The figure of Guanyin (short for ‘he who listens to the cries of the world’), chose to stay on earth to help others achieve Buddhahood. It was popularised in AD 550 during the Northern Qi dynasty.
I had a chance encounter with him in The British Museum, quite an easy thing to do with over 8 million objects. This figure got me thinking about how the Internet of Things (IoT) has helped revolutionise marketing for good. The next step we are working on is to create opportunities for people where imagination is free-flow and charities’ work is supported by just thinking about the issues involved.
Charity brands increasingly connect to online communities; in times of crisis and conflict, news can touch people very fast and anywhere, which can be very effective. In many cases this is delivering the charity mission far more effectively. Back to my chance encounter with Guanyin; we are fascinated by the idea of ‘listening to the cries of the world’ and making this a central part of the IoT.
Supposedly Kevin Ashton invented the IoT, the idea is to be as close to people’s needs and even to anticipate their needs. Equipping objects with identifiers with the ability to transfer data over a network without having the human to human or to computer interaction has so many fascinating social potential. An early precursor was a Coke machine in the early 1980s; programmers connected to the machine over the Internet, checked the status of the machine to determine whether or not there would be a cold drink awaiting them, should they decide to make the trip down to the machine.
There is a world of possibilities with the different platforms. Everyone wants their own community such as Nike’s Community, which goes way beyond selling ‘runners’
The IoT should lead to greater knowledge of audiences, with less wasteful research, qualifying people’s needs. It can also be good for the environment too; British Gas’s Hive app demonstrated this, controlling your thermostat when you are not there.
Explaining how we minimise the threat to the environment or social impacts, as we order our new car, milk bottle or can of Coke is what we have been developing.
Our thinking is also how we ensure ‘imagination’ is maintained and enhanced in this incredible future – not lost by pursing needs based approaches, which we think is the crux of the matter for our clients.
How we harness the power of imagination in our relationship with supporters, Guanyin’s ‘listening to the cries of the world’, is our starting point for this great future, balancing relationship building with effective resource use.More >
Posted 23 July 2014 | No comments
Is it any easier to define what we mean by marketing for charities and NGOs? With squeezed budgets and complicated stakeholder needs, I sometimes wonder. If marketing for a charity is “to achieve organisational objectives and to bring the appropriate number of people from the agreed groups to engage and respond in a way that mutually satisfies both parties”, it’s surprising how few know their own organisational objectives, an obvious starting point for effective marketing. Fortunately, more know their own objectives and how these support the charity vision.
For today’s charities, innovation is important and effective, standout marketing. How to leverage digital touch points and to build long-term corporate partnerships with a solid shared strategic core, are also day-to-day worries.
Charity comms departments change names at a dizzying speed; from Marcomms, Supporter Engagement to Marketing, Fundraising as standalone to a merged super unit around a common digital belief! 65 years on and James “marketing mix” Culliton will be turning in his grave. He described the combination of elements involved in making any marketing decision; more commonly called the 4 ps of marketing, which have stood the test of time, it’s worth revisiting some of our vast history of marketing and how we fit in! Product, Promotion, Place and Price. And later 3 more Ps were added; People, Physical evidence and Process.
Charities deliver a staggering amount for very little resource but sometimes lack focus. Multi-million pound corporate campaigns tend to work to a much tighter bandwidth, such as changing sales by 5% with a specific audience segment.
NGOs tend to know their brands better than their audiences. Segmenting audiences, by identifying the most receptive moments to engage with people and mapping out user journeys would be a critical part to improving supporters and the charities focus.
We’re delighted that four of the ten most effective UK charities cited in the recent ‘Passionate About Collaboration’ report, which identified the UK’s most effective NGOs, are our clients, based on responses from over 100 NGO Chief Executives. Our approach chimes with the report’s main conclusions, which is to be more effective with reach and impact.
We are lucky enough to have worked with some of the very best marketing teams in the charity world from Fairtrade to Buglife – this we believe comes from a love of their organisation and a belief in what they can do.More >
Posted 16 July 2014 | No comments
Ever since Prometheus gave the gift of fire, energy has transformed the way we live. Burning fires gave us the means to cook our food, heat our homes, transport our goods and provided us with light and entertainment.
The Fires are about to go out and our other options are challenging; the dash to gas has suddenly got more expensive as our local supplies diminish (and surely mining shale gas will interfere with the planet’s subterranean structures?) and coal emits far too much climate changing carbon dioxide.
And don’t forget, some European countries are using as much as 80% of Russian gas, making them far too dependent on Russia.
Threatened with blackout by 2015, what are our options?
Have Energy Days
Energy Days are being arranged throughout Europe in the month of June – part of the solution is to reduce our dependence on electricity. Therefore, by choosing to modify an every day activity, we challenge ourselves to think differently about our energy usage, such as:
Measure how much electricity you save, how much money you save and how much better you feel. You should be healthier and wealthier.
Set ambitious UK targets for our tidal power
The US has, surprisingly, some interesting targets, California aims to have no non-renewable energy in use by 2020. Texas, the once mighty oil state, is set to become the world’s 5th largest supplier of wind energy. India is to build the world’s largest solar plant to generate 4,000 mw from sunlight near the Sambhar lake in Rajasthan. Let’s set some ambitious UK targets. Out of the twenty sites identified worldwide suitable for tidal power, eight of these are in the UK and could supply 20% of our energy requirements. Tidal Energy encourages state investment to finance tidal power schemes, until they move into surplus and when are likely to provide a profit for an indefinite period.
Innovation needs encouragement
The new Catapult UK technology centres are a great place for innovative companies and individuals to develop their ideas. We need more of these so that renewable energy can be explored and reach it’s full potential. Waiting in the wings are solutions such as, cleaner coal stations, microgeneration and community energy suppliers of CHP, PV & Solar.
Pedal your own power or Plug on your window – what a great idea.
The socket offers a neat way to harness solar energy and use it as a plug socket. We’ve not seen any as direct as this plug-in.
So the future is an energy mix, a mix of consumer demand and different types of energy.
Wind, Solar, Sea have always been at our disposal, think of windmills and watermills grinding corn, and new innovative versions, which could replace our dependence on fossil fuels (but without emitting destructive CO2).
Live Smarter. Greener. Fairer.More >
Posted 30 May 2014 | No comments
Posted 29 April 2014 | No comments
Four new mega charity TV ads have come out in the last few weeks. Save the Children, Barnardo’s, Age UK and Macmillan. It’s a tough time for most charities but these four look well funded.
But do they deliver and communicate the mission? Which is often tough as most charities deliver their mission through policy work. Let’s find out.
“If London was Syria” for Save the Children, with Natasha Kaplinsky, is all about the effects of war with the line ‘just because it isn’t happening here doesn’t mean it isn’t happening”. Coinciding with three years after the Syria Crisis began (yes three years!), this is bang on Save the Children’s mission, about saving children’s lives, helping when disasters strike and giving them the best start. My only beef, the idea of wars in your backyard was done better in a Costwolds village scene in Unwatchable, a story about conflict minerals in Congo.
Next up is Barnardo’s new TV ad about Ellie’s life of being told ‘she’s no good’ and her desperate need to make some things stop, which can all be ‘conquered’ with Barando’s support. ‘Believe in children’ is exactly what this is about and again in the sweet spot for their mission.
‘Life flies’, the beautiful new ad from Age UK, is about being valued. It shows life’s journey from ‘0-100’. I love this ad. I wanted to donate immediately to Age UK. It’s clever, enjoy life’s journey, as it goes in a blink, so you may as well enjoy it all. Age UK aims to improve ‘later life’ for everyone and this TV ad is all about making the most of later life.
‘No one should face cancer alone’ from Macmillan Cancer Support goes from strength to strength, showing the importance of support to those who need it most. And it quietly celebrates those who ‘support’ the most; mums, donors, careers, at one point all in one scene – it doesn’t get more powerful. No one should face cancer alone and Macmillan Cancer Support strives to improve the lives of people affected with cancer. Mission accomplished.
All four ads do deliver the mission. Seeing the extraordinary in the everyday. Agencies love charity work, they mine for an insight, a minutia blown up to dramatise how your money can help.
Posted 28 March 2014 | No comments
He sees the world through the prism of doing good – which is refreshing. Particularly in our times where cut backs are made, corners are cut and the squeeze usually hits the people at the bottom of the tree, most likely workers in the developing world.
He asked us all to do things that make a difference to others within our work. He appealed for people to see their roles as bigger than the day job – to have a vision that connects with part of the world. Like Unilever and Sainsbury’s doing their bit, he showed ASOS’s and newer brands of today how they could show more responsibility.
What advice can we take from Richard Curtis:
- You have to have the confidence in what you are doing
- As a creative, achieving one good thing in day is a triumph (but you have to have the ability to self edit)
- The thing that amuses you will probably work
- Pick the right people – the wrong people can lead to angst
- Empower others do to creative things
- There is a rare exceptions to David Ogilvy’s “where people aren’t having any fun, they seldom produce good work” with Black Adder, which was apparently ghastly to work on and Mr Bean, which was awful to work on too.
- Mine data audience insights but leave room for big instinct, which you can not ignore
- And if something is meaningful, it probably means it matters.
Posted 11 February 2014 | No comments
Who do we trust? Edelman – claiming to be the World’s largest public relations firm- launched their 14th Trust Barometer this week, looking at government, media and business across the globe. 27,000 thought leaders, professionals – we’re asked who they trusted and why? So I asked myself, who do I trust and why, to see if my very personal findings from these ten, chimed with Edelman’s findings?
1. Martin the milkman – our local milkman has become an institution, he always tells you what’s going on, lives for his job so much so, that he bought the business. Totally enthusiastic about life and his customers
2. My mum - mum’s only feedback what you are feeling, they are a time capsule of everything you are, what’s not to trust about that?
3. The Guardian - I believe it supports the underdog and wants to get to the heart of the issue
4. Fairtrade – ‘our global village shop’ ran by low paid farmers supplying their local produce, Fairtrade pay a fair price for this produce, giving them the opportunity to improve their environment and better educate their families
5. John Lewis – you know that they respect their relationship with you
6. Wikipedia – as it is written by people like you and me
7. The BBC – despite recent leadership issues and cover-ups, time and time again, they step-up to the mark
8. Sir David Attenborough - more to the point, what will we do when ‘his show’ is retired?
9. HRH Prince of Wales – he has put his money where his mouth is and believes in inspiring the next generation to care about our planet, people and wildlife
10. My local pub The Old Swan and Chiltern Brewery – both full of local goodness
- Showing their own quality (high quality products, for the most part, remains an important trust driver)
- Family feel (family owned and SMEs are the most trusted at 76% in EU)
- They are like you and me (62% said the most trusted source was a person like ‘yourself’, 15% points up from 2013)
- Active and participate in “my community” (80% said ‘engagement’ and ‘integrity’ were trust builders)
- And most of all they listen and respond (actions that were ranked highest included communicating clearly and transparently by 82%. And 59% of people stated listening to customers would improve things, which was overall 28% above their actual performance).
Well at least it feels like they do. If businesses and government could do more of this, they would no doubt close the ‘trust gap’. 79% said businesses have permission to play a role in regulation and debate (but should consult with stakeholders like NGOs). NGOs still bring their own set of thinking, that in my view can never be ‘own labelled’. Fortunately, NGOS have retained their crown as the most trusted organisations.
But only just.
Posted 24 January 2014 | No comments
With the end of the year fast approaching we thought it might be interesting to look at some of the UK’s most innovative marketing campaigns from the past few months.
Tourettes Action is the UK’s leading support and research charity for those suffering with Tourettes and their families.
They successfully launched an email campaign called “Fu*k the Firewall” in order to combat prejudice surrounding the syndrome. Littered with swear words placed upside down to avoid being filtered out by firewalls, the email highlighted the barriers faced by Tourettes sufferers who society often tries to filter out in an analogous way.
The campaign utilized a subtitle but effective analogy, which provoked thought on the topic and led people to question assumptions they may have made themselves. The email was forwarded to countless individuals and furthermore became a topic of discussion throughout the social media network.
The toy exchange called for people to donate their unwanted toys to the Barnardos children’s charity in exchange for a £5 voucher off new toys bought from high street store Argos. The donated toys were then sold by the charity to raise funds for projects which support disadvantaged children.
The campaign was appealing as it benefitted a variety of people in a way which required little public effort. Although still ongoing the campaign aims to raise £1 million for Barnardos.
The Royal National Institute of Blind People are a charity offering information, support and advice to people suffering with sight loss.
In August they launched a train and tube poster campaign to gain support for their ‘Read for RNIB Day’. The posters, placed on platforms and alongside escalators, depicted the page of a book obscured by dark patches of colour. The aim was to encourage people to consider how much the ability to read means to them.
The posters gave the public the opportunity to empathise with those who suffer from sight loss, thus lending more sympathy to the goals of the campaign. The posters were seen by an estimated 40 million people throughout its two months run.
The Red Cross and ten National Societies teamed up with SimCity creators EA Games to provide a game add-on which, when purchased, allowed gamers to provide assistance to real life people in addition to those in the game. A minimum of 80% of the retail price went to the participating societies. The gamer also received relief tents and vehicles to aid injured sims in their game.
The add-on was optional so gamers were under no pressure to participate, however those who did were given the opportunity to do a good deed with very little action on their part. The partnership aims to raise at least $100,000 for the societies involved.
The Royal National Lifeboat Institution provides a 24 hour search and rescue service around the coast of the UK and Ireland, in addition to providing lifeguard services.
Taking advantage of the internet craze of videos filmed with the Harlem Shake song, the RNLI produced a video which saw them dancing to the internet sensation at their Poole lifeboat base. They entered the video in to the ‘Charity Shake Off’ contest.
The video referenced and became a part of a worldwide viral craze and both promoted the work of the charity and contributed towards the promotion of an easy-going, down to earth image. The video has received over 40,000 views to date.
Posted 17 January 2014 | No comments