ALL ABOUT THE GRAM: IT’S TIME TO EMBRACE ‘THE INSTAGRAM MOMENT’

This week we read about a newly launched Selfie Factory pop-up in London that has attracted thousands of social media fans looking for the perfect backdrop to feature on their Instagram and Snapchat selfies.

Built as a series of stylish room sets, a trip to the factory can cost from £9.99 an hour to £19.99 for a whole day, where you’re free to run around and take as many selfies as possible in backdrops from a 1950’s diner, to a bath tub filled with pink balls or a giant teddy bear.

The point is you take along lots of outfits and gather enough selfies to keep your social channels busy for months to come!

You don’t need whole room sets to make the most that “Instagram moment” however it is well worth thinking about creating installations at your venue to encourage social shares.

It doesn’t have to be as extravagant as you may think, it just needs to be something visual that’ll make people reach for their cameras. What would be your ideal backdrop? Would it be a something to make you look like you’re living it up in the Maldives or simply a prop to add something a bit different to your latest Instagram upload.

Whether it’s a bar in the city centre, a high street fashion store or a quiet corner of your visitor attraction, it almost feels like it should be a requirement to create something that’s worthy of the ‘gram. And don’t be afraid to think outside of the box and get a little creative.

Flower walls, giant photo frames, neon lighting, bright wall colours or murals, pop-up creatures or even a love-lock grid – the list is endless when it comes to ideas for incorporating a bit of selfie sparkle into your marketing mix.

Here are just a few recent examples of campaigns we’ve worked on where the “Instagram Moment” is at the heart of things.

  • Intu Metrocentre lovelock wall
  • Flymo Waterloo giant deckchairs
  • Seven Stories Elmer exhibition launch

So next time you’re planning a marketing campaign, a new venue launch or a PR stunt, embrace the ‘gram! You never know who’ll be snapping…

GET CREATIVE: STOP BEING AFRAID OF SILLY IDEAS

Words by Lauren Regan, creative director

We’ve all sat in creative meetings and thought “is my idea the worst idea in history”? Don’t be afraid of that thought – Embrace it!

If you’re facing creative brain freeze and your campaigns are stagnating, forget about “being cool”, lose your inhibitions and let your most ridiculous, big, hairy audacious ideas loose on the world. What’s the worst that can happen?

When you’re a grown up being silly can seem to be just well, silly! By embracing problems with a playfulness, you can take an ok idea and mould it into something which is really going to catch people’s attention.

If you have been in your role a while then chances are that you will revert back to your past experience, which is safe, solid and sensible. It’s also probably boring.

True innovation comes from being brave and accepting that we are going to fail 1000 times before we get it right. But that’s ok. Draw pictures, write daft copy, crumple things up, try them again and find inspiration in all of the silly ideas that have gone wrong before they ever made it off the drawing board. We’re working in a human industry and once we accept that we are fallible and no longer strive for perfection first time, you can open your mind to the idea that anything is possible.

Making mistakes is all part of the creative process. Benjamin Franklin once said “I haven’t failed, I’ve had 10,000 ideas that didn’t work”. Michael Jordan missed over 9000 shots in his career, lost over 300 games and 26 times he has been trusted to take the game winning shot and missed. But that’s not why he is remembered – he’s celebrated for the shots that hit their target and he succeeded despite, and because of, the misses. No idea is going to be perfect first time and not every concept is going to make it through the net, but if you don’t put them out there then you will never know which way the game is going to go.

Don’t forget, it’s important to remember why you are being creative in the first place and avoid creativity just for the sake of it. Keep your business goal at the heart of any creative problem solving and your ideas will go from a pretty picture and some nice words, into a campaign capable of having real business impact.

At O we believe in being ‘seriously creative’ – addressing your business problems with imaginative approaches that are different enough to get your customers talking and taking action. Just because your problem is serious, doesn’t mean that it can’t be approached in a creative way; you never know, the silliest ideas might just solve your most serious problem.

BACK TO SCHOOL AND RETAIL: THE PERFECT TIME TO ENGAGE WITH AN AUDIENCE?

It’s that time of year again where every company you have ever heard of is donning an all-caps hashtag on their website. It’s #BacktoSchool time.

For many companies, especially in the retail sector, Back to School time is similar to Christmas. It’s a great time to push sales and increase engagement with customers because, at the end of the day, there will never be a shortage of children needing to get ready for the new academic year. For example, did you know that a survey conducted by marketing intelligence agency Mintel revealed that Brits collectively spent a total of £510 million on school uniforms in 2018?

Although the kids have returned to school this week – there’s still plenty of time to jump on the bandwagon and catch those last-minute shoppers.

Here’s our top four tips for those in the world of retail that are looking to stand out from the crowd this September.

THINK OUTSIDE OF THE BOX

It may seem like a bit of a redundant task – after all, the retail sector created #BacktoSchool but you might be surprised to see that it’s not just clothes manufacturers and stationery suppliers who can take advantage of this time of year.

Whether your brand is mainly targeting children and their parents or you’ve got an audience of young adults heading off to university, there’s plenty that can be done when you think outside of the box.

Experience-led activations instore can be a huge footfall driver and by getting your audience involved, you can even get direct feedback. Why not host a live ‘show and tell’ of some packed lunch recipes for busy mums or get students instore to create their perfect fresher’s survival kit?

MAKE IT RELEVANT

Once you’ve got a good understanding of the audiences you’re targeting in your #BacktoSchool campaign, it’s worth taking an introspective look at the specific products or services you want to push forward.

In theory, almost every brand out there has something that could be tied to the general #BacktoSchool trend, but what differentiates a campaign that resonates with the audience from one that is just a blatant sales pitch is good storytelling.

Appealing to stories about children leaving the nest to move in on their own for the first time at university, or little ones making their way to the first day of school – in other words, appealing to emotionally-charged moments in our lives – is a great way to relate to your customers in meaningful ways, whilst also being able to promote your products or services without seeming out of place.

REACH OUT TO THE APPROPRIATE INFLUENCERS

Many beauty, fashion & lifestyle YouTube influencers have come under public scrutiny in recent years for hopping on the #BacktoSchool wagon. Social media personalities who completed their education a while ago and are seen to recreate the ‘trendy’ school look have been dubbed as artificial and unrepresentative of current school regulations.

Similarly, well-established cosmetics brands have also been publicly called out for inaccurately linking their products to the #BacktoSchool trend, with critics questioning the morality of promoting makeup to schoolgirls.

Whilst influencer marketing is often seen as the golden ticket to massive engagement, not knowing which social media personalities to go to for in your campaign can be a faux-pas that costs millions.

Why not try a family blogger or student that’s currently at university and getting them to try out some products either at home or instore? Sometimes scaling down and looking for hyperlocal influencers with engaged audiences can make the world of difference.

PLAY THE ‘NEW BEGINNINGS’ CARD

If, after you’ve checked all of the above, you’re still unsure as to how you might link your campaign to #BacktoSchool, then there is one last trick you can pull.

September is generally known as a time for ‘new beginnings’ due to its academic ties so why not use this as your narrative? Whether you’re launching a brand-new product or you’ve got the essentials for going back to school nailed, crafting a story around this time of year can be beneficial as a promotional tool but also for getting an audience onboard that may be ready for a change in path.

O Communications is a creative communications agency based in Newcastle. If you’re looking for some strategic advice on creating a campaign that’ll get people talking, drop us an email on letstalk@opr.co.uk.

ARE CATS THE PURRFECT ADDITION TO YOUR MARKETING CAMPAIGN?

Author: Sammy Sadler

Cats are a bit marmite aren’t they? Nobody ever really admits to sitting on the fence about felines – you either love them or hate them. I sit firmly in the cat lover camp and nothing brings me more joy than illustrating my tweets with hilarious cat GIFs and it turns out that I’m not alone. So, in the spirit of International Cat Day, let’s have a look at why cats could be your marketing kryptonite.

Over the years there has been conflicting research on whether or not cats have taken over the internet, with some sources claiming that cat videos make up about 30 percent of all internet traffic, a stat which was disregarded in New York Museum exhibition ‘How Cats Took Over The Internet’. Regardless of that and the question of whether people search for dogs or cats more (it’s dogs by the way) many of us can’t help but think that the internet was made for cat content.

Grumpy Cat, BaneCat, Lil Bub, the list is endless when it comes to naming the comical felines that we have fallen in love with and in turn are racking up millions of YouTube views. The recently passed Grumpy Cat’s net worth has even been cited as $100 million although her owner claimed this not to be true.

via GIPHY

But it’s not just the ‘famous felines’ that get all of the attention. Lolcat became an internet sensation of memes and we have a plethora of images, GIFs and videos at our fingertips to binge on cat-related content. But why should that make a difference to your marketing?

Even though these loveable kitties may not be necessarily marketing anything, their ability to make people laugh triggers one of the most important marketing tools out there – the power of the giggle.

Paddy Power is a perfect example of this. Although it isn’t posting cats everywhere, the brand uses humour in a way that will specifically appeal to its audience and as a result it has easily become one of the most recognised brands in the UK.

People love to laugh so why do we take marketing so seriously all of the time? The need for serious messaging will always be there but can we not have a bit of fun every now and again? You may not be opting to choose a sassy Persian cat to head up your brand anytime in the near future, but that doesn’t mean you can’t still opt for something that’ll make your audience chuckle or coo.

And it’s not just what makes you chuckle, there are so many ways you can harness what the experts call ‘emotive marketing’:

Controversial or not controversial? That is the question

Controversy has been known to have great results in the past but it’s not always something that you should opt for. You need to be a brand that has a challenger attitude and is unafraid of criticism, and debate – and even then, you should always stay on the right side of what is tasteful.

Who finds it funny? You or your audience?

We’ve spoken a lot about considering who your audience is, especially when it comes down to your communications strategy. Just because you find something hilarious or cute, it doesn’t necessarily mean that the audience of your brand will think the same. Analysing what your social followers already engage with will give you a big indication of what they like and don’t like – go with that.

Keeping it consistent

Tying in with the controversial tip, any content should be appropriate to everything else you are putting out there. Throwing in a curveball every now and again doesn’t hurt but if you go off piste radically you could damage your brand’s story irreversibly.

Don’t try too hard 


Do be brave and take yourself and your brand out of the comfort zone a little bit – but nobody likes a try-hard. Make sure you are being topical and witty when you choose that next funny GIF, otherwise you’ll lose respect – a bit like telling a cheesy joke at a party!

STORYTELLING? IT’S NOT CHILD’S PLAY!

Words by Lauren Regan

Seven Stories, The National Centre for Children’s Books, lies nestled in the heart of Newcastle’s busting Ouseburn Valley, a stone’s throw from the city’s vibrant quayside. The mission is simple, to bring the joy of children’s books to families across the world through innovative exhibitions, events and activities.

Seven Stories holds a special place in my heart. I spent seven years of my career working as part of their marketing department and it is the role that I get asked about the most. What was it is like to talk about children’s books all day? And I always have the same answer. It was bloody hard!

To put it simply, we brought children’s books to life.

I was surrounded by storytellers every day. Brilliant authors waltzed through the doors and entertained rooms full of excited families with their daring tales. It was apparent that the best storytellers weren’t the novelists, they didn’t use the most, the biggest or the fanciest words, in fact the complete opposite. The best storytellers were the picture book writers. The authors of the books which have very few words but every word has been toiled over and carries meaning. They repeat their message over and over – any parent will be able to quote Julia Donaldson’s “Oh wait, oh no…It’s a Gruffalo!” – these messages are memorable and the audience will be shouting them well after they forget what the story is actually about.

Storytelling is in my blood but it’s also in yours. Our entire civilisation started with people sitting down and telling stories to each other around a fire; where the best berries were, how to catch a mammoth, have you heard that a guy two hills over has found out the rubbing two sticks together can make this cool thing called fire? None of us would be here today without the power of stories. Studies have shown that effective storytelling will actually affect the listener or reader’s brain. Our brains light up when we hear stories, so much more than when we are fed factual content, and not only that, we remember them. People re-tell stories that make them feel something, whether that’s at the bus stop, around the dinner table or on social media – powerful stories get people talking.

Did you know that every story ever written is simply an iteration of one of seven plots? Rags to riches, the quest, voyage and return, comedy, tragedy, rebirth, and the most interesting from a brand storytelling perspective, overcoming the monster. For effective brand storytelling you need to find each of your customer’s monsters, slay it and become the hero by helping them over come it. Your service or product exists for a reason, if it didn’t benefit your consumers, you simply wouldn’t exist. By understanding your customers’ pain points you show that you understand them and their world and have a relevant place in their lives, much more than a brand who is simply broadcasting their own agenda.

Your overarching brand message should be clear and concise and it should be simple enough for a child to understand and repeat. No, scrap that. Write your brand stories as if you are trying to explain it to your drunk friend in a loud bar. You have to shout over everyone else’s noise, they keep wandering off and getting distracted and all you want is for them to listen and remember the one simple thing you are trying to tell them.

The world is one, big noisy bar and while your customers probably aren’t drunk all of the time, you’re competing with global distractions coming at them from every angle. What is the one thing that you want them to remember about your brand when they wake up in the morning, with a fuzzy head, hungover from the marketing messages that bombard them every day?

Everyone has stories to tell and I am constantly surprised by the amount of businesses who think that they don’t have anything you say. At O we often question each other to search for the ‘so what?’. Whether you’re launching a new piece of baby-tech, unveiling a new family-friendly venue or introducing a new product; unpicking the real-world reasons behind your story allows your customer and stakeholders to become part of the narrative and gives them a hook to re-tell the story to their peers.

Stories help us to make friends, and ultimately, isn’t that what it’s all about?

The importance of provoking an emotional response

You can tell the tension is slowly building up as the instrumental piano in the background intensifies, becoming louder. Next shot, two men sit at a bar enjoying two bottles of beer that appear hardly relevant to the whole setting, as the camera focuses on the younger man’s face. And then he drops the bomb: “I wanted to actually ask you to legally adopt me.”

We are sure that most people who have made it 2:25 minutes in to Budweiser’s Father’s Day campaign video know exactly what moment we’re referencing above, because it is the precise moment when you burst into tears, at which point what follows in the remaining minute or so isn’t even relevant anymore.

In just a clever sequence of shots, the ad makes a point to 1) show what is being advertised, 2) what greater social cause is being endorsed and 3) ideally, it will make you cry. It is at exactly minute 2:17, next to a conveniently but not inauthentically placed bottle of Budweiser, that the younger man unfolds the legal documents for his adoption, and by all accounts that is everything you need to remember.

Recent years have been flooded by advertisements that follow the same pattern – a quiet beginning, intensifying instrumental background scores, emotional punchlines. This is hardly a coincidence, as neuroscientists have long championed that emotions leave longer-lasting impacts in your memory than rational facts. In fact, this is so much so that a study by the Institute of Practitioners in Advertising found that advertisements with purely emotional content generated twice as much profit as ads based solely on product-related facts.

It turns out, then, that an advert’s ability to lure in viewers by means of storytelling has a far greater influence on customers’ decision to purchase a product than the advert showcasing the benefits of said product. In the context of an over-saturated mass market, it is no longer sufficient to create a brilliant product; brands have become more and more aware that in order to win customer’s trust, they must first appeal to their basic human principles.

Gillette’s Father’s Day advert was a great example of how storytelling has come to be the driving force behind remarkable campaigns that almost seem to be selling audiences a lifestyle rather than a product. The advert, on the surface, shows a young transgender man shaving for the first time under his father’s supervision – not that big of a deal, right? Wrong. Not only is the advert making a bold statement about what manhood has come to mean in the 21st century, but it also plays on a deeply embedded cultural myth of the father mentoring his son into becoming a ‘real’ man, which is why the ad has currently gained over 10K shares on Facebook, and thousands of reactions across all social media platforms. Not to mention, the ad checks all the boxes for emotional social cause sob-stories, but it does so in such a genuine manner that we can overlook the melancholic violin in the background.

Documentary cinematographer Ken Burns once said that “all storytelling is manipulation” and as proven by recent campaigns, it appears brands are nowhere close to jumping off the emotional advertising wagon. In a fast-paced world where no product is irreplaceable, companies must make an effort greater than ever before to get to know their audiences, understand the causes they stand by and the narratives they associate with themselves in order to ensure their products – and brand – are relevant on the market.

O’S MONDAY MUSINGS: RECHARGE AND FEEL INSPIRED

It may sound counter-intuitive, but taking time to relax and invest your spare time into soul-fulfilling hobbies is actually the best trick to improving your productivity at the work place. A study conducted by Harvard in the mid-2000s revealed that, across the sample of American corporations included in the research, those companies whose employees reported higher rates in stress and sleep deprivation lost just over $63.2 billion a year in productivity. We take our time off very seriously here at O and we would encourage you to also find ways to recharge and feel inspired. Hopefully, this list will serve as a starting point:

Apps

Otter.ai: Otter Voice Notes – Face-to-face interactions with our clients play a huge part of our day to day tasks, but sometimes putting everything that has been discussed in a meeting on paper can feel like an overwhelming task. Chatting makes ping-ponging ideas back and forth so much easier than through emails or Slack messages, which makes transcribing an absolute nightmare. Fortunately, we found an app that almost does the job for us. Otter is a speech-to-text app designed to save us all some time and take the weight of pressing play, pause and rewind endlessly while transcribing important audio material. A quick disclaimer is worth noting – as much as the developers have worked on the app’s speech recognition algorithm, some accents may be harder to process than others, so it’s worth proof checking the documents before sending them off.

Tagomatic – We work very closely with social media here at O and we’re always keeping up to date with what is trending online these days. However, finding the best hashtags is no easy job but thankfully there’s an app that has our backs. TagOMatic essentially works as an endless collection of hashtags which you can browse through to see not only which ones fit your posts best, but also what other related topics are doing much better than the hashtags you would normally use.

Articles

Digital Doesn’t Have To Be Disruptive – A long, but very insightful piece on the myths and false expectations businesses sometimes hold against digitalisation. Although by no means a new phenomenon, Furr and Shipilov argue going digital has long been perceived as a disruptive business decision, leading to the word slowly becoming stripped of meaning and casing confusion among executive boards.

Indra Nooyi and the Vanishing Female C.E.O – This article makes a really good point about the state of the contemporary female CEO following former PepsiCo chief Indra Nooyi. Kolhatkar’s comments about the dwindling numbers of US female chief executives in recent months despite “more women than men are now earning college degrees, and about as many women as men go into business careers.”

From empowerment to performance: Why brands need to shift the narrative around women’s sport – With the FIFA Women’s World Cup having recently ended, there’s no better time to talk about the gender bias woven into many of the official communications recently released by sponsoring brands. In this piece, Rogers makes a great point about the dichotomy between male and female-centred advertising, claiming that for so long narratives around women’s sports have focused on empowering them to pursue traditionally masculine career paths, instead of valuing the top-tier physical ability and skill World Cup female footballers possess.

Podcasts

The Habitat – Did you know that at the top of a remote Hawaiian mountain there is a planet Mars simulator called The Habitat? If you’re a science fan but have a soft spot for Big Brother-y type plotlines, this podcast is perfect for you. Gilmet’s The Habitat tells the story of six scientists and engineers selected by NASA to live on fake Mars for a year, in hopes of generating more concrete insights into what challenges future astronauts will face on their trip to the red planet. Structured as a mix between daily diaries sent in by the fake-Mars crew and contemplative bits produced by podcast host Lynn Levy, The Habitat presents itself more as a fascinating social experiment than a scientific endeavour. As relationships flourish and tensions arise, the classic reality-show plotline slowly transforms into a surprising investigation into the intricacies of human interaction and the importance of space research.

Uncover: Escaping NXIVM – If you’ve been keeping up with the news, then surely you’ve heard Keith Raniere has been found guilty of all charges against him in the world-renowned case against NXIVM. Despite the publicity, the media coverage on the details of the six-week trial has been rather scarce, leaving many confused as to what the controversy was all about. Uncover’s first season provides a brilliantly written analysis into Raniere’s NXIVM, a rapidly-growing sex cult marketed as a self-help community. Perhaps what makes this story even more gripping is the candid relationship that unravels between host Josh Bloch and ex-NXIVM member Sarah Edmondson as she unravels the secrets of a group she’s been involved with for more than a decade.

Song Exploder – This is the perfect podcast for a curious mind with a soft spot for behind-the-scenes insights and a massive passion for music. The concept is pretty straightforward: the host, Hrishikesh Hirway, invites musicians on the show and asks them to dissect the process of making one of their songs. Although the podcast is now considered old school due to having premiered in 2014, the episodes never get old, making it a great listen for your commute or the soundtrack to mindless tasks that need to be done.

Shows

Stranger Things: Season 3 – If you aren’t caught up with the previous two series of Stranger Things, then you might want to reserve a weekend or so for binge watching  the previous seventeen episodes and become fluent in the show’s jargon, as it will make understanding the freshly-released seasons so much easier to follow. Now, without dropping too many spoilers, we can only say this: the third season is set a few months after the cast comes to the conclusion that the Upside Down is posing much greater threats to the world than they might have thought. As the Hawkins crew starts venturing into adolescence and young adulthood, relationships blossom and feuds burst out, all the while human world is faced with enemies old and new.

Killing Eve: Season 2 – We have mentioned Phoebe Waller-Bridge’s work in a previous Monday Musings, and we can’t help that we love her work so much. After a seductively addictive first season in 2018, the critically acclaimed BBC One show returned to the screens in April this year with a whole new set of challenges for both MI5 agent Eve Polastri and her designated assassin, Villanelle. Scoring a roaring 93% on Rotten Tomatoes, the second season plays a fascinating twist on the hyper-masculine detective/spy genre and reveals a more profound interpretation of the film noir, the tension between Villanelle and Eve building up as a commentary on the power of modern femininity.

Paper bags at Boots – is it right to be putting the boot in?

It’s been a week since Boots announced it was replacing its usual plastic carrier bags with unbleached paper versions and that while the 5p price tag still applies (with larger 7p and 10p options), all profits would go to charity – BBC Children in Need to be specific.

The well-known health, beauty and pharmacy chain rolled out paper bags into 53 of its stores across the UK that same day as a test bed, pledging to have them in all 2,400+ stores by 2020. The figures work out based on a 12-month period ending this April that over 900 tonnes of plastic from Boots store operations each year will be removed.

A post on the Boots website explained:

“The new Boots bags are made from unbleached, Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certified recycled brown paper, which is printed with water-based inks so the bags can be easily recycled at home. Sourced and manufactured in the UK, the bags display the On-Pack Recycling Label (OPRL) standard, which helps consumers to recycle correctly…”.

A huge step that shows Boots’ commitment to being a responsible retailer and acknowledging its part to play in reducing plastic pollution.

However many have been quick to call them out for switching to plastic bags for some medical prescriptions recently. When concerns started to appear on social media about this noticeable change, Boots responded that they were also looking for alternative ways to package dispensing products, including a compostable solution.

We’re big believers in CSR and brands backing up their pleas with purpose, not just for the power it can have in the PR mix but the real benefits it has in the world. Of course, the predicament that Boots has found itself in does undermine or counteract these latest plans and their effort in limiting single use plastics, but should we not be focusing our attention elsewhere to retailers ignoring their environmental impact completely? Looking at you ASOS.

A “token gesture” it is not if you consider how major it would be if others of the same scale followed suit. So we’re here for it. What’s even better is that our very own intu Eldon Square and intu Metrocentre are among the first shopping centres for the bags to be available in.

We don’t know about you but we’re heading straight down to our local Boots to applaud a bold move and if we forget our own bags, we’re safe in the knowledge we’re supporting a worthy cause in BBC Children in Need. Who knows, it might even make it onto an Instagram story!

O’S MONDAY MUSINGS: FIND YOUR INSPIRATION

 

Inspiration comes from the most unexpected of places, which is why keeping up to speed with what is going on in the world is so important for us at O. We have returned this week with another list of apps, shows, podcasts and articles that have been sparking our interest lately and stimulated our curiosity to extend our knowledge further. We would love to hear about some of the best things you have discovered recently!

Apps

Flora: Focus & Study in Forest – We’ve tried all sorts of apps with tips and tricks for productivity yet nothing has been as effective and fun as Flora. On the one hand, the app is grounded in the Pomodoro technique, which implies staying intensely focused for slots of 25 minutes at a time. On the other hand, what differentiates Flora from all other similar apps we have tried is its fun twist on competition and interactivity. The way the app works is quite straightforward – every time you wish to be productive, you plant a seed in your digital garden, estimating how long you want to go without checking your phone. As minutes go by, the plant grows bigger and eventually turns into a tree – however, if you can’t stay away from your phone for as long as you initially anticipated, the plant dies. What is even more fun is that Flora allows you to connect with fellow teammates or work buddies, which leads to hilarious competition between productivity gardens. Oh and last but not least – every time you use Flora money, your virtual tree transforms into a real-life one, contributing to making the planet a little more breathable!

Too Good To Go – Did you know that 1.9 mil tonnes of food is wasted by the food industry every year in the UK? What is more, the overwhelming majority of products thrown off the shelves is still in good condition and ready for consumption. Considering recently voiced concerns about the environmental crisis the world is heading for unless action is taken, food waste seems like something small that we can all participate in reducing. Too Good To Go is a good way to start contributing to a more sustainable food industry. Developed to look and feel similar to Deliveroo’s trademarked interface, the app aims to connect customers with local restaurants that do not wish to waste away their daily leftovers. The app works on a pretty simple system; there are two main timeframes when food is up for grabs (lunch and dinner). During those pick-up times, each partnering restaurant has a limited number of ‘Magic Bags’ (the surplus food that needs eating). But here’s the catch: unlike other food delivery apps, you have no control over what food you are going to get from your restaurant of choice. All you have to do is pay for the Magic Bag (sometimes for as cheap as £1.75!) then hope for the best. One major drawback is that Too Good To Go does not include the delivery, which means you will have to go and collect the food yourself.

Nichi: Collage & Stories Maker – There’s no denying it, Instagram stories are here to stay as one of the most powerful tools of visual communication. While our profile feeds reflect the curated events we want to permanently share with the world, our stories reveal a more ‘genuine’ and ‘impromptu’ side to how we present our everyday lives. Of course, that does not mean they don’t take time to beautify, which is something Nichi creators aren’t afraid to speculate on. Developed by a team of Chinese designers, Nichi is the perfect tool for super kawaii story layouts heavily influenced by Asian aesthetics. The app is mostly free, with the majority of elements and pre-sets free of charge, so why not give it a try?

Articles

There’s Nothing Wrong with Posing for Photos at Chernobyl – An interesting analysis of the social media controversy that ensued following the success of HBO’s Chernobyl. Taylor Lorenz makes a compelling case on dark tourism and ethical sightseeing, ending with a great argument in favour of Instagram as the contemporary tool for documenting our lives and cementing the past within a broader social consciousness.

Why Our Devices Stopped Playing Nice With One Another – A brilliant satirical take on what visionary science fiction fantasies about the technologies of the future actually feel like in 2019. We are surrounded by devices every day and our daily chores are arguably dependent on them, yet we still haven’t discovered a way to make peace between Alexa and Siri, or iOS and Android.

Podcasts

The Shrink Next Door – You’ve probably heard of Wondery before – they’re the critically acclaimed network that created the now super-famous Dirty John podcast-turned-Netflix-documentary-and-series. Their stories are impeccably researched and brilliantly put together in easy-to-follow episodes that have us waiting on our toes for more. Their latest release in partnership with Bloomberg – The Shrink Next Door – is just another testament to Wondery’s incredible grasp of what makes audiences come back week after week for a new episode. Released in May of this year, the podcast tells the story of a celebrity and socialite therapist called Ike, told from the perspective of veteran journalist and neighbourhood of Ike’s, Joe Nocera. Known for the eccentric parties hosted at his Hamptons residence, Ike’s life appears, on the surface, to be filled with the glamour and extravagance of Manhattan’s high society. However, when Joe discovers that his neighbour is gone, everything he has ever known about Ike and his estate came crumbling down.

The Intelligence – The Economist’s podcast, released late in 2018, is the perfect cure for a boring commute. Swap endlessly scrolling through Instagram or boring radio show hosts for these 20-minute episodes packed with all you need to know about current world affairs. Episodes come out daily and include topics from all over the world, starting with UK politics and venturing all the way into topics such as Jared Kushner’s plans for the Iranian-American conflict, or the re-election of Nigerian president Muhammadu Buhari. Definitely a must-listen for anyone interested in (fairly) unbiased and to-the-point journalism!

The Chernobyl Podcast – You will have heard by now what an astounding success the HBO and Sky original series Chernobyl was. But if you’re curious by nature and feel compelled, like us, to know all the details about what wasn’t shown on screen about the series, then The Chernobyl Podcast is the perfect fix for you. Every episode of this five-part show is an incursion into the challenges of staying true-to-life and an act of transparency on Craig Mazin’s part, the creator and writer of Chernobyl. Moreover, the podcast is filled with jaw-dropping accounts from witnesses and survivors of the 1986 nuclear explosion that didn’t make it into the script, which makes for a fascinating yet uncomfortable listen. Don’t get discouraged though, it’s worth every minute of it!

Shows

Barry – If you’re looking for new things to get out of your Amazon Prime subscription, let it be Barry. The show, co-created, produced, written and sometimes directed by Saturday Night Live legend Bill Hader, follows the story of a hitman hired to kill a young Hollywood celebrity, who gets trapped in an acting class that makes him reconsider his life plans. Bitten by the acting bug, Barry abandons his mission and embarks on a journey towards a slightly more conventional career, finding a supporting and accepting community of young professionals hoping to make it big in LA’s theatre scene. The series masterfully handles dark humour and tense plotlines in a way that has attracted much critical acclaim for its comedic genius, which is exactly why we suggest you give it a try!

Patriot Act with Hasan Minhaj – This Netflix-original variety show aims to explore social, cultural and political landscapes in depth and find answers for issues that divide us as a society. The episodes, running for just about 20-something minutes, are packed with well-documented facts about topics such as the death of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, hype culture, student loans, the Sudanese crisis or cricket corruption, Minhaj’s political satire setting the show apart from any other of its kind. Season finale for Volume 3 has aired in mid-June this year, so you have just about 19 episodes to binge on your next weekend in!

 

CURATING THE PERFECT INSTAGRAM FEED

instagram social media spotlight

Whether you’ve just dipped your toes into the world of Instagram or you’re somewhat of a seasoned pro when it comes to knowing your carousels from your boomerangs, it’s the social media platform where you can let your creative juices flow!

Instagram is here to stay and it’s never been as important to nail your social feed, as this visual platform takes no prisoners in an ultra-competitive landscape of businesses all vying for those crucial followers and social engagements.

So what can you do to stand out from the crowd? How can you grab the attention of a potential client or customer? It whittles down to creatively portraying your brand story in a visually appealing way. Crafting impeccable copy and mustering up inventive ideas can be a challenging process, but don’t sweat it. We’ve asked our team to select some of their favourite creative brands on Instagram. Let’s get visual!

Taco Bell

The ever-popular American fast-food chain Taco Bell is killing it on Instagram. Following social media’s version of the rule of threes, the brand’s visual execution is phenomenal and importantly makes your mouth water with an abundance of tantalising imagery.

The vibrant style of the Taco Bell Instagram page is without a doubt one of the brightest lights when it comes to social media within the fast-food industry and with over 20,000 followers alone on the firm’s UK Instagram, and 1.3m followers on its global handle, the world is taking notice.

Image taken from Taco Bell UK Instagram feed

GoPro

Synonymous with creative content, GoPro has been the chief architect of a revolutionary period of inventive video from adventurers across the globe. Naturally, this has proven to be a hotbed for user-generated content and has bolstered GoPro’s presence in the social media world with over 15 million followers.

Dubbed the world’s ‘Most Versatile Camera’, the brand’s marketing efforts has also been at the forefront of the product with ‘Share With #GoPro’ plastered across all forms of marketing both offline and online. GoPro’s harmonious relationship with its audience has been a pivotal contributor to the virility of content produced through its renowned products.

Image taken from GoPro Instagram feed

Flymo

Gardening superbrand Flymo is a popular choice for both pro and amateur gardeners alike, boasting a range of products from robotic lawnmowers to leaf blowers and hedge trimmers. Over on Instagram the brand’s famous orange colour can be spotted splashed across the timeline in a range of posts, including behind-the-scenes at events across the UK and video clips of the products in actions. The place for garden inspiration and motivation to get your lawn into tip-top shape, Flymo’s Instagram will have you dreaming of the summer and rushing to grab that mower out of the shed.

Image taken from Flymo Instagram feed

 

Holland and Barrett

One of the world’s leading health and wellness retailers, Holland and Barrett, has worked hard to venture outside the ordinary remits of expectation when you typically think of consumer products. H&B illustrates that content does not have to be one dimensional and focuses its efforts on colours schemes, with an integrated approach to incorporate its wide range of products. The ‘grid’ style slant is a tested method on Instagram, but H&B combines this with many sections seamlessly syncing with product combinations to create one of the most aesthetically pleasing Instagram accounts out there.

Image taken from Holland and Barrett Instagram feed

 

Pets at Home

Last, but not least, Pets at Home, a brand who knows its audience and importantly what content its consumers are most receptive to. What’s that? Well, it’s UGC content from those purr-fect or paw-fect faces. So why can Pets at Home inspire your Instagram feed? It’s down to knowing that you don’t have to solely shout about the particular products you sell or services you provide, but the story behind them. In Pets at Home’s case behind every product purchase, whether it’s an accessory for your beloved dog or a tin of cat food, there’ll be a trusty animal companion!

Image taken from Pets at Home Instagram feed

We hope the examples from these brands have given you some food for thought on how you can up your Instagram game.

If you want to learn more about the impact of a strong social media presence and how we can develop your businesses online outlook, drop us an email on letstalk@opr.co.uk.