About Kayley Brooks
With several years experience in strategic social media, event and brand management, Kayley Brooks is on the constant lookout for new ways to bring brands into a relevant digital space, with a fresh twist. She has also worked in design, developing creative work for brands including Red Bull, Budweiser and Skyy Vodka. Kayley is currently the Marketing Manager at Omobono, a digital agency based in Cambridge England, specializing in strategic B2B businesses.
Latest Posts by Kayley Brooks
A bit of horn-tooting for one of Omobono's (former) own, Andy, who has used his digital mastery for an exciting new project of his own, called 3DiCD.
It is a digital experience for online music, providing interactive packaging along with the music files. As they have said: “With a 3DiCD, listeners get the whole packaging experience – engagement and immersion all within the online environment.
Last week, Andy and the 3DiCD team launched with a digital version of Imogen Heap’s Grammy award winning album, Ellipse. You can check it out here.
We wish Andy and the team the best of luck.
A few weeks ago, Shane Richmond published a post on The Telegraph's blog questioning the point of Foursquare. Having previously been searching for similar answers, I had suggested to him a presentation by US agency JESS3, on where location-based tools might change for the better. Shane very kindly credited us with the suggestion in his post as he searched for his answers (thanks, Shane!).
I have been playing around with location-based networks to further understand them and their relevance in business (if you stop by Omobono HQ, check in on both Foursquare and Gowalla!). There is a clear application for consumer facing brands but is it the same for business-to-business?
So, I put this question to you: what is the point of Foursquare, etc. and is there space for location-based networks in B2B's growing portfolio of digital tools?
We had a discussion in the office about internal communications and the role digital can play in helping build staff awareness, engagement, enthusiasm and loyalty.
A handful of key (and very useful) ideas came of it but perhaps the most interesting identified the challenge of internal communications in the need to become a habit without becoming stale. Inconsistent messaging is almost as damaging as no messaging at all and battling the two-headed monster of Shrinking-Time-and-Attention-Span doesn’t help.
Internal comms teams, then, must create relevant, succinct and engaging communications for staff that are often so busy working hard they forget to eat lunch. So how do you get their attention and how do you keep it?
A few interesting case studies across a spectrum of approaches arose in our discussion. From Deloitte’s engaging Film Fest competition to a college's mandatory internal landing page and all the intranets software and web apps in-between (Chatter, LinkedIn groups, MOSS, etc…). Some shared experiences with internal comms that didn’t work as result of information overload, irrelevance, disinterest and/or miscommunuciation (the most recent and public being Vodafone).
Well, I put out a call to action for B2B to be inspired by the Old Spice Guy and Cisco answered.
Earlier this month, Cisco launched its own ‘spice’ campaign called #CiscoSPice (Cisco Service Provider Interactive Communications E-thingy…). Instead of bare-chested Isaiah Mustafa, they’ve pulled in Ted from Accounting (in what could be a very visual representation of consumer v. business perceptions) to create personal responses to Twitter users who engage with Cisco either via the #CiscoSPice hashtag or through one of three Twitter accounts (@CiscoSP360, @CiscoMobility, @CiscoSPVideo).
The campaign has been met with some judgement and claims that it is a rushed, ignorable and uninspired parody that either didn’t do enough differently or didn’t mock enough of the original. Whether or not any of this is true, I give credit to Cisco for being brave enough to try it. Even Cisco will admit that Ted might not stack up to Old Spice, but they still gave it a go. And, it’s got people talking (it’s not all bad, there’s also praise for the campaign).
What do you think – can a B2B campaign make you giggle and still be effective?
A few weeks ago, Marketing Magazine published an article exploring the challenges in B2B marketing today. It was a well-intentioned article with some valid points (agreed – relationships are the heart of B2B) but the gist of it expounded that B2B marketing just wasn’t creative enough.
Then I wrote a post on Omobono’s blog (and shared it here) about the game-changing Old Spice campaign and the validity of a fish hitting a piñata in business-to-business.
In the same spirit, I thought it would be worth looking at three examples, both for recognition of and inspiration in the creative forces of B2B. And, I should note: none of these case studies are our own – this post is about the industry as whole.
First, 10 Downing Street. Taking a cue from Barack Obama’s groundbreaking campaign, the team at Number 10 have developed a digital campaign, including social media and mobile, that is engaging, informative and integrated across platforms. PM Cameron even worked with Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg on Number 10’s newest initiative: The Treasury Spending Challenge.
Next up: Cisco. From the rapping intern to Pass the Ball, Cisco has earned a reputation for pushing the envelope to offer both an entertaining and enlightening digital experience. Their Pass the Ball initiative is an ‘idea warehouse’ for collaborative creativity. Each time a user submits, comments on or rates an idea (using Cisco’s WebEx service), Cisco commits to a donation to Teachers Without Boarders. Brilliant way to promote an online meeting service (of which there are many) and increase goodwill around the brand.
And, of course, there’s the ever-famous Will It Blend? campaign from strong>BlendTec, suppliers of commercial blending equipment (whose customer list includes Nestle, Ocean Spray and Starbucks). Blending anything from marbles to an iPhone, and even a vuvuzela, BlendTec proved the quality and reliability of their product with incredible creativity that was almost instantly viral and has boosted their sales 5-fold.
Each of these campaigns is engaging, relevant and accessible without losing the plot of what the business is about (this is, after all, business). Perhaps most importantly, each of these campaigns use digital to create a user experience – there’s value for you as a customer to connect with the brand in their digital space. Give value, get value.
That’s how we see it and, like these brands, that’s what we do. Do you?
Any other examples we should add to the list?
By now, I’m sure you’ve all at least heard of the Old Spice Guy campaign and the immense waves it made this week. It is one for the textbooks – a case study that will be reviewed, recounted and revisited for at least the next year, I’m sure. And with good reason. On every level, it was exemplary of what a digital campaign should be.
It answered all the social media ‘rules’:
- Be engaging
- Be integrated
- Be human
- Be transparent
- Influence the influencers
The campaign, which began with a string of hilarious print and TV ads, moved into digital using YouTube to broadcast personalized video responses to people talking about or to Old Spice across social networks (primarily Twitter, Facebook and YouTube but also across forums like Reddit and Yahoo! Answers). With YouTube as it’s very well-branded ‘homebase’, the campaign took the brand into other spaces with similar, but space-specific, creative treatments, behaviours and tone of voice.
The responses were instantly popular. Hilarious and off-beat, they very rarely spoke about the actual brand or product (unless, somehow, smacking a pinata with a dead fish is somewhere in the Old Spice brand guidelines). The brand became human. It wasn’t Old Spice the brand, it was the Old Spice Guy with (funny) stories. And it was responding personally to us, the users, the ‘dearest and closest internet friends’.
While the Old Spice Man created videos for the ‘average joe’ (and did he ever – he actually even proposed for someone), he also responded to users with high levels of activity, followers and authority (such as Digg founder Kevin Rose and celebritweeters like Alyssa Milano, Ashton Kutcher and Ellen Degeneres) which helped the campaign grow exponentially. It brought the level to an accessible user level and found celebrity involvement without the celebrity fee.
Old Spice started by sponsoring a tweet to solidify their space in Twitter’s Top Trends and the campaign was trending across Twitter and the web within hours of the initial tweet (something that would have happened organically, without the sponsored tweet – but still a safe move on Old Spice’s part).
Throughout the campaign, the agency behind it all – Wieden + Kennedy – brilliantly kept an open-door policy about the whole thing, offering up behind-the-scene shots and tell-all explanations of how the process was working.
The campaign is a simple idea, executed well. It hasn’t reinvented the wheel, but it has defined the way we use it. What’s the big takeaway that B2B marketers can take from this? That this isn’t just a B2C case study – it is a case study for B2B, too.
Before this, Old Spice was not an exciting brand. For as long as I have known it, it has been ‘the stuff my dad wears’ (and my Dad really does wear it which he will now claim makes him a trendsetter).
Campaigns like this are what give brands new traction. B2B has long had the reputation of being less fun and creative than the consumer side of our industry. We know that’s not true, so let’s get out the dead fish and started beating the piñata with it!
Which aspect of web development should hold more weight: the design
or the functionality?
Are you more inclined to remember a site that is visually exciting or
one that gets things done? Well, that depends on the audience, the
brand and the intended message.
You are not likely to need your online bank to have pretty bells and
flashy whistles, as long as it helps you make informed decisions and
secured transactions with the least amount of headache. You don't go to a
banking website to be entertained. You go to get things done. Banks
(and their web developers) know this. Is it then not part of the design
in developing the site to be focused on being functional rather than
being a pretty page?
Function or form. Like art or commerce, beauty or brains, maybe 'or'
is the problem, not the words on either side. After all, you wouldn't do an
ad campaign and ask 'should we make it look nice, or get the
messaging right? Likewise, food packaging doesn’t either look nice or
contain the product. When comparing design or functionality in the
digital world, one is not necessarily better than the other.
Around the office, we came to agree that form often is function (and visa versa),
especially in digital comms and advertising. What we typically refer to
as ‘design’ over functionality is actually more a form of ‘art’ so the
question then boils more down to ‘design vs. art’ rather than ‘design
vs. functionality’. A common definition of art is that it is the process
of deliberately arranging elements in a way to affect the senses or
emotions. For sites that are used for brand awareness/brand engagement
(typically consumer brands), the appeal of appearance is more heavily
weighted, with the functional purpose of the site taking second place.
Thinking of digital in terms of traditional media, the term ‘website’
could be the equivalent of the term ‘book’. In which case, how do the
different styles of traditional book (eg. brochure, sales leaflet,
encyclopedia, art book, etc.) directly relate to the different styles of
website? An encyclopedia is designed to function as source of knowledge
whereas a brochure or sales leaflet is typically designed to be
visually appealing first, informative second. Do you want your brand’s
site be a brochure or an encyclopedia?
One specific example which, whilst highly functional has also been
very design-led and heavily analyzed to create the successful site it is
Basecamp is a project management tool used by some major B2B companies and consumer
brands (such as Kellogg’s and Warner Bros.). The tool’s
straightforwardness makes it extremely user friendly and intuitive
whilst remaining very functionally sound and clever.
The objective was to design it in such a manner that the function
would overtake the design and make it seamless. This particular example
points out how design can make something functional, intuitive and
Another good case study compares the usability (beyond the visual
appeal) of the Apple and Microsoft websites. It’s well worth a look here.
So, function or form is no longer a matter of ‘or’, but ‘and’:
Function and form, brains and beauty. AND, the two
inseparable words if you intend to maintain a successful business, sell
What do you think? Is a website's design its visual appeal or its