Wednesday, 26 January 2011

Narrative reporting is back on the agenda!

It's a couple of years now since the IPA produced its annual reviews on best practice in narrative reporting. The most recent, in 2009, 'Best practice in narrative reporting - a global perspective' focused on top advertisers in the UK, USA and Asia, and provided commentary on levels of transparency in company reports about marketing investment, brand and marketing communications strategy, and key performance indicators. The findings were pretty disheartening.

However, new reasons for optimism are emerging. PwC's Corporate Reporting blog from 18th January 2011 reports that 'in the UK we have some really interesting progressive thinking coming out of BIS around narrative reporting.' (The IPA wrote a submission as part of the consultation process, on its members behalf, last autumn.)

In addition, the Financial Reporting Council (FRC) have themselves published a new report , based on their own consultation, entitled "Effective Company Stewardship - Enhancing corporate reporting and audit.". The most significant and interesting point, apparently, is hidden away on page 20, where reference is made to the potential formation of a "financial reporting lab": a place where new reporting models and concepts could be explored, tested and tailored (without liability) to enable greater innovation in the market.

Sounds like a brilliant idea!

Labels: , , , , ,

Tuesday, 25 January 2011

IPA Census defies expectations

At a joint IPA / Work Foundation event on 'The future of the creative industries', held 14th December last year, Martin Smith of Ingenious Media, financiers to the creative industries, commented that he would expect to see that there had been significant job losses in IPA member agencies in 2010. So it's good to see that we can challenge his assumption with our latest industry statistics, out last week.

The reality is that the total number of employees in IPA member agencies has rise by 1.1% in 2010 to 18,843, reversing the downward trend of 2009. In addition, the number of temps and freelancers has doubled, from 886 to 1,702. Equally positive is the growth in the diversity of the industry's employee base; with 10% now from a non-white background.

Labels: , , , , ,

Monday, 24 January 2011

Kraft versus Cadbury

The repercussions of the takeover by Kraft of Cadbury continue. Organic chocolate maker Green & Black's was rumoured, last week, in the FT, to be looking for ways to extricate itself from Kraft. The firm's management is said to be struggling to retain an entrepreneurial spirit under the new regime.

Having worked on both Kraft and Cadbury business in my time in client service in agencies, I can understand where they are coming from. The 'impulse', 'fun', 'celebration' and 'indulgence' chocolate brands for which Cadbury is famous breed a fundamentally different culture from the pragmatic cupboard and kitchen staples for which Kraft is best known.

Labels: , , ,

Friday, 21 January 2011

We need more large multinationals

I make no apologies for quoting shamelessly from City a.m. editor Allister Heath's column from the 17th January. He in turn is reporting on a recent McKinsey report about the contribution to economic growth of large multinationals to the US economy; 23% of UK private-sector direct value add, 34% of private-sector value add if you include indirect value to their supply chain; 31% of growth in GDP since 1990; 41% growth in labour productivity over the same time period; 75% of private R&D spending; 50% of US exports; 33% of US imports.

The IPA, in its dealings with UK Government, particularly BIS and DCMS, has emphasised repeatedly the importance to the marketing services sector of encouraging big multinationals to make the UK their European HQ or their hub to the world outside of their immediate continent.

Our reputation globally relies on originating and managing international campaigns from the UK on behalf of multinational brands.
That's why we share Allister's worry that 'there are too few world-beating giant multi-nationals being created in the UK; and many existing ones are relocating their HQs for tax purposes out of Britain. Both these trends must be reversed.'

Labels: , , , , , , , ,

Thursday, 20 January 2011

The Future of Technology and its impact on our lives

Ogilvy & Mather's Discovery Group in Shanghai have just reported on this fascinating topic. The full report is here and it's well worth reading in full. However, I hope the author, Kunal Sinha, won't mind me revealing the topline conclusions here:

1. Broadly, all technology will eventually fall into two categories: network, and interface. One will connect devices, the other will connect a device with a human.

2.Technology will enable diverse cultures to collaborate more efficiently, in every sphere. It will bring people and organizations together, closer.

3. As opposed to the 'first wave' of technology adoption when men were the early adopters, the 'second wave' will see women adopting and using technology earlier. The gap between the genders in technology adoption will reduce; however their motivations for adoption will be different.

4. The creators of future technology products and brands will no longer be engineers/scientists but people and teams with multidisciplinary skills. An engineer-doctor; or a psychologist-engineer; and artist-engineer and so on.

5. People will increasingly look for and find ways to 'get inside' technology. It will no longer be that 'black box', and technology brands will be built not on 'featuers' but on the basis of how 'human' and 'soft' they appear to be. In that sense they will assume dimensions that have emotional underpinnings.

6. By enabling unparalleled access to information, technology is already changing consumer expectations. The power that marketing departments typically had, in terms of being able to manage consumer expectations, will disappear.

7.Technology will be a potent tool in the hands of the powerless, as they will find surprising uses for it; it will bridge the rich-poor gap in surprising ways.

8. Technology, particularly information technology, will bring in more transparency & accountability in society.

9. Technology will allow people to live multiple lives, assume and live out multiple identities.

10. Technology will strengthen the institution of family and help it survive the onslaught of modernity and individualism by creating newer and richer touch points.

Labels: , , , , ,

Wednesday, 19 January 2011

What does the New Year hold?

According to the IPA's latest Bellwether Report, researched and published by Markit Economics yesterday, UK adspend grew at an annual rate of 6.6% in 2010, in stark contrast to the forecast reduction of -1.1% one year earlier.

Initial budgets for 2011 are also set higher than 2010 actual spend. Main media budgets are set to fair relatively well, while budgets have also been set higher for direct marketing. In contrast, companies plan to reduce their sales promotion and 'all other' marketing spend in 2011. Growth of spend in internet advertising appears to be slowing.

Despite this relatively heartening news, companies are more pessimistic about the financial outlook for their businesses overall. Those considering prospects to have improved fell from 28% to 25%.

Labels: , , , , , , ,

Tuesday, 11 January 2011

Show me the money

I was looking through Netimperative this morning and saw a link to the Top 10 Financial Websites in the UK.

This data comes from the comScore Media Metrix series from September 2010. That sounds so, well, 2010 now doesn't it?

Anyway, the top 3 brands were, BGL Group and were way out in the lead with over three million unique visitors that month. Like most of you I have seen a lot of advertising for and also The offline (can television ever have been accurately described as offline?) spend must have had a major impact on online traffic. I hadn't heard of BGL Group though. On closer inspection, one of their key brands is of course and traffic to that site, also benefitting from television advertising, must have boosted the BGL analytics considerably.

However, if I hadn't searched BGL more closely, would the brand have gained the visibility it deserved? I understand the need to group sites together for analysis but, assuming it is that is boosting BGL figures, wouldn't a straightforward brand listing of the top 10 financial sites have been more useful?

Perhaps I'm just a mere cat to the tigers who know what they're doing?

Labels: , , , , , ,

Wednesday, 5 January 2011

Will the face of 2011 be social media?

I suppose we all know that the answer to that question will in some way be 'yes.'

Social media platforms are now more widely used than their railway equivalents - and you don't have to hang around waiting for a dirty, one-way journey, packed in with strangers. Social media offers conversations with friends wherever and whenever you want to hold them.

For many in the west, India is synonymous with the image of packed trains on a largely unreliable service. Interesting, then, that WARC News is reporting this morning on the popularity of social networks in India too. According to WATConsult, the social media agency, total penetration is some 60% which, when you consider the vast population of friends and strangers in that country, is pretty impressive.

In an article in yesterday's Guardian it was reported that almost half of the global online population visited Facebook at some point in 2009. Already the largest UK display advertising publisher, showing 24.4bn ad impressions to about 30 million web users, Facebook is also the world's biggest photo site. An average of 2.7 million photos are uploaded to Facebook every 20 minutes. In an online comment on this article it is suggested that over 750 million photos were uploaded in the first 48 hours of 2011 - or over a million photos every four minutes on average!

So yes, one way or another, social media will be the face of 2011

Labels: , , , , , ,