1 Nov). Claim your pass online today to get a discount off the walk-up price.

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7 Questions for the Rising Stars of Brand Leadership

We’re so excited to honor the class of 2019 Rising Stars in Brand Leadership later this month at the QEII Centre during Social Media Week London!

Ahead of their interviews on the Brand Leaders Stage, we sat down with them to learn more about their career trajectories, biggest challenges, how they want to change our industry for good, and much more.

What’s your proudest accomplishment?

James Davies

James Davies

Head of Marketing, UK Commercial Banking, HSBC

My proudest accomplishments are in diversity and sustainability. Leading HSBC Pride (LBGT+ employee resource group in Hong Kong) we tripled our membership through an Ally programme and launched a multi-award winning campaign which involved unveiling rainbow replicas of the famous Hong Kong lions that guard our Asia Pacific head office. They sparked a debate across the region and generated media coverage in 21 countries around the world. Earlier this year I was named HSBC Global Sustainability Champion of the Year for work we had done to help business customers become more sustainable. I’m really proud to be able to work for an organisation that champions issues which are close to my heart.


Dani Hughes

Dani Hughes

Senior Marketing Strategist, British Heart Foundation

I had various marketing roles in the hair industry, media groups and retail, but really where I had my steepest learning curves were at Comic Relief and now, the British Heart Foundation (BHF). I’m most proud of growing the digital marketing expertise in-house at the BHF, when I started in 2014 it was just me looking after digital advertising and before I moved over to marketing strategy I had grown the team to 7 digital marketing specialists, I also upskilled colleagues across the organisation with a monthly learning and development workshop on digital marketing.


Alice ter Haar

Alice ter Haar

Senior Manager, EU, Deliveroo

Starting up my personal development side hustle alongside my day job at Deliveroo – it’s by far the hardest and bravest thing I’ve ever done and it’s constantly challenging me to quiet my self-limiting belief by forcing me out of my comfort zone on a mission to make personal development mainstream.I found this calling after graduating from The Marketing Academy Scholarship, a programme which was transformational in showing me the power of personal development and inspiring me to share its magic with others. I do this through speaking, training, writing and vlogging. I recently went down to a four-day-week at Deliveroo to dedicate time to building up the side hustle as a professional business.


As a brand marketer, what is your single biggest challenge?

Fatima Diez

Fátima Diez

Brand Manager, Picnic; formerly Five Guys

In the age of novelty and ultra-fast trends, a clear challenge for me is going beyond the “cool” factor to keep a brand relevant and enticing over time. This is a task that requires constant dedication to succeed, as it is harder to bring back the excitement for a brand that is seen as obsolete.”


Fraser Stapleton

Fraser Stapleton

Social Marketing Manager, Spotify

The main thing is to avoid making assumptions about audiences you may not fully understand. In my opinion, that can be the main cause of marketing campaigns that miss the mark. To try to avoid this at Spotify, we make sure we use data and insights to inform our strategies. I can’t tell you how many times we’ve had an assumption about what might logically be the best route to take for a certain audience, only to be proved completely wrong when we have tested out our hypothesis.”


Helen Saul

Helen Saul

Brand Manager – Europe, Lastminute.com

A big challenge for me is identifying the right balance between achieving several things at the same time to meet everyone’s ambitions. Ultimately, brand affects all touchpoints, so a lot of people are invested in it, and there will always be questions around what is the most important goal between long-term awareness or proving in the short-term that your creative is making people act. Then you also need to factor in tailoring brand marketing to the right audience and the right locations, which can make it a bit of a balancing act.”


Emma Martell

Emma Martell

Head of Social Content, Virgin Trains

Brands must be careful not to let the extreme opinions of a vocal few hamper creativity and humour. If you try too hard to please everyone, you end up with insipid campaigns that please no one. As brand marketers, it’s our responsibility to push back against fear within the business. I find the best way to do this is through data.”


In your opinion, what is the top skill every marketer should have today to succeed?

Kate Peregrine

Kate Peregrine

Global Head of Social Media, Dyson

I think courage is the key skill every marketer needs today. Out industry is changing faster than ever and the skill sets required are getting broader and more diverse. It’s an increasing reality that marketers are going into roles which they won’t feel fully qualified for or where the objective is to do something no-one has done before and that requires a level of conviction and bravery to step forward and raise your hand and just give it a go.


Fraser Stapleton

Fraser Stapleton

Social Marketing Manager, Spotify

The ability to take a step back, and simplify things. It’s so easy to get bogged down in granular levels of detail which inevitably develops into some sort of hideous flow chart which no one can understand. At the end of the day, we are in the business of persuasion, and if the plan is unclear internally, it’s going to be even more unclear to your consumers. The best campaigns I’ve been a part of have all stemmed from simple briefs, the ones that concisely summarise the problem(s) being faced and with a clear idea of how to measure success. They give everyone a clear focus to rally behind, and a simple way to make sure you stay true to the core reason you are working on the project in the first place.


Alice ter Haar

Alice ter Haar

Senior Manager, EU, Deliveroo

Every marketer should have a comprehensive understanding of marketing in the digital world. That means having a thorough knowledge of performance marketing channels and testing and measurement. I can’t think of a campaign that sits outside the digital sphere nowadays, so having this depth of know-how is essential to create credibility and succeed.


What tools or tech that exists today that didn’t 10 years ago that you find has made the most impact in the marketing space?

Melissa Weston

Melissa Weston

Marketing Lead UK & IE, Zalando

We are lucky now that we have a wealth of data available to us to make our service better. I believe that emerging technologies like AI that enable more specific and relevant targeting will play a larger strategic role in Marketing moving forward. Programmatic advertising has already had a huge impact here using AI to automatically buy advertising space, using data, to determine which audience the ads should target. It will be interesting to see how influencer marketing is affected here and also how video marketing can adapt to become more personalized. In terms of SEO, I think voice optimization will become more key, as adoption rates grow.


Fatima Diez

Fátima Diez

Brand Manager, Picnic; formerly Five Guys

In my opinion, data tools and tech have been the most impactful innovations for our field over the last decade. Having easy access not only to detailed insight about potential and current customers’ preferences and behaviours, but also to information that ensures your message is exactly where it needs to be at the right time… That’s something that marketers could only dream about until recently.


Helen Saul

Helen Saul

Brand Manager – Europe, Lastminute.com

Working in a social-first brand department, it’s kind of crazy to think that Instagram didn’t exist 10 years ago. It’s one of many platforms over the past decade that has hugely increased our ability to target and tailor creative to the individual consumer in a way that allows them to seamlessly see a message which is relevant to their everyday routine. In an ideal world, marketing should be something which opens a conversation that consumers want to have, rather than an annoying interruption, and these kinds of tools can help us get closer to achieving this.


How are you making data actionable within your role and business?

Hannah Burns

Hannah Burns

Dove Global Marketing Manager, Unilever

Data is money. The more you can use it, the more targeted and specific you can be with your messaging, the higher engagement you will get. It also creates for a much more tailored consumer experience. The most recent way we have used it on Dove is through Project #ShowUs when we created precision social media campaigns across 14 markets to ask women if they wanted to be part of the initiative – to raise their hand to be cast for a future campaign. The engagement we saw was unprecedented and now we have a pipeline of 5000 individuals who are engaged, want to be part of it and have rich stories to tell. That’s casting for our year two campaign sorted.


Fraser Stapleton

Fraser Stapleton

Social Marketing Manager, Spotify

Data is key to the creative executions of our most well-known annual marketing initiative ‘Wrapped’. The experience celebrates how our users listened throughout the year, and the cultural moments that shaped it. Examples from last year included the FIFA World Cup and the ever-optimistic streams of ‘Three Lions,’ the much-debated ‘Laurel vs. Yanny’, and of course the weird and wonderful playlists our users create.


What is one example of a case where your brand utilized social media to better connect with your audience through storytelling?

Fraser Stapleton

Fraser Stapleton

Social Marketing Manager, Spotify

A great example of a campaign which uses storytelling to connect with our audience is the ‘Listen Like You Used To’ campaign. We really wanted to bring to life nostalgic moments and emphasise that while life may change as we grow older, classic songs remain the same. Off the back of this creative platform, we built some highly relatable and clever social content which pokes fun at the reality of growing older through the lens of music.


Fatima Diez

Fátima Diez

Brand Manager, Picnic; formerly Five Guys

Social media was a priority within my role at Five Guys, since we utilised it as our direct point of contact with customers outside of the store. We would actively encourage long conversations with new and returning fans, which of course often developed into shared stories, but for Five Guys the focus was always on the fans rather than ourselves.


How do you want to change the marketing industry?

Fraser Stapleton

Fraser Stapleton

Social Marketing Manager, Spotify

Leadership positions are still dominated by men, and women are still having to work twice as hard to ‘prove’ themselves in a time when equal opportunity should be a given. So if I was to change the industry, I would want to be part of the solution: empowering women to reach the very top across music, podcasts, marketing, or any other industry for that matter. Creativity comes from diversity, and helping inspire the change that would lead to more females in senior positions I believe would help us all become better at what we do.


Fatima Diez

Fátima Diez

Brand Manager, Picnic; formerly Five Guys

I believe as marketers we need to reconsider our take on personalisation, going beyond the customisation of products and delving into developing genuine relationships with customers in a personal way. This way we learn much more comprehensive insight into their needs and desires, and can develop enthusiastic brand advocates who understand we want to help improve their lives. There is a longstanding stigma around marketing being equated to deception, which I would like to defeat by proving to customers that we aim to positively contribute to their lives, and to other business teams that our work is based on insight and serves to increase revenue.


Hannah Burns

Hannah Burns

Dove Global Marketing Manager, Unilever

I would like to make it more bottom up – less ideas coming from ivory towers, more ideas coming from the people at the end of the supply chain. I think a world where we are doing more co-creation of campaigns and products with consumers is one where we give people agency, lift them up and ensure our products are more relevant than they are today. If the woman who features in the Dove campaign, is the same woman who decided how she wanted to be photographed, and what she wanted to say – it’s as much her voice speaking as it is a brand’s, and I think more and more, people will want to listen to her instead.

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