How to unwrap resilience for business

Those of us who run our own businesses, never expected to be having the type of conversations we're having now. Not only coping with our individual lockdown experience but watching business disappeared overnight, clients retracted, companies slashed budgets, personal plans abandoned, holidays a distant memory. We did see a return to a more basic living, maybe an appreciation for the simpler things, reconnecting with your local communities, checking up with neighbours, so maybe that was a plus side.

But it is these uncertain times where we have to really dig deep & find strengths we never knew we had. Firstly, don’t beat yourself up for how you're coming out of lockdown. I for one haven’t landscaped the garden nor redecorated the house, nor created a sourdough culture...

However, I do recognise, for many of us, whether individually or in our businesses, the need to reboot our motivation, our creative thinking & unwrap our resilience. In this 2 part blog, my thoughts on rebuilding resilience for business, then in the 2nd. adapting communications for saliency

So Resilience

Business resilience is the ability an organization has to quickly adapt to disruptions while maintaining continuous business operations, protecting your people and safeguarding assets and overall brand equity.

Before you can make those business changes you need to reset yourself, your business partners/co-workers. There are some fundamental changes you can make, many of which you will know, but acting upon them is a very different matter  

Switch the way you think about adversity/difficulties. ... Don’t see it as an end to all you knew before and instead try to look for the opportunity to refresh.  Many have taken time to reset, to look at themselves (and their business) through a different lens, have they gone off track, are they doing what they love, has the energy evaporated in the business.  Previous generations said, “Look on the bright side,” well there is truth in that, simply put keep your vision in front of you. But this is a conscious action, when you see yourself going down that negative path you need to actively park that thought and look for the of the upside

Change your attitude - Looking for the doom can so easily become a habit, so nip it in the bud now, recognise any negative outlook and see how you can flip it. If you are stuck, demotivated, try to do 2/3 positive things for yourself a day, just to create a change in habit. Another tip is to change your stance, stand/sit tall, shoulders back, walk with a bit of determination even if the living room, you’ll be surprised how much changing your physical, changes your outlook

As Maya Angelou said   “If you don’t like something change it, if you can’t change it, change your attitude – Don’t Complain

Flip your focus – look at a self-strategy in the same way as you do in your business strategy. ... Focus on your strengths. What ignites the spark in you, how do you come alive? Instead of concentrating on the things that make you feel empty, look to the things that make you happy, laugh & build those into your every day

Modify your vocabulary. ... Listen to yourself. Do you typically whine and murmur about what you have to do? Are you voicing your critical viewpoint to someone else or business connections? This all can just compound the pain. Your inner critique can be so damaging and you start to believe it, which leads to ……

Stop your self-defeating behaviours such is your self-talk, I bet you would never talk to you best friend, partner, children as you do yourself   Much of our self-defeat actions come from how we talk to ourselves and then those thoughts reflect in our behaviours. Practice trusting yourself instead of doubting yourself. Again, this is a conscious decision to stop and think ‘Actually I was pretty good at….’

Reflect on how you view yourself –. ... Self-doubt is essentially the fear of being wrong. A duel perspective view can be really valuable here. How you see yourself is not how others see you. Ask your closest friends to describe you…You’ll be really surprised by their perspective, it's really interesting.  

Never be limited to what you can become & accomplish.

Commercial landlords exploring the opportunity for additional revenue streams

The challenges commercial landlords face continues as tenants struggle with rents. Many landlords saw revenues disappear overnight, payments deferred or severely reduced if linked to turnover, & tenants’ question whether they need permanent offices space anymore, adding to mounting pressure.

Landlords/asset management are exploring new avenues to open up revenue streams. A key strategy is to utilise existing assets to maximise income, through digital LED outdoor advertising screens, & whether assets/locations meet the required criteria as demand for sites adjacent to roadsides/retails location/airports/stadiums remains.

The first stage is to commission a desktop analysis across a property portfolio or selected assets/sites to identify qualifying locations before further exploring potential, revenue forecast & sourcing the right commercial partner

There is still demand in the market for qualifying locations, so developing a new revenue stream for future rewards, whilst it’s a longer-term plan, is certainly worth considering & now is a good time to explore your portfolio

These commercial partnerships can bring more than just a new revenues stream. Done well, for municipalities they can add a connected communications platform into the community & for the private landlord, the opportunity to create a shared business growth platform.

Diversiffi Media is an independent strategic commercialisation & business development agency/advisory consultants. As part of our commercial services, we work with landlords, asset management, and commercial/retail property development, globally, monetising assets through DOOH networks, commercial partnerships.

The Takeaways and Impact for programmatic OOH

The takeaways and impact for programmatic OOH following the ISBA/PwC Programmatic Supply Chain Transparency Study 

Most will recall Mark Prichard, P&G, landmark speech back in Jan ’17 to prioritise transparency and control on digital media. Following the publication of IBSA/PwC ISBA/PwC Programmatic Supply Chain Transparency Study, many are questioning how much has changed.

To summarise, ISBA commissioned PwC to understand the flow of money from the advertiser down to the publisher. They engaged with15 of the UK’s largest advertisers with a combined annual media investment of £800 million, 10% of which is spent programmatically.

The headline of this research, which took 2 years to complete, reports that only 51% of money ends up with the publishers, with 49% taken in the delivery process. Much of this will be legitimate & add value to the media buy, however, it also reports 15% cannot be accounted for, termed “Unknown delta”

Programmatic is without question complex, but it comes with the promise to simplify the buying process, to allow flexibility, agility & accelerate display, all key elements in the proliferation of Digital Out of Home (DOOH)

The success, development and growth of programmatic OOH has the advantages of learning from the pitfalls of programmatic display. It is critical that none of these issues are replicated nor imported. The sector has such an opportunity to help client/agencies navigate the ecosystem, and remove any transferred doubt from programmatic display

Not dissimilar to programmatic display, OOH needs to accelerate the standardisation of practices, compliance and terminology. The prerequisite for clarification on language is so needed to bring a joined-up approach, both across developed markets and less mature markets. The opportunity to nip confusion in the bud is in the here and now.

Revenue transparency should be much less of an issue in the OOH market. Whilst there are fewer players in the supply chain, many don’t charge commissions on the buy side, so the start is good and strengthens trust. However, a commonality must be agreed upon.

Transparency on data is also worth mentioning. With Route in the UK, Geopath in the US & many more recognised audiences measurement bodies forming the campaign audience foundation, many data sets are overlaid to further drill down on the targeted audience. It remains essential that the introduction of other data sources are clean, clear knowledge of the origin, with an understanding of the collection methodology to guarantee data has not been corrupted.

Accountability on programmatic OOH is simplified with most operators reporting campaign detail through accessible dashboards. From actual frames, environments, time of day through to attribution. As Jean-Christophe Conte of VIOOH says “Due to the nature of the OOH environment, there is little chance of audience fraud, so issues that plague display such as bots are not applicable. We work hard to use a base currency of impressions - either viewed or viewable - applying a methodology authorised by industry bodies wherever possible to ensure we are delivering impressions against the audiences agreed”

There are multiple platforms in existence in Programmatic OOH, independent platforms, Vistar Media, Hivestack; media owner platforms Dax, VIOOH; & specialist platforms, all with differing systems. so collaboration is key in driving programmatic OOH forward in firstly setting standardisation & language. I don’t believe OOH has the issues of programmatic display but we cannot allow any disruptions as we are so forewarned.

We have the opportunity to create phenomenal programmatic success & growth, either by the market or globally with the right industry body/s in place, and to accelerate programmatic OOH usage and platform integration, the future is extremely exciting

Fantastic summary of the ISBA/PwC report on #Mediasnack https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kOF8UzZYahQ

Stay at Home campaign, from national to global.

As the UK introduces steps to ease the coronavirus lockdown restrictions, with some easing across the world, the Stay at Home Out of Home (OOH) campaign has less relevance, and frankly, that can’t come soon enough. Whilst it has created some noise in the market, I thought it would be good to add my own story

We went into lockdown on 23rd March and started to prepare and adjust accordingly. However, as we planned our new days, we became aware that many non-essential workers weren’t complying. We saw reports and social feeds showing not all had taken the instruction and understood the importance to stay at home.

That same morning, three junior doctors featured on BBC News.  They had come off a late shift, exhausted, with one message “thank you for thanking us, but the greatest help would be to just stay at home”

With that churning in my mind, and wondering what contribution I could make, the idea for a one voice OOH campaign was born.  To create an unbranded, simple, and straightforward DOOH campaign, in order to effectively support frontline workers and reinforce much needed public safety notice messaging, which encouraged people to stay home and stay safe. The creative assets needed to be free to all media owners/vendors, adaptable to different screen environments and different screen specifications

My first call was to creative director John Dean at Mullen Lowe, we used to work together some time ago. I explained the ambition and the tone needed, as well as the urgency for statements that could be easily cross borders and cultures.

John, and his colleague Gary Marjoram, were immediately onboard and over the next few days, created a series of eight direct, but witty executions, designed as text only, white-on-black to reflect the important and sombre messaging.

Initially, I put a call out to media owners/vendors on social media, asking them to get involved in broadcasting the campaign through donated space, and four days after the initial concept, the campaign went live. 

Soon, word had spread and requests were coming in from across the globe, including Europe, Lebanon to Australia.  It continued to gather pace  as more operators and vendors got involved, donated space and encouraging others to do so too.

Moved by the initiative, the Digital Signage Federation in the US contacted me, volunteering to help spread the word out across their region, contacting all members and hosting the creative files for speedy distribution. AdTech platforms Hivestack and Blip then also volunteered to work with their partners and broaden distribution further across the globe.

Although now coming to an end, the campaign has run across the UK, Europe, the US, Canada, Columbia, Australia and Lebanon.

Naturally, the greatest challenge was that everyone involved volunteered their time and energy. The campaign relied on donated space from OOH operators and vendors at a time when some screens were being turned off, as OOH bore the brunt of cancelled or deferred advertising campaigns. However, the generosity of the sector, along with their collaboration was absolutely mind blowing.

Whilst this was a non-commercial campaign, born purely to support frontline workers and reinforce their message as a public safety notice. It certainly demonstrates the power of OOH,  underlining the creative flexibility of DOOH, using the core technologically capabilities - its immediacy, adaptability and delivery of contextually relevant executions. 

But equally as important, it amplified the agility of smaller operations/agencies, such as Diversiffi Media, to make things happen, pull great teams together, bring ideas to life, adding value and strength to a sector dominated by the larger corporates. We should be seen as a complement rather than competition or in a race. Collaboration, as seen here, usually benefits everyone.

What an amazing start to the year, named as an F:Entreprenuer100 2020 .....

I'm absolutely thrilled to be named as an f:Entrepreneur100 UK for 2020, so I thought what an opportune moment to share the story that led me to build my business, and maybe inspire you on your  journey.... 

My career in media/advertising and communications started many years ago in national press, through accidental curiosity after watching a TV drama set at the Observer Newspaper. After 15 years in various national titles & digital, I joined the Out of Home sector and flourished.

I joined Viacom, (since then evolved into CBS Outdoor, Exterion Media, & now part of Global Outdoor) on the sales side, but soon created a role for myself as a hybrid between sales and our franchise partners. As a result I led sales teams across Transport for London, Unibail-Rodamco Westfield and National Rail, responsible for key franchise partner relationships, as well as developing the creative solution division, challenging creative thinking and working with clients to deliver bespoke executions.

Having built great connections with our partners, I became involved in the tender process to secure new contracts and expanding our existing remit. As the sectors' digital transformation took hold, I was involved in the digitalising for TfL and both U-R Westfield White City and Strafford City, whilst still leading the commercial operations.

In 2009/10 we started to prepare for London 2012 Olympic/Paralympic Games. I was delighted to be asked to head CBS Outdoor’s London 2012 Strategy and lead the Out of Home sector through the Olympic/Paralympic advertising process, working with Worldwide sponsors, IOC, LOCOG and the UK Advertising industry.

As a result, I met Samsung, a worldwide Olympic/Paralympic sponsor, who invited me to join them to lead their UK OOH investment, at the time the UK’s largest investor, as well overseeing European placements and executing special projects through to Seoul.

Within the Samsung family, I created Cheil Media, a specialist media planning and buying agency, immersed in the creative process. Over 3.5 years, we delivered 10 true media firsts, including the first near real-time dynamic campaign, renaming Heathrow T5 for the launch of the Galaxy S5, through to delivering the largest freestanding digital screen at Marble Arch. All validating the benefits achieved when media planning and creative work hand in hand.

However, following the difficulties Samsung suffered from a new device catching fire in 2015, they undertook a global consolidation across all disciplines, with media/advertising transferring to their globally appointed agency.

After some time, I decided if not now, when, so I launched Diversiffi Media, a strategic commercial partnerships agency, bringing together my 360° perspective on the complete marketing process. In essence, we own our client’s business challenges in driving revenues, creating dynamic partnerships for the long term, and/or monetising assets, collaborating with a collective of experts across multiple disciplines, when needed.

Our clients include Samsung UK/Europe, Unibail-Rodamco Westfield, Aviva Investors, London Borough of Hammersmith & Fulham, HSBC, London Legacy Development Corp, FatTail USA, Gulf Meteor Dubai.

 I recognised that for many clients the potential for great business partnerships, monetising assets, and creating new revenue streams is a frequent discussion which rarely leaves the board room. Creating partnerships, which work for all stakeholders, is a long-term strategy that takes time, often months to deliver, and needs constant development. It means diverting resources, creating new relationships, exploring shared values, plus it takes real tenacity, as there are many obstacles and barriers to overcome.

This is not the expertise of many companies, but it is mine. I recognised that throughout my career I’ve been doing this all along, developing projects, navigating new ways and bringing ideas to fruition. Actioning that potential is my strength, I love doing it, I’m good at it, there’s nothing better than seeing an agreement come together.

I also run Digital Out of Home creative workshops. When creating Cheil Media, the central proposition was to immerse media planning and creative, our planning/buying teams were wrapped in creative thinking. With a passion for optimising the creative canvas on Out of Home, digital brings new opportunities.

If you too are toying with the idea, take the leap and good luck. I'd love to hear your story...