Meet Clarity’s new London Account Director – Callum McCaig

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Every now and then we give Clarity’s employees the chance to share a little more about their lives, careers and favourite things.

This time it is Callum McCaig, our recently arrived Account Director, in the spotlight. Callum joined from fintech startup Curve, where he led communications and successfully managed its European launch. Previous to this, he worked with a range of VC-backed startups and global tech brands at Metia and Burson-Marsteller.

At Clarity Callum oversees domestic and international client campaigns, helps drive new business and supports the senior management. He has lots of experience in fintech and is an expert in emerging tech like blockchain.

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Meet Clarity’s new London Account Director – Callum McCaig

Cision’s State of the Media report – some good news for PRs

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One of the most frequently told stories in media circles in the last couple of years is the way in which the contagion of fake news has actually benefited serious journalism.

Titles that were once struggling to convince readers to part with money for subscriptions and memberships found themselves in the thick of the battle against fake news, and readers suddenly seemed happy to put their hands in their pockets.

The New York Times reported a 10% growth year on year, and The Guardian is on course to hit one million paid supporters in the next year. There’s even a blockchain based media platform coming called Civil which promotes quality journalism yet is leading on reader funded revenue rather than advertising.

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Cision’s State of the Media report – some good news for PRs

Clarity’s London MD, Sara Collinge, on ‘why targeting women is not a comms strategy in its own right’

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Clarity’s London MD, Sara Collinge, recently wrote an article for PR Week about an issue that is very close to her heart – the way that brands target women.

As Sara says

“There is no one-size-fits-all and brands are making too many assumptions about what it takes to engage with a female market. As businesses clamour to attract more women they’re jumping on the bandwagon and launching initiatives without enough knowledge and understanding of who exactly they’re trying to reach, and what they care about.”

Here’s what she had to say. Incidentally you can read the PR Week article here.

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Clarity’s London MD, Sara Collinge, on ‘why targeting women is not a comms strategy in its own right’

Preparing an ICO? Six PR/marketing points to consider

Side view of businessman hands using abstract ICO initial coin offering interface. Bitcoin concept. 3D Rendering

Side view of businessman hands using abstract ICO initial coin offering interface. Bitcoin concept. 3D Rendering

If you are planning on launching an ICO at some point in the near future then the last few weeks have probably caused you to re-calibrate your plans. The news that social networks have chosen to ban Crypto and ICO ads is not entirely surprising given the concerns about some of the entities that are being created. Yet it does in many ways impinge on the plans of serious ICO based companies who are now deprived of one of their key marketing tactics. At the time of writing Google is still accepting ICO ads, but the company says that it will introduce new guidelines in June.

Whether the bans have undermined the credibility of ICOs and cryptocurrency is a discussion for another time. It does mean however that companies who are serious about ICOs will need to work harder to get their message out to potential investors, and this means that content creation and media relations are going to be even more important.

At Clarity we are currently working with a number of companies who are moving towards an ICO. We tend to be very selective about the companies we work with too, choosing entities that meet our very strict criteria. It is a given in our minds though that while the ICO/Crypto space is in a degree of flux, both will become established business practices in the future.

So if you are thinking of an ICO here are few things to bear in mind.

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Preparing an ICO? Six PR/marketing points to consider

What is newsjacking – and why brands need to think about it more…

newsNewsjacking. It’s an incredibly useful strategy for brands looking to raise their profile – particularly within the UK. But many people don’t know much about newsjacking as a tactic – what goes into it, when it’s appropriate (and not so appropriate), why it’s a great tactic, who should comment, and how to go about it successfully.

Given that it’s a reliable tactic for PR and marketing pros alike, it’s worth digging deeper into who, what, when, why, and how newsjacking can be used to amplify brands and position spokespeople as experts within the press.

What exactly is newsjacking? Simply, it’s the linkage of your brand to an item on the news agenda.

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What is newsjacking – and why brands need to think about it more…

How Artificial Intelligence will change businesses – OpenOcean’s CEO Summit

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The OpenOcean CEO Summit, which features speakers from the company’s clients and across its network, was once again a fascinating and in some ways challenging event. It offered not just a deep dive into the future of tech, but also into the way in which tomorrow’s innovations will be funded and developed too.

One of the most prominent debates focused Artificial Intelligence and how it is likely to be harnessed in the coming decade. Open Ocean lined up a stellar line up of panelists including Mike Hyde, Facebook’s Director of Data Science, Peter Lee CEO of Rapidminer and Alex Housley CEO of Seldon.

A wide ranging discussion ensued which touched on everything from the levers behind adopting AI (“generating revenue, cutting costs and avoiding risk”) through to the difference between applied data scientists and coding data scientists and their role in developing AI.

All three panel members hinted that the biggest opportunity in AI would be driven by those who had an understanding of maths, yet at the same time were able to look at what might be coming down the road for their business and how AI might solve those problems.

Finding the right signals

Interestingly Peter Lee spoke about what he perceives as being the number one issue in the state of adoption – finding a meaningful signal. In other words choosing the right data to measure. He gave an example of when an airline recently used AI to see if it could find more effective ways of turning round its fleet. It ended up focusing on external factors like flight time and air traffic control, rather than internal ones, such as preparing the cabin for the next flight, which actually had a more significant impact on airline punctuality.

There was also decision of how AI is only really as useful as its output and the way it could change business. Peter Lee argued that prescriptive action is the key. He exhorted companies to execute data analysis, but also to ensure that the data that was examined was core to resolving business issues.

The panel finished with a discussion about which are the best examples yet of how AI has been transformative for a business. Peters cited a US mortgage lender which in the past had struggled with the key issue of churn. To counter this it has developed Machine Learning that examines a person’s available social data and looks for key factors. The idea being that its customers are more likely to remortgage when their life changes such as having kids, getting married or divorced or separated. Using this demographic data the company was able to approach its customers in real time with personalised emails. This had ultimately generated very significant growth.

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How Artificial Intelligence will change businesses – OpenOcean’s CEO Summit

Why it’s time to kill the “Leader” – your press releases deserve better

light-bulb-made-of-gears_23-2147505750As most of my colleagues at Clarity know, I am a big lover of words. My most oft-used mobile app is Shortyz Crosswords. I occasionally coin my own terms when the existing ones don’t quite do it (favorites include deja tune, which is having a song stuck in your head, and klognichtfreuden, which is the exclamation one cries out upon the sudden realization that he/she is wearing totally the wrong shoes for their outfit). I even joke about officially changing my middle name, so I can legally be Sherry Word Smith.

But there is one word that I can no longer stand, and I see it all the time, especially in marketing and PR. I’m so fed up that it’s now my mission to eradicate it. And it’s not one of those like “Moist,” which is just kind icky sounding. This one has just been so overused that it’s now meaninglessness, and so it must die.

I am on a mission to kill the “Leader.” 

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Why it’s time to kill the “Leader” – your press releases deserve better

What we are reading – the key stories so far from 2018 – Blockchain, GDPR, AI, Vero and more

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Some of the key stories of the last two months from the worlds of marketing, PR, social media and technology

Is Facebook still an important place for brands? – The changes in the way it constructs the news feeds, largely as a response to the criticism it has been receiving from the media in articles like this, has got brands asking questions. Here is a good summary of the issues.

Do we need another social media platform? – yes there is a big buzz about Vero at the moment, but can this new-ish ad free networks really take on the likes of Instagram and Snapchat?

Can Blockchain transform the media? The first Blockchain powered media startups are emerging with big ambitions. Here’s two to keep an eye on Civil and Po.et.

International women’s dayare brands starting to go too far in the way they newsjack the day?

Are marketing departments of brands still clueless about AI?

Why PRs need to focus on actual business outcomes for their clients and not soft metrics. Good read about issues facing the PR world.

Why startups and brands need to start taking longform content more seriously.

GDPR inches ever closer. Are you ready?

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What we are reading – the key stories so far from 2018 – Blockchain, GDPR, AI, Vero and more

Key mobile trends for 2018 – what we learned from MWC

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So what are the key trends in mobile likely to be this year? The place to find out is the Mobile World Congress which was held in Barcelona last week. Now that the largest event that’s focused on all things relating to mobile technology has wrapped up, we’ve taken a look at five of Mobile World Congress’ most exciting (and in some instances most questionable) announcements.

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Key mobile trends for 2018 – what we learned from MWC

World Book Day – what the Clarity team is reading

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The Clarity team not only loves books, we love World Book Day too. In fact there was discussion about whether we would all dress up for it. Sadly this got vetoed on account of the way it would probably turn the office into something resembling the set of a Harry Potter film – with way too many Hermiones! In London today the office looks more like The Chronicles of Narnia but that’s another story…

Anyway here are the team’s favourite books. Some people have offered not just their favourite novel but a business book too.

Happy World Book day.

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World Book Day – what the Clarity team is reading