Home Archive December 2009 Plan of attack
Plan of attack
Friday, 11 December 2009 15:57

How do different agencies approach the same brief?: For an insight into the creative process, we asked Bright One, the volunteer-run communications agency for the third sector, to put forward a client brief which we could send to three agencies. They came back with three very different pitches

The chosen client is What’s Up Information, a free website packed with positive information for young Londoners. Find it at www.whatsupinformation.com

The What’s Up Information team talk to everyone they can who offers useful services, jobs, training, education, volunteering, help or events aimed at young people between the ages of 12 and 19. They then put all this information into one place. As well as the site, What’s Up Information produces a monthly printed pack. The packs are distributed hand to hand via roaming street teams and branded display units in schools, academies, theatres and youth centres. What’s Up Information aims to make it easier for young people to decide what to do with their time and help them make informed decision about the direction they want their lives to go in.

The challenge
Alongside the site and the packs, What’s Up Information has a presence on Twitter and Facebook, but with only 90 Twitter followers and 112 Facebook fans, there are thousands of young Londoners who might be interested in the information What’s Up provides but just don’t get to hear about it.
So the communications challenges are to help What’s Up Information:
• engage in two-way dialogue with its target audience and get more Twitter followers and Facebook fans
• effectively reach groups of young people outside of a formal learning environment
• make an impact with a group that consume low levels of printed material
• build a brand that speaks with the right tone to a youth audience
• join up the work of other youth initiatives to amplify the positive opportunities out there for Young London

Jon Silk, senior digital consultant at Waggener Edstrom

“What’s Up Information faces a number of challenges. It has got the right channels covered, but isn’t using them to speak to its target audience. Building content on their online properties should be priority number one. Driving traffic to them should be next. Without any metrics to be able to judge the success of the print and in-person campaigns, on the face of the brief alone we’d recommend diverting those resources to the two key objectives instead.

Waggener Edstrom logo

Any campaign launched to meet these goals should build content while connecting with a target audience of 12-19 year olds.

The chosen campaign will also need to resonate with an audience that demands an extremely specific, while constantly moving, choice of channels, languages and topics.

Here’s what I’d recommend:
• Divert resources to building digital content
• Build out the platforms for the content

• Harness support through user-generated material
• Provide clear calls to action and engagement
• Maintain ongoing monitoring and measurement
• I’d suggest an overarching campaign: Create
Twenty Ten.

Through competitions, tie-ins with local events and education and celebrity endorsement, Create Twenty Ten will link up London’s thriving creative arts industry with emerging young talent.
We also recommend a few sub-campaigns: a digital engagement campaign, a stakeholder campaign and an event.

Digital engagement campaign: ‘Making the cut’ – A branded competition across YouTube, Flickr and MySpace to find filmmaking, photographic, artistic, writing or musical talent. Entrants can upload their own work for judging by a panel of celebrities and the industry. The winners are given placements in leading London broadcasters, publishers or agencies to hone their skills and learn from the experts. There would be promotion across site and on other associated social networks. A tie-up with a magazine, TV or radio partner that targets the 12-19 age groups could be extended into a possible co-branded offering.
This will build content on social networks while growing traffic.

Stakeholder campaign: ‘Creative futures’ – Lobby local councillors, associations and education leaders to introduce vocational creative arts training and sponsorship into schools and colleges. Associated PR – in conjunction with other youth-orientated action groups – will profile young creative talent in London and survey local opinion, while outlining the lack of support they get to develop their skills.

The outcome here is to increase visibility of the cause and provide a platform for PR.

Event: ‘The Reactor’ – A one-day sponsored creative hothouse to be held at premier London venue with workshops from Create Twenty Ten supporters and celebrities. Invites would be seeded digitally across social networks and charity sites and associated PR would build buzz in the broadcast press and attract people to the event. An awards ceremony for the ‘Making the cut’ campaign would be held at the event, alongside live graffiti, breakdance and DJ competitions.

This will give a focal point to the campaign, and a forum for local PR access.

Mark Pack, associate director, digital, at Mandate Communications

“The target audience for What’s Up Information has one thing in common: mobile phones, used heavily and repeatedly. So to draw mobile phone users in to a website, Mandate would recommend running a competition which can be entered via mobile phone – such as a photography competition for people to submit the people best and worst views of London, with the pictures sent directly from their phones, to be voted for online by visitors to the website.

Mandate's digital content

That way people are not just encouraged tomigrate from their phone to the site, but they are also encouraged to get other people they know to visit in order to bump up their own votes, as well as admire the work of others.

Information is king. The range and quality of the information about courses and events on the site is crucial to its success. There are far too many examples of promising services that failed because they didn’t deliver enough good information.

Mandate would tackle this head on, building up a community of people who help supply information – because people on the ground around London are often going to have better information and will be able to issue it far quicker than any central team.

Encouraging people to submit suggestions via Twitter (using a hashtag) will extend the Twitter audience and the opportunities for two-way communication. Twitter is also a great medium for passing on and sharing information – thus for interesting events, the tweets will spread even further, raising the profile of the hashtag and, ultimately, of What’s Up Information. To help get the momentum going, we would host a series of weekly prize draws for the first people to report new events.

Taken together, both these approaches would prompt plenty of opportunities for people to spread the word about What’s Up Information themselves, gather in useful and interesting content from people and build up website traffic and two-way communication.”

Kevin Read, managing director, Bell Pottinger Business & brand
“The word ‘youth’ sends shivers down the spine of any modern communicator. Are we talking subgroup tweens, young teens or later teens, or any combination of these?

In short ‘youth’ is made up of various interlocking sub-groups whose attitudes and outlooks are fast changing.

However, today’s youth is linked by two powerful themes. First their ease, comfort and joy of working within a digital space. And secondly, the fact they will base their decisions on the opinions of friends, and in some case peers they have never met, rather than traditional sources of authority.

Young people’s demand for quality brand experiences, either online or in traditional retail environments, is very high.

They want to know what a brand is promising and are intolerant when promises are not met.
What’s Up therefore faces the challenge of articulating more clearly why young people should visit and use its site.

In other words, site visitors need to be clear how a visit will add to their lifestyle choices whilst also being cool, credible, relevant and fun.

But before looking at options some words of caution: it’s vitally important to tread lightly in the digital sphere and respect what has been designated a social space.

For some quick, early wins you could:
• Focus on grabbing the attention of a generation with multimedia, such as exclusive gigs streamed online. Content should be searchable and available with clear signposting to top tips, trends and buys.
• Extend the current offer by linking up with Facebook, Twitter, Bebo and MySpace – eg, Facebook competition, news, entertainment and speak out tabs.
• Make available to registered users a one-click widget that would allow them to update their status, twitter feed and text their friendship groups about featured events.
• Distance the What’s Up brand from formal education and the implied authority, and re-focus on the fun elements provided by the site.
• Ensure What’s Up has a place to meet and interact online (including instant messaging, voip and moderated chat rooms) – in addition to insights into London life and offers exclusive to members.
Given the right content in the right context, the youth market is far from unfathomable for What’s Up.”