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Lauren Harrison

1024 530 Lauren Harrison

#ThrowbackThursday: JBH Vs. Food

It’s #ThrowbackThursday and to kick off 15 weeks of our favourite ever campaigns I’ll be discussing my personal favourite – a simple but gloriously satisfying interactive we created with BuyAGift back in the day.

Cast your mind back to 2014. It was a simpler time: Obama was still president, Ellen Degeneres was taking world-class selfies at the Oscars and Adam Richman was still on our screens, scarfing down mountains of oysters and 10lb breakfast burritos and inspiring my fave JBH infographic ever …

This BuyAGift.co.uk “Get Stuffed” infographic was the first campaign I ever worked on for JBH – and it was a copywriter’s dream. The concept was simple: an interactive chalkboard filled with the UK’s biggest (and often grossest) eating challenges.

The Brief

BuyaGift.com was looking to secure some top-tier links with an interactive infographic that would pass on value to their gifts for men page. Beyond that, the brief was quite open. As the focus was on man-friendly content we seized on the opportunity to create something fun and outrageous.

Our Eating Challenges interactive infographic took man culture to the extreme. With Man vs. Food-style American eating challenges trending across British TV, we thought we’d carry out an investigation into the eating challenges available across the UK. Research took us from trash can challenges to big daddy burgers and curries so hot they have earned nicknames like “The Widower”.

The Interactive

The key to a good interactive is simplicity – I think the pared-back restaurant-style chalkboard design works really well. To make the infographic truly interactive we incorporated two sets of filters – one set based on the type of challenge: “Meat,” “Heat,” and “Compete,” and the other relating to the the level of the challenge; “Noob,” “Novice” or “ Pro.” Users were able to apply whichever filters they were interested in and navigate around the challenges – those which did not apply were “rubbed out” on the chalkboard so they were only half visible.

I loved being able to have fun with the copy – conceptual stuff is my favourite, even if I tend to get carried away with a theme …

JBH #ThrowbackThursday

The client was really pleased with the finished outcome. We had a really positive response from journalists and the campaign was featured on HuffPpost. Zoo and the Daily Star. Most importantly, it helped the client hit their objectives, generating digital coverage and boosting the profile of the “Gifts for Men” page.

Ok, I’m starving now. See you next week, #ThrowbackThursday fans!

Interested in an interactive infographic? Send our design and digital teams a brief and let’s get creative.

981 529 Lauren Harrison

We’re on a Roll! JBH Scoops Best Social @ CIM Awards

Well, what can we say? Last Thursday, the Chartered Institute of Marketing (CIM) held its annual Marketing Excellence Awards ceremony at London’s Grosvenor House.

We’re delighted to announce that we brought home Best Use of Social Media. Who did we beat? Only Facebook – no biggie.

The CIM awards ceremony, hosted by Katherine Ryan, saw marketers from all over the world come together to celebrate their achievements and the moments that helped shape conversation in the industry over the past year.


The winning campaign

CIM Marketing Excellence Award… Never a doubt. #teamjbh

A post shared by JBH – The Content Agency (@jbhinfluence) on

Our campaign with The Wall of Comedy boys beat off strong competition including De Montfort University, the National Gallery, Boost Energy Drinks, Filippo Berio and even Zuckerberg himself. To say we’re feeling excited is an understatement.

Not all campaigns have big, glossy budgets. We’re proud to work with some huge global brands but we are equally proud to work closely with niche organisations to make their brands and campaigns stand out creatively.

Umbrella brand Reed in Partnership gave us total creative freedom to develop the campaign and select the most effective channels. Opportunities like this don’t come along often in our industry and we were excited to be offered a blank canvas and work with an inspiring nonprofit brand we were confident people would be interested in.


Why we believe it’s a winner

Our target audience of young BAME Londoners are difficult to reach and harder to engage. We had to attract their attention in a way that was relevant, authentic and inspirational.

Research told us that social video (specifically Facebook) would be the most effective way of reaching the target demographic:

  • Social is the most popular source of video content among people aged 13-24
  • 91% are watching social video for an average of 5.9 hours per week

We believe that influencer marketing only works in the hands of the right influencer; not just someone that the target demographic recognises, but someone they identify with and trust. We knew that getting the right influencer on board would bring a level of reach and credibility to the campaign that we couldn’t achieve on our own.

We had seen content from The Wall of Comedy on social media. They had everything we didn’t: a network of social platforms that reach 35,802,000 people, a Facebook audience where 46% of their audience is 18-24 (the target audience) and a proven track record in creating funny content. Most importantly, they had credibility and trust with our target audience. In their own words:

“We don’t just know our target audience – we are them and they are us.” – Joivan Wade, CEO The Wall of Comedy

We thought it was going to be difficult to persuade a government-backed initiative to work with such an edgy influencer but the client could see the value of working them immediately. The team trusted us with our edgy idea and it paid off big time.


Oh what a night!

Why not. #teamjbh

A post shared by JBH – The Content Agency (@jbhinfluence) on

So well done to us! Another awards ceremony, another well-deserved hangover. We had a fabulous night with Reed in Partnership, eating, dancing and partaking in the occasional orange juice. Victories like this really spur us on. We’re committed to the cause and can’t wait to see how our campaigns will shape up over the next year.

Well done to all of the night’s winners – there were some truly incredible work on display and we feel honoured to be counted among the established agencies and brands represented in the Grosvenor last Thursday.

Lastly well done to our team for all their hard work. Though we be but small – we are mighty. #TeamJBH 🙂

Looking for some award-winning content for your brand? Get in touch with our content marketing team and let’s get cracking – next year’s awards season is only 12 months away!

Hyper-Personalisation Content Marketing
1024 680 Lauren Harrison

Hyper-Personalisation: Laser-Focus Your Content

Personalisation has been a thing in marketing since long before Starbucks started misspelling our names on our vanilla lattes. Now it’s evolving. Hyper-personalisation in content marketing uses data in an advanced way to ensure the right customer gets the right message at the right time.

Hyper-personalisation could help you have more meaningful interactions with your potential customers – and it’s not as complicated as you think …

How many times have you been subjected to an ad that clearly wasn’t meant for you? How many times today? Unwelcome ad for a university you’ve already graduated from? Car insurance? A new cryptocurrency? A breast augmentation?

According to research, 50 percent of all ads are closed before they have even finished loading. Men fight off ads for Viagra. Ads for pregnancy tests fly at women whether they want children or not.

With all the marketing tools at our disposal these days there is no excuse for any of these scenarios. At best your messages are annoying and irrelevant – at worst they are offensive. Either way, they’re not doing your brand image any favours.


What do we mean when we say hyper-personalisation?

Hyper-personalisation is the gold standard in marketing. It’s not just calling someone by their first name (although as proven by All 4’s Alien: Covenant promos, this can work amazingly well). Neither is it assuming what their preferences are based on age and gender.

Instead it means a focus on bespoke context – customisation of the marketing message around who the user is as a person, what their lifestyle is like, what their interests are and what they are doing in real-time. How do we know all this? Data.

As marketers we have access to ever-bigger volumes of big data, as well as ever more advanced tools to help us sort through and sift.

Hyper-personalisation means using all of this to deliver highly relevant marketing where data, targeting and messaging are aligned. Brands are tailoring their offering like never before.

Benefits include:
– Highly relevant content/ ads
– Enhanced customer experience
– Customer loyalty

There seem to be no limits to where hyper-personalisation is headed next. Advancements in AI are allowing us to automate data processing more and more – making our messy data actually mean something. With swift developments in the natural language processing technology made popular by Alexa and Siri, speech-to-text and visual recognition tech will continue to enhance how we are able to engage audiences.

We can show our users content based on:

– Demographic
– Behaviour (i.e. what they search for or click on)
– Apps
– Physical location (thank you very much, Google Maps)


Get it right

Collect the right kind of data and be careful what you do with it With the compliance deadline for GDPR here, we all need to be very careful with our customers’ data and make sure we follow best practices when it comes to collection and consent.

Narrowly segment your audience If you’re just starting out – keep it simple. Try segmenting your audience by gender or age range – then showing imagery relevant to that group. Once you’ve nailed that, you can take it a bit further. Try creating segments of people who consistently buy a certain product or always buy at the same time of year. You could target them with a message just before they are due to buy again.

Be aware that reach may be reduced
Some critics have pointed out that narrow targeting can reduce the number of people likely to see your content and requires more effort than spray-and-pray content. While this is true, it’s important to remember that your reach will only be limited to those likely to actually engage with your brand. These are the guys you want!

Avoiding generic messaging As personalisation increases, so does automation. While this might sound like a bit of a contradiction, getting really specific with your messaging reminds audiences that it’s all about them. When refining your messages, prioritise your customer’s context.

Be surprising Audiences tend to be delighted when you offer them personalised content where they’re not expecting it.


The brands nailing it

Netflix We’re all aware that Netflix makes recommendations based on what we’ve already watched – but did you know it also gives you personalised artwork for each TV show/ movie? The platform watches you closely and takes note of what kind of imagery entices you.
Hyper-personalisation Netflix

Amazon Amazon are pioneers in personalisation for the upsell. The brand’s algorithm is constantly being updated to broaden its personalised offering – its latest development is the Amazon Assistant (pictured).  Products are recommended based on what users have bought in the past, items they have in their virtual shopping carts, items they’ve likes and rated and what other customers have bought.

Hyper-personalisation Amazon

Cadbury’s Cadbury’s ran a personalised video campaign in Australia which used elements from user’s Facebook profiles including photos, location, age and interests to match them with their perfect bar of Dairy Milk. The campaign got a 65% click-through rate and a 33.6 percent conversion rate – pretty amazing!

eBay eBay’s AI-based Shopbot works like a digital shopping assistant – it uses machine learning and its graph database to make connections and help its users find product based on purchase intent.

Marie Curie For its Great Daffodil Appeal, Marie Curie matches supporter’s geolocation data to point them towards collection sites and delivers persona-driven messaging based on previous interactions with the charity.

Head to our blog to learn more about chatbots, AI and all things content marketing.

Chatbots
1000 667 Lauren Harrison

The Beginner’s Guide to (Useful and Lovable) Chatbots

Chatbots are transforming customer experience and redefining how brands engage their audiences – but not all are created equal. A lovable chatbot is a great way to keep your visitor hanging on, dish out efficient customer service and nail down a conversion. A bad one is annoying and a great way to get them to close their browser window.

Here we talk you through all things chatbot – what they can do, who needs them and how to use them in 2018.

Imagine this. You’re walking past a shoe shop. You spy a couple of things that interest you through the window so you go in. It’s brilliant – you’re not sure what kind of shoes you’re after or how much anything is but you’re happy to look around, knowing the sales assistant there if you need him. But then he comes over and asks the worst question in the world: “Can I help you?”

He can’t. If you needed help, you’d have asked for it. He can see you’ve just stepped through the door. After awkwardly stumbling around fingering a few pairs of loafers, you breathe a flustered ‘bye’ and hurry out feeling mildly irritated.

If you put one of those “Hi, can I help you?” chatbots on the homepage of your site to pop up as soon as the visitor arrives – I’m sorry to tell you but you’re that annoying sales guy.

What is a chatbot?

Chatbots are agents that streamline interactions with customers via text or voice command. They communicate and perform basic tasks like answering questions and placing product orders – when they work, that is.

In 2017, Facebook announced it had a 70% failure rate with chatbots on its Messenger app. Critics took this to mean that bots could only fulfil 30% of requests without a human stepping in.

Last year Forrester’s article in Forbes surprised us with the claim that “new conversational interfaces will drive deeper relationships between consumers and brands.”

This begs the obvious question: “how on earth can robots help create stronger relationships with human beings?”

The answer (as it always is for us) is great content. Delivering it in an efficient, meaningful way creates trust with your audience and keeps them coming back for more.

Why we love chatbots

To be clear, we only love helpful chatbots – not annoying ones. Less C3PO, more R2D2. Good chatbots:

– Streamline customer service
– Enable scale and personalisation
– Foster stronger customer relationships

They can interrupt the visitor by offering something of value (e.g. on your website) or be there to respond when they need something (e.g. on Facebook Messenger).

Examples of some killer chatbots

Playful usefulness is the key to a great chatbot. There are bots out there that can order your favourite pizza, hail you a cab, help you apply your makeup, keep you up to date with news and deliver delicious recipes.

Smashbox
Cosmetics brand Smashbox employed Manning Gottlieb to design and build its first chatbot. Far from being a simple extension of its existing customer service channels, the bot lets users explore new products, read content, find their nearest store, book beauty appointments and even try on makeup products with augmented reality.

Smashbox chatbot

Spotify
Spotify’s bot on Facebook Messenger recommends playlists based on your mood, what you’re doing or any other criteria you might have.

Spotify chatbots

Mitsuku
The three-time winner of the Loebner Prize (awarded for achievements in AI) Mitsuku is known as the world’s best conversational chatbot. I went to her to shoot the breeze:

Mitsuku chatbots

How to create lovable chatbots

Think strategically The kind of action you want people to take on your site will have a big impact on how you use your chatbots. Google Analytics means we don’t have to guess what people are doing on our site – if we want we can review each individual journey. Whether someone is a potential buyer or just interested in the content on your site they are giving you value. Use insight to find the point where they are dropping off –  this is where your bot should swoop in and offer the thing they didn’t know they needed.

Personalise Bots or no bots, people like to see brand’s understanding them and their specific needs. What has attracted the visitor? Say we’re talking about our recent blog post: “Keep Up With the Kardashians on Instagram.”  Did they visit because they are interested in the Kardashians? Are they a competitor wanting to check our what you’ve been up to? Or are they a potential customer? Using what the site has learned from the user’s behaviour past and present, it can work intelligently to serve them in a relevant, personalised way.

Your website’s biggest problems solved with bots

“They are reading my killer blog posts – then leaving straight away”
So long as customers are on your site they are passing you SEO value. This makes your mission relatively simple. If they’ve come to you to read a killer piece of content, you need to be one hand to offer them something new. A content bot can slide in at just the right moment, without being too intrusive and offer that content. HubSpot do this really well:

Chatbots hubspot

Their bot has suggested a resource relevant to the blog post the visitor is reading. The result? The customer skips around your site and you lap up that all-important SEO juice. Best case scenario – your bot serves your visitor highly targeted content, then delivers CTAs in the chat window to get a conversion out of them there and then.

“They are looking at my products/ services, then leaving before buying.”
People can only pay attention for so long. You want that distraction to happen on your site rather than off in another browser window. Assess your sales pipeline. Use bots to suggest products your customers might be interested in, or to serve product discount codes or offers at just the right time as indicated by Google Analytics.

“As long as they stay on my site, I don’t really care what they do.”
Good answer. Whether you’re dealing with a customer, competitor or curious cruiser, use bots to keep them on your site for as long as possible.

Remember …

Not everyone loves a bot
The crux – is a bot right for my audience? Lots of people Most questions you have can be solved by rounding up a quick focus group and telling them what you could do for them – would they like a personal assistant? Maybe, maybe not …

Things evolve quickly.
With NLP and personal assistants like Siri and Alexa moving on and integrating ever more into our lives, things are moving on quickly. According to our digital director Andy, chatbots are set to revolutionise absolutely everything we do online – with some of th mos content is no exception.

Don’t expect instant results

Your chatbot can’t do all the work for you (no matter how lovable). Stick with your strategy and collect data every step of the way so you can sharpen things up in the future.

Want to know what other tech you need to look out for in 2018? Checkout, Rage Against the Machines: Will AI Destroy Content Marketing?

1000 666 Lauren Harrison

Rage Against the Machines: Will AI Destroy Content Marketing?

It seems like every week, brands are coming up with new ways to prove that content and artificial intelligence are a match made in marketing heaven. Yet we tend to think great content = human.

Is AI set to make our jobs as content creators ever easier, or are our machine overlords gearing up to take those jobs, wreck the industry and ultimately destroy the human race? We take on both sides of the argument.

All hail our machine overlords!

Wondering if we should trust the machines with our content? In our personal lives we already do. Our iPhones ping to let us know we should leave right now if we want to catch our train. Social news algorithms spoon-feed us the day’s events. Netflix uses our viewing habits to recommend movies. Spotify curates playlists for us based on mood. Alexa reminds us of our friends’ birthdays and lets us order gifts with one click. There are cars with built-in collision avoidance systems that we literally trust with our lives.

Yet however much we rely on AI in our personal lives we’re more reluctant when it comes to our livelihoods.

While many of us embrace automated content marketing tools to help with things like keywords and content optimisation, these things are handy workflow tools that still require a degree of input. AI can’t create quality content, can it?

Apparently, it can. According to Buzzsumo co-founder Steve Rayson AI writing algorithms not only exist, they are creating well-written, data-backed articles.

The three key phrases you’ll see a lot relating to content-writing robots are intelligent narratives, natural language generation (NLG) and automated storytelling technology. At the moment there are only a couple of key players in “human-free stories”: Quill and Wordsmith. Here is an example of a few sentences “written” by Wordsmith:

“Potential buyers take note: the median sale price in Phoenix fell to $424,000, while the available housing inventory rose. There are now 3 months of home inventory left in Phoenix. Go find a bargain, buyers!”

Not bad, no? Just input your data, write a template for the story and edit the results. As the technology gets better, surely the need for human content creators will decrease?

 

Oh God no, we’re doomed! Doooooooomed …

Forget content marketing you idiot – we’re only one iOS upgrade from Skynet realising its own capabilities and launching a nuclear attack that will certainly kill us all!

Look how intelligent the machines we have created are! Look how terrifyingly lifelike! In the last few years, robots like Sophia and the animaloid creations from Boston Dynamics have seen AI seriously up its game. What about Google’s AlphaGo that beat the world’s best Go player at Go? Latent fears that have been bubbling in the background since the sci-fi boom of the seventies and eighties are suddenly being realised. The machines are taking over.

The problem is they’re f***ing cool. Remember when Siri seemed unbelievable? We loved asking her what the meaning of life was. But then we realised she was a pain, never really delivering what we asked for. Yet every new AI innovation brings another wave of excitement. The enduring popularity of the sci-fi genre with films like Blade Runner 2049 and Black Mirror is proof that we remain both frightened and thrilled by AI and its potential.

Yes robots can technically come up with coherent sentences. But what about irony? Personality? Will a machine ever be able to successfully mimic British humour? And if it does will the subsequent content be original, or the product of data collected from a thousand similar pieces of content?

Look at Tay, the innocent AI chatterbot experiment launched back in 2016. “She learns conversational understanding from you!” proclaimed an incredibly naive Microsoft. It took roughly an hour for her to become a neo-Nazi sex robot.

Even if machines could virtually replicate the content created by humans, what would be lost? Do any of us really want to sit around reading content written for us by machines?

The whole point of good content marketing is that it humanises a brand, allowing it to pass on real value to prospects, person to person. Content is art – and (for now at least) art is as safe from AI. Like spirituality or romantic chemistry, it can’t be simulated. Yet.

1024 732 Lauren Harrison

Is Vero Set to Take Over Influencer Marketing?

As Vero takes the App Store by storm, we give you the lowdown on the new social network and what it might mean for users and influencers.

Just over a week ago, Vero didn’t even rank in the App Store’s top 1,500. Today it’s sitting at #1. Vero’s unexpected boom has meant the app’s servers have been overloaded with many users unable to post, follow or even sign up for an account. But what is it – and why is it so popular?

Launched as a photo-sharing app in 2015, Vero is being touted as the “new Instagram” – although it has several key differences: no ads, no algorithm and more user control.

The app is the brainchild of Lebanese billionaire Ayman Hariri, movie financier Motaz Nabulsi and venture capitalist Scott Birnbaum.

With the tagline True Social, Vero’s manifesto claims: “People naturally seek connection. We created a social network that lets you be yourself. Hence the name Vero. Meaning truth.”

What makes it different?
Although Vero’s dark, masculine palette sets it poles apart from Instagram’s white, millennial freshness, the way users post photos and video content is pretty similar:

Yet the app’s creators appear to have given serious thought to what other social networks are missing.

Authenticity
According to Vero, “Most social networks reduce everyone to a friend or a follower,” encouraging us to “share only the parts of our lives we think are the most interesting.” This is certainly true of Instagram, where our feeds are often made up of only the most polished, highly curated content. Vero challenges this, saying: “in real life, people are never presented with a one size fits all audience. We share different things with different people.” The app lets you to divide your contacts into close friends, friends, acquaintances and followers, allowing you to quickly and easily decide who sees what.

Flexibility
By allowing users to post everything from links to book and restaurant recommendations the app is attempting to combine the uses of Facebook and Instagram – making it a useful space for people to connect as friends, influencers, followers, creatives and people. You will be able to search recommendations on TV sh0ws, books, music and places from people you follow.

No ads
This is one of Vero’s major selling points over its competitors but means the app will only be available for free to its first million users (hence the hype – hurry!) According to “We made our business model subscription-based, making our users our customers, not advertisers.” This means that Vero will eventually be available for a small, annual subscription charge.

Reverse-chronological feed
Perhaps most significantly, Vero takes on Instagram’s much-hated algorithm – designed to show users what (it thinks) they want to see by pushing promoted content and the accounts they engage with to the top. While great for Instagram’s advertisers, the problems of this approach for users and influencers are obvious. We choose the content we want to see with the “follow” button – the algorithm means we miss out on content we wouldn’t necessarily engage with. For influencers this is seen as unfair as it has a serious impact on their reach. Vero’s feed displays content in reverse-chronological order, meaning the content we see is up to the minute.

So what does all this mean for influencer marketing? In these early stages, influencers seem very receptive to the idea and are signing up to Vero in their droves, citing the lack of algorithm as a factor. Does this mean that in the near future we could see a mass migration from Instagram to Vero as influencers from the “power middle” haul their bikinis and skinny teas to a platform where reach is more certain?

Will it lure users and influencers away from Instagram and Facebook?
This is the big question. Yes, influencers and users seem keen to get on board now but this has a lot to do with the free introductory period – we all get a touch of FOMO now and then. Only time will tell whether the app’s creators keep their promises and stay true to their original vision for the app. There are no ads at the moment, but don’t they all promise that in the beginning? If Vero is successful it will be interesting to see how other platforms respond. Will Instagram be forced to reassess its precious algorithm if it starts to lose its star power? Or will it add more features to emulate Vero, as Instagram Stories has Snapchat? Watch this space …

Content Marketing Tinder
1024 683 Lauren Harrison

If Content Marketing Was On Tinder [INFOGRAPHIC]

Committing to a content strategy can feel like a lot of pressure. What if it doesn’t work out? What if you want to get it on with research and influencer campaigns at the same time? Our new content marketing dating “app” lets you quickly swipe through potential content matches for your brand with zero commitment. Give it a swipe.

 

Content Marketing Tinder

Need help putting together a sexy campaign? We’re experts in influencers, digital pr campaigns, infographics and lots more. Get in touch and let’s Netflix and chill.

 


 

If Content Marketing Was On Tinder

Meet your match

Looking to experiment with hot content, but feeling a bit shy? Our content marketing dating “app” lets you quickly swipe through potential content matches for your brand with zero commitment. Whether you’re looking for hit-it-and-quit-it fun or a more long-lasting relationship, ogle their profiles, check out those vital statistics and decide whether you want to swipe left or right.

Influencer Campaign, 27

So hot I’ll make you look good. Simple and honest with a great social life, I’m looking for a relationship with someone I actually care about. If all you want is a quick fling, make the most of me. I don’t always last that long.

70% of millennial consumers are influenced by the recommendations of influencers (Collective Bias)

Live Streaming, 23

Quick, casual flings only. Can be a bit of a tease. (Audience) size definitely matters. When it comes to content – the richer you are, the more I’ll do.

80% of brand audiences would rather watch live video than read a blog (Live Stream)

Blog, 32

Soulful, honest and real. I like photography, great writing and entertaining guests. I’m pretty sassy and have been told I’m great at helping people look at things another way. If you want some action I need to connect on a deeper level.

Marketers that use blogs get 67% more leads than those who do not (HubSpot)

Podcast, 31

Smart is the new sexy. Energetic and funny with plenty to say, don’t be fooled by appearances. I’m a great travel, work and working out partner, but take me to bed and I’ll really teach you a thing or two.

85% of people listen to all or most of a podcast (Convince and Convert)

Infographic, 26

The perfect mix of beauty and brains. Sharp, elegant and to the point, I like things to look a certain way. I’m not big on conversation – don’t feel like you need to tell me your life story. Remember, it’s always the quiet ones …

Infographics are 30x more likely to be read than a text article (Hallam Internet)

Longform, 34

The kind of content you’ll want to bring home to Mum and Dad, then devour in private. I may look serious, but I’m far from boring. Smart, funny, edgy and a bit of a heartbreaker. Added bonus: I’m very flexible.

Data suggests that the “ideal” post takes about 7 minutes to read (Marketing Land)

Original Research, 28

I’m rich, original, intelligent – the real deal. I don’t like to brag but hooking up with me every once in a while will boost your reputation and get others to take you seriously.

People engage with data or complex information more when made visual (Moz)

Social Video, 22

A bit of a joker – I’ll make you laugh, make you cry and teach you new skills and interesting facts. Irresistible and guaranteed to leave you wanting more. Feel free to share me with your friends 😉

Video will account for 80% of all internet traffic by 2019 (CIM)

 

CIM Awards Lauren
1024 690 Lauren Harrison

Nominated! CIM Awards

What an incredible start to the year! Following our success scooping Gold for Best Social and Silver for Best Video – Series in the CMA Awards back in November, we were delighted to learn we’ve been shortlisted again – this time in the Marketing Excellence Awards hosted by the Chartered Institute of Marketing.

Our entry for our YESldn campaign has been nominated in the Best Use of Social category. We’re excited on behalf of our (mercifully open-minded) client Reed in Partnership. On a more personal level we’re thrilled to get such positive feedback for our work and feeling ever more motivated to help our clients smash their content marketing objectives in 2018.

The CIM Awards will be taking place at Grosvenor House in April. Wish us luck!

Black Mirror
734 417 Lauren Harrison

Content Marketing Lessons From Black Mirror Season 4

Black Mirror clearly demonstrates the myriad ways technology alters our behaviour. This idea is absolutely central to content marketing.

SPOILER ALERT! If, like most of the UK, you spent the weird gap between Christmas and New Year binging Charlie Brooker’s Black Mirror while elbow-deep in a box of Cadbury’s Heroes, none of this will be new to you. If you’re still waiting to catch up, read on at your own peril …

 

When Black Mirror first appeared back in 2011, creator Charlie Brooker had this to say about its content:

“If technology is a drug – and it does feel like a drug – then what, precisely, are the side effects? This area – between delight and discomfort – is where Black Mirror, my new drama series, is set. The ‘black mirror’ of the title is the one you’ll find on every wall, on every desk, in the palm of every hand: the cold, shiny screen of a TV, a monitor, a smartphone.”

The series takes existing technologies and places them in a near future where they are just advanced enough to create various scenes of dystopia. Some are frightening, others are deliberately tempting; most notably Season 3’s San Junipero, in which people have the choice to temporarily or permanently upload their consciousnesses to the cloud.

                                                                                                                   

What has Black Mirror got to do with content marketing?

As observed by Andy Maskin for Adweek back in 2015, Black Mirror has more to say about the marketing business than Mad Men

“To many, Mad Men is a show about advertising, but to those in the advertising business, we know it is really a period piece drama set in an advertising agency. We know that it bears only a passing resemblance to what marketing is like in 2015.”

Black Mirror on the other hand, clearly demonstrates the myriad ways technology alters our behaviour. This idea is absolutely central to content marketing. As a side note, it’s also interesting that Jon Hamm has starred in both series.

 

Out of control

The overarching idea behind Black Mirror is humans losing control of the technology they have come to rely on. It’s unsettling because none of the technology in the show seems wildly futuristic or out of reach. It is ubiquitous – as unremarkable to its users as the smartphone has become to us.

Characters have little control over their own relationship with technology. If they are not controlled by a malevolent, off-stage presence, they simply exist in a reality where technology has evolved to the point where it has got the better of us. Again, this isn’t just a problem for future generations; while innovations like Boston Dynamics robots and creepy AI Sophia show us where AI is headed, phenomena like trolling, revenge porn and spambots show how we are losing our grip on technology today.

In this way, the show also highlights many of the ethical dilemmas faced by marketers. As consumers we are pounded with messages everywhere we go. Items in our ASOS shopping baskets vie for our attention at the edge of our work screens. Our smartphones use augmented reality to show us products and realities that aren’t really there. Surveillance technology allows billboards to broadcast adverts based on our age, gender and even mood. All this – and we barely even notice.

The key question is how far is too far? At what point does integrating comms into the consumer’s life stop being frictionless and helpful and start being annoying, overpowering or even frightening? When does technology become intrusive?

 

Here we take a look at the first half of Season 4, distilling key lessons that show us how we can be better, more responsible content marketers.

U.S.S Callister

Black Mirror Season 4

Netflix

In a nutshell

The episode follows a twisted code nerd Robert Daly as he traps self-aware digital clones of his co-workers in a Star-Trek like fantasy game. Able to feel emotion, fear and pain, the clones are moved to revolt. Particularly relevant in the current climate, some critics have compared the episode to recent events surrounding internet bullies and Harvey Weinstein.

What’s the moral of the story?

Just because we have power doesn’t mean we should exercise it.

And in content marketing?

Daly’s successful Infinity game gives its users control – but as usual, Black Mirror teaches us that technology enables people’s worst impulses. Marketers have the power to reach the consumer anywhere, but that doesn’t mean we should continuously fling messages at them. Creating a content strategy packed with original, valuable content compels the consumer to interact with you on their own terms and forges more meaningful relationships.

 

Arkangel

Black Mirror Season 4

Netflix

In a nutshell

After a couple of frightening moments with her young daughter, Marie has a monitoring chip painlessly inserted into Sarah’s brain. Using Arkangel technology, Marie can see what Sarah sees, monitor where she is at all times and shield her from seeing anything potentially stressful. This last feature in particular becomes more problematic as Sarah matures.

What’s the moral of the story?

Deny them the freedom to experiment and you risk losing them

And in content marketing?

Your customers don’t need protecting from the truth. Consumers, particularly ethical millennials respond positively to brands that demonstrate a social conscience. Keep it real, own your mistakes and create content that shows how your brand is doing its part, whether its cutting back on packaging, publishing whitepapers on workplace diversity or collecting clothes for homeless people.

Crocodile

Black Mirror Season 4

Netflix

In a nutshell

Distressed about having helped her friend cover up a hit-and-run, desperate Mia is moved to commit ever-more horrific crimes. Accident investigator Shazia mines the memories of witnesses to get to the truth of a related incident. Memories remain confidential unless the recaller is found to be hurting someone or themselves. The paths of the two women cross with disastrous consequences.

What’s the moral of the story?

Sharing personal information can be dangerous

And in content marketing?

The memory mining tech in Crocodile may be futuristic, but in a way it’s already here. We give big tech companies like Google and Apple access to all our personal information – think of every email, text, picture and video you have stored in the cloud. As the new GDPR rules come in in May, create a fun influencer campaign or animated video that makes a point of showing concerned customers that you can be trusted with their data.

 

In next week’s post things get even darker as we tease out some content marketing wisdom from Hang the DJ, Metalhead and Black Museum.

 

1024 683 Lauren Harrison

7 Pre-Event Content Tips to Get Prospects Excited

FOMO is a powerful thing. If your brand or agency is investing time, money and people in an event, you’ll want to ensure a) you fill it and b) people are psyched to be attending. Events are valuable because they allow you to gather a group of people with the same interests together in one place for a progressive conversation. Why not start that conversation early with some inspiring pre-event content?

According to Laura Forer of UBM, “96% of attendees look for information prior to attending an event and 90% continue that search post-event. Effective content before, during and after an event is vital to the overall experience.”

Pre-Event Content

JBH recently joined forces with some social influencers and the ASA to host an influencer marketing event. The idea was to challenge some of the objections brands might have about working with influencers.

This was our first time hosting an event and it was a success; not just because of how it went on the day but because it was a learning curve for us as an agency. We learned that creating great pre-event content involves more than just dishing out a time and address. Here we give you our top content tips and some ideas to make sure both you and your audience get the most out of your event.

 

1. Make sure you are reaching out to people in your industry with your pre-event content

Pre-Event Content

It’s important that you fill your event with people who will benefit from it. While there’s always the option of sticking fifty quid behind a Facebook ad, even with targeting options it’s unlikely to reach the right people in your industry. Start with your own email list, then hit LinkedIn to reach a much wider audience. LinkedIn Pulse channels are great for event marketing. While the algorithm is a closely guarded secret, looking at other posts on your chosen Pulse channel will give you clues on how to put content together in a way that the platform deems ‘relevant and interesting’.

 

2. Create video content

Influencer Marketing Event

Lighthearted video content is one of the best ways to pique prospects’ interest before, during and after your event. Videos resonate with audiences like no other content and can be put together whatever your limitations. Give prospects a sneak peek of the event, define topics and goals and/or help audiences better understand your subject matter through an educational mini series. Share your videos on your blog, promote them on social, signpost to them in your emails and whack them on YouTube. Above all, keep them short, light and focused.

 

3. Tweet, tweet

Influencer Marketing Event

Social media is quick, cheap and easy – use it to underpin every stage of your event marketing. If you’re feeling adventurous you could create your own Snapchat filter or encourage attendees to share their photos, although it’s worth mentioning that user-generated campaigns can be tricky to get off the ground. Social media is overloaded – getting people to care about any post for more than three seconds is near impossible. The flipside of this is that your makes it that much more meaningful and sincere when they do.

 

4. Make the most of your guests of honour  

Influencer Marketing Event

Your guest speakers are the lifeblood of your event. What reach do they have? Is it worth getting them to promote your event by creating their own pre-event content? Having guests tweet about the event on the morning of is great but by then it’s usually too late. If they are able to post on their platforms once or twice in the run-up to the event this could help get your message seen by people with the same interests. Better yet, they could write a blog post, mention your brand in their vlog or go live on social media. In our case Em and Junior had far greater reach than us, so it was exciting to see them talking about our event on social media. Your event speakers are what make your event educational and inspiring. Make sure you celebrate them.

 

5. Give your landing page the attention it deserves

Influencer Marketing Event

There’s no better way to create a sense of urgency than to send prospects to a persuasive event landing page. Your landing page should be central to your event marketing campaign – before, during and after the event itself. Unique value proposition showing what attendees will get that they won’t get anywhere else, benefits,  beautiful imagery that fits the event. Our event was about Instagram influencers, therefore it was important that we used Instagram-style images featuring beautiful people and lots of white space. If relevant include a range of testimonials aimed at various personas who might benefit from attending. Finally, make sure your CTAs really stand out and are worded in a way that makes sense.

 

6. Commission some original research

Influencer Marketing Event

Original research is an important part of any content marketing strategy. It gives you the chance to demonstrate insight, innovation and thought leadership – the things people want to see from you if they are going to take the time to come to your event. Commission a study or survey as part of your pre-event content, share your findings with prospects, attendees and speakers and use your findings to inform your session.

And finally …

 

7. Step. Away. From. The. Slides.

Influencer Marketing Event

Slides are a great way what to illustrate what you’re talking about but people tend to rely on them too heavily in an event. A good speaker should be able to present their topic should anything go wrong with the technology. Because Em is genuinely passionate about influencer marketing and educating brands about the right and wrong ways to work with influencers, she referred to her slides for a few images and stats but focused on speaking to the audience easily and naturally.

Events are a key channel for direct engagement with your audience. Creative, valuable pre-event content is a good indicator that your event will be a worthwhile use of your prospects’ time. Your event might be weeks or even months from now, but there’s no reason the experience can’t start today.