Man Bites Dog https://www.manbitesdog.com Europe’s most award-winning B2B marketing and public relations consultancy Wed, 14 Jun 2017 09:02:49 +0000 en-GB hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.8 Women In Business: My Mentoring Journey with The 30% Club https://www.manbitesdog.com/we-think/women-in-business-my-mentoring-journey-with-the-30-club/ https://www.manbitesdog.com/we-think/women-in-business-my-mentoring-journey-with-the-30-club/#respond Wed, 14 Jun 2017 09:00:36 +0000 https://www.manbitesdog.com/?p=6265 This time last year, I was standing on top of the world. Well, it was the top of the BT Tower looking out over London, but to me, it felt like the top of the world. For in that moment, I felt inspired and that anything was possible.

I had been invited to BT Tower to hear from senior businesswomen who had just completed a nine month cross-company, cross-sector mentoring scheme lead by the 30% Club and delivered by Women Ahead. The aim of the scheme is to create a step-change in the number of women attaining senior leadership and board roles by developing a broader pipeline of women and ‘balancing the pyramid’ at all levels.

Both men and women are invited to be mentors so that mentees can benefit from exposure to different experiences and perspectives. In return, the mentors report that they feel inspired and motivated to take the experiences and understanding received from working with their mentees back to the companies and industries in which they work.

Less than a year after standing at the top of BT Tower and I found myself looking over London once again – except this time as a guest of The Pension Insurance Group – to sit on the panel and share my 30% Club journey of being a mentor and mentee.

There are many reasons I would encourage people to consider mentoring, not least because it encourages honest and expansive conversations in a way that can be difficult in appraisal meetings. Speaking with someone who is not connected to your day-to-day role and can bring experiences, perspectives and fresh thinking, is not only inspiring but hugely valuable in steering decisions about the future.

For those thinking about mentoring, here are my three takeaways:

 

Make Time

We can all be guilty for putting ourselves at the bottom of the daily to-do list. Start as you mean to go on and put monthly meetings in the diary. Work out a time of day that works best for you and whether you want the meetings to be face-to-face or virtual – by video or telephone – or a mix of the two. Ensure you set yourselves an agenda and spend some time preparing for each conversation so you get the most from each session.

 

Set Goal Posts

Ever struggled with the question: “Where do you want to be in five years time?” – me too. Mentoring is a great way to identify and set the goal posts – short and long term – and to work through the steps to achieving them.

 

Find Answers Together

Mentoring is a journey of discovery and learning together. Work with your mentor to problem-solve and consider ways to tackle challenges together. Mentors won’t always have all the answers but they will be able to help you think expansively.

 

Check out Women Ahead and the 30% Club for more information on mentoring. If you would like to be a part of a company that champions women in business, we want to hear from you.

]]>
https://www.manbitesdog.com/we-think/women-in-business-my-mentoring-journey-with-the-30-club/feed/ 0
Man Bites Dog ranked one of the UK’s top 100 PR consultancies by PR Week https://www.manbitesdog.com/we-think/man-bites-dog-ranked-one-of-the-uks-top-100-pr-consultancies-by-pr-week/ Thu, 04 May 2017 15:42:19 +0000 https://www.manbitesdog.com/?p=6173 Man Bites Dog has been ranked one of the UK’s top PR consultancies in this year’s PRWeek Top 150 PR Consultancies league table.

The annual league table ranks the UK’s largest agencies in terms of revenue and employees. Man Bites Dog made significant gains during 2016, achieving 17% growth following 19% growth in 2015, to place at 109 in the league table.

Now in its 13th year, Man Bites Dog is expanding the breadth and depth of its marketing and PR services, increasing its international network, and growing its team in both London and Brighton with the hire of eight new ‘dogs’.

Vic Miller, Managing Director of Man Bites Dog commented; “We’re delighted with this year’s PR Week ranking. The team has worked hard to deliver incredible work for our clients, which has resulted in another year of double-digit growth. 2016 was a fantastic year, and we’re already off to a very exciting start in 2017, welcoming new members to our growing pack and working with inspiring clients.”

Claire Mason, founder and CEO of Man Bites Dog, comments; “The mid market is the most exciting and dynamic part of the communications market right now, and we’re excited to have placed so highly in the league table amongst our excellent peers.”

Man Bites Dog is PR and marketing communications partner to the world’s smartest B2B organisations, including leading accountancy firms, magic circle and white shoe law firms, strategy and management consultancies and innovative science and technology leaders.

View the full league table here.

]]>
Building the modern marketing team: balancing technology trends with core competencies https://www.manbitesdog.com/we-think/technology-and-skills-in-marketing-teams/ Wed, 12 Apr 2017 11:01:58 +0000 https://www.manbitesdog.com/?p=6157 “A company’s employees are its greatest asset and your people are your product”– Sir Richard Branson 

In the marketing profession, the words of Sir Richard Branson ring loud and true – our people are our power. But, building the modern marketing team is no easy feat. With a rapidly changing media landscape, increasingly complex technologies, and growing demand for ideas-led, high content fuelled campaigns, the breadth of marketing skills needed is vast and expanding.

There is no doubt that digital innovations – Google analytics and marketing automation systems – are fuelling this skills revolution, so we asked our B2B experts at Man Bites Dog’s Big Bite event to share their tips for ensuring they have the latest tech know-how on hand:  

Bernard O’Brien, Director, Marketing Operations, Consulting at Deloitte: “Before marketing automation, the marketing people could manage the customer journey themselves. Now we need more technically minded and analytics focused people – so we hired them. The extra challenge on the creative side is reducing weighty content into digestible content for a mobile audience.”

Tim Stone, VP Marketing EMEA at Polycom: “We’ve brought the expertise in-house and have coding skills within our team. With two experts we can now support all of the regions with any event or campaign they want to run. We also have creative people in the team and they work off each other.”

Julie Parsons, Global Marketing Communications Director at White & Case: “Our partners tend to be considerably older than some of the prospects coming through who are digital natives that want bite-sized information… We need to work out how to make this shift from the old ways that our partners are comfortable with to selling in the future.”

man bites dog pr marketing building marketing teams

Technical skills are vital in any marketing team, but are we becoming so distracted by the latest tech trends that we risk overlooking some of marketing’s core competencies?

Here’s my starter for ten…

Purpose triumphs popularity: Digital tools can be a real distraction when it comes to recruitment and training. It can be easy to convince yourself you need an analytics army when one or two skilled individuals will do a sterling job. So, stay true to the real purpose of your marketing campaign and decide on the skills you need to provoke a response.

Relationships aren’t measurable: Our campaigns always focus on the three R’s (Relationships, Revenues and Reputation). While it’s possible to remotely measure the latter, when it comes relationships you need individuals that have an innate ability to build a rapport with prospects, as well as internal stakeholders (notably sales).

No one-size-fits-all: When hiring new recruits or upskilling your team, think about your buyer first – you need the skills that can create campaigns that will resonate with your audience. Every buyer is unique – different types of content and communication mediums will connect with different prospects – there is no one size fits all approach..

Ideation ranks high: To engage at a c-suite level, campaigns need to deliver genuinely new and business relevant insights. Having a team with strong capabilities in intelligence and ideation is crucial if you are going to develop truly original thought leadership that gets your audience thinking and helps to drive a sale.

Learn from each other: Everyone in your team has skills and knowledge to share, so encourage collaborative working across all levels of your organisation. Whether it’s learning how to use a new CRM system, how to sell in a ‘challenging’ PR story, or how the business is redefining its strategic vision, knowledge empowers people.

Maximise digital early: Technology can promise a lot but deliver very little if it is not used correctly. Analytics and automation systems are great resources and often used to monitor campaigns and measure results, but they can also steer great ideas by providing intelligence early on – ensure you have people in place to analyse data before ideation.

We’re all integrated consultants: Every marketing team will have someone that is savvy with social media or specifically trained in Google analytics, but as marketers we are all integrated consultants. Everyone needs a basic understanding of how the marketing mix fits together, even if our practical skills are limited – be eager to learn.

Get comfortable with change: Marketing is evolving rapidly – as quickly as one trend hits the industry, a new one is knocking at the door. While it’s important not to jump on every new movement, recruiting a team with adaptable skills enables you to pilot an idea or slowly develop new skills in house without significant recruitment costs.

Promote your strategic vision: Don’t overlook the strategic role that marketing plays within your organisation. Your vision may be clearly evident with your executive or senior management team, but it is vital that everyone understands your core objectives – even at a very junior level, employees should be onboard and excited by your strategy.

Words of wisdom: Early on in my career I was told ‘hire attitude and train skills’ and these words couldn’t be more true today. If a candidate has an inquisitive mind, the ability to understand the big picture, and knows how to diagnose a business problem then you’re almost there – everything else you can teach in house.

]]>
Conjuring a true buyer connection: Moving beyond statistical illusions to spell-binding ideas https://www.manbitesdog.com/we-think/conjuring-buyer-connection-through-personalised-content/ Wed, 29 Mar 2017 10:34:09 +0000 https://www.manbitesdog.com/?p=6125 We’re in the midst of the martech revolution and we know more about our buyers now than ever before. By harnessing powerful CRM systems and sophisticated analytics we can track the buyer journey from beginning to end and create client personas that enable us to effectively personalise content to enhance engagement and, ultimately, sales.

These data-driven tools are no magic wand, but they can certainly add a touch of enchantment to your marketing outreach. So, we asked the B2B experts at Man Bites Dog’s recent Big Bite event to share their expertise and reveal how they’re using data in practice.

Bernard O’Brien, Director, Marketing Operations, Consulting at Deloitte, explained:“We’ve developed personas – working out the demographic for a style of person…what we’re trying to create is one campaign with two different journeys …”.  

Tim Stone, VP Marketing EMEA at Polycom, reinforced the importance of understanding the buyer journey: “Often the [buyer] journey starts very high up in the organisation and during the evaluation stage ends up quite low… We’ve angled our marketing to educate those people who are doing the discovery for their bosses as they heavily influence decision-making.”

There’s no doubt that statistical insights like these are important for marketers, but our panelists also recognised that personalisation is about more than segmenting content by country, job role, or sector. We need to connect to our prospective buyers as individuals, and here’s three key steps to get you started:

  • Be inquisitive. When developing a marketing campaign, it’s easy to forget that we are talking to a person, not a brand, or a department, or a selection of stakeholders. You need to reach out to your audience on an individual level, and develop campaigns that are truly relevant.

magician man bites dog b2b marketing pr Think about who you are talking to at each stage of the buyer journey – who’s the person behind the job role? And how much do you know about them? Understanding your buyer as a human being is the only way to build a personal connection that will develop the cut through you need. If you can mind-read, all the better!

  • Be emotive. As with any truly great magician, marketers need to amaze and astonish their audience. But, thankfully, there is no need to delve into magical spheres to capture the imagination of potential buyers – developing emotive marketing ideas can create the impact you need to ignite excitement and fuel a sale.

Ensure your campaign has a ‘feel’ angle. Whether you’re looking to play on fear, uncertainty and doubt, or hoping to get your audience laughing out loud, emotion is powerful. Once you’ve decided on an appropriate approach, identify the problem you can solve – this is your commercial call to action that connects emotions to sales.

  • Be different. Understanding your buyer and adopting a powerful emotive approach are essential to ensure your ideas are memorable, but you also need to consider your execution – creating engaging content is the finale in developing a truly ‘feel’ fuelled campaign.

Here are two examples that truly tick all the ‘feel’ boxes:  

For more on Big Bite, take a read of our summary blog ‘Feel the love: Sales and marketing relationship advice from B2B brands‘.

]]>
It’s time to combat sales and marketing ‘sibling rivalry’ for good https://www.manbitesdog.com/we-think/its-time-to-combat-sales-and-marketing-sibling-rivalry-for-good/ Wed, 08 Mar 2017 15:32:32 +0000 https://www.manbitesdog.com/?p=5982

Much like sibling rivalries, we’re all familiar with the tug-of-war conflicts that flare up between sales and marketing teams. Rather than working as one integrated ‘family unit’, departments often become siloed with different perspectives and opposing strategic objectives.

Sales and marketing teams end up going head-to-head to compete for attention (and most importantly ever-tightening budgets!) and the end result is often chaotic and completely ineffective. The problem is, as with any sibling conflict, the resolution is never simple.  

We asked the B2B experts at Man Bites Dog’s recent Big Bite event to shed some light on this complex issue and suggest how we can rekindle some sales and marketing love.

Julie Parsons, Global Marketing Communications Director at White & Case, highlighted the importance of showcasing joint successes: “We find champions and kick off an initiative with a passionate BD on side. We then make a rip-roaring success of it and … show how it can be done when marketing and sales people work together as one team.”

Tim Stone, VP Marketing EMEA at Polycom, also stressed the importance of collaboration: “Have joint meetings with marketing and sales to set targets (metrics and ROI) and create partnership. It’s not rocket science but you need to put that discipline in place.”

Sharing achievements and promoting teamwork are tried and tested methods, but with such embedded rivalry often more is needed to align sales and marketing teams when they fail to see eye-to-eye. We recommend:

Find common commercial ground.

As marketers, it’s really exciting when you experience the eureka moment on a big idea. You know it’s right and that it will deliver commercially. But, the issue is getting buy-in from your sales team – often the most problematic part of the process.

The key is to get them involved from the start. Think practically about their needs, the specific audiences they are targeting and the types of discussions they’re having. Explain openly about how your idea can generate content that will lead to effective sales conversations.

Identify the person who will shout the loudest.

It’s not always possible to get every member of your sales team on board with your ideas. It would be an unfeasible task. But, this doesn’t matter, you only need to focus your attention on those with influence: ‘visionaries’ (supporters) and ‘blockers’ (opposers).

Visionaries and blockers can make or break the success of your idea. So, be clear about how your campaign aligns to your organisation’s wider objectives, why your chosen topic matters to your clients and customers, and highlight how results can be measured and what targets your campaign expects to achieve. This information will arm your visionaries with everything they need to be your biggest advocate and will help to combat resistance from blockers.

Set yourself up for success.

As Julie explained, a successful joint sales and marketing project is key to future collaboration. So, make sure that failure is not an option. Develop clear, tangible and realistic goals and timeframes for your project – it sounds simple but it’s vital for success. To stay on track, it’s important to limit interference and keep stakeholder involvement tightly controlled.

If only it were that easy to keep my two sons in check!

]]>
Marketing automation: style over substance? https://www.manbitesdog.com/we-think/marketing-automation-style-over-substance/ Mon, 20 Feb 2017 12:04:51 +0000 https://www.manbitesdog.com/?p=5871 When it comes to emerging technology and digital innovations, marketers want to be bang up to date. According to Gartner, CMOs are expected to spend more on marketing technology than CIOs will spend on overall technology in 2017. Given the jaw dropping boom in new tools such as marketing automation (MA), perhaps this is no big surprise.

But, when it comes to impressing a new prospect, will technology alone deliver the right first impression to ensure a long-lasting customer relationship?

We put this question to our panel of experts at Man Bites Dog’s Big Bite event last month, and discovered that while new technologies are a key part of any marketer’s toolkit, creative and compelling client-focused content is still this season’s hottest trend.

Bernard O’Brien, Director, Marketing Operations, Consulting at Deloitte, explained: We have to nurture relationships very carefully and let our prospects ‘eat something that they want to eat’, i.e. content from us.” This view was echoed by Julie Parsons, Global Marketing Communications Director at White & Case, who said: “We need an unrelenting focus on understanding our clients’ needs and to deliver products and services that meet those needs.”

So, clearly substance still triumphs over style. But, how can we ensure we’re ‘catwalk ready’ when it comes to showcasing our marketing and content capabilities?  

marketing automation trends

Don’t just dress to impress. MA has well and truly arrived and is promising the world: streamlined processes, bespoke communications and improved sales and marketing relationships. It looks great and many of us have fallen in awe of its charms and capabilities. But looking pretty can only get you so far. While MA can be an effective tool for distributing and analysing marketing activity, it’s not a replacement for compelling content, useful insight and exciting storytelling.

Make an instant impact. To win over a new prospect, content ideas need to pack a punch. Content should create a consistent, cumulative impact via a compelling narrative that unites your internal teams, excites your audience and creates worthwhile interactions that your sales team can capitalise on. As more and more resources are spent on marketing technology, there is a real risk that creative ideas and content become an afterthought.

Leave a lasting impression. Despite the best intentions, content often fails to leave a lasting impression. In all the MA excitement, marketing programmes are often initiated without a clear strategy, or are knocked off-course by various stakeholders. With a lack of focus, exciting ideas can quickly become diluted, disjointed and unmemorable. Any marketing outreach, via MA or otherwise, needs to be based on clear objectives and have your audience’s concerns and interests at the core.

We all want to be up-to-date with the latest fashions, but no one wants to be a fashion victim. To avoid a major faux pas, you need to develop a content strategy based on an understanding of how your audience consumes content, as well as what they might want at each stage of the buyer journey. For tips and advice on activating content, via MA or otherwise, check out our No Contest guide.

 

]]>
Feel the love: Sales and marketing relationship advice from B2B brands https://www.manbitesdog.com/we-think/feel-the-love-sales-and-marketing-relationship-advice-from-b2b-brands/ Fri, 27 Jan 2017 09:55:34 +0000 https://www.manbitesdog.com/?p=5745 Like any good matchmaker, we brought together a group of expert panellists from White & Case, Polycom, Deloitte and (of course) Man Bites Dog to discuss the burning issues affecting sales and marketing teams.

We’ve summarised the key takeaways in this blog and will be sharing more detail over the coming weeks.

Our quick-fire introductory Pecha Kucha talk (20 slides, 20 seconds each) on the mega trends that are changing our industry can also be viewed below.

First date with a new prospect? It’s not all about appearances.

Our experts are all using the latest tech to improve their marketing outreach but they don’t believe it’s the be-all and end-all. Much like awkward first date conversation, content is key.

Bernard O’Brien, Director, Marketing Operations, Consulting at Deloitte: “Technology is really important in helping people connect but it’s a challenge for a services firm. We have to nurture relationships very carefully and let our prospects ‘eat something that they want to eat’ – i.e. content from us. We only serve them up what they’re interested in and we just use our tech to enable that.”

Julie Parsons, Global Marketing Communications Director at White & Case: “Fundamentally what we do as marketers has not changed. We need an unrelenting focus on understanding our clients’ needs and to deliver products and services that meet those needs.”

Claire Mason, Founder and CEO at Man Bites Dog: “A lot of organisations have built the machine but not the content to fuel it. At the moment, we’re seeing quite a lot of friction when it comes to marketing automation in particular because the tool is new and is being seen as everything. It’s like CGI in the film industry leading to some terrible films!”

Check out these links for more tips on generating ideas and a toolkit on mapping content to the buyer journey.

 

Building a long-term relationship between sales and marketing.

Our panellists were asked, ‘how can we foster some love between sales and marketing teams?’. The short answer: compromise and co-creation.

Tim Stone, VP Marketing EMEA at Polycom: “Have joint meetings with marketing and sales to set targets (metrics and ROI) and create partnership. It’s not rocket science but you need to put that discipline in place.”

Julie: “If we see ourselves as different teams, we’ve failed already. The competition is on the outside, it should never be on the inside. We find champions and kick off an initiative with a passionate BD on side. We then make a rip-roaring success of it and share it around the business. We show how it can be done when marketing and sales people work together as one team. We call it rolling in, not rolling out!”

Bernard: Imagine you’ve got naysayers in the group – invite the noisiest and ask for their input. By asking their opinion, you’ll get their buy-in.”

For more tips on pushing ideas through an organisation, flick through our slidedeck.

 

Online dating isn’t always a substitute for the real thing.

Our panellists believe that face-to-face meetings and relationship building are still crucial for B2B selling. However, you need good content and lead gen tools to make them effective.

Bernard: “We need to take inspiration from consumer brands and create an experience and touch on prospects’ aspirations. For example, Deloitte runs transition labs for new CFOs – we interview people at all levels in the firm and map out their business life with them across several days. Once you’ve offered that support, you’ve got a friend for life. It’s about creating an emotional bond.”

Claire: “Marketing teams often don’t think all the way through to a sales meeting. If you create incredible content, you need to create a call to action for a service as well as reason for an interaction. For example, an element of gamification or a tool for a meeting. You need to plan the whole journey together with the sales approach in mind.”

 

Finding ‘the one’ when it comes to prospects.

Our panellists discussed the importance of data, analytics and personalisation in understanding buyers and encouraging them to a sale.

Bernard: “We’ve developed personas – working out the demographic for a style of person based on background, financial, emotional factors. What we’re trying to create is one campaign with two different journeys – a cheap one and an expensive one with content assets to match. As people change their buying behaviour or seniority, they get invited to the more expensive bit of a campaign such as a big event.”

Tim: “We have a Google Analytics guru on the team and have plotted out the buyer journey. Often the journey starts very high up in the organisation and during the evaluation stage ends up quite low. The ‘evaluator’ is often in their 30s, social network savvy and loves video content. We’ve angled our marketing to educate those people who are doing the discovery for their bosses as they heavily influence decision-making.”

Claire: “A commercially-effective idea is about making people think, feel and do but without the ‘feel’ it’s not effective. We often think personalisation is about giving data for your country, job role, sector but we need to connect to the human being. That emotional connection is really important.”

See more on creating campaigns that make people ‘think, feel and do’ in Alex’s blog.

 

Modern marketer seeks new skills for the role…

Our panellists feel that marketing teams need to adapt for a digital age. That means upskilling existing teams and hiring in.

Bernard: “Before marketing automation, the marketing people could manage the customer journey themselves. Now we need more technically minded and analytics focused people – so we hired them. The extra challenge on the creative side is reducing weighty content into digestible content for a mobile audience.”

Tim: “We’ve brought the expertise in-house and have coding skills within our team. With two experts we can now support all of the regions with any event or campaign they want to run. We also have creative people in the team and they work off each other.”

Julie: “Our partners tend to be considerably older than some of these prospects coming through who are digital natives that want bite-sized information, not our traditional brochures and print materials. We need to work out how to make this shift from the old ways that our partners are comfortable with to selling in the future.”

 

About our panellists:

Julie Parsons is the Global Marketing Communications Director at White & Case, the international law firm. Julie works closely with the CMO, global marketing and BD teams and partners and has developed her own ways of getting people more engaged with marketing.

Bernard O’Brien has over 30 years of B2B marketing and sales experience, beginning his career as a sales rep for Rank Xerox and IBM in Australia. He is now in a leadership role as Director, Marketing Operations, Consulting at Deloitte.

Tim Stone (@stonecollab) is VP Marketing EMEA for Polycom and former Marketing Director for Collaboration at Cisco Systems. Tim thinks successful companies are those where sales and marketing work closely together and he’s led Polycom to do just that.

Claire Mason (@womanbitesdog) is Founder and CEO at Man Bites Dog and has spent the last decade making it her mission to make B2B extraordinary. She is passionate about the power of big ideas to create commercial impact and the need to converge marketing, PR and sales to move from content to conversation.

]]>
Man Bites Dog recognised as top B2B marcomms agency https://www.manbitesdog.com/we-think/man-bites-dog-recognised-as-top-b2b-marcomms-agency/ Thu, 19 Jan 2017 13:27:54 +0000 https://www.manbitesdog.com/?p=5733 B2B Marketing magazine has revealed the top 75 UK B2B marcomms agencies for 2016-2017, with Man Bites Dog moving up to number 43.

The annual list ranks agencies according to UK gross income and shows the sector’s strongest players in 2017.

Man Bites Dog has seen significant gains over the past year in terms of financial performance and client wins, helping it rise from 48th position in 2015-2016.

B2B Marketing Top 50 logo

A bumper year for new business, Man Bites Dog has won contracts with some of the world’s largest technology organisations, as well as retaining a strong client base across a number of sectors including professional and financial services.

Claire Mason, founder and CEO of Man Bites Dog, said: “Man Bites Dog’s ranking in the league table is a great recognition of our growth and a testament to the quality of our work and team.”

Download the full benchmarking report here.

]]>
Five podcasts to inspire ideas and thinking https://www.manbitesdog.com/we-think/five-podcasts-to-inspire-ideas-and-thinking/ Mon, 05 Dec 2016 15:53:14 +0000 https://www.manbitesdog.com/?p=5710 It has been over a decade since technology journalist Ben Hammersley coined the term “podcast” to describe the form of automatically downloaded audio. In recent years, podcasts have enjoyed a surge in popularity with approximately 3.7 million adults listening to podcasts in the UK alone.

Like many others, I re-discovered my love of listening after hearing Serial, a real crime podcast that became a huge part of mainstream culture at the end of 2014, racking up 75 million episode downloads after the first season debuted. Office conversations in the Man Bites Dog ‘doghouse’ soon went from “what did you watch on TV last night?” to fierce debates on whether Adnan Syed was guilty or not and whether we agreed with the lines of investigation being presented by host, Sarah Koenig.

The pre-recorded format of podcasts and ability to download and listen to them any time anywhere, means that people are never far from entertainment, inspiration or ways to pass the time on the commute to work.

If like me, you’re on the eternal quest for learning and inspiration but always struggle to find the time, here are my five podcast recommendations:

Dog listening to gramophone

1. 99% Invisible

Curious about the origin of the fortune cookie? Want to know why Sigmund Freud opted for a couch over an armchair? 99% Invisible is about the thought that goes into the things we don’t think about. What started as a project by KALW public radio and the American Institute of Architects in San Francisco is now hugely popular with over 80 million downloads.

2. Freakonomics

This podcast cleverly packages bright ideas and thinking in a quirky and accessible way. Ever wondered if the restaurant tipping business model is out of date? What the supply chain of the humble pencil is? Or why Uber is an economist’s dream? These are just some of the riddles award-winning journalist, Stephen Dubner and his team, set out to explore through investigation and captivating conversation with nobel laureates and provocateurs, social scientists and entrepreneurs.

3. Revisionist History

Over the course of 10 episodes, this podcast from Malcolm Gladwell and Panoply Media, goes back and reinterprets something from the past: an event, a person, an idea. Something overlooked. Something misunderstood.

4. The Hidden Brain

Using science and storytelling, Hidden Brain helps curious people understand the world – and themselves. It reveals the unconscious patterns that drive human behaviour, the biases that shape our choices, and the triggers that direct the course of our relationships. Ever considered if the way you park your car says something vital about you? Or how hidden biases keep people from finding interesting jobs? This podcast has the answers.

5. HBR IdeaCast

From Harvard Business Review, this weekly podcast is categorised as a management and marketing podcast, but it covers much more. Featuring the leading thinkers in business and management – some famous and others ‘behind the scenes’ – from the CEOs of Amazon and Starbucks to director Francis Ford Coppola and Stanford professor Bob Sutton – HBR IdeaCast covers one general topic of issue per episode.

Most of these podcasts are accompanied by dedicated websites that offer further material for engaged listeners. It’s a never-ending font of interesting facts and inspiring content. All of these podcasts are free to download and, luckily for me, new ones spring up almost every week.

If you need me, leave a message; I’ll be listening to my phone…

]]>
Rarely pure and never simple: Post-truth PR https://www.manbitesdog.com/we-think/rarely-pure-and-never-simple-post-truth-pr/ Tue, 22 Nov 2016 11:32:35 +0000 https://www.manbitesdog.com/?p=5682 2016, eh? Don’t worry – I’m not going to harp on about how rubbish this year is, was and continues to be – I did that in my last blog. So, skipping the diatribe, let’s talk about the latest victim of this annus horribilis: truth itself. 

Oxford Dictionaries has declared ‘post-truth’ the word of the year. Post-truth refers to situations in which “objective facts are less influential in shaping public opinion than appeals to emotion and personal belief”. The rise of the term has come about not just (as you might expect) because of Brexit and the US election, but more broadly as the way people consume information has evolved.  

In America (where’s the UK equivalent data, researchers?) 62% of adults now get their news from social media. However, as we’ve seen on countless occasions, the news feed first approach – information that is unvetted by sites and curated by users – leads to the spread and echo-chamber amplification of misinformation.

It must be acknowledged that there are more than one type of ‘fake news’ – including, in my opinion, the much needed parody pieces, such as those propagated by Southend News Network, including a recent favourite: Southend residents evacuate town over supermoon collision fears’. More sinister and concerning however are those articles that are designed to mislead.  

For their part, Google and Facebook are doing all they can to crack down on fake news, including Google’s planned removal of it’s ‘In the news’ feature which, unlike its news search tab, is purely algorithmic and so more easily duped by counterfeit content. However, as Oscar Wilde famously wrote, “The truth is rarely pure and never simple.”truth-166853_960_720

Mark Zuckerberg has himself pointed out that eradicating fake news from Facebook is  “complex, both technically and philosophically”. In censoring content, Facebook runs the risk of becoming an “arbiter of truth” – something Zuckerberg has steadfastly stated he wants to avoid.

Now, I’m fully aware that PR doesn’t have the best reputation when it comes to arbitrating truth. This goes all the way back to the 1920’s with Edward Bernays, ‘the father of public relations’ and his ‘manipulation of the masses’ principles. But for those of us working in modern PR, particularly B2B – it’s clear that things have changed.

Ignoring for a moment the ‘8 out of 10 cats’ survey approach (which, though simplistic, has a place in the world), let’s consider the role economic modelling, implicit testing and in-depth opinion research plays in informing the news today. Pick up any newspaper and I guarantee you’ll find a story informed by PR research within the first couple of pages.

There’s a good reason for this – journalists need proof points but just don’t have the time or resources to conduct primary research for every piece they write. Equally, businesses need proof points to evidence the issues that their services solve. But in order for there to be an equilibrium between the media and businesses, we must ensure that the data we as PRs source is robust.

If PR is to continue to have its place in today’s changing media, it needs to start 2017 with a resolution of the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth.

]]>