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Digital

With the invention of digital, the traditional media owners have been forced to evaluate their proposition. For TV and radio, the greatest challenge has been that the plethora of new stations has decimated audience numbers by giving the consumer unlimited choice. For print, circulation has fallen as readers move online. The early predictions for the outdoor advertising industry were not good either. It was believed that the internet’s ability to target consumers would result in a redirection of advertising budgets online and that the oldest medium would struggle to adapt. However, a look at the latest numbers from The Advertising Association/WARC 2012-2014 expenditure report shows that outdoor has responded to the challenge. Indeed, the industry returned to the record 2007 revenue level last year and is projected to be close to £1bn in 2014.

Outdoor advertising’s main product is still ‘analogue’ – where paper is printed, posted onto panels and changed regularly. However, it’s digital screens that are driving growth in outdoor, accounting for 20% of all revenue in less than 2% of the locations, with digital screens offering flexibility and the ability to plan media more tactically than printed posters could allow.

Outdoor is split into transport, retail and roadside. The greatest potential for digital lies in retail and transport in what we call ‘place-based media’, referring to the interactivity of these environments. They allow us to display rich content, making the space more attractive for advertisers and consumers. The screens allow consumers to engage with advertisers, either to play a game or download a voucher. BirdsEye pioneered this on Primesight’s digital screens in cinemas with a game that cinemagoers could play before seeing Ice Age 2, achieving 11,000 interactions. For the roadside sector, the circumstances are different, because regulations generally prohibit moving imagery due to driver distraction so roadside has the lowest digital penetration. For this sector, the greatest use for digital is to add capacity to the most valuable sites to allow flexible and tactical messaging.

The recently released audience measurement system, Route, gives us a wealth of new ways to increase outdoor’s accountability. This ground breaking £19M research provides an “eye on” measurement of every poster panel in the UK by measuring the number of sightings. The data formulated with complex algorithms allow advertisers to plan highly targeted outdoor advertising campaigns based on the desired audience. With Route, we can understand how people travel, what routes they take and how often they take them. Knowing this, we have the flexibility to decide what communications we put in their way. By using the data it is possible to plan, trade and value the medium.

The future is exciting for the outdoor sector and the next step is to combine digital and “analogue” on posters, creating even more impactful campaigns. We are already developing a better understanding on the times of day when certain categories are more likely to be seen. Using this data we’re able to categorically prove that toothpaste ads are normally noticed more in the mornings (instead of planners having to rely on a hunch), while for car advertisements it’s the afternoon. Combining this with digital could mean running a campaign on traditional billboards while reinforcing the messaging using digital advertising. Digital provides endless opportunities for out of home, and with its growing support, posters will continue to have its place.

Continue reading on www.theguardian.com

HR-brainstorm

Six traits to look for in your future employees.

Digital skills are in high demand and short supply. But first things first — how do you define a digital team when nearly everything is digital?

Digital teams are responsible for developing, testing, and implementing a strategy to reach and engage target audiences through digital channels like web, mobile, and social. While other groups may draft the messaging, a digital team works hand-in-hand with marketing and product leaders to curate and create digital-first content strategy. Most often reporting through the CEO or CMO, digital teams may also be responsible for implementing cross-channel analytics, surfacing relevant emerging trends, and providing comprehensive guidelines. As institutions have weathered the seismic communications shift from managed brand broadcast to real-time community interaction, digital teams have stepped in to manage listening platforms and identify opportunities for engagement. Finally a successful digital team will build a strong partnership with IT, who owns critical technology infrastructure and associated services.

Now that we’ve defined the team, how the hell do you hire for it? Your general hiring practices still apply: intelligence, energy, and above all integrity. In my 15+ years building digital capabilities in startups, agencies, and the enterprise, and most recently as the Chief Digital Officer at Harvard University, I’ve seen some consistent traits emerge. Here are six attributes to consider when sourcing talent for a high-performing digital team:

1. People who are omnivores, not vegans. Digital is part technology, part content strategy, part marketing art — and science. People who very strongly identify with only one piece of the equation will struggle on a high-performing digital team. Over the past decade skills within digital teams have merged even further. For example, years ago there was a tidy division between the wireframe creators and front-end developers. As development has become quicker and less costly, more prototyping occurs in code. People who are used to throwing their deliverable over the transom and clocking out — a familiar paradigm in print production — may have trouble tolerating the shifting sands of digital.

2. People who understand a website launch is only the beginning. Focusing solely on a website launch is a bit like planning for your wedding more than your marriage. Smart project managers and content strategists will force you to create personas and walk through use-case scenarios that test workflow and resource assumptions. “Who updates that feature? How? Where does that video clip come from?” Team members should all be aware of desired analytics results like increased sales or reduced transaction steps that will be measured at intervals post launch. Here’s a test: if the job candidate can speak compellingly about the launch collateral but less than fluently about the digital product’s six-month analytics proof points, beware.

3. People who recognize that design is a differentiator. A unique idea for a digital product or service is surprisingly rare, and design excellence is often the differentiator. Understanding of design is not only a belief in the value of a strong initial concept, but also adherence to the belief that multiple small design decisions add up to a significant user experience impact. This requires a level of attention to detail, and a belief in the value of microinteractions. Everyone on your digital team — not just the designers — should be able to wax effusive about a digital product design they love, and point to the specific attributes that make the design work.

4. People who are comfortable with uncertainty and can act with agility. Everyone who claims to have a five year digital strategy is lying. You aren’t shopping for team members who can predict the future — you are looking for people who can make smart decisions based on limited information, and cut their losses when they fail. Changes can start from the technology, like Google releasing Penguin or Twitter changing its API. Or change can originate from the product team, who sees a usage pattern shift and needs to change course. In any event, a bias toward smart-step action rather than becoming mired in analysis is vital for a digital team.

5. People who eat the dog food, willingly and visibly. Digital team members do digital stuff. They put their band’s recordings online. They write and share online book reviews. They participate in social networks from Spotify to LinkedIn. Skeptics take note: it takes less time to write a tweet than to tie a Windsor knot. Of course, the greater the level of responsibility in the workplace, the less time people have to create content and engage online. And gender and culture matter in the level and kinds of participation. But you’ll find that the best candidates make some time for their digital lives, to see firsthand the benefit and the costs.

6. People who bring varied perspectives, earned from experience. Digital’s new compared to print, but it’s been around long enough for strong candidates to have work experience that’s varied in both role and organization. Look for people with experience delivering software product, toiling on the agency side, and juggling on the client side. Software team experience will give them a thick skin and an always-be-shipping mindset; agency dynamics will teach flexibility and how to handle a crunch; and client roles will provide organizational, stakeholder, and vendor management skills. Varied experience can lead to a kind of multilingualism, making team members able to view problems from others’ perspectives and find creative solutions.

Hiring is hard. Building a team is harder. Each addition is a potential win for the culture, or a proverbial bad apple. I’ve found that using your hiring best practices, and zeroing in on the attributes above results in a digital team that delivers.

Continue reading on blogs.hbr.org
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