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Local agency Crowd have been featured on the UK Creative Industries Council’s ‘Ones to Watch’ list! This is a list of the top 100 companies which are selected through a rigorous application process to be part of the annual showcase of innovative, UK-based, companies. CIC’s CreaTech web portal is to exhibit B2B and B2C businesses that show innovation and creativity.

To make it to the list, your idea and company must impress the panel of industry judges on; Surprise, Purpose, Disruption, Opportunity for global collaboration/cross-sectoral impact and Commercial impact. Crowd are one of the 9 selected established businesses. 

Their new online conference platform, GoDigital Expo, has made the cut. Due to the national lockdown, many businesses had to quickly adapt, changing how they originally led their face to face meetings. Experience and technical knowledge of virtual events was instantly needed in order for businesses to survive. Along came GoDigital Expo!

As an ambassador for UK creativity, being seen as a CIC CreaTech One to Watch 2021 provides Crowd with greater authority as a global spokesperson for the UK. The award would not only boost their own potential to secure new business, but would help open the door for other UK agencies looking to export their creativity.

Local agency Crowd has been nominated for two Travolution Awards this year including:

The Best Customer Innovation Award for firms who have looked to invest in their technology over the last 12 months to react quickly to consumer needs in what has been a hugely challenging and uncertain market

and

The Best for Domestic Award. Which will be given to the website or mobile app judged to stand out in the promotion and retailing of UK domestic holidays.

The Travolution Awards is a platform for travel brands, software developers and digital agencies to showcase their talents. Crowd submitted their work with My Dorset Mind.

Working with three of their clients – Dorset Mind, Visit Dorset, and the Jurassic Coast Trust they created a digital experience that allowed people to immerse themselves virtually into a local Dorset beauty spot. During the first lockdown, travelling to scenic locations within the UK was restricted. Not only did this have a huge effect on the domestic travel industry, it also had a massive effect on our mental health.

Not only has My Dorset Mind helped to boost mental health around the world, it has also helped boost awareness of VisitDorset and the Jurassic Coast Trust, and enabled them to reach a global audience; building interest in the area through a virtual method.

To find out more visit My Dorset Mind and watch the video to find out more about the project from Crowd’s Global Creative Director, Steve Howling: https://youtu.be/hflJtXpog7k

The winners will be announced on the 25th November!

Running an online event can pose challenges, but with the right planning and tools, online events can increase your ROI without compromising on user experience.

As the current global pandemic began in early 2020, in-person meetings, shows and presentations pivoted to virtual events. And despite vaccinations around the world increasingly bringing us back ‘normality’, virtual events seem here to stay. Indeed, online events appear to be the emerging event model. Online events present challenges, but after more than a year of organising and attending virtual events, we have found great advantages to the virtual model and fine-tuned the keys to successful online event organising.

The challenges of running online events

Before discussing the keys to successful online events, there are few challenges that need to be acknowledged. The first of these are the technical difficulties that can arise due to a dispersed audience outside the organiser’s technical control. A survey conducted by Eventify showed nearly 40% of all organisers felt recurrently apprehensive about technical malfunctions. In addition, there is also the risk of breached security and being hacked.

Another area where online events can often fall short in comparison to traditional ones is attendee engagement, especially during single presenter events. Moreover, if people are attending a virtual event from the other side of the screen, their attention might be diverted by childcare, housework or visitors. This aspect can, therefore, be challenging for event hosts trying to keep their audience focused and interactive. Organisers need to consider their audience’s attention spans while planning. The content needs to be designed to accommodate the natural attention span and movement needs of most people. This is an aspect which needs to be thought about on both micro and macro levels, as it involves everyone: the hosts, sponsors and exhibitors.

Lastly, online events mean decreased personal contact and a potential barrier to human interaction. It has been proven multiple times, face to face communication is the best mode to effectively interact with other people. Many nuances can only be gleaned from a facial expression or body language.

Why take your event online?

However, there are several ways in which virtual events have overcome these challenges and become future-proof solutions for events. A recent survey conducted by Eventify again showed that, because of the ease and increased accessibility of virtual events, they register much higher attendance levels, up to 29%, compared to in-person ones. The reasons behind this are easily comprehensible— participants can sign up to events from anywhere even if the event is taking place in a different time zone or continent. This aspect removes all geographical barriers, making the distance between people irrelevant.

Similarly, networking and talent recruitment on an international level becomes easy on a virtual event: global recruiters can reach out to talents, experts or graduates coming from all over the world by just creating a meeting link. Moreover, the live chat options and tag-based interactions available on online platforms, peer-to-peer networking opportunities are more accessible.

Digital events offer greater flexibility for attendees, indeed, participants can attend one live session, and watch all the recorded others happening simultaneously later on as convenient. As physical presence is no longer a requirement, this new kind of event reduces risk and increases comfort. Attendees can join in safely and comfortably from their homes.

Virtual events present economic and time benefits as well. First, they are more cost-effective for both hosts and participants. Costs such as venue charges, on-location staff payments, travel and accommodation expenses, normally associated with a physical event are all avoided. In a nutshell, virtual events require lower per-event costs, while delivering a much higher ROI. And second, since the events take place digitally, shorter time investments are required for marketing and promotional purposes. Registration and virtual check-ins are much quicker than onsite procedures.

How to run a successful online event

With the new process of registering all the attendees online, organisers have all the data and facts to make informed decisions and adjust their event strategies accordingly, based on the attendee analytics, trends and preferences. Indeed, online software and tools make tracking participants’ wants, sentiments and activities possible, allowing the organisers to personalise more and more the experiences for every participant. This safe method to satisfy attendees is key to marketing, indeed as they will see their desires realised and wishes satisfied, they will surely remember the organisers’ name. Getting analytics of an offline event is surely possible, however an online setting and browser based tools make it far more feasible and viable.

Online events certainly require new skills and creativity, but they offer unprecedented potential to reach a large number and diversity of people. The most successful online events are able to make use of this reach by prioritising the audience experience. Treating online participants as in real life, ensuring that they experience a high quality of the event and have the same networking and learning opportunities as in offline events are the keys to success.

Online events can present technological challenges and engagement obstacles, however, attention to detail and proper planning can make an online event as efficient and memorable as a traditional one, while saving money and time. Therefore, adopting a versatile online event management strategy and platform such as godigitalexpo.com can ensure that organisers can satisfy thousands of attendees without compromising on participation, quality and engagement.

What do search engines want?

The easiest way to approach search engine optimisation (SEO) is by treating search engines like a store and your website is a product. They want to make their store attractive by offering good products. If your product (website) is better than your competitors, then they will put it closer to the front of their store or to stretch the analogy further in the window or the front page.

At the end of the day, search engines are businesses. By providing results that their users will find valuable, their users have a good experience and will come back again in the future. When they come back, they will see more adverts and search engines will profit from those repeat visits.

What is valuable content?

Valuable content is basically any content that people want to find. We should just pause and reiterate: it must be relevant to your business. By using content as a lure on search engines (and social networks), it must talk about what your company offers in terms of goods or services. Otherwise, your visitors will just bounce off having found out what they wanted to know.

Good content should attract visitors and excite them enough to engage further. This is the subject of a white-paper in itself. We can establish the potential popularity of a piece of content by looking at search volume data which is mainly made available for the use of paid advertising to justify higher rates for popular searches (and larger ad impressions).

You can use Google Trends to find popular search trends at the moment as well as general data on the popularity of search terms. Tools like this are used to establish keywords that may be valuable in developing content that is popular, but at the same time it shouldn’t be used to write content that isn’t relevant to your business.

We wouldn’t recommend a real estate company start writing about Taylor Swift, but we might recommend the content focus be skewed slightly to take advantage of relatively higher volumes. For example, a real estate company with properties near Dubai, can take advantage of higher Dubai based property searches by writing about the benefits of being near Dubai without actually being in it: lower costs, more space, great commuting etc.

The real estate company educates its readers and latches on to higher traffic sources without misleading searchers or search engines.

It’s a popularity contest

“Google only loves you when everyone else loves you first.” Wendy Piersall

One of the ironies of search engine marketing is that the more popular a piece of content is, the higher it will rank. But how do we make our content popular from page 2 of the search results?

We use all the other channels to drive traffic including Social Media, PR, Backlinks and Paid Advertising.

If your article, product or website is generating a lot of buzz, the search engine will assume that the content is useful or interesting to many people and will boost your rank accordingly.

Likewise, if content is talked about on other respected sites such as news outlets or Wikipedia, then it assumes the content is notable enough to warrant a boost in position.

These tactics help boost domain authority or in other words boost your credibility as a trusted and noteworthy source of information. If Wikipedia (which uses real people to review content) is happy to feature you, then you must be OK!


In Part 2, we’ll look at technical SEO and how making it easy for search engines to understand your site is a key technique to learn.

 

If you’d like to discuss your optimisation challenges, then get in touch!

Audiences connect with not just a brand’s product or service but with its story. In creating brand awareness and loyalty, you should be able to tell its story in a way that engages the target audience. We need to speak to long term followers and potential new customers in a way that is easy to understand and keeps them interested until they are ready to buy.

One of the biggest problems for agencies and our clients in content marketing is to find good ways to extract information to then compose compelling and real stories from the brand advocates on our team.

Sending out a questionnaire or building up long documents is sometimes the standard way of extracting these nuggets that go to build our brand story. However these can be time consuming and everyone is busy and these things get pushed down the priority list or get lost.

So how do we ensure we can tell compelling stories without increasing the workload of the our team?

Crowd has created a blog for our client DENSO that serves as a digital hub for its events, stories and news. We apply the principle of brand story-telling here, for which we are conducting one detailed interview a month to gather personal insights from key team members. We want to show the people behind the brand so how do we make sure we make the most of the interview?

Make it in-person: Instead of a written questionnaire, we find an hour of time in the interviewee’s schedule. The in-person interview is both quicker in the long run and more informative and by building up a conversational rapport, we can take things off topic if required to uncover valuable nuggets of information which we can use.

Do keyword and SEO research in preparation: We decide on key topics to discuss in preparation for the interview so that we cover topics that are of interest to our audience and ask the right questions accordingly.

Use the interview to produce multiple pieces of content: Make sure to cover a diversity of topics during the interview hour. Different parts of the interview can serve as the basis for different stories which can be used on a variety of channels such as social media.

The interviews can provide the crucial link between a piece of corporate activity and the audience’s interest. We show the personal story behind the development of say, a mobility software, and help our audience become invested in not just the software, but the brand. And we do this making the most of both our and our client’s time.

Would you like to find out how you can turn your team into your brand advocates? Get in touch with us to find out more.

Saudi Arabia’s social media usage has skyrocketed, according to Global Media Insights, and the country is now known as the Middle East’s most prominent social media market.

Because of the widespread use of smartphones, locals are using social apps more frequently, especially between 2020 and 2021. Statistics show that social media usage increased by 8%, with Twitter, YouTube, and Facebook seeing the most significant increases.

The country’s social media engagements are influenced by religious, political, and cultural factors. These factors impact Saudi citizens’ use of social media platforms in various situations, which enables them to communicate and connect more effectively and increase user participation.

So what are the latest trends in the Kingdom, and how can brands learn from this behaviour?

We uncovered the Kingdom’s latest online trends after deep-diving into KSA’s latest digital behaviour. Our findings are based on the Hootsuite and We Are Social KSA Digital 2021 report, Euromonitor’s Digital Consumer in Saudi Arabia report, global statistics and many more.

TREND 1: Create Content Using Local Dialect, Local Influencers and Geography of Saudi Arabia

Young Saudis are beginning to showcase their hidden talents on all social media platforms as the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia grows. According to Motivate Media Group’s case study “Campaign Saudi Report June 2021,” Saudi Arabian influencers have one of the highest local follower fan bases among GCC countries, ranging from 50 to 60 %. Local Saudis are incredibly proud of their homegrown talent, believing them to be the authentic voice of their country and themselves.

After carefully studying the online behaviour patterns of Saudi influencers and local content creators, we discovered they place a high value on providing relatable and real content to their fan base. Instead of uber-polished Instagram posts, young Saudis prefer to share unfiltered and realistic content on platforms such as TikTok and Instagram.

To approach a local Saudi online, we learned they prefer advertisements delivered to them in their native language by someone they know rather than some famous “nobody.”

TREND 2: Where There Is Gaming There Is a Saudi Watching

Did you know that the Saudi gaming market has one of the most significant yearly growth rates in the world, at 22 %. With more than 21.2 million players across the country, the Kingdom is currently the world’s 19th largest gaming market, growing at a rate of 41.1% every year.

Gaming influencers have a sizable Generation Z audience who will watch their streams for hours on end. Brands in the gaming industry are eager to collaborate with these content creators because of their close ties to young audiences.

However, before you begin advertising and practising product placement, you should first assess your target audience. Rather than simply adopting a direct selling strategy, the goal is to positively impact the gaming community, engage with it, and connect with it.

TREND 3: Calling Out All KSA Shopaholics of All Ages

Whether you are 15 or 50, online shopping in the KSA is booming at an intense speed. According to a recent study conducted by global statistics, Saudi Arabia has 39.53 million mobile connections, accounting for 112.7 % of the country’s total population.

Shopping apps like Amazon.sa, Namshi, Shein, Noon, Ajmall, and many others are used by up to 67.7% of the population. All businesses must be present on all platforms, virtually everywhere in Saudi Arabia, because all customers are currently online and shopping.

Brands must evaluate and be critical in determining how to create a strategic approach to reach out to their audience while staying current with the latest trends and consumer needs in the marketplace to optimize customer journeys online.

With all eyes on Saudi Arabia’s government, a slew of subsequent changes, adjustments, bureaucratic reorganizations, and regulatory changes are transforming public life. It’s a place where all types of businesses can thrive while also connecting with a diverse group of people eager to learn and grow.

Are you curious about the latest trends and online behaviour in the Kingdom? Contact us, and we’ll make sure your marketing meets KSA’s high standards.

References:
Global Media InsightGlobal StatisticsData ReportalSocialize AgencyXpress RiyadhMotivate Publishing

The UK Advertising Export Group (UKAEG) chose Crowd to speak at the UK House at a celebration of Cannes Lions Creativity to showcase advertising with purpose. 

The talk covered the MyDorsetMind project  by Crowd. The project created a digital platform that enabled people to virtually access the Dorset countryside during lockdown, and therefore boost their mental health by feeling closer to nature. 

The talk, delivered by Crowd Creative Director Steve Howling, explained how advertising agencies brands should look past messaging campaigns and see how technology and creativity can be used to create tools for consumers. By creating something useful, brands will engage more deeply with their audience, and become part of their life – rather than blend in with the rest. 

This year’s themes from Cannes Lions Live were not only diverse, but also forward-thinking. 

  • How COVID-19 has changed everything – Why culture, society and creativity will never be the same again.
  • Coping with a crisis – Creativity is the answer: now what’s the question?
  • It’s a journey, not a destination – Rewriting all the rules of retail.
  • Build back better – How creative businesses will thrive, not just survive.
  • Will brands still save the world? – The purpose priority post-pandemic.
  • Are you stalking me? – Being cool, not creepy, in the pursuit of personalisation.
  • A fad or the future? – The good, bad and the ugly: seeing the creative potential of new platforms and technologies.
  • The vanilla content issue – Getting attention in a blizzard of bland stories

Our international team and global footprint can help companies expand their horizons wherever they are. Speak to us today.

British attitudes towards travel and tourism have changed almost beyond recognition in recent months. As successive lockdowns have bitten into the national psyche, a series of meta-trends that were emerging pre-Covid have come to the fore. At the same time, the pandemic has itself created new ones. The biggest change? A renewed love for The British Staycation.

When the first national lockdown eased in the UK between June and July 2020, millions of Britons in need of a summer getaway were faced with the challenge of finding holiday destinations much closer to home.

According to Britain’s Office for National Statistics, there were 93.1 million overseas visits by UK residents in 2019, spending a mind boggling £62.3 billion, an increase of 7% compared with 2018. Had that trend continued, foreign travel might have outweighed domestic tourist spend entirely.

But this does not mean that £62.3 billion has gone straight into domestic tourism in 2021.

Domestic tourism forecasts for 2021

At time of writing, the ONS hadn’t released its 2020 data. But VisitBritain put together a provisional outline of the impact of Covid on domestic tourism in England from other data sources – and included forecasts for 2021.

“We have forecast a central scenario for England of £28.5 billion in domestic tourism spending in 2020, down 63% compared to 2019 when spending by domestic tourists in England was £75.9 billion,” the organisation reported.

“In total, this represents a loss of £47.5 billion (£11.7 billion from overnights and £35.8 billion from leisure day trips). The 2020 forecast is for a decline of 60% for overnights and 63% for leisure day trips, although with a different pattern of recovery. While some categories of day trips started to recover first, others are still very limited.”

The impact of regional and national lockdowns has clearly been felt. But within the gloomy reading, the shift to staycations over foreign travel is coming down the road as clear as day itself.

What happens in England is likely to be mirrored in the devolved nations of Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland – and in every developed country where Covid-19 remains riskily high.

For further insights, see our full Amplify Travel & Tourism eBook here. To speak to Emma, contact her via LinkedIn here or email her at [email protected].

With a Covid-19 vaccine in sight for many people, teams could reasonably be expected to return to the office in the foreseeable future. But a move back to company HQ seems destined to fail if insisted upon too early in the recovery cycle.

It may also just be unnecessary. Firms like Fujitsu and Twitter have already announced plans to make remote work a permanent option, even after the pandemic. Global enterprises are deciding the path that they want to take to avoid staff irritation and confusion down the road.

Long-Term Travel – A Staff Incentive

The collision of technology and our personal desires is opening new avenues that are far flung from old-fashioned ideas about working from home.

With global restrictions almost impossible to predict, short-term travel continues to be difficult. But employees that feel a longer-term escape will benefit their professional focus and overall well-being are finding a new receptivity among progressive employers wanting to give talented individuals the space to find their place in the pandemic world.

Singles and couples that want to escape the same four walls they have inhabited since the beginning of the global lockdown are actively being given the opportunity to do so.

Travel has previously been seen as a potent employment incentive for a global workforce. Now it is a ‘travel-plus-living-in-the-place-you-want-to-work-from-for-a-while’ incentive.

This change has been driven partially by consistent access to the internet. Society already needed a cultural shift away from ‘presentism’ in the office. Although it took a global pandemic to do it, that shake up has happened. With a decent Wi-Fi connection and some initiative, a huge number of people in computer-based roles can get a day’s work done wherever they choose to be.

Working From Anywhere

A survey of 1,123 remote workers by The Times and Morning Consult found that:

  • 86% were satisfied working from home
  • Only 1 in 5 said they wanted to go back to the office full-time
  • 40% said they were taking more walks and breaks
  • 33% said they were exercising more

It seems safe to say that WFH works. But for me, the most telling statistic in this report actually related to the new WFA paradigm. One in three people contacted for the survey said they would “move to a new city or state if remote work continued indefinitely.”

In a world which increasingly seems crammed together, the future of business could be just the opposite: A chance to get out.

For further insights, see our full Amplify Travel & Tourism eBook here. To speak to Jamie, contact him via LinkedIn here.

Globetrender’s recent survey of 2,000 regular business travellers found that despite the increase in video-calling, the majority of people still believe that face-to-face meetings are preferable.

It’s our universal desire to connect with fellow humans that matters – be it for business or for pleasure. And that is why business travel will do more than survive in the long term.

The travel and hospitality sector has adapted to everything that has happened and we’ll adapt to everything that will happen ahead.

All you have to do is ask hoteliers. As Philip Chambers, General Manager at the K+K George Hotel Kensington told Amplify Travel & Tourism magazine, “We are working hard to create hospitality products that encourage the business traveller to spend more time with us. We will emerge from the current crisis with the energy and creativity which has kept it growing for more than a century.”

Themes for 2021

I look forward to travelling for business but believe that it will be less frequent and more intense. Business travellers like me will need to justify their travel for commercial, personal and ethical reasons in a way never seen before.

We will still need to meet new clients, build the foundations for future relationships, and complete complex deals and projects. But we will have to justify the business case for travel and assure our partners and families that the work cannot be done any other way – or take them with us.

We also need to think if a journey justifies the carbon footprint it creates.

Longer stays will be more popular. After the initial shock of Covid-19, we embraced working from home, spending more time with our families and getting involved with our communities. We swapped the commute for exercise and well-being – and theoretically had more time to do the things we love, because we spent less time commuting.

I think a new synthesis will emerge from all of these strands that offers business people the best of both worlds – a flexible work-world, and time to enjoy business tourism with the blessing of the companies that we work for.

For further insights, see our full Amplify Travel & Tourism ebook here. To speak to Vinnie, contact him via LinkedIn here or email him at [email protected].