It’s been ten years since what was, in my memory, the biggest year in communications. It’s the year I watched skydiver Felix Baumgartner free falling faster than the speed of sound from the stratosphere to the Earth – a personal career highlight of mine. It’s the year London, my home city, was propelled into the spotlight for hosting the Olympics and celebrating Queen Elizabeth’s Diamond Jubilee.
The decade that followed has been just as transformative. From the rise of social media and the acceleration of technology to COVID-19 and the climate crisis, huge world events have reshaped the contours of the comms world, so that the old rules no longer apply. So, how can brands adapt to the new landscape?
1. A start-up mentality wins over red tape
The last decade has taught us that big isn’t always best. In the old world, large agencies ruled the crop – and brands had to fight to work with them. But this has changed. Brands are increasingly realising that small agencies can offer the agility, speed and outside-the-box thinking that large agencies struggle with. Unencumbered by red tape and endless processes, we move at pace, enabling us to be more creative and get the story out quicker.
Our small and nimble team has been an asset to us when working with some of the world’s biggest brands. For IWC, for example, we helped establish a global centre of marketing excellence that enabled the brand to consistently roll out content across its markets. Working at pace, we produced content-driven campaigns featuring partners including Hot Wheels, Mercedes AMG Patronus, Tottenham Hotspur and the Blue Angels to engage audiences in real-time, all over the world.
Large businesses often look to small businesses to help them learn how to be more efficient; but small businesses also look to other small companies for new ideas to help them grow. Zapmap, the UK’s No.1 EV charging points app, recently enlisted our help in orchestrating a total brand refresh. The impact of our work went beyond the refreshed logo, strapline, mission statement and brand colour palette; the new brand gave everyone in the organisation a renewed sense of excitement about the company at an exciting time in its growth.
2. Find your golden thread
Gone are the days of executives running their companies anonymously from glass offices. In today’s world, your brand’s story must be embedded on the inside before you can begin to tell it on the outside. It’s about finding your golden thread – the essence of what makes you unique – and sewing it through every aspect of your communications strategy. When this is done right, it means that everyone – from your exco through to your grads – can articulate your story in exactly the same way.
This idea has been central to how we have supported Vodafone on its journey from telco to tech company. As well as creating stand-out thought leadership content to engage its external audiences, we also created an interactive, hybrid event to ensure its tech workforce felt included in its evolving brand story. Over 15,000 employees joined from across six markets, with many sharing that the event made them feel proud and excited to be part of the Vodafone team.
3. Storytelling isn’t just for fun – it can drive the bottom line
The right story attracts new customers – but the right story told in the right place at the right time can also capture the attention of investors, mobilise internal teams and bring the right talent to a company. As well as amplifying stories, it is crucial for brands to take a 360-degree strategic approach to their communications – considering where their story is being told to drive action as well as awareness and engagement. This will help you spot routes to market and opportunities to reach commercial goals which might otherwise fall through the gaps.
We have applied this approach to our work for global professional services firm Genpact. Our client engagement campaign, Winning Redefined, turned the traditional corporate event on its head, using food poverty as our thematic link to discuss the importance of sustainability and resourcefulness in business. The result was a truly memorable experience, engaging not only 127 key Genpact clients, but also media, members of the public and employees – and winning awards.
You. Beautifully Told.
So many brands have amazing stories to tell, which have been crafted over the years with passion and expertise. But can they tell them compellingly and succinctly – both internally and to their loyal customer base? When it comes to amplifying stories via press, social or even word of mouth, it often takes a fresh approach to get people talking.
Sometimes, it’s a case of working backwards from your goal. Too many brands start with where they want to be, and don’t put enough work into discovering how to get there. This takes time – and requires working with people and agencies who are committed to making you shine.
What makes The 10 Group different is how much we love seeing our clients succeed. It’s what drives us every day, what inspires us to innovate, and what makes us excited for what the future holds.