Top tips for creating engaging Twitter content

 

Managing a business’s Twitter account can be a daunting task in itself, and creating engaging content can even seem impossible. You only have 140 characters so it is important to make each letter and punctuation mark count! Chloe, our PR and Marketing Executive, discusses how to make tweets a hit every time!

 

Name drop

Tagging accounts on Twitter (known as “mentions”) will instantly let a profile know you want it to be involved in your conversation. If you are appreciating the work of a company, or talking about a particular individual and they have a Twitter handle, tagging them will instantly notify your interest in their work, resulting in a retweet or a reply, hopefully! It’s an easy way to build relationships.

 

Starting with a full stop

If you are tagging an account’s handle at the start of your tweet, it’s a good idea to use a full stop before. Why? If you use a full stop at the beginning of your tweet, it will appear on the timeline. If you don’t, it will disappear to your ‘tweets & replies’, with only you and the respondent seeing it. So, for maximum exposure, make sure that you defy grammatical rules and start with a full stop.

#Trends

The hashtag started its reign back in 2007 when Chris Messina tweeted:

Since then, the humble hashtag has become a part of everyday conversation – both on and off line! Keeping on top of trending topics online is a must for marketers, if they are to grab the attention of existing and new audiences. If you want your tweets to have maximum reach, then include the popular weekly hashtags such as #MondayMotivation or #ThrowbackThursday. At Conscious Communications, we like to use #WednesdayWisdom to showcase our expertise! It is really important that businesses make sure to use a balance of top trending hashtags as well as the more unusual/targeted ones too; your posts are less likely to get lost amongst a constantly updating Twitter feed if you are within a slightly smaller group of users of a particular hashtag. We like to use a number of platforms to make sure we are using the perfect hashtag, one we have been using recently has been Display Purposes.

 

Images, videos, GIFs – OH MY

According to research posts with images are 18% more likely to get website link click throughs, 89% more likely to be favourited and 150% more likely to be retweeted. What’s even better, images can work for pretty much any brand. Social media users today are hungry for visual content – think photos, videos and GIFs. Twitter now includes the handy GIF button to accompany posts (read my previous blog on GIFs here) and images are no longer included in your character count (hooray!). If photography isn’t for you, maybe an infographic might be suitable? Take this tweet from Mintel for example…

 

 

Infographics are an effective way to convey statistics. If the above stats were to be posted on Twitter in plain text then the chances are followers would scroll past, but the vibrancy of an infographic is more likely to stop people from scrolling past and encourage them to engage with your tweet.

 

Time is of the essence

On average there are around 500 million tweets posted every day, so, it goes without saying that there is stiff competition to achieving high engagement. But, as Twitter has evolved, research on the platform has too; one overarching fact that has come to light is that many Twitter users primarily use the site on mobile devices and tablets. In light of this, Twitter produced a report that reveals these mobile users are 181% more likely to be on Twitter during their commute. Using sites like Tweetdeck and Hootsuite are helpful tools to ensure your tweets are scheduled at the right time of day (or night), and can also allow you to plan ahead. To find out when the most effective time will be for a business or brand to tweet, we like to use a tool called Tweriod, a free platform that reviews your followers and works out when the best time is for you to tweet.

The polls are in!

Twitter polls are a fun way to increase engagement and also canvas your followers’ opinions. Dependent on your brand and your following, you can tailor your poll to fit with your personality. Eventbrite used a Twitter poll to find out whether its followers attended paid events on New Year’s Eve:

A fantastic way to ask a fun seasonal question, but also a clever way to find out whether its followers are going to be interested in the advertisement of New Year’s Eve events. Twitter polls don’t have to have a specific purpose either, if you have an informal tone to your brand, they are a great tool to convey personality; take Domino’s for example.

 

Let’s get influential – how do brands successfully use influencers?

Our PR and Marketing Executive, Joanna, discusses a few of her favourite influencer marketing campaigns in our latest blog post.

The power of social media continues to increase, and with that, we have seen the rise of ‘influencer marketing’. Influencer marketing is a style of marketing that focuses on using the influence of notable people to drive a brand’s message to a larger market. Brands (or marketing agencies) identify suitable influencers – those people who are likely to reach the target consumer – and partner with them to create and share content on their social channels, with the goal of widening awareness of the brand, product or campaign. By implementing successful influencer marketing strategies, many businesses have been able to make new positive connections with consumers, and grow their audience too.

Lynda.com

Acquired by LinkedIn in April 2015, Lynda.com is an online learning platform that offers thousands of courses in business, technology and creative skills. In order to expand the platform’s reach, Lynda.com hired a number of popular YouTube influencers to create and post imaginative, sponsored videos, to promote the platform’s services. One of the YouTube channels it worked with was MinutePhysics – a channel focused on teaching science. MinutePhysics was a winning partner for Lynda.com as it allowed Lynda.com to reach people who were already seeking learning opportunities online (its prime audience). The MinutePhysics video generated more than 2.3 million views and throughout the campaign Lynda.com’s sponsored content reached a subscriber audience of over 46 million. The campaign worked particularly well because it was authentic – the team of YouTube influencers maintained the normal, entertaining video format that their audiences love, whilst naturally connecting viewers with Lynda.com and its services.

ONE.org

As well as helping brands reach target audiences, influencers can make an impact by boosting the profiles of charities and campaigns – nearly a third of influencers regularly promote charities on their platforms, according to research by influencer marketing platform Buzzoole. An organisation that has brought on board the support of notable personalities is anti-poverty charity, ONE. Earlier this year ONE launched a digital #GirlsCount campaign to raise awareness of the 130 million girls around the world who receive no education. Supporters from all over the globe were invited to pick a number between one and 130 million and to post a video or picture to the campaign website stating their number and explaining why they’re supporting girls’ education. ONE aims to combine all of the videos to make an extremely long film that will urge leaders to support female education. A number of influencers, entertainers and artists have already shown their support for the campaign by sharing their videos, including Michael Sheen, Hugh Jackman, Bono, Tom Brady, Charlize Theron and many more. Collecting 130 million videos is a phenomenal challenge and this is why the idea is so perfect for the #GirlsCount initiative. The issue of female education will not be resolved overnight, and so even if they don’t reach the 130 million mark for 30 years or so, the campaign has already achieved its goal by continuing to raise awareness of the issue.

Boxed Water

Boxed Water, a pioneer in the sustainably packaged water category, is a refreshing example (pardon the pun) of a brand that has utilised Instagram and its influencers to drive support for one of its missions. In 2015 Boxed Water launched its worldwide sustainability initiative, the ‘Retree Project’, where the company pledged to plant two trees for every Instagram post featuring its boxed water and using the hashtag #Retree. To kick-start the campaign, Boxed Water partnered with a team of influencers who posted photos themselves and then asked their followers to do the same. The followers’ followers also did likewise – and hence the campaign went viral. Instagram works well as a marketing platform because consumers like visuals – some of the images posted for the #Retree project have been truly vivid and, as a result, consumers have paid attention. With such a phenomenal reaction to the campaign Boxed Water has so far committed to plant 612,567 trees, succeeding in its mission to help the environment, all while generating some great coverage and brand exposure.

What makes influencer marketing unique is that it provides consumers with a more personal connection to a brand, product or campaign. In the same way that we respect the recommendations of our friends and family, consumers value the opinion of influencers too. So instead of hearing how great a product is via a bold television advert or targeted e-marketing campaign, consumers are naturally influenced to pay attention to someone they trust – whether about purchasing a product or changing a behaviour. As we have seen with the above examples, the most successful campaigns are the authentic ones, where the influencer hasn’t just been paid to do a job but truly believes in the product or company they are promoting.

 

One away from double figures award nominations for Conscious Communications!

As the country celebrated National Coding Week, we were shortlisted for our ninth award this year, this time for our work on FXP Festival – we are through to the final six in the Corporate Social Responsibility category for the PRCA National Awards. You might be asking yourself how National Coding Week is relevant to us being shortlisted, but bear with us.

FXP Festival is a free computer-game festival linked to the National Curriculum. Conscious Communications liaises with game development companies and industry leaders to raise funds so that students can participate in FXP without charge, gaining valuable experience and knowledge; as well as the chance to win some pretty cool prizes! The festival incorporates a concept and development competition together with an industry showcase for school and college students, Years 8 to 13, from across Cambridgeshire. Students are required to design a game concept and some teams then go on to bring their concept to life by coding a playable game.

The annual PRCA National Awards celebrate the best in PR and communications and to be shortlisted for another prestigious award is an achievement that reflects our team’s hard work and dedication.

Being shortlisted for the Corporate Social Responsibility award is extra rewarding for the team. Giving back to the local community is a passion of ours, and FXP Festival gives us the opportunity to use our expertise in education and our passion for technology to enthuse local students, build career aspirations and create exciting career pathways into one of our highest growth business sectors, where there are serious creative and technical skills gaps.

The PRCA awards ceremony will be held in London on Tuesday 7 November, so keep your fingers crossed for us and watch this space – let’s hope we can reach the magic 10 for awards that we’ve been shortlisted for before the end of the year!

Happy to be one of 2 million Dementia Friends

Hannah, our Content and Communications Manager, shares why she decided to attend a Dementia Friends training session in our latest volunteering blog post. 

At the end of June I was pleased to receive an email from Dementia Friends – an initiative created in 2013 by the Alzheimer’s Society to engage members of the public in tackling the stigma, and lack of understanding, surrounding dementia – announcing they’d hit the 2 million mark. Dementia Friends runs training sessions to educate members of the public about some of the different ways people with dementia might experience the disease, and about how those who encounter people with dementia might offer better support through having a better understanding of the disease. How fantastic that the number of people who have attended these training sessions, to become Dementia Friends, has hit 2 million; it is the UK’s biggest ever social movement, with one in every 30 people in England, Northern Ireland and Wales involved.

​As part of our company’s commitment to social responsibility we are each offered two paid days per year to spend supporting charitable causes. Having come across this article in the Guardian, in which a Dementia Friends Champion explains how strangers on the tube had recognised his Dementia Friends badge and gone out of their way to thank him for his support, I decided to use some of my time to attend a Dementia Friends training session. It was an informal session at a local library, run by a Dementia Friends Champion, and I found it to be genuinely enlightening.

My own grandma had dementia for a number of years towards the end of her life. Sadly, I and my sister and cousins were too young to really understand what was happening to her at the time, and as we became teenagers we used to (fondly) joke about our lasting memories of her, as she seemed to be constantly in search of a missing cup, asking “is this the one?” again and again. Now in my thirties, and with my parents having friends who have suffered with early onset dementia, I recognise that the way we interpreted our grandma’s illness when we were younger was unkind and immature; I’m thankful for parents and aunts and uncles who knew better.

Having attended the Dementia Friends training session I have now had my eyes opened to the many ways that the disease can affect people, and I really want to share some of what I learnt with others. I am now planning to use one of my upcoming charity days to train to become a Dementia Friends Champion myself so that, in line with Dementia Friends’ goal, we can “change people’s perceptions of dementia transform the way the nation thinks, acts and talks about the condition”.

I think the most commonly known symptom of dementia is memory loss. Loved ones seem to no longer be recognised; shared memories are no longer shared; and seemingly trivial, every day matters become fraught. Some can’t remember what they have bought previously or what is in the fridge; others can’t remember quite how to do things around the home, like safely use modern appliances; other still might not remember the route to walk home from the local library. Yet in conversation with friends and family, the person with dementia might still appear to be coping quite well, and so the extent of their suffering and feelings of isolation might be unknown for some time.

The Champion at my training session explained that people often try to correct sufferers on inaccurate memories – whether large or small events – but that it’s important to let some of these inaccuracies lie; it isn’t the fault of the sufferer that their mind mightn’t be changed. The biggest revelation for me at the session was the way that people with dementia can lose their sense of perception. Did you know that rectangular black mats, like those you might see at the entrance to a department store, can appear to sufferers like an enormous black hole? Or that a swirling pattern on a carpet can give the impression of snakes?

It will be through raising awareness of these difficulties among more members of the public that we will be able to ensure that people with dementia feel less isolated, and more supported as they go about their daily lives. How easy would it be for a member of staff whose job it is to welcome people to a department store to easily demonstrate to someone who seems anxious at the entrance that the route into the shop – across a large black door mat – is safe by simply walking across the mat as they welcome the person into the shop?

Without our agency’s commitment to investing time in social justice pursuits – from our joint efforts to support our ‘charity of the year’, to ventures like FXP Festival and Cambridge Games – and the decision to give us two days to set aside to give our time to individual worthwhile causes, I probably wouldn’t have ended up attending a Dementia Friends training session. That we are given this opportunity as part of our working lives is an important part of why I feel that we are invested in as people, and not just employees. As we work together in these team pursuits, and also learn from each other’s personal passions as they attend their individual charity days, we are really able to develop closer bonds and become a stronger team, too.

Hip, Hip, Hooray – three cheers for the #hashtag

Senior PR and Marketing Executive, Sophie, celebrates 10 years of the hashtag.

This week marks the 10th anniversary of the humble hashtag’s (#) debut on Twitter – a symbol that has now become a familiar component of online conversation. Whether you use to it indicate the location you are posting from (#Glastonbury), or what you are posting about (#HenDo), or the ‘conversation’ you are joining (#covfefe), the hashtag has shown it has the potential to shape elections and launch social movements, becoming a defining symbol of the digital age.

So where did the hashtag come from? Its story started back in 2007, when early adopters of Twitter began developing tools to organise their tweets. It was only in 2009, when enough people were using it (remember the #FollowFriday hashtag?) that Twitter decided to embrace the feature and its developers built an automatic search tool so users could see who else was using the same hashtags. Today, hashtags aren’t just used on Twitter – you’ll find them used on Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, Tumblr – people now even drop the word into conversation.

Anyone can create a hashtag, and anyone can use that hashtag, in any context – so they can’t be controlled and can sometimes create disorder. The prospect of grabbing attention on social media, however, is a temptation that brands can’t resist – and neither should they! In the world of marketing where we previously noted down a URL or searched for a word on Google, the hashtag has become the new call-to-action and, in many cases, the tagline for an entire campaign (think #ThisGirlCan) with the hope of igniting digital conversations – and in many cases, it is a success.

The hashtag is a powerful tool with which to market your business, product, service or message – be creative with your hashtags but remember to keep them relevant. We like to use a number of tools which have helped us hone our hashtag expertise. My personal favourite is RiteTag – a platform which gives instant feedback on the popularity and strength of your desired hashtag – and better yet, it’s free! Not only do I use it to analyse the strength of a hashtag but it also gives inspiration for other hashtags that I could be using in my post.

So, three cheers to the humble hashtag – I am sure Chris Messina, the first person to tweet using a hashtag, didn’t foresee it becoming the trend, and the useful tool, it is today.

Worth a pause for thought

Zoë, Client Services Director, discusses her volunteering experience with local charity, Cambridge Rape Crisis Centre, in our first volunteering blog post of the year.

I think we can all be guilty of turning a blind eye to the less savoury things that go on in our local area – from homelessness to anti-social behaviour to instances of sexual assault. I am no different – out of sight out of mind. If I don’t read about it or hear about it on the news I am none the wiser. So it did come as somewhat of a shock to me when I embarked on my two days volunteering at Cambridge Rape Crisis Centre (CRCC), how vital and in demand this charity is in the local area.

CRCC offers support to women and girls who have experienced rape, childhood sexual abuse or any other form of sexual violence. The charity is run by women and for women and offers a number of essential support services – a helpline, email support and counselling. I was fortunate to get in touch with the team at CRCC offering my marketing expertise and skills at a time when they were reviewing website performance and how to make the most of their social media channels to engage with their audience. I spent a day in June and the second in August reviewing and developing my recommendations for the website and social media, which included evaluating website content, SEO performance, website structure and social media objectives. By the end of my second day learning about the charity and the incredible work that they do I knew that my two days of offering my particular skillset to this project will have saved volunteers valuable time and resource doing the same job, which they can spend supporting survivors.

When I went in to meet the team at the end of my second day – I couldn’t spend my two days in the office as they handle sensitive information – I was blown away by the appreciation for what I felt was just the tip of the iceberg of what I could contribute. What I do as second nature in my day to day job for our clients is something the team at CRCC knows needs to be done but justifiably time is focused elsewhere. So if I can dedicate the headspace and time to, for example, the user experience on the website, whether it is appearing in search results and understanding how best to engage with their audience then I feel that I have made a valuable contribution.

I asked the team about the support they receive in the local community, which is extremely positive. There is more that can be done though. CRCC is not what the general public might see as a ‘cuddly’ or ‘feel good’ charity – it doesn’t help donkeys who live in poor conditions for example or provide amazing once in a life time experiences for children with terminal illnesses. What it does do is provide a much-needed service and listening ear for survivors in the local area. But, and somewhat understandably due to the stigma associated with the vocabulary, a rape crisis centre isn’t something companies, individuals, schools, colleges, universities will immediately think of when considering charities to offer support to. Regardless of whether people feel comfortable with talking about rape openly in a conversation these centres rely on support and donations to keep going. Everyone can help make a difference – no matter how big or small.

The World of Work…Experience

Lauren Cosson is currently studying for a Joint Honours in English and History at the University of Leeds. She joined the Conscious Communications team for a week in July to see what working life is like at a PR and Marketing agency.

I’m sure I am not alone when I say that my future career path is ambiguous and undecided (and slightly daunting). Studying English and History is both a blessing and a curse in that it could lead to a multitude of career prospects. For this reason, I wanted to experience first-hand what a career in PR and marketing might offer.

I have always felt that my future career may involve writing and I have a strong creative dimension, however, I didn’t realise before a week at Conscious Communications, how well suited to a career in PR and marketing I might be.

The week started off with an introduction to the company and its values, where and how it was started, and a run-down on what exactly PR and marketing are. Following this I was given an explanation of who each member of the team was and what their role entailed and a look at the variety of clients the team works with – I felt like even a year may not be enough time to wrap my head around all this information; let alone one week!

Then it was time to get stuck in – the schedule the team had prepared enabled me to spend time with each team member and to work on a cross section of tasks which meant that I was able to get experience across the board. Some of my tasks included drafting social media posts, creating forward features lists and conducting new business research, alongside an introduction to design from the in-house design team, experiencing a monthly client update meeting and learning how to track coverage and create a coverage book.

Writing press releases, features and a newsletter was where I felt most confident and was able to utilise my writing and creative skills, but I enjoyed the challenge that all other aspects of the company had to offer. On Wednesday and Friday, I was able to go out-of-office, attending a photoshoot and an event the team had organised, which provided an opportunity to see client relationships first-hand.

I thoroughly enjoyed my week and feel I have learnt something from every member of the Conscious Communications team; I thank them for helping me find my potential career path!

GIFs: why are they important?

Chloe, our PR and Marketing Executive, discusses GIFs and how to incorporate them into your digital marketing strategy in our latest blog post.

GIFs (Graphic Interchange Formats) have been around since 1987, they were originally introduced by software writer Steve Wilhite as an innovative way to present images that would load relatively quickly within the constraints of the internet speeds of the time. Quickly adopted by those wishing to share moving images e.g. the banana, they became a favourite feature of online communications.

Millennials started re-embracing the GIF circa 2006-2008, and popular platforms from Twitter to Line are now enabling users to create their own. Brands and media outlets started taking notice and GIFs have now found their way into mainstream marketing strategies. GIFs are a unique way to make your content more engaging; whether that be on social media or in blogs, email marketing or online news articles.

Here are five reasons why GIFs are a great tool to add to your digital marketing strategy:

  1. If a picture can tell a thousand words, how many does a GIF tell?

Surely it’s inevitable for a moving picture to tell even more… If you are trying to tell a story, GIFs are a perfect way to tell it more quickly. BuzzFeed loves to use GIFs within its articles in order to help users skim a story as quickly as possible whilst managing to capture their attention and provide stepping stones to navigate the content. They can also be used to make a story more engaging. We love this example on The Atlantic of a GIF being used effectively to tell a story about gymnast Jordyn Wieber.

  1. GIFs are a good way to convey a company’s personality

It’s the 21st century, so companies need to have an online social presence. Globally there are 2.34 billion social media users, so it’s important for companies to be utilising social media in the best way to reach their audiences. To convey an authentic image on social media, GIFs are a great way to keep current and show your company’s personality. We love to use GIFs to accompany our tweets – take a look at one of our posts for inspiration.
Clearly GIFs might not be appropriate for all businesses, so it is important to assess whether they are suitable for your audience.

  1. Selling something? There’s a GIF for that…

Using a GIF to showcase a product is simple, but genius. Take this Marie Claire tweet for example; why just have an image of a shoe when it can be shown in action?  However, GIFs aren’t purely useful for products that can be worn, or that move when used. Chanel used GIFs in its #ILOVECOCO campaign.

GIFs add another dimension to sales that you can’t get with a still image. Consumers are becoming less receptive to traditional advertising, so being creative can capture their attention.

  1. Email marketing

Want to make people notice your emails? Use a GIF! Inboxes can be chaotic, and in an ocean of emails yours needs to stand out from the crowd; using GIFs can do this. According to a test conducted by BlueFly, emails containing a GIF increased click-through rates and engagement with companies or products. Nike regularly uses GIFs in its email marketing – take their LDN Edit email for example…

  1. Educate

GIFs can also be an engaging way to educate! The short moving graphic is a great way to demonstrate something in a simple but appealing way, which is extremely convenient considering this Telegraph article suggests humans only have an eight second attention span.  NASA demonstrated this in a fabulous way when they posted a GIF alongside a tweet about black holes!

A few takeaways…

  • Keep it relevant – don’t use a GIF if it doesn’t enhance the story you’re telling or if your message would remain unchanged without it.
  • Don’t be a copycat – although there haven’t been official, legal decisions made on whether using copyrighted material is infringement, it’s important to remember ‘fair use’ when using someone else’s work!
  • Remember your audience – just as you would when creating a new ad, or writing copy, make sure you keep your GIFs tailored to your audience. If your target market is teenagers, your favourite 80s sitcom might not make the right impression!
  • Make your own – Giphy.com not only provides over 1 billion GIFs, but the site also has a GIF Maker that allows you to create GIFs from video files or YouTube links. Try it here.1270

The great, the good, and the bad advertising

Hannah, our Content and Communications Manager, discusses whether there is such a term as ‘badvertising’ in our latest blog post. 

Everyone remembers a favourite ad campaign; perhaps those that became iconic in decades gone by, or in more recent years the contenders for the best Christmas ad. Not quite as infamous as Oxo’s 16-year-long family campaign, nor surrounded by as much hype as the John Lewis Christmas ads, the Conscious Communications team’s current favourite TV ad is the AA’s ‘singing toddler’.

It could be the simplicity of the ad that makes us love it. It’s a feel-good ad that’s easy to relate to, featuring a toddler singing along in the car to the Tina Turner classic Proud Mary. Despite a breakdown, the father and toddler are able to keep “rollin’, rollin’”, thanks to the speedy arrival of the AA engineer. Some of our team are such ambassadors for the ad that it’s played in our office every time we meet someone who hasn’t seen it! Whether it will live on in our memories in the same way as other favourites have done is yet to be seen, but it has definitely done its job in anchoring the AA in people’s minds as the go-to service to keep you on the road.

In the AA ad, as well as the Oxo campaign and the John Lewis Christmas ads, there is a common theme. The creators have tried to depict scenes that could be ‘any of us’ – characters and plots that we can all easily relate to. These are as ‘mundane’ as the temporary annoyance of breaking down on the side of the road; the more complex emotions depicted by the Oxo family story over the years; and the heart-rending narratives such as in the John Lewis Man on the Moon advert, which highlights the issue of loneliness among those in old age, with a call to action to “show someone they’re loved this Christmas.”

As well as tapping into everyday events like these in order to relate to viewers, brands regularly try to catapult their message further by harnessing the momentum created by current events. Consider Oreo’s reputation for doing this effectively, which it has developed by creating topical campaigns ranging from the reactive ‘dunking in the dark’ tweet during the Super Bowl, to an ad in support of equality during Pride events. This harnessing of topical content propels a brand’s message further than may otherwise have been possible, by ‘piggy backing’ an existing wave of interest, and using already trending hashtags and conversations to increase visibility.

The risk involved, however, with both types of strategy – the everyday experiences and the topical events – is that there’s always the chance that adverts might not ‘land’ well. They may in fact have the opposite effect to what’s intended, creating instead in people’s minds a negative perception of the brand, which might even linger longer than the effects of a positive campaign.

A spokesman for McDonald’s said of a recent ad campaign that they had “wanted to highlight the role McDonald’s has played in customers’ everyday lives – both in good and difficult times” – a similar sentiment to those of the Oxo, John Lewis, AA and Oreo campaigns outlined above. The advert showed a boy talking to his mother about his dead father as he tried to find something in common with him; on arriving at McDonald’s the boy orders a Filet-o-Fish, to which his mother tells him: “that was your Dad’s favourite too.” The advert received widespread criticism, for unsuccessfully “exploit childhood bereavement as a way to connect with young people and surviving parents alike”.

On face value it’s difficult to work out why some brands achieve such high acclaim for their campaigns, and yet the McDonald’s campaign seemed to have fallen so wide of the mark. A few of us watched it together recently as a reminder, and there was a mixed response. Some thought that it might be that the topic itself is simply too sad and shouldn’t have been exploited in this way. Others thought McDonald’s was simply the wrong brand to tell the story – there is a sense of misalignment between the fast food outlet’s product and such a sensitive topic. Perhaps it was that, in contrast to the Man on the Moon advert’s call to action, the McDonald’s advert doesn’t end by offering a ‘solution’. Whilst we regularly sign up for the experience of being left shocked, saddened, or fired up to act about an injustice in the world by the TV programmes and films that we choose to watch, we have less control over what adverts we watch on TV and so perhaps that is part of why we sometimes feel affronted by particular campaigns.

Pepsi was also criticised recently for an ad campaign depicting a group of protesters, as the narrative ends with the protestors cheering as a model gives a can of Pepsi to a policeman. Protests are ‘topical’ at the moment, as a result of legitimate concerns about equality and over concerns about politics, for example, and so there has been outrage from and on behalf of some of these protest groups, as Pepsi seems to have trivialised these issues. This feels even more unsettling than the McDonald’s advert, and begs the question of what sort of reaction the Pepsi campaign team had imagined the ad would receive. Perhaps they knew they were taking a risk and were operating under the myth that ‘there’s no such thing as bad publicity’.

We really think there is – do you?

#Wemeanbusiness

Zoë, Client Services Director, discusses the Facebook campaign #Shemeansbusiness in our latest blog post

You may have missed the #Shemeansbusiness campaign from Facebook – it hasn’t been overtly pushed on its own platform; having said that, it’s undoubtedly one you should be supporting or at least aware of. Facebook states that the premise of the campaign is: “When women succeed, we all win. When women do better, economies do better.” It was created to celebrate those women who have built up businesses but also to be able to offer support and advice to women who might want to do a similar thing in the future. I’m sure that there is a plethora of women out there who have world-changing ideas that never come to fruition due to lack of funds or that little extra nudge needed to energise them to take the plunge, however the economic possibilities are sky high if they have the right support. According to research from the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) “900,000 more businesses would be created if the UK achieved the same level of female entrepreneurship as in the US, resulting in an additional £23 billion gross value added to the UK economy.”

Partnering with the FSB and Enterprise Nation, Facebook wants to train 10,000 women in ‘Facebook for Business skills’ in this year alone to try and close that gap. A tall order, but if any business can do it, Facebook can. Although not founded by a woman it now has some serious female players working as influential role models and game changers in the business world. Nicola Mendelsohn CBE is the VP EMEA at Facebook and its Chief Operating Officer, Sheryl Sandberg, was elected to be the first woman to serve on Facebook’s board in 2012 and was also named in the Time magazine top 100 list of the most influential people in the world.

This representation of inspirational women in a business resonates strongly with the team at Conscious Communications. Our Managing Director and founder of the business, Alison Taylor, has built the business from the ground up since its inception five years ago. Today, the business is a thriving PR and marketing agency made up of a team of passionate media relations professionals, writers, digital marketers and creative designers (male and female!). Shockingly, nearly three quarters of women surveyed by Facebook as part of this campaign admitted that they couldn’t think of a female role model running a similar business to the one they wanted to start. And the reason? Lack of confidence and self-belief. It is this self-belief, the driving force behind what she wanted the company to stand for, that drove Alison to create the company we are all so passionate about today…

 Meet Alison – #shemeansbusiness

“Conscious Communications was born out of a passion for communications and a desire to build an agency that delivers a superior service through transparent, honest and long-lasting working relationships with its clients; hence our strapline ‘public relations and marketing with a conscience’. I’m extremely proud to be working with the truly inspirational and loyal team we have created, where our clients are our greatest ambassadors.”

Be inspired by more business women by clicking here – because, in the words of Facebook, “the next successful entrepreneur could be anyone. She could even be you”.

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