Tuesday, 14 July 2015

Swindon Town shun media for Fanzai app

Credit: Jack Tanner

This caught my eye in today's Press Gazette - Swindon Town allegedly shunning local media in preference of club controlled output on a new app called 'Fanzai' (the club has denied this).

It's interesting as more and more regional sports teams are facing an increased demand for digital content, and smaller clubs simply don't have the resource to facilitate it beyond regular match day arrangements. 

This is why the idea of outsourcing becomes attractive.

Yet the chap in the Press Gazette piece called the move 'sanitised PR', I'd disagree with that. It's content marketing, pure and simple. If anything, it is bad PR, if true.

PR values the relationships between an organisation and its audiences, so while there will always be bust-ups and differences of opinion, ultimately relationships endure for the benefit of fans, the community and the wider audience.

Messages in content marketing are obviously more controlled and commercial, yet usually work in tandem with a PR operation. If you cut this out and lose the third party access and reporting, it will water down what's produced in-house via the erosion of trust.

I'll be checking out the Swindon app, it might turn out to be a test case.

Monday, 13 July 2015

Harriet Harman picks wrong time to get it wrong on Welfare Cuts

Today was another PR disaster for the Labour Party, after Harriet Harman needlessly vowed Labour would not oppose the Government's proposed limit on tax credits to the first two children.

The rhetoric on 'listening to the lessons of defeat' that we've heard from leadership candidates in the world's longest set of hustings is bad enough, but to then come out with this ludicrous right wing statement before the impact of the policy has been revealed, is just daft.

Labour needs to understand that outside of Westminster and party members, no one is paying attention to their leadership election. That's flippant, yes, but also true. So there's no need to alienate grassroots at a time they are needed more than ever, or to get the party into a tricky statement that will be kept on record and wheeled out if the Chancellor needs it in the future.

Harman doesn't have a record of doing this, it sounds like a bad briefing in the leadership vacuum.

Labour's new leader needs to find their own green logo and husky riding project when they are elected. Be prominent for eye catching and ultimately forgettable moments that leave them ideological room to manoeuvre at a later date - when the public are paying attention.

That's the opposite of what the Left are saying, and with good reason. But Labour can either have another few years of North London intellectual naval gazing, or it can become electable.

The danger is that it's already too late. Dan Jarvis and Chuka Umunna are starting to look like the smart ones for staying out of this race.

Thursday, 9 July 2015

Facebook puts women first

Facebook has redesigned its logo so that the silhouette of the woman is no longer behind that of the man.

Facebook's Caitlin Winner has admitted that the old design positioned women 'quite literally in the shadow of the man', so this seems an overdue move for a brand which has an increasingly prominent female user base.

It's part of the growing trend of marketing 'to women', which is no surprise given a study as far back as 2013 cited 57% of women held the purchasing power in their household, yet there are plenty of organisations driven by social equality rather than just profit.

The Sport England (a former client) campaign 'This Girl Can' has received widespread praise for its attempt to increase female participation in sport, while the recent success of the England Women's Football team (reaching the semi final) was part of a global phenomenon which saw Fox achieve  $40m in ad revenue for hosting a tournament which had limited coverage beforehand.

(Courtesy of Flickr, Liga Utama)

Women's sport and marketing clearly pays, even if sponsors stumble into it.

But there's still a long way to go for brands, even those supposedly on the side of women, as demonstrated by the FA's ill advised 'partners and mothers' tweet. Marina Hyde gets that right here.

The point about the women's World Cup is that it should mark a new dawn of modern marketing looking at working with women outside of traditional 'roles' such as motherhood or career. The idea that hopes, dreams and aspirations can be accessible to all genders - who would have thought it?!

And it's laughable that this is even a thing. It is 2015 for god's sake. But my wife tells me we're not there yet, so I believe her. And not because she is a 'wife' but because she is refreshingly honest and cynical with her marketing interactions, she engages when she wants and it's rarely within the confides of her domestic life but through hobbies, fitness and friends.

The first social wave of brand marketing was owned by the mummy blogger, and a good job they did, making fortunes for founders of channels such as Mumsnet.

But this new wave feels fresher, more unpredictable. Is it about fitness? Arguable, but no, because that plays to difficult audiences, as Protein World famously found out.

I'm a man so I don't have the answer, but I deal with enough intelligent female clients, marketers and creatives every day to get a sense that the answer might be individualism, and that this has its roots in social media.

It's an important phase and although I expect more than a few mistakes on the way, let's hope it inspires some great PR campaigns too.