Monthly Archives

February 2018

Lightbox Loves

Ours is the winter of discontent – the latest findings from The QT

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February signals the latest wave of our consumer tracking study, the QT. We’ve been delving into how Brits are feeling this side of New Year – and it’s truly a mixed bag!

We’re not as happy as November.
Only 37% of Brits said they were happier than this time last year, versus 41% in November. 1 in 5 (19%) claimed to be less happy than in February 2017, and this is 5%pts higher than November.
Maybe it’s because we’re all a bit less financially liquid. In November 21% felt comfortable on their current disposable income, declining to 16% of Brits this month. Christmas must have hit the coffers hard!
Regardless of how we’re feeling right now, this isn’t evident in our intentions to spend across several big-ticket categories this year. A 3%pt increase in those planning to spend more on white goods than last year. 20% will spend more on holidays and 16% more on short breaks than in 2017.
That could be because 1 in 3 already have a destination in mind – this proportion of Brits choose where they’re into first, and then research in more depth. Only 16% are led by their budget. 1 in 10 are creatures of habit, booking at the same time every year.

We’ve lost our confidence as a nation – a continuing trend from late 2017.
If we look year on year at levels of confidence in the government, we see that this has eroded by 5%pts – now 18%. Confidence in brands is also lower than it was a year ago, with 28% of Brits feeling confident in companies and brands, versus 32% in February 2017.

However, the year’s sporting calendar is a chance to galvanise the nation.
Half of Brits (51%) will do something to celebrate the FIFA World Cup in Russia, and the same proportion plan to watch, bet or talk about Wimbledon this year too.
Interest in the Commonwealth Games and Grand National is more muted, but a quarter of Brits claim they’ll be tuning in to watch each of these major events. For bookmakers, the Aintree classic remains the biggest draw. 19% of Brits claim they’ll have a flutter this year, versus only 1 in 10 on the FA Cup final or Royal Ascot.

Keep an eye on @the7stars on twitter for more nuggets from this wave of the QT.
To find out more on any of these topics, or ask for more information please email frances.revel@the7stars.co.uk

Lightbox Loves

Lightbox Loves: Avoid being a political pretender.

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Avoid being a political pretender.
The overwhelming ridicule of Matt Hancock’s efforts to launch his eponymous social media app raises questions on what can and cannot (or rather, what should and should not) be done in order to connect with an audience.
From quick statements like “Good marketing essentials are the same. We all are emotional beings looking for relevance” from GE’s Vice Chair Beth Comstock to entire books on the topic like “Winning the Brand Relevance War” from David A. Aaker; any marketeer can recall numerous quotes talking about the importance of brands being personally relevant, in order to better engage with their target market.
One shortcut to being relevant with consumers is tapping into whatever cultural, social or political issues are currently top of mind. However there’s a thin line between heart-warming CSR efforts, which are encouraged by over 80% of millennials, and an alienating socio-political agenda.
With politics becoming increasingly divisive (like the 52%/48% split of Brexit), brands must be careful not to land themselves in hot water. The pinnacle and infamous example of this was the Kendall Jenner Pepsi Ad; although Twitter mentions rocketed by 21,675%, sentiment plummeted as the brand was slammed for trivialising the Black Lives Matter movement.
However, that’s not to say that brands should avoid politics entirely, even if they feel they may not have ‘permission’ to talk about something. Success hinges on authenticity. The issue that’s being discussed needs to be rooted in the principles of the brand. A great example of this is Jigsaw; they “looked at the fashion industry and realised no one talks about the benefits of immigration or the debt [they] all owe to it. One of [their] products could have Mongolian wool, Turkish satin, Chinese silk and Italian buttons so [they could] really back up this message.” [Marketing Week] Importantly, the message was rooted in both the brand’s personality and within the company’s fundamental structure. Tagging a logo on the end of a grandiose political statement isn’t enough, it must be intrinsic to the brand.

Sources
https://www.campaignlive.co.uk/article/why-brands-getting-political/1422951
http://www.thedrum.com/opinion/2017/12/01/why-brands-shouldn-t-fake-woke-ness
https://econsultancy.com/blog/69116-how-brands-can-navigate-today-s-super-political-environment
https://www.marketingweek.com/2016/12/02/brands-dragged-divisive-politics-2016/
https://www.ama.org/publications/MarketingNews/Pages/brands-shouldnt-be-policital.aspx
Gimme! The Human Nature of Successful Marketing  – John Hallward
Brand Relevance: Making competitors irrelevant – David A. Aaker
http://www.independent.co.uk/news/business/news/jigsaw-immigration-new-campaign-celebration-british-values-style-high-street-fashion-brand-a7999256.html

Week of the Stars

Google Chrome to Highlight Unsecured Webpages

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You may have seen this tweet from the official 7Stars account yesterday:


As we expected, Google has now officially announced a deadline of July 2018 for when its web browser, Chrome, will begin highlighting unsecured domains to users. From July, Chrome users will be displayed a prominent warning upon reaching non-secure (http rather than https) web pages.
How exactly this will look is unconfirmed, but I imagine it will look something like these examples:

50% of web users around the globe use Google Chrome. This is a huge deal.

How will Google Chrome affect non-secure http domains?

This change will have a significant impact on brands that have not switched to a secure protocol (hint: it doesn’t take long to find examples in the fashion industry). Google has previously stated unsecured domains receive less prominence within its search results, thus many have already experienced decreases in traffic and overall visibility.
However, the negative impact of running unsecured webpages will now carry through to on-site performance metrics too, impacting performance across all channels & activity that drives users to the website.
Some areas brands can expect to feel the pain are:

  • Significantly increased bounce rates on unsecured pages
  • Decreased conversion rates
  • Reduction in advertising impressions & affiliate clicks
  • Reduction in overall digital sales
  • Possible reduction in brand loyalty and consumer confidence

How do I get a Secure SSL Certificate for my Website?

These days, securing your web content is easier and cheaper than many people expect. There are now numerous solutions of varied complexity that can ensure you provide a secure environment online for your site users.
SSL is it’s simple to set up, and once it’s implemented, all you or your developers need to do is direct people to use HTTPS instead of HTTP. It’s as simple as that. There really is no excuse anymore for not running a secure domain.
To get an SSL certificate, follow these 5 simple steps:

  1. Host with a dedicated IP address
  2. Buy a SSL certificate here for less than £50
  3. Activate the SSL certificate – or ask your web host to do it for you
  4. Install the certificate
  5. Update your site to use HTTPS

All brands should be moving to HTTPS as a matter of urgency if they haven’t already. Remember July 2018 is the deadline. We advise you not to miss it.

Lightbox Loves

Lightbox Loves: JT vs KJ

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The evening of Sunday the 4th of February was one that consisted of two major US influencers stealing the show, but for very different reasons! Both Justin Timberlake’s Super Bowl half-time performance and Kylie Jenner’s pregnancy caused a stir on social media. According to Google Trends both stories generated over half a million online searches from Brits, however was it traditional influencer Justin, or Instagram favourite Kylie who won the online stakes?

Justin Timberlake’s half time performance received over 5,000 mentions on Twitter (Sysomos, 2018). However, only half of the tweets surrounding the singers ‘comeback’ at the major US sporting event were positive, whilst 1 in 5 had something negative to say (Sysomos, 2018). The main source of dislike of the performance was the considered distaste for showing a projection of Prince whilst Justin covered his hit ‘I Would Die 4 u” – could this be something that comes back to bite him?

Moving to Kylie Jenner, a totally different kind of influencer, but one whose pregnancy revelation totally out-shone JT at the Super Bowl. After Kylie, a usual constant on social media, explained her recent absence, over 16,000 tweets circulated amongst the UK audience – 3X more than that for JT.

So, we have all known for a while that influencers like Kylie Jenner are spreading the word across various social media platforms, but when pipped against the more traditional stars the numbers show that they are now out in front. Do we need to make way for a new “Jenneration”?

What's Hot

Newsbrands: Bigger Than The Page They’re Printed On

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The latest in a string of relaunches, repositions and revamps in the publishing industry, The Guardian has decided to join the rest of us this January in a bid to cut costs, downsizing with its long-anticipated move to tabloid.

The Guardian’s move to the Berliner format 12 years ago was embraced by audiences and critics alike (even winning awards for its redesign), and while this may only seem a relatively short period of time in the history of the longstanding paper, readers will be nervous about this change.

There are quite a few positives for readers: the new pink-washed ‘Journal’ section is full of opinions, letters and great thinking, and will no doubt be much-loved among The Guardian loyalists. The ‘Sports’ section has bulked up, brimming with 20-pages of content. The integrated look and feel across their platforms has landed well across print, web and mobile, although some may mourn the loss of the blue masthead (seemingly because the colour blue may carry a premium at Trinity Mirror’s print works).

With total pagination up to 96 pages, and stuffed with five supplements on a Saturday, readers will hardly be left short-changed by lack of content. With a presumed increase in ad sites available, The Guardian will be able to balance the loss to advertising sales of premium weekday outside back page and ditched front-page strip formats.

What has become most apparent is that publishers need to reduce hard costs in lieu of cover price revenue, and the cost of owning and running three printing presses under capacity seemed a step too indulgent for a publication that’s far bigger than its quirky page size.

Other publishers are taking different approaches in order to maintain revenues.

The i recently revamped its weekend offering, fleshing out its journalism with a more weekend friendly ‘Life’ section, abounding with interviews, arts and culture reviews and recipes, whilst keeping the delivery quality and concise. The Mail on Sunday, meanwhile, has introduced its own new lifestyle pull-out shuffling its homes and gardens, health and motoring sections to the centre of the paper. Both have made a concerted effort to bolster the number of pundits and high-profile guest columnists contributing to both their weekend and weekday offerings.

The Daily Telegraph is looking to broaden its audience base by augmenting its editorial team across its verticals, with Jamie Carragher joining sport and Charles Saatchi joining to write a weekly art column as notable examples. They are also keen to widen their age bracket, acquiring Gojimo, the UK’s largest revision app for GCSE and A-level students, as well as launching a Snapchat collaboration with Vice.

News UK has decided diversity in media markets is optimum, snapping up several companies in non-print areas of the industry, gaining a presence in the radio market with its acquisition of Wireless group (Talksport and Virgin radio), content creation with Storyful, and content distribution with Unruly, giving them access to a larger pool of media spend.

Be it through reduced production costs or diversification of media offering, publishers are having to find profit beyond print. We can no longer view publishers simply as the broadsheets and tabloids they champion; instead publishers ask us to look towards the esteem their brands draw culturally, the access to audiences they garner at all touchpoints and the role they play in consumer’s lives, agnostic of format and media channel.