Monthly Archives: February 2013

Predictions for MWC 2013

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The thing about predictions is you either need to make them so obvious you won’t be wrong or so generic so you won’t look foolish; otherwise the only thing you can predict with any certainty is that you will get something wrong.

 

Mirror mirror on the wall…

 

That said we all enjoy a bit of educated speculation – to test this theory I polled my friends and colleagues for their predictions. The trends highlighted this year are pretty much the same as those that were highlighted in previous years.

 

So ignoring them and the current crop of predictions and themes in the media (which mainly revolve around handsets), I decided to look at some of the topics and trends that businesses actually care about.

 

 

Mobile payments: just as we are reading about plastic cards being the death of cash, so too are we beginning to see mobiles have credible applications in this space. I think this year’s MWC will see a good deal of news from the big players (the likes of Mastercard & Visa), as well as the mobile operators around this topic

 

Internet of things: many people said that M2M was one of the key trends in 2012. I agree, though it was a fairly quiet one. We are set for more of this in 2013 as the industry looks to define itself and becomes more relevant to the wider vertical markets. So beyond the fridge ordering my groceries, telehealth and smart-metering will be two key areas to watch

 

Services: BYOD has certainly had an impact on businesses – this we all know. There is however a second wave that is crashing in to organisations via services and applications. We’ll hear more from young pretenders like Box and DropBox but also expect to hear more from the old-guard, like Oracle, Nokia, BlackBerry and Microsoft

 

Security: the mobile world is no longer immune from hacks and attacks. With governments and their agencies warning about cyber security and likening it to the ‘Wild West’, we will hear a lot about mobile malware, hacks, and the importance of encryption

 

Other topics that will inevitably creep in are big data, cloud (though I would lump than under services), second screen and LTE. One company I will be keeping an eye on is that erstwhile titan of the business device RIM BlackBerry. MWC is its first major outing since its new devices were launched earlier this month so it is bound to have something to say in Barcelona.

 

I’ll leave you with a thought from Steve Wozniack who was probably right when he opined that; ‘the smartphone and tablet will become the remote control and wallet for individuals the world over.’

PR Internship Part One

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Having arrived at Liberty with a background in fashion Public Relations I was a little nervous as to how my knowledge would transfer to an entirely different sector. 

 

Fashion to Technology PR

Fashion to Technology PR

 

Having anticipated what some of the obvious differences might be, I was interested to learn some of the subtler similarities to be found between two starkly contrasting branches of the same industry.

 

 

From my experience, PR for business-to-business (b2b) and business-to-consumer (b2c) technology products and services aims to demonstrate ‘life-enhancing’ features to end-users (be they Joe Blogs on the street or a CEO in a corporate boardroom) in the same way as fashion PR; specific techniques are used to help the target audience visualise how they or their business will benefit by purchasing the product or service.

 

 

Learning about some of Liberty’s campaigns across both b2b and b2c clients, I have been surprised to learn how things that seem so different on the surface can be actually very similar when it comes to strategy and implementation.

 

 

The launch of ‘Peelzone’ for example was one I thought would have been very different to that of a fashion event. However with the use of social media and the engaging publishing house tour, the overall concept proved to be not only unique and in that respect similar to fashion events I have previously worked on.

 

 

By truly understanding your target audience, an event can be created to appeal directly to the end user (journalist, consumer or CEO) it is targeting, and this is applicable across the board, all the way from fashion to technology.

 

 

Technology PR is still a new and exciting industry that I have only dipped my toes into, and I am looking forward to continuing to learn more about it as a sector, and more about what makes Liberty so special to its clients.

Liberty Communications announces launch of Liberty Academy

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Liberty Communications, the specialist technology communications consultancy, today announced that it will be launching the Liberty Academy later this year. The programme aims to help young people gain invaluable  experience, insight and training as well as benefit from mentoring and coaching from those already working in the industry.

 

 

The Liberty Academy will work in a similar way to existing graduate initiation programmes and comprise of a series of one day workshops as well as practical exercises, mentoring and support.  This approach will provide apprentices with exposure to every aspect of both public relations and marketing from understanding the broader industry to content development and the effective use of both social and digital media.

 

 

Dee Gibbs, managing director and founder of Liberty Communications commented: “In such a tough job market, school and university leavers alike are looking for all the experience they can get and the success of our internship programme has shown us that this type of approach can uncover fantastic candidates too. All of our 2011/2012 graduates were recruited from it and having the chance to learn the ropes before they came on board has helped them progress in their respective roles as well as been recognised by Pathfinders with our recent award win.”

 

 

Elena Davidson, client services director, said, “We want to be able to help nurture the PR and marketing stars of the future and we really believe that the Liberty Academy can be the first stepping stone for young people to build a promising career. Best practices are the building blocks of a successful working life and as an agency who works hard to instil them in our existing team, we want to drive the same standards in the teams of the future.”

 

 

Liberty won Pathfinders’ Media Employer of the Year in 2012 for its ability to develop its staff. Criteria associated with the award included the approach to people strategy, recruitment, induction, appraisals and mentoring.  To inspire other companies to follow its lead Dee Gibbs will act as a judge for 2013 award entrants.

Is Samsung’s brand stifling the creativity of Android?

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Android prides itself on being an open-source platform. This means manufacturers, developers and even users have more flexibility, in their ability to create the phone that best suits them. 

 

Brand or Ideology – what will win out?

 

Unlike iOS, the Android platform is also available on a range of phones, giving users a wealth of options to choose from.

 

This choice, and the allure of being able to customise has seen Android’s smartphone market share rise hugely in the last few years – Android’s market share rose 12.4% in 2012 alone. You would think this will mean good news for manufacturers on the platform but most are recording severe losses, with only one manufacturer, Samsung, turning over a profit.

 

 

At present, Samsung dominates the Android platform, accounting for 46% of the market share. For example, thirteen of the top twenty Android phones are Samsung phones, and the top seven are all Samsung phones.

 

 

As much as Samsung’s innovation is a shining light in the smartphone market, there is also a risk that its success could in turn lead to the demise of other manufacturers on the platform it has done so much to bring to the fore.

 

 

If the figures above are anything to go by, it seems like users are buying less into the open-source ideology originally championed by Android and more into the brand values of Samsung instead. There is a distinct possibility that users could be left with only two options; iOS or Samsung, rather than the wealth Android promised.

 

The current situation presents us with two possible scenarios: either Android manufacturers buck up their ideas and brings some competition to the market place or Samsung’s success will result in everyone else becoming mere supporting actors in the Samsung/Apple show.

Deep Digs – and we’re not talking about Richard III

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When you work in the technology sector – as Liberty has for the last 15 years – you work with clients ranging from start-ups to established corporations and everything in between.  Briefs are often very similar in the broader sense – ‘we want to change the face of the sector’ and ‘we want to disrupt’ or ‘what we offer is totally unique’.

 

Richard III & the great communication challenge

 

In order to meet these ambitions, it’s not always enough to work with the news agenda alone.  As a communications agency, we need to do a deep dig on the company as a whole; in other words look at the brand, its positioning, how it relates to competitors, and lay the groundwork for a new set of communication challenges.

 

 

It’s a joined up approach that we, as an industry, have been talking about for a while, but still there are client companies that split the roles of strategic brand development, and communications through owned, bought and earned media.  At Liberty we believe it’s essential to be involved in the entire brand journey and industry positioning work, because whether we like it or not, the credibility of a communication will be judged as a package, not just as a headline in a press release, a slogan on an ad or a claim made on LinkedIn – it all has to work together.

 

 

This brand development can apply to brand extensions, straplines and divisional positioning; it’s rarely about a major overhaul anyway, no matter the size of the business. We’ve created entire industry events for billion dollar global clients to meet strategic goals – extending the brand, coming up with an event name, developing full brand guidelines and producing collateral.

 

 

If your technology business needs a communication consultancy, expect us to dig a little deeper than you might expect; we may just uncover something vitally important about the way you talk about your brand.