2012 | Blog | Blue Hive 1




Microsoft IMAGINE Conference

Microsoft IMAGINE Conference, November 2012 – Rochelle School, Shoreditch, London.

Philip De Meulemeester reports from the Microsoft IMAGINE Conference.

As a promotional event for Windows 8, Windows Phone, and Microsoft Surface, the IMAGINE conference highlighted three fundamental trends in mobile/digital for the coming year: Connectivity (with the arrival of 4G); Customization (a new world of apps customized to individual needs); and Multi-Screening (more people using several devices at a time).

Andy Hart, of Microsoft Advertising UK, emphasised a new approach to Permissions Based advertising. With so much clutter out there, more personalised devices/systems and very assertive consumers, Andy made the point that advertisers will need to get permission for invading peoples lives. When they do, those advertisers are more likely to gain both attention and trust.

As an anthropologist, Anna Kirah has been working with Microsoft to research what the new device landscape means from a user’s POV. Some of her findings prove that people don’t really watch ads anymore and there can be distrust between brands and consumers. Anna also showed that communication language has changed, with more people living further from their family and friends. Which is why they seek a community in the digital world.

Dave Coplin from Microsoft Advertising claimed we still think of the web in a very old/traditional way: the web = websites. He proposed we should be talking about the ‘Web of the World’; something personalised to you rather than somewhere you go to. The three pillars to this are:

  1. Knowledge: collaboratively building the world’s knowledge to be available at everybody’s fingertips.
  2. People: search will be more connected to your SNS.
  3. Places: search will have more accessibility information about places.

He also talked about Mobile Disruption where mobile will become completely personalised as your window into the entire digital world.

Jennifer Creegan and Stephan Kim, also from Microsoft Advertising, introduced Windows 8 to the audience. The most noticeable change is from traditional desktop to new personal interactive interface. This is an app platform that users can customize through tiles showing everything from weather and personal files, to your news feed. Users can dive into every app or feed and browse more from within that same interface. And from the moment you go deeper into a feed (e.g. promotional movie trailer) brands have the opportunity to advertise in that environment. The exact possibilities are still a bit unclear, but there are certainly some interesting opportunities.

Overall, I’m pretty excited about the new features of Windows 8. The personalized interface will become your portal to all the information you need and everything you interact with. But how advertisers will break into this is a challenge and it’ll need to be considered responsibly. Microsoft Surface also looks like an incredible tool, but is it a tablet or a PC? Maybe it will close the gap between the two. Time will tell.




Social Media World Forum 2012

A few of us visited the Social Media World Forum this week. And here’s a selection of what we think are the best bits.

‘Don’t think about departments’

Social media crosses boundaries. Businesses that integrate social media and stop thinking in terms of Sales vs. Marketing vs. PR will come out on top. Business that don’t, won’t. Users see a single brand, they don’t care that Sales are separate from PR, they just want a consistent, joined-up experience.

From Chris Brogan (President, Human Business Works) during his keynote address: Cultivating Visibility & Google+ for Business.

‘Forget about fragmentation’

If you’re a global brand then you’ll inevitably have some level of fragmentation in your social media presence(s). Try to govern and introduce a consistent brand ethos, but don’t worry about it too much; by the time you put a process in place everything will have changed.

From Benjamin Ellis (prolific blogger, author, and speaker) during keynote panel: The Evolution of the Conversation.

‘Tell a story’

The key skill you need to learn is story telling. Find your brand’s voice and the stories it can tell (they do exist). These stories are your creative content, and content is still king.

During keynote panel: The Evolution of the Conversation.

‘Define real objectives’

Likes, interactions, ‘engagement’ metrics; all of these are abstract metrics and don’t tell you how all that effort you put in is actually performing. Figure out what you actually want users to do, find a way to measure it, and report that. Use engagement metrics, but only as middlemen to something you really care about.

From Allister Frost (Head of Digital Marketing Strategy, Microsoft) during panel: Social Media Engagement Measurement and Metrics.

‘It takes people, good people’

You can deploy all the right tools, but without good people you’re going nowhere. Find generalists who specialise. You need people who can do a little of everything but are experts in their field, be it moderation, metrics, outreach, etc.

From Cathy Ma (Head of Social Media, IPC Media) during her case study: IPC Media – A Step-by-Step Guide on Setting Social Strategy & Measuring Success.

‘Qualitative data’

There is a ton of numbers you can gather and report, but these can be more confusing than they are useful. Get qualitative data as well. Talk to your consumers and get their input, then use this to feed back into all areas of your business. Improve customer care, product development, marketing campaigns, everything, based on the feedback you get.

From Henry Juszkiewicz (Chairman and CEO, Gibson Guitar Corporation) during panel: Monitoring and Measuring Social Media. Agreed upon by the panel: Managing Your Company’s Online Reputation via Social Media.

‘Be prepared, don’t wait for the storm’

Brands need to be ‘match fit’. Don’t wait for a PR storm to come along to force you to engage; “you can’t learn social media when the building is on fire”. Build relationships and be prepared, it’s amazing how much people will forgive if you’ve already built trust with them.

From David Bailey (Neighbourhood Communications Manager, Staffordshire Police) and Colin Smith (Director of Marketing Solutions UK, LinkedIn) during panel: Managing Your Company’s Online Reputation via Social Media.

‘Do, or do not, there is no try’

If you’re going to do social media then you need to jump in and do it properly, half-measures simply aren’t going to work. “You can’t do a bit of social media, it’s like being a bit pregnant”.

From Mark Squires (Head of Communications for Western Europe, Nokia) during panel: The Changing Role of PR in the Social Media Environment.

‘True dialogue’

Communication with customers is truly 2-way for the first time. Brands who engage in social media must be prepared to listen, react, learn and apply. But there are major scale considerations in moving from broadcast to full scale conversation, so identify and use tools to make you more efficient, and empower employees to be brand ambassadors.

During panel: Social Media for Brand Management.

‘Working global and locally at the same time’

Communications must be local language and local community but with global guidelines. This isn’t just a language issue, but a cultural/geographical issue e.g. UK English vs. US English. Larger organisations might consider a ‘hub and spoke’ model (as used by Unilever): scheduling regular calls with markets, having internal social groups for networking/sharing, and establishing a clear process that everyone is bought into.

During panel: Social Media for Brand Management.

‘Refine your voice’

Identify the voice of your brand. Remember you are speaking person-to-person and not brand-to-person so; be real and authentic, approach users with empathy, and have a plan! Set objectives and establish processes, remember it’s a long term commitment not just a campaign burst.

During panel: Social Media for Brand Management.


Businesses are not trusted as much as individuals, but people trust those that are like themselves more and they appreciate transparency. Also remember that good products are a given, but social media will really magnify a bad product!

From Scott Monty during his keynote address: Global Language of a Social Media Strategy.


It is very difficult to get through to the audience with the sheer proliferation of brand messaging out there. Brands can differentiate by having content that is relevant, good, and fun (e.g. Focus Doug). As well as this they remember that users time is limited, so engage using relevant content in a ‘human voice’, e.g. Fiestagram hashtags were engaging, and related to the car, but not about the car. Finally brands must listen, like granny used to say; “you have two ears and one mouth, use them in proportion”.

From Scott Monty during his keynote address: Global Language of a Social Media Strategy.

‘You’re in there for the long haul!’

You can’t simply switch off after a six week campaign burst and you must have an always-on strategy to grow and maintain an audience between your campaign bursts.

From Scott Monty during his keynote address: Global Language of a Social Media Strategy.