What 2021 can bring?

I wrote this post for MMT

Looking back at all that we learned in 2020, we have many opportunities to make 2021 a year of success. It is clear that the acceleration of digitalization, specifically in the first half of the year, will continue in all branches and across all company activities. But how can we exercise our risk-averse muscles to help us avoid trouble while tapping new pockets of growth?

Table of content

Teams

What began during the crisis may become the norm. #WFH forever? How do you integrate new resources into your team?

  1. Read the signs – Although teams were happy to have more flexibility, they might be feeling lonely now that time has passed. When the second wave of lockdowns hit, people had to go back to working at their kitchen tables. Still, a general feeling of benefiting from the situation is emerging: less stress and more focus combined with stable productivity. Skilled workers and introverts appear to be benefiting the most. As a company, it is important to survey the feelings and needs of your team members in order to be able to create an effective post-Covid work environment.
  2. Encourage diversity and belonging – Integration means more than just hitting the figures. Taking steps to guarantee equality and mutual respect also means taking differences into account by considering everything from refraining from setting up meetings at dinner time to celebrating all religious events and being considerate of time differences by rotating regular meeting times. There are many ways to show people respect. The basics include empathy and understanding without judging aspects of life that do not impact efficiency at work.
  3. Create inclusive training practices – New context, new needs: You can improve efficiency by training people towards the new normal. Doing this may mean establishing a completely new set of training practices, edging away from teleconference etiquette and turning toward collaborative tool usage as well as structuring projects and standard operations. The objective is to provide comfort in times of uncertainty by enabling your team to build the skill set that will help them feel capable while #WFH.

Managers

From managing uncertainty to managing digitally?

  1. Build structure into remote teamwork – Office space is organized to provide good working conditions for all employees. Country regulations see to that by requiring good quality office materials, lighting and air. At home, employees are not always equipped to maintain these standards. This may be fine for a couple of weeks but not for the long term. Reducing your office space does not mean that your employees should have to bear the burden of providing equipment, access and training. Going the extra mile can even include encouraging health practices like regular gym time options.
  2. Create feedback spaces – One significant hurdle that comes with remote working is the lack of management contacts and informal feedback opportunities. Although both senior and mid-level employees are used to some autonomy, engagement is correlated to management relations. Digital managers need to build up their feedback arsenal so that they do not lose their teams.
  3. Limit repetition and misunderstandings – Teams that are basically living at their workplace need to be clear on tasks, processes and updates. It is extremely tiring to attend stand-up and update meetings where you hear the same news but are not always given clear next steps and responsibilities. Avoid multiple update loops by centralizing history logs within workflow platforms and chat tools and instill in your team the advantages of using collaborative documents and flows in order to limit friction over individual to-do lists.

Business & Marketing

How to perform in the “new normal” and creating value from headwinds? 

  1. Break team silos by centralizing data infrastructure – Offering an infrastructure where teams have access to the data they need without duplication makes it possible to combine their data in order to gain transparency. It also reduces the amount of necessary reporting and prevents duplication, which saves time and reduces errors for teams, giving them more time for exchange and thinking.
  2. Generate margins by increasing the productivity of each team member – Every team member has an idea of how to improve their own productivity, even if not every idea can be applied on a large scale. Asking your team for solutions bottom-up reveals the approach you need to take toward work improvement => everyone can contribute their tips and tricks for boosting productivity.
  3. Use data to build your performance assessment – Giving your team access to automated dashboards and data knowledge can open doors to better performance. By instilling healthy KPI-setting processes, each team is able to clearly visualize expectations and results without extra work. 

Extra Steps

How to strengthen your advertising?

  1. Improve your advertising process pipeline – You can take advantage of tremendous opportunities when it comes to saving time and resources, from in-housing part or all of your media to managing vendor relationships and yearly commitments. Data can be used to identify room for improvement.
  2. Leverage your “everyday experts” channels – Influencers have gained traction in this digital age. The end consumer is attracted to audio and video formats for practical reasons, which opens up an enormous opportunity for new content development. Be the authority in your field
  3. Loyalty and advocacy are even more central – Acquisition is at the heart of many advertising strategies. However, customer retention is an important money-saving opportunity that can increase your bottom line. The full funnel for customer experience brings with it opportunities to expand your clientele.

Summary

Data can be an enormous help when it comes to building and monitoring a “new normal” structure. At MMT, we provide the support you need to design and build the relevant workflow, dashboards and data pipelines to increase your advertising productivity and help you build your new normal. Get in touch. How to perform in the “new normal” and creating value from headwinds?

What the 2020 pandemic has taught us so far. Obviously… it’s not over yet.

I wrote this post for MMT

Everything and nothing has been said about the pandemic. From weak as a sneeze to deadly as the plague – Covid-19 hit the world like a close-range bullet.

We first heard about it this time last year and no one could have imagined what it would engender in the world. What the World Economic Forum referred to as “The Great Reset” has been launched, but there continue to be enormous disparities in terms of how people feeling about this year and what it will bring. Some sectors have been destroyed while others have thrived during the crisis.

Tendencies show that nothing is the same as it once was and no one can as yet foresee what will be. Trends are pointing to realignment towards sustainable products, organic foods and DIY with people at home using their extra time to improve their living and working conditions. But will these trends stick? Developments in China have shown otherwise with Hermes Shanghai making $2m in sales on the first day they reopened after the lockdown, kicking off a V-shaped recovery.

All of this has paved the way for the one-year anniversary of the pandemic. Let’s take a look at what we have learned from this crisis so far.

  1. Global digitalization – Social distancing and a shift away from non-essential public spaces have introduced a new way of living and working. From e-learning and streaming services to delivery apps, even the least equipped businesses have been pushed into the realm of connection.
  2. Changes in consumer behavior… towards the possibility of pursuing doughnut economics? One year of digital everything has made consumers interested in turning towards an increased focus on humanity and social connection. This has encouraged the emergence of opportunities to establish a new vision for urban societies. 
  3. Lack of visibility as the new norm – If there is one thing of which we can be certain, it is uncertainty itself. The 2001 dot.com bubble and the 2008 and 2015 financial crises did not impact us to the same extent as the current crisis because they did not reach into our personal sphere, our social connections and our way of life so globally. This crisis has stopped the movement of people, forcing everyone to realize that, yes, we do not know what will happen.
  4. Recovery will not be immediate for some sectors: The air travel sector is planning to return to 2019 levels by 2024. Hospitality expects to bounce back faster as people are craving interaction, but governments are afraid of new clusters forming.

What this means for businesses:

  • Flexibility is the new black – Companies have stretched themselves far more that they thought they could. In addition to having to structure teamwork remotely, they’ve also had to find ways to reinvent their business models, from supply chains and delivery to payment.
  • Preserving cashflow – Companies will be looking for opportunities to preserve cash by reducing their operating costs or CapEX/OpEX balance.
  • Looking at company culture – after 7 months of #WFH, many companies are facing employee Zoom fatigue and “lack of Xmas party blues,” which means a higher risk of disengagement and quality issues.
  • Return to fundamentals in growth models – Although confidence has helped build solid prognoses regarding future business success, some companies are back to square one. Investors are now returning to business fundamentals to help them make decisions regarding companies’ futures.

=> Is that a bad thing?

Businesses can seize this opportunity to start fresh despite headwinds: Despite a frozen travel market, the Airbnb IPO is doing well, almost tripling its share value in the first day. The business is adapting to new trends as they appear as mentioned above and is benefiting from the strong trust of its user base.

What are your levers?

  • Build data transparency across the business – By structuring your business data infrastructure, you can make decisions and monitor your performance more effectively. Doing this helps you create a data-driven process, which then helps you secure your business fundamentals. 
  • Gain flexibility in your work environment – Equip your company with the tools it needs for collaboration and improved workflows. The market is flooded with a variety of solutions to fit the different needs of companies of all sizes.
  • Reduce operating costs – Study your team workload and use automation to reduce repetitive tasks and time-consuming missions. Data input, invoicing and reporting, for instance, can be orchestrated through efficient automation solutions.  
  • Assess your cost-to-performance ratio – Companies should review their ROI per activity whenever possible. You can often tap into cost-savings opportunities in your supply chain, marketing and support services. 

Not only will this benefit your bottom line, it will also benefit your teams and your performance.


Waiting to see what is going to come next.

As things currently stand, there is no clear way to know how 2021 will eventually pan out in terms of freedom of movement, going back to the office and vaccinations, and, therefore, in terms of business success and results.

Access to data helps you gain insight into possible improvements and understand what works best.

Build trust and motivation in your teams. Introduce new learning opportunities by strengthening team data management acumen and offering time-saving solutions and updated collaboration tools.

MMT is specialized in helping businesses transition their marketing and media data infrastructure into more efficient workflows, reporting and input for enhanced performance. We’d be happy to answer any questions you may have.

Why focus on code quality in media and marketing software development?

I wrote this post for MMT

Media is a great microcosm for understanding the big data universe. Social media and the rest of the digital world provide an awesome amount of information and that information evolves considerably over time, in terms of granularity and utility for business performance.

Content Sections

Why owning Data?

Marketers know that “data is the new oil,” but how do you harness the power of that information? By owning the data!

Owning the data entails specifically gathering, compiling, selecting, and understanding the data to which companies have access so that you can tap into effective learning that will lead to improved efficiency in media and business. You need dedicated instruments like software and data warehouses to get to that point. Although there are some off-the-shelf solutions and some companies would rather build a solution that meets their needs precisely, which makes sense for large corporations, this still requires hiring either an internal or external development team.

To the uninitiated, coding may seem opaque and read like hieroglyphs, and briefing a new agency to create a customized solution for your business can be daunting if you don’t have access to internal expertise. This should not be seen as a barrier to moving forward but rather as an opportunity to initiate a larger transition towards a better understanding of “coding.” Here are a few basics that will help you navigate what is at stake when it comes to creating a quality solution.

What do we mean by code quality?

Because code quality is a concept, it doesn’t have an exact definition. Code is used to program all kinds of modern solutions from sim cards to hospital administration solutions, which means it addresses a highly versatile set of requirements. This type of development therefore calls for standards.

We can use five points to summarize code quality:

  1. The software/program does what it’s supposed to do and runs smoothly = reliability
  2. The code is easy for an expert to read = maintainability
  3. The code is well explained/commented on/documented = clarity
  4. The code has a consistent style = consistency
  5. The code can be extended = extensibility

Why is code quality so important for your solutions?

Now, why are those five pillars key to your code?

  • Reliability and clarity – long-term maintenance – Optimized code is easy to update, upgrade and maintain in the long run. All software needs to be able to adapt to changes, even unexpectedly (thank you 2020 for reminding us of this).
  • Maintainability and consistency – team changes and memory loss protection – Sometimes new developers join the team and have to work on other people’s codes. They need to be able to navigate and understand the logic to be able to work.
  • Extensibility – upgrades and extensions – When the base code is “clean,” adding components to it is easy and it’s possible to develop extra modules and features without transforming the current applications.
  • Time constraints – There are no limits to development capacity except time. If a company needs a tool next month, this obviously involves a higher risk of low-quality codes and will require more work to fix bugs and updates down the line. The tight deadline could also “stiffen” the adaptability of the architecture for future feature upgrades

“Some programming languages are more suitable for a specific task than others. Using the right language helps but often it is more efficient and better for the quality to select one that the team is more comfortable with over one the team needs to learn.”

Ole Reifschneider
Director Software Engineering

Why hiring a media-tech expert can make a difference Data?

There several factors that make the media and marketing industry special, the most relevant one for data management being COMPLEXITY. The industry lacks standardization when it comes to processes, data formats and dataflows. Each partner brings its own structure and naming conventions, which can hinder integrations. At the same time, media is an industry that never sleeps. It’s a global industry that runs campaigns 24/7 on multiple platforms, generating terabits of data daily, not all of which is useful. Data set needs to be compiled from various sources both online and off. These sources are extracted, compiled and organized so that marketers can visualize and compare the data. The relevant dataflows require provisioning, segregation, harmonization and calculation.
Technical media buying process MMT

The nature of these flows also depends on the specified requirements, as different data will need to be extracted depending on whether the focus is on strategy, marketing, finance, invoicing, performance optimization. or auditing, etc… Bringing in a team with media expertise guarantees efficient orchestration of data deciphering. A data integration team that knows how to prioritize data by relevance will speed up your process immensely. That’s what our team does: the media agency world is our cradle.

How do we ensure code quality?

Each development team, depending on project size and complexity, uses one or more of the following techniques to ensure qualitative development.

  • Automated test: A typical solution to confirm that the code is reliable (= runs smoothly) is to write a test to prove that all elements of the features are running as expected.
  • Choose a coding language: Obviously, this requires the development team to be comfortable working in more than one coding language. Each coding language has its own benefits and even though choosing one adapted for the task helps, it does not make you more efficient if your team has to learn it first. Elm, for example, guarantees that there won’t be any crashes during runtime. But it’s still risky business to choose a language your team hasn’t mastered.
  • Run static code analysis: This basic tool that all developers are familiar with helps ensure coding consistency and logic. Lint is one of the most famous programs. A side note: A lot of Lint tools even let you fix some code issues.
  • Split app features into modules: Although this doesn’t really make things more flexible, it does make things easier to understand and limits side effects.
  • Work collaboratively: Projects are shared between teammates (pair-programming), which brings more minds together to work on the structure and the logic to minimize initial static bugs. That includes the use of peer reviews. Leveraging the team’s capacity to read each other takes their work to the next level. We’ll go into more detail on this in the next section. 

How to use peer reviews as a company strategy for quality in software development?

Yes, peer reviews are standard. All software businesses with ambition and quality at heart use peer reviews before deploying updates, upgrades and features. I won’t take the time to list best practices as thousands of experts have already done. What matters is that peer reviews have become an integral part of our development team strategy, at the core of our way of working as a business. And we feel it makes sense to clarify our why.

It instills the ethics of sharing – The code is not yours or mine, it’s shared and should stay that way.

  • Every member owns it and should be able to understand it. It’s not about lowering the bar. On the contrary, it’s about making things as clear and smart as possible so that you can take juniors to the next level while reviewing and learning in the process.
  • It implies that the developers are keeping in mind that other people will follow up on their work and amend it as needed. Keeping a clean code is a sign of “caring.”
  • It encourages each developer to listen and address all team member questions, which then helps you improve your solutions. It lets team members, old and new, share in the history and evolution of the project and products.
  • We embrace the long-term vision of each product development with everyone responsible for the maintainability (= capacity to keep updating over time) and extendibility (= capacity to add new features) of the code. New ideas emerge when you know they will become a company legacy.

MMT benefits from a long-term perspective and growth plan. That lets us perfect the sense of quality that we want to see in the apps that we use daily. 

Summary

Data management calls for the right tools for it be useful, especially in advertising where data is plentiful but often too complex to understand and leverage. Building software to manage this data makes sense but requires selecting the right partners to address your needs qualitatively by bringing in sector expertise and a long-term strategy that will make your solution future-proof. Software needs to be more easily maintainable and extendable, survive updates and be flexible when it comes to upgrades. That’s why MMT focuses on the advertising industry where we have the proven expertise and experience that it takes to deliver the right solutions. 

Big thanks to Ole Reifschneider for taking the time to explain and share his passion with me. 

“Learn as if you were to live forever.”


Also, learning every day – even for a minute – keep the spirit up and , so this is an essential reason to find moment daily to work on myself.

.. to complete Ghandi’s quote
Also, learning every day is key to my inner stability, so this is an essential reason to find moment daily to work on myself.


I remember reading a post – years ago, cannot find it again unfortunately but it was on this blog (in Spanish) – talking about waiting for retirement. The writer mention that story of a guy – 55 – who decided that it was now time to seat tight and wait for retirement. Sounds clever, hun ? That is without saying that Spain’s retirement age is 67! Would one really plan on staying idle for 12 years? The author was also deeply surprised, that the person did not even realise how long this would be.

Being conscious of one’s own idleness is a first step towards awesomeness.

Anyone can embark on the journey of change, but no change happen overnight: resilience and perceverance are paramount to any evolution.
Learning grounds me, humbles me by facing the deepness of my own ignorance – it helps me remain connected with the world surrounding you.
To me any goal can be compared a sport competition in the sense that training is unavoidable BUT without the physical aspect which limits the performance possibilities. Anyone can run a the distance of a marathon with training, but the time it is taking to do so depends on more factors than just training and will. That is where most people abandoned before starting. They believe that it is not worth running without performing.
I have been quite the opposite my whole life, jumping on every opportunity to learn something new to the point of embarking on a world tour or study wine making at 38, learning 6 languages (I can only speak four now) and living in 7 countries for more than 3 months.


Certain type of people just deeply believe that nothing is impossible. You can be part of this group. It is just about accepting to start somewhere on a journey of discoveries that will have positive effects, more often than you think.


Learning is not about reaching a goal, it is about making progress. Seeing one’s own progress is a great – Free – and personal reward.
If you need support in your journey, please do not hesitate to share here, support will come right back.

“Live as if you were to die tomorrow”

Maximising the potential of each day with two priorities : living the present and preparing the future.

Ghandi

For many who knows me, I am slightly hyperactive – meaning that I am not considered on the sick-side of the scale but rather on the annoying side – I do have a feeling that being fully in this right now prevent me from being fully in something else right now too.

Life become an internal competition of immediate importance – at least in the positive sense of importance.

Giving the necessary time and importance to what you are doing right now.
Strangely enough, when I wish to be in the present, it becomes every difficult for me to keep in touch with my distant friends and family; the ones that are not part of my daily life. This was impossible to maintain – as I am not dwelling on Social Media to witness other people’s life – without making me feeling really sad so I decided to create time for planning this moments.

The conclusion is: Present yes, but future too.
Also having been a traveller on a shoe string, despite loving spontaneity, maturity as shown me better ways to act – and that includes not splurging on last minute city break that cost a month of rent. Money and buying power can be very relative, not keen on feeling I should have planned ahead when that was possible.

In my daily routine – when I feel a bit tired or not really up to do anything – I ask myself: “if you were to die tonight, was that how you wish to spend your last day?” that usefully make the trick to separate good fatigue from basic laziness.

Not being Tibetan help me a lot to not apply this proverb literally, but I still actually dream to be able to go down that path as I truly sense the power of living this through.

But we are not Tibetans, aren’t we? Let be ourselves first.

I do feel committed to more present moment focus – even more in the current attention based society. So I exploited quite a lot of the digital minimalist tricks to avoid being hacked on my time. If you are interested to know more about this, let me know and I will write something dedicated to it.

Keeping Advertising yearly commitment in check

I wrote this post for the company I work for – MMT – it is also posted on their blog

Every year in June we hear about the Upfront market in the US, and this COVID year, particularly as it, could not happen in its normal sense. But the other markets or media are not exempt from this seasonal exercise: the negotiation of yearly advertising is a global practice of the industry and exists for all media. Let’s clarify what these are, who they benefit, and why it can make sense. 

What are media yearly commitments? 

The idea behind yearly media commitment is for advertisers and agencies to commit to a level of spend for the year with a specific partner. Long term plan of media investment is signed as a contract with publishing houses, tv channels, web giants, and so forth. The contract is binding and disengaging has consequences – usually financial – to guarantee respect for the conditions: spend per quarters, level of visibility, etc. 

What are the benefits of yearly commitments? 

An essential reason for commitment is visibility: it keeps publishers able to provide the quality content that brings the quality audience to tune in. 

In return for their engagement, advertisers benefit from:

  • Discounts: promising funds offer great discounts rates on top of agency ones. 
  • Beat yoy inflation: As part of the discount, there is also the engagement of not applying year on year inflations. Long term partnerships have led to some advertisers having discount rates off the charts. 
  • Visibility: it guarantees the impressions and can also include the placement quality 
  • Mention: it is the unofficial part of the deal where editors accept to mention or not mention brands as part of their “support” to the publishing house. It is very important in the fashion industry in the female magazine industry
  • Access to data: Data from WG are so scarce that advertisers are trading data as part of the commitment: “tell me who are interested in my product and I engage more”. 
  • Free services: As part of the package, Publishing houses can offer a strategic recommendation, community management, content production, insight, and so on. 

The goal is to secure as much budget as possible from the advertisers and new revenue streams for the teams

What are the cons of committing?

Advertisers are legally bound: they actually have to spend! You are committed to an entire year; so change of market – like 2020 –  requires a lot of negotiations to maintain flexibility, goodwill, and rates. That requires a lot of creativity in the way of building the right balance between benefits and engagements

There is no reason for any publishers to not try to help you remain competitive and accept to modify when commitments cannot be met. But this requires an investment in resource and time, strong negotiation skills, and grit!

Which type of clients are recommended to engage in yearly commitment? 

Any advertisers investing over 300,000€ on a single partner may consider negotiating extras by committing their budget. Obviously, this commitment makes sense when there is a clear correlation between advertising and sales volumes / ROAS and financial flexibility is not in discussion.

Also, when premium visibility/positioning is a priority and guaranteeing presence around key events, long lead time helps to secure these spaces. 

Finally, when budget performance is your priority, it can push the needle an extra bit for ROI results. 

How does it work in practice? 

As a newcomer, you benefit from new business negotiation rates/agency rates if you use one. Generally, major advertising investors (two digits million euros) are organizing these sessions to gain the benefits mentioned above. 

German market negotiations kick in in October for all media publishing houses, OOH, audio, walled gardens and so… The objective is for everyone to maintain a form of visibility on a base level of investments. Obviously, advertisers do not have to engage all budgets in commitments, they can decide to keep some “buffer” for last-minute deals.

Is your communication attention worthy?

I am on LinkedIn, like a lot of professional, I wish to participate into this great sphere of sharing. But I also notice a lot of not-so-worth-it content shared by companies and spread by individuals (usually employees of these companies) to create the “buzz”. It shows how blurred the lines between internal and external communications are: Companies are using internal communications message on external platforms like Linkedin. It creates background noise and make the search for useful information somehow more painfull.

I found myself hesitating sometimes to connect as I have some fear to waste my time reading a lot of internal news from companies I am acquainted to and little content which really help me grow my professional acumen.

As for personal life, the business world is more and more cluttered with information and content and everyone is trying to be louder than the next, more present by posting more regularly. Unfortunately it is a vicious circle that serves mostly content producers and PR experts (sorry guys…) and less the fame and profit of businesses.

For small businesses, where most communications are in-house /freelance generated content; the direction to make communications efficient to bring business or recruit is to focus on external communications messages. Let me bring some tips to the table to help you navigate external engagement.

Just to set the scene, i would like to remind the basic of « Newsworthyness » in the old fashion way of journalism. the formula was basic :

Impact x Timing / Currency = worth of the news => the distance the news could travel : local, national, global

How is impact calculated:

News Impact = Proximity x Human interest x OR (Proeminence ; Angle ; Bizarre)

Let use an example : A house is burning.

Proximity = how relatable is the news to the audience => Your neighbour’s house relate to your community, the city townhall burning relate to the all city inhabitants;

Proeminence = how known are the protagonist => The White House burning attracts the global news-sphere.

Human interest = how does that speak to our humanity => Your neighbour’s house is burning where one firefighter got hurt relates to your region, even your country when fires’ death are uncommon.

Bizarre = how => Your neighbour’s house hosted anything special – from wild animals, Dark Magic Cult and it can become national worth.

Currency = Seasonality has its trends => The house burns on Valentine’s Day and kill 2 people because of the candles around the house, it can make the News because it is related to current season.

Novelty / Angle = Anything that present a new characteristic is of interest => a house burns in LOndon, no novelty. First time a house burn on Mars, novelty!

Timing = easy one = the most recent the best.

Ok, That enough for the « newsworth-attention-grabbing » for TV? print reporting, I am sure you got the picture.

What’s in for the business communication? What brings efficiency ?

The corporate communication has evolved from news stream to content stream, from informing to grabbing the attention for the longest time possible. Corporations participate into this flow not always knowing ways to measure the positive impact of their activities because they have not always pin down the « why? » behind their external communication.

=> So your first step is « what is your goal ?» let check the TOP 3 Answers

Top 1 answer: « selling more »

– that works – and then you need to know what makes your product attractive, what is its USP ?
It is the USP you will need to illustrate using newsworthy attributes, get right potential customers to get a clear understanding of your benefit and a trigger to push them down the funnel, one step at the time.

Top 2 answer: « build brand awareness »

– sure – considering the clutter, you wish to be remembered fast and then repeat the message often enough (not every three hours, this is called harassment) for the brand to stick. be careful, Brand awareness is neither top of mind nor brand association. It is the fact of knowing the brand so people are comfortable enough with it to consider buying it. The most memorisable stories are emotional ones, the one you connect with.

Be careful though, be idea is to be remembered as a brand, not just a good story that the brand quickly disappears from. The typical example is:

«  you remember that ad where the dog is singing – funny, isn’t it? what was the brand behind it?? »

Because there is no particular reason to associate the brand in question with a dog, the association is not obvious (maybe this ad was directed to dog lovers who usually sing in their car ?) => it makes it kind of a niche audience for a TV ad in this case.
ok enough hints, I let you find out here.

Top 3 answer: « build loyalty »

– that works too and then your business needs to know who are your customers, what do they wish to learn and experience with your brand before starting producing content. Loyalty will come with care and understanding but also Support = many customer ask support questions on companies social media page, be ready to address these questions fast and professionally.

Your external communication should be about addressing the experience they wish to have, and learning you can offer (for free) from you business acumen. Here your business brings value to the community as a whole.

This post is already too long to go on, I will follow up on the topic next month on the internal communications topics.

If you have any remarks or questions about this post, please get in touch!

Right message at the right time – why is timing important ?

« there is a time and a place » for everything …

Over the last two months we mentioned the evolution of media and the importance of the message to be heard in a fragmented space. We now need to approach another important point of communications. Timing !

The Status quo is simple : No one can live without habits or our brain would be overloaded with permanent choices to make, a study says that we make 35,000 decisions per day that we need to prioritise. Everyone builds habits, patterns they follow in their daily routine, and that includes the media they trust to provide information and news.

When talking business and time together, we all have in mind « time is money » about the financial trade in general. It is not completely excluded of Communications as well, we can define for reasons for which time as to be taken into account for any marketing plans:

The objective of your communication influences its timing:

When one knows that the actions led by a communication will take a long time and will require planning to execute (for instance offline sales vs. online phone based registration), it is essential to understand the best timing for your clients to act – for exemple catch them on the way to the shop on the radio, with a SMS in front of the shop, or online when they search for ideas.

Modern platforms offer opportunity to adapt the message to the time of the day and the context

TV has always offered day-part copy rotation, digital communications increased a great level of flexibility including contextual adaptation. Morning advertising for a restaurant can push breakfast menu where evening could present today’s dinner special’s adapted to the type of audience.

Communicating all the time is expensive, observing right timing create efficiencies.

If your business have opening hours and your communications objectives if for people to call you, you may consider advertising during your opening hours only, or change your company client support system to adapt to the marketing campaign.

Catch your audience at the right moment for them to be open to receive the message.

Attention span is shorter, people are over exposed with thousands messages a day. It is necessary to cut through the clutter, but with what? If you have bigs bucks, the sprinkler approach works : you communicated all the time, which reach in mind to guarantee high repetition. If you do not have big bucks : choose your moment.
There is a space in which your place can be found in the routine, which would instil the message your company wish to pass.

Need any help to create efficiencies in your marketing plan?
Get in touch.

Stay tuned and do not hesitate to request more details.

Misinformation – Who to trust?

In these troubled Corona times – where everyone is at home and our screen time average is through the roof – I cannot help being shocked how many confusing messages and unfounded information are circulating and shared amongst us. I realised how ill prepared people are to confront these claims despite the emergence of the « fake news » which shed light on the phenomenon some time back, notably after the 2016 presidential elections.

The Colombia Journalism Review published a research from Claire Wardle which identify the most common misinformation techniques – check Details here:

  1. Authentic material used in the wrong context – by changing date, location and / or context
  2. Imposter news sites designed to look like brands we already know – creating a feeling of trustfulness
  3. Fake news sites – a fully worked website with no rooted truth or impartiality
  4. Fake information – a created piece of content made to look like a real information without roots in reality.
  5. Manipulated content – transforme content (for instance statistics) in a farfetched way to make a point
  6. Parody content – satire, sarcasm or jokes to convey an ambiguous message about a topic

If you do not feel like reading, listing to her interview on « your Undivided Attention ».

When I thought international media in the 2013 – the question remained around the biais between editor and advertisers who financed the news. Editors use to merely avoiding the hot topics from their « patrons » as revenues from subscriptions were diminishing and advertising was compensating for some time the influence keep growing.

It was clear the editor aims to preserve their independence despite strong headwinds from the newly created digital sphere’s ambitious players since iPhone was created and the evolution of the media consumption because most of the consumed content is on platforms that are not held responsible to provide sources and check facts broadcasted through it.

But this became different, a good proportion of adults (even a vast majority when considering lower education and income groups) consume news on Social Media as if they were a publisher, this was clear during the latest Presidential elections in the USA. Many study tried to understand this changes with clearly identifying the influence of news consumption (Check Pew research 2017).

People lacks the training to identify trustful sources and fact-checked information and we have the tendency to remember better the first information heard even if a correction has been published. The problem is not new.

Everyone feels more comfortable with facts and events that already suit our values and beliefs. One actually remembers these even better – even if eccentric – it is called the confirmation biais. This is leveraged very well by social media, but it will require a separate article to explain this.

What to do then ?

There are a great amount of opportunities to improve our fake news literacy – as well as avoid its amplification – that anyone can easily grab. I am not the expert in the field, but I try to protect myself and those who I love by checking out a few details when anything seems ambiguous:

  • Do not let yourself share anything without being certain it can be trusted ! whatever hilarious it looks to you
  • Illustration: is the illustration coherent to the story, to the context? reverse search the illustration to see if it has already been used => https://tineye.com/
  • Expert quote: do you know this expert ? where does s.he practice? has s.he got any references?
  • Web of origin: is it a known source of information? if not, where is it from? is it relevant to the news it broadcasts ? some basics that are useful
  • Statistics: Can you read the details of the question asked, when the research was run and by whom.

Ok, as the Chicago Tribune Editor said « …the rest of my advice has no basis more reliable than my own meandering experience. », it just makes me hope that it helps to bring positive tips to the table.

We will be back with « timing » as the second part of « what is more important in media » in June, stay tuned.

What is Media vs Message ?

After a conversation on communications strategy with one of my clients, I realised it is not generally clear to businesses what the pillars of communications – media and advertising – are.

These are two distinct but intertwined elements that we are going to discuss over the next few posts covering:

  1. What is media vs. message ?
  2. The right message at the right time – what is the right message?
  3. The right message at the right time – when is the right time?

Just to clarify – let’s start with definitions :

‘Medium’ (singular of media) is the vehicle through which information is transmitted.

Any type of vehicles that carry information can be considered media that can influence our view of the world: publisher platforms, social media, word-of-mouth, goodies, branded content, sponsoring, endorsement, influencer program, video games… The number of media vehicles available not only have increased but their « quality » -or trustworthiness- vary greatly.

Graph of the evolution of media offer – based on a Perspective graph edited by Carat in 2008

Where ‘Message’ is the content that is transmitted.

Messages can take the form of news, educational content, stories, anecdotes, satires, propaganda, advertising, and so on…

What are the characteristics of Media?

  • Shelf-life: Each medium has a length of time impact: where an outdoor poster can stay up for a month to be seen 60 times by commuters. A social media post would have a few hours – if not minutes – of impact to be seen once by an audience.
  • Memorizing stickiness: Each vehicule needs a number of repetition before the message sticks, where 75% of cinema goers remember an ad in one shot, TV needs of 3 to 4 to reach the same.
  • Engagement: Each vehicle can instil specific action or response; like create curiosity, provoque a reaction, searching about a product, participating into a poll, keeping an information top of mind for a few hours, or just build trust.
  • Image: Each vehicle has a perceived image by the public: trustworthy, statutory, specialised, entertaining, the choice of media and so on..
  • Reach: Each medium has a particular capacity to reach an audience over a limited period on time.
  • Message complexity: Each vehicle carries a specific depth of details: where print permits long explanations, display ads allow only short headlines.

The combination of these characteristics plus the study of the audience to address is the basis for the media strategist to advise on the best vehicle to use for a specific communication objective.

Nowadays – with the fragmentation of media channels – it is sensible to involve the media agency into the creative process to ensure that the message is related in the relevant way for the environment.

This will be the topic in our next post, stay tuned.