Archive for tag: Event

10 February 2012

Getting Connected

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 conversation.

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 platform!

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:

  • Listen: monitor your brand, competitors and sales opportunities
  • Build relationships: engage your users, build trust and foster conversations.  Twitter is not just an e-commerce platform, so show your expertise
  • Customer service: Address concerns, respond to praise, be a live FAQ
  • Conversation: Leverage your followers as a live portable focus group - tailor the conversation
  • Expertise: dispel unique and relevant information that you care about
  • Rewards: promote offers, specials, coupons and giveaways
  • Integrate: weave your Twitter presence throughout your on and offline strategies
  • Be creative: Have fun!  Make people want to follow you
  • Advertising platform: Enhance what you're already doing.  Who knew the Old Spice campaign was kick-started by a promoted trend on Twitter?

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...



10 February 2012

Back to the “Future 5 Breakfast”

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 here.


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 differently.

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.



10 February 2012

Are we creating a lost generation?


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 employing potential."

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 generation.

Susie L


10 February 2012

Climate change hangs in the balance… of media reporting

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 week's frontline 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 point.

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 projects?

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.

Helen Ablett


10 February 2012

Carbon conversations

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!).

Duke Exterior

The new home for the UK's leading environmental thinkers


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 the ignite presentation rules of 20 slides, 15 seconds each, 5 minutes in total).

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.