Publicity is absolutely critical. A good PR story is infinitely more effective than a front page ad”   Richard Branson

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Go, Go, Go - Formula One launches global marketing campaign

Formula One has launched its first ever global marketing campaign aimed at challenging the perception of the sport. By showing F1 through the eyes of fans placed in the middle of a race, the sport’s bosses are hoping to open up Formula One to a wider audience; using bold imagery, a catchy tagline and a hero film featuring six of the biggest super fans.

Green light for new campaign

Released in the run-up to the first grand prix of the 2018 season, the 60-second film will shine a spotlight on the innovation, endurance and elemental nature of the sport. By putting fans at the centre of the action, having them battle it out from behind the wheel of an F1 car, Formula One are hoping to use this campaign to highlight the diversity of the sport’s fans from around the globe as well as expand the fanbase by showing off all the factors that make the sport what it is.

Inspired by the fine line between chaos and control that attracts fans to F1, the tagline ‘Engineered Insanity’ will form the backbone of a multi-platform campaign that will kick the new season off in Melbourne with a range of advertising campaigns in the Australian city; from posters to hand-painted murals to social and digital channels.

Campaign hits the road

As the season moves on from Australia to China, France, Germany and the USA, so will the new marketing campaign. The stars of the new ads have been chosen due to their passion for the sport, as well as to show off the wide range of people that make up Formula One’s fanbase. The six selected fans were subjected to heat, wind and rain in a specially constructed wind tunnel, experiencing first-hand the unique skill and thrill of being a F1 driver in the middle of a race.

Ellie Norman, Director of Marketing, Formula 1 said: “We want to create a perceptible shift in how people perceive F1. This campaign switches the focus away from our own echo chamber, instead spotlighting why our fans love this sport.”

Instagram expands its shoppable posts features to business users in UK

Instagram has announced it is launching its Shopping feature for business accounts in eight new countries: Canada, Brazil, Germany, France, Italy, Spain, Australia and the United Kingdom. The photo sharing app first rolled out shoppable photo tags in November of 2016 before officially launching Shopping on Instagram to businesses in the United States last year.  

Shopping on Instagram

Because Instagram doesn’t allow clickable links to be included in captions, Shopping on Instagram aims to make it easier for brands to funnel followers to their e-commerce stores, ensuring those users then continue spending time in the app before leaving. Several third-party services were created to make posts shoppable before the new feature was launched by Instagram, including the likes of Like2Buy and LikeToKnowIt, both of which remain popular.

When a post using Shopping for Instagram is tapped, it displays popups containing prices and a link to a new page located within the app which then displays more information as well as a ‘Shop Now’ button, which then directs users to the product page on that particular brand’s online store. Plans to monetise the feature are already in place, with Instagram set to allow business users to display shoppable photos to users of the app who aren’t following that particular account.

Moving Forward

Instagram has revealed that around half of the users who are active on the app daily are currently following an “active shopping business”, a figure which is now expected to increase following the decision to launch the feature in the likes of the UK and Brazil, which ranks as the app’s second-largest market behind the U.S.

In a statement, Instagram head of business Jim Squires said “People come to Instagram every day to discover and buy products from their favourite businesses. We want to be that seamless experience. Whether it’s a local artisan, florist or clothing store, shopping directly on Instagram has never been easier.”


Your regional marketing finalists

Firstly, we must stop to say a huge thank you to all our clients, colleagues and friends for taking the time to vote for us and for all your kind words along the way.

We’re delighted to announce that having received some of the highest number of votes for our category and following a presentation to a panel of esteemed judges, Strand PR is now in the final of the Hertfordshire biz4Biz Awards in the category for Best Marketing and Promotional Services Provider.

The Awards

Returning for their second year and open to all businesses across Hertfordshire, the aim of the biz4Biz Awards is to seek out examples of businesses being the best at what they do. Following the public vote, successful nominees, awarded the most votes in each category, were invited to attend a judging day in January 2018.

The Strand approach

To be a finalist in any awards is an honour. However, to be a finalist in an award that is voted purely for by your clients and industry colleagues is phenomenal and means that bit more. It really is testament to the unique approach we have here at Strand; bringing the big agency knowledge and expertise to Hertfordshire-based businesses. Over the last few years, we’ve seen this approach take Strand international; with clients in Dubai, Denmark and Ireland, to name a few. We are also exceptionally fortunate to have such a wonderful client base, both here in Hertfordshire and around the world.

Awards evening

The award ceremony, hosted by TV’s Eamonn Holmes, will be held at Tewin Bury Farm Hotel, Welwyn on March 2.
Thanks again to all our friends and fans! We’ll keep our social updated with pictures throughout the evening, which definitely *won’t* feature us sipping too many bubbles or dancing the night away. Wait a minute….

Fake news? Unfortunately, not

Donald Trump has spent a large part of the first year of his presidency dismissing much of the mainstream media as 'fake news', and now the term will live on in perpetuity after it was named the 2017 Word of the Year by the Collins Dictionary. 

Its definition, according to Collins, is the “false, often sensational, information disseminated under the guise of news reporting.”  They said that the term originated from 90’s US television shows, however, Trump has ironically claimed that he in fact invented it – which is becoming something of a trend for the 45th President of the United States.

He is thought to be the cause for the rise of the term ‘fake news’, with the Collins Dictionary Lexicographers reported a 365% increased usage since 2016, around the same time he began featuring it in his tweets.
Politics on both sides of the Atlantic have appeared to have a big impact as another entry which gained 310% usage in the last year is ‘Corbynmania’. The term, used to describe the “fervent enthusiasm” for UK Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, will also feature in the next print.

It does show a slight change from 2016 entries which were less politically motivated such as JOMO (Joy of Missing Out) and Mic Drop (A theatrical expression to round up a speech or statement).  However, moving back to a political theme, the term with the largest increase of usage of 3,400% was ‘Brexit’ and was awarded as the word of the year.   

While it’s increasingly becoming unpredictable on what words will be added next year, there’s always the hope that Trump will invent something new again. 

The Lad Bible: Your PR friend or enemy?

The Lad Bible appeared four years ago on Facebook as an entertainment page for students at University in the UK to read and talk about anything other than their degree.

Boasting a following of 17 million users over various social platforms, The Lad Bible has come a long way from posting videos of ‘lads’ doing humorous acts for their five minutes of fame. Now achieving a yearly profit of £1million from advertising, it could be argued that this new concept of sharing information will benefit a business of any size looking to promote a product/service.

Boobs, banter and sexist behavior

Starting off as a ‘boobs and bantertype of page, specifically aiming content towards men, they now claim that a quarter of their weekly readers are female. This may be due to the phasing out of features like ‘Cleavage Thursday’, a campaign that encourages women to send in pictures of their cleavage for attention and likes. Thisunsurprisingly, brought heavy criticism to the page for endorsing demeaning and sexist behavior.

Now their content involves reporting real-time news or events, such as terrorist attacks and political statements. This would seem out of place for a page who previously mainly posted obscene jokes and videos, but users have shown to validate the information by sharing with their friends. Some posts on Facebook have seen over 150k shares.

Marketing opportunity

This has been noticed by marketers and now companies (some featured in the Interbrand top 100) have grabbed at the opportunity of advertising on a vastly different type of platform.

While this seems profitable from a marketing point of view, it could be a risky venture. As their content is written by contributors who have the freedom with any subject, it may result in an article being published that brings negative attention because of the brand association. Have an advert placed on that article and you may be finding yourself paying for damage control rather than having paying customers or clients.

Tips and tricks

So, by making sure you are in control of where your advisements are being placed, especially on Thursdays, you can limit the risk. Below are three tips from The Entrepreneur that can help a small business be in control of their advertisement to improve its effectiveness.

Measure and track your audience: Use resources such as Google AdWords and Facebook Insights to provide statistics on your previous advertisements. This will aid you to decide what is working and what is not. Never expect to get this right the first time around!

Know when to advertise: Setting aside the same budget each month for marketing may at first seem ideal, but timing is essential for products. For example, if your product is seasonal then you should be focusing most of your advertising before and during its peak time.

Show up in the right places: Now that you know your audience, consider what they will be articled they will be clicking. But be careful, it can be dangerous to make too many assumptions about your customer.

To further discuss how your business can effectively advertise, email or call us on 01763 274674 


Twitter trials increased character limit

Twitter announced this week that they are trialing longer character limits in a bid to help users “easily express themselves”. The social networking site has restricted individual posts to 140 characters since its inception in 2006, but a small group of users are now able to use 280 characters. Twitter claimed that the current character limited was “a major cause of frustration” for some users, although, as with all social media changes, there have been others that feel the change wasn’t needed.

The move comes after a tough year for Twitter and is clearly aimed at widening the site’s appeal and attracting new users in order to keep up with Facebook, Instagram and other social networks – the majority of which don’t have limits on the size of posts. The new longer character limits are currently being tested in all languages apart from Japanese, Chinese and Korean, which are all able to convey more information using a single character.

"Trying to cram your thoughts into a Tweet - we've all been there, and it's a pain," Twitter product manager Aliza Rosen wrote.
"We understand since many of you have been Tweeting for years, there may be an emotional attachment to 140 characters - we felt it, too. But we tried this, saw the power of what it will do, and fell in love with this new, still brief, constraint," she said.

There are a range of benefits the new move will offer for users, most obviously the ability to better express themselves in a single Tweet. The extended character limits are also aimed at increasing engagement and interaction on the site, as well as offering marketers the chance to better get their message across.

On the flip side, though, we could be about to endure double the Donald Trump Tweets.

Social media trolls at risk of election ban

New measures set to be introduced could see social media trolls banned from voting in general elections. The tough new measures outlined by the elections watchdog are aimed at cracking down on the growing amount of abuse politicians are receiving online. The Election Commission has advised the Government to introduce new offences in order to bring election laws up to date in a bid to reduce the online attacks on political candidates.

A recent BBC survey showed that almost 90 per cent of MPs were subjected to abuse during the 2017 General Election. Many current election offences date back as far as before the 1800s, with the commission considering introducing severe penalties for new offences, such as losing the ability to vote in General Elections.  

The watchdog suggested that such penalties could be applied to trolls found guilty of abusing candidates on social media.

"It may be that similar special electoral consequences could act as a deterrent to abusive behaviour in relation to candidates and campaigners," the commission said.

The commission electoral law to take proper account of social media posts, so people can find out who is responsible for abusive material posted online. The problem has been highlighted by a survey of MPs that showed that 51 per cent believed 2017 election was the worst campaign they had experienced in terms of the abuse they had been exposed to.

The problem shows the flipside of social media for public figures. While the likes of Facebook and Twitter have played important roles in elections around the world, from last year’s U.S. presidential race to the UK’s 2016 EU Referendum, it does open up politicians to the potential of receiving abuse that they wouldn’t have experienced a decade ago.

So, even if you really don’t like your local politician, maybe write a strongly-worded letter rather than an abusive Tweet or Facebook post.

Traditional Wimbledon embraces modern marketing

Whether you’ve visited Wimbledon in person or have just watched the tournament on television, one aspect that really comes through is how different it is from other tennis events. This is due, in large part, to the distinct lack of advertising on show. If you watch any other tennis tournament held around the world, advertising and marketing play a huge role and can be clearly seen on everything from the court to the player’s kit.

At the All England Lawn Tennis Club, however, Wimbledon has been able to retain its tradition and image due to their clever approach to marketing. But while the tournament has long held a special place in the hearts of the British public, for many people around the world it is just another Grand Slam tournament. This is where Wimbledon’s marketing campaign has stepped in.

Less is More

Selling tickets to the tournament is never an issue for the Wimbledon organisers, with members of the public camping out overnight each year in a bid to secure entry into the event. But when it comes to building a wider and more international audience, the 149-year-old club has had to launch a sizeable marketing campaign. While those in the UK might not have noticed anything beyond the BBC’s occasional trailer for the upcoming tournament, that’s because this isn’t where the organisers have been targeting.

Pursuit of Greatness

The tournament organisers launched a digital content campaign last year called In Pursuit of Greatness; predominantly a global “earned media” campaign that featured a series of short films rather than traditional marketing or PR techniques. The films, which focused on the perfectionism that is involved in running the Wimbledon Championships, were then distributed to overseas broadcast partners in Asia, North and South America, as well as being rolled out across the internet.

Retaining its Image

Without the need to bring in hosts of sponsors that aren’t in keeping with the tournament’s image, Wimbledon is able to retain the look and feel that makes it such a unique event in the sporting calendar. Wimbledon is still able to bring in huge sums of money through certain brands such as Land Rover and Rolex, all while preserving the tournament’s English country garden feel. The players wear only white and few sponsors are seen on court or screen, something that isn’t the case in the other Grand Slam events.
So, rather than being overloaded by logos and branding, you are able to enjoy Wimbledon for what it is: a truly English celebration of sporting achievement.

Facebook tops two billion mark

Facebook is now used by more than a quarter of the world’s population after the social network reached the two billion-user mark. The announcement was made by Facebook’s chief executive Mark Zuckerberg, just 13 years after the platform was launched from his college room at Harvard.

"As of this morning, the Facebook community is now officially two billion people," founder and chief executive Mark Zuckerberg posted.
Having created Facebook while at university, which he dropped out of after launching the social network, Zuckerberg has gone on to become one of the world’s richest men. Facebook, meanwhile, has continued to grow and evolve despite the introduction of a host of rival social networking sites such as Twitter and Snapchat.

With around 3.7 billion people around the globe able to access the internet, 700 million of which are based in China, where Facebook remains banned, the social network is used by at least two in every three people a month. While gaining entry into China remains unlikely, Facebook has positioned itself as the most popular social platform everywhere else in the world.

There had been some tipping Facebook’s growth to dramatically slowdown in recent years only to confound those predictions and enhance its reputation as one of the world’s most valuable companies. Originally working towards the mission statement of “making the world more open”, Facebook is now using the slogan of “bringing the world closer together” – with a new focus on building online communities.

From being just an idea in the head of a quiet student to becoming one of the major pillars of modern society, it’s been quite a journey for Facebook over the past 13 years, and it’s fascinating to think where the world of social networking will be in another 13 years.

El Clasico battle continues on Facebook

The rivalry between Spanish footballing giants Real Madrid and Barcelona goes back almost a century but has now been brought very much into the 21st century as the two now fight it out for social media dominance. The two football clubs symbolise much more than a game in Spain, with a rivalry that seeps into nationalism, independence and even language.

Around the world, though, Real and Barcelona have become global brands, gaining fans from all four corners of the planet and transcending the game of football. For the majority of their fans, gaining any sort of access to their favourite club and players has to come via social media, and both Real and Barca have seen the result of their popularity through their various platforms.

This global reach has been highlighted recently after Real Madrid became the first sporting brand to reach the 100 million like mark on Facebook. Not to be outdone for long, Barcelona reached the 100 million like barrier shortly after their rivals – just nine hours to be exact – despite having pushed hard in an attempt to pip Real to the post.

With the two clubs locked in a tense race towards the La Liga title, Real might well have clinched an early psychological by reaching 100 million Facebook likes. While it remains to be seen whether this victory in the social media world will bear any relevance to the race for the Spanish league title, but Barcelona’s desire to break the 100 million mark before their rivals reportedly saw the club actively trying to involve their fans in gaining new likes in recent weeks.

Real Madrid haven’t just seen their Facebook influence grow over the past 12 months, becoming the fastest-growing sports brand across all social media platforms last year, generating over 1.6 billion video views on Facebook alone. Despite reaching the 100 million like mark on Facebook, though, Real still find themselves almost 20 million likes behind their star player, Cristiano Ronaldo, who sits at the top of the Facebook tree as the platform’s most popular brand.

For Barcelona, though, they remain the most popular sporting brand across all social media platforms, set to reach 50 million followers on Instagram and recently surpassing 40 million followers on Twitter. With over 280 fans across all their social media networks, Barcelona will still feel as though they are the most famous and well supported football club in the world.