10 February 2012
Here at Octopus, we're fans of talking and innovative
technologies, so what better way to spend a jam-packed day in
London than at Connections 2010? The Grosvenor Hotel played
host to ExactTarget's inaugural event in the UK for top industry
experts and marketers from the world's leading brands to come
together and talk all things email, mobile, social and
websites. With 13 breakout sessions and keynotes from Twitter
and ExactTarget there was plenty of material to fuel the
ExactTarget were first to the floor to talk us through the
challenges facing today's marketers now that customers are able to
control brand conversations through social networks, while
highlighting topline data from their latest Subscribers, Fans and
Followers research. Followed by a live demonstration of the
company's shiny new Interactive Marketing Hub which enables
organisations to engage in integrated, real-time conversations with
customers across social media, multi-channel marketing, on-demand
data management and process automation - all from one single
The most awaited keynote of the morning, however, came in the
form of Elizabeth Weil, Product Marketing and Corporate Development
at Twitter, especially with the news late Monday evening that Ev
Williams had stepped down as chief executive in order to focus on
the site's product strategy.
As you'd imagine, Elizabeth is frequently asked "Why should we
get on twitter?" she says the answer is simple. "You can
really wow your customers. Jump in and answer their questions
with speed and directness".
With over 160 million users, and over 90 million tweets per day,
here are a few of @elizabeth's top tips on how your company can
leverage Twitter to drive business for now, and the future:
The last breakout session of the day saw an open panel
discussion with ExactTarget, CoTweet, Twitter and customer reps
providing fascinating insights into how email and social can work
together to boost engagement and response. The verdict?
"Facebook is where you lie to people you know. Twitter is where
you're honest to strangers. Use Twitter as a focus group, people
can handle more bite sized tweets than emails. Test concepts in
Twitter for use in email."
After a lot of conversation, furious note writing and tweeting
(and mass retweeting by the whole Octopus team), we settled down to
a movie themed dinner complete with a band fronted by SpongeBob
Squarepants and a healthy a dose of Marcus Brigstocke, who shared
his own Twitter strategy with the crowd. But that's a story
for another time...
Event, ExactTarget | Leave comment
We like to think we get our campaigns spot on most of
the time, but the minute you relax and take things for granted is
when it all starts to fall apart like the proverbial house of
cards. I guess, to some extent, that is what Future 5 is all about.
Not taking anything for granted, and making a genuine attempt to
find out what needs to be happening next with our industry, making
sure that we are doing it - and doing it well!
There are many companies that invest billions into analysing the
future direction of their respective industries. We don't have
billions of pounds, and unfortunately we don't have a
time-travelling DeLorean. What we do have, however, are some of the
brightest and most capable minds within the comms industry at our
beck and call - which turned out to be more than enough when
hosting our "Future 5 Breakfast Briefing" with PR Week.
The morning was a great success. This was all helped along with
Haymarket's Philip Smith pithy chairing of the event; our very own
Jon Lonsdale dealing with the cut and thrust of a questioning
audience; and two further great presentations from Steve Kirk at
Honda and Jamie Harley of Deloitte.
More details on the Future 5 trends/campaigns can be found
Feedback from the guests was brilliant, and I know that the
majority of people in attendance were pleased to know their comms
programs were starting to head in the right direction but also saw
areas that they knew they could improve on.
However, one thing that did strike me was how hard some of our
brand-side peers have to fight to get experimental and innovative
ideas through. Agency side, you kind of take it for granted that
you are encouraged to be as creative as possible, but this is sadly
not always the case with our friends across the divide.
I hope Future 5 has showed our guests that to be brave you
sometimes have to be willing to put your neck on the line and think
At the risk of sounding like a Honda advert, one of Steve Kirk's
remarks stayed with me that day - a quote from their founder, Mr.
Soichiro Honda. "99% of success is failure." Basically, don't be
afraid to make mistakes as long as you learn from them. Be brave,
pick yourself up and be prepared to (boldly) go where no PR has
gone before - that is what Future 5 is all about.
PR, PR week, marketing, Event, Future 5, Deloitte, Honda, Haymarket | Leave comment
Last night, I attended the launch of the REC's Youth Employment
Taskforce reportsummarising the
urgent steps that government needs to take to facilitate job
creation for young people.
The evening kicked off with a few homes truths from CEO Kevin
Green. For starters, more than 20% of 16 to 24 year olds are not
working, that's a startling 1 million people. Not only is this
costing the UK economy £4.7 billion, it is also damaging their
future job prospects.
Baroness Margaret Prosser, chair of the Taskforce and vice chair
of the Equality and
Human Rights Commission (EHRC) put it like this, "When times
are tough, people employ experience rather than taking a risk and
Both speakers made it clear that it's not about getting the
stick out, but turning rhetoric into reality and policy into
practice. Everyone has a role to play which is why this taskforce
brought together leading employers, recruiters and welfare
providers as well as organisations such as the CIPD, CBI, TUC and EEF to feed into the
recommendations for government.
As a bit of an aside, a big shout out to a couple of lovely
ladies that I got talking to at the event. It's refreshing to talk
to people who are so passionate about their jobs - and I can see
why. Remploy helps people
experiencing complex barriers in the workplace and Prospectus is a
not-for-profit recruitment agency that specialises in finding work
for homeless people.
The clear message that I went away with from yesterday's
gathering is that there's a real need for concrete action from
business, government and education if we are to avoid a lost
Event, REC, youth, not-for-profit | 2 comments
The issue of climate change is a tricky one. As a bit of an
eco-warrior I do what I can. I use public transport, I recycle and
I never fail to take a canvas bag with me when I head out the door
to Tesco. The
scale of the problem is so huge though that beyond these measly
steps, I can't help feeling a bit helpless.
Is strong leadership from the government what's needed to turn
Britain green? Undoubtedly, but according to the panel at this
event on climate change it seems the media has an
equal role to play in making Britain go green.
Arranged by Frontline, 'Climate change: is the Coalition up
to the challenge of the next five years?' was an interesting
insight into the issue of climate change, the challenges that the
'Cammy-Leg' coalition face and the media's role in bringing a sense
of balance to the argument.
Sounds easy right? Not so according to Fiona Harvey, environment
correspondent at the Financial
Times who seized the opportunity to discuss the
challenges she faces in 'fairly' reporting on climate change. For
every positive story about a wind-farm development going up,
there's a story elsewhere on scientists getting their climate
change figures wrong. For every article on Britain over-achieving
on its emissions reduction targets there's a story on us missing
the renewables target by a mile.
While climate change efforts can't be viewed through rose-tinted
glasses all the time, would it be completely out of order for them
to sit on the more 'optimistic' side of the fence?
Harvey used the example of the Daily
Mail's 'illuminating' yet somewhat alarmist front page
over the phasing out of iridescent light bulbs as a case in
If the media makes such a panic over something as simple as a
lightbulb, how are we ever going to get the British public behind
much bigger projects like wind turbine farms and tidal
For me, this is far too important an issue to cloud the water
with negative and at times, outrageous stories. Mark Maslin,
director of the Environment Institute at University College
London cited one story he'd seen where the heat from
polar bears' breath was to blame for the melting caps. Is this
kind of reporting really going to help get the public behind
climate change measures or is it 'fair reporting' gone mad? Pass
the rose-tinted glasses I say.
, Event | Leave comment
On 2nd February, a group of individuals united by a
mutual interest in the environment met at a pub in Angel to talk
about corporate carbon. We organised the Carbon Conversation event
on behalf of our client Cisco, intending to present the findings of
a research project, carried out in association with key a
influencer target, news site Greenbang.
The venue (The Duke of
Cambridge) was chosen because it is an organic pub accredited
by the Soil Association and powered by solar and wind energy, and
it proved to be the perfect location (the organic London Beer went
down very well!).
The new home for the UK's leading environmental
Organising the event, Octopus secured speakers from The Carbon
Trust, British Gas
and Greenbang, alongside Cisco, each of whom had just five minutes
to talk about their area of interest in corporate carbon (following
presentation rules of 20 slides, 15 seconds each, 5 minutes in
The event attracted well over our target 25 attendees, including
environmental and technology media, prolific sustainability
twitterers and bloggers, CSR consultants and executives from
companies in the corporate carbon-reduction space. Attendees were
secured from our team's
Twitter activity, as well as traditional invites, and the event
was organised through EventBrite.
In fact, the event was such a success that you should watch this
space for a quarterly appearance of The Carbon Conversation.
PR, Sustainability, Social media, Event | Leave comment
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