Tag: Content Marketing


My 3 Big Takeaways from TEDxSYDNEY 2016

TEDxSydney is a celebration of BIG IDEAS. The theme of TEDxSydney this year was “Togetherness”. What does this mean? It means that no big idea happens in a vacuum: the best ideas are the result of conversations and collaborations. I also think more generally it means “we are all in this together and we will all go down together – so let’s get our act together!”

Again this year, there was a great mix of intelligent, brave, inspiring and funny speakers and entertainers, who challenged the audience to think, feel and act differently.

I had three big take-outs from the day. These themes were in many different ways repeated over and over throughout the day and are good principles for us all to remember and try to live up to.

1. If You Don’t Step Over the Line, How Do You Know Where the Line Is?

Remo Giuffré is a thinker and creative strategist with a long track record as an entrepreneur, retail merchant and brand builder. He is also the Founder and Licensee of TEDxSydney.

In his welcome to the day Remo outlined for us TED’s overarching mission to nurture the spread of powerful ideas. His ambition is to continuously challenge people and push the boundaries of our understanding, our compassion, our biases and our use of technology.

Remo eloquently said that in the quest for innovation we not only have to keep moving the line but actually step over it.   I think this is such a powerful metaphor; innovation isn’t a destination, rather a continuous journey we take as humanity. So long as we don’t destroy ourselves or our planet we will have to keep innovating and building our improving understanding of community and acceptance of each other.

2. When We Know Better, We Can Do Better.

Tara Winkler is the Managing Director of the Cambodian Children’s Trust (CCT) which she established in 2007 in order to rescue fourteen Children from a corrupt and abusive orphanage.

Unfortunately, Tara found out that the well-meaning support and donations from the West fuels an industry that exploits foreigners in exchange for donations.

Building more orphanages is not the solution; it was actually part of the problem. To break the cycle of poverty children need to be taken out of institutions and have family based care and love.

This was an eye-opening revelation and puts paid to the some of the charity-tourism, which has become an industry in itself.

Tara made me wonder how many other things we take for granted that may be based on an underlying false assumption or result in unintended consequences?  Curiosity about the world around us is part of the answer; a quest for deeper understanding and knowledge is always a good thing. And most importantly, owning up to our mistakes and having the courage to make a change. Tara was truly inspirational. You can read more about it in her just published book How (Not) to Start an Orphanage.

3. Courage, Kindness and Forgiveness is the Essence of Humanity

Peta Murchinson and Gill Hicks, two incredibly inspiring women, shared powerful and very moving stories. Both connected with and captivated the audience – I doubt there would have been a dry eye in the auditorium for both talks.

Peta’s daughter is dying of Batten Disease, a very rare degenerative genetic disease that affects otherwise healthy children. Peta has had to face the absolute certainty of losing her daughter and at the same time open herself up to the warmth, compassion and generosity of her daughter’s school, community and even complete strangers.

Gill Hicks is a survivor of the London terrorist bombings in July 2005. She shared with us the horror of the attack, her rescue and her permanent injuries, losing both legs from just below the knee. Her vivid account of that day left me breathless, and her acceptance and forgiveness for what has happened to her is inspirational. She has dedicated her life to being an advocate for peace and refuses to talk about ‘the others’ or ‘the enemies’; we are all human and we all have the capacity for kindness and forgiveness.

Although the two stories are quite different what connected them, for me, was that through the depth of their sadness and horrific injuries, both these women found the courage to keep going and to not only endure, but to grow and open up to the love and kindness, sometimes from strangers, that helped them both to face their adversities.

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A day at TEDx is a day well spent and certainly challenges you to think and act differently:  something we should all do more of, more often!

How video content is driving massive engagement for food brands – Part 2

In Part 1 of this blog post we considered which video platforms are available for your food stories and some examples of how brands are using these platforms effectively to drive consumer engagement.

In this post, I am reviewing a few of our favourite food channels. These channels are creating innovative, simple and beautiful content with recipe videos that are driving millions of views daily.

At the end of this post, I will share my top five tips for producing amazing snackable video content for food brands (yes, pun intended!).

 

 buzzfeed

1. BuzzFeed Food

YouTube: 631K+subscribers, 44M+ views

Facebook: 20 K+ likes

Instagram: 2.1M followers

Buzzfeed food is known for their really simple and quirky recipes and hacks that prove that cooking can be fun and entertaining. Reaching different audiences, from true food fans to people who are just curious and enjoy the show.

4tricks

 

 

tastemade

2. Tastemade

YouTube – 606 K subscribers, 70 M+ views

Facebook – 14 M+ likes

Instagram866k followers – 100K to 300K views per day

Tastemade is a video network built for the mobile generation. They enable people to come together to discover and share their passion for great food and travel. From quick recipes to original series, they’re uploading two to three new videos every single day, to share their favorite food and travel stories from around the world.

One of the most popular Tastemade’s platforms is the Discovery section in Snapchat, where they share behind the scenes videos about their crazy food creations, kitchen tips, and trending ingredients.

healthypopcornchicken

 

 

tasty

3. Tasty

YouTube: 327 K subscriptions, 17 M+ views

Facebook: 53M+ likes

Instagram: 3M followers

With only three months of being created in 2015, the BuzzFeed’s channel Tasty, has reached almost 17 million views, demonstrating the great impact that food has on people in social media.

This channel makes it easy for people to understand how meal preparation is done and incentive consumers to buy food ingredients and utensils to make it themselves.

Almost all of their video creations are no longer than 1 minute, keeping it simple and easy to engage with the audience.

saltedsmores

 

 

howtocookthat

4. How To Cook That – Ann Reardon

YouTube: 2M+ subscribers, 331,746,754 views

Facebook: 71K

Instagram: 146K

Ann Reardon is a qualified food scientist and dietitian who likes to cook ridiculously unhealthy desserts (in her own words!). Ann is with doubt an Australian YouTube sensation, ranked number nine out of the Top 100 most subscribed Australia channels list

Ann specialises in creating and sharing of creative desserts, cakes, and chocolates. Something people from all around the world seem to enjoy.

cokechococake

Implications for Brands

Video consumption is booming, with more and more people are turning to YouTube and other social channels to search for new food and recipe inspiration.   To tap into this trend food brands consider these 6 tips for great video:

  • Keep your video content short, snappy and fun to watch
  • Focus on helpful or new ways your product can be used
  • You don’t need scripts or voice-overs, but do use pacey music
  • If a recipe, make sure it is really easy to reproduce
  • Don’t make your video too heavily branded or over produced
  • Allocate budget to promote your video content

If you would like to find out more or discuss how FORWARD Agency can help you develop videos like these, please get in touch!

 

How Video Content Is Driving Massive Engagement For Food Brands – Part 1

 

While watching the start of MasterChef Season 8 this week, I have been reflecting on the power of video content marketing to not only stimulate wannabe chefs, but also regular home cooks who are looking for new recipes to break the mid-week boredom of plain old meat and three veg.

Video is making helpful cooking tips more accessible than ever, especially with smartphones, whether you are in the supermarket or the kitchen. It is the perfect medium for a food brands to get people inspired, teach them a new skill, or just put a smile on their faces – and then share it with their networks.

Because of video’s inherent ability to stimulate the taste buds, this format is driving unprecedented engagement and new brand followers. Which means more love and bigger market shares for the brands that get it right.

YouTube

With 4 Billion views per day, and regarded as the second largest search engine on earth, YouTube is the “go to” destination for “how to” videos. So it is perfect for targeting your product and recipe content to people who are asking the perennial question, “what’s for dinner?” or “how do I do that?”.

YouTube has helped content creators (and brands) build massive food audiences through gourmet recipe inspiration, clever kitchen hacks, simple recipe ideas and easy to follow instructions.

For example, SunRice realised there was still a massive job ahead to educate people on the basics of how to cook rice. By listening to their core audience and analysing feedback, SunRice was able to address peoples most frequent questions. The answer was to create a bunch of simple “how to” videos with SunRice’s brand ambassador Poh Ling Yeow of MasterChef fame and then sit back and watch the brand’s views and engagement go through the roof.

Screen Shot 2016-05-04 at 5.28.49 pm

Facebook

Video is becoming the top way to share on Facebook. Between April 2015 and November 2015, the amount of average daily video views on Facebook doubled from 4 billion video views per day to 8 billion. (Source: Hubspot)

Food plays a big part of this video wave. With a combined 2.6 billion video views on Facebook last month, BuzzFeed Tasty, and BuzzFeed Food were the most watched food publisher pages.

For brands, we feel that Facebook is a great place for lighter, more entertaining or fun short form content that is easy to digest (pardon the pun) as it comes up in your Facebook feed (also another food pun, sorry).

Vegemite does this beautifully with simple recipe ideas like cheesy vegemite pasta in 28 seconds – love or hate the taste of vegemite, the video instantly stimulates an emotional response, requiring everyone to like or dislike it (thanks to that new dislike button on Facebook). But arguably even a dislike for vegemite is good for the brand – think about the “I Hate Marmite” campaign from a few years back in the UK. This is a brand that people just have to take sides on. 

Vegemite 

Instagram

With around 400 million active monthly users, Instagram continues to be one of the most important social platforms for video publication and distribution. Food influencers have amassed huge audiences here – with food pornesque imagery and snackable (yet another food pun) 15 sec videos that make the mouth water.

We love what Ben and Jerry’s is doing with their series of hints and tips that stimulate extra consumption opportunities for ice-cream. These link back the B&J website where people can watch longer form YouTube video tutorials.

Recently, Instagram has allowed users to upload up to 60 seconds videos, instead of just 15, encouraging brands and influencers to develop the creative narrative further, giving brands more opportunities to develop even more emotive, beautiful and engaging content.

Ben and jerry's

Snapchat

With 100 million daily users and 8 billion daily video views, this platform provides the place to absorb content around the clock and follow the ‘behind the scenes’ of recipes and meals in a very quick and concise way.

Giving users the opportunity to see what the best food channels like Food Network, Tastemade and foodies are sharing in a very short amount of time, but long enough to engage.

snapchat

Next week in Part 2 of this post, I will explore some of the best food and recipe publishers to see what brands can learn for their own video content.

In the meantime, if you would like to find out more about the power of video to drive more connections, engagement and sales for your brand, please get in touch.

 

Disclosure: SunRice is a client of FORWARD Agency.

 

 

 

 

 

 

TrueLocal appoints FORWARD Agency to manage PR & Influence

FORWARD Agency today announced its appointment as public relations and influence agency partner for TrueLocal, following a competitive pitch.

The appointment will see FORWARD help TrueLocal build its brand profile and educate Australian small business and consumers about the benefits of using Australia’s largest online local directory.

Ruth Trewhella, TrueLocal Group Manager, said: “The FORWARD team impressed us with their strategic understanding of our category and innovative ideas to help us build relevant and engaging content. We were looking for a partner with solid traditional and digital public relations expertise as well as experience in working with influencers.”

Fergus Kibble, FORWARD Agency Founder and Managing Director said: “We are looking forward to working with TrueLocal and the extended Sensis team to help educate and inspire both businesses and consumers on how they can get more out of TrueLocal. The directories landscape is constantly changing, especially given the rise and rise of mobile apps, so we are pleased to be working with one of the lead innovators.”

Truelocal APP

 

 

4 minutes with: Sean Pickwell, Director – Waterfront

A celebrity partnership could  help your brand to drive fast awareness, engagement and fan love;  and not to mention media interest. The right famous face paired with the right brand can sometimes be a match made in heaven, but finding that perfect fit might not be as easy as you think.  

We spent 4 minutes with Sean Pickwell, Managing Director of Australia’s number one international celebrity sourcing agency, Waterfront to get some expert advice on celebrity partnerships.

In your opinion, what are some of the most successful brand and celebrity partnerships of the last 12 months, and why?

There are so many… but a few favourites over the last year for me are:

Mila Kunis – Jim Beam – I love it because it’s unexpected and cuts through. She makes me want to start drinking Beam. Likewise, Anna Kendrick’s anti-ads for Newcastle Ale are so clever. Using female celebrities for male-skewed drinks cuts though, but the execution like in these two cases needs to be great.

Globally I love the use of celebrities in the Snickers campaigns from Betty White to Mr Bean, and even our own Ray Meagher (Alf from Home and Away).

Jacobs Creek does a great job with their tennis stars and the amount of great content they develop – first was Andre Agassi then Novak Djokovic this year.

Some good Aussie celebrity campaigns – Barry Hall/Kleenex – nice connection to the soft side he showed on I’m A Celebrity, Julia Morris and Westinghouse – not an obvious fit, but the execution is great, and she is so loved, and self-deprecating that it makes the brand shine.

While they do cancel themselves out a bit, both Curtis Stone and Jamie Oliver’s ongoing campaigns for Coles/Woolies, are strong, clear branding efforts. Both have outstanding brand values that each of the supermarkets desperately wants, and both speak to middle Australia. And to some degree they are both working.

What are the top 3 things a brand should know before starting the search for a celebrity ambassador?

The key things are what you are trying to achieve with the celebrity partnership, what are the brand values you want them to represent, and what do you need them to do. Sounds fairly straightforward but it is amazing how often these basics get skipped.

Understanding your brand is really important, and what you want to say in the market. Celebrities and the message they convey vary so much.

Also, you need to know that you will be dealing with someone (and their team) who has opinions, and will often have input – they aren’t machines. So it can be a hot kitchen…and you need to understand it can be a wild ride. But that’s why we use celebrities – to harness that personality and power for your brand. But it’s not always easy.

What should a brand look for when searching for a celebrity?

Fit is the key – their brand values and yours – making sure they are aligned.

Although often the celebrities brand values may be where you want your brand to end up, rather than where it is now. In many cases, the reason you might look to a particular celebrity is where the celebrity can take your brand.

Ideally you want someone who you can work with, and who wants to work with you. This is not always easy to know upfront, but there are ways to see if you will be compatible.

What are the most important rules of engagement when working with a celebrity?

Be upfront in the negotiating about what you are trying to do, and what you want from them – specifically.

Try and build a strong relationship with them and the team, so when you do maybe need something extra, it won’t be a problem. And they will want to go the extra mile for you.

Don’t skimp on extra things like accommodation, transport, meals, etc. just to save a few bucks. If they feel you are being cheap, it can rub off on their attitude.

Don’t try and sneak things in once the deal is done. One company we know added extra category exclusions into the contract right at the last minute. Got everyone off side.

What are the most common things a brand can forget when working with a celebrity?

It’s not so much what you might forget; it’s more know what to remember. That’s not just being tricky with words, more to make the point that when you do something everyday, you get good at it, and you know what to look for in each situation. It’s really a great argument to use a specialist to help secure your celebrity. We know who to talk to, how much you should be paying, what you need to include and remember, and how to make it as smooth as possible.

Sean Pickwell(lowres)

6 Ways to Boost Your Creativity

Creativity is often viewed as a gift. You’ve either got the magic or you don’t.

Some people naturally seem more predisposed to creativity. However at FORWARD we believe that everyone has potential. By introducing some simple habits we can all bring more creativity into our lives and workspace.

Creativity isn’t just about coming up with big ideas sometimes it’s the small ideas. It isn’t all about visual images and witty copy writing. Creativity is connecting dots, identifying purposeful solutions, original thinking, and ultimately turning your imagination into a reality.

As communications professionals being creative is our livelihood. It’s an important part of what we do. The ability to harness our creativity and direct it appropriately is what helps us achieve better outcomes and get results for our clients.

Knowing how to tap into your creativity is something that you can learn and develop.  Just as you can learn techniques to improve your organisational skills, you can apply knowledge and practice to boost your creativity.

If you are looking for ways to be more creative in the workplace give some thought to how you can live a more creative life.

Changing your routine outside of work is equally as important as reconsidering how you approach things professionally.

Embracing your creativity isn’t as simple as flicking a switch. It’s an embodiment, a way of living.

Here are 6 practical tips to kick-start your creative journey.

 

IN WORK

1. Play with your imagination

The purpose of this exercise is to warm up your brain before you need to think creatively.

There are lots of techniques you can use to relax your mind. Here is one we do at FORWARD before we start brainstorming.

Based on Tim Brown’s TED talk Creativity and Play where he cites Bob McKim’s ‘30 Circles Test’. Give it a go it’s a fun place to start.

Untitled

  • Create a template, like the above with 30 circles on a piece of A3 paper
  • The challenge is to fill in as many circles as possible with different pictures/doodles/ideas
  • And all within one minute

circles

Source: https://victorianginger.wordpress.com/class-work/

  • Try to explore
  • Try not to self-edit
  • Try to be forgiving
  • Try not to be self critical

Tip: Limber up your mind and prepare it for action

 

2. Get into character

Put yourself in someone else’s shoes (and by someone we mean your audience).

Whenever we are tackling particularly difficult briefs and preparing for a brainstorm we always like to introduce a bit of role-play.

Each of us will get into character and it’s just as it sounds. Bring a prop, take on a new persona and even change your environment.

How do we want to make the end-user feel?

We take ourselves on that physical journey, and it is all fodder for our imaginations.

Getting into character can be an effective way to develop new ideas and solutions.

Tip: Think about your problem from a different perspective

set your imagination free, pile of documents flying away

3. Lose your fear of being wrong

It can be challenging to admit that you don’t have the answers to everything.

However, we can learn a lot about how a creative approaches life. For one they often don’t allow themselves to be restricted by the status quo.

Of course it’s important to protect your ‘personal brand’ and provide your colleagues with insightful, thoughtful thinking and learnings.

However, if you are constantly afraid of failure and not willing to share your ideas, it can be hard to free your mind and allow it to go into a lucid state where creativity often hatches.

Tip: Don’t be so serious. When you say something a bit silly enjoy it – fun and silliness is integral to the creative process

 

IN LIFE

4. Alone time

To quote Picasso: “Without great solitude no serious work is possible.”

It’s crucial that you allocate time to spend time with yourself. So you can hear your thoughts and tune into your inner voice.

Alone time is often where the ideas form. Shut out the noise and dedicate time to recharge and reboot.

Quietness is where we get to know ourselves and can tap into our creativity.

Whether it’s going for a walk, heading to the gym or finding a space in your house, think about a place you can go physically and then mentally to unwind, reflect and create.

Tip: Overcome any concerns you may have of being alone, it’s the key to unlocking your creative potential

 

5. Do things that feed your soul

You’ve probably heard it time and time again, do what you love and do it often.

Write a list of the top 2-3 things which most inspire you. Do you enjoy watching vintage movies or listening to live music?

Now ask yourself how many times you have dedicated time to doing any of those things in the past week or month. Not as many times as you’d have hoped, right?

To unlock your creativity you need to be connected with yourself and open to new thinking and ideas. So its important to keep inspired and also push yourself out of your comfort zone.

Prioritise doing the things that make you happy and also try to do something new, every week if you can. It can be as easy as choosing a new restaurant or trying to cook a new recipe at home. Variety is all fuel for our minds.

Tip: Make time to renew your sources of inspiration

 

6. Capture your ideas whenever they happen

Creative thinking can take place anywhere and often when you least expect it. Many people have their best ideas when they first wake up in the morning so be sure to jot them down.

Once you get into a good habit of acknowledging your thinking you’ll find yourself coming up with more and more solutions and different ways to do things.

If you align more with the old school, treat yourself to a special notebook (personal favourite is Moleskin) and keep it close to you at all times. Or download an app like Evernote onto your mobile and work devices, we love using it here at FORWARD. You can also record your ideas on audio notes on your phone.

Tip: Document your thinking but choose a method which suits your personality and lifestyle

 

Final word

Introducing creativity into your life, or trying to be more creative doesn’t need to be onerous. Your personal and work personas are linked, so focus on boosting your creativity in both worlds. However to really harness your creativity it often means going a bit deeper, which can be scary. So remember fortune rewards the brave.

Think Different

The Future of PR: 3 Major Insights from the PRIA’s Vivid Ideas Session

Today, the Public Relations Institute of Australia (PRIA) held an event as part of the Vivid Sydney called Creativity, Content and the Future of PR. Hosted by industry virtuoso Amanda Little, the program featured four participants:

  • Adam Good – Director of Digital Media & Content at Telstra
  • Glen Cassidy – Founding Partner at Cake Wines
  • Shane Currey – Director – Design Thinking | Visualisation | Storytelling – Deloitte Australia
  • Lex Deasley – Creative & Strategy Director at Hausmann Communications

The event was a complete sell-out indicating just how important the topic of industry transformation is for comms professionals today. The future role of PR in integrated story telling, consumer engagement and brand building were hot topics.

There were three major “a-ha moments” at the session that I believe are worth sharing.

PRIA_VividIdeas-40

  1. Customer experience should be at the heart of big ideas

According to keynote speaker, Adam Good from Telstra, the best way to influence people is to focus on the customer experience, ensuring a company’s products and services deliver on brand promises.

Adam also talked about the important role PR plays at Telstra, which includes focusing multiple disciplines, combing creativity / content to create action-centric communication.

In the development of any Telstra comms campaign, big idea or consumer engagement piece, Adam relayed three important factors that Telstra considers:

Mechanics – What is at the heart of the idea or proposition? Are you nourishing the idea and proposition around the experience? How do you tell the story in different channels? Ultimately, “Why do I care about this idea”? You need to answer the most important meta-question: “What is in it for the customer”?

Dynamics – What behaviour are you looking for from the consumer? What do you want the consumer to do with the idea? What are they going to put into it and what are they going to take out of it? Do you want them to have involvement for an immediate, once-off action, or over time?

Aesthetics – What is the direct emotional response that you want the consumer to have when they interact? This is more than the look and feel – it is the emotional feeling that you want to create from that individual.

PRIA_VividIdeas-171

  1. Reciprocity in value exchange

Shane Currey from Deloitte made an important and provocative point: brands should give in the expectation of not getting anything back.

However Hausmann’s Creative & Strategy Director Lex Deasley challenged this, commenting that lots of brands are creating content to access audiences. Yet many brands don’t understand one basic truth: they need to have a purpose and a role in the experience or relationship that is being created, or there is no legitimate value exchange.

To create a value exchange the brand needs to ask the question “does this make people’s lives better?”.

Public Relations role argued Deasley, is to help clients understand reciprocity in value exchange.

PRIA_VividIdeas-192

  1. Build platforms not campaigns

Glen Cassidy, Founding Partner at Cake Wines, shared the terrific case study of his business which, although only a few years old, has already carved out a unique and strong market position.

Cake Wines has achieved this by focusing on celebrating sub-culture and not through mass marketing. For example, they donate 10% of proceeds to independent radio stations around the country, and commission emerging artists to create their labels via their prestigious annual Archi-bottle art competition. See the case study here.

Cassidy demonstrated that consumers who have deep levels of involvement in the communications from the brand ultimately foster a deeper brand connection. He says: “We push our ideas and try to push our creative thinking as far as we can so that people have a deep experience with our ideas and campaigns – our internal mantra is ‘to focus on building platforms, not campaigns’ and connect people and bring them together in a meaningful way that extends beyond the budget or period of time.”

The key take out: We should be thinking more broadly about ideas that last longer.

The session was inspiring, providing food for thought and grist for the mental mill. The final word came from Adam Good: “It is the most exciting time to work in the communications industry”. Hear! Hear!

Thanks to the PRIA for organising the event and Amanda Little for hosting.

PRIA_VividIdeas-197

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