Build A Brand Movement: The Body Shop, Hiyacar, Crowdcube... The Round Up

Build A Brand Movement: The Body Shop, Hiyacar, Crowdcube... The Round Up

It’s been a whirlwind year for us at Mattr, helping our brand partners build authenticity and purpose through the power of film whilst creating our own platform all around how to get people to actually care about your brand.

That, of course, includes three epic Build a Brand Movement events, last week’s being the final one in 2018, with amazing lessons from Maeve Atkins, Global Corporate Comms Manager at The BodyShop, Patrick Ryan, Senior Equity Fundraising Manager at Crowdcube, and Sarah Kilmartin, CMO at new tech start-up Hiyacar. We had a whale with these three, and would just like to thank everyone who made it for such an insightful evening!

 What a night it was…

What a night it was…

For those who didn’t attend (boo), the below summarise all the important things we learned from them. If you like what you read, we hope you’ll join us in 2019 when we start it all up again!

  1. Get your people thinking: ‘how can I help?’

  “We campaign on serious topics, but we don’t take ourselves too seriously” - Maeve quoting The Body Shop founder, Anita Roddick

“We campaign on serious topics, but we don’t take ourselves too seriously” - Maeve quoting The Body Shop founder, Anita Roddick

Maeve was our heritage brand representative for the evening. Leading the #ForeverAgainstAnimalTesting cause for The Body Shop, she taught us all about how to successfully create a cause-led marketing campaign that wins the hearts and minds of all stakeholders, staff and customers.

The Body Shop had been campaigning for 30 years on animal rights, but the 2017 campaign was the first time the entire business attempted to get both staff and customers to rally behind a cause (namely, to ban the international use of animal testing in cosmetics globally).

So how did they do it? Ultimately by getting people to understand and really care about the cause and showcase that what The Body Shop stood for was far more than ethically sourced products. To do this, The Body Shop doubled down on educating their staff at all levels about why it was so important to The Body Shop as a brand. The result? Huge amounts of internal advocacy not only boosted morale, but created another layer of word of mouth communication in stores and online when it came to convincing consumers to get involved. Oh and 8.3m signatures on a worldwide petition...no biggy.

TAKE AWAY: Cause-led marketing starts from within.

2. Let your customers help shape your brand

   “Word of mouth is the most powerful way to get your brand out there” - Patrick Ryan

“Word of mouth is the most powerful way to get your brand out there” - Patrick Ryan

Crowdcube’s main purpose is to democratise equity fundraising. It is now the biggest equity crowdfunding business in the world, and as Senior Equity Fundraising Manager, Patrick sees first hand the power of creating advocacy out of your customer base.

For Patrick, the key is to take the time to really consider how to make people feel like they are a genuine part of your community, that they belong to your “tribe”. That all comes from figuring out what your purpose is, why it’s relevant to your audience and how you to action your purpose so that they believe that what you stand for goes way beyond your product offering.

And it seems that this sentiment is shared by some of the platforms most successful fundraising partners. Monzo, after raising via Crowdcube sent out “investor” personalised debit cards to all the people who invested with them. Crowdcube uses their investors to help them hire new team members. Simple, cost-effective, but something that he explained highlights how brands don’t just see the monetary value in their crowdfunding investors, but the social value as well. It impacts the bottom line in the long run, not just the short term.

And finally, Patrick explained that whilst most people think the investment is a rational decision, particularly with such early-stage businesses as those on Crowdcube, it’s as much about your story and vision...it’s about buying into what you stand for.


TAKE AWAY: it’s all about the personal touch and making people feel they belong.


3. Think outside the practicality box

   “We’re in a generational move from less materialistic to more experiential ownership” - Sarah Kilmartin

“We’re in a generational move from less materialistic to more experiential ownership” - Sarah Kilmartin

Sarah Kilmartin has a favourite phrase she uses to describe the founders of her company Hiyacar, perfectly reflecting their mission. She describes them as “practical revolutionaries” because they aren’t trying to save the planet (although that’s a nice bonus), instead, they’re simply trying to change the way people think about and use their cars.

They’re doing this by getting people to understand they can turn their expensive vehicles from liabilities (your car sits in your drive for 95% of the year!) into assets, using money as a motive to share it with your neighbours and the wider community. Their priorities focus on this connectivity between communities first, moving away from the idea of being another disenfranchised car hire company.

There are many things Hiyacar are doing to live and breathe this value of community. From a communication perspective, Sarah explained that whilst competitors are focusing on expensive TV ads and print campaigns, Hiyacar is sponsoring a Christmas tree, supporting local choirs. When it comes to product research, Hiyacar literally goes around door knocking, meeting the users of the product to learn how they feel when they share cars with each other. However, the most interesting thing she mentioned was how business plans have been built and changed based on the value of community. As she said, they could follow the likes of Zipcar and create fleets of their own cars, but this would defeat the purpose of their mission- creating better communities.

TAKE AWAY: always go back to your values when making a decision, no matter how big or small.

4. Ensure you approach your communications honestly

 Look how happy they were at the event…honestly :)

Look how happy they were at the event…honestly :)

A common factor which all our speakers spoke about was the importance of communicating honestly. Their thoughts all aligned along the same trajectory - the way to get people behind a mission is to eliminate any fancy brand language and go along the lines of promoting personal purpose instead.

For Sarah, this meant changing all brand maxims and statements released to omit the words “car hire”, because their identity doesn’t relate to a car hire company, it’s a community-based service. People are what make the service as reliable as it is, so why shouldn’t their comms revolve around personal stories from users, as well as the cute community moments that entice more people to use it?

At Crowdcube, making sure that all investors could connect with business founders and feel a sense of power in the future of a company was paramount to the success of their product. Giving money to someone can be seen as an act of self-satisfaction, but maintaining a level of equal and honest engagement is important for any investment. Being constantly in communication with investors is why Crowdcube has raised over £150m in 2018 alone.

And finally, for Maeve, continuously reviewing their products and ensuring they match up to their ethical values is paramount to what they communicate. Most cosmetic companies have come under scrutiny for false activism, so real storytelling about that ethically sourced produce is central to everyone in the business, from shareholders to farmers, helps build that trust with staff and customers.


To summarise…

To build a brand people care about, you need to tap into their sense of being part of something bigger than themselves.  Whether it’s engaging your staff to build internal advocacy, creating personal touches to make people feel like they own a part of your brand story, or basing entire business decisions around your mission and what’s best for the customer, the key is to action what you stand for in everything you do. We hope to see you at the next Build A Brand Movement soon!

 You could be at our next event, make sure to book your tickets!

You could be at our next event, make sure to book your tickets!

3 challenger brands who are smashing their "why"

3 challenger brands who are smashing their "why"

We live in a world now where asking why has become second nature. Why should I vote for this, why should I pay for this or why should I pay attention to this?

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And guess what, as a brand guardian, you need to be able to have an answer to these questions! Not only do purpose driven brands outperform the stock market by 206% (Havas) but a study of 1000’s of CEOs showed that 88% of them believe that a business must have a clear purpose beyond profit to attract the next generation of talent (Cranfield School of Management). Nuts and bolts, ensuring you stand for something as a brand is’nt just vital for thriving, but it’s become necessary for surviving.

So, the natural question… how do you do this? Well, at our last ‘Build a Brand Movement’ event, we heard from 3 brand leaders who seem to have figured it out. Karma Cola are tackling the globally expansive fairtrade problem by building social issues into their business strategy, Eve Mattress are looking at advertising communication beyond selling their mattress products to enable people to have “the perfect start” and finally, Lynx literally turned it’s entire business around from their social ashes to become a phoenix of male empowerment.

You can check out what each of them spoke about HERE. But for some absolute nuggets of inspiration, let’s sum up for you the key takeaways:

KARMA COLA: “If it looks good, it tastes good and it does good, people will love it”

Simon Coley is founder of beverage disruptor Karma Cola. He explained that it was the discovery that there is actually no cola in traditional cola soft drinks that prompted him to create a fairtrade, community driven cola brand. The company literally bring good karma to every step of the production cycle- from  the producers, farmers, environment and of course the consumers get something out of it too. Whilst it’s elegant design and delicious taste goes some way to explaining their success, Simon puts a lot of their rise to fame simply down to the power of their storytelling...they can hand on heart explain what goes into their products to their customers and because these products are literally building bridges in Africa and helping farmers daughters go to school, these emotive stories are the things that are convincing people to spend money with them. And guess what? Because of how well received the brand story, Karma Cola is now growing the family to a whole range of other soft drink (see full presentation HERE).

 Simon     taking us through how Karma reinvests it’s profits back into the communities who help make the drink

Simon taking us through how Karma reinvests it’s profits back into the communities who help make the drink

EVE MATTRESS “Your why is your north star, you should always come back to it”

  • Kuba Wieczorek, CMO and co-founder of Eve Mattress believes that a brand has to be honest in their marketing, because without this approach customers simply will not trust the message you’re trying to relay. Having a brand purpose is integral to this, because it gives you the chance to reflect on whether what you are communicating truly feels like it’s coming from your brand. And whilst TVC’s, Out Of Home campaigns and online content creates fantastic awareness, Kuba gave us some amazingly simple examples of how Eve Mattress do this with their purpose “everyone deserves the perfect start”, from putting on free wellness retreats for the general public to helping talented people from disadvantaged backgrounds have full time jobs with the company (see full presentation HERE).

 Kuba     passionately discussing what it means to be honest

Kuba passionately discussing what it means to be honest

LYNX “Pain makes you move”

  • Fernando Desouches, ex Global Brand Director at Lynx explained how the brand discovered it’s purpose only by hitting rock bottom. Having spent years as a trusted brand amongst young men, Lynx lost sight of the changing attitudes towards sex, particularly amongst younger generations who were turning away from their quite dated ads which suggested you could win the hearts of beautiful women by wearing their product. It was only by losing meaning to their target market and millions of dollars in the process, that Lynx starting enquiring what they meant to the modern man. Research into beliefs, social commentaries, surveys and focus groups led to an understanding that “masculinity is a reflection of what society considers masculine”.  The conclusion? Lynx realised that if it empowered every young man realise they are the ones who decide what being a “man” is defined as, it would become central to this very conversation. ”Become the best versions of yourself” became their new mission statement and by focusing all internal and external communications around this, the brand not only saw incredible reaction by consumers but a huge uplift in sales (see full presentation HERE).

 Fernando explaining his personal journey of what it means to be a man in todays world

Fernando explaining his personal journey of what it means to be a man in todays world

Conculsions

So what can we take away from these stories to help you create answers when your audiences start asking “why” about your brand? Well, firstly, to be relevant to your audience you need to start from within. Ask yourself what is the problem you are really solving and what does your audience truly care about? Secondly, it’s all well and good having a fancy mission statement, but how can you live and breathe what you stand for? Whether it’s donating back to society or simply having principals in the way you work as a business, bringing staff to customers together around something that feels honest and true to who you are is vital. And lastly, always speak honestly. People have never liked being sold to, but even more so in today’s world. If you can connect authentic stories that you’re champinoning with your brand mission, you’re onto a winner.

Thanks for reading. if you liked the article, you’ll love our events. And lucky for you the next one isn’t too far away (November 7th) so be sure to book your free ticket HERE.

 You could be at our next event, book your tickets quickly!

You could be at our next event, book your tickets quickly!

4 ways companies are nailing their purpose.

4 ways companies are nailing their purpose.

As part of our #MattrMovement series, we want to educate brands on how best to discover, implement and measure the impact of defining their purpose and expressing it in everything they do. For our next event in June, we’re going to be focussing specifically on how brands walk the walk once they’ve defined their mission. Whether that be internal or external, we’ll be joined by Karma Cola Founder Simon Coley, Ex-Global Brand Director of Lynx/Axe Fernando Desouches and Eve Sleep Head of Brand  Kuba Wieczorek. All of whom will be sharing how they communicated their brands to success and what challenges they had to overcome to achieve it, to book your ticket click here. 

To help you with some pre-event inspiration we’ve pulled together 4 brands that successfully executed their purpose in various ways and how you can learn from them. 

1. DESIGN GROUP: INCLUDING YOUR STAFF

When B2B global gifting and celebrations design company, International Greetings expanded and merged, they needed to find a way to unify 14 disparate businesses and brands, spanning 9 countries and 1200 staff under one name: Design Group. They recognised to get their staff behind their ethos ‘everyone is a designer’ they needed involve them in the process and put them at the forefront of the mission. 

To help get staff on board, Design Group created a global event where a giant jigsaw puzzle was constructed made of individual pieces, “designed” by real team members. By bringing the pieces together, the puzzle physically manifested the coming together of the different brands under one roof. 

The puzzle pieces and photographic books documenting the rebrand sit in every office around the world, reinforcing that design and their staff is at the heart of everything Design Group does. Their values continue to live beyond the initial campaign and has been evident in the increase of staff engagement by 85% and the business seeing global knowledge swapping between the various members of staff and departments. 

WHY WE LOVE THIS: Design Group put their staff first. By including their employees on the journey they managed to align global businesses all behind one inclusive mission. It wasn't just a form of digital communication, it was a multi-touchpoint initiative that physically reminded the staff that they are at the heart of the business. 

 

2. ZAPPOS: PRACTICING WHAT YOU PREACH

Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh has been the key driver to building the business success with a particular focus on employee happiness and providing the best possible customer service. Standing by their mission to provide a ‘WOW customer service and to be humble’ all future employees are assessed based on their values not just their skills. So if you’ve got an air of arrogance, you’re unlikely to make the cut. 

Once the team is on board the business provides a service like no other and when Tony encourages his employees to always go above and beyond - he really means it. That’s why his staff have been known to:

  • Send an overnight courier of a free pair of shoes to a best man who arrived to a wedding shoeless

  • Went to a rival shoe store to buy a pair of shoes for a customer when Zappos ran out of stock

  • Stayed on a customer call for 10 hours and 29 minutes because Zappos doesn’t have a limit on their call time.

All pretty impressive right? Goes to show when you embed your mission within your culture and your employees believe in it, they’ll go the extra mile out of their own choice.

WHY WE LOVE IT: Building an emotional connection with your audience as an online retailer is never easy but with strong leadership and considered staff training, Zappos instilled their values in their representatives and has provided world class service - completely in line with their mission. It’s worth considering how can you tool up and train your staff to live and breathe your values when interacting with your customers. 

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3. IKEA - MAKING CSR AN ESSENTIAL

We all know Ikea are infamous for having a brilliant brand positioning and in doing so have cemented themselves solidly in the hearts and minds of consumers (and future generations to come!).But they don't just stop with designing products to “create a better every day life” they’re now looking at the stores spaces and customer purchasing process to demonstrate their commitment to a circular economy. 

Launching in Greenwich, their latest sustainable store will incorporate green technologies such as PV panels, rainwater harvesting, renewable construction materials and greywater treatment aiming to reduce water consumption by 50%. As well as this, several in-store solutions will all offer a furniture take-back scheme and a dedicated 80 square meter space to encourage customers to reuse and recycle their own products.

To spread the message of their sustainability plans, Ikea’s UK sustainability manager Sæbjørnsen featured on an episode of edie's Sustainable Business Covered podcast, to discuss how they plan to encourage customers to take on the sustainability transition and bring it to life. 

WHY WE LOVE IT: Not only are the business designing sustainable products, but they're now building the spaces and processes to help their customers become more considerate of the environment. Showing that they consider every And they’re voicing their plans in on mediums like podcasts where they have a captive audience interested in learning more. Simple techniques applied very well. 

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4. MAJOR PLAYERS - OFFERING UNEXPECTED VALUE

Recruitment has always had a hard time building trust with their candidates as they often have to battle pre-conceptions of a commission-hungry headhunter. But brands like Major Players are starting to show the human side to the recruiting process offering guidance to candidates, businesses more recently supporting the freelance community with their latest Major Collective platform.

If you head to their website you’ll see a glowing hub of useful content, from insightful blogs, to regular events with reputable brand speakers and creating online video using their staff to offer genuinely helpful advice. 

And to show how they’re giving back to society, as part of the Major Players voluntary employment scheme the business also works on activities with Spitalfields Homeless trust building on their life skills and providing CV workshop sessions.

Similar to brands like Hubspot, Major Players are now putting valuable content at the heart of their service. 

WHAT WE LOVE: It's brilliant to see a category like recruitment being re-energised and showing their audience how they really care. What’s brilliant about Major Player’s content is none of it is hugely expensive and utilises the skills the business has in-house. Just by collating original, helpful and human-centric content in one space, Major Players is changing the perceptions and building a loyal community. 

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So whether it's internal training, morale-boosting exercises or sharing valuable and free tips with your audience, always consider the best ways to execute purpose. As we’ve highlighted there are so many different touch points to strengthen your brand values that go well beyond the traditional external comms and could have a much greater impact. If you'd like to attend our next event to learn more...BOOK HERE NOW.

 

 

5 ways to save your video content budgets this year

5 ways to save your video content budgets this year

According to Crunchtime Media, your audience goes through over 50% of their decision making process on their own. So, if you want someone to buy (into) your brand or your product, you need to do everything possible to help make their experience with you a positive one. Part of that strategy nowadays includes video content, it’s a given in today’s world. However, video can be expensive and is usually accompanied by scary expectations you need to nail to keep your boss happy.

The good news is you don’t need to panic. That promotion, pay rise or personal goal is within reach, it simply boils down to a solid plan and in the below article, I run through how to create one:

 

1. What are your objectives with video in the first place?

Co-Schedule's research found that marketers who set goals are 429% more likely to report success than those who don’t and guess what, with video, it should be no different. It might be because you want to raise awareness about your brand, turn prospects into leads or actually convert more people into customers. Whatever your business needs are with video, get them down because these are the metrics you should be referring back to when planning and then measuring the success of your content.

 

2. Who are you speaking to?

As the world-famous marketer Seth Godin says, “everyone is not your customer!”. So can you clearly define whom you’re trying to talk to? It may be your investors, customers, staff, even your postman (weird, but true). Whoever it is though, try to work out what their challenges and desires are and ultimately why they are going to want to watch your videos.

Top tip from us: Collecting digital data is always useful (we like to use Google keywords and trends for our video strategies), however if you want to get a feel for what people want, why don't you ask them? I'm talking about face to face conversations or phone calls, not just surveys. We did this to amazing effect recently with the Mayor Of London's office as part of their community engagement project for the "City Of The West". Talking to over 30 local community members as part of our research, our chats formed the foundation of a three part content series that created a much more inclusive dialogue. Extremely powerful stuff:

3. What content should you actually be producing?

Typically it takes 6-8 pieces of content to generate a sales lead (Salesforce), let alone a sale. So just making a 30" TV spot or “viral” won’t cut the mustard (shock horror). Our advice- consider every stage of your audience’s journey when planning your video content. We call them:

 The “catch my attention” stage: What will you do to grab my attention? Well, the good news is, they don’t have to be out of this world virals, they can be fun personal stories, educational documentaries or even how to videos. The key is to make me feel you care about my needs and get me to want to learn more about your business. Basically don't make it feel “salesy”. Kinda like this article ;)

The “convince me to care” stage: So, you’ve grabbed my attention, I want to learn more about you. But how can I trust you’re right for me? This is where more specific product explainers or stories about your team come into play. You can absolutely put a strong call to action at the end to drive that purchase decision forward but the trick at this stage is to still create an educational or entertaining feel to the film.

The “make me stay” stage: You’ve got the viewer a click away from getting the action you initially wanted, but to see it over the line think about video content that could help resolve any final niggles or questions that person has. It could be a case study, client testimonialFAQ videos or even videos that literally explain what to expect next. The great thing here is you’re creating content that pre-empts doubts and queries going through the viewers' mind AND drives further positive intent for clients you already have who may think of these questions after purchase.

 

4. When should you be releasing it?

The CMI came out with a crazy stat recently: Two-thirds of B2B Marketers without a content marketing strategy are creating more content now than they did in the previous year. You don’t need to be that person! Get a Flipchart or whiteboard and plot out the months of the year. Then, underneath it map out the following:

⁃ Big company announcements

⁃ New product launch dates

⁃ Important retail calendar events

⁃ Industry calendar events

Call me a geek, but at this stage I get all giddy because you can start seeing all your work and planning fall into place.

 

5. What should you spend?

OK, this is always the elephant in the room and unfortunately, there's no magic number I can tell you as no two budgets are alike and it’s dangerous for me to claim you need £X,000 to do things properly. BUT what I would say is broadly speaking, you should be looking at splitting your production budget as follows*:

“Convince me to care”- 60% of the budget

“OK I’m interested”- 25% of the budget

“How do I know you’re right?”- 15% of the budget

*this doesn’t include media spend…soz.

And although there are many variables to consider when putting budgets together, to get max value out of your partners, remember the following:

Shoot days - Can you shoot multiple pieces of content at the same time? This means you can maximise time on set, bulk buy kit and crew and save yourself money in the process.

Licenses - Do you know where the content needs to go? Ads that will be used as pre-roll or content with paid media spend or for broadcast/VOD will usually command pricier licenses for talent, music and other elements so make sure you’ve thought about this.

Additional content - What else can you shoot on set? Maybe behind the scenes content, cutdowns for social, stills. Nowadays it’s easy to organise and means you get more bang for your buck so if your content partner isn’t offering it, they should.

 

Ok, so in summary. Please don’t panic about how you are going to map out this year with video. When you break it down, the tools above are common sense and anyone who claims to be a marketer should be able to use them. That all said, it's a big process so if you figure you need help, a two-hour workshop with myself and the Mattr team is only a phone call or email away!

Make it matter this year.

4 tips on how to build a brand movement from Bacardi, Virgin Money and MyFreda

4 tips on how to build a brand movement from Bacardi, Virgin Money and MyFreda

Earlier this month we held our first ‘Build a Brand Movement’ event of 2018, which (if we do say so ourselves) was a brilliant evening of inspiration, insights and of course pizza! We wanted to first, say thank you to all those who attended and gave up their Wednesday night to learn about the importance of integrating purpose into their mission. And secondly, a huge thank you to our brilliant guest panelists; Bacardi Global Brand Director Zeenah Vilcassim, Virgin Money Creative Director Tim Arthur and Founder of MyFreda Affi-Pavizi Wayne for sharing their personal journeys and filling the room with unlimited entertainment! 

We’ve finally had time to soak up all the great topics discussed and we thought we’d round up our top 4 tips captured from the night to help you build your brand movement. Enjoy!

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1. Start from the inside out

“We all have to align internally before we can push out any external comms” - Zeenah Vilcassim, Global Brand Director Bacardi

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I’m sure we won’t be the first to acknowledge that integrating ‘purpose’ has become a total buzzword in the media world, but the reason we often see skepticism or backlash is usually because it’s not carried out effectively internally or externally.

A unanimous piece of feedback from all the panelists was that the key to forming a successful brand movement is making sure your purpose is embedded in EVERYTHING you do in order to drive a passionate workforce internally. To do this, it’s massively important that the company’s mission is led by the people at the top in order for it to have a trickle-down effect. Does 'lead by example’ ring a bell?

Creative Director of Virgin Money Tim explained that their ‘Everybody Better Off’ (EBO) ethos is something that CEO Jayne Anne Gadhia constantly drives and reinforces within Virgin Money to ensure their product, values, and brand are consistent. This type of leadership is what embeds EBO into everything they do; whether it’s used in meetings, product pricing, staff assessments or even asking each employee ‘what did you do that was EBO this week?’. Aligning everyone behind a clear purpose is what makes Tim and others at the business, proud to be part of Virgin Money.

Figuring this out is the first key to success and will open the doors for business growth, building a team that believes in what they’re working towards and forming a desirable brand. If you’re looking for more guidance on this, check out Kin&Co’s ‘How to avoid fucking up purpose’ report for a deeper dive! 

 

2. Ask people why they follow you-you might find something new

Whether you’re a new brand or you’re an established brand, asking either your employees and customers why they follow you is integral to forming an honest brand movement. If you’re a new business, ask the few employees you might have or the early followers you’ve adopted ‘why they love your brand?'. For MyFreda’s founder, Affi, she discovered she attracted a real range of female supporters but it was the social purpose aspect of the brand that resonated with women and built her movement. Providing women with access to a basic human need of feminine care products is a mission that women of all backgrounds can unite behind. Ultimately it’s the underlying values that connect her consumers and understanding this has helped refine her proposition and communications. 

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Similarly, more established brands like Bacardi need to regularly do market research to analyse why certain customers do and don’t engage with their product - don’t just base it on assumptions or category patterns, because you could be completely off the mark. Zeenah explained that her mission is to make the alcohol industry less sexist and more inclusive, she wants to do this by providing consumers with the product knowledge to enable them to drink what they want how they want it. To do this, she also emphasised the importance of asking ‘why?’. "There are many reasons why women don't drink whisky….is it because there isn’t a pink whiskey? Probably not. Is it because it's a complicated category that even men find complicated? Probably yes!". 

Taking the time to really understand what your audience truly values and discovering the best way to use this, could be deciding factor in your future success. So don’t leave it to what you think you know, start asking why! 

 

3. Offer more than just your product.

“It’s not like a banking space, it’s an incredible experience” - Tim Arthur, Creative Director of Virgin Money

Once you’ve established your purpose, bringing it to life is one of the most exciting parts of building your movement. And if you’ve got it right, you shouldn’t be short of creative ideas!

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At Virgin Money their EBO ethos enables them to live and breathe their mission through not only their brand but also their service offering. They do this a number of ways, but a notable example of this is the Virgin Lounges. Accessible to all Virgin members, visitors can help themselves to free coffee, wifi and enjoy the beautiful spaces for work or pleasure. In the Sheffield lounge, they’ve even got a bowling alley on site which is free for families to use, so for those who are hard up on cash can enjoy the facilities at no additional cost. Tim explained, “It’s not like a banking space, it’s an incredible experience, a small thing to Virgin but a big impact on people’s lives”. This extension of their brand elevates Virgin Money above other banking companies and provides that ongoing support outside their core offering. Always coming back to their EBO mission and ensuring that everything they do is about making their customers lives better. 

If however, you're at an earlier stage of your business (where creating experiential spaces isn’t financially achievable), it’s worth considering what you can be offering your audience past the product that embeds your brand values and provides additional value. If you missed our presentation at the event, we shared how Hubspot, Hellmans and Moxy Hotels have all used different methods to create engagement outside their product and service offering - download the presentation here to view how.

 

4. Don't expect to see overnight transformations.

“My challenge is much greater, I want to change the world.” - Affi, Founder of MyFreda

When it comes to measurement, the biggest thing to be aware of is that change doesn't always happen overnight. Your results are very much driven by the mission you are trying to achieve and the way you go about doing so. For MyFreda, their goal is to see a shift in perceptions of ‘what it means to have a period’. This is a cultural change in mindsets, one that Affi recognised can't be assessed over 3 months! Her goal has a much longer process and shouldn't just be measured on profit and sales, it should be measured on the impact made in society.  

Zeenah also explained there’s a big difference between measuring output and measuring impact. She stressed that “You can’t measure impact in a years time frame through econometric analysis or social media sentiment - that’s just an output. To measure your impact you need to allow three, five, or ten years to see if you really shifted that dial for consumers". Although we live in such a faced paced world where we expect to see answers immediately, measuring a movement is not something that will always hold a financial or a statistical value within a short space of time.

The difference between measuring a ‘topical’ campaign versus purpose led communications is that you have to give it time to create an impact. If your first piece of communications doesn’t see an immediate result, that doesn't mean that you throw it away and move onto another idea, it means you measure and assess to see how you can improve. For all the senior decision makers and those who hold the purse strings out there, remember that setting achievable, long-term metrics that align to your vision and mission, is the key to measuring the impact of your brand movement.  The hardest part is establishing what these few core metrics should be.

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As we’re sure you can see, the evening was filled with hugely insightful advice and tips on how to build purpose into your business in the most effective way. To recap remember:

  • Start from the inside out and lead from the top

  • Dig deeper to discover why you attract your followers

  • Provide more value than just your product

  • Set achievable measurements and be patient

At Mattr.Media our mission is to help brands to uncover stories that help bring to life their purpose. We capture these using video to help amplify the great work you are doing inside and outside your organisation. If you want to get in touch to discuss your brand movement and how we can help bring this to life, please email Josh or Stef to set up a meeting. We’ll also be continuing to host our ‘Build a Brant Movement’ event series throughout the year so follow us on LinkedIn for more information.

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Photos by Tom Sharman 

Purpose is more than a statement: How brands need to act in 2018.

Purpose is more than a statement: How brands need to act in 2018.

For so long now, advertising agencies’ solution to selling brands has been to create a one sided communication with a heavy media spend behind it and expect that a customer will buy into the brand. But according to the results of the Havas’s 2017 meaningful brand report, over half of the world’s brands aren’t trusted and customers claim they wouldn't care if 74% of their brands disappeared completely. Scary right?

But don't panic just yet. Our evaluation is, you need to lead with purpose. Yes, I’m sure it’s not the first time you’ve heard that buzzword being throw about but the truth is to stay relevant and trusted in today’s world brands need to start walking the walk as well as talking the talk. 

Brands need to find a way to live and breathe their values and integrate that into their both internal culture and through their customer journey. Every touch point you have with your audience should be an opportunity to communicate why your existence matters and enable them to actively participate with your brand. Brands that fail to do so run the risk of falling behind or worse still burning out. 

 

The Cultural Shift

Brands are failing to emotionally engage: The statistics from the Havas report highlight just how disposable brands are becoming and with the combination of businesses not having a clear mission or fulfilling their promises there’s no surprise we’re seeing such alarming results. In the Drum’s brand engagement research last year they found that 78% of people feel brands never emotionally connect with them. It appears to rush to create quantity over quality content, has led to brands failing to focus on their true values which has consequently led to failure to connect. And with Facebook and Google now changing their algorithms to favour “valuable content” there has never been a more important a time to communicate why your brand is irreplaceable.

We’re living through a movement era: Whether it was down to Trump, leaving the EU or the rise in sexual harassment complaints, the consumer mindset has never been so passionate about change. In fact, Fast Company released research that showed for 61% of millennials, it’s their goal to make change in the world. Change of course doesn’t have to be socially or politically driven, brands that provide an opportunity for customers to participate in something bigger than themselves will be the brands that form long standing communities.

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It’s not just external purpose, it’s internal too: It doesn't stop with customers, employment expectations continue to show that your staff want more than money, they want a purpose. According to Kin&Co’s latest report How to avoid fucking up purpose their research showed that over two-thirds of workers said having a purpose that was properly embedded into their culture would have a positive impact on their work; including being more productive, more efficient and more likely to contribute to the company culture. And unsurprisingly 72% said they’d be more likely to stay at their company if they were more emotionally connected to their work. So not only is there a want for businesses to reflect the values of their staff, but there are results to show it does actually improve work place productivity.  As Simon Sinek states, businesses who live and breathe their vision will be the ones that don't just give employees something to work on but something to work towards

 

The early adopters

It’s started with 'Think Different….'

Don’t worry, I’m not going to create a case study article about the success of Apple because lets face it you’d have to be hidden under a rock to have missed that empire evolve. But the one thing we will highlight is there has never been a minute of doubt of what they stand for. Their consistent reinforcement of 'Think Different' has always been apparent in everything they do, making it both unavoidable and a definitive staple of Apple’s brand. From their emotive TV communications right through to their in-store Apple geeks, their beliefs have remained true throughout their evolution and is a case study to purpose led brand success.

Brands that we see echoing this are Dove with their Real Beauty mission, AirBnB’s Belong Everywhere and newer brands like Toms and Karma Cola who integrate their purpose into all areas of the business. Take the Toms 'One for One' movement, their mission to help people in need didn't just depend on customer purchasing and barefoot selfies, it was embedded in their internal culture too. As part of their Tomorrows Project program, every month employees are invited to submit ideas for a charitable project that inspires them. The company then votes and the person with the winning idea receives $10,000 and two days off work to make it happen. Pretty amazing right? The program encapsulates both what the brand stands for and what they are working towards.

And it’s not just B2C brands that have establishing discovered their purpose leads business success, B2B brands like E&Y have put a strong focus on “building a better working world” by providing industry leading research, thought leadership events and tailored training to improve workplace performances. Whilst instant messaging software Slack is a testament that when you define your brand as an enabler to bringing a workforce together, you can turn a tool that has been available for years and that sits in a heavily saturated market into a multi-billion pound company and an everyday essential to all industries. 

All examples have very different agendas but their passion for achieving their vision is consistent and more importantly accessible. Creating a strong product is key to all of these brands, but the difference in components these days, is providing an opportunity for people to take part in the brand passed purchase. The ability to identify and tap into the values and beliefs of an unformed movement is where brands will see the biggest opportunities in the future. 

 

Late bloomers

Even legacy brands with years of heritage need to find a way to stay relevant in today’s world. Take Hellmanns for example, despite being a market leader and having 100 years under their belt, their concern of being considered as the fatty condiment in the cupboard is what drove them to rediscover their purpose. Recognising their magic formula was real, simple ingredients they begun their “Real Food” movement - Hellmann’s commitment to helping Canadians discover the pleasure that comes from eating real food with simple ingredients. To do this, they created an Urban Gardens program to give Canadians a place to grow their own real food, developed the Real Food Grants program that helped fund over 40 real food initiatives across the country and used influencers to foster Hellmann’s brand advocacy inside the real food conversation. Through a mixture of education and interactive experiences the brand continues to champion real food initiatives across the country and change a longstanding perception of the brand. 

Proof it works

Does it work I hear you ask? Of course it does. According to Unilever, purpose driven brands are the driving force behind it’s success, reporting that its Sustainable Living brands grew over 50% faster than the rest of the business. And when Hellmann’s reviewed the success of its purpose-driven efforts, in addition to shifting consumer perception around mayonnaise, they saw a substantial and direct impact on sales of Hellmann’s in Canada. 

With research confirming that meaningful brands are outperforming the stock market by 206% over a ten-year period, it’s no surprise we’re seeing industry leaders like McVities and Cadbury reassessing their current positioning for a more purpose led perspective to re-engage with its audience in new times.

The time is now for brands to find what they truly stand for and focus more on how they can involve the customer along the way. 

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What’s next? 

The most important thing to remember is purpose is more than a statement. It’s something you genuinely believe in, identify with and action upon. 

So what do you need to do next? First things first, you go back to the drawing board and remind yourself, why you started. When you’ve identified this internally, you need to ensure that your purpose is going to resonate with your new or existing customers, there’s nothing worse than getting it terribly wrong (cue that Pepsi ad). Then, and arguably the most important part to the process you need plan the best way to communicate your vision to be relevant and authentic. 

And don’t just take our word for it we’re hosting our “Build a Brand Movement” event on the 7th of March at Camden Work.Life where we will be hearing first hand from Bacardi Global Brand Director Zeenah Vilcassim, Virgin Money Creative Director Tim Arthur and Founder of MyFreda Affi Parvizi-Wayne who are building brands with purpose. Book your free ticket here.

 

Stefanie Sword Williams, Senior Content Producer at Mattr.Media.

 

 

 

3 ways service led brands can win hearts over minds

3 ways service led brands can win hearts over minds

There’s no denying that some of the best service led brands have done a great job at integrating themselves into our lives, but the real question we need to ask, is have they got a special place in your heart? Simon Sinek has been championing the power of winning hearts as well as minds for the past seven years, yet we still see so many apps and digital services focusing solely on their product perfection instead of their emotional connection. USP’s are a rare find these days and too many digital brands concentrate on selling the features of their products instead of the benefits of it in use. The truth is, it’s balancing act and not an easy one at that but if you fail to crack both then the only path you’ll be on is the road to brand disengagement. So in this article we’re going to give 3 tops tips on how to win over the hearts of consumers as well as focussing on the minds. 

 

1. Use relatable data to connect

If you’re a service led brand with a great customer facing product, you are very likely to have access to great data, but the important question is, how are you using it to form emotional connections? Sure it’s integral to refining your service but it’s equally as important to utilise your data to engage beyond the product. A brilliant example of this is Spotify, everyday they use our data to recommend song preferences and custom playlists, it’s what keeps us discovering and using the service. But what they did to further build that emotional relationship was take the data they had to create an awareness campaign that formed a bond and human connection. This was a bond with Spotify, the music and the thousands of other users that also listened to “Its the end of the world as we know it on” after Brexit. And it worked, with results from YouGov showing that Spotify’s ad awareness scores increased by 5 points whilst its word of mouth exposure score improved by 16 points. So how about it, take a look at your data and see how you can use it to cleverly target and start conversations to stay top of mind outside your service. 

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2. Use real stories to stay relevant

At Mattr.Media we champion creating real stories for many reasons, it feels honest, it’s engaging and it’s transparent but whilst we’ve seen a shift in feedback lovers and social media reviews so many services forget the importance of testimonials. People buy what other people buy. Your biggest advertisers are your customers and it’s technically free media, yet many brands don’t utilise their client base when it comes to testimonial content. If you need some inspiration, AirBnB are probably the best example of a brand that nailed testimonials from both a customer and supplier perspective. If you haven’t already check out the AirBnB stories playlist and Why I became a host to see how they took real stories to sell the emotional impact of their brand. If your product and service is up to scratch it’s no brainer for your next recruitment campaign. 

Top tip from us: The art of doing a testimonial well, is through telling an emotive story. Don’t just point a camera at your subject and feed them answers to regurgitate back, take the viewer on a journey they can resonate with. 

 

3. Use your employees (in a nice way)

It sounds so obvious, but so many businesses don’t use the stories of their employees to connect. Whether they are your designers, drivers, deliverers or even customer support, showing the people who form the business helps to build customer confidence and trust that you’re a decent brand. Last year we worked with Chip, the digital money saving app to help raise funding for the brand, showcasing Chip’s journey to becoming a bank, allowed Chip to put a face to the brand and involved the viewer in the brand journey. This personal non-generic approach helps to cement the brand the customers mind and provides them with human connection. Or you could take a leaf out of Deliveroo and Aecom’s book, who used their staff to promote the life changing affects the business has on everyday people. The important thing is making your brand human. Yes, we might be living in a tech obsessed world but everyone wants, needs and looks for is security and trust. Show it with your staff. And don't forget the obvious benefits of engaging your staff means that you’re able to use it for recruitment drives, employee engagement and customer facing content. 

So no matter what sector you are in, these three principles are applicable to every business who is providing a service. And the best thing about it? You should already have the tools in place to fuel these outputs. Look back through your data collection, review your social channels for feedback and listen to your employees to see how they can help promote your brand. Whether it be through thought leadership, event hosting, out of home campaigns, online video or even TV, take time to plan out the best win you can win hearts and not just minds. 

It will benefit your business so much more in the long run!

 

At Mattr Media we partner with brands and agencies who want capture real stories about the people and places that matter. We think about the purpose of your brand and it's relevance in today’s society. 

For more information contact stef@mattr.media or visit mattr.media

 

Dry January over: Three alcohol trends to tackle in 2018

Dry January over: Three alcohol trends to tackle in 2018

January was a tough month to get through for most, cold weather, healthy eating, hard-core gyming and if you were brave enough, abandoning the booze. But whilst health brands and gyms have seen the benefit to the “new year, new me” behaviours, we wanted to understand how the Dry January mindset is evolving and what other trends will affect the drinks market this year. In this article, we’re going to run through findings from our interview with Global Brand Director of Bacardi, Zeenah Vilcassim and outline three ways you should be positioning your alcohol brand for 2018. 

 

TREND #1: REDUCTION NOT ELIMINATION

The drink culture in the UK is changing. Whilst there is no denying we’re a nation that has previously been known for “binge drinking” we’re now seeing attitudes shift towards alcohol reduction and “everything in moderation”. Data from the Office of National Statistics’ report on Adult Drinking Habits showed that in the last ten years, three million adults are intent on moderating consumption in smaller serves with older people reducing and younger people not drinking as much.

The good news for brands, is that customers aren’t necessarily eliminating all together, they’re just focussing more on reduction for a healthier lifestyle. From our interview with Barcardi Global Brand Director Zeenah, she explained that for the past few years Dry January was about proving you can go without alcohol for a month, whereas this year it’s been more about taking those principals and applying a more considered approach to what you drink all year round. 

According to the Eventbrite Brighter Futures report, as well as the health side of things being drunk compromises a key reason for going out in the first place - ‘creating memories’. With just 13% regard getting drunk as the most important thing when going out. So with this in mind, alcohol brands should focus their attentions on how they can stay top of mind, even when they’re not top priority. Its inevitable that initiatives like Dry January will have an impact on consumption, but when consumption is on the decline, how can brands integrate themselves into other aspects of the buyers experience to remain present and relevant all year round?

OUR ADVICE: Be part of peoples lives

Even if it’s not in the month of January think of ways that you can be of value, it’s not just about the drink but what you can do with it. Consider ways to embed yourself in your customers lives, whether it’s through food, entertainment, education or once in a life time experiences. Find a way to cement your brand, even when your audience isn’t drinking. For inspiration, check out Camden Brewery for how they managed to create a beer club for runners and utilised on the bottomless brunch craze. 

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TREND #2: TRANSPARENCY IS KEY

At Mattr, we talk a lot about being transparent. And no, we don’t mean the clarity of the liquid you sell, we mean what’s behind it. In today’s world, your ingredients, your staff and your processes are equally as important as that final taste on your customers lips, yet so often we see these brand elements overlooked. But with millennial purchasing behaviours evolving past traditional factors of taste, price and convenience, brands must find a way to demonstrate they are more than just a good tasting product. 

“If the brand doesn’t provide the information they need, millennials will look elsewhere. They value authenticity, and make decisions based on the way they perceive brands to impact their quality of life, society as a whole, and how that brand may be contributing positively to the world.” - Jeff Fromm, Forbes. 

Interestingly it’s the soft drinks category that we see leading the way with transparency, brands like Fever Tree, Karma Cola and Ugly Drinks have all focussed championing their honest approach as well as creating a killer product which seems to be the 2018 ingredients for success. When we spoke to Karma Cola Founder Simon Coley last month, he explained that when good is integrated into your approach, your story buys you attention. Being open about what goes into their products and how it’s produced has been a key driver to building long lasting relationships. 

It’s a hugely important trend for brand marketeers to be considering for this year and future years to come. Sure, you might have your awareness content lined up to win coverage, but think about lower down the funnel, how else could you be using your staff or processes to help engage and convert consideration into sales?

OUR ADVICE: Be open about who you are:

Dont worry, we’re not saying you need to make changes to the way the business is run or start donating to charity, but what we would encourage you to do is communicate what’s behind your brand. Champion your staff, show how the drinks are produced, film packaging being made, because we’re living in a world where people love to be part of the journey. And whatever you do, don’t wait for a scandal or complaint to happen before acting on this, otherwise you waste a perfectly good opportunity to promote your brand for the right reasons.

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TREND #3: EMPOWERMENT OF CHOICE

Over the past couple of years, empowerment has been the advertising buzzword of choice. But our final trend to focus on in 2018 is empowerment of choice. Sadly, we’re living in a box ticking obsessed world which despite best intentions to be inclusive and empowering can often turn into overcomplicating, isolation or customer backlash.  

This insight stems from Zeenah observing a problem in the market place around gender specific targeting, she explained that it’s not about changing a product for a woman, it’s about giving her the autonomy and empowerment to decide what she wants to drink and how she wants to experience it. 

“When women buy a whiskey, they don’t necessarily want a lighter or sweeter whiskey. They want to have the knowledge to confidently walk into a shop and decide which whiskey is right for them at that moment. If they happen to drink it with water, with ice, or have mixer with it, it shouldn’t be looked down upon. Ultimately it’s their choice because it’s their experience.  

So how do alcohol brands bridge this gap between drink stereotypes and customer confidence when purchasing? The simplest answer is, educate and inspire. Provide them with tools they need to understand the market and let the rest unfold. Give them the security that it’s fine for them to drink what they want, the way they want it. 

OUR ADVICE: Be tastefully empowering

Throw out the rule book of how drinks should be served and any misconceptions that you should change your bottles to pink to appeal to a female audience. Instead, tell your audience (whatever demographic they may be) your recommendations, give them the knowledge on the drink, teach them about flavour pairing but most importantly welcome their suggestions. Let them discover what’s right for them. There is no right or wrong way to drink alcohol, so don’t try forcing it. 

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FIND YOUR PERFECT BLEND

A good looking and tasting product is half the battle, but to be the last man standing you need to be considering the entire customer journey and new ways to tap into consumption. Customers respect brands that are open and honest, so be reflective of what your values are and focus on transparency, education and empowerment this year. Unearth the real stories in your business, your processes and your customer preferences to ensure you stay relevant throughout 2018. 

5 reasons why joining a start up will change your life.

5 reasons why joining a start up will change your life.

After only four years into my advertising career, I found myself feeling unused. What I do I mean by unused? I mean feeling like my best skills weren’t being utilised. Sure I was managing multiple clients, projects, staff and even timezones, but I never quite felt I was doing enough for my personal growth. 

I studied an integrated communications degree and with that meant I had integrated skills and knowledge that I was bursting to share. But much like many industries, roles are streamlined and fit for the business needs leaving your character defining qualities hidden away. So the question is, do you keep developing through the job specifications set for you, or do you find somewhere that fits the job specification around you? Spoiler alert….it’s the latter. In this article I’m going to take you through 5 reasons why joining a start up has changed my life and why it might be worth thinking about yours….

1) You throw yourself in the deep end

When I applied for a role with Mattr.Media I was initially applying for an account management role, but two Skype interviews down, combined with an optimistic “I can do anything” attitude, I was hired for not one, but two roles. I said I wanted a challenge and this was it. For the first time in my career, I’m in control of throwing myself into the deep end and I can honestly say, whilst it’s been a complete learning curve, I’m really glad I took the plunge.

2) Your skills are always valued (and used….a lot)

For the first two days of joining the business, we actually got to know each other. No, I don’t mean how I like my tea or coffee, or what university I went to, I mean going through endless questions and learning everything we needed to know to make working together as smooth as possible. From then on my skills, enthusiasm and dedication has been nothing but encouraged and appreciated. I’m finding myself growing skills I knew I had and unleashing skills that were yet to be discovered. It’s collaboration for business success.

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3) No one day is the same

When a role becomes formulaic, it can be god awful. But the beauty of joining a smaller team is that very few opportunities are restricted. My role varies from thought leadership, new business strategy, creative ideation, production, networking and of course, being entertainment queen! I won’t deny that it takes more management and self motivation keep things ticking along but for me the excitement is not knowing what each day will hold and who I might meet along the way. 

4) You learn about business much quicker

If like me you ever had a vision of setting up your own company, joining a start up is the best way to figure out if you’re cut out for it*. I can safely say I’ve learnt more business knowledge in nine months than I have during the rest of my career. When you’re not given projects on a plate, you start to learn more about the world of hustling. You're exposed to agency pressures and the reality of running a business (and It’s not bloody easy!). One thing it does do is set you up for reality, it teaches you the importance of grafting, connections and communications. 

*FYI I’m still sitting on the fence!

5) You can help shape the future of a business

At the age of 25, I would never have dreamed that I could have an influence over the direction of the business I work for. All I’ve ever known is earning your stripes and racing to the top to get yourself heard. But having found a company that not only welcomes my suggestions but wants me to help live the vision of the company, I now know that you don’t have to climb the ladder to be part of business decisions, you’ve just got to find the right environment.

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So if you’re considering leaving the corporate world behind and joining a start up business model, I say first do your homework and second go for it! It's not for the faint hearted, but it is for the people that want to embrace more than one role and have an appetite for being challenged. The most important thing to consider is making sure you share similar values with the business and the people in it, particularly if you're joining a smaller team. My advice would be find a way to integrate your interests and passions into a role and business you truly believe in. It’s your future to control!

Say no to resolutions and yes playing Articulate at work

Say no to resolutions and yes playing Articulate at work

The new year has finally arrived and rather than making predictions or setting goals, we’re going to recap and share our 2017 learnings that we’re championing into this year. 

Founder and Head of Creative, Josh Hine:

This year has been an interesting one as Mattr Media had its second year of business. While year one was a bit of a rollercoaster, 2017 has been crunch time with lots of growing up to do. I’m pleased to say we’ve made it out the other side and feeling all the more older and wiser for it… still plenty more learning to do in 2018 but here are 3 pearls of wisdom from 2017 that stand out:

1) People first - Wether you’re a giant global PLC or a super high tech startup your brand needs a face. Connect with your staff and your customers, engage with them in your advertising and use them in your content. Talk with people not at them, it works wonders, trust us.
2) Punch above your weight - We’ve learnt this not only with our new business drives, our ideas, pitches and our projects but also with the most successful clients we’ve worked with. As those cheesy motivational images on instagram say… Success comes to those that dare. (Or something like that!)
3) Remember why you started - This is a particularly personal one for a lot of us, but something thats so easy to forget when you get caught up in the whirlwind of day to day life, something I’m guilty of for sure. Get back in touch with that inner kid who had a passion and a fearless dream and make sure you’re doing them proud!
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Founder and Executive Producer, Josh Fineman:

Whilst spending quality time with the wife and bubs over Christmas, I also took some time to analyse how 2017 went for Mattr and when the numbers are staring you in the face, it’s amazing to see what lessons you can learn moving forward. For me the three most important things we want to take forward:

1. Interrogate briefs more - Time is precious and when you spend too much of it on pitches or projects that aren’t worthwhile, it stings your progress. By putting proper qualification processes in place, we will hopefully avoid the rotten eggs and work on more golden ones!
2. Give yourself time to breathe - We pitched on a huge range of projects last year and if we lost, the first thing we often did was question why and analyse what we could have done better. Whilst it’s hugely important to assess losses, we’re going to make sure we.celebrate the team effort first. We’ll revisit it when we’re in a better headspace and that will lead to a much more productive debrief. 
3. Keep (the good) relationships alive - There were so many amazing people we met and worked with last year. 2018 is going to be about nurturing these relationships as much as the new ones whether that’s learning how to improve for future jobs or just sending over valuable thoughts that can help that person achieve their own goals for the year. 
Bring on 2018!
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Senior Account Manager and New Business Development, Stefanie Sword-Williams

2017 bought a huge amount of change to my life, moving from the North to the South has been the most amazing experience, but joining a smaller business with a tonnes of ambition was definitely my highlight. Finally landing myself in a role and business that has the same motivation and drive has transformed my career. My three things I’m going to take from the past 8 months of working in London are:

1) Treat every new interaction like an opportunity - No matter whether it’s in a pitch, a networking event or even a party on the weekend, you never know where one conversation may take you. My biggest tip is listen first, don’t be too eager to offload your sales pitch particularly in social scenarios….
2) Be patient but hungry - Starting a new business role has it’s highs and lows but when that win finally pays off, it’s totally worth it. Don’t wait for things to fall into your lap, keep calling, emailing and networking until you get the result you’re looking for. 
3) Make everyday fun - Whether you’re working in an agency or working client side, keep finding ways to laugh at work. It’s integral for your own sanity, trust me. It brings the best out of people and makes your days way more enjoyable. Even in those late hours of ultimate stress and tiredness, a mini game of articulate can always help ease the mood!
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So how about it, say no to resolutions and instead think about what you learnt last year that’s going to motivate you through 2018. Even if it is to never look at the solar eclipse like Donald Trump….

From all the team at Mattr x

 

Have we lost the true meaning of Christmas in TV advertising?

Have we lost the true meaning of Christmas in TV advertising?

With Christmas just under a week away, it’s safe to say the festive season is well and truly upon us. Gingerbread lattes in every commuters hands, mince pies on every supermarket shelf and of course the sub zero temperatures sending us into Saturday night hibernation. But when it comes to Christmas, nothing quite gets you in the mood like the “Holidays are coming” jingle or the beloved John Lewis 60 second spot. 

And whilst we can always rely on the big brands to pull out the stops and captivate us with a heartwarming visual masterpiece, it’s hard not to pose the question, have we lost the true meaning of Christmas in TV advertising? I ask because my understanding is that Christmas is all about giving. So if we’re going to take one calendar event in the year to focus on making our marketing budget work the hardest and “giving back” surely it would be Christmas? Particularly in an era where we crave authenticity and have much higher expectations of what a brand should say and do. Yet year on year we huge amounts of money being thrown at fictional concepts that have no deeper purpose than to drive sales. The question we as both marketers and creative thinkers need to ask is, could we be spending an £8bn budget on a real concept that could change lives? Could we make Christmas the “goodvertising” time of the year?

Last month the ASA forecasted that brands will be spending a record of £6bn on Christmas advertising in 2017, mainly driven by the intense market competition, particularly in the retail sector. It was commented by Craig Mawdsley at AMVVBDO that brands have to participate if not for their own growth to offset the growth of others (BBC 2017). So surely if your aim is to offset the growth of competitors, your creative ideas should be especially disruptive? But when you review the selection of this year’s adverts there seems to be a consistent of pattern of fictional stories, both animated and moving image with a very expected Christmas storyline. Now you can't argue that the production and the sentiment behind the adverts from John Lewis, the BBC, Vodafone and McDonalds aren’t all of high quality but my biggest frustration is the lack of differentiation. How are these brands going to offset the growth of each other if they are just regurgitating the same type of solution? 

More and more we see meaningful brands and communications outperforming the big dogs because they recognise the value on focussing on the bigger picture. A Christmas campaign that we loved last year was the Gift of Beauty from Boots, the TV advert saw 45 real women who work in a range of professions from paramedics to midwives to police officers and carers, being treated to a day of pampering in order to recognise all the hard work they put in during the festive period. Why did we love this? Because Boots found an insight that celebrated real people and wasn’t solely about getting people in stores, it was about giving back whilst still creating that warm fuzzy feeling we know our viewers love. 

So what if, next year brands pushed their advertising agencies to think deeper about the spirit of Christmas, and they demanded ideas that really disrupted. Now I don’t mean a two headed Cyclops in a war zone pretending to be Santa, I mean an advert that when you’re sitting through the X-factor ad break you feel genuinely taken back by what’s in front of your eyes. In Alex Lewis and Bridget Angear’s book Revolt (which anyone who wants to start a revolution needs to read!) they explore the importance of maximising your ROI (Revolution on Investment) with the example of helping people with sight loss. They highlight that in Ethiopia alone, there are 1 million people who could be treated for trachoma induced blindness by an operation of £15. 

So imagine you’re an eyewear brand and instead of showing a bunch of hipster Santa Clauses wearing your collection you decide to spend a fraction of your Christmas marketing budget on a cause like this. Surely that would be a magical Christmas moment to capture? That would be a TV spot to make the hairs on your arms stand up for all the right reasons. One that would undoubtably build brand awareness, attract new customers and showcase the benefits of your brand on wider scale, which lets face it if done well, would ultimately lead to sales growth. 

Wouldn’t that be better than just nice?

Back in September we had the privilege of listening to Dave Trott speak about risk taking, one thing that he highlighted was that as advertisers, it’s our job to communicate a message and to do it differently. So before you even begin concepting for next year, why not think about that Christmas ad break and what else will be in it, what themes and patterns can you predict and how can you go against the grain? This message goes out to the Brand Managers writing the briefs and the Creative teams responding, when it comes to the ideation process for next year’s Christmas TV spot, how can you think about the bigger picture you could support, celebrate and give back to? In our industry we have a huge amount of power to influence and inform, so lets start pushing concepts to a point where we see a benefit in society not just our trophy cabinet. 

Let’s start making it matter. 

 

Written by Stefanie Sword-Williams, Senior Account Manager at Mattr.Media.

 

Christmas Adverts 2016: The Brands Strike Back

Christmas 2016 is only a few weeks away, but brands have been pumping us with thought provoking ads over the last couple weeks to warm our cockles and open our respected purses and wallets . . .