Culture & Opinions

We like our people to have opinions. Freethinking is a key part of what makes us an effective communications partner.

While the solutions we provide will always be based on solid understanding and insights, this part of our site is about sharing thoughts, ideas and views on media and advertising. Don’t agree? Join the debate on our social channels or get in touch. We welcome guest opinions as well!

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INSPIRING WOMEN, INSPIRING CHANGE by Claire Mathieson, Account Manager

This week I attended Management Today’s Inspiring Women in Business Conference Edinburgh, which played host to some incredible speakers. From Karyn McCluskey fighting Glasgow’s gangs to Ruth Davidson becoming the leader of the Scottish Conservative Party, “inspiring” was absolutely the right word . However, of all the incredible speeches there’s one thing that’s really stuck with me and that was a quote from Archie Struthers, global head of investment governance & oversight at Aberdeen Standard Investments:

“Presenteeism is a dangerous cultural hangover”

When flexible working is reserved to a specific group of people that are unable to attend events out of hours, unable to socialise as part of the team and even feel guilty because of their ‘absenteeism’ it can have a negative cultural effect. If one of the world’s largest financial companies (who as an industry aren’t exactly known for their flexibility) are able to say; it is possible to do your job from home – then why are we still having this debate? (more…)

Q: IS TV OLD FASHIONED? by Kenneth McFarlane, Account Director

Q: “Is TV old-fashioned?”

A: “Absolutely not.  We’ve gone from four channels to hundreds.”

So spoke Sky’s Deputy MD in early 2018.  But it could easily have been an answer given at the tail-end of the last century.  This has long stopped being something to shout about – it’s an accepted fact, especially for my generation (the dreaded ‘millennials’).  Has nothing else happened with TV in the last decade that’s worth talking about?

Obviously, the answer is yes.  From HD to dabbling in 3D and Product Placement to addressable TV, a lot has happened to the box in the corner.  But Product Placement is now over 7yrs old.  Sky launched AdSmart in 2014.

With outdoor, media owners are able to talk about new formats, new panels and new ways of buying on a near-constant basis.  Online channels are evolving with even more regularity.  There’s always a new facebook format, targeting strategy or buying system to talk about.  The very fact that people are asking if TV is old-fashioned shows a perceived lack of ‘newness’.  Delivering the most profit, taking the lion’s share of the media day and evoking much more emotion than other media channels are all impressive facts – but they’re not new. (more…)

VOICE – THE NEXT EVOLUTION IN SEARCH by Oliver Corbishley, Digital Executive

A key aspect of the digital age is the constant technological evolution that changes the landscape. Search is no different, with the evolution from basic query search to adaptive, intelligent search that accompanies us everywhere.

We’re moving from the handheld mobile life to a new frontier with Voice search playing a growing role in our lives. With devices like Amazon Echo and Google Home seeing adoption rates similar  to early-era smartphones, voice search usage is expanding rapidly. 55% of teens and 40% of adults in the USA already use voice search daily (Google) and 50% of all searches are expected to come from voice by 2020 (ComScore).

Consumer satisfaction with Smart Speaker devices is high, with 65% of owners not wanting to go back to life without their devices and 42% considering them “essential” (Edison). People are also surprisingly willing to purchase products through their smart speakers, with 57% having made a purchase via their smart speaker and 35% having made a purchase of over $100.

Just Eat recently ran a voucher promotion via Alexa, encouraging users to download the Just Eat Alexa skill and order via their Echo speaker by offering a discount voucher. Though outside channels are currently required to spread awareness of this promotion it shows an early indication of how Brands can adapt to voice search technology.

Despite speculation, Amazon denies plans to add advertising to Alexa devices and we still don’t have indications from either Amazon or Google of how advertising will manifest on their Smart Speakers. One possible path would see advertisers pay for higher placement in search results, similar to how paid search works on Google. This path has issues for Amazon who want to see the Echo and Alexa driving product sales through their store. The fear is that replacing smart recommendations and past purchases with paid ads could annoy consumers and turn them off from their Smart Speaker

Businesses need to be thinking about how customers’ new relationship with voice search will impact on their digital strategies. While playing music and checking the weather are the most common regular uses for voice search, 52% use their Smart Speakers to ask general questions. With 75% of US households projected to have a Smart Speaker by 2020, Brands need to be prepared for a world were voice is the default medium for search.