Event Says

Latest Posts Subscribe to this blog RSS

Embodied brand experiences – the new frontier

Lewis Robbins, senior associate strategist at Jack Morton Worldwide discusses the importance of physical experiences, and how they are deeply bound up with how we think, feel and behave.

Picture the scene… you’re at a party and someone walks up to you, whitened teeth gleaming and extends a hand.

“Hi. My name’s Clive. And my three personality pillars are honesty, integrity, and respect.”

What would you make of Clive? Does he seem like a stand-up guy? Or an unhinged sociopath? Yet weirdly, this is how many brands try to connect with people. By telling us what their values are, instead of making them implicit through how they behave – just one symptom of the gap between marketing and real life.

Effective brand experiences close this gap by empathising with people and understanding their needs by creating unique and memorable experiences, and by facilitating a discussion, rather than a one-way broadcast. This much we know – and it’s why brand experience is so critical to successful marketing today.

But amongst all of this, there’s one element that’s often overlooked. And it’s the reason why brand experience is better placed than any other medium today when it comes to communicating values on an intuitive level. It’s a simple, yet fundamental truth: we don’t just think with our brains, we think with our bodies.

To explain, let’s return to our friend Clive. He’s still standing there, hand outstretched, beginning to feel a little awkward. Let’s give him a second chance. Stretch out your own hand in turn, and imagine what Clive’s handshake is like. Perhaps it’s like a ‘wet fish’, or bone-crunchingly firm…or even surprisingly normal. Whichever it is, this contact carries meaning at an unconscious level. From his handshake, you might make a judgement about his character – whether he’s weak, overbearing, or might actually be OK.

In short, our physical experiences in the world are deeply bound up with how we think, feel and behave. This may seem obvious – but it actually runs counter to thousands of years of Western philosophy (which has traditionally divided the mind and body), and is a driving idea in a relatively new area of cognitive science, called ’embodied cognition’.

This emphasis on the body represents a new frontier for marketing and brand experience is particularly well–positioned to make use of its findings.

Our everyday lives are filled with examples of ‘embodied metaphors’ – physical experiences that act as a vehicle for meaning. They are blindingly obvious, yet often hidden in plain sight. For example an experiment showed that people holding a warm cup of coffee are more likely to use ‘warm’ language to describe another person’s character. Physical warmth primes emotional warmth – a connection that usually begins when we are very small, when we are held by our parents and ‘bind’ their bodily warmth to feelings of comfort, love and security.

Another experiment showed that being primed with rough surfaces can make people perceive ensuing tasks to be more adversarial or difficult (think of ‘I had a rough day’ vs. everything going ‘smoothly’). And if you present people with a CV on a weighted clipboard, they’ll perceive that person as being more competent (they’ll literally give more ‘weight’ to it).

The closer you look, the more these embodied metaphors appear. In many ways, meaning begins with the body. As Guy Claxton puts it in his excellent book ‘Intelligence in the Flesh’, ‘the sensory motor part of the brain provided the original platform for the development of more abstract cognition and comprehension, and continues to do so throughout life…we make sense of the world, even when it is rather abstract, by getting ready to act on it or interact with it’. For brands, this means that if we want to express something emotionally, a good place to start is to think about how an experience ‘feels’ physically.

Many ‘traditional’ mediums are undergoing an immersive, multisensory re-invention that places greater emphasis on an embodied experience. Pioneering work by Punchdrunk has helped make the theatre physical. And exhibitions like Soundscapes (at the National Gallery) and the Tate Sensorium aim to heighten our experience of art through birdsong, ultrasonic projection, ash-flavoured chocolate and more. Beyond that, there are beautiful, eloquent examples of architecture that become spatial metaphors for emotion and meaning. The Jewish Museum in Berlin is one such example, with its uneven floors, void spaces, a heavy door opening into a dark, cold tower with concrete walls, illuminated at its peak by a thin slither of daylight.

All of this adds up to a powerful opportunity for us to communicate with people on a deeper level. But first we have to overcome the perception that multisensory marketing is too daunting, too complex. In the multisensory events survey recently reported in Event, many said they feel unsure how to approach creating sensory-led events or feel restricted by budget and time. But often the devil is in the detail – the smallest of touches (sometimes quite literally) can make the biggest difference, as it’s in these intimate textures and details that the ‘sense’ of a brand can be rooted and conveyed. From the very big, to the very small, we can ‘map’ a brand’s abstract values to physical materials and concrete experiences.

This kind of approach to marketing – bringing people to their senses, creating something they can feel, something they want – is key to closing that gap between marketing (itself a strange and outdated term) and real life.

What a great time to be in it.


Lewis Robbins is a senior associate strategist at Jack Morton Worldwide.

Building ‘real world’ digital brand experiences

Andrew Stothert from Brand Vista discusses how brands can maximise the positive effect of a ‘real world’ brand experience in a way that’s impossible to match with a purely digital approach.

The most powerful experiences are fundamentally based on a unique and differentiating brand at their core. In the world we live in, consumers see brands as total entities, not separate channel manifestations, therefore it is important that both ‘real world’ and digital experiences are aligned.

What powerful ‘real world’ brand experiences offer a result that is impossible to simulate?

The mantra we chant is that the truth is always in the product. Powerful real world experiences are critical to connecting with customer’s feelings, but they don’t exist in a vacuum – they need to extend into the digital space. Experiences can’t transcend this barrier unless the brand truly understands its customers, what they feel, and what other choices they have.

There is only one Glastonbury, Epsom Derby, or Wimbledon. These brands have grown through reinventing themselves whilst staying true to their core brand. In these cases the brand is the experience, and the experience is the brand, but theproduct is the key to the uniquely differentiating position they own.

We have all seen and no doubt experienced the pop-up world of brand experiences, be they from Mini or Magnum, but often these seem like glorified sampling exercises. In contrast, Lidl’s pop-up restaurant and the ads that surrounded it brilliantly blended their customer journey. It challenged perceptions of quality and drove recruitment to stores. However, if the stores hadn’t delivered the promise, then the whole thing would have been an abject waste of money. Quite clearly it works; it takes only one look at their customer acquisition and financial outcomes to see this.

American Express Unstaged is another brilliant blend of customer insight totally aligned to the needs of the business. Its focus is about retention through adding value way beyond the transactional relationship with its customers. This is very difficult to replicate because it is based on how they make their customer feel.

The discipline of brand experience continues to develop and evolve as brands seek to connect on deeper and richer levels with their consumers, in order to drive loyalty, repeat purchase, recommendation and social media presence. Still, we must not miss the point that each experience sits in an environment where consumers see a whole brand and not just the individual flashes of brilliance.

The truly unique and protected brand experiences focus on the short term hit and the longer prize – how each and every interaction makes their consumers feel. Getting this right means interrupting them in ways that build on an overall feeling about their brand, not just a one-off moment.

How can you maximise the effect of experiential marketing in a way that is overlooked by ‘digital-first’ thinkers?  

Experience is king in today’s world of brand building. The challenge for most companies is not just how to create amazing one-off brand experiences and magic moments but how to deliver the basics brilliantly. We can create the most amazing digital-first experiences that then collapse because they are not aligned to the operational side of the business.

Bringing cross functional teams together to deliver and support the experiential marketing efforts of the brand can turn on-off interruptions into aligned brand building activity.

Having a clear picture of the overall customer journey into which the brand experiences are going to be placed is critical. It allows any activity to be part of the synergistic development of the brand, from the perspective of the customer.

There is a real truth in the value of putting yourself in your customers’ shoes. They don’t see the difference between the various departments within an organisation, nor do they care about them. They simply want an experience that is consistent and appealing wherever and whenever they collide with the brand and everything that sits behind it.

What consumers see is either a seamlessly aligned experience that aligns with everything they know about the brand, even sometimes challenges perceptions, or they see a disparate and dysfunctional series of tactical stunts that will eventually be outdone by someone else.

The upside is that getting this right creates a conversation with the customers they recognise and are excited by.

The key to brilliant brand event experiences is not just creating magic brand moments but also doing the basics brilliantly. If consumers judge brands by what they do, and not what they say, then you can have the best brand ‘wow’ moment in the world – but if the loos don’t work, all your hard work is undone.


Andrew Stothert is chief executive and a founding partner of Brand Vista.

The creation of emotional advantages

Jaron Wikler, development director at AddingValue discusses how experiential can be used to create emotional advantages.

“Daddy; please read me a long copy advert before bedtime,”….. asked no child ever. That’s because children want a story; stories that allow them to relate, stories that make sense, clarify their confused world and elicit an emotion. The big bad wolf is scary, Cinderella has a rags-to-riches happy ending and the bears in Goldilocks are greedy.

The marketing bubble used to refer to this as the not-so-creatively-named ‘Story-telling’ concept. It was all the rage a few years ago and there are a lot of agencies out there who still sell this concept as the latest trend. But a really good communications agency understands that story-telling by itself is not the destination – it is the vehicle. The real destination is the arousal of emotions in consumers.

Just like the aforementioned children, consumers want to relate to a brand, to get a sense that they will be looked after and that there is always a happy ending. It’s no secret that brands want to sell their products – and by the way, there is nothing wrong with that. We are all selling something, sometimes, and conversely we are all buying something, sometimes.

For a brand, inspiring and engaging consumer emotions are powerful tools because when engaged properly, emotions will turn non-users into users, light users into heavy users, heavy users into brand advocates and brand advocates will influence non-users, thereby starting the cycle all over again; and that’s even more powerful.

Emotions have to be created credibly

However, it’s not just enough to want to create emotions, it has to be done credibly, wrapped up in a story that will resonate, be attractive but with a purpose for the brand and a positive take-out for the consumer. Which media platform can deliver all that? Only experiential marketing.

However people get bogged down with trying to define the term ‘experiential’ too often and at worst they think its grubby, immeasurable, not ‘sexy’ – the dirty end of the industry. The truth is that it doesn’t really matter how you describe it; the only thing that really matters are the results it can achieve and that it can be accurately measured – if done correctly.  

Experiential marketing directly engages consumers and encourages them to participate with the brand, product or service; to touch it, to feel it, to sense it and to play with it. If done well then the consumer will walk away with a positive view of that brand, product or service, and they will tell their friends about it too.

Rather than looking at consumers as passive receivers of messages, engagement marketers believe that consumers should be actively involved in developing a relationship with the brand, a relationship that is built on a positive experience, or to put it another way: creating emotional advantages.


Jaron Wikler is development director at AddingValue.

A view from the Middle East

Adrian Bell, executive director of Dubai-based brand experience and event agency Action Impact discusses the latest experiential brand marketing trends in the Middle East.

It’s no secret that the ripples of industry trends, here in the Middle East, can lag a little behind those of more mature markets in Europe. Much of what was the latest and greatest thinking at the end of last year is only just hitting the shores here. But importantly, that adoption gap is ever-reducing as the momentum and sheer speed that places like Dubai move at is breathtaking.

Here are a few important shifts that we’re seeing:

Measure the experience

With ever-intelligent sales analysis techniques, Middle East marketing budgets are being scrutinised by the bean-counters more than ever before. Activations are under pressure to extend the dialogue with consumers beyond just the event and wherever possible (and relevant) culminate in a real driver to the point of sale. If the objective is not to directly increase sales, then tangible metrics need to be considered from the outset so that a return can be clearly conveyed to the client.

It’s got to go viral

A growing trend in late 2014/early 2015 in the Middle East is the demand from brands to ‘go viral’ online. And yes, that all-too-familiar response from local agencies of “Er, yup, it doesn’t quite work like that…” can be found everywhere.

That said, as more and more brands achieve incredible view rates around the world on sites like YouTube, we are seeing a pattern for what it takes to go viral – and at the core is more often than not an original (and genuinely authentic) experiential idea.

Digital not for digital’s sake

We’re starting to hear the expression “if you didn’t post anything on Facebook/Twitter/Instagram, it didn’t happen” more than ever before. Increasingly in 2015, if your experiential campaign isn’t also generating conversation on social networks then you have simply failed to make a memorable impression on the consumer.

Adding the mechanics that drive social media may be a bolt on to campaigns – this is better than nothing at all. However, the best campaigns will be those that consider the power of social media from the outset and allow it to shape the concept.

Mobile event apps are becoming the norm

Once regarded as gimmicks of questionable value, mobile event apps are starting to come of age. The evolution is supported by the Middle East’s high rates of smartphone penetration, coupled with its outstanding mobile data speeds, where 4G is completely normal. Event planners are finally beginning to understand how a well-designed event app can be integrated into the event experience to significantly improve audience engagement.


Adrian Bell is executive director at Action Impact.

How cultural venues are adapting with technology

Gareth McTiffin, marketing and events manager at Merlin Events London, discusses how cultural venues are adapting their events by engaging with technology.

What is a cultural venue?

Generally conceived, a cultural venue is a building with national significance, and it comes in various forms from historical, iconic and heritage sites to galleries and museums. London, often referred to as the cultural hub of the world, boasts a range of unique and diverse venues.

Take the South Bank for instance; in such a small space you have a choice of venues, it could be the National Theatre, Royal Festival Hall, Sea Life London Aquarium or Queen Elizabeth Hall. In South Kensington too, the Science and Natural History Museums take pride of place – there really is a huge amount of choice. And the best thing is, all these venues are built for events.

The role of technology in events

Technology has always played a part in the industry by shaping how guests understand and network through events. Today, this technology plays an even bigger role, helping to streamline admission and operational processes as well as helping event organisers market and interact with attendees pre and post event.

Hot at the moment is 3D projection and mapping, which is only slightly trumped by the investment in virtual and augmented reality which now has a particular purpose in some cultural venues. Iconic locations, from Madame Tussauds to Abbey Road Studios, have launched virtual show rounds so that clients can experience an immersive event from the comfort of their office. This in particular has proven fruitful during daytime and busy operating hours. Cultural venues, as with technology, are becoming the event template, and prove increasingly popular with other venues.

How are cultural venues using technology?

Regardless of whether it is an historic hotel, museum or retail outlet, clients and their guests have a certain expectation of technology. Wi-fi, integrated lighting and sound systems can be found in most places as part of the venue’s offering. Ticketed events now use RFID coding to admit and serve guests, and this can be seen in lots of venues including the London Dungeon and Olympia London Conference Centre.

Should cultural venues be using technology?

Cultural venues are no exception when it comes to keeping up to date with technology. To remain competitive, venues have to be thought leaders – it is the only way to maximise their product and satisfy their audiences as well as streamline their processes. Cultural landmarks are also extremely apt when it comes to social media. Being online throughout the whole event allows venues to be seen and advise clients on how to maximise their creativity and thought leadership.

Technology is an integral part of our everyday life, which is why most venues value and understand it, and if they don’t then they should. While being true to their core, cultural venues have to evolve with technology to remain relevant and continue to drive business. The goal at the end of the day is to ensure our clients are always happy.


Gareth McTiffin is marketing and events manager at Merlin Events London.

Embracing the digital audience

Are organisers missing the value in engaging with audiences outside of live events? Nick Dew, managing director at Really Creative Media, discusses the opportunities to embrace the digital audience.

As the excitement and anticipation of London Fashion Week builds and the countdown begins, myself and the team at Really Creative Media prepare for a chaotic week of filming, live-streaming and instant post-event production. With all eyes of the fashion industry turning towards London, we focus on how live events engage with digital audiences, not just at London Fashion Week but events throughout the year.

Since I launched Really Creative Media in 2009 I have always felt that events should be pre-planned to reach as many people as possible, not as an afterthought or a luxury for the big budgets. In April, the British Fashion Council announced it would move London Fashion Week from its central home at Somerset House to Brewer Street Car Park in Soho, in an attempt to “increase its footprint across the capital” and reach a wider audience.

In actual fact, London Fashion Week has been reaching an impressive audience for years, live streaming the main catwalks to 190 countries worldwide and promoting content via social media – but the decision is reflective of the event industry as a whole; a decision to increase the footprint physically and digitally.

How to enage with someone at home

This ultimately raises the question as to how brands can engage seamlessly with the consumer who is sat at home but still wants to participate in the experience.

The brand engagement delivered to those at home during London Fashion Week can be replicated by any experiential or live event by producing visual content that extends the event experience. We’re often asked to create and edit behind-the-scenes, sneak peek footage of events using tools like SnappyTV, which allows organisers to place live video snippets directly into the brand’s Twitter feed.

Other engaging ways of attracting an audience, and specifically for London Fashion Week, include animated GIFs of the make-up artists doing finishing touches, Instagram videos of designers talking through collections or ‘Making Of’ videos with complex catwalks.

The results

As a creative company we aim to capture the ‘exclusive’ thrill of the event and relay it to a wider audience, sharing it simultaneously with the live event. And for the British Fashion Council, it is working – at the AW14 London Fashion Week, there were 300,000 mentions of #LFW on Twitter over the five days, and nearly 100,000 images tagged with #LFW on Instagram.

From creating video footage for social media to producing a Google Hangout as a way to tour a venue, live event or interactive experience – the worthwhile opportunities are there for live events to reach the digital audience, and are accessible whatever the event and budget.

Nick Dew Managing Director Really Creative Media

Nick Dew is managing director of digital and live production agency Really Creative Media.

Find the venue, the experience will come

With increasing numbers of nightclubs, and many venues laying vacant across the country, Shout About London’s Ben Gamble says they can be the perfect blank canvas for an event space.

Ask pretty much anyone within the industry what experiential means and you’ll be greeted with a myriad of obtuse interpretations. Yet, it is the buzz word of the moment that just isn’t relenting. Having vastly evolved from its sample handout days with promotional teams on every street corner, experiential has proven it has a lot more to offer, firmly establishing its place as a key consideration within global brands’ wider marketing strategies.

With the increasing trend for lengthy immersive events and pop-ups showing no signs of abating, the search for the ever important ‘unique and versatile’ premises is becoming more and more challenging, or is it?

According to news reported last week (10-14 August), confirming that nearly half of the UKs nightclubs have closed in the last decade, it appears venues are plentiful, not just in London, but all around the UK, making them ripe for the taking. We have found that more and more of the capital’s closed or unused (and unlikely) venues are stealing the limelight from regular hosts.


Events used to be for 100 people in a room, now they are for as many people that can and will engage with the event more widely on social media. This is simply because by focusing on experiential there is a much higher chance of a marketer’s dream ‘going viral’ with consumer interaction as part of a loud and engaging campaign.

This is more likely to happen if the setting is unusual, unknown and almost secretive, like they shouldn’t be there. There is more opportunity to capture that exclusive feeling in an old church or tunnel as opposed to a working hotel or livery hall. These types of venues also provide the perfect set-up for brands and corporates looking for something different.

Room to be creative

Available as ‘blank canvases’ with no, or very limited restrictions for transforming an area, these venues are like a dream for event visionaries who don’t have to ask ‘can we move this and can we remove that etc.’ Additional appeal from an unused venue is the flexibility on time and a greater opportunity to negotiate on costs, making derelict and out-of-use buildings a big draw to both large and start-up companies. And for the venue owner it’s a no brainer, especially if the premises have been branded somewhat redundant.

So for those in search of a true experiential event it starts with the venue search. Because if you get that wrong and you end up being in the wrong place for the wrong reason (i.e. you knew someone, who knew someone who got you a free upgrade from pastries to bacon rolls and that was the deciding factor), experiential will always be an afterthought hashtag rather than a spine tingling, memorable experience.


Ben Gamble is co-founder and partner at Shout About London.

We are living in an experience generation

There’s something about being with a brand and physically taking part in an experience that really gets consumers to stop, listen and act, says Alec Braun, MD and creative lead at Slice.

More so than ever we’re seeing a trend toward integrating events even further into the marketing mix. Event magazine’s recent Power Brands report shows that experiential is now regarded as the most effective marketing channel for brands and 75% of them saw experiential budgets increase in the past 12 months.

This demonstrates that we are living in a world where consumers care more about how you involve them rather than simply what you tell or show them. Ultimately, live events need to be at the heart of the marketing mix – there is simply no better way to emotionally connect an audience with a brand than to be with them

This further strengthens our belief that the best campaigns need to go beyond ATL and harness live to really make audiences stop and listen. Experiential has the power to make consumers ‘step in’ rather than step past. You’re more inclined to remember an experience that you’re part of than a billboard you merely walk past.

In more detail

The recent Bellwether reports go further to suggest that experiential is not going unnoticed, but brands still need to be braver and move away from the traditional to think about the more experience-focused consumer. Recently we’ve seen a movement in the evolution of OOH to try and leverage this shift:

1. In April Carlsberg famously turned one of their billboard ads into a beer tap giving away free beer to passers-by. The experiential campaign got worldwide publicity and is one of the most memorable marketing stunts of the year.

Not only did it make those who were there stop and engage with the brand, the experience triggered an overwhelmingly positive response which in turn generated enormous social and PR reach through a channel that is traditionally very one-way. Again step in, not just step past.

2. WCRS recently won Gold at Cannes Lions for their digital interactive OOH campaign for Women’s Aid. The campaign used facial-recognition technology to highlight how we can all make a difference in the fight against domestic violence. The billboard, which showed bruised models, recognised when consumers stopped to pay attention. The more people that stopped and noticed, the more the woman’s injuries healed.

3. Last month we saw a bus stop poster which evolved over time depending on how people responded to it. This artificially intelligent outdoorad shows how media can now react to consumer emotions and change to target that specific consumer with content or messaging.

But OOH is not the only place this rapid evolution is taking place. Advances in wearable technology mean ‘stepping in’ is now becoming an integral part of an audience’s experience at many large concerts, sporting events and public experiences.

Recently, at Wimbledon, Jaguar distributed sensors to a number of spectators to measure the crowd’s sentiment, emotion and reactions. The campaign, Feel Wimbledon, used biometric watches which monitored heart rate, motion and audio levels in and around the match courts.

Using this data Jaguar was able to create an ‘emotional picture’ of the crowd atmosphere at Wimbledon – these images were then pushed out on social media and a network of video screens across the UK’s rail network. Using reactions at live events to generate this type of content is a powerful way of involving increased numbers of consumers and making them feel a part of the overall experience – whether they’re there or not.

So, whether it’s mini theatrical experiences, interactive OOH or sentiment tracking sports events it all points to one thing – consumers want to be part of a brand’s message rather than just witness it. The most memorable brands are the ones that don’t hold back in being brave and innovative in asking consumers to step in.

Why experiential marketing will boost your brand engagement

Phil Boas, director of brand engagement at Paragon, discusses the benefits of a cross-media focus and immersive experiences when it comes to brand engagement.

The convergence of social and digital media has been at the forefront of the marketing arena for many years. Now an integral marketing tool for brands of all shapes and sizes, reports suggest that social media marketing budgets will double by 2018 compared to two years ago.

However, in today’s crowded marketplace, brands who implement a cross-media focus create strategically driven campaigns and more powerful brand engagement than those just focusing on the digital element.

The combination of physical and digital presents key opportunities for marketers. Digital is able to extend a physical event/experience beyond the traditional boundaries through social, online and mobile communications, while the physical experience moves people to action through a sustained conversation that encourages brand loyalty in the most powerful way.

Escaping the switch-off

Much like traditional methods of brand promotion – the foremost example being television advertising – social and digital content will reach its saturation point as consumers begin switching off from businesses’ promoting their brand through this medium. As more social media sites appear, the most popular sites are experiencing a decline in growth. A Business Insider UK report from April revealed that Twitter’s monthly active users “have grown at a slowing pace almost every quarter”.

Businesses shouldn’t put all their eggs in one basket with brand engagement. Ultimately, the biggest global brands would survive without social media due to countless years fostering strong, personal relationships founded on face-to-face communications. People are inherently social, and nothing can compete with brands bringing people together through immersive experiences.

Experiential (or ‘face-to-face’) marketing has undergone its own growth and is not just second fiddle to social and digital. Big brands find value in reaching out to their target audiences in a physical capacity.

Businesses shouldn’t put all their eggs in one basket with brand engagement, says Boas

Scoring engagement

Take the Premier League, for example – the richest football league in the world. With an estimated 1.2 billion fans it turns over more annual revenue than any other football league. Fans are continually provided with innovative digital content through the club’s social media strategies.

So why do these already highly profitable Premier League teams organise overseas tours during the off-season? Not only are they financially lucrative, but fans can engage with teams on a more physical level than through social and digital content. Premier League fans can form a deeper connection with a particular team through unforgettable experiences and create a greater ‘customer lifetime value’ (CLV) than traditional, digital marketing strategies. This boosts brand loyalty and help derive further commercial benefits for the club.

Brands who invest in creating immersive experiences for their target audiences are the ones that succeed. A study examining experiential marketing trends on more than 1,600 major organisations found 84% of people believe that experiential marketing activities are important, very important or critical to their organisations.

While many brands create their own content to distribute digitally in the hope it will go viral, very little of it actually does. As 78% of people only listen to peer recommendations, it becomes more important to boost brand experiences where customers are four more times likely to become advocates for your business. It’s big business to get your customers on side and experiential activity gives them something to shout about.

Is your brand maximising its social media presence

In the ever-changing world of online marketing, it is no longer a secret that maximising your brand’s potential through social media is a necessity, says Ian Sullivan, managing director of Paperhat Consorcio.


The interactive, instantaneous, worldwide messaging service has fast become the preferred choice of communication and consistent statistics indicate that it will continue to do so.

So is your brand maximising this potential opportunity or is it continuing to regard this prolific marketing channel as a ‘nice to have’? Regardless of whether your brand is B2B or B2C, public or private sector, profit or not-for-profit, social media marketing is a communication delivery channel that now demands every brand’s respect.

I can easily lose count the amount of times I’ve heard: “Social media? The graduate manages all that stuff.” What other marketing channel do you leave to ‘the graduate’? Probably none, purely because marketing your brand is a key function within your organisation.

Whose job is social media?

So why do so many brands still leave social media marketing to the junior team members? There is no real definitive answer, suffice to say that it is probably a combination of cost, ignorance and convenience.

Marketing your brand on social media is no longer a luxury. It has now become essential to communicate with your potential online audience. Gone are the days when it was only used by tech-savvy teenagers. Facebook has been around for 10 years this year.

That means those tech-savvy teenagers are now almost 30 years old. That’s a key purchasing demographic that feel natural communicating, operating and buying via social media. Couple this with the easier to access social media graphic user interfaces and you also see an older generation joining and interacting. Just ask yourself, how many people do you know that have never used social media?

Social media is ‘opt in’ marketing

The other key point to note with social media marketing is that it is an ‘opt in’ marketing channel. The people you organically communicate with have chosen to follow and hear from your brand. These reasons are why it is so important to ensure the social media marketing content has the full respect and budget to deliver your brand’s messaging as you would with all your other marketing channels.

However, the content, curation and messaging is just one part of the social media marketing strategy. Tone of voice, interaction, customer profiling, data analysis, timing, contingency planning, customer service and managing negative sentiment are some of the other elements that have to be considered every time your brand interacts online.

So where do you start? Strangely, not posting anything on your brand’s social medi. Take a step back as you would naturally with any other marketing channel. The key question is ‘what is my brand’s overarching marketing strategy?’ Understand clearly what message your brand is underpinning. Only then can you utilise the marketing tools to deliver the messaging.

The next step is to select the correct social media platforms that suit your brands audience. Due to the verity to choose from you may well end up selecting more than one platform. Facebook, YouTube, Twitter and LinkedIn are the big four, followed by Google+, Instagram and Pinterest. Each have their own unique strengths, weaknesses and online audience.

Decide on your content

So now you have the marketing strategy, the social media platforms and most importantly, the consideration for professional social media marketing. Now comes the hard bit – the content. What are you going to publish? Beware, social media is extremely content hungry. If you post unique content once a day on two platforms you will need 10 items of content in a working week.

You cannot get away with posting the same content in the same format across two or more different social media platforms. The audiences your brand is communicating with are on their preferred social media platform because that is the way they like to communicate online. Your brand must respect that and communicate its content format accordingly.

Now go and build your audience. But why would you actually follow a brand on social media? Simply, because you are interested in what they have to say. Not just today, but at all times. Therefore to attract the right audience, your brand needs to communicate its marketing messages consistently.

It needs to consistently engage with like-minded individuals online who have a need or a requirement that your brand can fulfil. This is why switching your brand’s social media communication on and off will never work. It needs to be consistent. Only this way can your brand maximise its social media presence.

Marketing your brand on social media is no longer a luxury, says Ian Sullivan

Ian Sullivan is managing director of Paperhat Consorcio.