Our Blog

A Ticking Time Bomb or an Irrational Fear?

Posted July 15, 2014

Social Media timebomb

On Friday, PR Week reported on a survey of 500 UK businesses about their attitudes to social media.

It revealed that three-quarters of respondents view social platforms as problematic because of their propensity to attract damaging negative comment that can affect reputation or sales. The MD of reputation management firm Igniyte, which commissioned the research via OnePoll, on learning of the effect of negative reviews on click-through rates, felt compelled to describe social media as a ‘huge ticking time bomb’ for businesses.

Whilst these concerns are undoubtedly valid, it seems that the other half of the story has not really been told – or at least only partly told, notably by Travelodge’s Shakila Ahmed, who’s also quoted in the article:

“All our managers monitor TripAdvisor. We have a structure that allows us to speak to them regularly, to find out what went wrong in the case of a bad review and what they have done to put it right. If you are dabbling online you have to have a level of commitment that will allow you to provide proper customer service and respond in a timely manner to comments.”

The other half of the story, in full, reads a bit like this: if you’re a business that’s in social media (or is pondering whether to get into social media), you need to do two things…

  • Firstly, HARNESS THE POWER OF POSITIVE. Social media can be hugely beneficial – far more so than harmful in the case of the average brand. Harnessing  this benefit means promoting good reviews, both on and offline, heroing those social followers who support and recommend your product or service, launching an advocacy programme by engaging with appropriate bloggers and influencers, and delighting your social audiences by consistently creating great content that’s entertaining, useful, clever or thought-provoking. It also means responding swiftly and appropriately to negative comment and letting your followers see that you are doing this: they’ll soon understand that you’re listening and you’re acting. You may also find that many of your social followers intervene to defend you when unfairly attacked. I recently witnessed this on Microsoft Windows’ Facebook page, when they’d just announced the release of the Surface Pro 2. The predictable Microsoft-bashers (OK, Apple zombies) demanded en masse to know who would possibly buy a tablet ‘at this price’, only to be shot down by numerous comments from slightly more alert tech fans and influencers who had recognised the true promise of the machine: a very high-performance laptop in the body of a tablet, making it one of the ultimate PC convertibles. The device garnered superb reviews in the consumer tech media – and these reviews, along with scores of positive social comments, gifted Microsoft a wealth of great content and some hot leads for a social advocacy programme.

 

  • Secondly, DON’T GET SCARED, GET PREPARED!  Make sure that you have an appropriate social reputation management procedure in place and – crucially – the resources to support it, whether internal or external. The latter often makes sense given that internal teams may be committed in other areas – whereas external specialists already have the expertise, processes and tools to deliver. Start off by creating a ‘comment matrix’ and sort social comments into positive ones, questions, negative ones, and plain trolling (that’s off-topic, illegal or abusive). The latter can usually be deleted straight away – additionally you may block or report the user if necessary. For the remainder, create a protocol for what you’ll do in each case: this might mean drafting FAQs, publishing weblinks to customer resources, devising a template for a reactive statement by the business, or agreeing escalation points for more serious issues. - Once that’s done, you should make sure that you have the appropriate listening tools in place, agree a response time to each type of feedback – and stick to it!

Just one blog post… but hopefully enough to start defusing the time bomb.

Hugh Burrows 

Head of Digital

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Headlines from the Losing Nation

Posted July 11, 2014

“It’s 5-0… FIVE-NIL”, stormed Steve Wilson on the BBC TV commentary team as Germany extended their historic lead less than 30 minutes into the first half of Tuesday night’s World Cup semi-final, concluding, “absolute humiliation…”.

We all know how it finished for Brazil -and deep into the night, headlines were being drawn up the world over about their crumbling under the weight of emotion and expectation.  Here in the UK, The Guardian went with “Germany Destroy Brazil’s final dreams with seven-goal battering” – which arguably was one of the kinder ones.  But how did the Brazilian press report it? And how did a country with football so rooted into its culture (not to mention its five previous World Cup wins) take this historic loss and articulate it to 200 million Brazilians?

Copa A Gazeta focused on the fans’ anguish:

Massacre

Hoje went with “Disgrace” – and a poignant image of a falling sixth star to show what might have been:

Hoja

A Tarde went with “Here lies the dream of a sixth championship in 2014 – it died of shame” – a tough sentence for any player to swallow:

 

A Tarde

Scathing attacks and pointed fingers were of course what were delivered the morning after – and images of heartbroken fans and players alike were there for all to see.  So it will be interesting to see how the nation heals; and more immediately, how will the fans and press react to Saturday’s Third Place Play-off after tearing the national team to pieces in the media on Wednesday morning?

You can see a further 50 front pages in this album, all with translations and brilliant photographs.  All being said, what’s slightly reassuring is that it shows we aren’t the only nation that loves a good dig at the national football team…

 

Soccer - England and England Under 21's Press Conference - Wembley Stadium

 

Craig Stockwell

Marketing Manager

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JAY WALKING THE STREETS OF LONDON

Posted July 10, 2014

3 Monkeys’ brief from Bing was to encourage Brits to give the Microsoft search engine a go – so we recently teamed up with actor James Buckley (aka Jay from ‘The Inbetweeners’) to host a get together in London’s trendy Shoreditch while searching where to go next via Bing.

Throughout the night James challenged people on Twitter to ‘try something new’ by finding him using clues which could only be solved using Bing.

And those who found him, as we weaved through the streets of east London, were met with some amazing surprises involving colour explosions, a ukulele jamming session and more – needless to say it’s gone down as a night we won’t be forgetting any time soon.

See how James’ awesome night out unraveled on the video below.  It might just inspire you to Bing it On next time you plan a night out…

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The Tour de Selfies: An Exercise in Narcissism

Posted July 8, 2014

Tour de France Selfie

We’ve been blessed this month to have the Tour de France on our very doorstep – and not just rolling through London, but gracing one of the homes of British cycling, in Yorkshire.  However aside from the prowess and magnificence only an event like the Tour can bring to the UK, it has also been responsible for a significant twist to a huge trend we’ve all come to know in recent times: the selfie.

‘Selfie’ was, you may recall, the international word of the year in 2013 and as we’ve blasted through 2014 it’s a term which has become ubiquitous with everything from festival-goers to celebrities, and girls’ nights out to sporting events.  And at the weekend, my Facebook and Twitter feeds were riddled with #ShamelessSelfies as spectators stood perilously close to the cycling action capturing themselves in the thick of it.

Tour de Selfies

Aside from the potential danger these people pose as they turn their back to a group of riders moving at speeds of up to 70 kph while leaning into the road to get the selfie, it’s become painfully evident that this form of photography is no longer an artistic expression – more a way of simply saying “I was there, look at me”.  Pro cyclists have aired their concerns over the trend too, with Team Sky’s Geraint Thomas describing selfies are The New Pain in the Backside, while BMC’s Tejay van Garderen took to Twitter to point out:

 

and

 

Photography has always removed the individual’s involvement from an event to a certain extent – and while the evolution of wearable tech aims to navigate this issue, there are clear trade-offs.  But now with the selfie, people are not simply capturing the action through a lens as they watch through a blinkered aperture – they are almost removing themselves from the moment all together.  While I’ve always found myself frustrated by the naturally narcissistic nature of social media, the trend has now spread to the pockets of smartphone users everywhere, able to put their attendance flag in the ground.

As a cyclist and long-time pro cycling fan, the risks these individuals present and their self-fulfilling mind-set is even more nerve wracking than the sprint to the line.  For the next three weeks I will continue to hold my breath as selfie addicts dice with near death during the world’s most famous cycling race – let’s see how this develops.

Felix Hemsley

Digital Account Director

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Monkeys Get their Burger Face On…

Posted June 24, 2014

 

TGI Fridays is a longstanding client here at 3 Monkeys and one of the perks of the account is helping a new team member to ‘integrate’ by taking them down to our local Friday’s in Covent Garden and getting our chow on.

Vegetarians – and team newbies – Charlie and Allie were pleased to find that despite Friday’s reputation for serving up some of the best ribs and burgers in town, there’s plenty to keep our meat-swerving-sistas satisfied.

I went for a full rack of JD-glazed ribs drenched in Friday’s signature Jack Daniel’s glaze – the recipe for which has been kept a secret for nearly half a century – while the rest of the team opted for burgers from Friday’s new handcrafted range.

Before we munched down, we all did out ‘burger face’ – a social media initiative Friday’s is running which encourages guests to take a picture of their very best burger-in-face moment and tweet it to @tgifridaysuk. Have a look at our efforts below…

photo 2

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photo 1

photo 4

photo 5

Chris Bull

Account Manager

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Why Instagram Should Be Your Next Social Platform

Posted June 18, 2014

The saying goes ‘a picture is worth a thousand words’ – and with Instagram in mind, whoever’s saying it would be right. Now in its fourth year of service, Instagram has established an engaged community of over 150 million users, who on average share in excess of 55 million photos on the platform every day.

With over fifteen times more engagement than Facebookᶦ, Instagram is positioning itself as the go-to app for both consumers and brands. A recent year-on-year analysis of the app from Strategy Eye Digital Media showed a 66% growth from 2013² and this growth is likely to continue.

In 2012 Facebook paid $1 billion to purchase the platform, instantly integrating its functionality into its own by giving members the ability to view Instagram content directly in their news feed. This integration means that 1.9 billion monthly active Facebook users now have direct contact with Instagram content, seamlessly ‘liking’ and sharing images from one platform to the next.

Due to these developments, joining Instagram is a must for businesses. In a report produced in late 2013 by research firm L2, Instagram boasts the most engagement and the highest conversion from browser to shopper. The report also shows that 92% of luxury brands (who post an average of 5.5 times a week on the platform) increase their customer base. The stats echo the increased need for creative content; as a visual generation grows up, brands adopting a personal, creative approach are gaining consumer market share.

Learn From the Best

Brands are realising this potential and joining Instagram on a daily basis, adding the photography based social platform to their wider marketing plan. Want to see how it’s done? Below is a shortlist of four brands currently winning on this growing platform.

Starbucks
Creative Content

Starbucks

With over 2.5 million followers, Starbucks is one of the leading brands on Instagram. Nearly every post features a Starbucks drink, but rarely includes a store. Their approach highlights bringing people together to position its brand. By capturing images from friendly faces to customer drawings, Starbucks uses Instagram filters to soften its product-focused content, creatively amplifying its brand to the everyday consumer.

Audi
Caption This

Audi

Using a mix of pro (DSLR) and bespoke (smartphone) photos captured on the platform, Audi not only does a great job with its imagery, its captions are very clever too. The caption shared with the image below reads, “Engineer your obsession #BuildYourAudi”. By sharing every day, relatable objects, Audi engages its audience, without just talking about their product.

Nike
PhotoID Campaign

Nike

Early adopter Nike has been on Instagram since January 2012, with a strategic content plan in place from the start. On its official account and all its ‘child accounts’ such as @nikefootball and @nikerunning, users will only see photos that feel right on Instagram: beautifully shot landscapes and people using the product in context — the kind of real-life feeling that Instagram is all about.

Nike continues to run one of the most successful campaigns on Instagram to date, Nike PHOTOiD. It launched in April 2013 and allows users to design their own Nike shoe online and then place it within one of their own Instagram photos. The results produce personalised content, highly shareable for an engaged and targeted audience, whilst also amplifying the brand effortlessly.

Louboutin
Luxury Reimagined

Louboutin

Essentially purveyors of shoe porn, this luxury brand has taken to Instagram to make its products even more desirable, sharing images of shoes in provocative places, behind the scene shots of scantily dressed models and thought-provoking statements like “Can you pirouette in Pigalle?”. Using the channel to engage a growing and influential audience, this brand has utilised the focus of the channel to maintain its marketing strategy very effectively.

Additional Sources

Digiday http://digiday.com/

Elise Pearce

Digital Consultant

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The Beeb Creates A Buzz

Posted June 16, 2014

Paintings made better with Cats

If I had a pound for every conversation I’ve had in the last month along the lines of ‘can we make the content a bit more like BuzzFeed?’, I’d have about 12 pounds by now.  Which might sound a little, and might sound a lot – and is actually pretty significant, as more and more people latch on to the type of content that’s becoming ever more popular among clients, journalists, social media and even the BBC.

BuzzFeed, you don’t need me to tell you, is the New York-based social news and entertainment website ‘covering topics like Politics, DIY, Animals, Longform and Business’ (thanks, Wikipedia).  Or in other words, it’s the go-to place for stuff like The 19 Most Highlighted Passages In The Hunger Games, This Is What The Best Night Of Your Life Sounds Like, and #AllMenCan Is A Hashtag Where Men Speak Up For Women.  As I write, the top story is The 22 Most British-Sounding Words In The English Language (‘1. Bollocks, 2. Blimey…’ etc.).

I mention the BBC in the intro because at the end of last month, a new report on the future of its news output highlighted how it should ‘learn lessons from BuzzFeed in digital strategy’ – with BBC non-executive director Sir Howard Stringer pointing out that its web presence lacks ‘character and personality’ compared with younger rivals such as Vice Media and BuzzFeed (he also said the corporation is ‘punching well below its weight’ and needs to ‘add character and personality’).

And so what appeared on the BBC News Entertainment & Arts page a few days later?  Er, The paintings ‘made better with cats’.   Which possibly isn’t in the finest Reithian tradition for the Beeb.  Or maybe it is – the BBC’s motto is ‘Nation shall speak peace unto Nation’, and if this is the digital language style which people increasingly expect globally, perhaps the BBC has no choice but to follow suit.  Blimey indeed.

Howard Bowden

Head of Consumer Content

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NHS to accelerate patient power

Posted June 12, 2014

NHS new chief executive Simon Stevens

Simon Stevens, the chief executive of NHS England, used his first major policy speech to embrace the potential of what he calls an ongoing “global medical revolution” that holds out the prospect of patients routinely moving to the very centre of health management and decision making.

He told the annual NHS Confederation conference in Liverpool this month, attended by over 2,000 NHS managers, that the NHS could benefit significantly from what he believes are three fundamental shifts in the practice of modern medicine including a revolution in the role that patients play in controlling their own health and care as well as embracing the coming massive changes in biomedicine and in data for quality and proactive care.

He said “the NHS has to grab these opportunities with both hands, rather than letting them wash over us, or hoping they will bypass us so we can carry on with business as usual.” The NHS should “embrace them and harness them to our cause”.

The speech brought comment from many individuals and organisations involved in patient care.

Nuffield Trust Chief Executive Nigel Edwards said:

“In his speech, Simon Stevens sketches out a radical reimagining of the ways in which GPs, social and community care providers, and hospitals work together. His vision is to move away from the historical delineations that have defined different health and care providers for the past 65 years, driven – crucially – by leaders, practitioners and patients themselves.”

“This is a refreshing departure from the pre-existing ways of working. After years of top down rhetoric about the ‘N’ in the NHS, Mr Stevens rightly recognises that in a country as large and diverse as England, it is not possible to adopt a single approach or plan. His vision could yield real benefits for the quality and efficiency of care.

Read the full article here.

Martin Godfrey 

Managing Director 3MC Health + Wellness

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Taxi Driver Blockade – Hit or Miss?

Posted June 12, 2014

black_cab_strike-481703

This article originally appeared on PR Week, read it in full, here.

Throughout central London on the 11th June 2014, London Cab Drivers staged a blockade protesting about a new cab service, Uber. With momentum growing around the new service, London cabbies feared they were being undercut unfairly, and wants the government to step in and enforce regulation on the new service. Their intentions however, missed the mark…

“The strike was a spectacular own goal that served up a PR gift for Uber, which claimed an 850 per cent increase in sign-ups as a result.

New apps including Kabbee and Hailo need to gain brand and product awareness of how they can help you get a taxi quickly at your convenience.

The strike gave Uber the perfect PR platform to achieve this overnight. And it milked it, announcing plans to open its service up to black cabs, and suggesting that cabbies need to move out of the “dark ages”.

A successful strike needs to have public sympathy behind the cause; it’s hard to engender this if your day’s ruined by gridlock. The Licensed Taxi Drivers Association needs to lobby behind the scenes, rather than creating havoc for its bread and butter customers.

Aside from the legal and regulatory issues, it needs to make damned sure it is helping members embrace any new technology services that create ‘win-wins’ that are, in Uber’s words, “good for riders, good for London cabbies, and good for the local economy.”

Angie Moxham

Chief Monkey

 

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Bring your own … job?

Posted June 11, 2014

Wearable tech montage

BYO – a concept we’ve been talking, reading, seeing (but perhaps not all doing), for a long time now. Who wouldn’t rather use their iPad than an ageing PC given the option? But whilst choice can be a good thing, with the direction of BYO moving to wearables and flashier tech, it’s worth thinking about how the choices being created for employers will affect the employee, in terms of what candidates will be expected to ‘bring’ into the workplace, in order to be chosen for the role.

Last month at HR Tech London, we heard our Appirio clients talking up the digitisation of the workplace; how tools, intranets, apps and – essentially – technological processes that make everyone’s lives easier (HR, employees, line managers), are becoming part of the deal maker-or-breaker in career choices today.

Put simply, would you choose a company whose critical processes (payroll for example), were antiquated, inefficient and time-consuming? Wouldn’t you be more encouraged by a company if it streamlined processes, had social intranets and interactive employee portals where information was accessible any place, at any time?

Tech is now becoming a forerunner for career considerations. Not just because it makes for a better working environment, but because it indicates an organisation that isn’t afraid to invest time and money into what is by and large already the way of the future.

While this all sounds good, what if we flip it and consider what employers will do when faced with a choice of candidates with varying degrees of BYO familiarity. In this context, how would an employer choose between three candidates: one that speaks fluent Google Glass, one that has a Samsung pebble and can send emails from their wrist, and one who can touch type and that’s about it. Is the Googlist more attractive? Whilst utilising one of the most innovative devices available, they don’t necessarily need the enhanced processes that Glass can offer for this job.

What about the pebble watch candidate? They demonstrate interest in new technologies, a desire to be more agile when working, and could perhaps encourage other co-workers to get on-board with the trend and make for smarter working.

 Samsung Pepple

But what if candidate three has the best level of experience or enthusiasm for the job, and – all gadgetry aside – would otherwise have been the ideal choice for the role? Will the tech-vantages outweigh the immediate skill set? Which will be considered more beneficial to the company at the rate tech expectations of social business are going in business BYO? Will a new precedent be set on the tech-agenda for workplace 2020?

We are evidently witnessing the onset of BYOW (bring your own wearables) pervading traditional entry points for candidates applying for jobs, and not exclusively in IT/ICT.

With bring-your-own proliferating in enterprise, the mid-market and start-ups alike, if an organisation’s IT infrastructures and hardware aren’t at a high enough level for employees to do their job to the best of their ability, it might then become expected that this responsibility wholly shifts to the employees themselves. So we may see candidates polishing up their wearables as well as their CV’s, which may in turn see businesses scrap in-house device fleets, or alternatively (and more wisely) could stimulate businesses to futureproof their whole IT infrastructures, in order to accommodate the generation-Tech applying for jobs today.

With this direction, when will ‘trend’ leave off and ‘necessity’ begin, for an office culture that respects both innovation and equality? Could tech serve to undermine the coupling of both, or will it engender a closer union? AbilityNet and BT have recently sought to address precisely these questions.

Tech and developer skills have long fuelled the digital debate of the UK jobs market, but with the consumerisation of IT and initiatives such as BYOX (bring your own everything) on the horizon, there may spark discussions of where we actually want the tech story to go, in terms of new expectations for today’s modern[ising] workplace.

Phoebe Phillips

Account Executive

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