tag:econsultancy.com,2008:/topics/strategy Latest Strategy content from Econsultancy 2018-02-13T12:35:00+00:00 tag:econsultancy.com,2008:Report/4716 2018-02-13T12:35:00+00:00 2018-02-13T12:35:00+00:00 Digital Intelligence Briefing: 2018 Digital Trends <p>The <strong>2018 Digital Trends</strong> report, published by Econsultancy in association with <strong><a title="Adobe" href="https://www.adobe.com/uk/experience-cloud.html">Adobe</a></strong>, looks at the most significant trends that will impact companies in the short to medium term.</p> <p>The report is based on a global survey of nearly 13,000 marketing, creative and technology professionals in the digital industry across EMEA, North America and Asia Pacific.</p> <p>As part of this year’s study, we have also identified a number of <strong>top-performing companies</strong> in order to<strong> assess how they are focusing their activities and investments differently compared to their peers</strong>.</p> <p>High-performing companies are those organisations that exceeded their top 2017 business goal by a significant margin, and who have also significantly outperformed their competitors.</p> <p><strong>Key insights</strong> from the research include:</p> <ul> <li>Companies continue to focus on the customer experience (CX), as well as the content required to facilitate this. Organisations committed to CX are shown to outperform their peers.</li> <li>We are entering a ‘design and creativity renaissance’, with top-performing companies recognising the importance of these capabilities to complement data and technology excellence.</li> <li>Investment in technology and related skills is paying dividends, with integrated platforms fast-becoming a prerequisite for success.</li> <li>AI is set to play a growing role in helping marketers to deliver more compelling real-time experiences.</li> </ul> tag:econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/69781 2018-02-07T12:20:00+00:00 2018-02-07T12:20:00+00:00 Five things all marketers should know about China in 2018 Jeff Rajeck <p>But along with increasing interest has come a flurry of blog posts and reports advising marketers on what to do in this new, exciting digital market. With so much new material out there, how can someone find the best advice?</p> <p>At a recent event in Singapore, Econsultancy decided to call in an expert. Ashley Dudarenok, fluent in Mandarin and a 12-year resident of China and Hong Kong, has been advising brands for years about how to break into China through her company ChoZan - and is considered one of the top influencers in the field (check out her <a href="https://www.youtube.com/user/AshleyLinaAlexandra">YouTube channel</a> for a full introduction).</p> <p>Over an hour, Ms. Dudarenok spoke about all things China, including five things all marketers should know about China in 2018.</p> <h3>1) China is #1 in everything online</h3> <p>Ms. Dudarenok started her talk by educating the audience about where China ranks in the online world</p> <p>First off, China has the world's largest internet user base. With 731 million people online, it dwarves the US online population (287 million) and is far greater than the online population of the whole European Union (433 million).</p> <p>With this online population comes the next number one, China has the largest number of online shoppers in the world. With more than 480 million people buying things online, there are almost as many online consumers in China than there are people in Europe (506 million).</p> <p>But most importantly for brand marketers, China has the number one online retail market in the world, with $770 billion in online sales in 2016. In comparison, Europe had around $600 billion and the US had just under $400 billion in ecommerce sales the same year.</p> <p>So, as China is the biggest in everything which matters digitally, any brand who has global ambitions and hasn't taken a close look at China should do so straight away.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0009/2121/2018-china-trends-1.jpg" alt="" width="800" height="600"></p> <h3>2) Chinese consumers do not have the same buying habits as Western consumers</h3> <p>While considering how to launch in China, brands are encouraged to spend time researching Chinese consumer preferences as they often differ from the West's.</p> <p>As an example, Ms. Dudarenok pointed out that between 2016 and 2017, Chinese consumers shifted from more Western buying habits to more health-conscious ones.</p> <p>Out are 'unhealthy' products such as beer (-2.6%), juice (-7.6%), candy (-9.6%), and chewing gum (-17.0%) and in are skin care products(+13.6%), yoghurt (+15.1%), and bottled water (+17.3%).</p> <p>Brands who are thought of as a treat in the West may, therefore, want to find a healthier option of their product for the consumer in China.</p> <h3>3) Social commerce has taken off in China</h3> <p>Just looking at social media usage times (around two hours per day) may lead marketers to think that China has a similar level of interest in social platforms as Western markets.</p> <p>According to Ms. Dudarenok, nothing could be further from the truth.</p> <p>Whereas Western consumers use social media mainly for connecting with friends, instant messaging, and news, Chinese consumers use social media as a part of their everyday life.</p> <p>In China, noted Ms. Dudarenok, social media platforms have integrated payment systems which are used widely by everyone. Social media in China has become the place to not only share updates but also to make purchases. </p> <p>And while Facebook does have integrated payments, most Westerners would struggle to pay a local grocer, dentist, or friend via Facebook. In China, social media is used for all sorts of transactions every day.</p> <p>And since items can be purchased through social platforms, Chinese consumers frequently use social media to discover brands, research purchases and ask for product recommendations from friends.</p> <p>Finally, with new 'mini-apps', appearing on social media, the social platforms are in process to circumvent Apple and Google by providing app-like functionality within a social setting.</p> <p>The takeaway? Brands should become familiar with the myriad of possibilities offered by Chinese social media platforms before deciding on promotional tactics.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0009/2123/2018-china-trends-2.jpg" alt="" width="800" height="533"></p> <h3>4) China has completely different digital platforms from the West</h3> <p>While doing the research on what is possible on social media, brand marketers will quickly realize that China also has completely different digital platforms than the West.</p> <p>For example, social media is dominated by WeChat and Weibo, search by Baidu, and video by Youku (see image below).</p> <p>(NB. Econsultancy subscribers can download our new report, <a href="https://www.econsultancy.com/reports/understanding-wechat-an-overview-of-china-s-social-payment-and-messaging-giant">Understanding WeChat: An Overview of China’s Social, Payment and Messaging Giant</a>)</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0009/2124/2018-china-trends.png" alt="" width="800" height="277"></p> <p>This alternative infrastructure exists, in part, because the Chinese government has long-since banned sites like Google, Facebook, and Youtube. Now, however, with the integrated payments it could easily be argued that China is ahead of the West and more likely to export their own platforms than import the ones from Silicon Valley.</p> <p>Regardless, brand marketers have little choice in the country. Become familiar with what the locals use or miss out on the market completely.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0009/2125/2018-china-trends-4.jpg" alt="" width="800" height="533"></p> <h3>5) Just starting out? Aim for 'second tier' cities</h3> <p>Finally, Ms. Dudarenok gave some helpful advice for brands just starting out in China</p> <p>For those who didn't know, she explained that China has official city 'tiers'.  The megacities, such as Beijing, Tianjin, Shanghai and Chongqing, are considered 'first tier' and other cities, though very large, fall into a 'second tier' category.</p> <p>Counter-intuitively, brands without a presence in China already should aim to serve the second-tier cities first, for a number of reasons.</p> <p>First off, the first-tier cities are already very well served by local and global brands, and the competition is ferocious.</p> <p>But equally as important, second-tier cities have a number of characteristics which make them more attractive to marketers: </p> <ol> <li>As a whole, second-tier cities have more people than the first tier, with 45.8% of the population</li> <li>People living in second-tier cities have nearly as much as income as those from first-tier cities </li> <li>Those in second-tier cities typically have  fewer resources and options for shopping</li> <li>Second-tier consumers are more likely to shop online to meet their needs - and have more free time for online shopping </li> </ol> <p>And before anyone can object to having to work in puny markets, marketers should note that <strong>many second-tier cities have a greater population than well-known Western cities</strong>. Second-tier cities include: </p> <ul> <li>Fuzhou (7.5 million)</li> <li>Guiyang (4.6 million), and</li> <li>Urumqi (3.5 million)</li> </ul> <p> Each of which offers enormous potential for brands looking to get their 'feet wet' in China.</p> <h3>A word of thanks</h3> <p>Econsultancy would like to thank Ashley Dudarenok, founder of ChoZan and expert in all things China, for her enlightening talk about what marketers really need to know about the world's largest digital market.</p> <p>We'd also like to thank each of our presenters and all of the 400+ marketers who came to Digital Outlook 2018 - and hope to see you at all future Econsultancy events!</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0009/2127/2018-china-trends-5.jpg" alt="" width="800" height="533"></p> tag:econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/69756 2018-01-30T10:08:00+00:00 2018-01-30T10:08:00+00:00 Eight tips for a killer YouTube strategy Nikki Gilliland <p>So, with this in mind, here’s a few tips for brand YouTube strategy in 2018, with reasons why the platform should still be top of mind for social media marketers (and remember to check out our video strategy <a href="https://econsultancy.com/reports/online-video-best-practice-guide">reports</a> and <a href="https://econsultancy.com/training/courses/video-marketing-strategies/">training</a>).</p> <h3>1. Create lean-back content</h3> <p>One of the biggest misconceptions about YouTube is that success only happens if a video goes viral. It’s often thought that if you can’t deliver cats getting up to mischief or show a prank going wrong – it’s not for you. </p> <p>This is widely off the mark, of course, especially considering the changing ways in which users are now consuming video content. </p> <p>While it’s true that a lot of people are watching YouTube on their mobiles, this doesn’t necessarily mean they want extremely short, or purely entertaining videos. Google suggests that when it comes to video viewing, mobile is a lot like TV, meaning that people are in fact watching in the evening, at home, and to relax.</p> <p>As a result, brands must no longer think of YouTube in the context of ‘on-the-go’ entertainment. Instead, there is scope for lean-back content, i.e. longer videos of more variety – whether informative, educational, or indeed entertaining. </p> <h3>2. Be consistent</h3> <p>One characteristic that the most successful YouTube channels share is consistency. The most obvious way being how often videos are posted, with big brands typically posting every couple of days or even every day.</p> <p>However, consistency does not necessarily mean having a highly populated channel. Instead, brands can create consistency in terms of format, meaning that they post the same style of content. This can also come through featuring the same people or coming back to a recurring theme or topic. The overarching benefit is that viewers get to know what to expect from a channel, with familiarity helping to build loyalty over time. </p> <p>In order to achieve consistency, it is vital that brands build a <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/69665-how-to-start-planning-a-successful-content-strategy" target="_blank">content plan or strategy</a>, mapping out when and what videos will be created and posted. </p> <h3>3. Build a community</h3> <p>While ephemeral video can be effective for capturing the attention, it tends to create a passive user experience (where the viewer is simply watching rather than interacting). </p> <p>In contrast, the beauty of YouTube is that it creates a sense of community for brands, with each channel having the potential to build a loyal and highly engaged audience. </p> <p>There is the common understanding (from both creators and viewers) that comments are expected and appreciated. Brands should therefore be ready and willing to respond in order to build a relationship with the audience alongside a cycle of communication and interaction.</p> <h3>4. Encourage action</h3> <p>Again, it is important for brands to prompt users to leave comments, but there are also a number of other ways brands can help to build an audience and promote loyalty. YouTube cards are one simple tool – they are pre-programmed notifications that pop up in videos to point viewers elsewhere (in a shoppable video, for example, a card might link to a featured product).</p> <p>End screens are also a valuable tool. These allow brands or creators to promote up to four elements at the end of a video, such as another video, playlist, or an external website. This lets the viewer know that they can take further action, which could help to keep them within the channel walls rather than clicking away elsewhere.</p> <h3>5. Optimise for search</h3> <p>While success on YouTube is bolstered by features like quality content and consistency, it’s still important for brands to ensure that videos are getting the maximum exposure possible. So, how can you get your video to rank highly? There are a number of simple things you can do to help your content, such as including a major keyword in the title, using relevant tags, and a lengthy and well-crafted description. </p> <p>Customised thumbnails can also be effective for generating views, with branded design again helping to create consistency and familiarity for viewers.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0009/1921/Lowes_YouTube.JPG" alt="" width="550" height="389"></p> <h3>6. Think mobile</h3> <p>Google suggests that three in four adults report watching YouTube at home on their mobile device. </p> <p>Not only is it clear that more people are accessing video content on their smartphones, but it seems this might also prove to be an automatic positive for brands, as YouTube mobile users are also reported to be twice as likely to pay close attention while watching compared to TV viewers.</p> <p>This is because the act of watching video on mobile offers less distraction. In comparison, while watching traditional television, viewers might be more likely to partake in another activity at the same time, such as cooking, cleaning, or using another device. </p> <p>So, how can brands capitalise on this? Again, it is about thinking of the user need, with a mobile-first strategy helping to deliver content that’s relevant and engaging in a real-time context.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0009/1922/adult-youtube-home-consumption.jpg" alt="" width="500" height="312"></p> <h3>7. Think about micro-moments</h3> <p>So, what kind of content should you be creating? According to Google, it's helpful for brands to consider the ‘micro-moments’ your audience might be experiencing, in order to come up with relevant content.</p> <p>In other words, to consider why a person might be turning to the internet to look for help, information, or entertainment – and how a brand might be able to create content to intercept and deliver on this need. </p> <p>Beauty brands tend to be particularly adept at this, conveniently capitalising on the demand for tips, tricks, and make-up tutorials. It doesn’t always have to be educational, however. Cosmetics brand <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/69754-how-lush-is-raising-the-bar-for-in-store-experience/" target="_blank">Lush</a> often posts videos relating to its stance on ethics and sustainability, which is likely to appeal to those of a similar mindset.</p> <p><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/B10rNsMUsck?wmode=transparent" width="854" height="480"></iframe></p> <h3>8. Be wise with influencers</h3> <p>YouTube and influencer marketing has enjoyed a fruitful relationship over the past few years, with brand partnerships typically leading to increased exposure and reach. In recent times, however, we’ve witnessed the likes of PewDiePie and <a href="https://www.econsultancy.com/blog/69709-will-influencer-marketing-take-a-hit-after-the-logan-paul-firestorm" target="_blank">Logan Paul getting themselves in hot water,</a> leading to many brands perhaps reconsidering their involvement with influencers.</p> <p>Meanwhile, with some adverts being shown alongside extremist content – it’s unsurprising that a few brands have removed themselves from the platform entirely.</p> <p>But do brands need to be overly cautious? YouTube’s decision to crack down on problematic videos is (hopefully) going to lead to fewer issues for advertisers. So then, in terms of influencers, it is perhaps wise for brands to tread even more carefully when partnering with big name creators, or indeed those whose content has the potential to be controversial or inflammatory.</p> <p>While this might sound like an obvious statement, it didn’t stop the likes of Nike and Pepsi previously working with Logan Paul – a regrettable decision in retrospect. That being said, as long as brands exercise caution - and partner with influencers that match their own brand values - there's no reason why the 'YouTuber' trend won't continue to flourish.</p> <p><em><strong>Related reading:</strong></em></p> <ul> <li><em><a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/68871-how-travel-brands-are-capitalising-on-youtube-adventure-search-trend" target="_blank">How travel brands are capitalising on YouTube adventure search trend</a></em></li> <li><em><a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/68340-seven-kids-baby-ecommerce-brands-using-youtube-to-reach-parents" target="_blank">Seven kids &amp; baby ecommerce brands using YouTube to reach parents</a></em></li> </ul> tag:econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/69747 2018-01-24T12:40:50+00:00 2018-01-24T12:40:50+00:00 Snapchat is finally opening itself up to the web Patricio Robles <p>While few companies in the social market would find it easy to defend against an aggressive campaign leveled against them by Facebook, Snapchat's situation arguably hasn't been helped by the decisions its co-founder and CEO, Evan Spiegel, has made. Once hailed as a Zuckerberg-like founder and chief executive, a growing number of observers have questioned the direction Spiegel has taken his company in.</p> <p>For example, while Facebook-owned Instagram has embraced international users and <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/69074-will-instagram-s-mobile-web-app-help-facebook-slay-snapchat">opened itself up to the mobile web</a> as well as <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/11045-instagram-warms-to-the-web-with-facebook-inspired-profiles">the web</a>, Snapchat has stayed true to its mobile roots. Want to use Snapchat in any fashion? You have to install its iOS or Android app and become a registered user. There is no web interface, even a mobile one.</p> <p>The big question: what is the cost to Snapchat of maintaining such a closed service, does that cost outweigh the benefits, and if it does, by how much?</p> <p>It would appear that Snapchat has been asking itself that very question, as the company has announced that in the coming weeks, as part of a broader redesign, it will add a new sharing feature that allows users to share their Stories via the web on snapchat.com.</p> <p>To share a Story on the web, Snapchat users will be able to hold down on a Story's tile on the Discover screen, which will produce a link that they can copy and share.</p> <p>Initially, the new functionality will be applied to Official Stories, Our Stories and Search Stories. Shared Official Stories will be available on the web for 24 hours, while Our Stories and Search Stories will be available for 30 days. Snapchat says it will not display ads alongside Stories that are viewed on the web but the potential for this is obvious.</p> <h3>Too little, too late?</h3> <p>The big question: can warming to the web still help Snapchat at this stage of the game? With user growth stagnant and new features getting mixed reviews, there's a real question as to whether Snapchat's new functionality will be enough to rekindle growth and boost engagement where Snapchat wants it.</p> <p>Ultimately though, the success of Snapchat's new web functionality might depend heavily on its ability to woo publishers. The company has a reputation of being less welcoming to publishers and influencers as Facebook, and that has driven some of them away.</p> <p>As <a href="https://digiday.com/media/snapchat-rolling-publisher-charm-offensive/">detailed by</a> Digiday's Lucia Moses, Snapchat's new platform content chief Mike Su has been reaching out to publishers as part of an apparent charm offensive. As part of this, he revealed that Snapchat will be holding a first-ever “Publisher Summit” at which it will “provide updates on our product and platform, share best practices, hear feedback, as well as provide a networking opportunity among our publishing partners.”</p> <p>Moses notes that the timing of Su's outreach is interesting given Facebook's recent shot across the bow of publishers. That, combined with the potential to drive more eyeballs through its web functionality, might be enough to convince publishers to refocus attention on Snapchat. But even if it succeeds in keeping publishers from giving up on it, Snapchat will have to prove to them that that their investment in time and money is justified within a reasonable period of time.</p> <p>If its recent performance is any indication, Snapchat's ability to do is far from certain but even so, publishers and brands will want to pay close attention to Snapchat's latest move because if successful, it could be of relevant to their social efforts.</p> tag:econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/69745 2018-01-23T12:12:59+00:00 2018-01-23T12:12:59+00:00 Creating a podcast strategy: Five tips for brands Nikki Gilliland <p>It’s taken a while to truly take off, but due to factors like better accessibility and distribution, the popularity of IP-connected devices, and faster mobile networks – Jobs’ prophecy was pretty much spot on. </p> <p>Last year, it was predicted that ad revenue was to top $220m - up 85% from 2016.</p> <p>We’re previously talked about the <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/68348-three-reasons-brands-are-using-podcasts-as-part-of-their-content-marketing-strategy" target="_blank">benefits for brands</a> on the blog, as well as heard from one of the <a href="https://www.econsultancy.com/blog/69689-audioboom-on-why-podcasts-are-an-advertisers-dream" target="_blank">biggest podcast networks in the UK</a>. But what about when it comes to creating a successful podcast strategy, and what should creators keep in mind? Here are just six step that we think might help you on the road to podcast success.</p> <h3>Focus on what your audience wants to hear</h3> <p>Just because podcasts are growing in popularity, doesn’t mean brands should automatically jump on the bandwagon. First, it’s important to consider whether the medium would actually be of interest to your existing audience – and whether or not you could provide something of real value.</p> <p>A podcast is theoretically just another form of content marketing, so creating a podcast on a whim would be like starting a blog without a <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/69665-how-to-start-planning-a-successful-content-strategy" target="_blank">content strategy</a>. Which, unsurprisingly, could potentially lead to a muddled and decidedly unprofessional result. </p> <p>In order to create a strategy, other areas of content will provide insight into what your audience is interested in hearing about. Delve into analytics (i.e. for social media or a brand blog) to determine what topic or style of subject typically generates the most interest and engagement.</p> <p>Slack’s podcast, the Slack Variety Pack, is a good example of a brand using the podcast medium to deliver something of value for its audience. This is ultimately because it aims to promote the values its own company stands for, with the podcast created specifically to appeal to the sort of people who use or might be interested in using Slack.</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"> <p lang="en" dir="ltr">We're taking the to-do list to task, in this episode of the Slack Variety Pack podcast. <a href="https://t.co/caAeXIQcyW">https://t.co/caAeXIQcyW</a> <a href="https://t.co/9Q8vh0JwLq">pic.twitter.com/9Q8vh0JwLq</a></p> — Slack (@SlackHQ) <a href="https://twitter.com/SlackHQ/status/722495758520291332?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">April 19, 2016</a> </blockquote> <h3>Keep it subtle</h3> <p>Alongside creating a branded podcast, there are also opportunities for brands within advertising, and through the sponsoring of podcasts. </p> <p>The key to success in both areas is subtlety, with understated brand involvement more likely to result in higher levels of engagement. This is partly due to the danger of consumer apathy – perhaps the audience might be put off if they feel like they’re being overly advertised to. That being said, it does also seem to be the case that listeners are willing to accept ads if they feel like they’re getting something of real value in exchange.</p> <p>Perhaps then, I should rephrase that to say subtlety and relevancy in combination is likely to generate the most engagement overall. So, when it comes to advertising, brands should ensure that they are choosing a podcast that fits in with their organisation’s wider values. Likewise, brands should also ensure that their podcasts are not overly filled with brand messaging or product promotion.</p> <p>If so, there’s no denying that branded content can result in greater brand awareness. One study by Prudential recently proved this - it found that podcast units were <a href="https://digitalcontentnext.org/blog/2017/07/17/bringing-measurement-podcasts/" target="_blank">more than twice as successful</a> in generating brand awareness than banner ads.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0009/1811/prudential.JPG" alt="" width="700" height="384"></p> <h3>Create a space for discussion</h3> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0009/1811/prudential.JPG%09https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0009/1811/prudential.JPG" alt="">One of the benefits of podcasts is that they help to create a greater bond between the brand or creator and its audience. This is because the act of listening to a podcast is much more deliberate and intimate than watching a video, for example. The audience will often create an image in their own mind of who they are listening to, with an often intense and sustained amount of attention required to follow along.</p> <p>Due to this kind of engagement, it’s also wise for brands to set up an outlet for an audience to allow them to discuss episodes and interact with others. The most obvious place for this is social media. However, instead of using existing Facebook pages or Twitter accounts to prompt discussion, it might be more useful to create a standalone channel so that the content can be discussed without cross-involvement from other topics or advertising.</p> <p>Another benefit of this is that fans can still refer back to it long after the series or even the entire podcast has finished. Meanwhile, creators will also be able to use it for promotional purposes. The popular Serial podcast is a good example of this. While Season 2 finished back in 2016, its Facebook page still generates likes and comments when anything is posted - which just goes to show how deeply invested the audience became.</p> <p><iframe src="https://www.facebook.com/plugins/post.php?href=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.facebook.com%2Fserialpodcast%2Fposts%2F1518167148242994&amp;width=500" width="500" height="596"></iframe></p> <h3>Create additional content</h3> <p>While social media can be a great way to generate further engagement, additional content based on the podast itself can also help to continue this cycle. Think blog posts, video content, and even extra or bonus podcast episodes.</p> <p>Alongside engaging an existing audience, extra content can also be useful for generating new listeners, and building positive word of mouth. Again, as podcasts are one of the most intimate forms of content, it is quite likely that satisfied listeners will be inclined to share or recommend the experience to others.</p> <p>For the most successful podcasts, there could also be the opportunity to expand or move into other profitable areas of business. No Such Things as a Fish, which is a podcast from the writers of QI, has also published a best-selling book on the back of its popularity and success.</p> <p><iframe src="https://www.facebook.com/plugins/post.php?href=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.facebook.com%2Fnosuchthingasafish%2Fposts%2F1981380745451944&amp;width=500" width="500" height="650"></iframe></p> <h3>Work towards standardised measurement</h3> <p>There has been quite a bit of debate around success metrics for podcasts, with a lack of standardised measurement leading to networks creating their own (and therefore putting off sponsors in the process).</p> <p>However, things do appear to be changing for the better. Last year, <a href="https://www.iab.com/guidelines/podcast-measurement-guidelines/" target="_blank">IAB announced</a> new measurement guidelines, including an attempt to address how bad technology such as bots can artificially enhance listener numbers. Additionally, the guidelines state that measurement should begin after a minute of audio (rather than the very beginning), and a matching user agent and IP address should be considered the same person within 24 hours. </p> <p>While the new rules do not guarantee clarity within metrics, it has helped to tighten procedure, as well as give brands and networks alike something more concrete to work towards.</p> <p><em><strong>For more content strategy tips, subscribers can download Econsultancy's <a href="https://econsultancy.com/reports/content-strategy-best-practice-guide">Content Strategy Best Practice Guide</a>.</strong></em></p> tag:econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/69706 2018-01-18T10:18:00+00:00 2018-01-18T10:18:00+00:00 Charity websites must tackle content design & information architecture Ben Davis <p>This content can have wildly different aims – to convert, to inspire, to inform, to guide – and often has to be authoritative.</p> <p>Cramming all this content into a website is difficult. What should charities prioritise? How should users navigate?</p> <p><a href="https://www.linkedin.com/in/feralibix/">Alex Wright</a>, CEO of Friday, a web/service design agency that has worked with several charities, does a better job of summing up just how big this challenge can be.</p> <p>"The largest charities are sprawling," Wright says, "they’re retail networks, and complex fundraising organisations, and political lobbying organisations and volunteer communities, and collections of services which can be hugely diverse (the British Red Cross will lend you a wheelchair, help with your asylum claim, trace your lost relatives overseas, help you in a flood, and teach you first aid…). They’ll do content design about each of these things individually, but structuring and prioritising content between them is a big challenge."</p> <p>I must admit, having a look around various charity websites myself, I was left a little overwhelmed by what I found. Just looking at homepages, many do a good job of choice reduction / prioritisation, whilst also allowing for discovery, but others feel jumbled or at least lacking a plan.</p> <p>Here's St John's Ambulance below the fold - not particularly inviting:</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0009/1713/st_johns.png" alt="st johns ambulance homepage" width="615" height="323"></p> <p>Elsewhere, The Salvation Army is perhaps guilty of overdoing its homepage content blocks:</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0009/1698/sally_army.png" alt="sally army" width="400" height="942"></p> <p>This is partly personal taste in web design of course – I haven't user tested the two sites above (aside from doing a bit of pogo sticking around), but I wanted to discuss the issue of content design with experts such as Friday's Alex Wright, to understand the current state of web design in the third sector. </p> <h3>Content prioritisation</h3> <p>The stuff of web project management is all about meeting user needs and prioritising content to do just that. So I asked Wright whether prioritisation is an issue for charities – his response was pretty forthright and equally revealing.</p> <p>"In short, yes," prioritisation is an issue, says Wright. He continues, "Just over a year ago Friday held a roundtable for senior digital leaders within the not-for-profit sector. The session was attended by 10 different organisations spanning children’s charities, those involved in emergency relief as well as care for the elderly, sick and disadvantaged.</p> <p>"Our conversations revealed that they all had reasonably mature digital fundraising operations - with the staff and agency support to deliver it. The most mature were able to make prioritisation decisions within fundraising, about the value of certain audiences and actions (a one-off cash donor versus a fundraising fun-runner, etc.) and prioritise digital content and spend accordingly.</p> <p>"But most of the charities were now beginning to digitise core services, the things they did to help people. As well as being much more challenging (genuine digital transformation, rather than just channel-shift), digital services for beneficiaries give rise to prioritisation conflicts. What’s more important - a donor prospect who’ll offer you £20/month, or a beneficiary who the charity exists to help? And what does that mean for budgets, resources, content, navigation, etc.</p> <p>"There’s a structural problem that compounds this. These audiences are often served by different directorates. Arbitrating between them is almost impossible. They can all point to clear user needs for their audiences.</p> <p>"There’s a cultural problem too. Charities are full of people driven by the cause - and tend to regard all contributions to the cause as good. They’re not good at telling each other that one contribution to the cause is less important than another. This feels like refusing help.</p> <p>"The result is digital clutter. And most charity insight departments will tell you that their most engaged audiences span multiple audience types – they consume the charity’s services and fundraise for it, and volunteer in the shop, and campaign on its behalf etc.. This makes the prioritisation even harder.</p> <p>A few themes picked up by Wright there, then:</p> <ul> <li>Possibility of 'too many cooks'.</li> <li>Fundraising strategy has channel-shifted, but digital transformation of services a different matter.</li> <li>Difficulty in attributing value to some interactions (e.g. helping beneficiaries).</li> <li>Multiple overlapping personas.</li> </ul> <p>These are complex issues for both comms strategy and <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/64474-ecommerce-information-architecture-the-devil-in-the-detail">information architecture</a> to get to grips with. In some ways it reminds me of the service design work Government Digital Services has been doing over the past few years – making information easy to find and understand, and services simple to use, with charities having the additional difficulty of having to make everything compelling / inspiring / meaningful (in a way that tax returns or driving licences are not). More on that later.</p> <h3>Cost is the elephant in the room</h3> <p>Before I start to sound overly critical, it should obviously be said that charities have big constraints when it comes to web development.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0009/1757/ele.jpeg" alt="elephant" width="275" height="183"></p> <p><a href="https://www.linkedin.com/in/roblangleyswain">Rob Langley-Swain</a>, Strategic Director at design consultancy Supercool, expands on this, as well as hinting again at cultural issues within organisations:</p> <p>"I don’t think it is fair to say that charity website projects are compromised by a lack of prioritisation, a lot of the time there are a number of factors which have to be considered. Most commonly budget and time constraints are the biggest factors influencing or constraining a project’s creativity. I would also say, in our experience, that rather than a lack of prioritisation causing an issue, it is a battle to make sure that every voice of an organisation has a fair share of the limelight on a site. </p> <p>"This could lead to a website becoming vast, messy and difficult to navigate through as, once our sites are live, almost all content is editable by in-house teams who can add, move and amend content as they see fit; but we account for this when designing a website."</p> <p>Langley-Swain's final point about in-house design is a very interesting one. As much as they benefit marketers, new and improved CMS platforms such as WordPress and Joomla can cause problems, too. They allow content management without IT involvement, but may lead to a tempation to create content quickly (in a template) without properly thinking about its format.</p> <p>Pete Czech of digital agency New Possibilities Group <a href="https://www.npgroup.net/blog/modular-web-design-the-age-of-templates-is-over/">writes</a> “because templates are so inflexible, your content stops being content. It starts becoming as assemblage of items that create a page."</p> <h3>Every page is a homepage</h3> <p>One of the trends that charities must keep up with is that of multiple entrance points to a website. The explosion of social content and the continued importance of search means that people may land deep within your website looking for a particular bit of information. These users must be oriented, so they know where they are in the website and where they can go from here.</p> <p>This is a fundamental job of information architecture. Supercool's Langley-Swain says "We tend to work with the idea that every page on a site is a homepage of sorts - it needs to fulfil the job of a homepage in terms of navigation, signposting and cross posting of interesting and relevant content that will help visitors find useful information, keep them on the site longer and provide a deeper engagement with the organisation"</p> <p>As Supercool's creative director <a href="https://www.linkedin.com/in/katie-parry-977922/">Katie Parry</a> puts it, this is "providing helpful stuff to all manner of people, as you can rarely be sure exactly why someone’s come to the website."</p> <p>You can see this done very simply and effectively by Cancer Research UK on the brain tumour research page below. There's: </p> <ol> <li>the appropriate category highlighted in the header menu</li> <li>a breadcrumb trail showing where on the site you are</li> <li>a call to action to donate</li> <li>a content block for patient stories</li> <li>a news section for any article tagged 'brain tumour'</li> <li>links to information about brain tumours</li> <li>a link to CRUK's strategy</li> </ol> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0009/1721/cr_research.jpg" alt="cr uk page" width="400"></p> <p>This is good information architecture. There are no bells and whistles, everything fits on to a modest sized page, and there are plenty of onward journey options.</p> <h3>Who is designing good content?</h3> <p>My personal favourite is Shelter, for its GDS inspired approach.</p> <p>There's plenty of <a href="https://www.gov.uk/guidance/content-design/writing-for-gov-uk">plain language addressing user needs</a>. Nothing unnecessary is included. Scrolling is kept to a minimum on the homepage. There are breadcrumbs and a stripped back menu. There's no content-blockitis – just properly accessible text and links.</p> <p>Here are some examples...</p> <p>1) A homepage with a simple message, one call to action (donate now) and a pared down header menu:</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0009/1732/shelter_home2.jpg" alt="shelter home" width="615" height="331"></p> <p>2. If images get in the way of good informaton architecture, get rid of them. Here, a search box, category links and popular pages give the user numerous ways to find what they're looking for.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0009/1731/shelter_gds1.jpg" alt="shelter" width="615" height="341"></p> <p>3) Note the simplicity of this 'get a place to stay' page. It provides only the information needed, in plain language. Important links are highlighted in a grey box with red left border, and breadcrumbs help orient the user.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0009/1730/shelter_gds.jpg" alt="shelter website addressing need" width="615" height="362"></p> <p>4) Yet again, the 'help' page performs a function with minimum fuss.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0009/1729/shelter_get_help.jpg" alt="shelter get help" width="615" height="338"></p> <p>One could argue it doesn't inspire as much as it could, but there are areas of the site (addressing fundraisers not beneficiaries, for example) where it steps out of its truly functional garb and tells a story. That might be with the simple use of more photography and the odd content block. Or, as shown below, it could be something more ambitious including data visualisation, full-width photography, widgets ('find face-to-face advice'), document downloads and links out to blog posts detailing some beneficiary stories.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0009/1733/shelter_our_impact.jpg" alt="shelter our impact" width="615" height="2698"></p> <p>Of course, there are plenty more great charity websites out there, and they don't have to be quite as regimented as Shelter's to achieve good information architecture. But this is just one approach I particularly admire.</p> <p>Supercool's Katie Parry strikes a note of warning when she tells me that though my personal preference might be for "fewer messages per page and an overall simplicity," some of her anecdotal research talking to clients suggests that a lot of people prefer being shown a lot of stuff all in one go, "rather than feeling like they’re being forced down a specific path by an organisation/web designer."</p> <p>This brings us on to our fairly obvious conclusion.</p> <h3>In conclusion - time to develop a passion for user research</h3> <p>I've skirted around a few issues here – design, architecture, organisational culture, project management, IT.</p> <p>I don't want to paint a picture of the charity sector as particularly lagging in this area, but I do feel that nailing content design and information architecture will really help charity websites to stand out and increase engagement, whatever it is they are measuring.</p> <p>And though I've given my own opinions here, I haven't tested anything. Testing is crucial for charities because, as Friday's Alex Wright puts it, "the most engaged audiences span multiple audience types, [so] there’s a need to digitally support greater engagement through a broad mix of different types of content and journey."</p> <p>More plainly, Wright says "engagement with charities can be multi-faceted" and therefore "the bridges between types of journey really matter".</p> <p>User research and testing is the only way to understand if this multi-faceted approach is being achieved. So, if you're in charge of a website tender for a charity, make sure you go out there and employ an agency with good <a href="https://www.econsultancy.com/training/courses/usability-user-experience">usability</a> chops that talks about content design and information architecture, and doesn't try to blind you with fancy mockups at the pitch stage.</p> <p><em><strong>Do you work for a charity? We'd love to get your thoughts below.</strong></em></p> <p><em>More on charities:</em></p> <ul> <li><em><a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/68781-five-ways-charities-can-encourage-more-online-donations">Five ways charities can encourage more online donations</a></em></li> </ul> tag:econsultancy.com,2008:TrainingDate/3401 2018-01-15T05:09:46+00:00 2018-01-15T05:09:46+00:00 Content Marketing for Web, Mobile and Social Media - Singapore <p>Brands are increasingly turning to content driven marketing strategies to gain marketplace attention and increase customer engagement in a multi-channel environment. For your marketing to be effective, you will need to provide content that’s useful to your customers and that advances your business objectives in a measurable way. It is also vital to create high engagement by building and maintaining a community around your content. </p> <p>The discipline of content marketing provides the framework for ensuring that your content delivers on these essential requirements across all relevant traditional and digital platforms. In addition to covering the basic principles of content marketing, this 2-day workshop seeks to address the challenges of marketers in developing a content strategy and help marketers to create a realistic and sustainable content plan.</p> tag:econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/69721 2018-01-12T13:08:01+00:00 2018-01-12T13:08:01+00:00 Why the Facebook News Feed update might be the wake-up call that marketers need Matt Owen <p>Before I go any further, I’ll hedge my bets and throw in a caveat. This announcement came out while I was in bed last night, so these are very early thoughts. Expect a slightly unformed brain-dump rather than a social strategy. </p> <p>Whenever Facebook makes one of these announcements, marketers see it as something that needs to be fought. We need to combat these changes so we don’t lose out. </p> <p>This might be the wrong reaction. We should probably be thinking more closely about why they are making these changes, and what opportunities they represent.  </p> <p>In order to frame this, we probably need to think about the history of big brands on social platforms a little bit. </p> <p>I've been lucky enough to work with some very interesting businesses in all sorts of sectors, many of them with a genuine commitment to the customer at the heart of their activities. But even so, very few of them have really (and I mean *really*) been willing to 'do social properly' – to take a long time, and build a very strong audience with lots of interactions. This isn’t an attack by any means. Lots of businesses have legitimate reasons for this. In some cases, it just makes sense for social to be purely customer service. In others, social is just too extensive to maintain a solidified presence across markets. The list goes on. </p> <p>But it’s safe to say that a lot of organic reach declined because we just weren’t providing content that was ‘social’ enough. We swamped platforms with mid-level, bland stuff that led to content shock among audiences, so we had to start paying to reach them. But jumping the line with paid meant that we didn’t really have to stop and reconsider our content strategies.</p> <p>On top of this, many businesses just didn’t have the patience to slowly build their audience. They want ROI, and they want to know what it is right away, so again, we fell back on tried-and-tested advertising approaches. In many cases, we threw money at the problem, paying our way to the top. Essentially, we ‘cheated’, and got into people’s feeds by paying, rather than because they genuinely wanted us there. </p> <p>So what has this got to do with the latest update? Well, if all that paid content won't show up anymore, what will?</p> <p>Content shared by friends and family.</p> <p>We need to start making content that people not only want to share, but want to share with commentary. Inviting their friends and family to comment and discuss it. Think of this as something akin to 'Quote Tweet'. That's a form that (broadly speaking) indicates a far higher form of engagement than a simple retweet. It's the same with shares on Facebook.</p> <p>Does someone sharing your cool video really count as major engagement? What if they send it directly to a friend with "Hey bro, check out this - are you still looking for a new car/vacuum/grocery service? This is ideal" attached.</p> <p>So it's word-of-mouth marketing. It's genuine discussion and deep interest. It's real relevance. It's also influencer marketing, from the most powerful influencers in people's lives: Friends and family.</p> <p>This is tough to do, especially if you are a business that deals in low-interest categories. It's harder to get messaging across. But it is an interesting opportunity, because it means social (or at least, Facebook) could be moving away from the glossy sexiness of traditional advertising, and could possibly become something separate. In some ways, it might be comparable to SEO, another area where you have to really commit to strong content, over an extended timeline, if you want real, ongoing success.</p> <p>A lot of this decision is based around Facebook's desire to be A Trusted Source. To bury 'Fake News'. I'm on the fence about whether it's really up to platforms to police the nonsense spewed by users, but I'm certainly willing to admit that being able to spread claptrap about the Earth being flat isn't doing anyone any favours. In order to cut through, you are going to have to come up with content and messages that fulfil certain criteria:</p> <ol> <li>It should be verifiable. Research and sources need to back up your claims.</li> <li>They should be <em>damned</em> interesting. Not just to read, but to talk about.</li> <li>They shouldn't rely on paid to support them. They should spread on their own merits.</li> </ol> <p>Of course, there is the question of Facebook's huge ad revenue. It doesn't want that to go anywhere, so it is unlikely to be punishing people who throw hundreds of millions of dollars at it every year. So it's also quite possible that this is a way of pushing brands into using new formats. <a href="https://newsroom.fb.com/news/2017/08/introducing-watch-a-new-platform-for-shows-on-facebook/">Facebook Watch</a> for example, is a massive opportunity for brands with the budgets to produce it, and increasing this content will help make Facebook more of a true media platform, with a sideline in connections. Facebook is not a company that can be accused of not playing the long game. Users are all over video, so this would be a commercial strategy that makes sense.</p> <p>Overall I think this is a good thing. As brands we're often slow to adapt to challenges these changes throw at us, but overall this feels as though it'll mean no more hiding places for bullshit clickbait, and a 'less but better' approach to content.</p> <p>Or maybe we'll just be able to buy our way around it.</p> <p><strong>Subscribers can download Econsultancy's <a href="https://econsultancy.com/reports/social-media-best-practice-guide">Social Media Best Practice Guide</a> and <a href="https://econsultancy.com/reports/paid-social-media-advertising">Paid Social Media Advertising Best Practice Guide</a>.</strong></p> tag:econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/69713 2018-01-10T14:30:00+00:00 2018-01-10T14:30:00+00:00 Four marketing lessons we can learn from subscription box brands Nikki Gilliland <p>There are a wealth of new companies entering the market, now offering consumers a regular box of goodies ranging from pet food to beauty products. </p> <p>So, what can we learn from the growing success of the subscription box model? Here are four key lessons.</p> <h3>Surprise and delight consumers</h3> <p>Research suggests that 96% of American consumers have made at least one purchase online in their lives, and more significantly, 80% have made at least one in the past month. This shows how commonplace online shopping has become, with competition in the market hotting up as a result.</p> <p>Due to this ‘I want it now’ mentality, many ecommerce brands are struggling to keep up with consumer demand. With the ability to buy whatever we want online, whenever we want, giants like Amazon are reaping the rewards of a super-fast distribution model, and leaving others in the dust.</p> <p>Meanwhile, subscription box brands stand out with an alternative prospect – and that is unexpected discovery. There is an intrinsic thrill associated with receiving a box of new products in the post each month, with subscribers typically remaining unaware about the specifics of what’s inside. Subscription boxes take the associated pleasure of receiving a package from Amazon or ASOS and elevate it, with surprise and delight a key part of why consumers continue to renew.</p> <p>Snack brand MunchPak relies on this, offering consumers an array of different snacks from around the world. It builds excitement around unusual and exotic snacks, delighting its audience with a new and different experience each time.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0009/1552/MunchPak.JPG" alt="" width="780" height="378"></p> <h3>Delivering a personalised CX</h3> <p>Subscription box brands also realise that not everyone likes surprises. The ability to offer a personalised service is also a big draw, with websites allowing users to tailor their boxes according to individual preferences. </p> <p>This data is usually generated from the sign-up or registration process. For example, gym apparel brand Fabletics asks users to take a quiz about their work-out and style preferences, using the answers to inform what items they will receive each month. </p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0009/1554/fabletics.JPG" alt="" width="700" height="452"></p> <p>For the most successful subscription brands, however, personalisation does not stop there. Most capitalise on this initial data to not only inform the product, but the entire customer experience.</p> <p>Birchbox is one <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/69408-birchbox-s-uk-managing-director-on-content-personalisation-forays-into-physical-retail" target="_blank">brand that does this</a>, with data being used to tailor email and app communication and deliver personalisation throughout the entire customer journey. It offers ‘personalisation that disappears’, meaning that customers will receive the right message at the right time (without it affecting the joy of discovery or appearing overly intrusive). </p> <h3>Providing incentive and reward</h3> <p>Most ecommerce brands have a content strategy, using it to inform, entertain, and engage consumers about a product or service. </p> <p>For subscription box brands, the key is to make this content as relevant to the product as possible, often creating content that revolves around how to make the most of what’s inside the monthly box.</p> <p>Brands are also beginning to recognise the benefits of expanding this from blogs or videos into other marketing channels. For example, Sephora's subscription service Play! works in conjunction with the brand’s wider app, as well as the ‘Play Pass’ that allows customers to find out more information on box products in Sephora stores.</p> <p>Essentially, the product alone is no longer enough, and it is through the promise of additional value that subscription box brands capture new subscribers. </p> <p>Another tactic that falls under this umbrella is the referral programme, which rewards subscribers for telling their friends. This strategy is beneficial for the brand in multiple ways. First - with consumers four times more likely to believe a friend rather than an advert – it can be an effective acquisition tool. Secondly, it rewards the referrer, which helps to continue the cycle of advocacy and build loyalty to the brand.</p> <p>Dollar Shave Club encourages customers to share with their friends with an incentive of $5 credit. While this is not the biggest or best example of a reward, the site's easy-to-use form and Facebook plugin makes it super easy for users to do so.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0009/1553/dollar_shave_club_referral.JPG" alt="" width="650" height="493"></p> <h3>Investing in relationships</h3> <p>The basic premise of the subscription model means that customers are not just seen as one-off sales, but a long-term investment. As a result, <a href="https://www.econsultancy.com/blog/68545-five-ways-subscription-box-services-can-increase-customer-retention" target="_blank">retention tends to be more of a focus</a> than acquisition within the market – something that general ecommerce brands could also learn from.</p> <p>Not only is retention cheaper than acquisition, retention strategies often centre around improving the overall customer experience, largely through better customer service, seamless delivery, and offers and rewards. By concentrating on how to keep customers rather than attract them in the first place, brands are able to get <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/69698-why-the-working-backwards-method-is-key-to-a-superior-customer-experience/" target="_blank">back to basics</a> and demonstrate a customer-first approach across the board.</p> <p>Barkbox is one brand that strives to offer a great all-round service, reassuring customers that they’ll receive a free replacement if their dog doesn’t like something in the box. Similarly, its prominent chat option and social media buttons let people know that help is on hand at any time. Features like this are simple, but can massively help to increase the chances of retention and reduce cancellation rates.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0009/1555/barkbox_CX.JPG" alt="" width="750" height="468"></p> <p><em><strong>Related reading:</strong></em></p> <ul> <li><em><a href="https://www.econsultancy.com/blog/67861-four-reasons-recipe-box-brands-are-delivering-success" target="_blank">Four reasons recipe box brands are delivering success</a></em></li> <li><em><a href="https://www.econsultancy.com/blog/68016-is-the-subscription-commerce-boom-over" target="_blank">Is the subscription commerce boom over?</a></em></li> </ul> tag:econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/69702 2018-01-09T10:16:52+00:00 2018-01-09T10:16:52+00:00 Five brand campaigns that took a stand on social issues Nikki Gilliland <p>So, what about the brands that are taking a stand for everyone to see? Recently, we’ve seen a few more examples of brands wading in on current social or political issues, and using them to inform advertising. </p> <p>It’s a risky strategy, certainly. Pepsi is a prime example of a brand that appeared to clumsily jumped on a social issue and fell flat on its face. Then again, with 57% of consumers said to be willing to boycott brands who do not share their social beliefs – it’s one many brands are willing to take. </p> <p>With this in mind, here are a few examples that have worked favourably. </p> <h3>Yoplait</h3> <p>In order to engage a new or forgotten-about audience, yoghurt-brand Yoplait decided to tap into a common public debate: mum-shaming. This relates to the often preachy or patronising information given to mothers about how to be a good parent, and the shaming of those who do not follow it.</p> <p>Its latest campaign, ‘Mom On’, depicts mothers addressing common criticisms they face, such as judgement over breastfeeding, going back to work, and even drinking alcohol. </p> <p>While the ads do not focus on a current event or overly-contentious subject, they are certainly bold in their stance on a specific issue, with the clear potential to offend those who might not agree. This made the campaign hugely memorable, standing out amid a sea of similar and formulaic ads from competitor brands.</p> <p><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/_GUgKcdmb4k?wmode=transparent" width="854" height="480"></iframe></p> <p>For Yoplait, the decision to take on the parenting debate proved worthwhile, ultimately helping the brand to achieve its aim of connecting with a core audience of mothers of all kinds. According to analysis from Google, the ads resulted in a 1,461% increase in brand interest. </p> <h3>Airbnb</h3> <p>Just nine days after President Trump signed an order to temporarily close America’s borders to refugees, <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/68225-10-examples-of-great-airbnb-marketing-creative" target="_blank">Airbnb</a> aired an ad during the coveted Super Bowl spot in direct response to the decision. </p> <p>The ad, called “We Accept” showed a montage of people of different nationalities along with the words: “We believe no matter who you are, where you’re from, who you love or who you worship, we all belong. The world is more beautiful the more you accept.”</p> <p><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/yetFk7QoSck?wmode=transparent" width="854" height="480"></iframe></p> <p>Alongside being one of the most-talked about and praised Super Bowl ads, it also helped to enhance and promote Airbnb’s wider positioning on issues of race and diversity. </p> <p>Let’s not forget, the brand has come under fire itself for supposed racial discrimination occurring on its platform. In this sense, the ad served as further reassurance that the brand now takes a no-nonsense policy on the matter, and made its own political stance perfectly clear. </p> <h3>P&amp;G</h3> <p>Issues relating to gender and sexuality have increasingly been in the spotlight of late, with a number of brands <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/69291-how-brands-are-fighting-against-gender-stereotypes" target="_blank">throwing out gender norms</a> to portray a more diverse and progressive image.  </p> <p>With its phenomenally successful ‘Like a Girl’ campaign, P&amp;G is one brand that's already well-known for its support and empowerment of women and girls.</p> <p>Last year, it took this one step further with ‘We See Equal’ – a campaign designed to fight gender bias and work towards equality for all. </p> <p><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/vKq04C8GGn8?wmode=transparent" width="854" height="480"></iframe></p> <p>The multi-channel campaign, which ran on social media channels as well as TV, depicted boys and girls defying gender stereotypes.</p> <p>The timing was pertinent, as it ran soon after the US general election, when discussions about gender and gender equality were particularly fraught. Due to this, it was vital that the campaign did not seem like another brand jumping on board a politically-charged bandwagon. Luckily, with a history of promoting the issue – plus a reported 45% of managers and a third of its board being women – P&amp;G’s clear dedication to equality within its own workforce meant that it came across as authentic and a genuine push for change. </p> <h3>Lyft</h3> <p>Two companies that also reacted (in very different ways) after Trump’s travel ban were taxi companies Uber and Lyft. </p> <p>First, Uber’s misjudged decision to continue operating while other taxi’s decided to strike in protest was met with derision – as was its CEO Travis Kalanick’s insistence on working with Trump on issues relating to urban mobility. </p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"> <p lang="en" dir="ltr">Surge pricing has been turned off at <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/JFK?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#JFK</a> Airport. This may result in longer wait times. Please be patient.</p> — Uber NYC (@Uber_NYC) <a href="https://twitter.com/Uber_NYC/status/825502908926066688?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">January 29, 2017</a> </blockquote> <p>In contrast, and to perhaps further highlight <a href="https://www.econsultancy.com/blog/68865-will-bad-pr-lead-uber-to-destruction" target="_blank">Uber’s dwindling favour</a>, Lyft seized the opportunity to condemn Trump’s travel ban, pledging to donate $1 million to the ACLU (American Civil Liberties Union) over four years. It also released a statement saying that Lyft “stand firmly against these actions, and will not be silent on issues that threaten the values of our community.”</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"> <p lang="en" dir="ltr">3/ We are donating $1,000,000 over the next four years to the ACLU to defend our constitution. <a href="https://t.co/0umGOlkhSx">https://t.co/0umGOlkhSx</a></p> — logangreen (@logangreen) <a href="https://twitter.com/logangreen/status/825756698832834560?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">January 29, 2017</a> </blockquote> <p>With a response in sharp contrast to its biggest rival, Lyft undoubtedly earned itself consumer favour over the issue, and perhaps pushed even more people to get on board the #DeleteUber bandwagon.</p> <h3>Stella Artois</h3> <p>Stella Artois is not a brand you might typically associate with activism, however its ‘Buy a Lady a Drink’ campaign has been successfully driving awareness of the global water crisis for three years now. Fronted by Matt Damon and in partnership with Water.org, it released a TV ad last year to further encourage consumers to get involved. </p> <p>For every limited edition bottles purchased, a month of clean water is provided to women and their families in developing countries. Meanwhile, a limited-edition pack from a supermarket provides six months’ worth of water.</p> <p><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/mHnVMfjFMVs?wmode=transparent" width="854" height="480"></iframe></p> <p>While this initiative is not in any way controversial, it’s still a good example of a brand putting social issues at the heart of its marketing. As well as benefiting a pressing and worthwhile cause, the campaign has also resulted in Stella Artois reaching a younger and more socially-aware audience. </p> <p>As millennials increasingly look to make a difference in the world, their attention turns to brands that also demonstrate this promise. As a result, the opportunity to ‘be the generation to help end the global water crisis’ naturally resonated.</p> <p><em><strong>Related reading:</strong></em></p> <ul> <li><em><a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/69116-how-brands-can-navigate-today-s-super-political-environment" target="_blank">How brands can navigate today's super-political environment</a></em></li> <li><em><a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/69586-after-keurig-faces-social-media-backlash-brands-need-to-get-smart-about-advertising-and-politics" target="_blank">After Keurig faces social media backlash, brands need to get smart about advertising and politics</a></em></li> <li><em><a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/68097-purchase-with-purpose-how-four-brands-use-social-good-to-drive-consumer-loyalty" target="_blank">Purchase with purpose: How four brands use ‘social good’ to drive consumer loyalty</a></em></li> </ul>