Constantly Curious

Our Thoughts and Insights

Say what? Just tell it to me straight.

Consumer Trends & Insight
time_Jargon

“What’s your time like today?” How many of us have been asked that question by a colleague recently? And how many of us have answered by saying: “same as it always is: measured in seconds, minutes and hours using a clock.” If we didn’t, how many of us wish we had?

“What’s your time like today?”

How many of us have been asked that question by a colleague recently? And how many of us have answered by saying: “same as it always is: measured in seconds, minutes and hours using a clock.” If we didn’t, how many of us wish we had?

Of course, this is not the literal response our inquisitor is looking for. Instead, what they really mean is “can you do something for me today?” So why not just say that then? Why opt for something far more obtuse? It’s the same with “what’s your capacity like?” (my answer to which is about four pints of Guinness providing I don’t have a big dinner). Or “how’s your week looking?Seven days long, culminating in the weekend. “Or feel free to say no but…” Really? You’ll genuinely be OK with it if I say ‘no’?

This trend of asking without asking or saying one thing and meaning another is, of course, nothing new. It happens all over the place. I was guilty of it myself this morning when I instructed my five year old son to get dressed for school by saying “perhaps you would like to put on your uniform during Octonauts?”

But when it comes to working life, it feels especially annoying. Why? Because it wastes valuable time and usually leaves both parties unsure about what actually happens next. It’s also indicative of something far more insidious: the gradual erosion of clear communication in offices all over the world. Bizarre corporate jargon. Marketing speak. Acronyms that none but a few understand. Chronic verbosity. All are a sadly familiar part of life these days, especially with more and more content being pumped onto our smartphones and into our inboxes every day.

They are a crippling curse for communication. Sure-fire ways to turn people off, prevent your message getting across or stop it being listened to in the first place. As Harvard Business Review recently argued, bad written communication can even damage the productivity of your business.

It’s our industry’s job, no duty, to stop this creeping menace in its tracks. To help ourselves and our clients mean what we say but say what we mean too.

This isn’t about unleashing a monotone of single syllable words. Being clear isn’t the same as being dull or overly direct. And clarity, conciseness, elegance and impact can go hand in hand. It’s about talking in a way that our audience(s) understand, relate to and enjoy without having to translate it first.

So, with that in mind, I’ll give it to you straight: have you got time today to share this blog with someone else? Please don’t feel free to say ‘no’.

 

Social Media Week 2016: The micro-influencer bubble

Consumer Trends & Insight, Innovation, Media
Social_Media_Week_Influence

They are storytellers. They’re entertainers. They’re the ones we would listen to and be influenced by. Any they’ve got the power.

They are storytellers. They’re entertainers. They’re the ones we would listen to and be influenced by. Any they’ve got the power.

In a world where consumer behaviours are sharper and more demanding than ever, brands are no longer what they say they are, but what customers say they are. And with this, the way consumers discover and consume products has also experienced a shift. At this year’s London Social Media Week, we learnt that social and technology have brought the necessary tools to help people become the new channels to stay connected with brands. And micro-influencers are the best example of this new era in audience engagement.

Bloggers, vloggers, YouTubers, Instagrammers, Snapchatters, you name it! They’re all digital storytellers with a sense of passion that produce content that resonates with the audience that follows them. They’re just like you, and that’s why you like them.

In an era where everyone wants to be influenced (and wants to become an influencer!), brands have now seen the opportunity to invest in this new channel called people, using it as a marketing platform to tell their story. But will this change the way brands work with influencers forever?

The reality is that although the micro-influencer bubble is already a thing, its future is still unclear. Until then, marketers will continue to invest in macro-influencers (or typical celebrities!), collaborating with brands to help dominate the online and offline world by generating social debate and who knows, maybe help establish yourself as a micro-influencer!

Social Media Week 2016: Instagram - A Community Led App

Consumer Trends & Insight, Innovation, Media
Instagram_Community_app

Instagram recently passed the ½ billion user mark, with more than 4.2 billions likes and 95 million images posted a day. With numbers of this scale cementing its status as one of the few truly global apps, David Cuen, International Lead of Community Teams, gave an interesting insight into why Instagram is fundamentally community centric and a missed opportunity for brands and agencies alike.

Instagram recently passed the ½ billion user mark, with more than 4.2 billions likes and 95 million images posted a day. With numbers of this scale cementing its status as one of the few truly global apps, David Cuen, International Lead of Community Teams, gave an interesting insight into why Instagram is fundamentally community centric and a missed opportunity for brands and agencies alike. David was keen to point out that 80% of Instagram users are outside of the US: it’s a platform that fits the global model, and has specific national community managers to support this mentality. So, why is Instagram “community first”? 

Predominantly, because Instagram evolves by listening to the community. The additions of video content, boomerang, hyperlapse and Instagram stories have all been because of direct and overwhelming feedback from the community. As an app, Instagram’s success derives from its engagement rate – something they refer to as the 1,2,3 rule internally (for every 1 photo you post, you should comment on two other images/videos and like 3 more). Developments in the platform must always help promote the 1,2,3 rule but also be loyal to their three key values: they want the app to act as a tool where you can make simple, creative and inspirational content. 

One undervalued offering from Instagram that marketers can benefit from is InstaMeet events. These events are promoted here, and see the app actively seeking to connect communities in real time. Whether it’s meeting around a sporting event, a social activation, a “photowalk” or a scavenger hunt, there are numerous ways that we can use this to help our brands access the community/audience they are trying to reach. 

When it comes to their most recent platform addition, Instagram Stories, David had a succinct answer when questioned on how similar this feature is to Snapchat Stories. As far as he is concerned, Instagram stories is a necessary feature for Instagram because it allows users to produce more content without spamming their feed. For those who want to engage further with their followers, it offers that access. But, crucially, it doesn’t overload their feed, taking away from the engagement that the app offers as a whole. This development is again one that we can incorporate into our content agreements and understanding of influencer activities across a range of accounts.

Social Media Week 2016: How to do video content

Consumer Trends & Insight, Innovation, Media
Social_Media_Video

A major focus of #SMWLDN was on the increasing popularity of live video and film content – unsurprising given between 2015 to 2016 video views on Facebook have increased by 800%. Facebook hosted a session on this developing area, focusing on how there is a short window of opportunity to first grab an audience’s attention.

A major focus of #SMWLDN was on the increasing popularity of live video and film content – unsurprising given between 2015 to 2016 video views on Facebook have increased by 800%. Facebook hosted a session on this developing area, focusing on how there is a short window of opportunity to first grab an audience’s attention.

Facebook desktop users spend on average 2.5 seconds hovering over content before moving on, and mobile users only last 1.5 seconds. It’s absolutely crucial to make the content immediately attractive because otherwise any form of key messaging later in the video is wasted. When producing content for a news feed, Facebook are now working with brands and agencies directly to “feed proof” video content. They recommend adding a new element to the narrative of the story every 5-6 seconds to ensure the users attention remains. The key is to maintain that initial moment of interest: 65% of people who watch 3 seconds will view to 10 seconds at least. Getting the content past that 3 second barrier is the challenge!

FB Live was also discussed in detail following its huge impact since launching in April this year. It’s interaction rate is exceptionally high: it generates 10 times more engagement than a traditional video post. News outlets have been quick to adapt given the advantages of FB Live as well, using it to provide instant coverage and interact with their audiences in a more personal fashion. The Economist, BBC and BuzzFeed have experimented with live video and were on stage to discuss what makes a successful live video. Simple, original and authentic were the adjectives of the day in describing their best performing live video content.

At Edelman, we have seen the success this can drive with record breaking results for the Heineken UCL 2016 Campaign and the HHH Olympics (take a look at the 325,000 views that this SportBible live video generated in the Holland Heineken House!). The development of video content and FB Live provides us with an opportunity to really connect with our clients’ audience, but it has to be interesting, attention grabbing and authentic to their interests.  

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