Faking it!

Spot the difference: A recent study reveals that 50% of consumers can spot AI-generated copy. Can you?

Brief to ChatGPT and professional copywriter: write 100 words about future trends in retail marketing.

Submission 1

In the future, marketing will continue its evolution towards hyper-personalization, leveraging AI and big data for precise targeting. Virtual and augmented reality will redefine customer experiences, allowing immersive interactions with products and brands. Influencer marketing will become even more prevalent, with nano and micro-influencers gaining traction for their authenticity. Sustainability and ethical practices will be paramount, shaping consumer preferences and driving brands to adopt eco-friendly strategies. Interactive content, such as quizzes and polls, will engage audiences and foster community-building. Additionally, voice search optimisation will rise as voice assistants become ubiquitous, altering SEO strategies to accommodate natural language queries.

Submission 2

Picture this imaginary world. Personalised ads that know you better than your best friend! Shopping trips where AR glasses transform every aisle into your perfect pantry or walk-in wardrobe designed just for you – and where you can virtually try on from the comfort of your sofa. Imagine a plastic-less world of eco-conscious consumers that have turned their back on Temu to pay with their conscience not pounds. 

Move over social media influencers. Nano-influencers will be taking the spotlight. Your dog or gerbil could be the next big brand ambassador earning more than you! Get ready for quizzes and polls galore, making marketing feel more like an exciting game you can win rather than a dull sales pitch. And who needs fingers to type? Voice search will have us all chatting to our devices to buy cars and book holidays like old friends.

Soon you won’t have to imagine. This AI world is weaving its way surely but not slowly.

AI attack

An AI apocalypse is taking over the UK. Almost 8 million UK jobs could be lost to artificial intelligence according to a recent report by the IPPR. It warns that women, younger workers and those on lower wages are at most risk from the AI and automation take-over.

Entry level, part-time and administrative jobs are at most risk in this first AI vanguard. So, if you work in database management, scheduling, secretarial work, administration or customer services, it may be time to retrain?

But don’t get complacent all you account managers, creative directors, content creators and copywriters out there. Rapid advances in AI means the rapid extinction of more human jobs in a second wave. According to the IPPR, 59% of tasks in the creative, advertising and marketing world including the creation of databases, copywriting and graphic design could be ousted by faceless robots, codes and algorithms.

But we’ll fight back. We won’t go quietly.

According to research by digital asset management firm Bynder, 26% of consumers find brands using AI for their website copy impersonal. Hoorah.

20% would feel that the brand is lazy if the copy doesn’t feel like it has been written by the human hand. Hear hear.

When it comes to AI-generated social media content, 25% of consumers would feel the brand is impersonal, 20% untrustworthy, 20% lazy and 19% would think they are uncreative. We couldn’t agree more.

When quizzed about reading copy that they suspect is AI-generated, 52% of consumers cited that they would become less engaged. Take that on the chin ChatGPT.

The human touch

In the creative agency world, we are well versed in moving with the times. We’ve ditched marker pens and scamp books and replaced them with Macs. We’ve thrown away our scalpels and Foamex boards and invested in digital presentation platforms.

We are happy to work with AI. We understand what you are bringing to the party. We welcome you. We embrace your ability to make our workflow and scheduling more efficient. We applaud your speedy delivery of exceptional content experiences. We value your robotic, invisible input.

But please don’t step on our creative toes.

Outstanding creativity, engaging copy and captivating design needs the human touch. Brands need people who care. Businesses need creative mavericks that will win them awards. And more loyal customers.

And which client wants a status meeting, a campaign planning brainstorm or a night out with an algorithmic robotic chatbot? Thought not.

P.S. I wrote number 2.

Marketing that gets the royal seal of approval

The Coronation of King Charles III is a momentous occasion for the Royal Family and a cost of living, battle-weary Great Britain. We always love a bit of pomp and ceremony to lift our flailing GB spirits. Any excuse to wave the Union Jack, drink Pimms like pop and throw a quintessentially British street party on the bonus bank holiday with neighbours that we barely speak to 364 days a year. It’s also the perfect excuse for brands, businesses, marketeers and PRs to jump on the State Coronation Coach.

Campaigns fit for a King

The frenzy of marketing activity to celebrate (or capitalise on) King Charles’ Coronation has to be as well planned as the route from Buckingham Palace to Westminster Abbey. From limited edition red, white and blue website takeovers and social media gimmicks to feel-good royal tag lines and community campaigns, PR stunts and newsjacking. From Tesco to Terry’s tea van, everyone wants a slice of the Coronation cake.

But the crowning glory surely goes to Visit Britain with ‘His MajesTEA’. The ‘Spilling the Tea on Great Britain’ campaign uses the stereotype of Britain’s love of tea by showing visitors that ‘whatever your cup of tea, we’ve got it’. PG Tips and Tetley will be spitting out their cup of char that they didn’t think of it sooner.

Major royal events have always been a gift for brands. The opportunities for puns and punches are endless – for getting it so right and so utterly wrong. M&S ‘rebranded’ as ‘Markle and Sparkle’ for the Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s wedding and McDonald’s even changed their iconic tagline to ‘One’s Lovin It’ to mark the Platinum Jubilee.

But the ‘off with their heads’ PR disaster award goes to Center Parcs who took the unfathomable decision to kick everyone out for the day of the Queen’s funeral. Even the most hardcore anti-monarchist or republican cannot think that making guests with tantrumming toddlers and teenagers pack up and leave their holiday was a positive PR plot.

Standing out in the Coronation crowd

If you’re planning to ride on the coattails of the King’s coronation cloak, here are a few do’s and don’ts. According to the ASA, general references to a royal event or message of congratulations posted on your social media platforms are permissible. However, it is crucial that content does not imply that your service or a product has Royal Family endorsement, or that it is connected to a royal event in any way. So, no claiming that Charles and Camilla will be feasting on your small batch, London Dry Gin infused organic pheasant pate at their wedding breakfast. Especially as they’ll be devouring the good old British delicacy of fish, chips and mushy petit pois surely?

Journalists will be inundated with pitches ahead of the Coronation, so it’s important to find the elusive golden goose to grab media interest. Nostalgia, scandal and tears all sell stories. Did your business get up and running with the help of the Prince’s Trust? Has the King or Queen Consort ever visited your business premises? Are they a patron for a charity you also support? Do you offer products that have the official royal seal of approval? Have staff met members of the Royal Family and have a personal heart-warming story or funny anecdote to share? Any MBEs hanging out in your staffroom?

If not, go for a stalwart royal pun. Or be a complete Coronation ostrich. But avoid the scandal. They’ve had enough of that to deal with. And you want to keep your head, don’t you?

Lessons we can learn from January 2021

This lockdown has been hard.

I’m not even going to try to sugarcoat it: it’s been tough. The dark days, relentless Mancunian rain and withering boredom have reduced me to the stage where I’m looking back in envy on the banana bread days of Lockdown 1.0.

Yet brighter times are on the horizon. The vaccination roll-out is well underway (my grandparents both had their vaccines last week – hurrah!) and I’ve just read that in two weeks’ time, there will be an hour more light per day (double hurrah!). I’ve even tentatively booked two weeks off later on in the year in the hope that we’ll be able to venture more than a walk away from our houses.

January may have been one long ‘takeway-walk-Netflix-repeat’ mantra, but it delivered more than its fair share of on-screen entertainment and high drama, as the media continued to bring more huge, belief-defying, reality re-setting events into our living rooms. Trump was finally silenced on social media and ousted from the White House after a terrifying assault on the very cornerstone of democracy, kitchens became classrooms after schools shut and – the biggie – apparently KimYe are getting divorced. Devastating.

In fact, media events revealed some key learnings last month, so here are three marketing and PR lessons we can learn from the highs and lows of January 2021.

Event: JLo at President Biden’s inauguration
Lesson: Don’t shoehorn your brand in at every given moment

Jenny from the block was given a huge role to play at Biden’s inauguration, singing a mash-up of ‘This Land is Your Land’ and ‘America the Beautiful’ to the millions of people watching across the globe.

Yet, towards the end of the song, JLo threw in part of her 2000 hit ‘Let’s Get Loud’. The audacity.

Just because you’ve been given a platform, it doesn’t mean you have to blatantly plug your product or services, especially in situations which don’t warrant it.

Your audience will be left confused by the shoehorning in of your brand into the narrative when it doesn’t fit, resulting in your credibility taking a dive.

Event: Matt Hancock being interviewed on Good Morning Britain
Lesson: Be prepared in interviews for tricky questions – and don’t ignore the question


We cringed watching the video of Matt Hancock being grilled about voting down free school meals by Piers Morgan and Susanna Reid.

Then we cringed again half an hour later when we remembered it.

Media interviews provide great exposure, but – and we cannot stress this enough – you need to be prepared. There may be times when journalists ask tricky questions you don’t particularly want to answer. Do not just answer a completely different question a la Matt H – it not only says to the viewer/reader that you’re being evasive, but it also annoys the interviewer. They’ll either be like a dog with a bone and will interrogate you further or the following question will get even tougher.

Instead, be prepared for any potential bear traps, practice a line should a question come up and then figure out the best way to link back to the original topic of conversation.

Event: The rise of the sea shanty
Lesson: Keep an eye on Gen Z habits

So who had ‘viral sea shanties’ in the 2021 bingo? No, me neither. But thanks to Gen Zers, it happened. And I’m here for it.

Scottish postman Nathan Evans first posted his version of Wellerman on Gen Z-led TikTok where users across the world made it go viral. Its popularity resulted in a remix hitting number three in the UK charts, followed by TikTok using the song in its TV ad. Even Jon Snow (the news presenter, not from Game of Thrones) joined in and sang along.

So what does this have remotely to do with B2B?

The older members of the Gen Z cohort have recently entered or are soon entering the world of work and are becoming an emerging audience for your product and services. As the editor-in-chief of Teen Vogue said, “they’re really influential because they’re willing to make changes, hold brands accountable and require a sense of transparency.”

Look up their likes, dislikes and habits and see how you can apply it to your marketing strategies. After all, if you want to attract these buyers and futureproof your business, you need to embrace their way of doing things. Even if it involves channeling a pirate and singing a sea shanty.

COVID confusion syndrome

I admit it. I have it. I’m a sufferer. So much so, I no longer know if I should be eating in or drinking out to keep helping out or abandoning food altogether and dosing myself up on the nutrient loaded, virus busting, immunity boosting food supplements that are flooding my social media. Talk about jumping on the bandwagon and capitalising on people’s insecurities. I can’t work out if this is genius or sly, unethical marketing.

I also have no idea if I can visit my mum, the pub, the zoo, the cinema or if I’m allowed to get my legs waxed but not my eyebrows.  And I’m totally baffled why one of my children is in 2-week isolation (deep joy – working and home schooling again said no parent ever!) while the other can still go. Surely I’m not the only one who needs a Pandemic PA to give me a daily bulletin – a do’s and don’ts list.  A concise summary of should nots and must nots.

A tuned-in content creator could flood my social media with this useful list? And savyy marketeers could use outdoor media to promote it on bus shelters, train stations, bus rears, streetliners, taxi sides and ablaze it across every 48 sheet or digital billboard available. Then we’d all be in the know.

We’d all get the rule of six. We’d get if it applied to indoors or outdoors or both. We’d understand if outdoors means our garden or the local park. We’d all feel confident booking a table for six from two households without the fear of being inadvertently ‘caught out’. We could all happily plan our half term staycation or arrange to visit family from a different region or go to the pub with a friend from a bubble, safe in the knowledge that we were being good, law abiding citizens. Simple pleasures which we once took for granted now need planning with military precision. And hours of research.

Someone needs to sort out the comms so that COVID confusion syndrome, if not COVID itself can be cured.

Communication let me down

And I’m left here. Like Spandau Ballet, I’m confused and a bit bewildered. In the world of PR and Marketing, informed and accurate communication is key. And loyalty is everything.

That’s why I find the lack of COVID clarity so frustrating. And the mixed messages so annoying. I’m a planner. I’m a wife. I’m a mum.  So being organised, forward-planning, spinning plates, multi-tasking and juggling information overload is in my DNA. I can handle my four-year olds tantrums about why she can’t keep a pet snail in her bedroom.  I can manage my husband’s inability to remember what time staggered school time starts and ends.

But COVID comms have defeated me.

Keep your COVID cohort converts

Consumers have become more confident switching brands and trying new products and services during this pandemic.

As COVID-19 feels like it’s here to stay for the foreseeable, brands and business will have to up their game in their comms strategy and content generation if they are to keep their new COVID cohorts happy and their old customers loyal.

As lockdown forced many consumers online, they shopped with shops that shouted loudest about what they wanted to hear. They used brands that made themselves addictive, available and accessible. They switched to businesses that communicated with sincerity and empathy to our new-found situation.

Being forced to work from home forced the absence of habit. From making us more creative in the kitchen, trying out new sports or tapping into wellbeing apps to being more attentive to our homes, becoming more inventive with kids entertainment and being hugely appreciative of our gardens, neighbours, local shops and open spaces. And a new-found appreciation for businesses that made our lockdown lives that little bit easier.

While many businesses have been forced into long-term hibernation or extinction as a result of lockdown, others have welcomed a swell of new customers.

With many ‘autopilot choices’ no longer available, consumers have been forced to buy substitute brands, try new services or introduce new products into their brand repertoire. I’m guilty of being enticed into the world of Hello Fresh and Gousto home meal deliveries – driven by the lack of inspiration and motivation to prepare 3 meals a day, 7 days a week when the pubs, cafes and restaurants were shut. Will I continue to use their services when a COVID cure is found? That remains to be seen. That will depend on the power of their persuasive PR and compelling ‘come back’ comms.

Working from home also means that communicating with colleagues and clients via Zoom and Teams has replaced coffee machine chats, boardroom brainstorms and business lunches. Dynamic storyboards delivered by conf-call have replaced the theatre of face-to-face creative presentations. And work do’s have become a virtual wine tasting or an online quiz. Who would have believed that would be a thing a year ago? Expect the unexpected is the new norm.

While we continue to suffer from COVID and COVID confusion syndrome, baffling and blindsiding brand communications won’t cut it.

Consumer and B2B PR and Marketing campaigns need to be more authentic, trustworthy and timely than ever before. Content needs to be accurate, honest and empathetic.

We don’t work in politics after all.

Lockdown life skills

So after approximately 12 weeks without the tedious 45-minute commute to travel a measly 6 miles to the office, I decided to reflect on what I have achieved with these invaluable bonus hours. What have I accomplished whilst not radio and lane hopping my way down the M60?

This is my moment to brag about my bread baking and the perfection of my painting skills and a firmer, flatter tummy courtesy of Tabata. But my work colleagues know me too well. Even on Zoom, my work family would spot the exaggeration, well actually the outright lies.

My commute-free reality is an extra 15 minutes in bed and extra cuddles with my kids. Maybe not shout-out-loud new life skills but a bonus all the same. And in this taxing time, you take what you can and count your simple blessings.

In my defence the last 12 weeks has seen me gradually morph into my mum. I am helping self-isolating neighbours (and know their life and love stories and even their names now) and I have become obsessed with filling my decking with blooming plants and Mediterranean pots. I am even attempting not to kill a tomato plant and two lettuces. In my head I’m trying to recreate a heavenly, cool Ibiza Beach Club scene with cream sofas and parasols where I will sip Mojitos, reading French novels while listening to vintage Moby.

In reality, the garden looks like a miniature unfinished Haven holiday park adorned with plastic toys, a creaking swing, a fluorescent trampoline, a deflated paddling pool, naked Barbies and Ikea pink plastic tables. With then Frozen soundtrack blaring out to complete the Havenly, very unheavenly experience.

But at least my unschooled children are happy. And that’s my main achievement for the COVID ridden Spring-Summer of 2020. That and hopefully a home-grown salad.

So, what has the rest of the UK been up to with their commute-less, holiday-less and furloughed free time?

Has it left you feeling restless, bored, anxious, chilled out – or motivated to learn a new language, improve your culinary skills, take up taekwondo or mediate your way out of the madness?

With so many online tutorials, apps and resources swamping social media and bragging WhatsApp groups, mastering the art of the down dog or honing haberdashery skills through to coding courses and building a drystone wall should be a walk in the park. And free.

Sales of breadmakers, portable pizza ovens, home brew kits, yoga wear and sewing machines are soaring. In theory, we should come out of COVID as a highly skilled, fit, calm – if not a little inebriated nation of individuals. 

So, how have the rest of the Cameron Wells team livened up their lockdown?

Anthony reckons he is now fit for DIY SOS. After a crash course from the professionals, he can now lay an Indian Sandstone patio. And safely build a new slide for his son.  Maybe stick to PR for a bit longer Ant…

Amid the mayhem of working, planning a house move, spending time with his daughters, Mano has still found time to write and record new music. Now that’s what I call male multi-tasking.

Cara, our wannabe Jane Fonda is now a Pilates convert and can also do the crow pose in Yoga which had always evaded her. When we eventually make it back to the office, we are fully expecting her to be wearing lycra and typing with her toes with her leg slung over one shoulder. Now that would be a lockdown life skill worth tweeting about.  

Meanwhile, Debbie has been getting crafty and has made a pair of earrings and a cushion for a friend’s birthday. Watch out Notonthehighstreet. She has also been meditating to manage the madness of running a business remotely whilst juggling her cats, pro bono work and shopping for an elderly neighbour who eats more meat than a wild bear. Not the greatest COVID pastime for our vegetarian, animal fanatic MD. But as usual she puts her best pleather foot forward and gets on with it.

What Debbie and Cara don’t shout about is the selfless time and energy they give to helping elderly people living alone. They both volunteer for Independent Age and while they can no longer do home visits, they are still calling their ladies every week to check on their health and wellbeing and putting a smile on their faces with their craft, cat and yoga anecdotes. It’s good to talk. That old BT strapline still rings true – now more than ever.

Similarly, Jen has devoted much of her free time to helping Manchester & Cheshire Dogs’ Home with their website content and enewsletter to ensure that theses once unwanted dogs find their new forever homes.

So we’ve all been doing our bit and doing our best to perfect our lockdown life skills which may not change the world – but have changed ours.

I am a firm believer that good things happen to good people and these bunch are truly good. Proof that you don’t have to be ruthless in – or out of business. Brands that have been fair to their customers and used their clout and free time to do good during the crisis should hopefully flourish – and the bad will be flushed out.

Let’s live in hope that post COVID Britain will be smarter, healthier, kinder and more resilient. And I might have a self-sufficient vegetable patch.

Home, not alone

Coronavirus (Covid-19) has hit the world hard. Really hard. It has put a big, brutal spanner in our personal and professional works. The ‘new normal’ is anything but normal.

It’s unsettling and scary. The only certainty is uncertainty.

In a business context, we’re having to adapt to digital meetings and engaging over email. Office banter is now a Youtube link or a meme. Work colleagues, families and friends are separated. The daily commute is bedroom to dining room. Boardroom directors are finding out that controlling maverick marketing managers and budgets is childsplay compared to home schooling. Teachers have been elevated to hero status in most UK households. NHS staff to superheroes.

Which leaves us PR and Marketing professionals feeling humbled and in awe. But we still want to do our bit to help – to keep products and services selling and businesses surviving. We can’t throw in the towel onto a growing pile of budget cuts and furloughed out of office notices. And while we’re not saving lives or educating future generations, we can still do our bit to help businesses keep their employers informed and clients engaged – just with an added dose of sensitivity. We can also help them maintain a healthy-ish pipeline and new business leads for when all of this is over. And be ready with some much-needed positive news stories.

This pandemic has brought out the very best in people – and the very worst. But as stone blunts scissors, good blunts evil. Families, neighbours and business communities are closer than ever despite the physical distance – finding new and innovative ways to connect and communicate to fight the good fight.

Connectivity was the buzz word last year. We were all connected socially and professionally by thousands of webinars, podcasts, apps and social media – 24/7, 365 days a year. Success was measured by amassing followers and likes.

Success today is about survival.

And connectivity has taken on a new meaning. Nothing to do with tech. Nothing to do with big data, IoT or generating retweets or comments.

It’s about being truly connected to everyone and everything that truly matters – friends, family, clients and work colleagues who if you’re lucky, become friends and like an extended family. If you’re reading this – you know who you are.

Being connected in April 2020 is knowing everyone we care for is safe and healthy.

On that note, Cameron Wells will be connected at 8pm tonight to pay tribute and give immeasurable thanks to the real heroes who are giving up being physically connected to their families – so that we can take care of ours.

All change

Change is the only constant in life according to Greek philosopher Heraclitus. Social and digital trends explode onto our tablets and into our lives then fade away. Remember the furore of Friends Reunited? Brands come and go. Bye bye BHS and Blockbuster. As do celebrities who have their 5 minutes of fame then crash and burn then join Big Brother or rehab. But change is inevitable. That’s why fashion fads come and go (thankfully in the case of the rah rah). Change is also as good as a rest. That’s why we need so many handbags, right ladies? And so many nights out with friends to discuss the merits of each.

Change can be exciting and exhilarating. But it can also be overwhelming and daunting. After almost 15 years on the B2B PR and Marketing scene, it’s time for a change. New brand, new colours, new font, new website.

But same great team. Same great work. Same enthusiasm and passion for all things B2B.

In our game you need to stay ahead of the game. So before we embarked on our own rebrand we treated ourselves as a new client and thoroughly researched the market, competitors and trends first. Then of course we brainstormed, thought-showered, mood boarded and SWOTed, thought outside the proverbial box to come up with concepts, names, straplines, colours, brand values, USPs then wrote a well-thought out creative brief…

Farewell Cameron Wells.

Hello CW: Creative wordsmiths. Campaign winners. Commercial wizards. Consistently wow.

CW just got brighter. 

Our new brand colour is yellow.  According to colour psychologists, it means happiness and optimism. It is the colour of creativity, high energy, enthusiasm, hope, fun, and cheerfulness.

Think that sums us up perfectly.

In between our rebrand, we were busy getting nominated for a CIPR award, wining new clients and keeping old ones happy. Doing what Cameron Wells did best and CW will continue to do in our predecessors award-winning footsteps.

Web trends for 2020 and beyond

So what did our web trend research for our own new website reveal as the do’s and don’ts for the next few years?

Here are the top 5 to help keep your website fresh and your clients not complaining about thumb RSI.

1. Mobile first design

Responsive and mobile-friendly web design isn’t optional anymore. In fact, your site should be designed with mobile in mind first. The number of mobile searches overtook desktop searches several years ago and now it’s estimated that over two thirds of people carry out searches using their smartphones.

2. Bold colour and minimalism

Minimalism goes hand-in-hand with one of 2020’s biggest web design trends: colour. Bold, bright, colours will help your brand stand out against the soft neutrals that a lot of companies have chosen over the past few years.

Using colour mindfully to evoke certain moods will be big in 2020. Colour psychology has been used by marketers for years to help create brands and influence consumer perceptions and buying behaviour.

3. Organic shapes

Move over geometric shapes of 2019. In 2020, it’s all about organic shapes. Organic or fluid shapes are anything that doesn’t involve straight lines and are inspired by nature, like undulating hills or the asymmetrical and winding curve of a lake or river.

Fluid shapes are a great way to break up sections of a website without harsh lines or angles or to use as integral to background design.

4. Smart video

Video has long been a must-have for websites. People love to watch people. Video is engaging. Video grabs attention. It’s one of the most effective online marketing tools if it has purpose and meaning. Gone are the days of embedding a YouTube video on your site just for the sake of it. One content rich, high quality video is better than a dozen contrived, untargeted ones.

5. Thumb-friendly mobile navigation

In 2020, web design will be all about thumb-friendly design.

If you’re reading this on your phone, look at the way you’re holding it. Your fingers are probably wrapped around the back of your phone leaving your thumb to do all the work. Putting the navigation bar, menu, and even contact buttons in the space your thumb can easily reach makes your site easier to use and improves the customer experience tenfold. And no threat of thumb RSI. Enjoy our new, smart, bright, minimalist, thumb-friendly website…

The removal of the instagram following tab – a good or bad move?

You know what? I’m pretty obsessed with social media.

I mean, I have to be for my job but I do like it in my personal life too. From finding out the latest Brexit saga on Twitter to reading the Coleen Rooney / Rebekah Vardy beef on Instagram, social media serves up an unrivalled mix of entertainment, news and social interaction in one fell swoop.

But I do find myself on there too much, mindlessly scrolling when I’m supposed to be watching the latest episode of Peaky Blinders and having to rewind (much to everyone’s annoyance).

This is why I’m coming round to Instagram’s shock move of deleting its following tab from users’ accounts. It provided yet another way of staying on the app longer for me and my fellow obsessives, another feed to scroll, another time-wasting exercise.  

However, from a business and marketing perspective, I’m worried removing this tab could do brands and influencers harm in the long run.

I used this feed to discover new accounts, with most of my ‘I don’t know you in real life’ follows coming from this tab. Yes, there’s still the ‘explore’ section of the app but a good majority of those images are from accounts I’m not really interested in.

I asked quite a few of my other Instagram-loving friends if the following feed was something they benefited from. Many did, agreeing that it was somewhere they could find new people or brands to follow via their like-minded friend’s activity. Others weren’t too fussed about its demise – they said it was nice knowing people weren’t lurking in the background watching what they were doing.

Could this mean the number of new followers to a company account will slow down? Who knows. What with the number of likes soon disappearing on photos, will brands start to feel the impact of change on Instagram? I guess we’ll soon find out.

As for me, I promise to use the time I would have spent on the following tab on something more valuable. Like looking at Boris Johnson memes on Twitter.

Marketing with purpose

There’s nothing less meaningful in marketing than jumping on a bandwagon just because you can. Just because it’s passing by and everyone else is on board. It’s always tempting to follow the crowd for #FOMO. That’s why I started watching Game of Thrones – albeit I was very late to the medieval party. So late the finale was final. But I felt like I was the only person on planet earth not tuning into the much tweeted fantasy epic so I boarded the HBO bandwagon in order to have conversation to contribute at the next work night out. Discovering the acting attributes of Nikolaja and Kit was a bonus.

The problem with bandwagons – they often take you down a road where you shouldn’t be. 

In 2018 brands recognised that going green was a golden business opportunity. 2019 is all about going even greener. Green might be still be en vogue, but shouting about going green without meaning it couldn’t be less in fashion. Committing to going green without actually doing it is the most earth – and brand damaging thing you can do this year.

Brands are adopting various shades of green in order to strengthen their brand humanity. Yes that is the phrase of the year marketing and PR folks – putting humanity into branding is what 2019 is all about.

True investment in brand humanity is going beyond saying no to plastic or making a significant donation to a worthy cause once a year. It’s so much more than a tick box on your Corporate Social Responsibility strategy. It requires a genuine belief that by “doing good,” you are doing good business.

This movement towards purpose-led marketing needs to be deep-rooted into business DNA – from boardroom to shopfloor. It can’t just be lip service that forms the creative springboard for a new great advertising campaign or a quick fix to engage with conscious consumers on a deeper level.

Adopting purpose-driven marketing doesn’t mean that making profit is no longer a business driver. It means that “doing good” along the path to profit can be part of that journey.

But brands embarking on this ‘good’ journey must be mindful that consumers are a cynical bunch and any purpose taken up by a brand needs to be an authentic and legitimate reflection of what the brand stands for. Otherwise it will do more harm than good.

Supermarket chain Iceland learnt the hard way after it pledged to remove all palm oil from its own-label products by the end of 2018. The pledge seemed so incongruous with the brand beliefs held by consumers. Iceland had never been green. But customers were prepared to listen and be convinced by the new green brand on the block. However, when it was revealed that they were still selling 28 own-brand products containing palm oil, as well as more than 600 from other brands – its noble promise backfired. A spectacular example of purpose marketing which failed in its purpose. #wetoldyouso #weknewitwastoogoodtobetrue

The allure of purpose marketing is obvious. But brands need to put their budget where their mouth is and ensure they ‘walk the walk’ as well as ‘talk the talk’. Or they risk being named and shamed on social media and a world wide web that never forgets.

Good business in 2019 is more than buying a bandwagon ticket then enjoying the short ride. It’s about being on board for the long-haul.   

That’s why at Cameron Wells we’re doing our bit. Unwanted dogs is our purpose in 2019 and beyond. We will be supporting Manchester and Cheshire Dogs’ Home with their PR and marketing efforts to house more dogs.

One purpose that will never go out of fashion. Fur is back in fashion. Black, brown and white are the new green.

On a personal level I will be disembarking the GOT bandwagon. Westeros just isn’t the destination for me. Next stop Love Island.

Our United Kingdom

It doesn’t take much to get us all together does it? To get us all singing from the same hymn sheet. To feel like we’re all in the same boat. One for all and all for one.

Give us a two week spell of sunshine, a good glitzy wedding and a global football tournament and we will wildly and blindly applaud and chant and sing. Sing like we’re winning. Sing like we’re invincible and anything is possible. Even a happy ever after celeb-royal union and an English football squad with goals galore at their feet.

Royal fanatics and football fanatics are happy right now. Basking in the glow of what if and what next. Another royal baby?  A 52 year long awaited trophy?

We are united in anticipation.

In advertising we are united in anticipation of the frenzy of football focused ad campaigns – from the utterly brilliant to the shoehorn it in and hope for the best.

Sadly the utterly brilliant are few and far between these days. Innovation, creativity and imagination in advertising has been thwarted in recent years. Even the creators themselves aren’t as maverick or notorious as they once were back in the advertising heyday of the 80s.

Brilliant adverts have been side-lined in favour of big data, cost-cutting and simply doing what the research says. Or what Twitter and Facebook allows.

Remember a boy on a bike. A man looking for a book. A mash-making robot. A singing vacuuming housewife. A group of surfers. A drumming gorilla. A gin-drinking grandma.

What have this disparate group got in in common? They are the stars of the UK’s favourite marketing campaigns of the past five decades, the ones that stole the public’s hearts.

Great advertising can elevate the status of a brand to such an extent that it becomes synonymous with culture. And synonymous with huge brand growth. Even if you hate the product. Just ask my mate Marmite.

So come on England. Come on Guinness. Come on Hovis. Give us something to sing about.