Our Thoughts and Insights

Edelman Digital Trends Report 2019


If there’s one report you need to read ahead of the New Year, its our Edelman Digital Trends Report for 2019 (Edelman Digital Trends Report 2019)

This year’s theme is #InnovatingWithImpact – click through to learn about creating real value with influencers, balancing privacy against personalisation and other insights that will help you up your social game in 2019.

Friday5 | 5 Do's For Effective Measurement


Friday5 | 5 Do’s For Effective Measurement


Why it matters @Quinton, Simon


Data is at the heart of the modern convergent world. It’s the backbone that holds everything together. So it’s important to create that backbone first and foremost. – Asad Rehman, Media Director of Unilever for North Africa & Middle East.


Data’s central role in marketing is more relevant than ever in the modern digital age. Data is the modern currency for marketers whose roles have dramatically expanded. It is now commonplace for marketing experts to be asked to look at increasing amounts of data, process it and make strategic recommendations.


More than ever before, clients are looking to marketing experts to provide strategic counsel on data analytics. Questions such as why a certain strategy worked or failed, or how a particular campaign, piece of content or influencer activity performed against previous activations are now all part of the marketer’s role – and yet not everyone is prepared to answer these key questions.


This is why it is essential that marketers develop the skills to analyze and quantify the results of the strategies they have put in place for clients. Having a robust method of tracking this activity enables all parties involved to see if what was done was actually a success, and better still, to help us improve in the future. However, implementing the proper analytic tools is not always a simple task and does require a certain amount of time, effort and buy-in from different parts of the business and teams involved. Often measurement happens in silos, either internally, through multiple agency partners, or at a market level.


Below are some simple tips to help marketing experts as well as clients approach data measurement in the effective way possible:


  • Develop a clear understanding of your objectives


This applies across the wider business and communications objectives. Without knowing where you are going, it is difficult to map activity back to the central focus points of the business. Having clear objectives is the first step to creating a KPI framework, which is the basis of all effective measurement. Developing a KPI framework allows us to map specific metrics back to these goals/objectives, assuring that the marketing plan is hitting the overall business strategy.


  • Don’t neglect to measure outcomes, as well as outputs


There is a plethora of data available to us in the modern marketing age, across all forms of digital (social, web, search, mobile, email etc.), but also offline (surveys, in-store promotions, events etc.). The mistake that is often made is to measure only the outputs of that data, which means that the actual impact of our efforts is not always tracked. Marketers need to better measure the outcomes, for instance:

  • Look more long-term, not just at the next campaign
  • Speak directly to audiences to ascertain if perceptions have changed
  • Approach ideas with a ‘what if we do this?’ mindset


  • Measure effects on business results (where possible)


Once objectives are in place, it is essential to create measurements that align with our objectives to track the results. For most clients measurement is linked to sales. Through digital channels, we can track customer journeys using customer analytics. However, in order to achieve proper analytics, we need to ensure the digital ecosystem we are employing is set-up correctly—meaning websites are tagged, pixels are working, and sales data is being attributed correctly. Without measuring the impact of marketing activity on business results, it is often difficult to justify future marketing proposals.


  • Measure digital streams (always!)


Digital streams, be it social, web, email, search or mobile should always have some form of ongoing tracking in place. This can often be done via owned channel analytics or managed tools, which are a cheap, efficient way to collect performance data at scale. Often this data can be used across multiple measurement pieces, be it for a specific campaign, event, or other marketing activity. This tip also applies to competitors as well as advocate/detractor activity. Active listening to other brands and audiences is also critical in helping us understand where our own performance stacks up.


  • Ensure replicability


Often, marketers perform measurement analytics as a one-off, but the time and effort that goes into this should be rewarded more often. Measurement should not be just a one off, but rather, a mind-set, a change in the way marketing experts approach marketing strategy. In order to ensure that all the marketing experts in your team are employing key data analytics tools consistently, it is critical to create a measurement framework and approach that is as simple as possible. Additionally, it is important that the entire team understands why tracking and measuring our efforts will help our teams and clients to be more successful.

The Future of Audio


Fiona Hodgins, Director, Edelman

I had the pleasure of being part of a really interesting panel discussion on the future of audio at INM’s Business of Podcast conference alongside Eric Nuzum, media consultant, former SVP Audible Original Content and VP Programming, NPR, Taz Kelleher, Podcast Producer and Fergus Ryan, Wolfgang Digital.

Here’s some thoughts on why the future of audio matters to marketers.

At its simplest, those involved in marketing are in the business of creating and sustaining relationship between people and things. As things are non-sentient, voice and audio are proven powerful connection devices for a number of reasons1.

  • Voice is an enabler of learning. As forms of communication go, voice is one of the most effective and efficient ways to express what we want, what we desire and what we want to happen next. Research confirms we hear things before we see them and if anyone doubts how important audio is in learning you just need to think of how a baby can hear its mother’s voice and heartbeat in the womb and how after birth are immediately comforted by both sounds as they already equate them with safety and contentment.
  • Voice eases the load of communication. Simply put, it’s more efficient. We speak three times faster than we type. As Taz said in the discussion voice allows us to multi-task when our hands and eyes are otherwise occupied, hugely valuable in a time of partial attention.
  • Audio and voices have personality that connects powerfully with human emotions and for that reason is not just intimate but persuasive.

We have an existing and longstanding relationship with audio

It’s important to consider that people’s already have a healthy relationship with audio. Radio still has the greatest share of ear in Ireland. More than 3 million Irish adults listen to radio on average every day, almost 1 million 15-34 year olds2. Running in tandem, we have witnessed huge growth in podcast consumption with a recent Reuters research report revealing two-in-five news consumers in Ireland listened to a podcast within the past month3.

The headroom for growth is considerable and as podcast listeners are highly engaged, information driven audiences, they are highly attractive to brands. UK research from Maple Street Creative adds a general demographic profile to podcast listeners with research findings that indicate that:

  • Three quarters educated to degree level.
  • 83% earn above the average wage.
  • 42% describing themselves as business decision makers.

Engagement levels are also high. We operate in a marketplace where people consume digital video for an average of 18 seconds, the majority with the sound on mute, making video subtitles a functional mandatory. However, people listen to a podcast for on average 22 minutes.

How brand’s have responded to the rise and rise of Podcasts

Not to over-simplify it but to date the response has been two-fold, one in the form of content advertising and sponsorship and secondly with branded podcast creation.

Native advertising via audio-based mediums can be complicated, as you don’t have the same visual cues to distinguish ads from content. After coming under fire from the New York Times, Gimlet Media a leading global content creator led the move to use a set piece of music as the intro and outro to any ad across any of the shows in their network.

Edelman’s approach to Diet Coke’s sponsorship of Before Brunch on Lovin Dublin4 was seamless but transparent integration. Edelman secured the sponsorship because it offered the right content and audience fit with Diet Coke’s Because I Can Series, an Edelman curated host of experiences to inspire consumers to take full advantage of the things and moments that give them pleasure. We felt the series could add real value to the show’s existing content approach and the Lovin Dublin platform offered the right amplification platform to support audience discovery. In addition to which we used the iconic sound of opening a can of Diet Coke to create guardrails around the sponsorship support message from the podcast hosts.

From a straight up advertising perspective, host read ads feel instinctively more appealing than taking traditional advertising audio formats into podcasts. Not least because hosts can infuse their own personality and content approach into delivering the message but also because there is powerful implied endorsement. There are great examples globally of what good can look like in this regard, Mailchimp’s product placement content on Serial5 being one, all advertising on Jonathan Van Ness Getting Curious6 being another.



The other way brands have engaged with content is through the development of branded podcasts. In my experience this is an approach only for committed and content-rich brands and my favourite is from Penguin UK. In order to create greater cut through for Tim Weaver’s new book, MISSING, Penguin7 created an eight-part podcast drama centred around the core question ‘Is it possible to disappear? Each episode focused on a different topic, with Tim Weaver leading conversations with a variety of expert guests, from academics to hackers and criminal psychologists.

The podcast was an instant success, with over 650,000 listeners to date. The popularity has resulted in considerable earned media coverage and social conversation, with the podcast now embedded in over 200 different websites

How brands are navigating the known unknowns in the future of voice

“The difference between 95% and 99% word recognition accuracy is the difference between occasional, novel use and using technology all the time”.

Andrew Ng, computer scientist, entrepreneur and former Google and Baidu employee.

Smart speakers are getting smarter and their recognition of spoken word has reached a similar level of accuracy as human, which fundamentally shifts the paradigm of what new normal is. In the past we’ve always had to adapt to technology, but voice is fast changing this and for the first-time tech has adapted to us.


A great example of harnessing the power of voice technology is IBM Watson launch in Brazil8. A study by the Brazilian Institute of Economic Research, found that 72 percent of Brazilians have never been inside a museum. The reasons for this are many, including the feeling that art can seem unapproachable unless you’re exposed to it and understand it.

For the launch, Ogilvy Brazil gave art a voice through the creation of a unique interactive guide. The Voice of Art let people have conversations with work housed at the Pinacoteca de São Paulo Museum. Educated from books, interviews, newspapers old and new, and the internet. Users could question both technical aspects of the painting, they could also ask about contemporary and cultural events that informed the art.

Other brands pushing the boundaries of convention using audio and voice include:

Barbie Hello Dreamhouse

Mattel’s wifi enabled Barbie Hello Dreamhouse8 that responding to voice commands to inspire limitless storytelling and play for children.

Hello Dreamhouse responds to your directions with lights, sounds and motors. Floor and feature switches in each room bring stories to life. My five year old me is very jealous.


AIA – Open Aiya. The first voice led panic system10

In Vietnam, the insurance company AIA has created a smartphone app called Open Aiya (based on the Vietnamese word for’Help’), which uses Siri’s always-on software to provide a voice-activated panic system that alerts up to five loved-ones and emergency services. By saying “Hey Siri, open Aiya,” the app will activate.


Marketing considerations for the future of audio and voice


1.Maintaining brand discoverability and visibility

Voice search has huge benefits for the consumer immediately removing an element of the multi-tasking friction that exists today, but for brands it has implications. No-one wants their voice assistant to read out a full page of search results. As a result, the assistant will only curate a handful of top hits. So how can brands ensure they are in the top two, because if you are in third or fourth place you’re in a position of risk. In addition to which, paid opportunities in voice are only emerging, so what do brands do in the meantime.

One approach is to take a cue from the conversational and questioning nature of human interactions with voice technology and optimise your content to reflect it11. This does not mean the abandonment of key words, particularly in the short terms, but there could be a real benefit in piloting phrases that reflect the way we speak as smart speakers and new technology hardware become more mainstream.

 2. Relevance in the moments that matter to people is still crucial

For a simple but effective masterclass in how using micro moments explodes how useful a brand can be using voice technology check out the Tide – Stain Remover Alexa skill12, that helps you tackle tough stains like coffee, ink, and wine in the moment it happens at home. Simply ask Alexa and she’ll give you step-by-step instructions on how to get stains out for good brought to you by the expert in stain removal, Tide.

3. Is voice your new distinctive brand asset?

As marketers, we lean heavily on our brand benefits, values and distinctive assets to navigate the world and connect with our consumers.   Will creating a distinctive brand voice that supports instant audio recognition and helps you forge emotional bonds with your audience to supports consideration and purchase intent be the next logical step

Perhaps when considering the future of audio, the simple answer as a colleague told me yesterday, is audio.




Source citations

1 JWT Intelligence SpeakEasy Study 2017

2 JNLR July 2018

3 Reuters Institute Digital News Report, July 2018

4 https://lovindublin.com/podcasts/before-brunch-podcast

5 https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2014/nov/27/serial-podcast-mailchimp-advert

6 https://www.earwolf.com/show/getting-curious-with-jonathan-van-ness/

7 https://soundcloud.com/missing-189443436

8 https://www.adweek.com/creativity/ibm-watsons-new-job-as-art-museum-guide-could-hint-at-lots-of-future-roles-with-brands/

9 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=51ieDJaw3Kk

10 https://www.adforum.com/creative-work/ad/player/34546317/open-aiya-the-first-voice-led-panic-system-1/aia

11 https://facetinteractive.com/blog/how-the-rise-of-voice-search-will-impact-paid-search-advertising

12 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BPvb7XonVJw










Friday5 | 5 Takeaways from Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity

Culture, Digital, General

Why it Matters by Andrew Foote

This week’s Cannes Lions has been packed with inspirational panels, workshops, and interactive sessions on the state of creativity, technology and marketing.

With a thousand plus speakers this year, it was impossible to hear the range of ideas and perspectives shared.

Here’s a quick rundown of what caught our eyes on the ground:

A Smaller Festival

The vibe at this year’s Lions feels much more subdued – attendance is noticeably down, it’s less frenetic, and there are 21 percent fewer entries than last year. It’s the result of a tough agency business climate, as well as the Lions organizers restructuring the event after complaints that it had become too big and expensive.


A Renewed Focus on Creativity

There was a noticeable and refreshing emphasis on creativity this year – how to arrive at culturally-connected creative ideas (the Hackvertising panel was brilliant), how technology enables creativity (Colleen DeCourcy and Evan Sharp spoke about this), using the power of humor to build brands (Conan O’Brien & Shaq led a hilarious session about humor + storytelling), and a new Cannes site called Lovethework.com, which as you can imagine is entirely about viewing and celebrating the work. This is a welcomed change from the past few years, which had drifted too far into media and broader marketing/business topics.


Business-Driven Ideas Start to Make a Comeback

While purpose-driven work continues to dominate the awards and shortlists with powerful ideas like The Talk and Trash Isles, there is a noticeable (and welcome) trend towardscelebrating the value of creativity and innovation in service of good-old commerce and brand-building as well. While the jury is still out, a few of the more commercially-oriented projects that are likely to take home Lions are a fake movie stunt for Australian Tourism, an AR sneaker drop for Jordan cleverly named A / R JORDAN, a music video enabled by the Facebook Live delay, and KFC’s brilliant 11 herbs and spices stunt.


Brand Safety is a Hot Topic

Multiple sessions highlighted the ongoing battle between brands and the social platforms over brand safety (keeping branded ads from appearing next to inappropriate content and comments). During a panel with Unilever’s Keith Weed, Google announced that it will be rolling out a self-serve tool for advertisers to better manage and understand the brand safety risks when buying across YouTube/Google. This is another step in the right direction to give marketers more control.


Big Ideas can Come in Small Packages

The Lions have increasingly acknowledged the importance and power of fast and nimble creative work – content creation, issues response, and audience engagement executed quickly and in a meaningful way. We’re proud that our entry, Samsung Puts Trolls Under the Microscope, was shortlisted in the new Social & Influencer Lions category alongside work like Verizon’s What You Missed and Wendy’s Talk Social to Me.

Overall, the scaled-back structure of the Lions has been well-received by many attendees we spoke with. Thanks to Ascential for revamping it for the better.

Please update your browser.

This website requires Chrome, Firefox, Safari or Internet Explorer 9+