At the time of writing, Stephen Sutton, the 19 year old cancer patient behind the #ThumbsUpForStephen campaign, has raised £1.8m for the Teenage Cancer Trust. Stop and think how much tin rattling and chugging it would take to reach that number.
As well as achieving this incredible feat with dignity, humour and a celebratory attitude to life that puts most of us to shame, it looks like Stephen raised this money without any direct support from the charity in question.
Digital empowers individuals and changes the way we interact with formal structures and each other. And it’s not just about buying stuff.
As hierarchies are replaced with self-organising networks, influence increasingly resides with groups who have low or no-cost tools at their fingertips to give voice to the things they care about.
The Every Day Sexism project was started just two years ago and has contributors in more than 20 countries worldwide, attracting mainstream as well as social media coverage. Many credit it with reigniting important, fundamental discussions around the treatment of girls and women in a ‘post-feminist’ world. Significantly, this conversation is not owned by a small number of experts – it belongs to all of us.
So if you’re running a charity or cause-related business, you need to think carefully about your role and how you operate. The days of collecting money and distributing it as you see fit are pretty much over. Your new supporters will adopt a more fluid approach to giving, one that is about connection with a cause rather than ongoing loyalty to your organisation.
Can you engineer a viral campaign?
The recent #nomakeupselfie campaign raised £8m for Cancer Research in six days. And it wasn’t started by them. Cancer Research had the insight, agility and that elusive ingredient in all things viral – luck – to get in quick and exploit the opportunity.
The interesting question is when and where the next #nomakeupselfie comes from and what, if anything, can be done to start it?
How are you reading this blog post? The chances are, you’re reading it on your mobile device, probably on your way in to work. (Cue gasps and utterances of “but how could you know?”) I would love to claim some kind of telepathic power, but in reality (unfortunately), we know this information from our data analytics tool and we know that about 50% of our readers are interacting with us on a mobile device.
The latest data shows that the majority of today’s consumers are multiscreening, accessing sites/apps on both mobile and desktop devices, so it’s important that the experience they have is accessible and consistent across all devices. We certainly wouldn’t be doing our job properly if you couldn’t view this post properly on both your mobile and desktop devices.
What do you mean it doesn’t work on my mobile?
Most brands have taken the right approach and invested their money in video – I award you a grade C. Most of these have made their videos suitable for all devices – you get a B. And some of these have been making their videos interactive to gain optimum engagement with their audiences – B+ for you. Yet the majority of these brands have not optimised their interactive videos for a truly multi-screen experience – FAIL. (Those who are, you get an A+, well done, top of the class.)
It’s so frustrating when you try to share the latest video of a cat doing something funny (just me?) with your friend only for it not to work on your mobile and to receive the dreaded byline “this feature is not supported by your mobile device” – urgh.
Hi. My name is mobile friendly. Long time no see.
The latest Three campaign #SingItKitty is a great example of a brand doing it right. Last year’s #DancePonyDance offered people the chance to make Socks the dancing pony dance to whatever music they were in the mood for. With #SingItKitty, people could replace the little girl from the advert’s face with theirs and their friends to create a personalised video. They get top marks for not only making it super mobile friendly, but they even have a note on their desktop site that encourages you to use your mobile to play (“Mobiles rock. Use yours and its camera for the best result.”) They have also made it incredibly easy to share, which is great, because who doesn’t want their friends to see their face stuck on a 4 year old girls’ riding a tricycle with a kitty in her basket? (WARNING – here’s my #SingItKitty video)
Start as you mean to go on
Some people might argue that it was only natural that a mobile operator would lead the way with interactive mobile video. But that doesn’t mean that they should remain in this domain alone. Right now, all brands should be thinking about how they can make the most of interactive mobile video. Some of the benefits are obvious: increased traffic to website, high engagement, new customers etc. But it’s also a great way for brands to capture important information about their viewers and customers alike. In making your videos interactive you could add leading questions that would act as decision points (Remember the Choose your own Adventure books?) and would mean your viewers could tailor a bespoke story just for them and will provide them with the exact information they’re looking for. This type of marketing is what consumers are seeking, particularly when they are on the move and are time-poor. With mobile internet access expected to overtake fixed internet access this year, isn’t it time we started to investigate mobile interactive video further?
There are some PR awards anyone would be delighted about being nominated for, but do they prove you have one of the most effective PR campaigns in Europe?
Claremont’s work for National Apprenticeship Week 2013 (working with the Skills Funding Agency in house team and our partners at Tribe PR, On Broadcast and Shackleton PR) has just been nominated for one of the biggest PR awards out there.
Over 2,400 campaigns were nominated in the SABRE Awards covering Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA).
But just five were shortlisted for the “Measurement and Evaluation” Diamond Award.
For a communications agency specialising in delivering PR that delivers social good, this category is vital. We need to prove that PR gets results. And with marketing spend by the UK government under such scrutiny, we need to make sure every penny counts.
Our approach not only saw phenomenal media and social media results generated by the PR team (for more on this, watch this short film), but it’s vital to recognise the role partners and stakeholder relations played in the campaign. Indeed, the success of the whole campaign was only possible with the support of hundreds of training providers, colleges and employers.
So was National Apprenticeship Week 2013 the most effective and well measured campaign in Europe in the last 18 months?
We find out on the 20th May!
The reach of the #nomakeupselfie meme, where women post bare faced selfies on social media, has been incredible over the last seven days. And while not all the media attention has been positive, and the origin of the campaign is not rooted in cancer awareness, the results have gone so far beyond what anyone could have anticipated. Announcing donations of over £8m (as of 25th March 2014) and with celebrities getting on the bandwagon, it won’t be long before cancer charities worldwide are reaping the benefits.
For a communications expert, this campaign has made me question what this could mean for the future of marketing campaigns. What was it that made this campaign so successful and is it possible for other brands to replicate this success? Or is it simply a well-timed coincidence that cleverly played on people’s emotions?
The ‘empowerment factor’
Having seen my personal news feed filled with bare-faced pictures of my friends, I can’t shake the belief that the campaign can place some of it’s success on the ‘empowerment factor’. Much like the way the Spice Girls made my school friends and I feel back in 1996; this campaign gave people the belief that they could actively contribute to finding a cure for cancer.
Where as the Spice Girls made me feel like I could take on the world with a simple utterance of “Girl power” and a peace sign: the #nomakeupselfie made me feel like I could actually make a difference. I can’t pretend that my scientific knowledge could ever get me near to helping discover a cure for cancer, yet, being part of a movement and knowing that after donating my £3, my friends were donating £3 and so on, meant that I could feel like I was making an impact on somebody’s life. After all, that £3 would have more than likely gone on a take away coffee had I not donated.
This campaign provided a very public way for people to rebel against physical attractiveness stereotypes. Women frequently get criticised for the way they look in the media; this is where the campaign started, and you only need to take a glance at the pool of celebrities getting on board to see that this type of rebellion carries weight. Women have been able to raise awareness of cancer, and with no airbrush in sight. Yes, we all have flaws. Deal with it. And, sadly, we are all touched by cancer at some point in our lives.
And what do both of these traits create? A sense of camaraderie. A camaraderie that much in the same way neck nominations, the social drinking game which requires participants to film themselves downing an alcoholic beverage and nominate friends, have united a whole generation of “lads”.
A communications revolution
What’s interesting to me is how this campaign might shape marketing and communications in the future. It highlights how a simple idea can be used in an overwhelmingly impactful way with mind-boggling results. Internet memes, actions that spread as mimicry, have been going viral for years now, yet I don’t think that one has been used, or had the success, in the same way that this one has.
So what do we need to do?
Pay attention. The landscape is changing daily and comms experts need to be monitoring social trends and implementing simple, impactful campaigns. We should be looking at how we can empower our audience and give our fans control, and confronting stereotypes is just one way to do this. Marketers have long been preaching about the success of real time marketing (Superbowl Oreo ad anyone?) but rather than sitting around twiddling our thumbs waiting for an opportunity, we should be coming up with stellar ideas that can be rolled out at the right time. Just like the person who decided to associate their #nomakeupselfie with cancer awareness, we need to seize opportunities when we’re presented them. And we can all get in on the action.
Over the past couple of months I’ve been running a series of campaigns for the National Apprenticeship Service on LinkedIn.
Like most promoted activity on social media, there is:
- A specific demographic in mind
- An objective
- A variety of content
- A budget
Setting up your campaign
Do – Accompany each post with an image or video. Image must be 50×50 and video must be a link to YouTube and up to 30 seconds in length.
Do – Make the posts noticeably different. This way you can test which language and images are most engaging.
Don’t – Use more than four posts. You have the option to create as many as 15 variations of your posts but too many will distort the results and dilute the campaign’s message. With fewer posts there is more repetition, reinforcing the message and increasing the number of click-throughs.
Writing the creatives
Each post has a character limit of 25 for the header and 75 for the sub heading… not much to play with so it can be tricky to get your key messages across
Do – Use a confident statement, a question, a call to action or something directly relevant to the content
Don’t – Be too broad. Attracting a large audience may be the aim, but you will not do this by tailoring the creatives to a larger audience. More on this in targeting.
Do – Include stats where applicable, people respond very well to them.
Don’t – Sensationalise the message too much. Users pick up on this and are put off. It’ll also backfire when they are underwhelmed by what they see.
Do – Include the format of the content in the headline. This only works if the format of the content is engaging. E.g. if your headline says ‘film’ then people will suddenly have the urge to see it.
Don’t - Forget to give away some crucial information. E.g. If your post includes ‘Expert advice’, include it in the creative. This phrase in particular tends to do very well.
Another thought – When the content and context is right, set the post up like a mini synopsis:
This post was the most successful of this series with a click through rate of 0.066% (LinkedIn average 0.025%).
Do – Be as specific as possible, even when targeting a broad demographic. If necessary, split your audience up into different demographics and set up campaigns and posts specifically tailored to each of them.
As you can see – these posts are not addressing specific groups:
As a result of these ‘generic’ posts, the click through rates were way below the 0.025% LinkedIn average.
However, once the campaign was split up into four (four target audiences), click through rates soared, with every one of them beating the LinkedIn average:
CTR: 0.032% and 0.028%
CTR: 0.032% and 0.026%
Don’t – Target the wrong demographic. I know it sounds obvious, but to avoid this you must really research your target audience and make a decision as to whether it is better to reach them via LinkedIn groups, industry and/or seniority. Targeting is an art in itself.
There are a variety of options you have when targeting:
Do – Use the guidelines given to you by Linkedin, which usually ranges from £1.50 to £1.85 for Cost per Click. This is an estimate of what the bid range will be for clicks within a certain demographic, and will vary depending on the competition there is to reach it.
Don’t - Use cost per click if your clicks are growing rapidly. You will reach your budget prematurely which will mean having to end the campaign before schedule. You would be better off switching to Cost per 1000 impressions which offers similar bid ranges and could buy you more time and more clicks.
Do – Experiment with your daily budget. You may find it’s too low and has limited your potential clicks. A higher budget means more leeway for clicks to roll in.
Don’t – Take your eyes off the clicks and impressions! If you have a budget for the campaign, you run the risk of going way over it if your posts are more popular than anticipated. It’s also good practice to keep on top of the activity.
Note: A bid does not determine how much you will pay – it is the maximum amount you are willing to pay to beat the competition.
And finally… how you would like your posts to rotate:
Do – Test which posts perform the best on an even rotation and base their performance on Click Through Rate.
Do – Switch it to optimised rotation when the best post has been identified, in order to generate the most traffic.
Don’t – Switch to optimised rotation too soon! Switching too early could lead to your weakest post picking up all the impressions, leaving the others (who could have gained more clicks) behind without a chance.
What is the most retweeted picture of all time?
Admittedly, the photo is a montage of famous faces (incl. Bradley Cooper, Brad Pitt and Jennifer Lawrence) but regardless of whether you’re an actor, president, or teen in your bathroom, we all enjoy taking one. Much media attention has been brought to the activity (“selfies are to blame for plastic surgery rise“) and it is regularly condemned as a shameful public behaviour – just like picking your nose – and yet, tons of them are uploaded everyday. So why don’t we take selfies seriously and might they one day be recognised as an art form?
Rembrandt and other “Selfers”
The earliest selfie taken with a camera was taken by Robert Cornelius in 1839. An amateur chemist, Robert took the image by removing the lens cap off his home-made camera, running round into the frame, sitting for a minute, before running round and covering the frame up again. Which later turned into the timer function on cameras (remember?)
But long before Robert was born, artists had been creating selfies in oils and these paintings are regarded as a valuable insight to the individual’s psyche. As a record, these paintings also served a purpose to record both human and artistic development. Take Rembrandt for example, who painted himself at various stages of his life. Rembrandt was a key exponent, creating works such as “self-portrait, c. 1629” (created when he was just 22) right through to older paintings such as “Self-portrait as Zeuxis, c. 1662”. These paintings are hung in galleries all over the world, and still draw in huge crowds of people wanting to better understand the man and his life.
From pious concentration to the “Duck Lip” pout
Have you seen the self portraits painted centuries ago? Lots of them lack any real emotion, which seemed a common feature, replicated by loads of artists at that time who painted themselves. Was that reflective of the movement of the time? Had Rembrandt been born in the 21st Century, could it be fair to argue he may be more likely to use a camera to capture his self portrait and the vague, concentrated look he so regularly painted, be replaced by the infamous “duck lip pout“, expressed by so many in front of the lens?
Let’s look at the generation who missed out on the selfie phase. These are the people who ferociously complain about the selfie culture of today’s younger generations. You were all of the “Photobooth-era”. Those boxes placed in shopping malls and Asdas, with the awful lighting and the phenomenal price tag for four pictures – remember them? Well, one could argue (as I’ve seen many a time from films) that these boxes were widely used for the fun of them too. The intention of the photobooth had been subverted from it’s practicalities, to a fun activity, serving the purpose of creating memories.
When selfies aren’t selfish…
Selfies are a great way to campaign. You can bring people together to engage in a common practice in aid of a campaign. Take Unicef for example, who used selfies as a way to get people to campaign against global warming. Or, most recently, the “no make-up selfie” activity, hijacked and turned into a social media campaign in aid of Cancer awareness (see Kari’s post). At the opposite end of the spectrum, have a look at the “selfies at a funeral” Tumblr page, to get an idea of how you can get people together in a similar environment to post.
So… Mon’s Guide to Taking a Selfie
1) Check your surroundings.
You don’t want people talking about how messy your room is (or other complete disasters - Not Suitable For Work!).
2) Tilt the camera towards you but keep it quite high over your head.
Creates better cheek bones.
3) Pout ever so slightly in a ‘I’m-moody-but-not-and-this-is-very-serious’ type of way.
Gives the whole process more justification.
4) Say “Pruuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuune”
Helps get the perfect pout.
5) Throw in a peace sign.
Peace is good.
And don’t forget to snap a few times, so you have a choice of selfies to choose from.
Here’s a selection of the Claremont crew’s selfies, using the guide:
So, there is more to selfies than meets the eye! The most RT’d pic currently stands as a selfie, it graces the front pages of national newspapers, it’s been around for centuries and they’re great for campaigns. Selfies serve the human desire to capture a moment of youthfulness that we all inhibit and enact, with the help of ever-evolving technologies. They are not new, not just a phase, and their latest incarnation has just been solidified in the Oxford dictionary. If we can take vomit painting seriously, then don’t you think we should get behind the selfie too?
Why don’t you have a go and tweet your selfies to @x_monalisasmile to win a prize…
I am a pretty lucky man in that I really like what I do for a living. And I also work in a friendly, supportive and encouraging environment where it is very nice indeed to feel like you are working during the day among friends.
Getting on with your colleagues is right up there in the whole ‘being happy at work’ thing, as is knowing that you are doing and achieving something purposeful and indeed meaningful. City and Guilds produced a brilliant infographic on happiness at work in 2012.
So I thought that I’d share a few of the tips and notions that have helped to add just a little bit of sparkle and shine to the working environment.
1. Start the week well
Monday, Monday. A chore that needs to be turned quickly into a pleasure.
Here at Claremont we start the week with our team meeting, but with an added twist. Everyone shares one thing that they’ve learned over the weekend, a ‘Weekend Wisdom’. This brings us all together telling stories of the weekend antics but also sharing something practical and useful for the week ahead. It breaks that start of Monday ‘ice’ nicely.
2. Show off about people’s achievements
Celebrating things going swimmingly and being done well is key to a happier workplace, helping to give a good sense of achievement to all.
And it’s not just about that great big new business win. It could be how someone handled a certain situation, finished a difficult task or just made bucket loads of cups of tea and made everyone happy!
Write these sorts of things on a board throughout the week and then share it with everyone over social media. Or you could end the week with everyone talking of one thing that they are proud of, sharing and discussing as a group.
3. Be all inclusive
Sounds like common sense but a lot of praise and congratulations goes on behind closed doors as it were. Whatever tool you use to name and praise, be it a great big wall or social media, let everyone add to it, comment and share.
And this inclusivity can work with big things like planning for the year ahead. Get everyone together and let each person mark out what we all want to do and achieve together this year. Allow the ideas to flow and let people feel like they are part of something grand and wonderful.
4. Do something different
Surprise people, take them out of their area of comfort, and help to make a happier workplace. Fair enough that people often do not like to be forced into things. Role-play being the obvious example.
So what I mean is to change the daily routine a little every now and then. I once conducted an ideas meeting on the Thames Clipper. And it was ridiculously productive and fun. Change the environment and thus change the way people think a little.
Simple things then that help with people’s sense of achievement, purpose and the enjoyment of working together.
It’s just four months since I started my Apprenticeship in October last year and I’ve already done so much – from writing press releases to organising Claremont’s own National Apprenticeship Week event with local businesses and Deputy Mayor of London, Victoria Borwick.
National Apprenticeship Week 2014
For this year’s National Apprenticeship Week (#NAW2014) there were more events held across the country than ever before – over 1,100 – and over 20,000 apprentice vacancies were pledged by employers across the country.
What’s more, in London alone, over a third of businesses have said that they plan to take on apprentices in the next five years and around a third of businesses have said that taking on apprentices is a core part of their growth strategy. With all of this, plus the 51,000 mentions on social media, National Apprenticeship Week has certainly been busy for the Claremont team behind the PR for the Week.
As part of the Week, Monica, Sean and I were asked to help deliver the ‘made by apprentices’ event at 10 Downing Street last Thursday.
10 Downing Street
Six months ago I was working at the local council in Burnley and now I was being invited to 10 Downing Street. That was quite a shock and an opportunity that I never imagined I would get, and being the first person I know to go to Number 10, it became rather daunting.
Instead of just being asked to look after the social media for the event (as we had perhaps suspected), we were pulled out of our comfort zones and thrown into a much more hands on role. We helped set up the whole event and then were tasked by the Number 10 team with finding the eight apprentice case studies – you can hear the results of our work on AudioBoo.
Even after the event started our work wasn’t done, we not only had to capture images for social media, but we also met George Osborne and explained to him about what our PR Apprenticeships involved and explained how they have benefitted us and our employer.
Helping at the event allowed me to broaden my skillset, communicating with people who I’d never met, understanding and implementing a brief under pressure and learning about all of the behind-the-scenes work that goes into running an event.
Here’s to National Apprenticeship Week 2015.
We even have our own mugs…
Did you know that every 2 letter .com is now taken? With this in mind, ICANN are releasing a whole swathe of new TLDs (Top Level Domains), such as .london, .rugby and even .beer! There are rules and regulations around owning domains like ilove.rugby, so here’s what you should know.
You won’t be owning your own .yourname
Unless you’ve got around £200 000 to do so, that is. Domain Venture Partners for instance raised around $400m to get it’s piece of the top level domain pie, so you’ll be competing with them.
There are rules around what you can own
.london, for instance will require your business to be registered in London. This could be a good time to trade under the name you want to secure, to get your hands on shopin.london. You’d need to check with each registrar as to the specific rules (view the list of domains).
They’re released in batches
.london, for instance is open to registration on 29th April. The project in general is a huge undertaking, possibly one of the biggest organisation overhauls the internet has ever seen (or maybe it’s IP V6, but that’s a bit more personal geekery). Check with your registrar as to when you can register your specific interest in a domain. If you’ve a particular domain in mind, Google for the domain you should find registrars to register your interest.
They may not be that useful to many
Especially in the public sector, if you’re bound to a .gov domain. If you’re able to use a .london or .photography domain for a single project, or don’t sit under the .gov umbrella, then it’s wise to think about if it does make you stand out from the crowd, or not. It’s more of a rental property, in the way that the amount you pay each year could vary, and will depend on which domain you go for. I expect .london to sell for around £50 a year.
You could pick up a .diamonds domain though, with them being a girls best friend and all. At £30 a year, a .diamond domain could be your best friend too.
Are you going to be securing your own domain when they become available? I’ve got my eyes on a couple for myself.
The end of the financial year is almost here so quite possibly you’re working on a 2014-15 strategy. Good luck to you!
We know strategy is important. Everyone likes to talk about it, especially candidates on the Apprentice.
But for a more considered perspective we could look instead to Sir Lawrence Freedman, author of Strategy: A History and professor at Kings College, London.
It’s almost an hour long and you may not be sat comfortably enough for that right now, so here are my highlights:
- A strategy is not synonymous with a plan, although the process of planning is valuable
- A good strategy starts with understanding the problem and the here and now, rather than defining an end point
- Strategy is about living with uncertainty, rather than removing it
- Strategy is a story written in the future tense; an (imprecise) idea of where you’d like to be
Digital marketing problems
With this in mind, what should you be considering for your marketing strategy? Of course every organisation is different, but here’s a few suggestions from me that probably apply to your digital efforts.
1. Attention is moving faster than ever
This chart is from bit.ly, a link shortener with tons of data about the sharing of online content. You can read the full post, but in short it shows that most content shared online only gets a few hours’ attention.
How can your organisation produce enough content, of enough interest, to sustain people’s attention? How can you produce the right combination of stock and flow content to both provide value and capture attention?
And beyond that, why do you need the attention? How much do you need? What will you do if you get it?
2. Your organisation is vertical, but real people are horizontal
Real people don’t care about your org chart and silos. They just care about the bits of your organisation that help them do what they need to do. And they get frustrated when they have to navigate your verticals. (Think what it’s like when you have to keep repeating your problem to different people on a help line).
Digital has exaggerated this. In marketing terms, people now move in one fluid experience between your owned, earned and paid channels; from website, to banner ad, to email, to what people say about you on Twitter. Any inconsistencies will jar and could affect your credibility and reputation.
So, how can your organisation get more horizontal? Which verticals need to collaborate to create a brilliant horizontal experience for real people? How can you create a bias to horizontal action, rather than vertical bureaucracy? (Much more on this in Joel Bailey’s fabulous A Horizontal Manifesto. I particular like the idea of a switch to people having to make a business case for why something shouldn’t be done.)
3. Digital will punch you in the mouth
As Mike Tyson (almost) said, everyone has a plan until they get punched in the mouth. The complexity and speed of the Internet is like a billion digital fists, so how will you react when one of them takes a swing at your jaw?
Marketing is still stuck in the language of campaigns and plans, predict and control. Humans are notoriously bad planners though so what if it turns out your plans have a glass jaw? Digital marketing needs to be a reactive, ongoing, always-on activity done in collaboration with people rather than to people, and the good news is that digital makes this more possible than ever before.
How will you build adaptability into your strategy? How will you take advantage of the opportunity you can’t foresee now? Perhaps you should adopt the 70:20:10 rule for budgeting? Maybe it’s time to adopt some of the ideas of lean marketing?
Tackling Youth Unemployment panel discussion, with special guest Kit Malthouse
When: Tuesday 4th March
Time: 8am – 9am
Where: Rosebery Room, Sadler’s Wells Theatre, Rosebery Avenue, Clerkenwell, EC1R 4TN
With 2.34 million young people out of work youth unemployment is a problem all around the country.
In Islington alone there are 1,110 18-24 year olds claiming benefits (NOMIS January 2014) but 15,280 employers in the area (Office of National Statistics 2013). So that means if just 1 in 15 employers hired just one apprentice this would eradicate youth unemployment in the whole of Islington.
As part of National Apprenticeship Week 2014 (#NAW2014), Claremont is hosting a panel discussion on Tuesday 4th March to highlight to employers the benefits that hiring an apprentice can bring and how employing an apprentice also benefits the wider community.
The panel will consist of:
- Jon Thorn – Head of Business Development at the National Apprenticeship Service
- Kate Balston – HR Director at One Plus One
- Alison Wells – BPP Law School
- And chaired by Ben Caspersz – Managing Director of Claremont
With special guest Kit Malthouse – Deputy Mayor for Business and Enterprise
If you don’t employ an apprentice (yet) come down and find out how Apprenticeships help employers grow their own talent by developing a motivated, skilled and qualified workforce.
The question is: Will you be the one of the 1 in 15?
There’s also time to organise your own activity for National Apprenticeship Week, click here for the toolkit to find more information on what you can do to promote Apprenticeships.
In an industry that sometimes struggles to prove its effectiveness, one Claremont campaign helps answer the age old question ‘why do PR’.
Last weekend the government announced that as a result of Tomorrow’s Engineers Week, the number of young people interested in a career in engineering has seen a sharp rise – by 6 percentage points (from 50 to 56% agreeing they would consider a career in engineering).
Among 11-14 year old girls, the 6 percentage point rise is even more significant as it is a jump from 35% to 41% interested in pursing a engineering career.
Government and industry launched Tomorrow’s Engineers Week following the Perkins Review of Engineering Skills, which focused on the need to shore up the pipeline of skills throughout the whole engineering sector. As Chief Executive of EngineeringUK, Paul Jackson, said:
Tomorrow’s Engineers Week is an example of the positive impact that can be made when organisations work together. The Week has proven an effective calendar item for raising awareness of engineering careers and EngineeringUK will be delighted to coordinate it on behalf of the engineering community in 2014.
So for a campaign that set out with three clear objectives we’ve now got the proof we hit all three – and on a modest budget:
An amazing result, only made possible thanks to our partnership with Tribe PR and On Broadcast, working closely with the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, EngineeringUK and other stakeholders, many of whom delivered outreach activity direct to young people, reinforcing the PR activity on the ground.
As Secretary of State for Business Innovation and Skills Vince Cable said:
As a country we excel in hi-tech industries but we need the engineers to maintain our competitive advantage. Government alone cannot solve this. We need to work with industry, universities, colleges and schools to keep momentum and guarantee the pipeline of talent so that businesses are not disadvantaged. It is encouraging to see that our efforts to highlight the importance of engineering as a career has had a positive affect and that more women and girls are seeing it as an exciting career.
So why do PR? To get results that will increase the chances of young people working in a sector that will help the UK economy and avoid creating future skills gaps.
For more information on Tomorrow’s Engineers visit: tomorrowsengineers.org.uk
If you’re a regular Buzzfeed-er you might also have noticed the rapid increase of the Buzzfeed quiz.
But why is there such an increase and why is it that people – myself included – can’t get enough of them?
The end of last year
At the end of last year something terribly strange happened. The most shared article on The New York Times was in fact a dialect quiz. This in itself is a strange occurrence but what’s even more disturbing is the fact that it was posted on the 21st December.
That means that in the 11 days it was on the site, it was shared more than any other content all year.
So obviously a procrastination hotbed like Buzzfeed picked it up straight away with almost three quizzes a day being posted since the New Year.
Well, unlike the Slate article about Buzzfeed quizzes, I don’t think it has anything to do about people wanting to “believe the world is categorise-able”. This is a terribly dim outlook on how people use Buzzfeed and the quizzes that it provides.
In all honesty it’s just a bit of fun.
We ‘millennials’ are not trying to categorise the world on the basis of being Thor or Dr Druid from the Avengers. It’s not about dealing with our problems. It’s merely about seeing how your answers turn out and laughing at the friend who got Percy Weasley as their Harry Potter character.
People forget that Buzzfeed is quite possibly the greatest procrastinating tool ever. Even without its quizzes Buzzfeed is perfectly positioned for not doing anything useful online – possibly better than both YouTube and Facebook. With articles like ‘The 22 Funniest Things Jimmy Carr Has Ever Said“ or ‘What Celebrities Would Look Like If They Were Fat’ no matter how pathetic these articles are the fact is that they are easy to consume meaning that there’s no chance that you can have one eye on Buzzfeed and the other on The Economist – it just isn’t going to happen.
There are two ways that the Buzzfeed quiz can go.
Firstly, they could go the way of the hula-hoop – rapidly expanding in popularity before disappearing from our memories and day-to-day activities for good.
Or they could be start becoming useful to people. If set out in the right way, with more time being spent on them, they could be used to help people find a job that would suit them.
Obviously to have people complete a quiz and tell them what job, apprenticeship or traineeship they should take is utterly wrong. The quiz could give guidance and advice based on skill set, interests and qualifications.
This clearly requires a lot of work from both the person answering the quiz and the person designing it – a quiz helping people actually choose a career path can’t be set up in the same amount of time as Buzzfeed’s new ‘What Career Should You Actually Have?’ quiz (where questions consist of what’s your favourite trilogy or what would you bring on a desert island). It would have to be much more intricate and layered.
The above is a brilliant example of how these quizzes are used for fun (I’ve just taken the quiz and got professor).
This isn’t a bad thing but if set up the right way these quizzes could actually become useful for people seeking employment direction rather than leading people down the dark alley of procrastination.