Press release: Thinking Juice joins Sideshow

Press release: Thinking Juice joins Sideshow

 

Sideshow Group announces the acquisition of award winning creative agency Thinking Juice

We are delighted to announce that Thinking Juice, one of the UK’s leading integrated agencies, is joining the fast growing independent Sideshow Group. This will be the fourth agency in the line-up, and will bring deeper resource, greater in-house capabilities, and wider sector experience to the newly expanded group.

Ranked as one of the most highly respected agencies in the UK, Thinking Juice is an IPA member agency and a long established partner of the international AMIN network. It has consistently won awards across strategy, creativity and effectiveness in its 14 year history, and has produced highly effective global campaigns for some of the world’s leading brands.

Tony Hill from Sideshow said:
'I’ve long been a fan of Thinking Juice. They care passionately about the quality of their work, and have drive and ambition. Their mission to ‘Do Great Work’ is evident in all they do, and we share a commitment to deliver a best in class service for our clients. This acquisition raises our game significantly and further strengthens our position as the UK’s no.1 independent alternative to the large corporate marketing groups and consultancies. Most of all, I’m really excited to be working with such a great group of people.'

Andy Thomson from Thinking Juice said:
'We’re delighted to be part of the Sideshow Group and what is set to be a very bright future for the agency, its staff and the group as a whole. Great work will continue to be at the heart of everything Thinking Juice does, but we now have the support of an array of industry-leading experts in various specialisms we can call upon as required. We’re very much looking forward to working closely with our new group colleagues and can’t wait to get started!'

Thinking Juice is the latest agency to join the Sideshow group in recent years, following on from Strawberrysoup, an award winning digital and performance agency, and Vertical Leap, one of the UK’s leading search, insight and marketing technology specialists, who joined the group in August 2016.

Sideshow is based in London and on the south coast. They work across a variety of channels and disciplines for global brands including BT, Visa, HSBC, Pearson and Prudential. It aims to be the no.1 independent digital marketing group in the UK, through the delivery of industry-leading expertise and business transforming digital experiences and communications. Revenues in the newly combined digital group are expected to exceed £15m in this financial year with staff numbers over 170.

For more information please contact tony.hill@sideshowagency.com


 

The Role of Content In-Store

The Role of Content In-Store

 

Brands need to work on bridging the online and offline sales experience and use their digital content to encourage in-store sales with thoughtful calls to action and not exclusively online purchases. 81% of shoppers conduct online research before they buy and 60% want to find the physical product before purchasing, so at this stage in the purchase journey, an effective content marketing strategy can drive customers in-store too.

Bringing Content Marketing In-store

Using a digital presence to signpost and drive customers towards physical shopping experiences is effective, but the role of content in-store needs to enhance a customer experience once they’ve walked through the door. While content offline and online needs to share consistent brand values and voices – a decentralised structure means that stores should cater their content to local customers too.

Robust digital content for online retailers involves sharing tips, personalized recommendations and curated lists in an authentic brand voice. Beacons can be used to locally target shoppers and deliver custom, hyperlocal content. In a retail space, the same ethos behind effective content needs to shine through – is an in-store experience entertaining, informative or engaging?

Online video content is effective for giving customers instructional information about products and enhancing their purchase research. Insight and data generated by successful videos can be crossed over into retail spaces with focused product tutorials, workshops and demos. A Neilsen study found that recommendations, editorial content, reviews and branded websites all build customers trust in products – these aspects can be recreated with in-store content. Brand events in-store should favour teaching and instructional content, rather than making content feel like a promotional exercise. Events can act as native adverts in a physical space.

Interactive retail stands can help brands collect customer intelligence and allows customers to actively engage with their environment. Motion activated screens give customers more information about a product and they can help brands to adapt their displays. Accessing smartphone frequencies will also become more prominent, allowing brands to track a customer’s movements in-store, deliver personalized content and change the layout to match their behaviour. New Look developed an augmented reality campaign in their UAE retail spaces that let customers scan their student card to reveal features and offers in-store.

In-store and online teams must share all of their data to provide a consistent, seamless brand experience online and offline. Online conversations with customers through social channels can allow local retailers to continue the conversation in-store. By aggregating content and interactions with customers through social channels, in-store staff can receive useful insight and inform their own conversations and shape their customer service accordingly. They can pick up on localised trends and personalize in-store experiences for customers that interact with them directly.

Successful content elicits an emotional response from an audience, with good story-telling and an authentic brand voice. Customers don’t want to feel like they’re being advertised to. There are limitations with this online because of the barrier between brand and customer. In-store content can help to break down this barrier and employees can deliver personality-driven content and build a relationship with customers in a tangible way. The aim is to build natural, social experiences with knowledgeable staff.

Connecting Online and Offline Experiences

Engaging digital content is integral and it needs to set the tone for in-store customer experiences and vice versa. Customers spend their time in both environments, so there needs to be consistently quality content in both, as the purchase journey has more entry points and cross-overs. A combination of online and offline purchase research is increasingly being conducted by customers, so both must enhance each other. For example, in-store collections for offline purchases provide the opportunity to personalize the service and content delivered when a customer collects their product. Or allowing customers to easily order items in-store and get them delivered to their home.

Using insight and data from online content campaigns can help to strengthen in-store experiences and transcend the limitations of content. Real tangible in-store experiences and interactions can build trust, authenticity and an emotional connection with customers. A customer that buys exclusively online from a retailer can have an element of distance with a brand, bringing them in to a retail space can create more longevity and purchase opportunities if they receive a positive experience with valuable in-store content. In-store spaces can be a solid venue for interactive content.


 

Amazon Go - welcome to 21st century shopping.

Amazon Go - welcome to 21st century shopping.

 

So Amazon are creating a bricks and mortar store. But with a 21st century twist, naturally. Thanks to Amazon Go Stores there will be no queues, no check outs, and presumably no 5p for a bag (how you get your shopping home is quite another matter). This latest development from the pioneers that are Amazon (didn't they just used to sell books) frankly isn't surprising, after all we're a matter of a few test crashes away from the first commercial drones delivering our groceries (I assume they'll use bags) to our door. 

Whilst scan and shop has been around a while, this takes it to the next level. The same way the iPhone did from the iPod - a natural next step in the evolution. Amazon Go relies on the connectivity from aisle shelf to our personal Amazon account. It's really rather clever - although there is a sense of a deja vu in its intent to create a new way for us to spend more money with Amazon. Like the damn 'other people bought' nudge technique that gets us every time - creatures of habits that we are. But, it's so simple (and therefore clever) that on first view, it seems it fits an obvious, modern age need - the need for speed. 

What is surprising perhaps is the changing attitudes to data - there feels to be a groundswell towards an openness for brands to access our personal data as long as they trust the brand and it appears to benefit us - one assumes that Amazon have done their due diligence in respect to user research before committing shovel to ground and laying the first brick. Perhaps this is a generational thing, perhaps it's simply an educational thing. Only time will tell if it's the end of the last minute chocolate purchases in the queue. What is for sure, with the likes of Amazon changing how we shop, Air BnB changing how we holiday, Uber changing how we travel, things are moving at a greater pace than ever. And for the old guard, it's scary. For us...well, as long as we can place our trust in them, it's exciting. 


 

How Periscope can improve B2B engagement.

How Periscope can improve B2B engagement.

 

We recently helped BT launch its B2B content on Periscope. 

The live-streaming revolution is officially upon us. And it’s not just for the likes of Zayn Malik and Kanye West; we think the medium has as much to offer businesses as it does pop-stars.
 
Believe it or not, it’s already been 16 months since live-streaming services took the app markets by storm. And after the first year, Periscope announced that 110 years’ worth of live video were watched on the platform every day.
 
The question is: Are you ready to embrace it?

Can Periscope work for B2B?

Okay, a lot of Periscope ‘content’ consists of confused expressions as users test it for the first time, action shots out of car windows, and tours of users’ cupboards. But does live-streaming also have a place in the business world?

Well… yes. 75% of marketers cite events and webinars as the best, most effective, B2B tools¹. And with Periscope, you can suddenly transform an event into an accompanying webinar – broadcasting it to a much wider audience and extending your reach and potential engagement exponentially. It’s a win-win situation. You can capture insights from the event and share them with your Periscope audience, live stream talks, and share behind-the-scenes footage at trade shows and conferences, putting your virtual audience front and centre.

How BT Business did it

We recently worked with BT to share their Connecting… London event, the final leg of a UK-wide tour about the power of networking. It wasn’t an easy journey: getting a client to test something new, let alone something LIVE, can be a challenge. But we’re always up for a challenge. 

We presented the pros and cons and dug out examples of other brands using the medium. There was a dearth of B2B examples, but plenty of B2C. Undeterred we came up with a plan to use Periscope at the event.

At Connecting… London, attendees were joined by four entrepreneurs who had used their connections to build successful companies:

  1. Michael Acton Smith: a serial entrepreneur, most famous as the CEO and founder of Mind Candy, and the man responsible for the Moshi Monsters craze.
     
  2. Tom Foster-Carter: co-founder of Curve, a service that replaces users’ existing credit and debit cards with a single card. 
     
  3. Tom Adeyoola: CEO and founder of Metail, a body-scanning technology designed to support online shoppers in the virtual fitting room. 
     
  4. Matt Johnson: CEO and head of R&D at Bare Conductive, which produces a range of electronics including innovative Electric Paint. 

Thanks to a fantastic selection of speakers – and the reputation the events have built up for being a great place for businesses to connect and network – all tickets were were quickly snapped up.

Great news. Except, of course, that the limited number of tickets, as well as geographical factors, meant that there was unmet demand for the event beyond those able to attend in person. We wanted to make the most of this demand. So the obvious solution for us was to open the event up to everyone via a live internet stream.

This gave us an opportunity to marry the event’s hashtag – #SeeWhatHappens – to meaningful content. 

Practical considerations: planning and testing

So we’d committed to ’scoping (verb. to transmit video and audio via Periscope). Now for the planning...

BT Business is a professional brand. This was a professional event. The broadcast had to reflect that. 

However, Periscope is a smartphone app. That suggested the obvious option of using the phone’s own camera to capture the video. Simple and convenient – but, be warned: there’s no way of knowing if the footage is good enough unless you test the audio visual quality from your smartphone in advance. 
If it works for you, great: you’re ready to roll. 

If it doesn’t, have a plan-B in place. We took the time to work with technical teams to test Periscope with an array of equipment. In the end we settled on a professional TV camera and audio set-up – plugged into an iPhone for broadcasting. 

Three times the expected engagement

As this was the first time BT had used Periscope, and they had no established following on the platform, our expectations for our extended audience were limited. And as it was a breakfast event, most of our Periscope audience would have been in the office.

Despite this, engagement via Periscope was actually three times what we projected. 

Make your content work harder

Today, too much B2B content is not used to its full potential. Our advice: make the most out of the content you’ve already got with the variety of media available to you.

Periscope is just one of the great tools available for this. Got an event coming up? Why not share what’s going on?

-   Periscope the event live. 
-   #Save the broadcast and make highlight clips to share on YouTube, Facebook, and Twitter. 
-   Share images from the event. 
-   Write up a few take-away blogs. 
-   Publish a SlideShare of these takeaways and share it on LinkedIn.

Live-streaming is a great addition to an already rich content line-up. And is a relatively quick and painless way to introduce video to your artillery. 

The future of live-streaming

What’s next for live-streaming for B2B?

  1. High growth. Live-streaming is on the up. With tools like Periscope finding new advocates in B2B, brands’ content budgets are set to grow too.
  2. Personal authority goes digital. The choice of brand spokespeople was once based solely on in-person charisma. In the live-streaming age, it will be equally important how well you come across on camera. 
  3. User-generated content. Live streaming apps have lowered the production-quality benchmark for broadcasting, and with this the overheads,  encouraging users from all walks of life to take up the broadcasting gauntlet. Expect a new generation of social influencers, with a different perspective on things. Including, if you’re up to it, your brand. 

Wherever it takes you in the future, your B2B live-streaming needs to be accessible, insightful, and – perhaps most importantly – useful. Current top-tier live-streaming options Periscope, Meerkat, and Facebook Live each have different strengths, so make sure you’ve done your homework before pressing the button.  
Live-streaming could be the boost your content strategy needs. Interested? Let’s talk. 

¹Content Marketing Institute 2016


 

How Voice Search is Shaking up the Digital Marketing Landscape

How Voice Search is Shaking up the Digital Marketing Landscape

 

During May 2016’s Google I/O keynote, an interesting statistic jumped onto the scene, which has the potential to have far-reaching implications for the future of content, SEO and digital marketing as a whole. Sundar Pichai, Google CEO, claimed that 20% of searches on Google’s mobile app and Android devices are voice searches. This trend is similar across the board. The switch from typing on a device to using natural spoken language to search shows a shift in human action and will provide more opportunities for personalisation and disrupt current search strategies. 

With the type of data generated by voice search, digital marketers will have ample opportunity to learn more about customer behaviour, intent and cater their provision accordingly. The sophistication of voice search and the digital assistants that users interact with will improve, as limits and capabilities are tested by long, multi-part and specific searches. 

Microsoft CEO, Satya Nadella, has talked about the demand for developers to build “conversational canvases”. Apps that are centred on conversational interactions are integral to digital life and other online services are being made more user-friendly by providing a digital assistant as an entry-point. Users are activating a search function using their voice. So, who’s using voice search the most? Unsurprisingly, a study by MindMeld found that in the 6 months previous to their study, there’d been a 40% increase in voice search by smartphone users and this is set to steadily increase.

Voice search combines convenience and quality, with users adopting natural language in their searches and receiving more conversational copy. Conversational copy is going to more important than ever. It gives a brand personality, but it will also help to complement the colloquial language used in voice searches, so ad-copy and landing page copy should be optimized with natural language in mind.

Users are not using short keyword-based search queries when they use voice search. Their language is more natural and conversational, in sentence form and as if they are asking a question to a friend. This is in stark contrast to the ‘computer language’ used in keyword searches, which is short, snappy and to the point. Digital marketers need to think about how people will phrase their searches and how they say them aloud. What are the extra words that are used in voice search instead of standard keyword searches? Moving forward, it’s going to be really important for marketers to identify and test voice-friendly keywords. The whole process encourages digital agencies to think more from a consumer perspective, instead of a marketing angle.

Specialised voice searches can provide more contextual information and help marketers to inform SEO strategy. When people use standard keyword searches, their intent is often unclear. Using a couple of terms such as ‘Kindle Fire’ doesn’t indicate which part of the buyer’s journey a customer is in. Are they researching or do they want to buy? Voice searches allow a question to be framed around a product, digital marketers can arrive at more conclusions and they can gain more insight. SEO strategy should identify high value phrases and create content around them. 

Digital assistants also have the potential to cross reference information to provide users with the most appropriate localised voice search results. Voice search is a really useful tool for local businesses that agencies work with, so ensuring their physical locations are listed on geo-location social media sites allows local voice searches to include them. By asking digital assistants such as Cortana or Siri which cafes are in users local areas, they can take a look at the weather, the time, discounts and other useful information to give users the most effective answer.

Voice search is still a young trend, but it’s sensible to begin to adapt SEO, content and overall digital marketing strategies to account for the inevitable upsurge. Digital marketers can capitalise on a trend that is showing traction, so they can provide a more personalised, localised service to their clients. At the moment, it’s important to use lots of testing and experimentation with natural language processing, so that strategies can be implemented that will accurately reflect how users will use voice search. How users ask questions, what language they use and how this changes across demographics and locations will be important too.


 

Press Release: Vertical Leap joins Sideshow

Press Release: Vertical Leap joins Sideshow

 

Sideshow group acquires leading search and insight agency: Vertical Leap

We are delighted to announce that Vertical Leap, one of the UK’s most successful search, insight and marketing technology companies is joining the fast growing independent Sideshow group.

Vertical Leap is an award-winning UK search marketing agency that combines intelligent algorithms with smart people; specialising in SEO, PPC, content, social and marketing technology. They cross digital agency skills with a software service, optimising marketing intelligence and visibility through specialist experts and a proprietary deep data platform.

Tony Hill from Sideshow said: ‘This news represents another important milestone in Sideshow’s development. It takes the group to a whole new level, and enables us to offer scale, resource and a broad range of expertise that is a real alternative for large brands that are looking for quality digital marketing support outside of the usual global networks and consultancies. From a personal perspective, I am so excited and pleased to start working with such a brilliant Vertical Leap team and an agency with such a strong reputation in the market.’ 

Matt Hopkins from Vertical Leap said: ‘We are very excited and proud to be joining the Sideshow group. We share a common vision for the future of digital marketing and our services complement each other so well. It’s an enormous opportunity for the Vertical Leap team to bring our unique approach and technology platform to the next level and we couldn’t be happier.

This announcement marks Sideshow’s second acquisition following the full service digital agency Strawberrysoup joining in 2013. Champions of original digital thinking, they design and develop best in class websites, mobile apps and create hard working social and search marketing campaigns. Their clients include Kenwood, The Body Shop and Pearson.

Sideshow is based in London and on the south coast. It works for global brands including BT, Visa and Prudential. It aims to be the no.1 independent digital marketing group in the UK, through the delivery of industry-leading expertise and business transforming digital experiences and communications. Revenues in the newly combined digital group are expected to exceed £10m in this financial year with staff numbers over 100.

Vertical Leap was advised by M&A advisory - www.mandaadvisory.com

For more information please contact Tony Hill - tony.hill@sideshowagency.com


 

Why Good Service Design is Integral to an Effective Customer Journey

Why Good Service Design is Integral to an Effective Customer Journey

 

Service Design is a rapidly emerging discipline in the digital marketing sphere. It can be a complex term to communicate and is loaded with information, but essentially it involves designing services with users in mind. Services help users to carry out a function and service design aims to fine-tune the components within a service and ensure that its parts work together to create an effective outcome for users.  

If users can’t understand how to use a service or encounter problems in their user journey then the service can’t provide a function properly. It’ll also take much more time for the user to get to where they want to be, users can then abandon a service along the way and their needs aren’t addressed. Consumers can easily switch between brands because of their improved access to information about other competitors, so usability is more important than ever.

A good place to start with service design is to think about how users engage with a brand, their reaction towards it and the ease of their interaction. Combining data about behaviours, emotional response and usability can help digital marketers to inform their service design strategy. Effective service design is about putting in lots of work, thought and effort to create something that looks like less and feels simple to use. There’s a trend across the board, as companies invest in design acquisition and involve design professionals in their senior leadership, so they can improve their digital architecture.

An integral part of service design is about offering value to a consumer. If a brand can work out how to be even more useful to a consumer then they will stand out in a crowded market place. Services should grow, as the consumer’s loyalty or association with a brand grows. There are a multitude of different entry-points through various platforms, where consumers can start an association with a brand. Whichever platform someone chooses, they usually enter once, so the challenge for brands is to provide a service that gives a consumer something new and delivers useful content over time.

Using data and analysing every part of the user experience is important and allows marketers to apply research and create a more personalised service design. A consumer wants personalisation and if they feel a service knows who they are and what they want then they’re more inclined to keep coming back or stay satisfied.

A focus on the customer journey means that service design should bring in a whole host of team players from designers to sales professionals. Collaboration is required. The service design process encourages cross-disciplinary groups to focus on every part of the user journey to make it simple and accessible. User experience is not the sole responsibility of one part of a digital team; it’s a responsibility that everyone should share. One of the biggest obstacles in service design is managing user experience across physical and online platforms, so it’s important that everyone is involved in the process to ensure that gaps are identified. 

Service Design will continue to gain traction and the need for cross-collaboration between everyone from developers to designers will increase. Marketers will need to use the consumer data they have available to them to test new methods for personalising and simplifying user journeys. Brands must add value to their users’ lives and retain their attention, which will happen with seamless, simple service design.


 

Digital Marketers should care about Chatbots and here's why

Digital Marketers should care about Chatbots and here's why

 

One of the biggest announcements during the recent F8 summit was from Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg, who opened up the opportunity for chatbot technology to merge with Facebook Messenger. So what does this mean for consumers? It unlocks even more ways to interact with brands. Users have the potential to chat with brands and get in touch with them in the same way that they’d use Facebook Messenger to talk with friends. Chatbots are AI-powered “robots” that sit within a messaging app and can turn them into a powerful tool for brands.

Consumers are already becoming increasingly comfortable with using digital assistants, like Siri and Cortana. Digital assistants are activated by voice search and provide a user with the information that they ask for. Chatbots differ because they are representing a brand and aiming to be a substitute for human interaction. They are conversational tools that will transcend the question and answer format of voice search and provide an engaging chit-chat interaction, where the chatbot can display humour, emotion and change topics. The days of being put on hold are numbered. 

Digital Marketers should keep an eye on chatbots as they have the potential to significantly impact personalisation. The challenge for digital marketers is to ensure that sophisticated chatbots can offer personality and vibrancy, instead of bland answers to customer queries. By working with chatbots and feeding them consumer data, marketers can help provide a service that can collate consumer behaviours, intent and history and create the most effective response for a customer. If marketers can use chatbots in the right way and in the right context then they can be a figurehead for brand loyalty. Competitors will aim to provide the funniest, friendliest and most valuable chatbot content. 

Creating effective marketing campaigns across a range of ever increasing platforms is a tough task, but chatbots could provide a way for marketers to seamlessly show a consistent brand voice across all platforms. Chatbots can be interlinked and updated easily and if they are integrated across all platforms then huge marketing campaigns can be tweaked and personalised easily. The data and analysis from campaigns can be used to work out what’s effective and what consumers are responding to. Chatbots allow marketers to access this information quickly and make changes accordingly. Marketers have to keep up with emerging trends, so it’s important that they can be highly responsive and adaptable. New content can be scheduled in response to changes and customers can easily interact with chatbots that carry a tweaked brand voice and this can be done across time-zones. Marketing strategy can be far more streamlined.

Consumers are increasingly expecting instant responses. When humans are behind the screens, phones and counters, they can’t physically respond to every customer within the same timeframe. Chatbots cater for the instantaneous demands of consumers by being responsive in whatever context and whatever the time of day. They will also be able to correspond with a consistent brand voice. The availability of chatbots will become something that consumers look for when choosing a brand and they’ll download apps because of this feature.

Chatbots fit into a general trend of conversational marketing that is influencing digital strategy. By having a marketing tool like a chatbot, brands can show off their personality and strengthen their ties with customers. Brands are looking for loyalty and the personalisation that’s possible with chatbots delivers this. Chatbots have the power to collate information about customers and use it to relate to them and interact with them on a humanistic level. There is massive potential for digital marketers to create seamless cross-platform campaigns that appeal to consumers and shape conversational commerce.


 

For breaking news check social media

For breaking news check social media

Rather than just public conjecture, hearsay, and recycled headlines and stories from news sites – social platforms are fast becoming serious news-outlets for breaking stories from official sources