Incredibly, it’s six years this week since we produced Show 4 of the csuite podcast which was on the topic of Social Business, so we decided to get our own Sophie Atherton to investigate what’s changed in that time . . .
In episode four of the csuite podacst, a Social Business was defined as ‘an organisation whose culture and systems encourage networks and people to drive business value’.
Running a Social Business does not just mean handing all social media responsibilities to the Marketing department to deal with and leaving it there. Used properly, social media can have a positive effect on the public profile of an organisation and could be utilised by all departments to promote the business. Additionally, it could provide transparency for stakeholders, and it can be a useful tool to highlight the values of the business. It should be deeply embedded into the culture of the organisation as a highly cost-effective way to engage with consumers and vice versa.
Studies have shown that 90% of people use social media to communicate directly with brands. Modern society has placed much emphasis on popular opinion, and many people consult social media profiles to inform their choices. Social media is a vastly accessible way to leave reviews, to complain about products or services, or simply to gain the attention of an organisation and its followers. Businesses can exploit this hugely useful – and free – tool to gain instant feedback, and for the opportunity to take quick action as and when necessary. It could be used to gauge popular opinion on new initiatives before they hit the market and help with decision-making. Other studies have shown that 74% of consumers use social media to make a buying decision. The use of social media and a large social media presence is therefore vital to business, and should be incorporated into all aspects of the organisation to allow cohesion between its online and offline profile.
Some aspects of a social business have changed since we recorded this episode of the csuite podcast, back in 2014. One example is the new social media platform TikTok, which in that time, has gained over 800million users worldwide and is now the most downloaded app on the Apple Appstore. It is hard to imagine that less than 6 years ago it was unheard of! How will Social Media look in another 6 years? And can business continue to keep up? It is important for business to constantly evolve and ensure they are up with the latest trends and using the most contemporary of platforms.
Social media campaigns can positively impact communities and brands. The 2020 ‘Black Lives Matter’ movement is an example of an effective social campaign that increased awareness of an important contemporary issue, and highlights the power of social media. #BlackLivesMatter was used 48 million times in 10 days across various online platforms, and there have been 12 billion views of the hashtag on TikTok. This not only demonstrates the scope and scale of social media, but also how quickly news spreads. YouTube pledged $100 million to support black creators and artists, which proves the hugely positive impact social media can have. Of course, this can work negatively; in the past there have been hacked social media accounts, accidental leaks of private information, even Twitter’s CFO accidentally tweeting private information to the public, meant for a private message!
In the 2014 csuite podcast, Ben Smith, founder of prmoment.com, observed that the practical implication of using social media is the method of integration into a business. However in 2020 businesses have pretty much got that down to a T. The main concerns are trying to keep the message consistent and brand-appropriate throughout all posts and platforms. In the podcast, Andrew Grill, who at the time of recording was the Global Social Business Partner at IBM, questioned whether brands take social media seriously, and if they simply use it to ‘pump’ their content without any real value. It might be necessary for businesses to consider appropriate training for members of staff responsible for social media posts to ensure each post has meaning and value.
In short, while Social Business reaches wider audiences and potential consumers with low costs and seamless content, in order for it to be effective it should be integrated within the business, with all employees involved and aware of its capabilities. Owing to the transparent and immediate nature of social media, businesses are able to highlight their values and culture, while maintaining open relationships with consumers and stakeholders.
We’re extremely proud to supporting the Women In Marketing Awards 2020
Launched in 2010, the WiM Awards were established to recognise the economic, social influence and impact of women to millions. They have given recognition to inspirational women and male equality advocates across the globe, from some of the biggest brands – Google, HP, Unilever, Burberry, SAP and Live Nation to name but a few.
WiM Awards 2020 marks the ten year anniversary of the awards and we are proud to supporting the event. We’ll be producing an dedicated episode in 2021 featuring some of the winners discussing their campaigns and what it means to win the award.
I’ve taken the csuite podcast to Cannes Lions since 2016 and in that time have had the pleasure of chatting to 49 of the most inspiring speakers, judges and award winners who were at the event. My guests have come to the festival from as far and wide as South America and India to Canada and Australia and have included agency leaders, brand owners, a social roboticist, a music producer, a spoken word artist and a body architect, with their ages ranging from Young Lions Award winners to an 86-year-old terminally-ill patient.
But what’s been consistent in all those interviews is that every single guest has had a fascinating story to tell … in their own words.
And therein lies the power of podcasting.
With no cameras filming the guests, coupled with the fact that we’re not broadcasting live, and perhaps thanks to the odd glass of rosé too, each interviewee immediately relaxes, resulting in an informal chat that allows them to be themselves, delivering authentic and engaging stories, whilst educating and hopefully entertaining the listeners at the same time.
Global podcast listenership has exploded since my first trip to Cannes. Podcasts are easy to access and subscribe to on a mobile device and there are topic areas for everyone. People listen in the car, in the gym, on the commute, out walking or running, as well as at home or at their desks of course. And with radio stations now podcasting their programming, or creating exclusive content as a podcast, plus popular celebrities hosting their own shows too, podcasting is forming an increasing part of our daily media diet.
This has opened up a huge potential for brands to be using podcasts as a credible medium and so this year I’ll be presenting at Cannes myself alongside Zuleika Burnett, Executive Director, Creative and Innovation, Havas Life Medicom. We’ll be looking at how the most difficult narratives can be harnessed to deliver healthcare stories as podcasts and how brands can rise above the noise of the other 500,000+ active podcasts to reach their audiences.
Russell Goldsmith & Zuleika Burnett are presenting on the Healthcare Insights Stage, Palais II on Monday 17th June, 12:45-13:15
Earlier this week I attended PR360 and have come away truly inspired thanks to the team from Hotwire who were in the networking area showing off Virtual Reality technology. They had a VR headset on their stand, and were giving delegates the opportunity to try it out by watching the Clouds Over Sidra film that was produced last year for the United Nations.
I grabbed the opportunity to try out the technology whilst John Brown, Hotwire’s Director, Head of Engagement talked me through it.
It was the first time I’d ever experienced VR and all I can say is ‘wow’! It really is hard to describe what it’s like, but if you watch Mike Butcher’s reactions in the video of him trying it out whilst interviewing the producer of the film, Socrates Kakoulides, for Techcrunch, you’ll see how easy it is to get lost in the VR world and wrapped up in the emotion of that film in particular. [Download VRSE‘s app to view the film.]
Seeing this film and chatting to Emma Hazan, Hotwire’s Deputy UK MD (and previous guest on show 4 of my csuitepodcast series) has really inspired me to gen up on this area of video. Embarrassingly, I don’t even refer to VR in the ‘Using Video in Social Media’ workshop I regularly run for the PRCA and other clients – this will now change by the time I host my next session!
I feel I have a bit of catching up to do on this topic, but have been truly inspired by what I’ve seen.
Emma talked to me about how VR is perfect for the travel industry – imagine being able to walk around your hotel, look at the bar area, the pool, and check out your room before you book. We then chatted about other industries that could benefit, and of course, whilst agreeing that the Porn industry would no doubt lead the way, how about the Property market, especially high end sales for overseas investors. No need to visit the £1m+ apartments, just look around with your VR headset and then send your deposit – deal done!
This is my new favourite topic and so if anyone has some good case studies they want to share with me to include in my future workshops, please do get in touch.
Having recenlty returned from a Christmas family trip to Disneyland Paris, it was no surprise to read that the theme park had been reported to have received a €1 billion bail out a few months ago.
Don’t get me wrong, we had a great few days away and there is, without doubt, a magical feeling you get when you walk through the entrance, which is still the case for my 17 and 14 year old too. However, the park looks tired and clearly shows a lack of investment and it’s therefore no suprise to read that it’s been losing money for years.
I can’t pretend to know how to run a theme park, nor do I have any idea of the cost of building rides and maintaining them, but here are my ten very simple observations as to where that huge investment could be spent to help restore my faith in the Magic Kingdom.
- It’s time for Michael Jackson to Beat It
In Discoveryland you will find what’s described as ‘A fantastic 3D film relating the adventures of Captain EO, alias Michael Jackson, featuring a rhythm-packed musical soundtrack and a whole host of dazzling special effects’
This film was made in 1986. At the time, it was the most expensive film ever produced on a per-minute basis, averaging out at $1.76 million per minute and starred the biggest pop sensation directed by the guy that brought us Star Wars. It didn’t get any better. But what does that mean to kids of today? Michael Jackson sadly passed away over five years ago now and I understand the reasons that this attraction was brought back to the park as a tribute to him, but it’s time to move it on. The film couldn’t look more dated and the ‘dazzling special effects’ look so basic compared to what we’ve come to expect with films such as Avatar and Gravity its almost embarrassing to watch.
- Did they not wanna build a snowman?
Wandering around the park are of course the famous five of Mickey, Minnie, Donald, Goofy and Pluto but you’ll also spot the likes of Chip & Dale and … Mr Smee. Where are the new heroes like Olaf, the snowman who stole the show in Frozen? Disney need to stop living in the past. The choice of characters you can meet still seems to be based on the ‘trying to live your childhood through your kids’ theory.
- Time to update the rides, Savvy?
I get that Pirates of the Caribbean was a ride before it was a blockbuster film, but would most kids going to the park know that? So when you get to the ride, it makes no sense to me and must surely be huge disappointment to many not to see any reference to Captain Jack Sparrow. Time to have a facelift.
- The not so Fastpass®
‘You can save time with Fastpass’, except that when you read your small print, ‘you may only have one Fastpass ticket at a time’ and despite Disney Hotel guests being able to enter the parks early, the Fastpass machines don’t open until 10am. So choose wisely which one you want, because within minutes you are already only able to get into that ride say about an hour later. By the time you have then used your Fastpass, the next one you try to use isn’t available until about 2-3pm, after which you’ll be lucky to get another one. The system simply doesn’t work
Disneyland Paris has had over 14.2m visits in 2014, and almost every one of those must have been taking photos just as we were. So with the amount of pictures that were no doubt being uploaded to social media, the park could be trending online pretty much every day if they simply offered free wifi throughout it, which is not currently available, and perhaps ran competitions encouraging you to tag your photos with a hashtag where the best photos won Disney related prizes.
- Figaro Figaro Figaro
Far be it from me to tell Disney how to sell product, but I do find it odd that you come off a ride, say in Fantasyland, such as Pinocchio, and in the store you can buy a Lilo and Stitch toy. I may have a vested interest in this one as my favourite Disney character is Figaro, Mister Geppeto’s cat. I know, an odd choice out of all the characters there have ever been. But my point is, would there not be more chance of selling more product if, when you finished the ride you could perhaps buy a bigger selection of toys from that particular film? After all, there are stores all over the two parks and in the Disney Village area where you can buy all the other stuff. FYI, there was no Figaro on sale, and surprisingly, neither could we find a cuddly Olaf.
- Early Starts, but not for all the workers
Guests of the Disney Hotels benefit from being allowed into the park earlier than the general public, which is great, if all the rides were open. But they are not. For example, we made a bee-line for the Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster in Walt Disney Studios, but that didn’t open until 10am, so instead made the long walk back to the main park to go on Space Mountain, except that ride had ‘technical problems’ and was therefore closed at the time. Unlucky I guess, so instead we went to the Buzz Lightyear Laser Blast, but by 9.30am, it was already at a 30min queue, and of course you couldn’t use a FastPass at it was too early! Open all the rides and make it a true benefit to the guests to get up early.
- These are not the rides you are looking for
Disney paid over $4bn for LucasFilm, so I get that it wants to see an ROI out of Star Wars. But still having the original Star Tours simulator, which like the Captain EO film, is almost 30 years old, is just simply not worth queuing for, when your time can be better spent on amazing new and original rides like Ratatouille, which opened earlied this year. Star Wars also seems an odd choice to show on the screens in the Videopolis area which, despite having a stage, had no live show on it. Instead, across the screens they were showing clips from the animated series Star Wars Rebels. This seemed strange, especially at Christmas time. Surely kids would prefer to see the songs of Frozen playing whilst they are having their lunch, or something from Mickey’s Christmas Carol. I don’t have the stats, and haven’t done the research, but I can’t believe too many kids under 10 would get excited by Star Wars Rebels whilst at Disney.
- Interactive Queuing
We were lucky in that the longest queue we had was 45mins, but the timing of many queues were shown as 70 minutes or more. So how hard can it be to make that time pass a little faster by giving something for you to do whilst standing in the freezing December cold. The impressive ‘Crush’s Coaster’ ride did get it right by offering a local wifi link enabling you to download a game onto your smartphone, which certainly helps. So why can’t they do something similar on all the rides, or why not have screens above the queues showing scenes from the films, or the characters walking along the queue giving the kids a chance to take a selfie with Snow White, for example. How difficult could that last one be?
- Disney on-demand
And finally, when you do crash out in your room, why not offer the chance to watch a Disney movie of your choice on your TV. I’ve never understood why, in this age of Netflix, which does indeed have Disney films on it menu, why the Disney Hotels don’t offer an on-demand service of all the films available to show.
So there you have it. My 10 simple marketing tips (and I had plenty more) for the people at Disneyland Paris on where to start spending their billion Euros.
In summary, as I said, we had a great time away, but perhaps Disney need to take a leaf out of their own song that has driven just about everyone mad in 2014 and that I can’t get out of my head since returning from my trip:
“the past is in the past! Let it go, let it go.”