How can you tailor your content to deliver your message and communicate more effectively?

Join our breakfast seminar at the Zetter Town House on Thursday 3 May to find out (see details below).

“62% of companies said a lack of content strategy across their organisation, prevents them from achieving content maturity and 70% of marketers lack a consistent or integrated content strategy.” (Curata)

We believe that a content-first approach to developing your website highlights real world requirements early. It is content that connects design, user experience, devices, technology and your organisation’s own capacity planning. It is the catalyst for getting audiences talking, sharing and taking action.

Aimed at web managers, content owners and corporate communications professionals, we will share insights and guidance to help you better implement and deliver digital content that meets your audience and business needs

Our seminar will cover:

  • Tailoring a strategy to match in-house resources, ambitions and budget
  • Developing a content plan to help you manage content in the long run
  • Balancing mandatory corporate stakeholder content with more customer facing features
  • Managing engagement of returning visitors, as well as impressing new ones
  • Empowering your teams to own your content strategy

Into the future

Our Virtual Reality partners Uniq will do a live demonstration of their web apps on iPad Pro tablets at the end of the session and you will also be able to try out their Samsung Gear Virtual Reality headset experience.

When: Thursday 3 May 2018
Where: The Games Room, Zetter Town House, 49-50 Saint John’s Square, London, EC1V 4JJ
Nearest tube: Farringdon (2 min. walk)
Start: 8.30am arrival for 9am
Finish: 10.30am

Presenter
Clare Bennett
Digital Strategy Director (Shell, Syngenta, Glencore, Rio Tinto, Laing O’Rourke)


RSVP
Clare Bennett
clare@gather.london
020 7014 3325

We look forward to seeing you there.

 

It’s the 31st January. Is it me or does it feel more like the 331st day of January?

In some ways it’s lucky that January has been such a long month as it has given the Gather team more time to pack in all the incredible work we’ve been doing.

We’ve really hit the ground running in 2018 by kicking off exciting new projects with four new clients across Brand, Digital and Reporting this month already.

We’re really looking forward to seeing what happens in February. If January ever actually ends that is. 

We are delighted to announce that the AO World annual report (2017) won the award for the Best Annual Report in the Small Cap market at last night’s award ceremony.

We have worked with AO World since 2014, helping them translate the energy and passion of their staff for customer service into a tangible point of difference in the annual report. The task this year was to tell investors the story of how the business is using its unique culture to expand into Europe.

“The Judges applauded the clear and innovative design of the report, as well as a brilliant use of case studies. Judges noted how the business model engaged the reader. A personal and believable report overall, well done AO!” – The Investor Relations Society

Now in their 17th year, The IR Society’s flagship Best Practice Awards acknowledge companies that have demonstrated a strong understanding of, and proactive efforts to promote, clear and consistent investor communications. Judges are drawn from the investor relations profession and the investment community.

We are very pleased to announce that Langsford Corporate Design has joined Gather. With 22 years experience of designing and producing Annual Reports for FTSE 350 companies, Langsford Design’s expertise and history really complements and strengthens Gather’s corporate reporting capabilities.

For more information please contact:

Simon Lake
simon@gather.london

Paul Langsford
paul@gather.london

From 6 April 2017, companies with more than 250 staff are required to annually report on their gender pay gap. This must be published on both their own and government websites.

The following information is required:

  • mean gender pay gap in hourly pay
  • median gender pay gap in hourly pay
  • mean bonus gender pay gap
  • median bonus gender pay gap
  • proportion of males and females receiving a bonus payment
  • proportion of males and females in each pay quartile

Although some companies have chosen to include this information in the annual report, an article in the Financial Times today (08.05.17) states that of the 9,000 companies who must now comply, only 5 (including a window-blind manufacturer, an umbrella company and a cleaning company) have published their data on government websites.[1]

Business, charities and public sector organisations are all required to publish the data under the new regulations.

Employers have until April 2018 to publish the figures, but given the pre-emption, the government had hoped that there would have been a larger number of early adopters.

It is possible that there are reputational and technical reasons that companies are slow to release their figures. Companies are likely to be anxious about how the statistics will make them look to both the public and their employees.

When taking into account full- and part-time employees the current national gender pay gap was 18.1% at April 2016, although the lowest this has been in the economy since 1997, it is hoped that the new regulations will reduce this further.[2]

But many companies are publishing figures that are much higher than this. At April 2016, Virgin Money had a gender pay gap of 36%.

Companies should seek to publish the information in the most accurate and timely manner. It is likely that larger companies will take their time, ensuring correct figures, appropriate accompanying narrative and managing the associated risks. That said, there is a reputational risk involved in not doing so. As always, it is often more telling what you don’t say.

 

[1] https://www.ft.com/content/a0b4e202-331d-11e7-99bd-13beb0903fa3

[2] https://www.ons.gov.uk/employmentandlabourmarket/peopleinwork/
earningsandworkinghours/bulletins/annualsurveyofhoursandearnings/
2016provisionalresults#gender-pay-differences

The head of marketing at Mondelez has quit her job. The company says “Our search for a successor will focus on finding a digital-first, disruptive and innovative leader who can build on Dana’s legacy and mobilise breakthrough marketing in a rapidly changing global consumer landscape.”

In today’s Financial Times Lucy Kellaway says that in this single, shortish sentence Mondelez has evoked not one, but many business clichés, each begging to be banned.

Why do clichés exist at all? Some say they’re useful because they are a form of shorthand. In fact they obfuscate meaning rather than convey it. What clichés sometimes convey amongst groups of people is a vague sense of belonging and invariably of being more clever than everyone else. But it’s a club of the clueless, making you and what you say forgettable.

Why do marketing clichés seem especially repellant? Other professions have their own, but perhaps it’s down to the volume and frequency with which ‘marketing speak’ is used. It spreads like wildfire if that’s not too clichéd a thought for you. A politician these days who doesn’t say ‘fit for purpose’? Unthinkable.

Most important of all, why do we need Lucy Kellaway to tell us what we all know to be true anyway? We need her because clichés are easy and comfortable. We fall into them because we are often lazy, sometimes stupid and occasionally both, and expressing ourselves precisely and thinking about things clearly is hard work.

So, thanks Lucy Kellaway for reminding us that we really ought to do better than spout this nonsense. In the meantime, to emphasise its absurdity, here are some definitions that may or may not be helpful:

Game changer

You’re playing Assassins Creed and you switch to Overwatch.

Granular

Often followed by the word ‘detail’ which is a kind of doubling up of the idea. Unless you’re talking about general detail of course. And phrases such as ‘let’s get granular’? Mildly unpleasant.

Value-add

‘What’s the value-add?’ you hear people say when they are asking about where the added value is. Apart from anything else, it’s a really ugly, car-crash of a phrase. Always sounds like a chopped off, half-a-thought. 

Thinking outside the box

Assumes that you’re already thinking in a box and begs questions such as if your thinking comes from outside the box how do you bring it back in again? And does it still have straight sides?

Low hanging fruit

This cliché, referring to ‘the simple or easy’, must rely on some kind of shared memory, given the separation of the growing process from many or our lives. This is probably the reason why people have forgotten that low hanging fruit often rots quickly or is the most damaged from disease.

Singing from the same hymn sheet

My upbringing as a Methodist allows me safely to say that this is no guarantee of a satisfactory, let alone harmonious result.

Killed in action

When it happens in war it is a tragedy. When consultants tell you it has happened to them, it is proof that they often over-estimate their importance and lead very dull lives. Killed in Acton could be both true and worse.

Names have ‘Handle With Care’ written all over them. These ticking bombs of emotion can go off any time you’re developing or launching them, provoking love, hate and everything in between. And that’s just among the people who are creating them.

So it is with caution that one approaches reports that Verizon will be launching ‘Oath’ – some sort of rebranded combination of Yahoo and AOL.

What is our response?

First, what will ‘Oath’ really be the name of? It is hard to believe that Verizon would purchase Yahoo and then immediately jettison the brand equity they paid money for. Yahoo (minus the Alibaba bit) cost Verizon $4.83 billion in July 2016, though thanks to the revelation of massive data breaches the deal has taken time to complete.

Despite this, of course, the Yahoo name has value. It remains among the biggest destinations for Internet users, particularly people who just use its email. And AOL is still a pretty big name.

Digging a little deeper into the story, it seems the Yahoo brand will not disappear, but rather that it will remain as part of a typical ‘house of brands’ strategy – a media brand sitting beneath ‘Oath’ and alongside Verizon’s other media entities, AOL and the Huffington Post.

Second, merging AOL and Yahoo is no surprise. In buying Yahoo, Verizon’s goal was to create a group of internet destinations with enough visitors so it could provide a credible alternative to Google and Facebook.

The Twittersphere is lit with the usual outrage reserved for the launch of pretty much anything new, but particularly a new name.

No doubt things will settle down as people get used to the new name and put it in context. But, interestingly, one test this name doesn’t really pass is the international pronunciation one. ‘Oath’. That ‘t’ and ‘h’ combination. For the French? For the Spanish?

 

The Government has triggered Article 50 on Wednesday 29 March 2017.

But what does this mean for corporate reporting? Unfortunately, all it tells us at the moment is that we should be braced for uncertainty.

Following the referendum in June last year, the Financial Reporting Council issued a statement regarding reporting and legislation in the UK going forward.

“Stakeholders have asked about the implications of the referendum result for our regulatory work. Our regulatory framework is unchanged and we will continue to apply it. The FRC will also continue to play its part in representing the interests of the UK internationally. We will pay close attention to the decisions now taken by the Government and Parliament, and continue to work in collaboration with our key stakeholders, particularly investors, business and the professionals we regulate, in order to ensure our work continues to support economic growth.”

We believe this still stands. Going into the divorce period, businesses should be transparent and comprehensive, particularly in assessing their principal risks. The fall out of Brexit is likely to be a risk that will be directly impacting a number of large listed companies in the UK and the discussion of risk management and identification of principal risks should reflect this.

To understand how best to ensure appropriate risk assessment see our recent white paper on ‘The importance of risk reporting’.

A two-day event running at Excel venue in London, Smart IoT brings together five events in one, including Cloud Expo Europe, Cloud Security Expo, Big Data World, Smart IoT and Data Centre World.

For those unsure what IoT stands for – it’s the Internet of Things – put plainly, it’s the emerging technology that connects different systems together to enable smarter running of businesses, homes and cities. Things such as your Hive energy smart meter, Fitbit wearable device or CitySense smart parking app are all part of the Internet of Things technology.

I attended 11 sessions over the two days and have gathered here the highlights from the best sessions. This isn’t intended to be a direct replication of what I heard, rather the things that stood out for me.

Fintech Global overview by Susanne Chishti, CEO and Founder of Fintech Circle

  • Fintech only started 15 years ago in 2000 and back then required $5m to create a start-up – that has decreased to $5k in 2016; leaving the door wide open for small businesses to invest
  • The barriers to entry have been slowly removed from establishment of digital payment systems, reduced regulation, increase of wearables and development of integrated solutions
  • The industry is now seeing the tech giants moving in, but innovation is ripe for the taking, as even those companies don’t know yet know how to harness the power of all the data they are collecting and innovate accordingly eg Facebook now has a credit card and Starbucks has a payment app but have they thought about how they’re connecting these customers peer to peer?
  • Open API’s are the key to successful innovation in Fintech – anyone remember MySpace? Up until 2006 it had a very strong following and year on year growth as a social media tool for connecting friends together to chat. In 2006 Facebook came onto the market and by 2007 MySpace had rapidly declined. Why? Facebook made the bold decision to open up its API to developers to create new functionality

Women Leaders in Technology panel discussion with Alejandra Leon Moreno, Director and Lead Architect Digital, Architecture & Emerging Technology at Philips IT; Sue Daley, Head of Big Data, Cloud and Mobile Services, techUK; Susanne Chishti, CEO & Founder, FINTECHCircle

  • Education for girls is key to helping women into digital and tech – teaching them early at school and then University about problem solving, encouraging them to play with lego at an early age, or engage in computer games such as Minecraft – giving them the same toys as boys – will help equip and encourage women considering tech as a career
  • Raising awareness of industry and roles for women in digital and tech is required – conferences help do this
  • Marketing teams are now moving much further toward digital and this is an opportunity to be leveraged – many women are in marketing teams and there is potential to make the shift into tech
  • Diversity in the workplace helps both men and women thrive and grow – women generally lack confidence to showcase their skills and share knowledge so male counterparts can help by encouraging female co-workers to speak up
  • Many international companies do not recognise that there is a gender gap – targets need to be put in place for recruiting women into tech industries – Bloomberg have issued a diversity index to encourage this
  • Companies need to stop hiring in their own male mould – they need to look beyond existing skills and recruit skills that don’t exist across genders – collaboration between genders is key to effecting culture change
  • If companies continue to ignore the gender imbalance, we will see more technology projects falter at the start, as programmes coded by male only teams will not always achieve success e.g. AI Robots that don’t recognise a female voice

There’s no such thing as #BigData: Jeremy Waite, IBM Watson

  • 4/5 executives today feel overwhelmed and under prepared for the changes happening to business in digital over the next 5 years – they don’t know how to predict for this
  • There is no such thing as Big Data – only small spoonfuls of data [@scobleizer]
  • The digital universe will be 40x bigger in 2020 than it is today – that’s equivalent to a company the size of Google being created every 24 hours
  • Only half of the data being created daily as being analysed, yet still we are capturing more every second
  • 80% of enterprise companies don’t even share data between sales and marketing teams so useful insights are not being acted on within individual businesses
  • 88% of consumer chat is in private message chat e.g. Facebook messenger, Snapchat – so no business really knows what their customers are thinking or saying to each other as we can’t see the clicks any more
  • 75% of companies still make decisions based on emotion – this is down to the CEO using his/her gut feeling rather than using the data to inform decision making
  • IBM Watson is trying to understand peoples’ emotions – it is tracking sentiment data from Amazon, YouTube, Facebook and Twitter to get a deeper insight by crunching 10million data points per second
  • The aim of building Watson was to do something fun with data but now it is being used to save people’s lives in a project collaboration with the NHS
  • But the problem that still exists, is how do you extract meaning out of the noise – what is the future for business?
  • Steven B Johnson, an influential TED speaker, says that the future is wherever people are having the most fun

Financial data visualisation, Oliver T Woolf, Bloomberg

  • Visual tools are to language what data itself is to thoughts
  • Thoughts however, are limited by the capacity to express them but the capacity to express them is futile, if the thoughts are not there in the first place
  • Hence innovation in visual tools and improvements in the collection of data must go hand in hand
  • But value is only created by good interpretation of the results and validation of the ideas that ensue
  • Like a football team – the players are the data; the management/infrastructure are the visuals:
    • England = great data but unsound infrastructure;
    • Leicester = decent data but great infrastructure;
    • Barcelona = great data and infrastructure
  • Candle graphs are probably the most useful type of chart used to analyse and understand financial data on which time slots can be overlaid to provide a deeper picture of any given financial data
  • Relative rotational graphs can then take this information further by showing financial data across four areas of strength
  • Data visualisation, interpretation and validation are the steps you should follow for successful financial data insights

So what does this all mean for future business? My four key take-outs are:

  • Don’t be an elephant – businesses need to be agile to stay ahead of the crowd and use technology such as open APIs and ecosystems to support business success
  • Be flexible to change – keep an eye on the future; encourage group problem solving and include your female colleagues – multiple brains are better than one
  • Invest in your data – big data is everywhere; what is crucial to identify, is the data that is critical to organisational success; along with a meaningful, yet simple way of presenting this data visually
  • Have fun – get the maximum enjoyment from work and collaborations – you will achieve personal success, that will in turn benefit your business

The mining sector is an industry that affects all our lives. From the cars we drive, to the cell phones we use, the utensils we eat with, and the money we spend – these all rely on the extraction of valuable minerals, metals and resources from the earth.

But over the years, extractive industries of all kinds have faced both public and expert criticism for everything from failing mine infrastructure and machinery and environmental damage to inconsistent safety track records and even human exploitation.

Given this background, Gather looked at the websites of 20 mining companies – to see how effective they are being in using their digital communications to manage stakeholder expectations – and their reputations.

Methodology

Our benchmark, based on criteria we specifically designed, reviewed 20 companies of varying sizes across the globe, who mine for a number of different resources. A large percentage of these are listed on the London Stock Exchange.

We focused on three key areas that we identified as being important, in our experience, to meeting stakeholder demands, as well as being useful in building a companies’ reputation:

Stakeholder engagement

We looked at how effective the site design and content was in meeting audience interests and needs. Criteria reviewed covered the brand story, values, channels and tailored content for key corporate audiences.

Content experience

We analysed content execution and delivery across the website and other channels. The research reviewed design, imagery, graphics and interactive content along with information architecture, signposting, calls to action and related content.

Sustainability and governance

We reviewed the critical information that companies must make available to aid business trust and transparency, elements that comply with FRC and GRI standards. These included environmental impact, employee and labour relations, human rights and community relations, as well evidence of reports, risk approach and community contribution.

The results

A few companies stood out, including Anglo American, Trafigura, Vedanta Resources, Antofagasta and Barrick Gold. They present coherent, thoughtful, tailored and designed user- experiences that encourage exploration of information across channels and positively invite stakeholders to interact with their brand online.

Elsewhere, within the 20, while there were some flourishes of good content experience and audience engagement directed at customers, jobseekers and investors, overall there was a lack of in-depth content about the company. We found insufficient information about its story, values, operational setup and future investments and what made it different. Tailored and relevant content to support jobseekers was minimal and often missing a useful job search or practical vacancy and application information. In addition, social media was overlooked as an engagement tool for these and other wider stakeholder groups.

Overall, sustainability and governance content was treated seriously with subject matter including the breakdown of key issues and company approach. However, even when this was done well, many companies didn’t quite deliver the breadth of content and transparency of information that effective CSR requires.

In general, we concluded that there was little evidence of the sites being actively or strategically managed beyond the uploading of press releases and announcements. This has led to many sites being static, unchanging entities, that lack content variety, engagement and effective design execution.

It seems mining companies could dig deeper if they want to make their corporate websites really effective.

For a presentation of the findings – and our recommendations – email Clare Bennett, Digital Strategy Director at clare@gather.london or call 020 7610 6140.