Telewerken op mijn nieuwe job… hoe ga ik er mee om?

Afgelopen 24 februari ben ik aan een nieuw avontuur begonnen door me aan te sluiten bij het Brand New Day-team. De coronaviruscrisis was al begonnen en de dramatische gevolgen hiervan begonnen in België voelbaar te worden.

Het was dus slechts 3 weken na mijn aankomst dat er binnen Brand New Day werd besloten dat iedereen van thuis uit moest werken tot nader order. Voor een nieuwkomer als ik had dit twijfels kunnen oproepen over de manier waarop ik ondersteund zou worden – want het is natuurlijk niet door slechts 3 weken in een nieuwe werkomgeving door te brengen dat we autonoom worden en dat een follow-up bijna overbodig wordt. Toch had ik er alle vertrouwen in dat alles goed zou komen.

En inderdaad! Het is nu al één maand dat we begonnen zijn met telewerken, en ik heb me niet één keer verwaarloosd, vergeten of aan de kant gezet, gevoeld. Bij Brand New Day krijgen woorden als “solidariteit” en “team” hun volle betekenis, zowel op menselijk als op professioneel en werkmanagementniveau.

Op menselijk niveau zijn we elke dag in contact met elkaar en worden we er heel regelmatig aan herinnerd dat het welzijn van ons allemaal vooropstaat, en dat de prioriteit is dat we voor onszelf zorgen. In deze periode waarin sociale contacten beperkt zijn, zal ik je niets nieuws leren als ik jou vertel dat dit soort boodschappen helpt ons om het moreel hoog te houden.

In termen van werkmanagement – en dit is waar ik me op ga richten – heb ik maar één woord om de manier waarop we ons organiseren te beschrijven: perfect. Op dit moment zitten we met ons tweeën in het team content (Mélanie Beninati & ik), en ik denk dat het voor ons als rigoureuze en gepassioneerde vrouwen des te makkelijker is om samen te werken. Elke ochtend, eens de agenda van de dag is opgesteld, verdelen we de taken, en vooral communiceren we de hele dag door. Dit om vragen te stellen of om elkaars hulp of advies te verzoeken, maar dat is nog niet alles! Hoewel het programma van de dag meestal ‘s ochtend wordt vastgesteld, vraagt Melanie me gedurende de dag verschillende keren of alles goed gaat, of ik me wel red, of ik hulp nodig heb, enz.

Ik had het eerder over het feit dat ik me zorgen kon maken over de steun en de follow-up die ik tijdens het lockdown zou krijgen; ik denk dat de reden waarom ik zei dat ik gelijk had om vertrouwen te houden, nu heel duidelijk is voor jou.

Ook op praktisch niveau realiseer ik me hoe gelukkig we zijn dat we zo gemakkelijk kunnen overstappen naar een organisatie die totaal anders is dan het kantoorleven. Dit zou niet mogelijk zijn geweest zonder de hulpmiddelen die we tot onze beschikking hebben, of als ze gewoonweg niet beschikbaar waren op een laptop. Wat mij betreft,  zijn de hulpmiddelen die ik voornamelijk gebruik:

  • Slack, om met het team te communiceren;
  • Trello, om lopende projecten te beheren;
  • Skype/Zoom voor zowel interne als externe gesprekken.

Dit zijn hulpmiddelen die we al vóór het lockdown gebruikten, maar veel minder regelmatig (met uitzondering van Trello), omdat de communicatie nu alleen maar virtueel is.

Samenvattend, hoewel mijn situatie nogal uniek is, heb ik nooit enige vrees gehad over hoe we ons zouden organiseren zodat ik efficiënt kon werken terwijl ik de hulp bleef krijgen die ik nodig had. Zoals ik al eerder zei, zijn 3 weken in een nieuwe werkomgeving niet genoeg om volledig autonoom te worden. Het is echter wel voldoende om een idee te krijgen van de mentaliteit van het bedrijf en van het team. En bij Brand New Day – dat had ik al begrepen – komt het team op de eerste plaats!

Efficiënte socialmediastrategieën in een medialandschap in volle verandering

Het medialandschap is de afgelopen jaren sterk geëvolueerd. Vandaag spelen de digitale middelen en de social media een prominente rol in de marketingstrategieën van de adverteerders. Ze bieden de merken immers al lang de mogelijkheid om targetingmiddelen te gebruiken die de traditionele media tot nu niet konden aanbieden. Enkele schandalen, zoals van Cambridge Analytica, brachten echter een heuse storm in de publieke opinie teweeg en de AVG stelde bepaalde lacunes in de bescherming van het privéleven aan de kaak. Sindsdien lijkt het er dan ook op dat de internetreuzen een stapje terug moeten zetten. Sabina Gishvarova, managing director van Brand New Day, en haar team van experts maken een balans op van de grote evoluties in de sector en de manier om uw socialmediastrategie in 2020 over een andere boeg te gooien.
 
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Comment appréhender sa stratégie social media dans un univers médiatique en pleine mutation ?

Ces dernières années, le paysage médiatique a profondément évolué et le digital ainsi que les médias sociaux ont pris une place de plus en plus considérable dans les stratégies marketing des annonceurs. Pour cause, ceux-là ont longtemps permis aux marques de recourir à des moyens de ciblage que les médias traditionnels ne pouvaient jusqu’ici pas offrir. Pourtant, depuis les scandales comme Cambridge Analytica qui ont secoué l’opinion publique et l’entrée en vigueur du GDPR qui a mis en exergue certaines lacunes en terme de protection de la vie privée, il semblerait que les géants du web fassent petit à petit marche arrière.  Sabina Gishvarova, managing director de Brand New Day ainsi que son équipe d’experts font le point sur les grandes évolutions du secteur et sur la manière de repenser sa stratégie social media en 2020.
 
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Understanding audiences by analyzing social media trends

A few days ago, I was scrolling down my LinkedIn’s newsfeed when I read something about a guy who paid 10k so a big influencer with a huge audience could promote his product. It was a fancy, expensive jacket I think. Probably the kind of jacket George Clooney wears. Anyway, this guy was really surprised to observe that this marketing strategy turned out to be a big failure with zero jackets sold. 

Any idea why it failed? The answer is simple: audience! 
I’ve been working at Brand New Day Agency for 6 years now and understanding audiences to better fulfill our clients needs’ and come up with the best strategy has always been key to us and there are many ways to analyse your target group. 

1. There are market researchs. You can conduct surveys or make use of the existing ones to get acquainted with your audience. Quite traditional but still relevant (#oldbutgold).

2. Big data! Probably one of the best way to really understand your target group since we are leaving so much digital footprints through our browsing journey. Plus, it’s behavioral instead of declarative which makes it even more powerful because the difference between what people say and what they actually do is often quite big (yep little fella, Facebook knows you want to keep up with the Kardashians even if you pretend you don’t know who the hell they are). 

3. Listening tools. Keep on eye on the conversation to see what people discuss, what they are concerned about, how they feel about a particular product or brand, etc.

4. Trends analysis. Wait, what? Why is it interesting? Well, being updated about the latest trends should not only be considered as a way to get the coolest marketing strategy. I think the example I mentioned with this guy using the influencer strategy is an interesting example because most people just rush into something because it’s new, trendy and exciting. Tik Tok has been on everyone’s lips lately. Does it mean you need to invest in this channel? Here again, I would just say one word: audience

You need to take a look at the audience but even if it doesn’t quite match your target group yet doesn’t mean you don’t have to keep an eye on what’s happening there because as you know, a long long time ago, in a kingdom far far away, people used to say was Facebook teenagers’ playground. 
Analyzing the trends is, in my opinion, a great way to take the temperature of the population. For me, it’s much more than marketing, it’s sociology, psychology, politics and even philosophy. And if it can help us, marketers, with our marketing strategy, well… Let’s not complain about that, right?
So before we go any further with these big social media trends, I would like us to take a moment to think about something that has deeply changed our lives over the past decade. Do you know what I’m talking about?

Yay, your’e right, smartphones! There was once an era without smartphone, where people where watching TV with their family, reading newspaper in the train, talking to each other in the restaurant.. And an era post smartphone where you have everything at your fingertips (literally). Are you hungry, thirsty, bored, lonely? Just take your smartphone out of your pocket! 

We actually got so used to it that we don’t even notice it anymore but the smartphone has been a revolution in so many regards. Twitter for instance, a pure mobile app, changed the way journalists work. Facebook, changed the way people vote. WhatsApp has been used for revolutions in the arabic countries. Snapchat has changed the way people open up about their life. Should I really go on?

A smartphone is not only the way we communicate. It’s the way we consume and produce media and it won’t change anytime soon. Please take a look at these statistics.

Smartphones consumption has now overpassed television in United States and it’s growing. In France, we are on the same path and it won’t be long before we observe this in our country as well. 

So, first thing first. If your website, your content is not mobile friendly yet, you’d better change it right now because mobile is not just a trend, it’s a reality, it’s a habit and it’s everywhere. 

Now, since we are supposed to talk about the trends. Let’s take a look at the social media consumption.

What we observe is that Facebook still dominates the whole ecosystem with Facebook, Messenger, Instagram, WhatsApp and Workplace. We also see other messaging apps and surprise… Tik Tok is already here. So we hear lots of news when it comes to social media on a daily basis but what we can observe for 2 or 3 years now is that social becomes more personal. 

You see all these messaging apps. It’s all about one to one or group conversations. And it’s funny because this is what Internet used to be. I remember using caramail and MSN when I was young. Then, Facebook came in and it was all about updating statuses, having public chats and displaying our social lives. Now, it feels like we are back to something more private again. Maybe there is a global feeling of mistrust since people started to realize that our data is being gathered, processed and even used against us sometimes. Cambridge Analytica has clearly played a great role in making people aware of that. 

It also feels like people are now more into spontaneous and ephemeral content. 

Since Instagram stole the Snapchat idea, stories production and consumption have exploded. Tik Tok is also crazy in terms of adoption. Just look at the numbers. 

It looks like people are fed up with the newsfeed! They don’t trust it as much as they used to. They are also fed up with Instagram’s newsfeed fake perfect pictures that make them feel bad about themselves. The seek for authenticity can explain why stories and now Tik Tok have so much success. 

The great thing for brands is that now, you don’t need to invest expensive money in producing great content anymore. Stories are a great opportunity to speak the truth and to showcase your values.

Also, these new formats make it easier then ever before to let your consumers do the work! Just check at this Tik Tok case!

It’s actually incredible because I’ve been working in social media fields for a while now and I observed how the Community Manager job evolved. At first, it was all about community, creating a group of people and interact with them. For brands, social networks (because Facebook used to be a network before it became a media) was an opportunity to start the conversation with the consumer. Then, Facebook algorithm changed, the newsfeed has evolved and it became a real media with really sophisticated advertising tools. Now, I feel like that with messaging apps and stories which you can only interact in private with, it’s more about community again. 

So as a marketer, if you want to have a great social media strategy, you should certainly not undermine the importance of conversation and moderation and you should certainly have a great community manager that will be ready to step in and to interact with your audiences no matter what time of the day it is.  

If I have to conclude this little observation of mine, I would say: Make sure you invest in trends that will last. Don’t rush into anything and if there is a few things you should definitely bare in mind it would be these 3.

1. Make sure your content is mobile-friendly and even mobile-native. It’s not only about cropping your picture or your video into the vertical format anymore. If you choose to do it, then play by the rules.

2. People are kind of fed up with newsfeed and spend more time messaging, consuming stories or new kind of channels such as Tik-Tok so make sure you make great use of it and start showcasing your behind the scenes. Tell your brand’s story. Don’t try to make it perfect. Just make it real. 

3. Never undermine the importance of the conversation. Having a moderation process is key. If you choose to go on social media then you should be ready to interact with people. So having a great Community Manager is not luxury!

Happy people make happy customers

Companies have been building their corporate philosophy and values on the «customer is king » mantra for ages. And you would probably say that it makes perfect sense since without the client, you would not exist and you would be totally right. BUT.. a few months ago, while I was travelling to New York for my holidays, something hit me really hard. If you want to make happy customers, you need to have happy employees first. 

Let me give you a little bit of background here. I was about to take-off with a Belgian airlines company when we had an engine problem. The flight got cancelled, everything got chaotic, and this is where the troubles started. The communication was confused and I was struggling to get any concrete information. Every time I was trying to talk to someone from the staff, they kept saying « I don’t know », « there is nothing I can do ». That was no one’s fault and no one wanted to help me.

At first I thought, « damn, what a poor crisis management » then I started realizing that it wasn’t a matter of organization or terrible communication skills. People I was talking to simply didn’t care… And it wasn’t just one person or two, every single contact point I had was close to 0 on their ‘give-a-f***-o-meter’. So my question was « Why? » How come they don’t care enough to even pretend finding a solution? Then I started thinking that maybe their work conditions weren’t good enough to make them feel like real company ambassadors, like the pillars of the whole organization. Maybe their work conditions just made them want to « do the job » and that’s it. If no one cares enough to take the responsibility for what is happening then it probably means no one really cares about how those people feel in this company either. 

The thing is that most of businesses still have this upper, middle, lower management structure and somewhere above, we have a bunch of wonderful values, among which the well-known « customer is king » philosophy. The problem is that, in most cases, the person who is actually in contact with the client has a manager, who has a manager, who also has a manager.. well you see my point here. I am not saying that this « hierarchy » is wrong ! For some companies, it works very well. What is actually wrong here is that the « customer is king » mantra often turns into pressure. The top management will evaluate the success of its business based on clients purchases, clients satisfaction, etc. Basically, it’s all about pressure to make sure that they client is satisfied and if we had to schematize it, it would look like that. 

« To make this business work, we need to make our clients happy » people think but they often forget to see if the employees who are actually in contact with the customers are happy too. To resume, people under pressure are supposed to be totally devoted to the clients. You probably know how this ends…

For me, the scheme should be a slightly different. 

At Brand New Day, we always put the team first (sorry, clients, it’s for the greater good ;)). Caring about employees is kind of a trendy topic right now – I know – but it means so much more than a nice work environment, regular drinks and great team-buildings. 

For us, caring about the team is respecting a few essential rules:

1) Never cancel on internal plans

One common mistake you can make in management is thinking that cancelling on internal meetings, and statuses is « okay » because you know, it’s internal. Scheduling new meetings during your internal statuses is not a great way to show your coworkers how important they are (yes, even if it’s a « really important client » or an « amazing business opportunity »). 

2) Give your team a real flexibility and trust them

Nowadays, home working has become really common but being really flexible doesn’t only mean allowing your employees to do some teleworking while being super uptight when they are at work. In our industry, sometimes we undergo big pressure, huge rushes, chaotic campaign launches, etc. and these moments often imply unpaid extra working hours so when the workload start cooling down, give the team a break. They need a longer lunch pause, they want to leave work earlier? That’s fine! You know this is all about balance. At the end of the day, if the work is done, who cares they spent 2 hours at the coffee machine? You know, you can count on them when you need them to be extra focussed! 

Of course, all of this implies you should really trust your collaborators but if you work with people you don’t trust, well, that’s another issue.. 

3) Don’t forget to be a nice human, always

We spend a big part of our life at work so being surrounded by nice people can certainly bring a serious boost to our mood and thus to our productivity and creativity. Taking the time to talk with your team and really get to know them is really important now matter what your management level is. Showing your coworkers that you are human and not flawless will only make the communication smoother and what’s more important than communication anyway? Whether it’s your marriage or your work relationships, communicating is always key. 

Now, some of you might probably  say that I am being an utopian here but I am only talking from experience. All I can say is that we have a great team, no turn-over and satisfied clients (with over 90% of retention for years now). Call us lucky if you want. Personally, I just think that we are investing in long-term relationships whether it’s with our collaborators or or clients! 

You don’t fail at your social media strategy, you just don’t get it right!

Feel like you’re failing at your social media strategy? I know, you’ve probably thought it through and double checked your how-to-succeed-at-social-media-to-do-list! Your branding is on point, your content is great and your social media team is probably amazing as well but you feel like you’re still missing something, THAT something that makes you the Master of Social Media, the Lord of the Seven Kingdoms. You probably can’t help but wonder « Why my fan base isn’t growing? » « Why I don’t get more engagement on my fun cat videos? » « Why I don’t have more customers? »

Well.. maybe you should start asking the right questions. I’ve been working in digital marketing for a few years now and I can tell there is still a huge misunderstanding when it comes to social media. People are talking about « social media marketing », « social media communication » and even about « Facebook marketing ». Let me tell you something: there is no such thing as social media marketing. There is only marketing where social media embodies a channel, an opportunity and a way to achieve specific goals and when we think about goals, it’s actually all about sales funnel!

While one may say content is king I would definitely say “ok but sales funnel is queen”! This is why asking the right questions is so important! What’s my brand goal? Do we want create more awareness and working on our branding, do we want to get consideration, is lead generation our top priority or do we want to create a specific bound with our customers and gain their loyalty?

This is where you should start and this is what you should always stick to when in doubt! Right now, you’re probably thinking « ok, I don’t need a « sales funnel for dummies » guide. So please, keep on reading! What I’m trying to say is that many people often focus on producing great content for social media to « break the internet » but do you realize that content is actually just an instrument, a weapon that will help you achieve your marketing goals? Let’s say I’m trying to promote a new brand no one have ever heard about. Before thinking about having happy customers, I could probably use some notoriety first (which means I’m here looking for awareness). First, I will define the channels most likely to give me my 15 minutes of fame. Let’s not talk about traditional and super expensive media such as television and let’s get back on our topic instead: social media.

Ok, so I decided to focus on Facebook because well… far be it from me to want to advertise Facebook here but let’s be honest, it’s a real bad-ass media (we’ll get back to it in an another article). How do I get more awareness through Facebook? The KPI I should particularly care about is « reach » and what better way to get more reach on Facebook than by using video? There is not! Breaking news: in case you’ve missed it, video is everywhere (and Donald Trump is the president of United-States).

Now, imagine you’re working in the automotive industry and you thrive for generating test-drives. When looking at the sales funnel, the stage you are aiming for is definitely the conversion one. Facebook offers more and more conversion-oriented product such as website traffic generation and lead ads so this is what you should focus on.

See where I’m going with this? This is actually really simple. Thinking that your social media strategy is not working when you try to generate massive traffic on your website and don’t see your fan-base growing is as ludicrous as trying to get bigger butt by running 15 miles a day. That just doesn’t make any sense.

Define a goal, find the most appropriate channel (Twitter for instance is great for customer service), define your KPI, use the right medium (videos, pictures, links, etc.), define your audience, analyse, optimize and repeat!