Welcome aboard, Stroke Association

We’re pleased to be able to share some exciting news with you. Following a competitive pitch, we’ve been appointed by the Stroke Association work with them team to launch a major new campaign and its first TV advertising.

Stroke is the fourth biggest killer in the UK. Anyone who has witnessed this up-close will tell you that the effects can be devastating. But it’s not given the priority it deserves.

We’re here to help the Stroke Association strike back. 2019 is going to be the year when you will see and hear this issue elevated to something that you’re motivated to take action on.

For us, this is a significant opportunity. If you’ve followed our work over the last year, you’ll have seen that we’ve been more involved in delivering purpose-led work that creates real impact (through our work with Plastic Oceans UK and Harvey Nichols). This is an opportunity for us to use our craft to create a positive impact on the world, and we’re going big.

Photo courtesy of the Stroke Association.


Introducing Janger: A hanger but better

We’re pretty chuffed to be able to share the news that we’ve won a pitch for Janger. That’s not a typo. The Janger is the ultimate holiday hanger. It uses less plastic in manufacturing so is eco-friendly; super compact; and for retail trade, allows shops to display 20% more stock.

It also looks really cool. When was the last time you bought a hanger in a packet like that one 👆? Never. Exactly. Our friends over at Brand & Deliver have done a bang tidy job creating something that really stands out at retail display.

It’s a pretty nifty innovation in what is an otherwise staid category, and we’re proud to be supporting it as it launches to a consumer market. Plus, it means that we get loads of free samples, so we can stuff more into our wardrobes at home, rather than having our clothes scattered on chairs in our bedrooms (well… we live in hope).


Welcome Davnet Doran

I first met Davnet when I started working at Consolidated Communications (which is now part of Four Communications). She was more senior to me and earmarked as a rising star in the agency. Then she left us and quickly worked her way to up to become a director at Cake, delivering work that turned us green with envy.

Since then, she’s gone on to do more great things at Unity and M&C Saatchi PR, as I followed two steps behind in her wake at other agencies. Clients and colleagues who had the fortune to work with her described her to me as a “Leg end” (sic) and “a class act”, because of her uncanny ability to bring the best out of people, and offer empathetic and valuable counsel to board-level clients.

I’d always harboured a mix of respect and jealousy for her career, but finally I can lay rest to the latter and nurture the former, because Davnet’s joined the team as our non executive director.

Davnet will work closely with me to ensure that Fanclub retains its unique people-led culture as we grow, and will also help us deliver strategic high-level consultancy to our clients.

You can probably tell that I’m pretty chuffed to be finally working with Davnet. London’s PR industry doesn’t have a great reputation when it comes to looking after its people. I’ve high hopes that with Davnet’s help, we’ll be able to show the industry that a culture that puts people first can lead to commercial success and creative excellence.


Tips for managing stress and imposter syndrome

By Adrian Ma

When it comes to mental health, PR doesn't get a good rep. In various reports it ranks in the top 10 most stressful careers out there.

Throughout my career, I've seen the casualties first hand. It's not pretty. I wanted to do something to safeguard the team's mental health, and here at Fanclub, we've been working with our in-house coach Tash (pictured).

Here she is to tell us a bit about her role, and what she does for us.

What’s your role here?

My role at Fanclub is about helping people to be the best version of themselves. I work with to them remove any interference that may be stopping them from achieving their full potential: from dealing with high pressure situations; to finessing client relationships and more smoothly negotiating team personalities.  Essentially it's about bolstering people's emotional understanding and awareness so they can feel increasingly strong, confident and comfortable within themselves to make the right decisions and excel at a higher level.   

What qualifies you for this? 

I worked in PR for over twelve years at companies including Hill & Knowlton and Freuds' before becoming a professional coach, so I understand the many trials and tribulations of the industry and the issues that affect people within it.  I have also put in the hours and gained an advanced practitioner qualification in Life Coaching and NLP with the Phil Parker Institute as well as doing additional courses to improve my knowledge with the Co-Active coaching school.

How do you do what you do? 

I always start of from the basic assumption that I'm OK and that the people I'm working with are OK too.  It's my view that labelling people is inherently counterproductive and that if employees are stuck or always butting heads with the same problem, then something about the way they are dealing with it needs to change, and I help facilitate that change.  As the saying goes: the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. So I get people to look at their issues in an entirely new way, to gain new ideas about how to work with and overcome them.

In your career, and in your practice, do you come across common issues in people who work in PR?

Absolutely, managing tricky client relationships, dealing with high stress situations and imposter syndrome are all very common. 

What advice would you give them for dealing with it? 

In terms of managing tricky client relationships it's key to put yourselves in their shoes.  We get too caught up in "me, myself and I" and can feel we are being attacked and disrespected by people.  But in most cases it's just not the case and many clients are just acting into the "script" of how they feel they should behave. What's key is to start giving people the tools to move away from reaction and into understanding.

With managing high stress situations it's about clearly identifying your triggers so you can become hyper aware of looking out for them and understand it's a pattern that can be hacked, not a helpless loop.

And with managing imposter syndrome it's about communication, communication, communication.  It's my belief that this so called epidemic of our age is caused by the strange social syndrome of feeling that talking about our insecurities is a weakness.  The sooner you have a group of employees together saying 'me too' the sooner you have a more relaxed, happy workforce that feels understood and part of a group, not like imposters. In fact, group coaching is the latest tool that I'm working on building out for my business clients.


Influencer marketing ROI

A recent report from Digiday which looked at influencer fraud, highlighted that a single day’s worth of Instagram posts tagged #sponsored or #ad was found to contain over 50 percent fake engagements. Of 118,007 comments, just 20,942 were not made by bot followers.

It’s not surprising that an increasingly competitive industry has fostered dirty tactics to help influencers lure in sponsorship deals. But, of course, bots don’t click, buy, comment or think; because they’re not real people.

As influencer marketing thrives and more marketers look to invest in the value of influencers in driving awareness and establishing genuine legitimacy, we see an increasing focus on using a plethora of data to establish the most effective collaboration, and, by proxy, the most engaging content. But as the landscape moves faster than many are able to keep up with, we must ask: are we focusing on the right data to get our money’s worth?

Influencer marketing demands a robust approach which uses real-time data to identify the best content creators to create sponsored content that truly resonates. Influencers themselves are under more scrutiny than ever- particularly given controversies around Logan Paul et al, and the imperative deep delve into historic content and performance.

But part of this process, and a box that is often left unticked, is close scrutiny of the influencer’s audience.

Without a clear indication that audiences could be potential customers, the content could (and is likely to) fall on deaf ears.

It’s widely understood that an influencer’s audience demographics are fundamental in identifying whether content will speak to the right people.  Depending on the content platform, there are many tools to help with this- Peg.co, for example, offers a breakdown of audience age, gender and location.

But we need to go deeper. We need to be looking at whether the audience is an audience at all.

Whilst it is certainly difficult to accurately determine fake followers, due to increasing sophistication of bots and changing privacy settings from the likes of Instagram and Twitter, there are tools available and manual processes to get a good grasp of credibility.

  1. Engagement rates
    This is a good indication of how many of their total followers are actually engaging with their content, and exploring whether their reach is valuable at all. Comments should represent about 2 percent of total engagement on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, according to Digiday.
  2. Comments
    If you find unrelated comments asking for likes, subscribers, or generally sound spammy, they are likely to come from automated bot accounts
  3. Follower growth
    If an influencer has an irregular or sudden spike in follower growth, it could mean that they have been purchased. Sites like Socialblade can help monitor this.
  4. General credibility tools
    There are a host of tools which do some of the above for you, by using AI to establish audience authenticity scores based on a combination of follower growth, engagement rates and followers who will actually see the content on an influencer’s feed. Hypeauditor, Influencerdb and Twitteraudit are examples of this.

 

These processes are imperative in moving away from impressive but ultimately meaningless metrics that so often entice brands, and naïve marketers.

It’s up to brands and agencies to invest in understanding these pitfalls and how to avoid them, if we are to work toward genuine ROI.


6 myths about influencer marketing

By Emily Barnes & Megan Linehan

“Reach is everything - it means you’re getting your message out to the most people”

Incorrect. It’s imperative to look more closely at who the audience are. There’s no value in getting your content into the feeds of people who aren’t actively engaging with it or aren’t invested in it. If the person seeing the content isn’t a potential customer, it’s fruitless. Worse still, they could even be a bot or fake follower.

This is why engagement rates are key; there’s been much discussion recently about how engagement rates are significantly higher for smaller influencers. There is absolutely a saturation point of engagement, which can mean that mega influencers are left with a dead audience.

When scoping out potential influencers, make sure you look at their most recent videos for accurate engagement rates- that way you know that they’re performing consistently and are frequently posting.

“It’s great to work with as many influencers as possible, to talk to lots of different audiences”

Whilst micro-influencers certainly can provide value through their highly engaged audiences and advocacy around niche topics and interests,  it’s also generally true that in order for a brand message, recollection or call to action to convert, the audience needs to see it multiple times. It’s marketing 101.  So, think about investing in multiple pieces of content over a longer period, with the same influencer.

Ambassadorship with influencers is a key focus in 2018, not only because of the value in repeat consideration, but because the content is organic and a natural-fit on the influencer’s channel- which works toward great sentiment.

“It’s impossible to really demonstrate ROI in influencer marketing”

Nuh uh. Whilst ROI and metrics for success are hotly contested and changing (pretty much) all the time, and it can be difficult to measure consideration and path to purchase outside of views and likes, there are plenty of marketing metrics which work to demonstrate effective consideration and brand sentiment, directly as a result of content.

Affiliate marketing and tracking links are a great way to measure this audience journey. If you’re promoting something like a service, resource, or high consideration purchase, you can get creative with incentives to click. A competition, discount code or limited edition purchase work well in these instances.

“Just put #ad at the end of the post”

No! No! When working with an influencer, be sure that the partnership/sponsorship is labelled loud and clear for the consumer to see, else it can be deemed misleading and lazy. Many platforms have clear guidelines for influencers to clearly label their content, and the ASA has outlined rulings on explicit labelling of sponsored content. No excuses!

“One post is all we need”

Cross-platform promotion means you’ll hit your chosen influencer’s audience across several channels and mediums, as well as developing a natural story around the partnership. A singular post can get lost in an abyss of newsfeeds, missing the mark with impact and looking awkward and unnatural. A carefully considered content package is important in understanding investment in a partnership and expectations of performance.

Be sure to ask about the cost of hero content with social promotion, for example, or a series of social posts with clear consideration of timings. The influencer should help guide this based on data about audience engagement with previous content and timings for this.

“They posted about the product before- they should do it again for free”

An influencer creates content for a living- it’s their livelihood and often their sole income. So, when considering asking an influencer for free content, stop and consider the size of the industry and it’s power- you’re buying into a powerful marketing tool. Where have you been for the last few years?! Whilst some influencers may be willing to post in return for a free product, holiday, or event attendance, be ready for them to ask for cash. Great, impactful content which speaks to the right audience is valuable- be ready to pay for it.


The women who inspire Fanclub

Today is International Women’s Day: a day to celebrate women, a day to highlight the gender inequalities that many women still face, and a day to work together to overcome them.

From mothers to daughters, writers to entrepreneurs, there are a wealth of inspiring women who surround us every single day, and we hope to continue to learn more about their spirit and ambition. To celebrate International Women’s day today, we asked the team to tell us about women who personally inspire them.  The result is a list of truly wonderful women who have inspired us to be passionate and tenacious in being our best selves and striving to help others around us.

 

Liz Travis, aka my mum. She continues to inspire me each and every day with her eternal patience (with me, anyway!); selflessness, generosity and love- and for putting her children before her every step of the way. She not only conquers adversity with steely determination and an unflappable sense of being, but does so whilst being one of the most glamorous and stylish women I have the pleasure of knowing. 

- Georgie

 

Marta Krupinska, Co-Founder of Azimo, is one of the most impressive and passionate entrepreneurs who inspires me.  Ambitious, honest and a champion for diversity, she’s a great role model for anyone who wants to help change or make the world a better place. Also, the boxer Nicola Adams, who proved that determination, hard work and sacrifices can lead to achieving global recognition and success (and she’s been turned into a Barbie doll!)

Jonny

 

Jenni Cochrane, Director of Culture and Partnerships at AEI Media. Jenni has been someone I’ve admired since the day I met her (when I interviewed her for a piece on women in the music industry). She has such an amazing presence that’s captivating and stays with you. She’s smart and strong, she’s a mother, a director at a really cool business and she’s a woman that’s worked and thrived in a male-dominated world for years, Jenni is inspiring on so many levels.  

Also, my mum, Dr Ruth Padday. I’m especially proud of her for receiving an honours for all the charity work she’s done from setting up a young people’s clinic and working as a doctor at festivals to providing aid to rural villages in Nepal and working for the JST which takes disabled people sailing on tall ships. She’s currently deep in the ocean sailing and no doubt helping others as she usually does.

Joey

 

Besides my mum and my three sisters, I’m inspired by American director, writer, producer, and distributor, Ava DuVernay. She began in journalism, shifted to PR, and then went on to create award winning films and documentaries. She followed her ambition (even funding her first film) and is relentless to tell the stories that deserve to be told. Her ambition and perseverance (and not to mention her talent!) are truly inspiring.

Megan

 

Obviously, the most inspiring person in the world is my mother - a single parent to two young children who never let her own problems get in the way of the happiness of me and my sister. She juggled a million different strands of life, whilst teaching me and my sister the value of hard-work, manners, self-expression, travel, happiness and of course, LOVE.

Matt

 

Aside from my utterly selfless and compassionate mum and sister, who have both shown me marked support and taught me to be uncompromising with who I am and what I deserve, I’m always in awe of those who have shown dedication to supporting others with resources to support mental health. Jane Lawson founded CSTUK-  a complimentary and volunteer-led organisation founded to support victims of the Grenfell disaster with community based support therapies, and counselling. The organisation offers invaluable support to victims of disasters- from children to those in the emergency services. Also, author and food writer Ruby Tandoh, who has inspired a refreshing dialogue that advocates the nourishing power of food for physical and mental wellbeing. Ruby celebrates how food has unique potential to sustain healthy relationships with ourselves and others- speaking to a broad spectrum of issues affecting everyone from migrant communities to those struggling with their mental health.

Emily

 

I’m going to cheat, and name a few women. I’m lucky to have some incredible women in my home, family and work life. I’m inspired by mum, for her capacity to put other people’s happiness before her own, and her unlimited kindness. I’m inspired by my wife, Amy, for her compassion, style, creativity and I’m envious of her ability to multitask. I’m also inspired by my two daughters for their curiosity and endless energy (which keeps me entertained). At work, I'm lucky to work with super talented men and women who push me to be the best version of myself, every day.

Adrian


Fanclub's Top Podcasts You Need To Listen To Right Now

According to Rajar, the UK’s audio measurement company, 6.1 million adults listen to podcasts in every week. Do you?

 

We certainly love a good podcast here at Fanclub, so here a few of our favourites for you...

 

Adrian’s picks

Where to start…here are just a few to get you started that I listen to regularly - Tim Ferris Show, HBR IdeaCast, The Echo Chamber, and The Adam Buxton Podcast.

 

Emily’s picks

True Crime Garage is hosted by two guys who drink beer and discuss true crime cases. Even though they're sometimes a bit insensitive and crude, I really like the informal approach to each case and the conversations that come out of it. How To Curate Your Life talks to different creative entrepreneurs about their work-life balance. It's super interesting to hear women talk about their journey in business- including how honest they are about the hardships along the way.

 

Georgie’s pick

Sword and Scale – because I’m really into murder (I’m not a psychopath).

 

Joey’s pick

The Heatwave - it’s DJ mix sets and radio shows playing Bashment music - if you want to feel like you’re at Notting Hill Carnival all year round, these are for you.

 

Jonny’s picks

How I Built This is my go-to for awesome founder stories from Patagonia’s Yvon Chouinard to Power Rangers Haim Saban. City AM’s Unregulated is a great for anecdotes from entrepreneurs too. And for a more light-hearted listen, The Food Programme have great shows, featuring interviews, trends and stories on everything related to food.

 

Matt’s pick

James O’Brien is unmissable in Unfiltered by Joe. With guests including Robert Webb, Eric Cantona and Alistair Campbell, you can be sure to get an atypically hard-hitting and heart-warming accompaniment to any commute, coffee or Cantona love-in.

 

Megan’s picks

My Brother, My Brother And Me - a hilarious and silly advice show with advice that should never be followed. I really enjoy the infamous Clt Alt Delete - interviews each week and some really interesting conversations.

 

Naomi’s picks

The High Low - perfectly combining serious, important conversations such as the #MeToo movement, the refugee crisis, and current political topics, with light-hearted but nearly as important conversations (at least to me…) about the Kardashians, Taylor Swift and prosecco.


Algorithms as the new editors

By Adrian Ma

If you catch me in an 'in-between' moment, you'll most likely find me scrolling through one of my feeds on Facebook or Instagram. It was while scrolling through Facebook that I learned of the death of Delores O'Riordan from the Cranberries. In fact, it's where I discover a lot of news.

I'm not alone in here. A Reuters study points out, 51% of us are now using social media as a news source, which marks a shift in news and content discovery that we need to build into our own working practices.

the role of gatekeeper to news stories is falling out of the hands of editors, and into the hands of the algorithms that promote organic content on our feeds on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn etc.

I don’t think that algorithms will completely replace editors. I certainly hope not, anyway (that’s another topic). But as PRs, it’s our role to manage the visibility of brand reputation, and because of this, we need to adapt our way of working to ensure that we’re considering the role of the social algorithm in content discovery.

Let’s use the Facebook algorithm as an example. Facebook breaks down the steps to its newsfeed algorithm into four stages

  1. Inventory – Facebook takes an inventory of the stories that you and your friends have posted and the pages you follow
  2. Signals – Facebook considers all data available to determine how interested you will be in a story (these include who posted a story and how much engagement it has had)
  3. Predictions – Facebook then uses signals to make a prediction to calculate how probably you are to read, comment or share a story
  4. Score – Facebook generates a ‘relevancy’ score

 

This process happens every time you open Facebook, and determines what your feed looks like.

Changes that Facebook announced recently may, of course, change all this. But the one thing that remains clear is that if you’re working on a story that you want to be discovered, it’s important to consider the role of ‘Signals’ in discovery. This is true of any social media platform and the algorithms work in very similar ways.

Mainly, this means that if you want your content (whether it be a piece of coverage, or something direct from a brand) to be seen, it’s got to be something that receives engagement.

Of course, there are those that seek to ‘game’ these algorithms. I’ve known Instagram influencers to create WhatsApp groups (or ‘Pods’, as they call them), with fellow influencers to announce when a piece of content is posted, so that they can all ‘like’ and ‘comment’ on it at the same time in the hope that it will increase visibility.

We’re not suggesting that you adopt these practices. In the long term, these algorithms always wise up to them, and you’d run the risk of being penalised as a result of these ‘Black Hat’ practices.

But at the very least, you should be considering your role after a piece of coverage has been landed, or a piece of content is live. Life doesn’t stop with coverage. In fact, for many of our clients, it’s just the start and it's our job to work with them to help get it discovered.

For more about Facebook’s algorithm, check out this article on Social Examiner.


What you need to think about when launching a product

It’s crazy to think that 75% of European online shoppers drop off a website when they see a dollar sign. However, unless you look at your site analytics, you’d never know.

 

Last week Ben Hofman, founder of Atlantic Access popped in to the Fanclub HQ to talk to us about why he’s helping the most exciting tech brands focus on growing their brand, without relying on retailers and distributors. And how spotting that 75% drop off rate on previous client’s website was part of the reason he set up his business.

 

Discussing how to launch a product, and what it takes to do it successfully, here’s what Ben had to say:

 

In a sentence, what does Atlantic Access do?

We help start-ups launch in Europe the same way they would in the US.

 

What common mistakes do brands and businesses make when launching in the UK?

The biggest mistake is choosing a launch strategy based on what has been available in the past. Digital marketing and online have changed the world in the past 10 years of how to launch a brand. Brick and mortar retailers are no longer necessarily the best choice but for some reason many brands still see it as the only option in the UK to ‘launch'

 

Can you share an example of a product that got it right and launched successfully?

There are two types of brands. The big ones that have $m to pour into marketing and the smaller start-ups. Big brands like Fitbit and Ring have gone big on advertising and built awareness with TV adverts and such. Most brands don't have this luxury so have to be smarter, Tile are a great example of a brand that focused very heavily on digital first, growing their brand with direct to customer sales and Amazon. When it came to launching into brick and mortar they had sufficient awareness in the market to be a success. That said, they still had plenty of marketing funds available after successful online campaigns.

 

How important is prelaunch marketing to a launch?

Pre-launch marketing certainly helps to build the brand. Crowdfunding campaign are certainly ways to raise lots of awareness but must be backed-up by good planning and PR.

 

What must-do advice would you give to a businesses launching a new product in 2018?

If you have been successful in another territory first before moving to the EU, ask yourself why you were so successful and how you can match that here. The Distribution model of selling straight to big retailers before doing brand development may not be the right one. Focus on growing your brand first and your sales will come with it.

 

And finally, what are you looking forward to seeing at CES this year? 

I am looking forward to the re-emergence of useful connected products. The past two years there has been a flood of people making ‘connected’ products just because they can. No-one needs a connected umbrella!! Hopefully they will be replaced by useful products this year.

 

Ben Hofman is the Founder of Atlantic Access