Author Archive

29 June


To coincide with this year’s dose of strawberries, Pimm’s and chronically frayed nerves at Wimbledon, we’re delighted to announce the launch of a brand new website for the British no. 1 and World no. 4 tennis star Andy Murray.

The new-look is a one-stop destination for all the latest news, videos and updates on Andy’s career (including his current Wimbledon campaign!)

The site has been built to work across all browsing platforms and is fully optimised for mobile, with a responsive design that automatically adjusts to the width of the screen for optimum display.

A big well done to all the Outside Liners involved in bringing the project to completion – from design to build – in just over two weeks!

Click here to see the site in action.

Check this out
posted by Alex at 13:51   _comments (0)
6 June


Time for our weekly roundup of digital talking points that had the office nattering around the water cooler…

Thunderclap your tweets

Submit your tweet to Thunderclap. Get people to ‘back it’. Then, if you reach enough support during the time limit, everyone tweets the same message in unison increasing its reach and viral potential.

A simple concept that’s still in its beta phase, but effective nonetheless.

Social media with a conscience from Smirnoff

A fantastically innovative idea from two students of the Miami Ad School. Buy your friends a cab ride home to stop them drinking and driving, and earn rewards in the process.

Boys with toys

Handheld projection mapping? Where do we get our hands on one of these for the office?

Dove bring the positive

Dove’s Ad Makeover campaign finally lands in the UK, converting negative, self-conscious and deprecating Facebook ads into positive, motivational ones.

A touchscreen with buttons?!

Tactus technology promises the feel of real buttons without sacrificing any of the functionality of a touchscreen. Could this be the future of modern smartphone and tablet technology?

Check this out
posted by Alex at 14:36   _comments (0)
29 May

Outside Line scores a double in 2012 Social Brands 100 List

It’s not every day an account we’re working on gets voted one of the top 100 social brands in the country. Actually, make that one of the top 20 social brands in the country. Oh, and make that two accounts we’re working on…

Yup, according to top social agency Headstream – who published their second annual roundup of the UK’s most socially effective brands this morning – both Lurpak and Cravendale have exploded into the top 20, beating off such giants as Ford, Marmite, Google and last year’s no.1, Dell.

What’s more, this represents two out of only five FMCG brands in the top 25 results, with no other dairy brands even breaking the top 100! Needless to say, we’re very proud.

The Social Brands 100 list was drawn from an initial crowdsourced pool of 300 nominated brands, with the final results calculated using a combined ‘data score’ from social media monitoring firm Brandwatch and a ‘panel score’ from a panel of top industry judges. This panel included Twitter’s UK head of sales Bruce Daisley, and judged each brand in a number of key areas such as their success in creating a credible community and their prioritizing of fans’ needs over the brand’s own.

A huge thank you goes out to all our staff working across these two accounts and everyone else who helps make Outside Line one of the top social agencies out there.

Next year we’re aiming even higher, with even more of our brands in the top spots. Make sure you come and join us…

Check this out
posted by Alex at 14:28   _comments (0)
10 May

From ‘Me’ to ‘We’: Outside Line present The Networked Economy

What does it mean to do business in a truly social economy? More importantly, what does it take to succeed?

These are two questions at the forefront of any modern marketer’s mind, although the answers are slightly harder to come by. Thankfully, this month we’re hosting our very own seminar on the subject so you can really get to grips with your place as part of ‘The Networked Economy’.

Taking place at The Hospital Club in Central London on the morning of Friday 25th May, our planning director Ronnie Crosbie will be taking guests on a whistle-stop tour through three of the most influential marketing texts of recent times – Alan Moore’s ‘No Straight Lines’, Joseph Pine & Kim Korn’s ‘Infinite Possibility’ and Alex Bogusky & John Windsor’s ‘Baked In’.

Using these texts as a foundation, Ronnie will look at how advances in social, mobile and digital technology have rewritten the landscape of the modern marketplace, returning us to an economy in which word-of-mouth, personal recommendation and social communication are once again the keys to brand success.

The talk runs from 8.30am – 10am. Attendance is entirely free, however places are limited.

To reserve your seat, send us an email with the details of how many places you would like and which company they are for.

We look forward to seeing you there.

Check this out
posted by Alex at 12:00   _comments (0)
19 March

…We’re also at Social Media World Forum!

While we’re on the topic of conferences, it seems like a good time to mention that our director Lloyd is also due to appear at this year’s Social Media World Forum next week.

The event is one of the highlights of the digital marketing calendar, so we’re very pleased to be a part of it. Speaking on the topic of ‘Social TV’, and the opportunities offered to marketers by the rise in internet connectivity among today’s audience, Lloyd will be explaining how to bridge that increasingly important gap between the worlds of television and digital. Important stuff in these fast-moving times…

Representatives from LG, Orange, Zeebox and Samsung will also be appearing to give their input on the subject, making this an all-star cast of speakers that’s not to be missed. There might even be free cake.*

The event itself takes place on Tuesday 27th March at Kensington Olympia, and Lloyd will be speaking at 9:40am.

To book a ticket or find out more details, simply click here.

Come along. You never know, you might just learn something…

*Free cake not guaranteed.

Check this out
posted by Alex at 16:44   _comments (0)
7 March

Outside Line at The Social Customer 2012

It’s generally accepted that social media changes the way organisations interact with their customers, but without the right expertise it’s not always obvious how to make the most of this.

How exactly should a company go about dealing with its customer base in an environment that is, by its very nature, public and intended for sharing? What is the best way to go about rewarding loyal fans, and what areas need to be addressed in the event of a crisis?

These are all tricky questions, and ones that are vital to get right if your organisation is to succeed in the social media universe. Thankfully, finding out the answers needn’t be a stab in the dark.

On 29th March, our director Lloyd Salmons will be speaking at The Social Customer 2012 – the UK’s leading conference on social customer engagement. Appearing alongside British Gas Social Media Manager Laura Price, Lloyd will be discussing the best ways for large companies to tackle the issues of customer service, digital marketing and social CRM in the modern digital era, and you’re all invited to come and join the party (and by party, we mean interesting and informative e-business conference).

The event is being hosted by renowned social media consultancy blog Our Social Times, and takes place from 9am – 5pm at Prospero House, London, SE1 1GA. Also speaking on the day will be representatives from BT, Citibank, M&S and CapGemini, among others, making this a great day of talks that’s sure to bring a new insight into the online workings of some of the UK’s largest companies.

To see the full program of talks or to book tickets, head over to the event’s official website.

We’ll see you down the front.

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posted by Alex at 15:44   _comments (0)
1 March

Hell Hath No Fury Like A Twitter User Scorned…

A few weeks ago we lifted the lid on some notable hashtag disasters that went down on Twitter over the past couple of months. As embarrassing as these were for the brands involved, by and large they were caused by internet naivety rather than genuine poor customer service, and as such the lasting damage was little more than a spot of wounded pride…. And the odd irreverent blog post.

Recently, however, there have been a spate of far more serious lapses in twit-judgement – ones that have generated real anger and resentment towards the brands in question and will take a lot longer to erase from internet memory. These episodes involve a brand being willfully obstinate and refusing to engage with the public over points of grievance, all ending in disastrous results…

The first instance involves the major gym operator LA Fitness, who recently found themselves at the centre of a public relations nightmare after The Guardian publicised the story of one of the gym’s former members who had fallen on hard times.

The member in question was a woman eight months pregnant, who had just moved to a house 12 miles away from the gym and whose husband had just been made redundant. The couple had been members of the gym for six years, but with the change in circumstances they simply couldn’t afford to maintain their payments. LA Fitness didn’t accept the excuse, and demanded a cancellation fee of £360 (even after much haranguing by the Guardian).

The result? The full force of the newspaper’s readership attacking LA Fitness publicly on Twitter, along with a campaign for existing members to cancel their membership as protest. Eventually the company relented, but not after untold amounts of damage to their public image and lost membership revenue. Not a good look for their social media team…

The second two instances are remarkably similar, which would suggest brands aren’t learning from each other’s mistakes. Within the space of a month, both H&M and Claire’s Accessories were accused of plagiarism over products sold in their stores. In both cases the companies feigned ignorance, with Claire’s going one step further and making the shocking decision to go on full media blackout. Needless to say, this did not help their situation.

The result? Again, a torrent of incredibly public abuse and complaints leveled at each brand for all to see on Twitter, not to mention coverage of the situation in untold national newspapers and media outlets. H&M eventually acknowledged their wrongdoing and agreed to a profit-sharing deal with the artist in question. The Claire’s Accessories debate is ongoing…

So what can brands learn from the online spills of these three companies? Above all, that in this modern age of digital conversation and increasingly transparent communication, good customer service must remain a priority. One disgruntled user can very quickly become an army of righteous indignation, and there is no telling how far things might spiral out of control if handled badly.

As a brand, your reputation is paramount; strip that away and your are simply trading air. With that in mind, keep your friends close, and your Twitter followers closer!

Check this out
posted by Alex at 17:55   _comments (0)
19 February

It’s all gone Twits-up!

Twitter is great. It allows us (among other things) to keep up to date with the latest news, watch events unfold in real time and pass comment on them for the whole world to see. For brands it’s an invaluable resource, providing them with the means to easily converse with fans, generate buzz around their products and potentially reach whole new markets simply by word of mouth.

So far, so good. Until, of course, it all goes horribly, horribly wrong…

Recently there have been a few high profile examples of Twitter backfiring on brands – moments where the angry teeth of the internet are bared in all their grizzly glory, leaving social media teams wishing the earth would swallow them whole. But as these brands found out, when something goes wrong on Twitter there’s no getting away from it, it’s there for everyone to see.

The majority of Twitter-related brand jams are the result of a poorly conceived hashtag. In the mind of the brand it’s easy to see why starting a personalized hashtag might seem like a good idea; if it begins trending then that’s some of the best publicity the internet has to offer – all for next to no money. However, when looking through those rose-tinted spectacles it’s easy to overlook one very key factor: as a brand, you don’t get to dictate how the Twittersphere uses your hashtag.

Take the recent debacle surrounding Qantas Airways, for example. The Australian airline recently fell foul of its own #QantasLuxury hashtag in spectacular form, after it was hijacked by irate Twitter users looking to vent anger about its poor customer service and spate of grounded planes. The same later happened to McDonald’s, whose #McDStories tag was overrun with unsavoury anecdotes from unhappy customers and brand-baiting animal rights activists alike. Finally, in the wake of their spectacular collapse of service at the end of last year, Blackberry recently found itself on the receiving end of a torrent of abuse after it invited users to #bebold, and share their thoughts via Twitter.

The main problem in all three of these cases is that the brands allowed themselves to forget one of the golden rules of the internet: any skeletons in your closet can (and often will) come back to haunt you. In each instance it resulted in a profoundly embarrassing (and above all public) episode, and one that had to be openly acknowledged as a failure of marketing strategy.

Of course, that’s not to say brand hashtags always fail. Click here to see a rundown of some of the more successful ones nominated for an award at the SHORTY social media awards this year.

With this in mind, our advice to anyone considering the hashtag route of viral marketing would be to think long and hard before providing the internet with its own, unmoderated soapbox to voice opinion on your brand.

In the right circumstances it can work wonders, but get it wrong and you might just find yourself pushed off it…

Check this out
posted by Alex at 15:00   _comments (0)
3 February

Lights, Camera, Interaction! This year’s Superbowl ads go social…

The advertising space during Superbowl Sunday is famously the most expensive on the planet.

The price of a 30-second slot can run to more than $2.5million – a figure only justified by the event’s equally gargantuan viewing figures. Last year’s Superbowl officially became the most watched piece of television in history with a staggering 111 million viewers, so there’s no denying the prestige of the slot. However, when you’re spending over $83,000 a second, you’d better make sure that what you’ve got is worth watching.

Historically, Superbowl ads tend to be some of the most flamboyant and outlandish ever created. This year, however, it seems major advertisers are jumping aboard the social bandwagon, using interactive methods to bridge the gap between traditional TV advertising and its cutting edge digital counterpart.

Outside Line’s own Ronnie Crosbie has just written a piece on the subject for online marketing gospel The Wall. Click here to read it in full and see what everyone will be talking about come Sunday 5 Feb.

Check this out
posted by Alex at 16:09   _comments (0)
24 January

2012: The year the gloves came off and social media got ugly…

Around the start of any new year it’s customary for agencies to dig out their marketing tarot cards and come up with a few predictions on what they think will be big news over the next 12 months.

Well, if you’ll allow us to return to the topic one last time you’ll see there’s one trend that’s already showing signs of being the true dominant force in digital this year – a trend that’s far bigger than any single platform or flashy new website.

In 2012, the dominant theme will be conflict.

Three’s A Crowd…

It’s an ironic turn for an industry based around sharing and being “social”. Up until this point, Facebook, Twitter and, to a lesser extent, Google+ have all existed alongside each other in relative peace, occasionally poking their head up above the parapet to acknowledge the presence of another new arrival, but rarely anything more than that. However, recent posturing from all three major players would suggest that things are about to change.

The past five-to-ten years can be looked upon as a sort of ‘honeymoon period’, one in which social prospectors enjoyed unfettered growth without needing to really step on the toes of their competitors (the demise of MySpace notwithstanding). Now it seems as if the social landscape is approaching critical mass – a point at which the number of users willing to actively engage with social media reaches a plateau – and suddenly where there was once open-minded collectivism and mutual appreciation there is now increasing hostility, aggression and isolationism.

Take the recent (and unusually public) spat between Google and Twitter, for example. Google recently made headlines with the announcement of its ‘Search, Plus Your World’ initiative: a set of changes to its search algorithm that places added emphasis on Google+ pages within search results, effectively ‘favouritising’ them above content taken from the wider internet.

The revelation caused a tsunami of raised eyebrows among social media commentators and everyday internet users alike. Facebook engineers invented a tool to counteract some of the changes, but it was Twitter who came out as the most vocal critics, openly denouncing Search Plus in a letter to several major media outlets. This then prompted Google to issue a rather flippant rebuttal (via Google+, of course!), leaving professional relations between the two companies frosty at best.

Knives Out

In Google’s eyes, the shift to Search Plus is simply a move to keep them competitive, especially given Facebook’s increasingly cosy relationship with Microsoft’s Bing search engine. However, what Google appear to have failed to grasp is that this desire to compete is the very crux of their problem.

In the days before Google+, Google was largely an impartial observer in the great battle for social media supremacy – and rightly so. Now that they’ve waded into the ring brandishing their own platform, the delicate equilibrium has been unbalanced and defences are being raised on all fronts. Google might think this is game on, but in actual fact it will not end well for anyone, least of all them.

And here’s why: people place a huge amount of faith and trust in their search engine, relying on it to deliver the results they want without fuss. By taking the decision to actively reward their own pages above others, Google are undermining the very trust that is the lifeblood of their business – and once that trust is gone, it’s going to be very hard to win back.

Google hope that the move to Search Plus will force more brands to expand their presence on Google+, but it’s a dangerous gamble to make. While they dig their heels in and prepare for a long fight, there is absolutely no reason why a rival such as Bing couldn’t swoop in and take over the role of impartial search provider.

And it’s not like Google have much choice; after the unmitigated failure of both Buzz and Wave, there is a huge amount of professional credibility (not to mention money) riding on the success of Google+, and there is no way they are about to accept defeat lying down.

Ready To Rumble

So, it’s Google and Google+ in one corner, Facebook and Bing in the other, with Twitter flitting around the edges trying avoid catching a stray when the blows really start raining down. But where does that leave everyone else?

In the short term it looks like we’re all going to have to pay a bit of extra attention to Google+, and we wouldn’t be surprised to see the uptake of new pages rise dramatically among brands and users alike. The real question is just how long that uneasy state of affairs can last.

Brands can easily replicate action across two platforms simultaneously, but asking users to maintain an active presence across both Facebook and Google+ seems like a step too far, and there will likely be only one clear winner when the dust settles.

Who that winner is, we shall have to wait and see.

Ding ding, round one…

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posted by Alex at 12:25   _comments (1)