Category Archives: Communications

Let the games begin

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Have you ever raced to answer a question on Facebook? Ever booked a flight just to keep that little plane in your frequent flyer profile flying? Or perhaps you were one of the many Australian households that collected those mini plastic grocery items?

Guilty? So are we! It’s all part of playing the game, or the gamification of life as it’s become.

People love a little friendly competition, which is why gamification has become a common part of marketing, loyalty programs, employee engagement and many more aspects of modern business.

So what is gamification?

While you might assume that gamification is a recent trend, it was actually stems from the community building and coupon-focused advertising created by 1950s Mad Men Howard Luck Gossage.

Gamification is the act of employing lessons from your favourite games (well, game theory in general) to non-game related endeavours.

Whether you’re seeking to improve productivity in your organisation, increase community engagement or change behaviours, think about how you can apply lessons from your favourite game. Monopoly? Guess Who?

Here are some simple ideas to start playing today:

  1. Ask questions of your social media community and feed their desire to be part of the solution
  2. Introduce a rewards component into your next internal communications campaign
  3. Leave breadcrumbs for readers of your e-newsletter or website to find and collect
  4. Add a little game to your next brainstorming session … it’s the perfect idea generator
  5. Add a quiz to your next communications piece, to engage and test people’s understanding.

Let the fun begin!

Cheers, Jack & the c word crew

PS. Even Bill & Melinda love games!

Toilets, mobile phones and at-home DNA tests surprised Bill and Melinda Gates in 2018

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51902523_10156009969561961_166770036755660800_nTalk about surprise and delight. Bill and Melinda Gates have delivered another inspiring letter to the world outlining key areas for action for philanthropists, business, government and anyone interested in improving the world. It’s also an excellent example of creative communications in action!

I always look forward to reading the dynamic duo’s annual letter and was delighted to see it pop up in my LinkedIn feed during a late-night social media trawl. What first caught my attention was a video featuring a surprise game of “Guess this word” between Bill and Melinda.

So, before I jump into the letter, I wanted to highlight this creative use of video on LinkedIn with a surprise “guess this phrase” game between the couple. They used the game as a gateway to converse about a range of social issues including improving women’s lives around the world and the grand challenges of climate change. Watch out dinner party guests: I’ll be expecting cute card games at our next round-table!

While this creative approach may not suit every situation, it’s worthwhile considering the next time you’re launching a new initiative or even just releasing your company’s latest annual report and getting your senior leaders to play a game!

Now back to the compelling content of this latest correspondence from Bill and Melinda. In their ‘his and her’ style letter, the well-known philanthropists share some of the things that have inspired them over the years and how these surprises are moving them to action.

From the opportunity to use at-home DNA tests to help prevent premature birth, to the desperate need to find an economical and environmentally-friendly solution to the toilet, the letter outlines a range of opportunities for the world to begin solving major social issues.

While I encourage everyone to take a few minutes to read the letter, I’ve also curated a couple of the most interesting points below:

  • Connectivity is a solution to marginalisation and mobile phones are most powerful in the hands of the poorest women, including millions of Indonesians making a living through Go-Jek, a popular mobile platform for rides, food deliveries, and other services AND the country’s first Unicorn company!
  • An entire NYC will be built around the world every month and if we’re going to solve climate change, we need to get to near-zero emissions on all the things that drive it—agriculture, electricity, manufacturing, transportation, and buildings
  • A project involving at-home DNA tests has led to a simple blood test that could be the answer to minimising the risks associated with premature births; but what’s most surprising is why is there so little attention given to something that impacts 10% of the people in every part of the world?

There are nine surprises in total and each gives cause to pause and reflect. As well as inspiring plenty of action, the letter also includes some excellent ‘explainers’ and simple evidence to begin discussions with colleagues, friends and family.

Once you’ve had a chance to read the letter, let us know what surprised you the most  by leaving a comment below.

Content clusters

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Content-Cluster-650x418

Our collaborators at Burning House wrote this great article about content and content clusters, with some great inspiration to get your video content out to a wider audience.

You can read the original article here.

Content Clusters recognise that the content you create, is in itself an opportunity for multiple content ‘events’ across your channels, extending the life cycle of your marketing beyond a single content execution.

Take for example a client creating a single piece of video content (as seen in the diagram above). Naturally the release of the video is a content event, but there is a micro-system of other opportunities that can be explored for promotion and cross promotion around the video.

Prior to the shooting, an announcement can be made on Twitter creating expectation of intended shoot and content.

On the shoot day itself social post of On-set stills, Gif’s or video snippets can be shared as Teasers, building on the momentum of expectation.

When the content is published, short promotional cut downs should be released across social platforms, essentially acting as advertising for the audience to view the longer content, extending the reach and promotion of video.

Finally, in the period after the content has been released and consumed, a ‘Behind the Scenes’ video can further prolong the audience engagement.

This Cluster approach is ultimately an amplification of your content efforts and should assist in bolstering your content calendar.

To learn more about how you can leverage Content Clusters in your next campaign, contact Charlie Porter at Burninghouse.

Who’s your comms mentor?

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Who is your communications mentor? It’s a question we ask communicators from around the world when they sit in our #CommsCorner. Here are some of the answers we have received over the past 8 years.

 

Paul Price, Group CEO, CoCreative

PAULfinalI love film so I think of some great directors. Orson Welles was amazing – he created masterpieces in every medium he had access to. He was a great creative director, probably the greatest. Likewise Stanley Kubrick who made a masterpiece in every major genre.

I had the privilege of working for DDB when it was awarded the world’s most creative agency network three years in a row and we all believed in Bill Bernbach’s vision as one of the first great admen.

Sally Branson

Sally Branson

I’ve been blessed to work with many amazing people. I like to think I have taken lessons from each person I have worked with – even if the working relationship was a challenging one.

I have a long term mentor Hayley – she works in education and community development in a rural area. No matter what she does, she recognises the importance of thoughtful interaction. Each and every communication she makes is considered and timely. Even down to the post-it notes.

A “mentoring” experience I enjoyed was the Australian Rural Leadership Program. I spent two years studying with a group of 28 people from the extremes of rural and regional interest. The lessons I learnt about communications from an agronomist, a CSIRO scientist, a Doctor of Marine Science, an aboriginal community worker and a manager of an abattoir are ones that influence me each day I work. During a presentation I remember once thinking “as if I can learn from someone with two PhD’s in science…” and then shocked when he did it a) better and b) in a new way than I had. I was witnessing something new to me; who knew? It was humbling, and reminded me to always respect and surround myself with people with different skills, values, ideas and methods than mine.

Del Irani, ABC News

DelHeadshotI really admire Christiane Amanpour who has worked her way up from an entry level desk position to being the Chief International Correspondent for CNN.

Emily Passer, Quartz’s director of communications

Emily5Hard to choose here. I admire a lot of what Judy Smith has done. And Hilary Rosen as well.

A global celebration of women

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This time last week, we joined millions of people around the world celebrating International Women’s Day.

From social media conversations to powerful storytelling at events, here are some highlights of how women and organisations around the world marked this important day in 2018.

Companies #PressforProgress with featured content

Companies of all sizes celebrated International Women’s Day around the world, and many used it as an opportunity to engage their female customers. From curated content by companies like LinkedIn, to the launch of special initiatives like #InspiredbyHer by M Gallery Hotels, companies played an important role in raising awareness of #IWD.

Celebrities #PressforProgress at events and on social

Movie stars, talk show hosts, authors, singers and politicians all joined the global conversation on International Women’s Day. Their social media channels were full of updates celebrating inspiring women and raising the profile of important issues around the world.

And we couldn’t forget this little controversy….

Clean-up controversy at Oxford

A tweet from the UK spread around the world, when a female cleaner was photographed cleaning up IWD graffiti at Oxford.

How will you celebrate International Women’s Day in 2019? And how will you celebrate stories of inspiration women throughout the year?

Bird brainstorming – an internship with a difference

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As 2017 draws to a close, we thought we’d share this story of collaboration … and birds … to end the year!

the entire team

“The Nest”: Courtesy of Ross: L-R: Stacey Maden, Vanessa Ambler, Liz Thompson, Jack Walden, Yulia Zaytseva, Dominique Queivana, Charlie Osborne, Mavis Boamah

In October 2017, BirdLife Australia and the c word collaborated with Deakin University to deliver a unique internship opportunity for Deakin PR and communication students. The students worked alongside staff from both organisations in a ‘Communications Command Centre’ at Deakin Downtown to develop and deliver a comprehensive national communications campaign for the Aussie Backyard Bird Count, one of Australia’s largest citizen scientist projects.

Chief of Staff Liz Thompson shares highlights from the program as Deakin University students discovered their inner twitchers.

Senior Lecturer Ross Monaghan’s Twitter channel, @TheMediaPod has generated dynamic and interesting Work Integrated Learning (WIL) opportunities for Deakin students. Earlier this year, Jack Walden, of the c word agency, was so impressed by the student projects he had seen via @TheMediaPod, that he approached Ross with an internship proposal. This ultimately brought Deakin University, BirdLife Australia, the c word agency and six Deakin students together for an intensive two week internship collaboration.

The internship brief was to create a team of communications students to coordinate the promotion of BirdLife Australia’s Aussie Backyard Bird Count. The students were allocated roles according to areas of interest – media and social media co-ordinators, content creators, and a chief of staff – to create the Aussie Backyard Bird Count Communications Team. This team worked under the guidance of Stacey Maden, BirdLife Australia’s Communications and Events Coordinator, and Jack Walden, CEO of the c word.

Nesters R Monaghan

During the two weeks, students developed short movie-clips, blog and social media posts and popular Instagram polls that generated lively engagement with followers. The students also developed and circulated partner program collateral that successfully promoted engagement with universities, schools and libraries. Media releases were prepared and circulated to media outlets which generated a schedule of interviews that the students also coordinated. One of the students attended the filming of an interview for ABC News Breakfast with BirdLife Australia talent at the Royal Botanic Gardens Victoria.

ABC botanic gardens jack 3

The work-ready learning opportunities extended beyond the implementation of the communications campaign. They included challenges such as administrative and information management procedures, daily schedules, and even the creation of the actual workspace. Given that the team included students from four different continents, a large map of Australia was the first of many documents that adorned the walls of the “Communications Command Centre” AKA, “The Nest” at Deakin Downtown.

nesters

Ross negotiated to use the space at Deakin Downtown, which he says is a fabulous resource for industry-based projects such as this.

bird watching Julia

The benefits for students are numerous and well known, and WIL also keeps staff up to date with industry needs.  Ross said: “I encourage other staff to get involved in these projects for first-hand knowledge of what industry is looking for with graduates. The bonus is that industry gets to see the great work that our students are doing. There is no better PR for Deakin.”

nesters at lunch - julia

Jack Walden also reflected upon the success of this internship from an industry perspective: “The collaboration between BirdLife Australia, the c word communications agency and Deakin University not only delivered a great learning opportunity for a group of talented communications students, it also provided a significant boost in coverage for the Aussie Backyard Bird Count via traditional media and social media. Two million birds counted – what a great result”.

Harry & Meghan: PR dream come true?

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HarryxMeghanHis Royal Highness Prince Harry is about to get hitched to American actress Ms Meghan Markle, in what promises to be a global wedding extravaganza. The future Duchess of Sussex is a 36-year-old biracial American divorcee previously best known for acting in lightweight television fare.

But don’t compare her to the last divorcee to rock the royal family. Back in the 1930s, King Edward VII, as head of the Church of England, could not marry divorcee Wallis Simpson. The looming constitutional debacle resulted in the ‘The Abdication’, which saw the king renounce his throne, handing the reigns to his brother, who became George VI (father to QEII).

Even Harry’s own great Aunt, the Queen’s sister, Princess Margaret, who fell in love with the married Captain Peter Townsend, was at the mercy of harsh religious and royal strictures. Margaret faced the choice of forfeiting her royal title and income and leaving the country for five years, or breaking it off with Cpt Townsend. Under significant familial and social pressure she ultimately chose the latter.

How things have changed. Kensington Palace sources have already confirmed that Harry and Meghan will have a full church wedding. In fact, the Archbishop of Canterbury has given his blessing and while no date has yet been announced, the nuptials will most likely take place before June next year.

So it bears mentioning that this most stuffy and conservative of institutions has done a remarkable job of modernising itself in recent years. Prince William’s 2011 marriage to C= ‘commoner’ Kate Middleton, was one huge step away from the stricture for royals to marry from their own class. Although, let’s face it, Kate with her glossy hair and svelte silhouette, isn’t a massive imaginative leap from well-to-do upper middle-class to princess.

Ms Markle is yet another step in the direction towards modernity. Not only is she divorced and American, but she’s also had that most un-aristocratic of things, *gasp* a career. Yet, despite all that atypical background, this future royal is a PR’s dream. Obviously the brains of the operation, she’s beautiful, stylish and poised, as well as possessing serious philanthropic and feminist bona fides. It’s almost as if she’s been auditioning for this role for years.

It seems former wild child Harry could not have picked a more suitable applicant to re-inforce that modern cool prince vibe thing he has going. In fact, his choice of bride is almost a savant level manoeuvre. She ticks all the boxes required to conform to Modern Royals™ house brand, while gently bringing some totally on trend social justice flavour to the party.  It’s a transatlantic marketing masterpiece.

So while we all await the next season of The Crown (to find out what happens to Princess Margaret), we can all have a bit of fun squealing about the latest royal dream couple.