Does your business have employee advocates?

It used to be the case that most people would go to work, do their job, and never talk in detail to the outside world about what they were up to. That was for the bosses to worry about.

Well, not any more. The new trend is for employee advocates, where champions from inside a business are encouraged into direct contact with customers to win influence.

Turning employees into trusted brand ambassadors is increasingly seen by firms as a great opportunity, with some even claiming that content shared by staff gets significantly more engagement and is more shared than if it comes through more official channels. (more…)

What can we learn from media changes in the 20 years since I became a headhunter?

In 1996, half the Internet users in the world subscribed to AOL

2016 marks twenty years since I became a headhunter. While that makes me feel incredibly old, it has been a fascinating time to be an observer of the media landscape across the UK and beyond.

When I first started, the internet existed, but was a hard-to-use and limited resource with dial-up access. Email also existed, but not in my office (we relied on faxes). Things were changing, yes; but no-one had really grasped the magnitude of what was about to happen.

If you really want to know how much the media world has changed in the intervening years, imagine saying this back in 1996: (more…)

Me2B, ad-blocking, and the personal information economy

Brands, publishers and media owners are increasingly focused on tailoring content to meet the specific needs of individuals; and fuelling this rush to ever-greater personalisation has been a reliance on access to data – every last search term, web view, and geo-tagged movement helping firms to build a profile against which advertising can be sold.

So what does a consumer get in return for handing over all this information?

Other than being fed messages that advertisers think are relevant, they usually get nothing; but all that could be about to change… (more…)

What major themes dominated this media recruitment blog in 2015?

MTA media headhuntersWith just over a week to go before everyone downs tools and sets off for a well-earned break, it seems a good moment to review the last twelve months to see if any discernible pattern can be established from looking at the subjects we have covered on this blog.

By taking the wholly unscientific route of totting up the topics (essentially, counting repeated use of subject tags) covered in the last year it’s possible to see where our thoughts have been since January. So, which issue has dominated this executive recruitment blog? Of all the topics we have used in the last 12 months, which has been the most prevalent? (more…)

If you’re a media business, is there any real value to your content?

From consumer publishers wrestling with whether or not to install paywalls, to information providers struggling to place a value on their output in a crowded marketplace, the one thing media companies seem to get wrong time and again is pricing. Of course every business is different, and there’s no on-size-fits-all solution, but in almost ten years as a headhunter the issue of how and what to charge the customer has seemed to plague the media market.

Paul Mason, the economics editor of Channel 4 News, comes closest to identifying the crux of the problem that faces most media companies in the digital world. In his recent book, PostCapitalism, Mason says that as digital replaces physical media, almost everything is reduced to the same state – that of an information product that can be infinitely distributed and replicated at virtually no cost. Whether you’re talking about an episode of Game of Thrones, the historical worldwide prices of bauxite, or a picture of Kim Kardashian, it doesn’t matter – it’s all information that can be reproduced and shared. (more…)

How do media firms prepare for an uncertain future?

“There are known knowns. These are things we know that we know. There are known unknowns. That is to say, there are things we know we don’t know. But there are also unknown unknowns. There are things we don’t know we don’t know.”

It is one of the most derided quotes of all time: simultaneously mocked both for its obviousness and its obscurity, Donald Rumsfeld was trying – ham-fistedly – to explain US foreign policy in Iraq. And we know how well that turned out. (more…)

Ad blocking on mobile is small, but growing – experts warn against complacency

With Christmas round the corner, some retail advertisers are raising fears about the effects the rise in ad-blocking could have on their digital operations. But where the focus was once solely on desk and laptop computing, experts are now asking what steps need to be taken to prevent mobile consumption suffering the same fate.

Earlier this month, my colleague Matt looked at the public appetite – or lack of it – for viewing ads online and suggested some of the creative ways publishers are attempting to combat that antipathy. (more…)

Online ads and blocking technology: an opportunity for publishers to get creative

Web users find online advertising annoying, intrusive, often irrelevant, and a drag on browser speed. For those that go online using a mobile, there are also concerns over stealth data consumption and privacy.

It’s for these reasons, according to a recent YouGov survey, that 15% of internet users currently use ad-blocking software and 22% have at one time or another downloaded technology of this kind. (more…)

Curating content: how brands can become trusted voices

In 2013, communications strategist Zan McCulloch-Lussier wrote about the overwhelming torrent of content that consumers face.

In the article for charity leaders, published in NTEN Change, he wrote: “48 hours of new video on YouTube. 684,000 pieces of content shared on Facebook. 100,000 tweets. This is just a sample of what happens every minute of every day on social media. Overwhelmed yet? The people you’re trying to talk to certainly are.”

Stats vary: but the challenge for brands to be heard amidst such noise is immense. McColloch-Lussier argues the only way forward is to curate content – on behalf of the audience – so you are seen as a trusted source of information. There is, in his view, no point in shouting louder. The only way to be heard is to become so trusted that your voice can be heard in a whisper. (more…)

Brand purpose: the next big recruiting tool for corporate business?

MTA media headhuntersSocial responsibility is an increasingly significant issue in the make-up of our leading corporations, but as firms want us to love them for the good they do, how do we assess the quality of their ethical programmes?

Well, that’s where ‘brand purpose’ comes in.

Brand purpose can be a vital tool for companies which are keen to follow through on stated ethical promises, to add meaning to what they do, and to connect with consumers on an emotional level and build trust. It can also be pretty handy when it comes to recruiting new staff; but more of that later. (more…)