ILN was recently invited to speak at a Digital Marketing Masterclass for the Leisure and Travel industries. Hosted in the stylish Century club on Shaftesbury Avenue, the event was attended by, amongst others, Rocco Forte Hotels, the Hong Kong Tourism Board, the Natural History Museum and Virgin Atlantic.
The first speaker was Nick Cochrane, Mobile Solutions Specialist at Barclays, whose topic was mobile payments. Despite the proliferation of smart phones and tablets in modern society, and now being able to receive a 4G connection on top of Everest, mobile payment systems by and large provide an unsatisfactory experience.
Nick cited reasons such as overly complex input methods and security trust issues. To tackle such issues, the industry requires optimised payment options and a global acceptance of digital tickets and receipts. Putting these elements together should show an exponential growth in mobile commerce.
Next up was Michael Wrigley, Chief Marketing Officer of EngageSciences. He immediately got the audience’s attention with the bold statement that the popularity of social channels for marketing is falling rapidly with more emphasis on company-generated sites and apps featuring user-generated content with campaigns across multiple social platforms.
The simple fact is that consumers trust other consumers more than marketing information put forward by a brand. This calls for greater administration of user review sites such as trip advisor, where some less reputable users are brandishing the threat of bad reviews to get concessions from restaurants and hotels. It’s a despicable practice that needs to be stamped out.
Rob Thurner, a managing partner at digital agency Burn the Sky, then explained how many forward-thinking companies are now focusing on a mobile-first marketing strategy. Taxi companies Uber and Hailo have focused their business models on attracting all their custom through their mobile apps.
Another company employing a very successful mobile campaign is Starbucks. Through it’s pay-by-mobile app, you can scan to pay while earning stars in the My Starbucks Rewards programme. In the United States, Starbucks is currently enjoying 14% revenue from mobile alone.
In the next presentation, Lisa Barnard, ILN’s Chief Executive, talked about the importance of content and the communications experience in igniting purchase intention. She described how this content can manifest itself in different ways and at different stages of the purchasing cycle, which is why having a content marketing strategy in place is so important.
Power imagery, video and brand storytelling were also discussed as well as opportunities for the co-creation of content through partnerships – demonstrated by ILN’s client Maille and its collaboration with Historic Royal Palaces, River Cottage and Taste of London.
We then heard from Sophie Rayers, Director of Marketing at Brightcove, a digital marketing company utilising the power of video, that the average attention span of an adult viewing a typical text-based webpage is 8%. Providing video content on a page equates to a 75% increase in conversion rates.
Lisa Barnard emphasised the importance of deploying rich video content to social channels while also encouraging users to provide their own video content to tie in with the previously lauded idea of UGC (or User Generated Content).
The key points raised by the guest speakers were as follows:
• An emphasis on the user experience on mobile
• Ease of use
• User Generated Content is more trusted than curated content and brands
• An emphasis on rich content such as video to capture and hold user attention
• Analysis shows a move away from social channels for marketing purposes back towards company-driven websites and apps
• Websites will benefit hugely from a greater focus on the UX (User Experience) and UGC, which lends authenticity to content
• User engagement needs to be maintained past the point of sale.
The guest speakers then answered questions from a rapt audience and elaborated on their presentations.
Some of the questions included:
• What is the difference in the suggested approach to mobile content as opposed to desktop content?
• What is the best way to handle brand heritage alongside engagement of new clients?
• How do small companies and start-ups mitigate the cost of expensive media such as video?
• How do you handle the management of dispersed content?
• How do you ensure you avoid creating content for content sake?
Concluding the masterclass was Antony Robbins, Head of Communications at the Museum of London. He revealed how the museum has used both web and mobile technology to engage with the youth of today, to provide a richer user experience for its visitors and to create its fantastic Augmented Reality app that brings history to life on the streets of London.
This was an enthralling presentation and a wonderful conclusion to a stimulating session.
We had a surprise recently when a subscriber’s copy of The lllustrated London News from 1953 found its way back to us last week, having been returned to sender with help from The Sun and its readers.
The paper had been sent to a subscriber in America in 1953, the same year in which John F Kennedy married Jacqueline Bouvier and the first colour television sets went on sale. It seems this particular issue had been lost in the post for the past 61 years. It was finally sent to Ingram House in London – ILN’s old premises, named after the Ingram family, founders of the The Illustrated London News. Someone in Ingram House contacted The Sun, who delivered the paper into the hands of ILN’s Chief Executive, Lisa Barnard.
The return of the paper was an unexpected time capsule – a wonderful reminder of our long history, and the millions of people who read and engaged with our publications over the years. We’re only sorry this one didn’t reach its destination!
The market research company Mintel predicts that nearly 13 per cent of all retail sales this Christmas will be online, with a quarter of British consumers admitting they will be present-hunting online more this year than last. Brands are also preparing their online Christmas social media campaigns as they know the online surge in buying reduces dramatically a week before December 25 with shoppers worrying about delivery and heading for the shopping centres. During this particularly busy time for online retail, brands are also striving to maintain their reputations, revenue and customers by safeguarding against counterfeit goods and fake websites. Consumers need to be wary, too.
Fraud is believed to cost the UK economy an estimated £36 billion a year, with 9 million adults per year affected by cyber crime. The attacks include stealing customers’ bank details, raiding online accounts, infecting computers and devices with viruses and stealing business information. More than 90% of the attacks begin with phishing emails targeting employees or individuals. These emails look convincing and are from a seemingly trusted source. File attachments include regularly used ones such as .pdf, .doc or .xls. Fraudsters are also starting to use Zip files as they are very hard to detect by anti-virus programmes. Once one of these files is opened, they can infect your computer immediately or deposit a .exe file on your computer. This file can lay dormant for weeks or months until the fraudster needs to use it to hack your computer. Once hacked, they can re-direct you to false websites, obtain your logins, passwords and personal details and send out emails from your account.
Phishing is a commonly known phrase, but have you heard of vishing or smishing? Vishing is when a fraudster calls up impersonating your bank or other organisation with the aim of obtaining information about you, your banking security codes, and so on. Smishing is similar to vishing but using texts instead. A lot of these attacks are launched by sending out millions of emails and seeing who opens them or tempting you into following a link to a malicious website. Other attacks are more targeted and will focus on relevant employees in an organisation. To ensure these attacks are effective, more information about you is required. This can be obtained by the old method of sifting through your bins at home and work. Other techniques include looking at Post-its notes stuck around your desk (a common way for people to remember important info) or go online and check your online persona via social media, company profile or any other information, which is freely available online.
The ease with which personal information can be obtained by a determined fraudster is quite scary. Check out Amazing Dave:
Other money-grabbing frauds include:
Credit and debit card: cloning cards, fake cash machines, and so on.
Invoice and supplier: details changed to a fraudulent bank account or changed post submission.
Employees: collusion between two parties in a company.
Cheques: changing details on a cheque issued, stealing cheques, forging signatures, and so on.
Handy tips to combat fraud The key to combat fraud is to be vigilant and to follow best practices (both in your business and personal life). Some simple tips from RBS include:
Emails: if in doubt, kick it out!
Passwords: longer is stronger
Phones salls: ask before giving information
Social media: care what you share.
And as Nick Ross used to say on the BBC’s Crimewatch: “Don’t have nightmares, do sleep well.”
Early mornings are usually the quietest time of the day here and it’s when I will be outside checking on the tomatoes. This particular morning, I heard heavy breathing above – rather like the dragon Smaug in The Hobbit – and when I looked up, I saw two hot air balloons. Cue lots of waving!
These balloons are something of a brand in action: they are owned by L’Occitane, the Provençal beauty house founded by Olivier Baussan, who lives close by.
We enjoy Champagne ballooning breakfasts whenever the balloons land nearby during the summer.
Brands that have been around for a long time (and many that want us to think they have) have long recognised the value of the heritage story in customer engagement. The Hovis “Bike Ride” ad of 1973, directed by Ridley Scott, is a classic lesson in how well this works: dripping in nostalgia, it tells a story of Hovis as a wholesome, honest food that has been part of your home for as long as you can remember. “As good for you today as it’s always been”, as the tagline went. The story has been replicated countless times in advertising by Fairy, Colgate and others, as well as by luxury brands such as Chanel, which uses its heritage codes to convey prestige and quality.
This has proved so successful, in fact, that most brands now have a “heritage story”. Every company that is more than 10 years old has a heritage section on its website. Sometimes the heritage story isn’t even real: Baileys “Original Irish Cream” was dreamed up (complete with fictional founder R.A. Bailey) in 1983 overlooking the Bailey’s Hotel in London. Other companies, such as the Cambridge Satchel Company (est. 2008) and American behemoth Anthropologie (1993), evoke heritage and nostalgia through their names, products and marketing. It’s not hard to see why: it’s a valuable way of creating an emotional connection, of establishing trust and reputation for your business. But what happens when everyone is doing the same thing?
Heritage brands are finding nostalgia marketing less successful these days. It’s not simply because it is being over-used. There has always been a tension between the backward-looking approach of heritage and the need to innovate and change to remain exciting.
In a recent interview in Marketing Week, Sally Abbott, global marketing director at Weetabix, said: “We could look backwards and celebrate the fact we’ve been around for so long, but that would soon become tiresome for the consumer… We’re very lucky to have that heritage and I feel the weight of responsibility that’s been passed on to me from my predecessors, but our role is to keep the brand relevant for consumers today.”
It brings us to a problem at the heart of heritage branding: there are only so many times you can capture people’s attention by reminding them how long they’ve known you. After a while, you stop looking timeless and start looking old. So what should heritage brands do if they want to continue to engage their audience – how do you solve the Hovis problem?
Last week, I attended a conference on retail history, held at the Centre for the History of Retail and Distribution in Wolverhampton, which was packed with new insights about retail and marketing in Britain. A paper on Heal’s, the furniture company, particularly caught my interest. We learned how, at the turn of the 20th century, Heal’s transformed itself from a relatively humble furniture retailer into a market-leading design brand.
Founded in 1810, by the 1890s Heal’s already had a considerable history under its belt when designer Ambrose Heal joined the company in 1893. He merged its retail and production expertise with the aesthetics of the burgeoning Arts and Crafts movement, led by such figures as William Morris and John Ruskin, that took inspiration from the simple, artisan craftwork of Britain’s pre-industrial past.
With this new aesthetic in its furniture design, Heal’s created a logo and aesthetic identity to match: a perfect marriage of innovative creation built on heritage values. Heal’s didn’t stop there: at the top of its shop on Tottenham Court Road, it established the Mansard Gallery, displaying the most exciting artists of the day – Pablo Picasso, Matisse, Modigliani – alongside Heal’s modern furniture designs. The gallery established the company as an authoritative, exciting brand for consumers.
Bacardi (est. 1862) offers an up-to-date example of heritage brand creativity that engages customers. Last week, it unveiled a graphic novella in partnership with prominent artists Warren Ellis and Michael Allred. It’s a memorable experience for their audience, telling the story of Emilio Bacardi and the turmoil of Cuban independence at the end of the 19th century, and is well worth a read as a piece of graphic art. What’s most interesting is that it isn’t a story about how Bacardi has been around for a long time, but about why it holds certain values, and what those values might really mean. It’s called “The Spirit of Bacardi”.
A creative approach to heritage doesn’t have to mean engaging with the latest developments in art and digital design (although this is clearly a valuable approach). In its simplest form, it means brands thinking seriously about where they came from and working out how human stories from the past connect to human stories today. The French brand Maille is set to do exactly this in its new Autumn campaign. It has drawn inspiration from royal banquets, and Maille’s long connection with the French court to create new flavours and a richer sense of luxury for its audience. Again, the focus is on the new, exciting creation that Maille is able to offer – precisely because of its centuries of experience of beautiful food.
Focusing on sheer longevity, and relying on a nostalgic emotional connection, is no longer enough to stand out in a market full of Hovis stories. A good story doesn’t just say what happened, it brings out new ideas and new meaning for its audience. The best use of heritage is what it can tell you, and your customers, about why your company has worked for so long: what are the characteristics that have made it special, and using that to create something new and exciting. In other words, heritage and creative innovation, done well, can mean the same thing.