We’re already helping adidas, Heinz, Unilever, Heineken, eBay, Jaguar, Intel, Moët & Chandon & Expedia.
We are half the age of Facebook, almost half the age of Twitter and nearly the same age as Instagram – We Are Social’s Paris office is now five years old!
On 5th February 2015 we celebrated our fifth anniversary with all of our clients and friends in the industry. Over the last five years, our employees (commonly referred to as Gremlins) grew from one to 84, in order to better support our clients and create first class work encompassing social, digital and even above the line activities.
I’d like to take this opportunity to say a huge thanks to everyone who came along, Piper Heidsieck for the fabulous champagne that fueled the night away, and our little friend who entertained us with his dance to Justice’s hit ‘We Are Your Friends’.
I will leave you with a delightful summary of the evening through this array of pictures to help you relive the event right here. See you next year for our sixth birthday bash!
Photo credit: François TANCRE
The Brit Awards has never quite had the wow factor of its US music award counterpart The Grammys. Madonna’s gyrating comeback, Kim Kardashian sparkling in something glamorous and revealing, and Kanye West’s burgundy velour tracksuit and performing in his anticipated adidas Yeezys were all highlights of the Grammys 2015.
In comparison, expectations of the Brits were so low; they had barely made it off the floor. In the three weeks leading up to the event, excitement around the awards ceremony on Twitter had only reached 58k mentions (compared to 1.7 million for The Grammys in the same time period) and 32% of these conversations were retweets. A confirmed line-up of Taylor Swift, Ed Sheeran and Sam Smith meant things were perhaps looking a little beige.
But it was alright on the night. Kanye West was there, Kim did make an appearance and Madonna made sure that her return to the Brits after 20 years would not be forgotten. On the night, mentions of the event soared above two million and the British viewers were rewarded with an array of meme-worthy moments.
The Brits: social conversation
The surprise appearance of Kim Kardashian certainly helped, as viewers embraced her selfie-taking (800 mentions) and celebrated her introduction of her husband Kanye West.
A selfie with Kim Kardashian is clearly a lifetime aspiration for many, as her self portrait with Ant and Dec resulted in 103 uses of #lifegoals. Later Kim was snapped in the audience dancing with her husband, and the hashtag #relationshipgoals received 200 mentions.
— Miguel (@miguelmusic_) February 25, 2015
When Kanye literally exploded onto the stage with his All Day performance, it wasn’t only Taylor Swift and Lionel Richie who were left open-mouthed.
Conversations around Kanye and his performance reached 125k, with 30% of the Tweeting audience questioning the decision to mute the majority of his explicit performance.
The hashtag #allday (the song name) was quickly adopted during the performance (24k mentions) and its usage was mainly positive as his fans scrambled to find an un-muted version of the performance.
However, the muting also caused confusion amongst the wider audience, who, perhaps distracted by Taylor Swift’s dancing, misheard Kanye’s lyrics and were surprised to hear that his new song was about Aldi (712 mentions). Who knew the rapper was such a fan of discounted German goods?
A spectacular such as Kanye’s, gobsmacking the nation and providing the globe with a host of new Taylor-Swift-dancing GIFs could have been the Brits 2015 success story had it not been for Queen Madge and her cloaked comeback.Within two minutes, Twitter exploded as Madonna’s fall shocked the nation.
#shefellover, #capegate and #alloallo gained 4.4k mentions between them and memes of Edna from The Incredibles, insurance claims and questions over what would happen to the poor dancer responsible for the fall quickly escalated across the internet.
However, Madonna was able to truly cement herself as the Queen of Pop amongst viewers and she was celebrated across Twitter, with 12k mentions applauding her graceful recovery. As a result, Madonna’s return to the Brits stole the show, dwarfing Kanye West and even allowing Her Madgesty to publicly blame Armani for her fall.
Of course, as with any major event a few brands were keen to join the conversation too. Haircare brand VO5 used Twitter’s native video service, which launched at the end of last month to run two standalone ads on Twitter’s new video player.
Nandos made the most of an impromptu Kanye West visit before the show and Innocent captured the general vibe of the night using emojis. But brand conversations hardly set the Twittersphere on fire – Royal Baby, this was not.
However, it was good news for headline sponsor Mastercard, receiving 4.2k mentions in association with the Brits last night – perhaps because of the lack of major competition from other brands. The most retweeted (non-celeb) tweet of the evening, apart from the official Brits account, was one of its own, congratulating Ed Sheeran.
— MasterCardUK (@MasterCardUK) February 25, 2015
At The Grammys, where Mastercard shared the main sponsor status with a number of other brands, there were only 3.7k mentions in association with the event – low considering that overall that night, there were over six million Grammys mentions.
So what’s the verdict? Better than we might have hoped for, thanks to a few unexpected events and it looks like Mastercard got some bang for their sponsorship buck when it comes to social. But the Brits still have some more work to do to build up the hype around the event, and make it really hit home with a social audience.
For a second year running, we’ve been recognised by Best Companies as a great organisation to work for. So what makes us so awesome? Well, one of the things is that we’re focused on finding out what makes our team tick, their thoughts on how the company is run and what’s important to them. Loads of insights come out of this, and we then use these to come up with ways to engage the team. Not that dissimilar to how we help clients engage with their audiences…
Receiving another Best Companies accreditation is a huge coup for us. It’s an award that focuses on workplace engagement as an essential measure of success and growth, so it very much reflects our culture, where our people are central to our success.
Over the last year, the We Are Social family has expanded to over 500 worldwide, with an army of over 150 in London. Whilst we’ve been growing, we’ve been having heaps of fun along the way. From our very own Fusball World Cup and ping-pong tournaments, to pumpkin carving and Christmas decoration competitions, there’s never a dull moment at the We Are Social.
We’ve also introduced some great well-being initiatives, such as yoga lessons and gardening club – great ways to unwind with colleagues after a hard day’s work. All this fun has been combined with raising money for some great causes such as Movember, where our very own Good Samaritan, Will Allen shaved off his beloved beard in front of the entire agency!
Fun aside, we’ve been busy developing our team with numerous different training courses, tailored for each department’s needs. Our new, extensive competency frameworks have been built to offer complete transparency of future career paths at We Are Social, and are embodied in our review forms and processes to ensure continuous development and feedback throughout the year.
Last year also saw the unveiling of our first ever Grad Scheme, #IamSocial, with over a hundred keen applicants getting in touch. Although it was a tough call, we selected two outstanding Grads, Rhoda and Alex, who are now a permanent fixture in our client services teams.
We’re now recruiting for our #IamSocial 2015 Grad Scheme for candidates to join our fabulous Editorial, Strategy and Research & Insight teams. If you’re interested, make sure you apply here by 27th February (i.e. tomorrow!). If you’re planning on applying but have some questions, feel free to ask Rhoda and Alex by tweeting them at @RhodaSell and @Ze-Serb. Alternatively, feel free to drop us an email to email@example.com.
So what next for We Are Social? Well this year we’ll be building on the last, offering better benefits, more robust training programmes and even more fun. With a fast-growing, talented team and a host of the world’s biggest and best brands on our client roster, we’re confident that next year we’ll be scoring a Best Companies hat trick.
We joined forces with the Project Reconnect team to explore this topic in more detail, and they’ve been kind enough to let us share our findings here.
Marketing needs to become more democratic
The more people are involved in something, the more they engage with it.
This is true in marketing too, and the organisations that succeed in actively involving their audiences and consumers in the creation and development of their brands are best placed to succeed in the long term.
So what does Participation mean for your brand?
His findings clearly reveal that people place a higher value on things they’ve been involved in making, compared to things of a similar price that they’ve acquired in a completed state:
[The] experiments demonstrate that self-assembly impacts the evaluation of a product by its consumers; … when people use their own labor to construct a particular product, they value it more than if they didn’t put any effort into its creation, even if it is done poorly. [source]
He goes on to say that their:
results showed that [people are] willing to pay more for furniture they assemble themselves, as opposed to pre-assembled furniture.”
In many ways, Ariely’s findings reinforce the psychoanalytic research conducted by Betty Crocker Foods in the 1950s, when the launch of their instant cake mix product ‘flopped’:
Although the average American housewife very much appreciated the convenience of the cake mix, she felt guilty at deceiving her husband and other guests into thinking she had worked hard for them when, in fact, she had done very little work.
[Betty Crocker’s] answer: add an egg. Changing the recipe to add an egg to the mixture offered the housewife a way out. By doing more than adding water – by adding a ‘real’ ingredient – she could assuage her guilt. The result: sales soared. [source]
Such examples offer clear evidence that actively involving people in the process of value creation – even if that involvement is at a relatively low level – significantly increases people’s subsequent perceptions of value (i.e. the benefits that people feel they have received in return for the price they paid).
It therefore follows that marketers can increase their brand’s value proposition by involving people more actively.
This has its limits of course; many people are still willing to pay more for increased convenience, and most of us would be unable to build complex electronic devices or produce petrol on our own.
However, active involvement need not always require participation in the production or delivery of the final goods and services.
Indeed, the popularity of crowd-funding platforms like Kickstarter and Indiegogo is evidence that offering people a way to invest in the development and launch of a product or brand can deliver equally – if not even more – impressive results.
So how can brands take advantage of this interesting opportunity?
The answer lies in a more democratic definition of marketing: adopting an ‘of the people, by the people, for the people’ approach to co-creating mutual value together with audiences and consumers, rather than dictating what people should like or buy.
Chinese cellphone brand Xiaomi’s CEO, Lei Jun, is a vocal proponent of this more democratic approach to marketing and brand building too:
When Apple develops its iOS, you have no idea what they will do with it before the release. It’s not like that for us. We will first ask what you want. I feel Xiaomi’s most important secret to success is that Xiaomi is not selling a product, but an opportunity to participate.” [source]
Taking this philosophy further, it’s easy to see how brands could evolve to become wholly democratic entities:
- Involve the most savvy and engaged consumers and audiences to help conceptualise a new brand, product or service idea;
- Crowd-fund the R&D and launch of that brand, product or service;
- Actively involve the brand’s consumers in continuous improvement of the product or service;
- Work with the brand’s invested consumers – whether that investment is emotional or financial – to ensure the greatest brand awareness and engagement through word-of-mouth;
- Reward consumers when the brand succeeds, in the same way that conventional companies reward their shareholders.
Of course, people won’t want to become an active participant in every brand they buy, but it’s clear that involving people in at least some aspects of your marketing can deliver better results.
And now that social and digital channels make it so much easier for brands to involve their audiences and consumers in such co-creation of value, this may be the most exciting opportunity for marketing in the next few years.
Taking our own advice though, we’d love to ‘crowd-source’ your thoughts and builds on this opportunity too, so please feel free to share your feedback and ideas on this topic on Twitter via the #projectreconnect hashtag.
GlobalWebIndex has produced an infographic highlighting the fastest growing social networks, outside of China, in 2014. It shows that Pinterest was the fastest growing social platform last year, with a huge 97% increase in active users, closely followed by Tumblr at 95%.
More information can be found in our blog post about GlobalWebIndex’s Social Report.