News


We’re taking a big step FORWARD

FORWARD Consulting today unveiled a rebrand and new name. The agency is now called FORWARD.

“Since our launch three years ago our mission has been to create impactful branded content and communications for our clients,” said Fergus Kibble, Founder and Managing Director of FORWARD.

“The landscape of communications and influence is constantly evolving and to stay at the forefront we need to always look forward to ensure our approaches and thinking stay relevant. It seemed like a natural evolution for us to change our name to FORWARD, as it fits our mission and philosophy perfectly.”

Coinciding with the name change, Kibble also announced that following a competitive pitch in December 2014, major food marketer Cerebos has appointed FORWARD to handle PR and influence marketing for its brands. With a Gravox campaign being the first key project. FORWARD will work alongside Gravox creative agency, 303Lowe and media agency, Match.

“We were very impressed with the strong strategic and creative approach from the team at FORWARD and their fresh way of thinking,” said Duncan Knight, Marketing Manager Cerebos.

“They clearly understood the direction we are taking the brand and added some strong ideas future campaigns. We are looking forward to working with them.”

In relation to the agency’s 2015 direction and Cerebos appointment Kibble said;

“We will continue to push the envelope to help brands find ways to connect with influencers and engage with consumers. In a multi-channel world, we believe focus, consistency and creativity are the keys to success. We are thrilled to have been appointed by Cerebos and look forward to working with them in 2015 and beyond.”

For all media enquiries about FORWARD or Cerebos, please contact Janina Czado at janina@forwardagency.com.au

FK Pic for Media Release

4 minutes with Emma Koubayssi

Your first job in PR?

I first got a taste of PR and publicity when I was studying at Glasgow University. I was hosting a radio show on Subcity Radio for four years and in my final year I joined the Comms team to help promote and raise money for the station.

It was an incredible experience and I was responsible for hosting and promoting three key events throughout the year. They were all music and arts focused and I was pursuing my passion.

It was a huge team effort and I did everything from helping to secure the artists and venue but ultimately promote the gigs and boost tickets sales. One of my proudest moments was our flagship event at The Arches – where we had 6- 7 acts and 800+ people through the door, a record in the history of the station.

It was tough juggling the role with final year dissertation, exams and general uni stresses but I loved it. You could say I was hooked!

After that I went on to work in one of Scotland’s busiest press offices. In Scotland they are passionate about two things – politics and football. And usually football comes first. So I cut my teeth at one of Glasgow’s famous football clubs – Glasgow Rangers, also known as one half of the Old Firm.

It was an eye opener to say the least. I didn’t know anything about football before started but I learnt a few things:

  1. To survive you need to adapt and you need to learn quick
  2. High profile often means high adrenaline and severe scrutiny from the media, your fans and your enemies
  3. Building relationships really is the crux of what we do

What is it you enjoy about working in this industry?

I guess that it is constantly changing and we are always learning.

No two days are the same and I like the variety of that. I also like that we can influence decisions and behaviours.

I learnt a huge amount about behavioural economics when I worked at London’s Kindred Agency and how it could drive social action and change. It really is quite fascinating.

From all of the marketing disciplines I also find that PR, influencer and content marketing is the most agile and frankly the most interesting. It’s not for everyone but I truly believe story telling is in our DNA. And I like telling stories and sharing useful, helpful content with people – in my personal life and also my professional.

We are often connectors. We like to join the dots, understand the whys and wherefores and then make things happen.   I often think I was born to communicate and bring ideas to life.

I probably had two career paths either PR or psychology and they are fairly similar when you think about it.

Best campaign to date?

It has to be the first project I ever worked on for the Scottish Government called Determined to Broadcast. We single handily converted a double decker bus into a radio studio, partnered with commercial stations to make it happen and secured local radio DJs and musicians as ambassadors.

The purpose of the project was to inspire and educate young people, using music and radio production to help develop their softer skills such as team working, problem solving and communication.

I was very junior but was the only team member in the country. My directors were working remotely so by default I got a huge amount of responsibility and it was the steepest learning curve of my life.

I got to manage the design & build and was the key point of contact for the school liaison, workshop training and facilitation, ambassador team and press and publicity. We managed a very high profile Ministerial launch with a live truck broadcast, it was fantastic.

That year I probably had the least amount of sleep I’ve ever had in my life but it was well worth it. I also won my first industry award and thought this is something I could get used to.

Why FORWARD?

FORWARD is a boutique agency but with big clients and big thinking. I enjoy working in a small team and for an independent company that values excellent work, creative minds, responsiveness and the people who make FORWARD.

The team is nimble and bold. We are on the front foot and able to offer clients something different to many agencies in the market – influencer and content marketing which is underpinned by strategic communications.

One last thing…

There are three kinds of people in the world – people people, places people and things people. Once you figure out which one you are it will all fall into place. I promise.

Emma is an Account Director at FORWARD

The 15 most powerful verbs for 2015

Everyone loves a list. I do too. So I thought I would share my new years list. Ta dah! But rather than technology trends or social media predictions, here are my 15 top verb predictions for 2015. Perhaps you could call these my new years verb resolutions:

1. Reflect

Take stock. Step back. Look at where you are now. What is really going on? What are your assets? What are your strengths? What are your weaknesses? What’s in your blind spot? What do you need to work on? Be honest. Become more self-aware. Take some time to reflect everyday. What went well, what did you learn, what will you do differently tomorrow?

2. Plan

How will you know this year has been a success? Failing to plan is planning to fail. Now is the time to set some goals. Make 2015 the year to follow your plan, report against your KPIs, track how you are progressing and importantly be agile enough to re-set, re-frame or re-boot if required.

3. Align

Get everyone working on your projects turning and facing the same direction and reading from the same playbook. Nothing will kill a project faster than confusion and obfuscation. Align early and realign mid-project if needed.

4. Create

Whatever your category or brand, create a content SweetSpot: be informative, helpful or entertaining. Just don’t be bland. From there think creatively about how you can share the most relevant content with your audiences and influencers.

5. Collaborate

Whether it be internally or externally; with partners, customers or consumers; make 2015 a year of new and interesting collaborations and partnerships. Whether it is creating a co-branded experience, a media partnership or just a creative brainstorm with a client; collaboration multiplies your efforts, creates synergy and helps you reach a bigger audience.

6. Reciprocate

Pay it forward. Pay it back. Be generous. There is no better way to build relationships than giving freely of your time, energy, and insight (or if you are a brand, giving something for nothing). If you want someone to do something for you, think first what you can do for them? And if they did something for you how can you return the favour. Be the change you wish to see in the world.

7. Share

Be open with your communication, be generous with your time, and definitely give stuff you no longer need away. We all have enough, so how could you help someone who doesn’t? And share more on Social Media, obviously!

8. Think

Before you say, write or send anything. Think about your audience and how they will receive the message. It is always good to have a filter between your brain and your mouth. One of the Seven Habits of Highly Effective People is “Seek first to understand, and then to be understood.” Let’s add “Think first, speak second”.

9. Check

Check your spelling. Check your punctuation. Check your facts. Enough said. And don’t rely on auto-spell check on Word. Get someone to peer-review for you, especially if this is not your strong suit. Always triple check the spelling of a hashtag (think Sephora).

10. Publish

This is the year we are all going to become publishers. Especially if you want to be an authority on a topic or a go to brand that people come to for help and advice. Re-purpose your content. Write once and publish many times.

11. Update

Resolve to keep your profile up to date. Whether it is your personal profile, your corporate profile or brand profile. You can’t set and forget. It should be something that you regularly revisit – and update often.

12. Be curious

(OK technically not a verb, but whatever). Watch. Listen. Look up. Look out. Ask questions. Investigate. It is only by reaching outside ourselves that we get fresh insights into the world around us. Make time to read the paper, follow some bloggers, and resolve to read a book a month. Go and see an indie film. Watch SBS. Get out of your bubble. Go for a walk.

13. Outreach

No one is an island. To be successful, you have to reach out to others. We do this all the time in PR, but it is something that everyone should do. Who are your clients, your stakeholders, your influencers, and your consumers? Reach out to them. Have conversations. Never eat lunch alone.

14. Stretch

Stretch yourself. You can do more than you think you can. We all can. So push yourself a little. Go on. (oh and perhaps literally stretch your body, as well – this is the year to get flexible, people!)

15. Celebrate

Go back to your goals and KPIs. Celebrate every major (and minor) win. How will you reward yourself? How will you reward your team? Make sure you take some time out regularly and acknowledge what you have achieved. Have fun.

So there you have it the 15 most powerful verbs for 2015. For your personal life or your professional life. Do a little bit more of each of these in 2015, and you will have a brilliant year. I promise.

 

5 Reasons why bloggers add brand value

Blogging has become big business. Not only do agencies and brands liaise with established bloggers to create and amplify campaigns, but also the industry of brand publishing platforms and business blogs are increasing in value.

Major bloggers are now commonly represented by specialist agents and draw big crowds and dollars, successfully leveraging their audience share for conversion into social and economic capital. Leandra Medine’s curated blog on outrageous fashion trends adored by women and despised by men, Man Repeller, is estimated to be worth $8.1 million, with more than 1.5 million unique page views a month. Similarly, Australian blogs such as Gary Pepper Girl, Substance Blog and Fat Mum Slim all have powerhouse followings.

‘Ordinary’ individuals are well and truly cementing their place as authoritative voices in the competitive fashion, beauty, health and lifestyle industries, but why should businesses reach out to bloggers to engage with their brands?

1. Your audience is hanging out there

There are approximately 214 million blogs on Tumblr alone. The general popularity of blogging can be traced back to the ease and low cost associated to connect with like-minded individuals, share personal views and spark conversation. Humans are social beings, blogging and social media just expands the friendship circle.

2. Personality counts

Blogging is such a powerful tool for brands as the flexible linking of text, pictures and video content assists in engaging audiences with a powerful brand message, story or personality. We recently introduced Rentokil to a new audience and made the issue of pest control approachable with a sponsored post and giveaway on Retro Mummy.

3. Click this way

Blogs, and online in general, provide an important digital point-of-sale for customers that can drive traffic or influence purchase decisions. Today it is fair game to spot something on a blog, check Instagram and link to an online store to check price and availability all before buying. Bloggers are now realising the power of their influence and receiving up to $200,000 commission a year on sales driven by their sites, through platforms such as RewardStyle.

4. Community spirit

People look to blogs to document life experiences, express emotion, involve in community forums and present opinions or ideas in writing (hence the need for effective community management – the good, the bad, the ugly). Working with blogs, brands have an opportunity to speak with audiences through a trusted influencer in a familiar online community space. Helpfully, bloggers are your audience, “they are as much consumers as they are media to be consumed”, so they know how to tap into their audience (and yours).

5. Be like the cool kids

Successful bloggers engage with relevant brands in an exchange of their social following and cultural influence. The illusive idea of ‘coolness’ is forever being chased by marketers to add brand value, but it isn’t so easily attained. Coolness is most often attributed to cultural objects (people, brands, products, trends, etc.) inferred to be autonomous. AKA: zero cares given.

Bloggers are considered an independent and trendy alternative to the mainstream media. This concept is particularly prominent in the fashion blogging industry – there is a reason girls with messy hair and a nonchalant attitude have the biggest online followings.

To wrap things up, here are two of my favourite major blogger x brand collabs:

Oraclefox x Billabong
Stab Mag x Corona Extra