Here are all of the posts in the ‘News’ category.

One of the Best Companies to work for

by Jessica Barlow in News

For a second year running, we’ve been recognised by Best Companies as a great organisation to work for. So what makes us so awesome? Well, one of the things is that we’re focused on finding out what makes our team tick, their thoughts on how the company is run and what’s important to them. Loads of insights come out of this, and we then use these to come up with ways to engage the team. Not that dissimilar to how we help clients engage with their audiences…

Receiving another Best Companies accreditation is a huge coup for us. It’s an award that focuses on workplace engagement as an essential measure of success and growth, so it very much reflects our culture, where our people are central to our success.

Over the last year, the We Are Social family has expanded to over 500 worldwide, with an army of over 150 in London. Whilst we’ve been growing, we’ve been having heaps of fun along the way. From our very own Fusball World Cup and ping-pong tournaments, to pumpkin carving and Christmas decoration competitions, there’s never a dull moment at the We Are Social.

We’ve also introduced some great well-being initiatives, such as yoga lessons and gardening club – great ways to unwind with colleagues after a hard day’s work. All this fun has been combined with raising money for some great causes such as Movember, where our very own Good Samaritan, Will Allen shaved off his beloved beard in front of the entire agency!

Fun aside, we’ve been busy developing our team with numerous different training courses, tailored for each department’s needs. Our new, extensive competency frameworks have been built to offer complete transparency of future career paths at We Are Social, and are embodied in our review forms and processes to ensure continuous development and feedback throughout the year.

Last year also saw the unveiling of our first ever Grad Scheme, #IamSocial, with over a hundred keen applicants getting in touch. Although it was a tough call, we selected two outstanding Grads, Rhoda and Alex, who are now a permanent fixture in our client services teams.

We’re now recruiting for our #IamSocial 2015 Grad Scheme for candidates to join our fabulous Editorial, Strategy and Research & Insight teams. If you’re interested, make sure you apply here by 27th February (i.e. tomorrow!). If you’re planning on applying but have some questions, feel free to ask Rhoda and Alex by tweeting them at @RhodaSell and @Ze-Serb. Alternatively, feel free to drop us an email to iamsocial@wearesocial.net.

So what next for We Are Social? Well this year we’ll be building on the last, offering better benefits, more robust training programmes and even more fun. With a fast-growing, talented team and a host of the world’s biggest and best brands on our client roster, we’re confident that next year we’ll be scoring a Best Companies hat trick.

The Rise Of Democratic Brands

by Simon Kemp in News

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As part of our on-going work on #ProjectReconnect with the WFA, we have regularly seen evidence that ‘inclusive’ marketing approaches are amongst the most effective.

We joined forces with the Project Reconnect team to explore this topic in more detail, and they’ve been kind enough to let us share our findings here.

Marketing needs to become more democratic
The more people are involved in something, the more they engage with it.

This is true in marketing too, and the organisations that succeed in actively involving their audiences and consumers in the creation and development of their brands are best placed to succeed in the long term.

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It’s perhaps little surprise, then, that ‘participation’ was one of the ‘New 4Ps’ that we proposed in our recent research for Project Reconnect (the other Ps were People, Purpose, and Principles).

So what does Participation mean for your brand?

The Rationale
A few years ago, Dan Ariely – renowned behavioural econometrician and author of Predictably Irrational – conducted some research into why IKEA has been so successful.

His findings clearly reveal that people place a higher value on things they’ve been involved in making, compared to things of a similar price that they’ve acquired in a completed state:

[The] experiments demonstrate that self-assembly impacts the evaluation of a product by its consumers; … when people use their own labor to construct a particular product, they value it more than if they didn’t put any effort into its creation, even if it is done poorly. [source]

He goes on to say that their:

results showed that [people are] willing to pay more for furniture they assemble themselves, as opposed to pre-assembled furniture.”

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In many ways, Ariely’s findings reinforce the psychoanalytic research conducted by Betty Crocker Foods in the 1950s, when the launch of their instant cake mix product ‘flopped’:

Although the average American housewife very much appreciated the convenience of the cake mix, she felt guilty at deceiving her husband and other guests into thinking she had worked hard for them when, in fact, she had done very little work.

[Betty Crocker’s] answer: add an egg. Changing the recipe to add an egg to the mixture offered the housewife a way out. By doing more than adding water – by adding a ‘real’ ingredient – she could assuage her guilt. The result: sales soared. [source]

The Opportunity
Such examples offer clear evidence that actively involving people in the process of value creation – even if that involvement is at a relatively low level – significantly increases people’s subsequent perceptions of value (i.e. the benefits that people feel they have received in return for the price they paid).

It therefore follows that marketers can increase their brand’s value proposition by involving people more actively.

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This has its limits of course; many people are still willing to pay more for increased convenience, and most of us would be unable to build complex electronic devices or produce petrol on our own.

However, active involvement need not always require participation in the production or delivery of the final goods and services.

Indeed, the popularity of crowd-funding platforms like Kickstarter and Indiegogo is evidence that offering people a way to invest in the development and launch of a product or brand can deliver equally – if not even more – impressive results.

Getting Started
So how can brands take advantage of this interesting opportunity?

The answer lies in a more democratic definition of marketing: adopting an ‘of the people, by the people, for the people’ approach to co-creating mutual value together with audiences and consumers, rather than dictating what people should like or buy.

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Simple ways to adopt a more democratic approach include ‘crowd-sourcing’ ideas – a technique that brands like Starbucks, Dell and Lay’s have already shown can add real brand value.

Chinese cellphone brand Xiaomi’s CEO, Lei Jun, is a vocal proponent of this more democratic approach to marketing and brand building too:

When Apple develops its iOS, you have no idea what they will do with it before the release. It’s not like that for us. We will first ask what you want. I feel Xiaomi’s most important secret to success is that Xiaomi is not selling a product, but an opportunity to participate.” [source]

Taking this philosophy further, it’s easy to see how brands could evolve to become wholly democratic entities:

  • Involve the most savvy and engaged consumers and audiences to help conceptualise a new brand, product or service idea;
  • Crowd-fund the R&D and launch of that brand, product or service;
  • Actively involve the brand’s consumers in continuous improvement of the product or service;
  • Work with the brand’s invested consumers – whether that investment is emotional or financial – to ensure the greatest brand awareness and engagement through word-of-mouth;
  • Reward consumers when the brand succeeds, in the same way that conventional companies reward their shareholders.

Of course, people won’t want to become an active participant in every brand they buy, but it’s clear that involving people in at least some aspects of your marketing can deliver better results.

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And now that social and digital channels make it so much easier for brands to involve their audiences and consumers in such co-creation of value, this may be the most exciting opportunity for marketing in the next few years.

Taking our own advice though, we’d love to ‘crowd-source’ your thoughts and builds on this opportunity too, so please feel free to share your feedback and ideas on this topic on Twitter via the #projectreconnect hashtag.

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Pinterest is the fastest growing network

by Deniz Ugur in News

GlobalWebIndex has produced an infographic highlighting the fastest growing social networks, outside of China, in 2014. It shows that Pinterest was the fastest growing social platform last year, with a huge 97% increase in active users, closely followed by Tumblr at 95%.

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More information can be found in our blog post about GlobalWebIndex’s Social Report.

We Are Social’s Monday Mashup #250

by Nick Mulligan in News

The Mashup is 250! I know, we’re all feeling very nostalgic. As a special treat, here’s the first ever Mashup from back in 2009, when the retweet button was just being introduced. Now, for this week…

Digital to account for half of UK ad spend
Research by Strategy Analytics has concluded that half of all UK ad spend will go on digital in 2015, a total of £8bn to TV’s £3.8bn. The figure contrasts with the US, where it falls to just over a quarter. Of the increase in UK digital ad spend, 23% will come from mobile, closely followed by social media and video (both 18%).

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Product Ads are coming to Facebook
Facebook has launched a new ad format, ‘Product Ads’. They’re aimed at companies who have, you know, products. The clever thing? The products a user is shown will vary based on activity and interests, whether those be cups, cats or collages.

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Adweek published a piece which claims that Product Ads could compete with Google’s Shopping Ads, which appear at the top of search results with a retailer focus. The article cites Facebook’s unique targeting capabilities and dynamic visuals.

YouTube bans branding overlay
YouTube is clamping down on sponsors that add ‘graphical title cards’ to creators’ videos. The network now requires any overlaid branding or logos to come through Google’s sales team, thereby handing over a share of the revenue.

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YouTube kids is out today
YouTube has today released ‘YouTube Kids’ as an app for Android devices. It features family-friendly content and pre-vetted ads, as well as a set of parental controls, including time limits and search blocks.

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LinkedIn updates ad targeting capabilities
LinkedIn has launched its first tool that focuses on serving ads outside of its network, allowing marketers to target select subsets from LinkedIn’s user base and show them ads elsewhere on the net. It’s also introduced new business-to-business ad targeting, based on which parts of a website someone has visited, as part of its ‘LinkedIn Lead Accelerator’ feature. Samsung and Groupon are already involved, with the latter’s EMEA head of merchant marketing saying:

LinkedIn Lead Accelerator is helping us reposition Groupon as a marketing partner to the businesses we work with. From local restauranteurs to major national brands, we’re now able to better analyse our site traffic and identify the sectors that could provide the best leads for us to focus on.

Record Snapchat video and play music simultaneously
Big news for parties with bad sound systems: shooting Snapchat video will no longer pause your music, meaning that you can capture it in your films. The update came in the latest iPhone/iPad app; Android users will have to wait a little longer.

Snapchat and Pinterest in new funding rounds
Snapchat looks to be more valuable than Pinterest, according to two rumoured rounds of funding. Both are looking to raise around $500m, but Snapchat’s $19bn predicted valuation is significantly higher than Pinterest’s $11bn. Still, $11bn? Not bad, Pinterest. Not bad at all.

Michael Kors on Snapchat for NYFW
Michael Kors partnered with Snapchat during New York Fashion Week for 24 hours of exclusive, behind-the-scenes snaps in ‘Our Stories’. Look how happy he looks! As well he might.

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Two fashion brands create Twitter activations
Michael Kors wasn’t the only fashion brand making social news in the last week. Topshop is to use live Twitter data during London Fashion Week to create shoppable outdoor billboards, based on the latest trends from the shows.

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Meanwhile, Burberry added a Twitter-powered camera to its Autumn/Winter 2015 show. Any tweet using #Tweetcam and @Burberry would trigger the camera to take a photo of the catwalk.

#ChampionTheMatch with Heineken
Heineken is encouraging its Twitter followers to use #ChampionTheMatch when discussing the Champions League this week. In return, they’ll receive exclusive content, such as live commentary from players and celebs.

Under Armour plans to hijack Twitter conversations
Under Armour has recruited professional athletes, including Welsh rugby player Leigh Halfpenny, for its latest campaign. The brand says it will be “hijacking competitor social conversations in real-time” by posting videos and images that encourage fitness enthusiasts to push themselves further.

Dove creates #SpeakBeautiful Oscars campaign
Dove used the Oscars to locate negative Twitter conversations about body image and encourage women to be more positive, using the hashtag #SpeakBeautiful. You can get a taste of the campaign from the video below.

#WeWentSkiing 2015

by Rhoda Sell in News

Last month, on a quiet snowy evening in the idyllic Italian town of La Thuile, 225 We Are Social colleagues descended upon the slopes for the fourth annual #weareskiing winter conference. From the London, Paris, Munich and Milan offices, the troops were poised for what promised to be a weekend of extreme sports, extreme socialising and, of course, extreme creative thinking. This was my first ski trip since I embarked upon the #IamSocial grad scheme, and I was very excited.

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Members of the senior team had flown out early to discuss the company’s exciting new positioning, so were already a full day of international bonding ahead of us. But, after an aperol spritz or two, we quickly caught up. This led to a memorable first evening at the local club involving dance mat dance-offs, air hockey tournaments and a few classic rounds of Time Crisis. We awoke to bad visibility and even worse hangovers, so it was time to hit the slopes to, in the words of Alex Hobhouse, “shred the gnar”.

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From skiing virgins to snowboarding pros, each day was spent learning new skills and making new friends on the slopes. From our hotel in Italy, it was just a few chairlifts and gentle pistes to cross the border into France. Although, as many madcap groups found out, the return journey wasn’t quite as simple and some deep-rooted button lift phobias had to be quickly overcome. Away from the skiing and partying, each evening all the European offices came together to voice some creative social thinking ideas and generally share in the great culture and values of We Are Social.

#weareskiing2015 group picture

All in all, it was an awesome weekend as perfectly summarised by one London attendee, George, who said “I had a really fun time and got to know so many new people”. So a huge thank you to Martina Marchesi, Charlotte Padfield, Stéphanie Barry and Stefanie Attenberger for organising such a brilliant trip, we can’t wait until next year! In the meantime, you can relive memories through our instagram pictures here.

Ski googles - next year

Rhoda joined We Are Social as part of its #IamSocial grad scheme. We are currently accepting applications for our 2015 edition. Visit the #IamSocial website for more information and details about how to apply.