Archive for the ‘Marketing’ Category

Why we love Pinterest…

March 21, 2012

We’ve recently discovered Pinterest. I use the collective ‘we’ here, as the whole office seems to have started pinning with excitable interest all the time. We know Pinterest has been about for a while, but it would seem we have all hopped on this bandwagon at the same time.

Just in case you haven’t heard of the latest social network to ride the mainstream wave, let me tell you a little bit about it. To put it simply, Pinterest is a virtual pinboard. Pinterest lets you share the things you find on the web in one place and share it for others to see. As the site itself suggests “People use pinboards to plan their weddings, decorate their homes, and organize their favourite recipes”. Ben and his team go on to say, “Best of all, you can browse pinboards created by other people…browsing pinboards is a fun way to discover new things and get inspiration from people who share your interests”.

So there you have it. Pinterest seems simple enough. It seems to make sense. But why do we love it? After all, this isn’t the first website we found useful and simple. But this is definitely one of the first to capture users in the way that it has.

Let’s see if I can explain it for you. At the moment the site is gaining users on an invite only basis. If you don’t know someone using the site you can request an account from the team.  Hoop number two comes in the form of a Facebook of Twitter account: you need one. You don’t have to link them to your Pinterest account…but you now seem to need one to get started (A sign the site is getting far more mainstream perhaps?). 

However, from then on, the site acts very differently to other social networks. It doesn’t suggest friends you might know. It doesn’t suggest people you might like. What it wants to know is what you like! What things do you like doing? What stuff you want or use? What bits and bobs do you like looking out for, or simply which books do you read? It’s all about the content you find interesting.

From there Pinterest builds you a profile. It starts following peoples’ pinboards for you and all of a sudden your home screen bursts into life with content you like. The first time I logged on I was greeted by a dramatic landscape of the sun setting over mountains, an image of Mark Cavendish in full flow and a pair of Kurt Geiger boots. As I had expressed an interest in photography, sport and mens apparel (amongst other things) it wasn’t a bad start.

So it’s “different” I hear you say. It’s “intuitive”. But that can’t be it surely? Well no. To put it bluntly, it’s easy, quick, and simple and that appealed to a different part of us. This is a visual platform. We like to think of ourselves as creative and for that reason we love Pinterest. We love hearing what people have got to say, so we all spend time reading blogs, magazines and papers. But that can sometimes be a little time consuming. Not having enough time is definitely why most of us here love Twitter. We can dip in and out of our streams and see what the wider world is saying in just a couple of minutes. But what we really like is a story. Having a picture painted. Setting the scene and provoking thoughts in more than 140 characters but in less time than a blog post.

Pinterest therefore offers to plug the void in our random and creative minds. I can pin work thoughts to a shared “PR Stunts” board I have access to. But at the same time, I can pin pictures of my next pair of ski boots or a barrel wave image I see that made me crave sand between my toes. After all, a picture paints a thousand words doesn’t it? All three of these images take no more time to glance at, but all of them could send me off thinking about them for the next 10 minutes with nothing more than an image for a starting point.

Finally, just to prove one of my first points about this platform being simple: I taught my mum how to use Pinterest at the weekend. It took me about 10 minutes and she loved it. It is the first social networking platform that she has shown any interest in, or even a vague understanding of.

So if you haven’t discovered Pinterest yet, why not give it a go? If you can’t be bothered to wait for your invitation request to be answered, then ping one us an email and we will happily share an invitation with you.

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We’re hiring!

November 3, 2011

Alright everyone, it’s time to dust off those CVs.

Skywrite is looking for both account managers and senior account executives to assist across our portfolio of corporate and consumer accounts.

Work would include everything from technology and telecoms accounts to pure play consumer. This is a great opportunity to work across a broad spectrum of different clients – including some of the biggest brands out there!

Email emma.hazan@skywritepr.com for more information!

Fun times at the Financial Times

August 26, 2011

It’s not every day you’re offered the chance to experience life at one of the most recognisable and widely respected newspapers in the world, so I jumped at the chance of taking part in a short term job-swap with one of the FT’s communications team. So with no expectations and a sack full of questions I headed down to Southwark Bridge and into the bustling FT HQ.

Editorial conferences form the backbone of the Press Office’s proactive media outreach, listening out for all-important scoops, followed by the frenzied scribbling of notes and subsequent pitching to broadcast outlets. While these conferences are part of the daily routine for the many journalists, editors and wider comms team present, they were a rare and fascinating window into a world that many PRs never get to experience.

Even to the most seasoned PR professionals, editorial conferences can be mysterious and frustratingly elusive factories of censorship, where our carefully crafted stories are processed, dissected and manufactured into something new. Sometimes they are consigned to the waste heap and (thankfully) other times they are mass produced. It was a privilege and a thoroughly edifying experience to be a part of them during my short time at the FT.

Of course, getting an insight into the inner workings of the paper and a taste of the tactics used to promote the FT brand was hugely interesting, but it also served as the perfect chance to get a flavour of in-house public relations. Working with a single ‘client’, for example, is an intriguing concept to the uninitiated agency-based PR.

At Skywrite we each work with multiple organisations – in industries as diverse as B2B telecoms, gaming and lifestyle – who each have several products, services or solutions launching at varying times of the year. I quickly learnt that in-house life, at the FT at least, is no less varied. One day I was staffing briefings on the FT’s digital strategy, the next I was pitching a scoop on RBS cutting 2,000 jobs, and the day after I was promoting FT Weekend content on the wines of France to lifestyle bloggers.

The major difference was the role of proactive and reactive outreach on a daily basis. The FT and its Press Office have done an amazing job at building very close relationships with broadcast outlets, positioning their expert journalists as go-to authorities on a range on topics. This requires a lot of proactive work in the background, but when a big scoop breaks the phone does not stop ringing. It’s easy to see how quickly a typical day can be flipped on its head as the team efficiently organises the resulting myriad of enquiries and interview requests.

In contrast, almost 100% of our daily work at Skywrite is based entirely on proactivity. Either brainstorming ideas, developing campaigns or plans designed to generate media interest, creating content that fits into the news agenda, or simply pitching news and product reviews. We’re on the phone just as much as our in-house counterparts – the only difference is who does the dialling.

To find out how the other half of the job-swap went, read the FT’s Esther Kissiedu on her time at Skywrite, available here.

Google + Twitter = Facebook?

July 28, 2011

As Google + launched almost a month ago, now seemed like a good time to blog on how our first few weeks playing around with its latest attempt to crack social networking has gone.

Although this isn’t Google’s first time when it comes to launching a new social platform, the first impressions suggest it is taking this one very seriously. For such a massive company that never makes a habit of coming second at anything, it has been a very slow and cautious start. So far Google + has only been accessible to those with an invitation and Google itself has said that it is still very much a work in progress.

Having said that, early reports suggest there are around 20 million users on the network already…which isn’t really very slow, especially considering it took Facebook 10 months to get its first 1 million users (in very different circumstances, I know). After the issues Google encountered launching Buzz to its Gmail user base, it seems that it is really trying to get things perfect before it sets about attracting the rest of the web!

Anyway, at first glance Google + seems instantly familiar. You can work out where everything is and how you can edit, change and get things the way you like them pretty quickly. Credit has to go to Google for creating a very clean and simple layout, but I think the real reason comes down to a familiar interface. Its looks and feels very much like Google + is trying to sit perfectly between two other very popular social networks that I already use. It’s almost like Google did it on purpose!

Once you get going you will find you can put people in circles (friend/follow them) although they don’t have to put you in one of their circles if they don’t want to. This feels a lot like Twitter. Your home page is laid out in a very familiar way too, with a stream (news feed) down the middle, info off the left and right and photos/profile information along the top.

Like millions of others, I’m on Twitter and Facebook. I also happen to be a Gmail user, so I guess it’s little wonder that Google + felt so familiar so quickly. At the moment it’s just geeks and cool kids that are the early adopters using Google +. The real questions will come over the next few months when the whole platform opens up. That’s when we will get to see if Google can persuade the rest of the world that they need another social network, or better yet a completely new one.

Mind the generation gap

June 20, 2011

I recently heard Hotwire advisory board member, Charles Davis of the CEBR (centre for economics and business research) speak on the topic of consumer austerity, and I was pleased to hear his message that it’s not all doom and gloom in the consumer market.  There is plenty of good news out there – it just gets buried underneath the bad.

Consumer austerity is a particularly relevant topic in the world of public relations; according to our research performed with the Holmes Report 32% of communications professionals have seen their budgets stay static this year, with 18% seeing a drop.  Alongside this, almost a quarter of respondents stated that the money conscious approach being adopted by both consumers and businesses has affected their campaigns,  forcing them to become more innovative in order to make them work harder and penetrate a less receptive and more careful market.      

As a PR agency we think we understand how recession is affecting today’s markets, but are we aware of how it will affect future generations of consumers?  According to an article by MediaCom, 71% of junior school children already understand the term ‘credit crunch.’  Moreover, many parents are using the recession as an opportunity to educate their children to be more financially aware.

This reaction to the economic crisis could lead to an interesting generation of financially savvy shoppers.  And though many PR professionals and marketers assume that money-saving behaviours will become obsolete on exiting the recession, with this educational approach our successors are likely to learn from our mistakes.  Perhaps we in turn will have to learn to adapt our campaigns to suit a more cautious and financially aware audience.

Playing into the hands of pirates?

February 23, 2011

Priracy is a growing threat for all digital content

We just noticed an interesting blog from Fred Wilson, a venture capitalist who found that he needed to become a pirate in order to get hold of the latest Streets album. Despite struggling with iTunes, eMusic and Amazon US, Fred could not find the record:

“It was not even listed in iTunes or emusic. It was listed on Amazon US as an import that would be available on Feb 15th, but only in CD form. I’m not buying plastic just to rip the files and throw it out. Seeing as it was an import, I searched Amazon UK. And there I found the record in mp3 form for 4 pounds. It was going to be released on Feb 4th. I made a mental note to come back and get it when it was released. I got around to doing that today. I clicked on “buy with one click” and was greeted with this nonsense” (i.e. not being able to purchase music from outside the UK) “…so reluctantly, I went to a bit torrent search. I found plenty of torrents for the record and quickly had the record in mp3 form. That took less than a minute compared to the 20+ minutes I wasted trying pretty hard to buy the record legally.”

Given the global nature of the internet, and its rapidly increasing access speeds, does it any longer make sense for the same digital content to be released to different regions of the world at varying times?

Surely this plays into the hands of pirates, and – as in Fred’s case – makes it more likely for legitimate paying customers to turn to piracy to download the music they want to listen to?

Hotwire Group’s Christmas gets off to a bang

December 2, 2010

The glitter! The glam! The gambling! It was all going on at the joint Skywrite, Hotwire and 33 Digital Christmas party on Tuesday evening, bringing a little Las Vegas razzle-dazzle to the chilly West End of London.

Despite the falling snow, almost 300 media and clients alike braved the wintry weather and partied into the small hours with the Skywrite, Hotwire and 33 Digital teams.

The carousing was helped along by a packed room, a series of in-demand roulette and blackjack tables and some memorable high-kicking Vegas showgirl performances. As if that wasn’t enough to kick off the festive season, the evening also saw ten (count them!) proverbial candles on a birthday cake as founders Kristin Syltevik and Anthony Wilson celebrated Hotwire’s first decade.

The pictures speak a thousand far funnier words than we could write here and you can click on this link to see a few of the fantastic snaps from the evening!

Skywrite blog receives makeover

December 1, 2010

You may have noticed that things have changed a little at Skywriters…

If you like the new look here, you’ll love our redesigned website.

Five of the best: Viral Videos

August 13, 2010

Welcome back to the Skywrite blog. Are you ready to receive your punishment? Then I’ll begin.

It takes a special kind of video to make the leap from throwaway snippet of content on YouTube to global phenomenon. Nevetheless, every year, a few make the cut and spread around the world faster than Salmonella on a cruise ship.

While marketers worldwide continue to try to lay down the rules of how to create successful viral content, let’s look at some of the videos that have already shown the way…

Leeroy Jenkins (2006)

A clip from World of Warcraft didn’t seem that promising as viral premises go, but it’s the running conversation between the assembled nerds that makes this one unmissable. “Leeeeeeeeeeroy Jeeeeeeeeenkins!” has undoubtedly become the rallying cry for desperate madmen everywhere.

 Keyboard Cat (2009)

Who can resist a cat wearing a T-Shirt, hammering out a catchy tune on a keyboard? Fatso the cat became such an internet success that you can even find a keyboard cat version of a certain annoyingly popular T-Shirt…

Leave Britney Alone! (2007)

When things looked bleak for Britney personally and professionally, Chris Crocker’s tearful plea for mercy attracted almost 2 million views in 24 hours.

David After Dentist (2009)

What happens when you mix a 7 year-old high on anaesthetic with a father whose only concern seems to be capturing the comedy gold on camera?

Grape Lady Falls (2007)

Reminiscent of “You’ve Been Framed”, there’s something timeless about watching this jovial TV presenter completely wipe-out…

Skywrite reveals “The Science of Friendship”…

July 12, 2010

Friends are good, m'kay

Deep underneath the Soho Hotel in central London, Skywrite recently gathered a cabal of the most knowledgeable people in social media to discuss “The Science of Friendship”.

Skywrite’s MD Emma Hazan was joined by a panel of experts that featured sociologist Dr Vince Miller from the University of Kent, Neil Phillips from Distribeauty and David MacDonald from L’Oreal.  The panel considered the online habits of consumers and whether or not online recommendations through social media sites are listened to or ignored.

Interestingly, the research showed a distinction between how men and women responded to social media recommendations. 75% of women were likely to follow up the recommendation of a product from a social media source, with only 50% of men doing the same. However, men were much more likely to convert a recommendation into a purchase, with 31% buying the product compared with only 17% of women.

For those naughty people that couldn’t attend, Skywrite’s whitepaper on “The Science of Friendship” can be downloaded here.


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