Category Archives: Social networks

What blogs should I follow?


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I have just purged the blogs I follow and I find myself looking for some new perspectives.

Do you have any recommendations? I would love to hear them! Send me your comments below or on twitter.

Looking forward to your suggestions!

Detroit vs tech start-ups?

I am off to SXSW on Thursday and I will be writing a couple of reports out during the conference – plus lots of tweeting/facebook updates I expect. Just so you know!

I will also be uploading more light-hearted content to

Then, on Monday, I will be speaking with some colleagues about Detroit as a hot bed for tech start ups. We use interesting start-ups from all over for the ideas and creativity they bring to our strategy and concepting. The guys we have asked to join us are really great and have lots to share about how they connect to start up culture, being start ups themselves and what a fertile environment Detroit is for start-up culture in general.  They are Kurt Steckling of  Vectorform who are very well established and also promote start-up culture and Ian Sigmon of Gunner, an animation studio who have been running for just under 2 years in Detroit.

It should be fun and hopefully my updates will be useful and interesting for you.

Best Use of Social Media at the Experience Design and Technology Awards

screen-shot-2016-11-21-at-5-19-14-pmWell, the title says it all. We are very pleased to have won with Social Square for Ford. It represents a different approach to social that Imagination explored in Europe with Ford but were fully able to implement at the Detroit autoshow 2106 and in subsequent autoshows. While most social media at events focuses on a short burst of high profile activity from some very high profiles influencers to drive reach and attention we take a different tack.

Our focus is always the visitor to the stand. Across a year about 35 million people attend autoshows big and small. And they buy cars. High numbers are 3 month intenders, it’s a highly concentrated bundle of good for any brand. We focus on the visitors’ needs and how they behave as social interactors. Because of this we construct moments and conversations to appeal to them as they navigate the show and share their experiences with their own audiences, large and small. For them the day they attend is Day 1. They may not even pick up on the big ticket PR social media that happens at press day, because they aren’t the target market for that vehicle. But they are still influential. We then pair that focus on visitors with audience appropriate influencers who are also presenters. Their focus is what happens at show, encouraging people on stand to interact and giving them the reward of social attention and engagement.

It’s a strategy that works, garnering Ford a reach of 13,500,000 across the 10 day period of the Detroit autoshow across all channels and with 30,686 Engaged minutes on YouTube.

Social used to be more about conversation, I feel it’s moving towards the same old shouting we used to see from traditional media. Yes that has its place, but experiential social is just as effective and focused on the buying public. And it’s their interaction which drove our reach and engagement, so I’m doubly proud of this award.

Sochi Social

We are well into the Winter Olympics now in Sochi and I have been poking about trying to find out what social activity looks like.

I think it would be no surprise that social activity is lagging behind London, Russia is another country in more ways than one, and the levels of global excitement are inevitably less than for the Olympics, simply because the sports in the Winter Olympics require conditions that are difficult to find in much of the world.

Brands seem to be taking a safe line – sponsors are getting involved heavily, but challengers are more reticent, possibly due to the controversies surrounding Russian statements about the LGBT community.

Regardless, here is a nice and succinct infographic you might enjoy.


Bobbi Brown gets millenials

Slowly, slowly brands are coming round to the idea that sharing their social media channel with other brands, providing free information and allowing for self-discovery is the way to an engaged, interested and loyal audience in social. And this is particularly true of millennials.

Here’s a great example – Bobbi Brown has launched (on Sep 9th) a new channel on YouTube that combines all these factors, and adding editorial voice from well-known beauty bloggers.

There is so much great video content on YouTube around creating looks, basic beauty etc from interesting voices like Lauren Luke and it’s all part of a trend towards a more experience based conversation between brands and individuals. I’ve been reading Joseph Pine’s book  The Experience Economy  which makes exactly this point. Consider the change in McDonalds from Commodity (cheap street burger) to Service (best burger fast) to Experience (burger + green coffee-style, linger-longer environment). Take a look at their latest ad. It focuses not on the product but on the allegedly lovely unifying community experience that eating a McDonalds brings to the world (ok you can sense my cynicism here…)

And now for those of you who clicked to get real Bobbi Brown inside info, here’s her key tutorial on creating the perfect face…



Things, films and going live in social – Part 2 Killa Kela

As you know, t’s been all go for social media at work recently. Not least because in around 2 weeks flat we filmed edited and launched a film with the sounds of Killa Kela,the beatboxer, and the Focus ST.

Why a beatboxer with an ST?  Well, cars lend themselves so well to videos of “hooning” beauty shots and the engine revving. But this car has a special “sound symposer” that has been developed from Mustang technology so you can see why we’d want to make a feature out of that. And then of course there is the target audience magic that has to be applied which makes Killa Kela’s vocal stylings a perfect match to demonstrate precision and power.

Enough of the strategy stuff already. It’s a great film! Hope you enjoy it. And of course, if you do please don’t feel backward about coming forward to share it!

Things, films and going live in social – Part 1

It’s been all go for social media at work recently. What with social media week last week and the Paris autoshow starting immediately after that finished I could be described as pooped. In a nice way…

So I thought I would give a little run down in chronological order backwards of the stuff we’ve been up to starting with FordLIVE.

Yes, Zoe and the team are back and they are reporting from the Ford stand at the Paris autoshow. It’s important to us that the stand experience reaches further than the stand itself. Socialising Ford’s content in this way allows people who might never otherwise attend and enjoy a stand to get a flavour of the experience. Hope you enjoy the latest installment!

Apparently every social media manager should be under 25

I just read this article “Why every social media manager should be under 25“. It’s well written but I’d have to disagree with it on a number of points.

1) the writer asserts that because people of her generation have grown up with social they instinctively understand it’s honest, upfront and energetic nature.

 “We were around long enough to see how life worked without it but had it thrown upon us at an age where the ways to make the best/correct use of it came most naturally to us. “

Arguably this applies to anyone over the age 25 too.

2) Understanding the inherently sociable nature of social media platforms doesn’t fit you for running a business social programme. Understanding the needs and demands and pitfalls of business communications combined with that understanding of social media platforms fits you for running a business social programme. That’s why businesses are asking for people with 5-10 years of direct experience.

3) We all know stories of young social media “experts” who have caused embarrassment on a business level because they weren’t savvy enough to know when to argue and when to stop, what to say and how to say it and what not to play around with. The case of Tom Watson MP’s intern is just one recent example. An internt too unprofessional to know what kind of mistakes can easily be made and what not to play around with. See here

The term Manager implies a level of responsibility that requires experience. It’s true that there are some precocious, intelligent under 25s out there who would make good social media managers but this is the world of business. And business feels safer with someone experienced. It’s always been that way. I spent a year trying to get a job after graduating from Oxford because I hadn’t got enough experience, while people who had been on more business focused, experiential degrees sailed past me into graduate traineeships and interesting jobs. They had experience, I didn’t, end of discussion.

If you are an aspiring social media manager under 25 the best bet is to volunteer, to build that experience and to approach younger more daring companies or charities that are more open minded and prepared to invest time. But don’t assume at 25 that anyone older than that only uses it for business, doens’t understand it and can’t possibly be as instinctively engaged as you are. It’s about a mindset and the willingness to learn and experience and 15 years out from 25 I can tell you that doesn’t change.

Ford’s new B-MAX hologram

I was rather pleased to get a package recently from Peerindex and Ford. Inside was a torch and a hologram and some


information on the new car. I knew Peerindex were running a perk on the car – partly from my profile and also my contact with one of their key creative agencies – but I didn’t expect to get one. So, a nice surprise.

The hologram is sweet and has had a lot of people dropping by my desk to have a look and a play. A torch is provided which you use to illuminate the hologram itself. It’s rather ingenious and a nice way to showcase the fact that the car has no pillar into which the doors close. Which is tricky when you don’t yet have the actual car on the road.

A nice appetite-whetter and an interesting, creative and strategic approach to blogger outreach. Thumbs aloft.

Social media customer service? It’s not rocket science

I’m slightly confused as to why people think their clients stick with them, or more importantly stay with them. Do they really think that they can serve up whatever user experience suits them and the customer will stick with it? I’m not just talking about functionality and usability, I’m also talking about customer service.

I have recently had a rather poor experience on a side-project that I run. I’m being moved from one provider to another against my will (the result of a buy out) and losing vast amounts of usability and some essential functionality as a result. Ok, I guess I can work with that and research ways around the problem eg other providers, different kinds of webhosting for downloading digital files.  I received assurances from the new provider that certain services would be extended to me for 3 months however these were then removed after 1 month. And when I called to ask if this could be dealt with in any way, reminding them of the previous conversation, I was basically told “computer says no” or not even that really. Finally, they emailed me to ask if I needed any questions answered about migration and I replied with 2 questions – that was 5 days ago and no reply as yet…So I am now in the process of having to migrate my project to another platform completely.

I’m lucky. I know the basics of programming and that gives me substantial benefits in terms of navigating my way around the multitude of website hosting providers, free software publishing platforms like WordPress and free creative tools that exist all over the web. So for me it’s more of an extreme annoyance than a complete full-stop to the project. But as I said, I’m lucky, most of the people using my old provider don’t have that kind of experience so they are left with reduced functionality and a new and rather slapdash provider.

While I appreciate that it’s not really an incoming company’s fault if they don’t offer the functions I need to make my project work, surely every company is now aware that even if they lose me as a customer, if they give great support/customer service then I am more likely to recommend them to someone else further down the line – net promoter score in a very literal sense! As it is I am highly unlikely to recommend the incoming provider to anyone.

There are so many simple, easy touches that make the customer experience better that there is no excuse any more for delivering a poor experience in usability and customer service. Web Hosting Rating asked me to look at their site and maybe write a review and frankly I am happy to, because they clearly demonstrate  just one easy way to make people feel more informed and better helped. It’s not rocket science, it’s a blog. And it’s not even a daily updated blog, it’s an information blog that provides guidance on making the most of the services they provide. More that this, it thinks widely. It references software you might want to host on the platform, how to install and apply it and suggests way to maximise your engagement. And of course all of this makes using their service more attractive and simpler.

There’s a lot of buzz about customer service via social media. It doesn’t have to cost the earth but I firmly believe it will make the difference between businesses succeeding and failing. I would be interested to learn how many of the people who were moved to my new provider are happy with the service they are receiving, how many will leave and how many will stay because they have to.