Latest Posts

Imogen Heap and the art of creative failure

Imogen HeapSinger Imogen Heap’s gig at the Roundhouse last Sunday night should be a lesson to us all in creative exploration of a digital world. It taught me two things: how to explore technology creatively, and how to fail with dignity.

The gig marked the culmination of Reverb – a four-day festival of electronic, experimental music that Heap curated, with a heavy dose of technology on the side. Read More »

Infographic: The rise of the feed

With mobile traffic growing seven times quicker than desktop growth, up to 30.2 million uniques in 2014 (according to Ofcom), the role of the *feed* has become core to people’s everyday content consumption.

Sharethrough has put together an infographic to give context to the *rise of the feed*, digging into the history of the feed from Digg’s front page format in 2004, through Twitter and Facebook’s focus on the feed from 2006 onwards, punctuated throughout by the adoption of the smartphone.

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Are brands ready for the Millennials?

Girls texting millenialsIn its recent communications market report Ofcom has proven that the millennium generation of 14 and 15-year-olds are the most technology-savvy in the UK. Their exposure and awareness to digital media and brand communication across all tech devices is going to equal if not surpass that of the current adult generation, which today is estimated at a staggering eight hours 41 minutes.

These teens are the consumers of the future. They will have high expectations of brands when it comes to digital brand engagement. They have grown up with broadband and digital communications at their fingertips. They are already accustomed to instantaneous service and will expect brands in the future to serve to their preferences across all technologies, wherever they maybe.

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The blurred lines of native ads

Facebook satireFacebook recently started labelling stories from The Onion as ‘satire’ to help its more gullible readers recognise a joke when it’s coming at them. (Apparently headlines like ‘Meerkats have dark, sinister side’ can be open to serious interpretation). But how clearly labelled should brand stories be online, particularly native advertising pieces placed by brands to look uncannily similar to main editorial content?

In comparison with the traditional way of monetising online content – the display banner – native advertising is undoubtedly more preferable. It makes for a richer overall experience when a brand looks to craft its message into an interesting story, rather than just shouting at the audience from the sidelines. Read More »

The three dimensions of customer loyalty

cubes by Brian Yap FlickrAs performance marketers have known for decades, loyalty marketing, the act of increasing customer value by focusing efforts on your existing customers, can be a powerful driver of company growth. Research conducted by Bain & Co has shown that retailers with a loyalty programme are 88% more profitable, on average, than competitors without one.

However there is also evidence to suggest that, whilst loyalty marketing represents a massive opportunity, few companies are actually realising it. Forrester research shows that nearly two thirds of loyalty progammes for retailers are ineffective, and Aberdeen Group research shows that 74% of retailers report ‘partial to no tangible improvements’ from their loyalty programmes.

So what does this tell us? Is time up for loyalty marketing? Should marketers be focusing their attentions on other types of marketing? The answer is far from it – it seems that companies aren’t making the most of the potential because of poor execution.

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Pornstars have great customer service

Vanessa LakeThis salacious title all stemmed from a conversation I had with an old client, now friend over a drink after work one evening. We were in an uber trendy spot in the trendiest part of East London. The girls had chunks missing out of their hair, the gents beards were groomed to the perfect length and everyone was rocking the Nordic wardrobe.

We inevitably found ourselves commenting on our surroundings and the actors and actresses on this stage. This bubble, within a bubble. It was not good enough anymore to be in East London, you had to be at the epicentre. These characters were hyper-real, you could study them for hours. They were visually fascinating. We wondered of their lives online and spoke of the trend of Instagram superstars, the people with tens, if not hundreds of followers. Within moments I was going to hear of someone that would become the epicenter of my bubble.

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Mobile signals the end for banner ads – so what’s next?

Mobile dataBanner ads. They have been a staple of online advertising for the best part of two decades. But when delegates at numerous conferences are told they’re more likely to climb Everest or survive a plane crash than click on a banner ad, it’s clear this advertising format has had its day.

Banner click through rates have been steadily declining over the past few years, reaching a current low of around 0.1%. Banner ads are often ignored and are unsuitable for mobile due to its small screen size. This, and the high incidence of accidental touch-screen clicks that negatively impact campaign measurement and increase costs, are encouraging marketers to seek alternative options.

Engaging ad formats are imperative when targeting the multi-tasking millennial generation who use multiple connected devices at the same time. So what is the next step for advertisers looking to move on from the age of the banner and engage today’s mobile dependent, highly distracted consumer? Read More »

In-store digital…when does it truly succeed?

ImaginationIn the current retail market the rules of brand engagement are in a continuous state of flux. The speed of this change has lead to a lot of knee jerk reactions from retailers as they seek to integrate digital into their offer.

But where is the framework that helps define the real necessity of in-store interactivity? How can we tell when the integration of digital into a retail environment will eventually result in a real measurable and tangible difference.

The methods of retail engagement within a store environment have always relied on the relevance and desirability of the product offer, its price position, and the attraction of its presentation display. Finding the right balance between these methods generally has us reaching for our wallet and moving to that final goal, the moment of purchase. Read More »

Opening the talent cookie jar

So much for the EU Cookie MonsterTo survive as an agency we must offer knowledge, creativity and delivery. To do so, we need great people at every stage. Change and innovation are our lifeblood. Standing still is not an option. Being smart about change is the key to our business.

We need both permanent and fluid resource to deliver creative and commercial success. More importantly, we need the best person and we need them now. Read More »

Is Amazon’s Local Register set to shake up digital payment platforms?

Online payment by EP TechnologyThe retail industry has patiently waited for digital payment platforms to take off: NFC has not yet delivered the magic bullet many had hoped for. Apathy (or, perhaps, deliberate foot dragging) from retailers and major technology players has led to consumer indifference. This year, so far, Best Buy and 7-11 have both shut down their in-store NFC programmes.

It may yet be bodily recognition platforms (like the fingerprint recognition technology implemented on iPhone) or facial recognition technology overtake device-based approaches, of which, Zapp – the UK banking coalition initiative – and iBeacons look favourites to win out. Read More »