How Open Banking could expose your fowl obsession

Op-hen Banking: it's coming home to roost

Op-hen Banking: it's coming home to roost

By Michael Taggart

Picture it: it’s a quiet afternoon in the office in late 2019 and you’re putting the finishing touches to yet another hilarious Facebook post – a video of your turtle, Leonardo, in a fedora, playing modern jazz on a tiny piano.

It’s going to get at least 12 likes, you tell yourself, leaning smugly back into your chair, when a notification suddenly pops up on your desktop computer and the colour drains urgently from your cheeks.

“NatWest Bank – monthly subscription – Fancy Fowl magazine – minus £6.50”

Panicking about the prospect of your colleagues discovering your secret ambition to be a poultry fancier, you tug every cable out the back of your machine and the screen goes blank.

Phew. Your obsession with Bearded Bantoms, waterfowl and turkeys will remain private. For now.

For me, this scenario – or something similar, anyhow – is quickly shapeshifting from a childish nightmare into a clear and present danger as we approach the implementation of the PDS2 and Open Banking requirements in the New Year.

"The major social networks might see this as a route into financial services"

These overlapping regulations – the former originates in the EU, while the latter is British – will force the banks to open up customer data to third parties in the form of secure APIs, creating more choice on where and how consumers manage their money.

It is surely not fantastical to suggest the major social networks might see this as a route into financial services, enabling people to manage their money at the same time as polluting the digital universe with jpegs of their children.

Perhaps this is a good thing? It certainly seems like a great step on the road to total customer convenience. But what about security? I’m forever leaving my Facebook page unattended and open at work. I often carelessly discard my phone as I make tea or coffee. I’ve been fraped more than once.

It was with these vexing questions bouncing chaotically around my tormented mind that I took my seat at the Kairos Society UK’s Christmas meet-up, entitled: “The Future of Fintech”.

I was particularly keen to hear the pre-trailed talk from Vedika Jain, of TrueLayer, a company that builds the APIs that will enable this Brave New World of Open Banking and PDS2.

“It goes against intuition – don’t give people access to your account”

Vedika gave as good a summary as I have heard of the likely results of the new regulations, describing an era of “the unbundling of bank services, with new firms doing only one thing but doing it really well”.

She described how personal “money control centres” are now possible. As are apps that notify you about switching and saving opportunities on regular payments (our client, Bean, does just this) and, of course, notifications about your bank account via Facebook.

“It goes against intuition – don’t give people access to your account,” Vedika acknowledged towards the end of her talk. But security is being taken seriously by this sector, for example with the deployment of encrypted information and secure storage.

I left the event optimistic about the volcano that is about to explode in UK consumer financial services. People will suddenly see a wave of exciting apps that are not only usable – but fun. It will become far, far easier for people to manage their money.

And that’s got to be a clucking good thing, right?

Oh dear.

 

Photo by Ashes Sitoula on Unsplash

Ending injustice: a review of the Trust Conference (day two)

Nazir Afzal, former chief executive of the Police & Crime Commissioners for England & Wales, speaking at the Trust Conference in London. (Image credit: Thomson Reuters Foundation.)

Nazir Afzal, former chief executive of the Police & Crime Commissioners for England & Wales, speaking at the Trust Conference in London. (Image credit: Thomson Reuters Foundation.)

Day two of the Trust Conference picks up where it left off - powerful examples from people taking the fight to the criminals violating human rights. The conference kicked-off with Nazir Afzal, the former chief prosecutor at the Crown Prosecution Service and former CEO of the Association for the Police and Crime Commissioner in England and Wales.

Afzal mixed humility with humour as he added weight to the serious issue of patriarchy and misogyny which often lead to abuse. His message could have been summed up as thus: men need to up their game. Period.

This is the man who successfully prosecuted nine Asian men from Rochdale for grooming and trafficking girls as young as 12. His actions outraged the far-right (yes, you read that correctly!) in Britain because he dared to challenge their narrative when he sent other Muslim men to prison for violating the rights of young women. Why? Because Afzal’s actions undermined the far-right’s narrative by demonstrating that defending human rights and seeking justice for victims cuts across religion and race.

A deeper level of understanding

And herein lies the key: action. The core theme of the conference - taking action to fight slavery, empower women and advance human rights worldwide.

The main point in Afzal’s talk was the importance of undermining the rising tide of toxic narratives from fringe groups which are stirring populist politics. This can be achieved by developing a deeper level of understanding about what drives these narratives. From this position, strategies, services and campaigns can be designed to reassert a more positive narrative that is built on community, cohesion and compassion.

Brendan Cox, husband of the murdered MP Jo Cox, emphasised this point when he said: “we’re living through a perfect storm of insecurities.” These insecurities are largely to do with identity and connections.

Technology and globalisation are undermining people’s sense of job security as automation threatens to take over millions of jobs. People are more likely to spend more time on Facebook than they are speaking to their neighbour. Communities and identities are being fragmented and all of it is generating a sense of unease, tension and anger. In short, people are seeking an identity - a sense of place and belonging. Populism gives refuge to these people who feel displaced.

The way we communicate is incompetent. We bombard people with facts and figures...we need to engage with people emotionally. 
— Brendan Cox

Raise the standard

Cox warmed the hearts of this Focolist when he said that communications was clumsily delivered. “The way we communicate is incompetent,” he said. “We bombard people with facts and figures...we need to engage with people emotionally.”  

The Jo Cox Foundation is running the ‘More In Common’ campaign which aims to promote an inclusive narrative that brings people together to counter some of the extreme views that have gained traction in recent years.

In order to understand the narrative, organisations - public, civil society and commercial - need to analyse and map the 'narrative space’ to understand how people are influenced. The narrative extends beyond the mere conversations - it includes the conditions in which people live, their circles of influence, and access to opportunities. These factors shape the narratives and belief systems of people, thereby framing their worldview.

Widespread use of echo-chambers

An example of how framing works can be found online in the widespread use of echo-chambers to reinforce a particular narrative among people who share those views. Digital media is  used to orchestrate the scale and speed of these toxic narratives, spreading like a virus, infecting the minds of people and spurring them into action.

Monica Roa, a reproductive rights activist from Colombia, gave an example of how people were influenced by campaigning groups using "gender ideology” (a growing concept in Latin America used to mobilise support for a socially conservative agenda) to thwart the peace agreement in which the rights of women and LGBTI were, for the first time, included in the peace process. Instead of focussing efforts on ending the 50-year conflict, the opposition groups chose to focus on how “gender ideology” was undermining traditional Christian and family values. They created an echo-chamber.

But there is a solution to tackling and countering these narratives. By analysing and mapping the narratives and networks, organisations can design intelligent campaigns to generate widespread support and transform people’s lives. As one delegate at the conference said: “If we do not have a voice, then we do not have a choice.”

Intelligent campaigns built on ‘narrative insights’ can help organisations create a megaphone for justice and equal rights.

John Shewell heads up Foco’s insights and behaviour change practice. For more information you can email John at jshewell@foco-global.com or sign-up to receive the latest news from Foco.

 

Ending injustice: review of the Trust Conference (day one)

World slam poet champion and human rights activist, Emi Mahmoud, recites a poem at the Trust Conference in London. (Image credit: Thomson Reuters Foundation)

World slam poet champion and human rights activist, Emi Mahmoud, recites a poem at the Trust Conference in London. (Image credit: Thomson Reuters Foundation)

Ending injustice is often about influencing the behaviours of those who facilitate wrongdoing without directly intending it. Nowhere is this truer than in modern slavery. Foco director JOHN SHEWELL attended this year’s Trust Conference to discover what the communications and behaviour change industry could learn from the fight against slavery.


Refugee women in Bangladesh are sold for as little as £5 in a global market that is the second most profitable behind drug trafficking. Children as young as five in Nepal are forced into labour earning so little that, if they are injured or die, it is cheaper to ‘hire’ another child than pay for care. A young woman from the UK describes how she was groomed and by the age of 12 she’s trafficked to repay her ‘debt bond’.

These were some of the stories told at the first day of the Trust Conference, a global summit bringing together change-makers from around the world to share their stories as survivors, champions and leaders fighting slavery, empowering women and advancing human rights.

The event, which is the annual conference of the Thomson Reuters Foundation spearheaded by its passionate CEO, Monique Villa, is a clarion call for genuine social change at a systemic level. Business leaders, policy-makers, and advocates from all over the world converged on the Queen Elizabeth II conference centre in London over two days to learn, share and commit to eradicating the world of slavery and trafficking.

The common theme at the conference? ‘Seeing the unseen’ - in other words finding the people  at risk of slavery or being trafficked. Organisations need better insights about the issues and audiences they’re engaging and, more importantly, the people perpetrating these crimes.

Professor Kevin Bales from Nottingham University in the UK has set up The Rights Lab to capture and analyse data relating to slavery and how it affects communities and cultures across generations around the globe. This information will help shape policy and engagement to influence change.

Jean Baderschneider, CEO of the Global Fund to End Modern Slavery, told delegates that businesses can change the game by cleaning up their supply chains while strengthening their brand. Responsible investing is on the rise and if companies have a tainted supply chain consumers and investors will vote with their cash. Being competitive now means taking action to improve social outcomes.

Paula Pyers, who oversees Apple’s social responsibility to supply chain management, gave examples of pioneering practices that have set the standard for the tech sector to follow in terms of auditing their supply chain and focussing efforts on education to empower their suppliers. Their approach puts social responsibility at the heart of their business.

Mondelez’s ‘Cocoa Life’ programme was also another example of a global business scrutinising its supply chain in manufacturing chocolate. Tackling slavery is crucial to their business because the knock-on effect to climate change. Research by Prof. Paul Bales revealed that the impact of modern slavery on the environment makes it the third largest emitter of CO2 emissions on the planet. (So businesses that use natural ingredients for their products have a commercial imperative to stop slavery.)

“What we cannot outsource is our moral responsibility.”

The day closed on a high with the Stop Slavery awards. Adidas took the top gong for demonstrating that they have a thoroughly audited and robust supply chain across their entire network of 1.3million suppliers. Fittingly, the quote of the day went to Aditi Wanchoo, Adidas’ director of social impact and external affairs, when collecting the award, she said: “What we cannot outsource is our moral responsibility.” A perfect end to day one of the Trust Conference.

Roll on day two!

Put on your tin hats, Big Banks - Silicon Roundabout is Coming!

Fintech visionary: Jeff Tijssen of Capco

Fintech visionary: Jeff Tijssen of Capco

By Michael Taggart

Which one of the following three statements is false?

1.     Patrick, the oldest known bare-nosed wombat to have walked the Earth, died a virgin at 32 years of age last spring;

2.     Our chances of being killed by a vending machine are actually twice as large as our chances of being bitten by a shark;

3.     Around three quarters of senior bankers believe that digitisation will affect their business model.

That’s right, it’s the last one. It's not only false but, astonishingly, the exact opposite is the actual truth – some 76% of senior bankers believe their model will remain unaffected by fintech.

Yeah, right. And I’m Patricia, the straight-laced lady wombat who wouldn't make Patrick happy.

That astonishing stat was just one of maybe a dozen that surprised a rapt audience of students, bankers and entrepreneurs at this week’s Fintech Visionaries lecture at Queen Mary University in East London.

We were in the hands of a passionate and engaging Jeff Tijssen, head of fintech at technology consultancy Capco, who adroitly crafted a picture of an unstoppable revolution in the way we are using financial products and services.

Far from failing to affect the business model of banks, this earthquake began rumbling a long time ago. As Tijssen reminded us, it’s already two and a half years since JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon warned in his annual letter to shareholders "Silicon Valley is coming”.

Dimon meant startups were coming for Wall Street, innovating in areas like lending and payments that were key to ‘traditional’ institutions like JPMorgan.

As it goes, JPM decided to embrace those precocious businesses by working out how to collaborate with them. As a result, it has become significantly focused on fintech, investing in dozens of companies, including Motif, Square and Prosper.

In fact, despite the apparent so-laid-back-we’re-horizontal attitude of senior bankers, the big banks now want to become tech companies themselves, Tijssen told us.

Hardly surprising when you consider that the world’s five biggest companies – in order from largest, Apple, Alphabet, Microsoft, Amazon, and Facebook – are all tech companies.

So they have so-called ‘accelerators’ in which they incubate fintech start-ups. For example, Barclays has Techstars near Old Street's 'Silicon Roundabout' and even the Bank of England is getting in on the game.

But the tendency has been to keep the bespectacled hipsters with perfectly manicured beards – this is, so far, a male-dominated movement – at arms length, tucked away among the converted warehouses of Shoreditch.

And therein lies the problem, Tijssen told us. The big banks are often playing at fintech without fully integrating the innovation it brings into their operations.

This might be born of complacency, we learned via some more stunning statistics courtesy of our host.

Only 3% of us switched our bank accounts in the last year. Conversely, a significant 37% have been with their bank 20 years or more.

The ‘Big Four – RBS, HSBC, Lloyds and Barclays – run 77% of UK personal accounts and 85% of the business banking market. This represents a big challenge to the main ‘challengers’ – Monzo, Atom, Tandem, Tide, Civilised, and Starling Bank.

So what’s next? Well, as ever, the Millennials are the ones to watch and – guess what – they’re scaring the bejesus out of the grey-haired board-level defenders of the status quo.

A whopping 73% of Millennials want digital-only relationships with their banks, according to a recent Gallup poll, and 69% say they would try a financial offering from a non-financial brand, like Facebook or WhatsApp (Millenial Disruption Index).

Uh-oh.

So, what’s the best way for the traditional financial institutions to face this challenge? Tijssen had thoughts:

“Don’t think innovation is building proof of concepts or innovation labs or cool offices with slides and pool tables. The challenge is: how will you integrate fintech into your business?"

All in all, a fascinating and eye-opening talk, whether you were a banker, a fintech CEO or a student eyeing up a career. This free event was one of a series given by Queen Mary Business and Enterprise Society – I’d highly recommend checking out future events.

Foco specialises in fintech PR and marketing - please email Michael Taggart for more information.

Foco appoints Amy Rowe as partner

Amy Rowe partner Foco

Amy Rowe has joined former colleague Michael Taggart on the management team at Foco.

Rowe, who worked alongside Taggart at PR agency MRM for two years until June this year, will head up Foco’s content proposition and will lead on nurturing talent within the business.

Taggart left his role as head of digital at MRM in June to found Foco with communications specialist John Shewell.

The consultancy works with public sector and financial services businesses that have a founding commitment to producing social good.

Rowe, who managed social media and websites for Citywire before working at MRM, joins as the third partner and has been tasked with building the company’s fintech unit.

Taggart, who also co-founded award-winning digital publisher MouthyMoney.co.uk with Rowe in 2016, said: “Amy is a visionary when it comes to content that inspires change. Knowing, as I do, her tremendous energy, her instinct for leadership and the joy she takes in seeing great
people do great work, I feel good about Foco’s future.”

Rowe added: “This feels like the sort of opportunity that you don’t pass up.

“The goals Michael and John have for Foco – to create a talented community of happy and accomplished professionals working with businesses that want to make people’s lives better – align perfectly with mine. I can’t wait to get started.”

Change: it’s all about communications

Change: often a winding road but it should always lead somewhere meaningful

Change: often a winding road but it should always lead somewhere meaningful

By Nick Sturman

How we respond to change depends entirely on the way it is communicated. The truth is, change can be a threat, opportunity or neither.

The suggestion that change isn’t the problem, it’s the people resisting the change, is often brandished in defence of failed change programmes. It is both disingenuous and lacks real accountability. (How many times have you heard that well-worn cliche “change is the only constant”? (If I had a pound for every time I’ve heard this trotted out in defence of every change agenda, I’d own a small island in the Bahamas.)

The four top reasons I hear for failure of change, in order of frequency, are:

-       Resistance to change

-       Management behaviour to support change

-       Inadequate resources or budget

-       Others

Some 95% of projects that fail, do so through the social and emotional aspects of the change.

What does ‘resistance’ really mean?

Research reveals three different states of resistance: a cognitive state, an emotional state, and a behavioural state.

The view that employee resistance can be overcome cognitively suggests that negative thoughts or beliefs about the change exist. Therefore, what’s often labelled as “resistance” is actually reluctance.

And that’s completely normal because - and research supports this - humans are designed for survival so our natural defence mechanism kicks in when there’s lack of clarity over the change, which raises our levels of anxiety and frustration.

As a result, we’re naturally nervous and reluctant about the change. From my experience, and views widely shared in the industry, reluctance turns into resistance when people perceive that a change is a threat.

What drives the fear of change?

At the heart of it, our behaviours are driven by our emotions. These may also be influenced by external factors such as the organisational structure and culture.

All behaviour is driven by emotion; and there are two types of resistance behaviour at play: active and passive. This is crucial to understanding “change psychology”.

In order to diagnose the change psychology, which is very complex, we need to understand the audiences’ states of mind. Active resistance arises when people take specific or deliberate actions to resist change, such as public statements or gathering others to help in the “resistance movement”; or hostility or sabotage.

Passive resistance is the opposite. It’s when people are quiet. They may agree but then do nothing and/or not fulfill their commitments. Passive is much more difficult to realise and address. It is normally resolved through public commitment and continued follow-up.

Why do people resist change?

All types of resistance to change share one common theme - fear.

Fear is a powerful emotion and drives behaviour in many different directions. The fear of the unknown, fear of learning, fear of job loss, adopting something they don’t want, leaving the familiar, ambiguity, misunderstanding, etc. These factors all feed fear which ultimately erodes trust in the process when there is no buy-in to the agenda and no line of sight to the end goal.

Organisational structure also affects the success of change agendas. Often people will resist change when there is a perceived loss of status which can also be an emotional attachment to their sense of ‘place’ (which could be as simple as their desk location - how many times have organisations attempted hot-desking as a solution and wondered why so people resisted the idea?).

Organisational structures influence the organisation’s culture, and the culture reinforces the structure. It’s a symbiotic, circular relationship that is often overlooked and poorly understood.

The organisation’s culture is also influenced by a range of factors - the values, beliefs, and cultural ethnocentrism of its staff. Often there is an incompatibility between the cultural traits and with the change agenda - oftenglobal organisations fail to take into full account their “local cultures” which usually ends up in failed change programmes.

Capacity for change

I’m referring to the organisation’s own ability to plan its change programme and resource it properly. Often organisations fail to assess their capacity properly for delivering their change programme successfully.

Although‘Heads of Change’, or the sponsors and stakeholders plan out their change portfolio, they only look at the resource capacity of their ‘book of work’, or change delivery team. 

The lack of capacity planning only fuels the tide of reluctance and ultimately generates resistance to change. In short, most change programmes a doomed to fail from the start when they fail to plan properly. As the saying goes: failure requires little preparation.

Human-centred change

We need to develop the change agenda through human-centered design. We need to understand the real issues that will cause “pain” and potential resistance to the change programme.

We also need to ensure the basic building blocks are in place when delivering the change:

●      communication has to be timely, accurate and relevant;

●      facilitation among staff and stakeholders to ensure everyone is properly engaged;

●      education across the relevant sections of the workforce about the case for change;

●      participation and deep engagement of all the relevant staff and stakeholders in the design and delivery of the change programme; and

●      negotiation if necessary to ensure that the change goes ahead successfully.

When there is resistance, change leaders need to understand the reasons by pausing, listening, empathising, and responding with respect and compassion.

Same-same, just different

The truth is this: it’s the same but it’s changing. In other words, everything is changing. The political, environmental, financial and technological (among many others) are rapidly changing the way we work and live.

It’s the way in which we design in change that will make the difference. It’s an exciting time to be in “change management” (although I don’t believe change can ever be really managed, but it can be facilitated better).

Photo by Justin Luebke on Unsplash

FOCO WINS LIVE-IN CARE BRIEF

Screen Shot 2017-09-04 at 15.54.47.png

4/9/17

For immediate release

Communications consultancy Foco has won its first retained public relations brief from live-in care company Elder.

Elder provides an alternative to residential care, allowing people to stay in their own homes, while receiving live-in care. The company is set up to match service users with carers that suit their particular needs.

Foco, which launched in August, is briefed to promote debate about modern care provision, while raising the profile of Elder in the UK.

Michael Taggart, co-founder of Foco, said: “We only want to work with organisations that are determined to change society with innovations that improve lives.

“We love the idea behind Elder and we think the business will make a real difference in helping thousands of people to carry on living at home when they need care. We’re thrilled to have the opportunity to play a role in Elder’s success.”

Oakley Walters, marketing director at Elder, said: “We have extremely ambitious growth targets and we felt Foco, with its focus on positive social outcomes, was the consultancy to support us in this.”

Ends

NOTES TO EDITORS

For more information about Elder or Foco, please contact Michael Taggart on 07780 008939 or at mtaggart@foco-global.com.

How mobile tech is radically altering our stories

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By Hannah Schmitt

Mobile technology is our future. Technology has evolved from being just a form of luxury segregating society into classes to an entity engraved into the everyday. We make sense of the world around us through the eyes of the mobile phone (‘Seeing the World Around You Through Your Phone’).

Fifty years ago, what we now know as the smartphone was just a figment of one’s imagination. The phone was bulky and static in nature, consisting of a mechanical wheel that meant you had to dial a digit at a time to make a phone call. Communicating to people around the world was only possible through letters, and therefore communication was in no means instant.

Innovation and mobility

Twenty-five years ago, touch-tone services came into play slaying dialling time and is still today, foreshadowing the digital revolution that influences everyday communications. We have ventured into the generation of innovation and mobility: two concepts that were previously understood as two separate entities are now two sides of the same coin.

Technology is an intricate part of our lives on a day-to-day basis, the mobile phone even more so. It’s the first thing most people reach for when the wake up in the morning. The mobile phone is almost like a third arm, weaving itself deeper and deeper into the roots of our lives and who we are.

Blurring public and private spaces

Five years from now, our generation will be even more integrated technologically speaking (‘Five trends that will drive the future’). The path of technology is in nature, never ending. We have fractured the defined lines between the public and the private through mobilisation and communication bringing the private into the public embodied space.

This will only lead to the development of privatisation within urban spaces leading to the private space being a form of the public. The mobile phone has opened a realm in which we can create almost a cocoon for ourselves communicating and interacting with whom we choose to, through apps like iMessage, Facebook, Snapchat, Gmail.   

All forms of technology will progress in means of mobility with implications on the vast possibilities mobilising technology will have on the urban makeup of spaces. More and more so every day activities will become possible through the mobile phone where the phone becomes a personalised device that is indistinguishable from ourselves, living our lives through our phones (‘The Internet Has Become the External Hard drive for Our Memories’)

The next trend will fall under this concept of mobility of technology. Applications will become the sole definer of who we are and what we can do. The mobile phone has given us an area of control; we are in control of who we are through our mobile devices. We can move through urban spaces creating a cocoon in which we can communicate with others, travel from A to B and privatise a public space for ourselves, through the mobile phone.

This concept of shaping our own space will only grow. We will be able to control our lives even more so than we do today through our mobile phones. A new demographic will arise from this and that demographic is not based on gender or age but on access to mobile devices. The future is literally in our hands. We have the control of who we are, telling the story, our story, we want to tell and share through the mobile phone.

 

The rise of transmedia storytelling

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By John Shewell.

Seriously, what the hell is this? Sounds like a disease inflicted on marketers! But no, it’s an emerging concept that’s going to radically transform communications. We’re truly at the edge of significant disruption.

Transmedia storytelling is emerging as the big player and if you don’t know about it, then best you get in touch with us to find out more (cheeky plug, I know!).

So, what’s transmedia storytelling? It’s the technique of building a single story across multiple platforms using digital technologies to create a fully immersive experience. This shouldn’t be confused with the traditional cross-media communications approach that is currently commonplace.

It’s like a big puzzle with each piece contributing to the overall narrative - each piece adds something new and layers the story to create an immersive story experience.

Transmedia storytelling will transform the way campaigns are designed and delivered as communicators will need to think about how to play their narrative across multiple platforms to build a rich experience for the prosumer.

In short, transmedia storytelling is the new definition for campaigns.

Consumer to prosumer

It’s now widely accepted that the ‘consumer’ is almost gone - the passive recipient of information is being replaced by the ‘prosumer’ - the active participant in gathering, creating, and curating information.

The prosumer is empowered by technology to give them more choice, but this fragmentation of channels is where the opportunity lies - transmedia storytelling. Using a storyline that’s stitched across multiple platforms with the audience at the centre. This makes content all the more relevant for it to engage and stick in the epicentre of the audience’s heart and mind.

Crappy content won’t cut it

Crappy content won’t survive in this new world order - audiences now want to be part of the story. This is why human-centred storytelling is so crucial - this is about building stories around the audience and placing it across relevant platforms that will immerse them with the story.

For brands, this is significant. Brands can transform their communications into powerful stories that engage audiences thereby building a new relationship with people. After all, brands are stories in of themselves - they now need to be told better to cut through the clutter and transmedia storytelling offers brands this opportunity.

Organisations now need to shift from talking about themselves in that traditional ‘look at me, this is why we’re great’ communications to stories built around people and/or issues and placed across multiple platforms relevant to the audience to build and nurture communities of engaged customers.

Social currency

Brands need to involve audiences in the design and delivery of the story - this is human-centred storytelling. It places audiences at the centre of the brand and the narrative is built around them.

For non-profits, transmedia storytelling will radically transform campaigns to engage audiences around issues and influence behaviours in a more profound way because people are connected to the issue - they’re part of the ‘hero’ narrative. This type of social currency makes non-profit campaigns more scalable because the story is being told across multiple platforms and developed over time.

These ongoing stories give marketers powerful opportunities to persuade, promote, and develop loyalty and engagement with target audiences.

Organisations as media companies

As my colleague, Michael Taggart, recently wrote - we’re all media companies now. All organisations need to re-imagine their entire business along the lines of a media company and ask themselves how they can tell their story that resonates powerfully with their stakeholders to build their brand.

For public sector organisations, the opportunity to transform communications should be an urgent priority as citizens’ trust in government declines and cohesion across communities becomes more fragmented.

This is the new challenge for communications teams.

Human-centred storytelling

In order to build compelling stories, organisations need to understand their audience’s entire world-view. Stories must be shaped by what inspires and motivates people. At Foco, we’ve developed an unique approach to getting to the heart of the story, which includes the process of deep insight. This goes beyond the traditional approaches to research by exploring how people make sense of the world around them - this information is the start of the journey to create compelling content that will connect with audiences. But that’s not enough, in order for the story to truly stick it has to be co-designed with the audience.

Yes, it’s a longer process but this is about investing in quality communications and engagement that inspires and motivates people to act.

This is the new model of communications - human-centred is the process - and the delivery is transmedia - and it’s all about storytelling.

 

 

 

Slick digital marketing cannot conceal crappy content

Slick digital marketing cannot conceal crappy content

The ways in which we consume content are multiplying at a such a dizzying clip that keeping up is a fool’s errand for anyone old enough to know the joy of two-day hangovers.

But it doesn’t matter. f your organisation is to become a master storyteller, it is essential that it understands one golden rule of content strategy in 2017. Quality is not only the most important factor in whether your content will be consumed; it is increasingly the only factor.