Monthly Archives: June 2018

The Liberty London Tech Week

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Last week saw thousands of eager fans from all over the world gather in one of Europe’s most prominent cities for a celebration like no other. Nope, not that one. While the World Cup kicked off in Moscow, we had our own celebration right here in London.

As the title suggests, we enjoyed our very own London Tech Week. For the uninitiated, London Tech Week is a five-day festival that highlights the best of tech in the UK, Europe and across the globe. Every year thousands descend on the city for a festival like no other. With 300 events and over 55,000 attendees, the Liberty team were hard at work joining speeches on blockchain, networking with developers and reflecting on the coming of the robot apocalypse (well, perhaps not that last part).

In any case, London Tech Week is a great excuse to celebrate UK innovation. With the announcement of new visa rules for tech professionals and figures from London & Partners showing that British tech firms are attracting nearly three times more VC investment than any other European country, surely there are a few reasons to be cheerful?

CSR: Improving Media Literacy

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As part of our corporate social responsibility initiative (CSR), Liberty has been working towards improving media literacy and increasing general knowledge of the public relations field. Our two most recent efforts stem from both sides of the pond.

Liberty U.S. – Career Day

In April, Liberty U.S. hosted a career day for three students from West County Charter Middle School. They were originally unclear on what public relations was, but by the end of their visit, they were PR pros. Or at least aspiring ones!

The students’ visit started off with a pastry breakfast and a short discussion about what they wanted to be when they grew up. Originally, the students were unsure of what kind of job they wanted to apply for or field they wanted to explore when they were older. However, they loved the idea of living and working in San Francisco.

Following our career brainstorm, we gave the students a briefing on public relations including:

  • In-house vs. agency PR
  • Verticals within PR
  • Tasks of a public relations professional
  • Traits of an exceptional public relations professional
  • The “traditional” PR career path

Our goal throughout career day was to touch on the importance of media literacy and teach the students about rhetoric and word choice. The students were both attentive and interested in the knowledge shared and walked away knowing that public relations professionals can be found in any industry (and that we eat a lot of pastries)!

 

Liberty UK – PR Workshops

At Liberty, we strive to engage people with our work, which is why our second initiative, which was held today in London was the first in a series of free creative workshops focused on helping businesses understand a little more about how PR can help them.

The workshop was a great success so it’s something we aim to continue on a more regular basis on both sides of the pond. Watch this space for more information but if you have any questions in the meantime or would like to hear more, drop us a line at info@libertycomms.com We’d love to hear from you!

 

 

Brand or branding – what do they really mean?

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We talk a lot these days about brand and branding, but do we actually know the difference?

Potentially it’s confusing straight away, as the word ‘brand’ is both a noun and a verb.

But, let’s simplify matters.

Imagine you are a sheep farmer five hundred years ago. You are Farmer Smith. Your sheep are sharing a field with six other farmers. You don’t want to get your sheep mixed up with Farmer Jones’ sheep, because Farmer Jones doesn’t look after his animals as well as you do and yours are worth more at market.

So, you BRAND your sheep.

Literally, with a BRANDING iron. You apply your unique, individual mark to identify your sheep.

The mark on the sheep – the ‘brand mark’ or ‘logo’ that we refer to is not the BRAND. It’s a mark that identifies the sheep as a ‘quality product’ to be trusted because it belongs to Farmer Smith and he’s a reputable farmer. Unlike that Farmer Jones, who isn’t!

Farmer Smith’s reputation is THE BRAND.

‘BRANDING’ is what Farmer Smith does when he stamps his sheep with the iron.

What does this mean to your business?

Don’t think of your logo as your ‘brand’. Your brand mark, yes. But, your brand is so much more than just the logo.

Think of your brand as your reputation.

When the Volkswagen brand suffered due to the emissions scandal, it was nothing to do with the logo. It was all about reputation.

Nowadays, branding is a highly valuable marketing tool, practised by skilled brand designers.

Branding your organisation creatively, distinctively and consistently will help you engage with your customers and inspire pride in your brand.

If you’d like to find out more about how we can help with your branding strategy get in touch at info@libertycomms.com

Time to change the rules on digital transformation

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Meet Dick Fosbury. Checking in at 1.93m tall as a modest rookie sportsman in the 1960s, Dick had tried out a number of sporting challenges, but showed little promise in any of them.

Undeterred, he went in search of greatness. What followed was a pioneering journey which made him a household name and an innovator whose discovery still carries his name today.

Fosbury’s fascination with jumping higher than any other athlete led to an innovative approach which had never been attempted before. Harnessing a law of physics Fosbury worked out that he could beat the competitors by jumping backwards and keeping a lower ‘centre of mass’ than traditional high jumpers could ever manage by jumping forwards over the bar. If you’re interested, check out this short video on YouTube.

At the 1968 Olympics in Mexico City, Fosbury won the gold medal and set a new Olympic record at 2.24m, displaying the potential of the new technique. Despite the initial sceptical reactions from the high jump community, the ‘Fosbury flop’ quickly gained acceptance. Four years later, almost all competitors at the 1972 Olympics had adopted his technique.

My fascination with Fosbury
So why does this matter? I’ve become fascinated by Fosbury and his innovation for two reasons. First, one of my daughters has set her sights on winning high jump competitions, and is using the Fosbury Flop technique to do so.

Second, Fosbury’s innovation is a very handy metaphor for a topic I’m spending a lot of my life working on at the moment: helping CEOs and CMOs to tackle the challenges they face with digital transformation.

Digital is fascinating for many reasons: first and foremost, there is no blueprint, and digital demands rapid innovation. While we can look to the GAFA pioneers – Google, Apple, Facebook and Amazon – to understand how to build world leading digital businesses, enterprises born in the analogue age have unique challenges.

Legacy processes, technologies and databases – coupled with outdated business models and management approaches – form formidable obstacles, which can be sidestepped by fleet-of-foot challengers like Fosbury.

Three points come to mind here:

1. Creative problem solving

Being the biggest and best resourced is no guarantee of success in the digital age. Just consider how many venture capital-backed challenger business have made the headlines, won share and created a major headache for incumbent market leaders. Uber. Just Eat. Monzo. They all share a desire to understand the customer need, and invent solutions which meet those needs quickly, without the shackles of established processes and the straightjacket of conformist thinking.

2. Going backwards makes a lot of sense
This may sound absurd to you, but just think about it. As human beings, we have always struggled with predicting the future. We have always been very good at recording the past – tracking which factors led to our present condition – and piecing together the evidence to build a hypothesis about cause and effect.

Getting specific here – if we want to best serve our customers with the right message, delivered at the right time in their purchase cycle, on the most effective channel, at the lowest cost – it’s a very smart idea to examine closely the touchpoints and influencers our customers connect with before making their purchase decisions, and use the same channels to influence future brand and performance marketing investment.

3. Trial and error
It took Fosbury many years to perfect his technique, and deliver his Olympic record breaking jump. It took his competitors just months to copy his technique.

If you want to develop market leading solutions and have your competitors catching up, an agile mindset, which tolerates mistakes and expects rapid iteration, is key to innovation and success.