Multi-award winning art director calls time after 7 years to join The Mission Control Communications.

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It was confirmed today that Jim Magee, former art director at Navigator Blue, has joined The Mission Control Communications as Executive Creative Art Director, following the completion of a number of award winning projects with the Irish Football Association (IFA).

Best known for his work across media – TV, Print, Digital and Web, Jim has successfully completed projects for brands including An Post, Punjana, Heineken and most recently, the IFA’s Northern Ireland Euro 2016 Dare to Dream campaign and Team Launch Event – both picking up Gold Awards at this year’s CIPR NI Awards, and winning UEFA’s Best Fan Engagement Campaign in Europe.

The decision to hire Jim was easy,’ said managing director Patricia Killoran. ‘We’ve been a massive fan of his work for a long time and when the opportunity came up to chat with him, we took it. We set up a chemistry workshop with the rest of the team to make sure there was a mutual dynamic and that was that. The rest, as they say, is history.

The appointment comes following an extensive and rigorous search process that looked at candidates from three countries. Indeed – the nature and scope of The Mission Control’s client base required a very specific skill base and unique mindset – someone capable of conceptualising and implementing individual projects and complete campaigns with regional relevancy on a global basis for brands operating in multi-billion-dollar sectors.

We see Jim bringing a fresh dynamic to the agency,’ said Patricia. ‘We have a team very used to success and it was important that we found a person that could enhance that expectation and work with our client partners to deliver campaign outcomes that really do change lives. Our clients span a diverse range of sectors, but collectively, they all share a common requirement – validated project outcomes that reflect their position as market leaders.

Mission Accomplished!

ABOUT: As a multi-award winning international advertising and brand design consultancy, The Mission Control Communications works with clients and their in-house marketing teams to create intelligent and agile solutions that effectively engage audiences in today’s disruptive and highly competitive global marketplace, enabling brands to thrive. We work with brands spanning some of the most tightly regulated sectors of advertising and marketing in the world, with Fortune 500 companies ranging from – Liberty Mutual Surety to pharmaceutical, biotech and life science giants. Our work is rooted in sound intelligence supported by a structured services architecture that compliments client needs across strategy and positioning, advertising and design, brand origination and evolution, project and campaign planning, engagement and activation, and internal and external cultural alignment. For more information, please visit TheMissionControl.com and follow The Mission Control on LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter.
© The Mission Control Communications Ltd., 2016

New York: Davey Awards Silver for Integrated Campaign Effectiveness in Integrated Campaign-Business to Business / Life Sciences.

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The Mission Control Communications has an international reputation for creating and delivering highly effective campaign solutions in what is unquestionably one of the most tightly regulated sectors of advertising and marketing in the world.

Spanning the complete spectrum of scientific endeavour, the agency works with companies that are improving the lives of millions of people.

To therefore see that work recognised once again by the New York Academy of Interactive and Visual Arts is a firm endorsement and resounding validation of the relationship that exists between the agency and the in-house marketing teams it works with in more than 57 countries.

Awards have never been the prime driver for us’ says Patricia Killoran, managing director at The Mission Control Communications, ‘we simply see them as a healthy side effect of what we do – and that is creating and delivering campaign outcomes for important issues that work for our clients. But it’s still nice to win!’ she added with a smile.

Whilst the agency may not see the awards circuit as being a prime driver, this nonetheless brings the agency’s total to 7 international effectiveness awards in a year – something that might well be describe as being evidence of an agency that is thriving worldwide and delivering the sorts of results, clients demand.

Mission Accomplished!

ABOUT: As a multi-award winning international advertising and brand design consultancy, The Mission Control Communications works with clients and their in-house marketing teams to create intelligent and agile solutions that effectively engage audiences in today’s disruptive and highly competitive global marketplace, enabling brands to thrive. We work with brands spanning some of the most tightly regulated sectors of advertising and marketing in the world, with Fortune 500 companies ranging from – Liberty Mutual Surety to pharmaceutical, biotech and life science giants. Our work is rooted in sound intelligence supported by a structured services architecture that compliments client needs across strategy and positioning, advertising and design, brand origination and evolution, project and campaign planning, engagement and activation, and internal and external cultural alignment. For more information, please visit TheMissionControl.com and follow The Mission Control on LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter.
© The Mission Control Communications Ltd., 2016

 

Big Data Metrics Suck.

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Before taking your marketing plan for 2017 to the board for final approval, please read this article.

Facebook recently acknowledged following an investigation by the Wall Street Journal, that ‘a glitch’ caused the social network to overstate its reach by an average of 33% per week and 55% per month.

That’s one hell of ‘a glitch’ if you’re a marketing director making decisions, allocating budgets and planning campaigns around those metrics. Facebook also admitted back in September that it had been overstating time spent with videos by as much as 60% to 80% for up to 2 years. That ‘glitch’ was attributed to issues across four of the key metrics the company used to track audiences.

However – in its defence, Facebook has insisted that advertisers were not over-billed due to the glitches. But that comes as little comfort to agencies, marketers and businesses who are now realising that their campaigns and strategies have been fundamentally flawed and the metrics they placed so much trust in were dangerously misleading.

This comes as something of a major blow to the advertising industry at a time when it is working hard to re-gain the trust of clients and demonstrate accountability.

For many, the metrics being generated online seemed to offer a level of security and transparency that allowed brands to really target audiences with a level of precision never before known. Big Data became the populist mantra of 2016 and we were assured that we were on the brink of a new golden era that would once again leave all other audience touch-points obsolete.

Unfortunately, Facebook’s glitches have dampened the hopes of many and should force you to interrogate the digital metrics that you’re basing your 2017 online activity on with ever greater vigour.

Let’s not forget the revelations coming from Facebook follow a series of embarrassing predictions throughout the year as time and time again we have seen the data being collected and interpreted by these digital giants get it horribly wrong.

Somer more cynical onlookers have also considered the fact that we’ve seen a rapid growth in the adoption of adblocking technology in recent years and that it is – well – convenient that metrics coming from companies that have a business model centred on advertising sales did not notice that for up to 2 years, their metrics were off by up to 80% in some instances.

So before presenting your plans for 2017 to the board, please take the time to interrogate the metrics.

Mission Accomplished!

ABOUT: As a multi-award winning international advertising and brand design consultancy, The Mission Control Communications works with clients and their in-house marketing teams to create intelligent and agile solutions that effectively engage audiences in today’s disruptive and highly competitive global marketplace, enabling brands to thrive.
We work with brands spanning some of the most tightly regulated sectors of advertising and marketing in the world, with Fortune 500 companies ranging from – Liberty Mutual Surety to pharmaceutical, biotech and life science giants.
Our work is rooted in sound intelligence supported by a structured services architecture that complements client needs across strategy and positioning, advertising and design, brand origination and evolution, project and campaign planning, engagement and activation, and internal and external cultural alignment.
For more information, please visit TheMissionControl.com and follow The Mission Control on LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter.

Why stop Funding Hate is making big brands re-evaluate their values this Christmas.

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Well it must be Christmas. The John Lewis and Marks and Spencer ads are on television and opinion is divided as to who has done the better job. But there is another campaign this festive season that is challenging all of these high profile, budget-busting ads. It’s the ‘Stop Funding Hate’ campaign.

The Stop Funding Hate campaign aims to call out the big brands that during the year, place ads in publications that are seen by many to preach hate with their divisive headlines and opinions.

You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to work out that 2016 has left us with a bitterly divided society. Whilst the EU Referendum was at the core of this, many publications have been happy to heap fuel on the fire.

Working in an advertising agency, you might expect me to come out on the side of the advertisers and simply put this down as another token ‘do-gooder’ campaign.

But it’s not that simple.

If you’ve read any of our posts over the past few years, you’ll have noticed that we talk a lot about brand values and the need for companies to put these values at the core of their business. Without sounding completely mercenary, it’s not just about doing good, it’s about doing good business and in turn, making more money for your brand.

So let’s look at the benefits brands like John Lewis, Marks and Spencer and others might hope to enjoy if they did cut their media spend with the publications identified by the Stop Funding Hate campaign:

  1. Profits – like it or not, John Lewis, Marks and Spencer and all of the other big advertisers exist to make a profit for their stakeholders. By being seen to support publications that actively seek to alienate large sections of society, these brands are at risk of losing not only the cash transactions of those they are alienating, but people who simply don’t want to be associated with what they would see as companies and brands supporting publications with a hate filled agenda.
  1. Reputation – Marks and Spencer has 1,382 stores worldwide. John Lewis is set to open a new store in Australia this month and has an outlet in Heathrow. So does it benefit the reputation of these ‘international’ brands to be seen as supporting the sort of racial, religious and sexual orientation hate that underpins many of the tabloids? In an ever more global and diverse marketplace, brands cannot afford to be seen to be isolationists.
  1. Staff – Marks and Spencer, John Lewis, Sainsbury’s and Waitrose employ thousands of people throughout the UK – each of them an ambassador for their brand. Yet many of the people working in these companies are the target of the hate from the papers that their employers are advertising in. Now ask yourself this, if you were working for a company that was placing ads in a KKK magazine, would you be proud of your brand, would you be willing to go that extra mile for your employer?

Here at The Mission Control Communications, we are fortunate in that we work with brands that respect their customers and their employees. Our clients understand the relevancy of their brand associations and how these association impact on their business objectives and outcomes.

Working with brands all over the world, we are constantly aware that behind every brand are people; staff, customers, suppliers, influencers – millions of people from all walks of life with the power to help grow a brand or sink it.

The decision for brands such as those targeted by the Stop Funding Hate is a simple one and at this point I’m reminded of a saying my mother had, “If you lie down with dogs, expect to get up with fleas.”

Mission Accomplished!

Branding Ireland for the European Medicines Agency

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The European Medicines Agency (EMA) employs 890 staff and is by far, the largest EU body in Britain that will be forced to relocate following Brexit.

Whilst Britain still struggles to come to terms with what Brexit actually means, other states within the European Union have been much faster to adapt and the wheels are already in motion as countries line up to make the most of the opportunities post Brexit.

One of the biggest opportunities will be for the state chosen to be the new home for the European Medicines Agency. Currently located in Canary Wharf, London; the EMA works with individual regulatory authorities from all 31 current member states – servicing what is a multi-billion euro/pound industry.

Among those putting their hat into the ring for the EMA bid is Ireland. Other contenders include Spain, Sweden, Denmark, Italy and Germany. However, Ireland actually has a pretty compelling case when you break it down.

Indeed, as Ireland’s Health Minister has already said, “Dublin offers significant advantages as a location, not least the advantage of the English language, a strong pharmaceutical and R&D sector presence.”

Ireland; with its favourable tax rate has already seen a number of the world’s largest pharmaceutical companies opt to call it home.

In 2015, Pfzier completed a deal worth $160 billion that saw the US-based pharmaceutical behemoth move its executive offices to Ireland. Joining Pfzier in its relocation to Ireland, French pharmaceutical company, Flamel Technologies is also planning a new Dublin home. The new company is expected to go live in early January 2017, trading under the name of Adadel Pharmaceuticals plc.

With so many of the big names in the industry officially setting up home in Ireland, it would seem to make sense for the EMA to be at the heart of that collective.

Indeed, in an article that appeared in The Times last month, Simon Harris, the health minister, said that the departure of the EMA — which evaluates and monitors drugs in the EU — from London appeared to be inevitable. “Dublin would be a very suitable location and a move to the Irish capital would minimise the disruption to the business of the EMA, thus ensuring continued protection of EU citizens and providing reassurance to the industries which it regulates,” he said.

The Mission Control Communications and its sister studio, The Mission Discovery has been working with pharmaceutical and biotech companies across Europe, the United States and Asia for a number of years. “Our agency is built on the growth and success of brands in this sector,” says Patricia Killoran, Managing Director. “Locating the EMA in Ireland would be a logical decision that would benefit everyone.

Mission Accomplished!

It might not be Hogwarts, but we’ll still get some pretty magic D&AD training.

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THIS HALLOWEEN – we’re calling upon the spirits of our devilishly talented studio to take part in another round of D&AD training courses and workshops in London, under the watchful eye of multi-award winning D&AD instructors.

We’re really excited to be sending more bodies over to London to take part in this latest series of D&AD training courses,‘ says Managing Director, Patricia Killoran from The Mission Control Communications. ‘The skills, insights, confidence and pure motivation that they return worth with is priceless,’ she adds.

Our investment in D&AD training is also a commitment to our clients. We work a calibre of client that expects informed and intelligent outcomes – so making sure our teams are trained to that international standard gives both clients and our people clear confidence in what we’re doing.

Mission Accomplished!

Image: Source D&AD

Poking holes in targeted ad algorithms

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David Sable, Global CEO at Y&R and a noted Linked in influencer published an article back in September 2016 that pretty much encapsulated something that we’ve been talking to clients about for ages.

His post set out to question just how targeted those ‘targeted’ Facebook and Google ads really are.

At almost 44, I was fortunate enough to start in the advertising industry before the digital wave hit. That gave me the luxury of working at a time when we were encouraged to question everything and campaign strategies were in many respects, much more ‘human’.

Today, with brands pumping millions into social media every year, it’s crucial that marketing teams born into a digital generation interrogate the data coming from Facebook and Google as opposed to giving into blind faith. Remember, both of these companies make hundreds of millions every year from advertising, so their data is not neutral and whilst the conferences, workshops and courses are all fun, they are designed to encourage you to buy ads. We all have a worth to Facebook and Google.

So let’s start by taking a look at how Facebook profiles ‘you’.

Go to https://www.facebook.com/ads/preferences and check out the thinking. Facebook say:

“How we determine your ad preferences:  We use information from a few different sources to figure out which ads might be relevant and useful to you. Things like your Facebook profile information, activity on Facebook and interactions with businesses can all influence the ads you see.”

Now, in the minds of many, Facebook and Google are infallible sources of pure data to be trusted with a fanatical belief. But the evidence would seem to suggest that in fact, their algorithms are fundamentally flawed and far from being in-depth, with the preference used to pigeonhole one’s points of interest often being tenuous to say the least.

Based on Facebook’s statement, the algorithms would seem to be pretty linear in their approach, failing to take into account human nature and that often, the online personas people project are very different to who they really are. We’ve all liked that page because we felt morally obliged to but never went back to it. We’ve all hit like on something just to keep a friend happy, but never bothered to actually read the article or watch the video. It’s just basic human nature rooted in the need for acceptance.

Like Mr., Sable, I think Google would struggle to know who I really am. For example, my search history covers topics related to work, which considering the scope of our client base, can be pretty diverse. Then there’s the fact that my granddaughter was addicted to Peppa Pig for three years and watched it every evening on my laptop before graduating onto a German speaking Gummy Bear song. So to say that Google or Facebook knows me well enough to target me, would be stretching a truth and a waste of your marketing budget.

I guess the moral of the exercise is that as a species and as consumers, we’re a lot more complicated and fickle than the algorithms would care to admit. Think on that the next time you’re putting all your eggs into a social media only basket.

Mission Accomplished!

How to beat the poachers.

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We’re really flattered that our creatives are being approached by a local advertising/PR agency trying to poach our talent, but just to clarify, everyone here at The Mission Control Communications seems pretty happy where they are at the moment.

We’ve had a good talk about it at the table where we make all our big decisions, and we’ve collectively agreed that no one wants to go anywhere else – especially with the news that we have some new people starting with us shortly and we’re in the middle of some pretty interesting global projects.

You see – we work really hard to keep our people motivated, interested and involved. We’ve given them an environment that they can thrive in and have a voice in. They get to work one-on-one with clients all over the world, and they get to come up with ideas that aren’t immediately shot down by a Creative Director.

They have also got pretty used to winning – not just new clients, but international awards as well. They also see that the work they are doing is setting new standards across multiple  sectors and influencing other agencies around the world.

We are also prepared to invest in our people – hence the D&AD training courses and workshops that have us all buzzing at the moment. But more than than – we have Fun Time Fridays and we’ll defend our Fun Time Friday buns, muffins and doughnuts to the bitter end 🙂

But thank you for your interest in our very talented people and if anything changes, we’ll be sure to let you know.

Mission Accomplished!

Steps to help bring the CEO or board, on-board with your brand and marketing strategies.

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According to a Forbes Insights survey, 69% of CEOs said they think their companies waste money on marketing initiatives.

Unfortunately that’s not a view limited to small companies that will often have to make the hard call between investing in their marketing or buying a new piece of equipment. Indeed – many large companies also struggle to understand the long-term strategic benefits of investing in their brand.

Having worked in the advertising, branding and marketing industries for more than 20 years, it’s still one of the most common issues that we encounter and the bugbear of countless marketing teams the world over, who struggle to justify the importance of what they do.

So here are some insights that might help you bring the CEO or board – on-board to give you better strategic support and the resources you need to get the job done:

Create a brand story that engages more audiences.

Start by asking yourself, who is the company’s brand story actually relevant to? A good brand story will be relevant to a wide array of audiences, not just your customers and staff.

Experience has taught us that by strategically expanding your marketing to reach key stakeholders, i.e. investors, analysts, commentators and lobbyists can have a significant impact on the company that no CEO or board can fail to recognise. A strong brand presence has the potential to drive up stock prices and other brand metrics and also ensure your company attracts the brightest employees.

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Show how the brand build and drives company culture.

This is something we’ve talked about before, but your marketing and branding strategies need to be inward facing as well as outward. A strong brand and intelligent marketing play a crucial role in building and reinforcing a company’s internal culture.

Team up with your HR department, identify the role your brand plays in attracting the best candidates in the market and monitor staff motivation levels during campaigns to show increases in productivity.

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Be the driving force.

We’ve all seen those TV shows where everyone sits around the boardroom table nodding and agreeing with everything the CEO says. But in today’s competitive market, companies need drivers – people that have the courage, vision and ambition to get things done.

It’s not enough just to know what your own company is doing, you need to understand what the market your brand is operating in, is doing – and you also need to understand what your competitors are doing.

Knowledge is power and the more knowledge you have, the better equipped you’ll be to drive your branding and marketing activities ahead of your competitors and achieve sector control.

Don’t be afraid to ask your agencies what they are seeing or doing in other markets. They won’t tell you what they are doing for other clients, but they can often give you an insight into a new or emerging trend that you can adopt and present as a solution to your CEO in a pre-emptive strategy that will catch the competition with their hands in their pockets.

Equally important – have the confidence to walk away from a strategy if you find it doesn’t work. One of the biggest problems many brands face is that no one wants to be seen to ‘make a bad call’, so instead of calling out something that doesn’t work, everyone will mumble about it in the background, but never move to fix it.

Prove your strategy works with hard facts.

Back when I first started in this industry, the ringing of tills indicated that a strategy was working. Today, you have access to many more analytical tools – so use them and understand how to interpret them.

Show the CEO or board that your strategy is backed up with hard data and not just fanciful guesswork. Use the analytical tools at your disposal to monitor and tweak your strategy for better effect.

But be realistic about the data you are getting and don’t follow it blindly – listen to customers and staff that are customer facing. They will give you an invaluable insight into the real-world effectiveness and relevancy of your strategy.

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Choose battles you’ll win.

One of the most common mistakes people make when trying to persuade the CEO or board to change their view on branding and marketing investment is that they start by suggesting the need for a major cash injection. That’s not going to happen. So look at how to validate the effectiveness of your marketing spend and start with clever solutions that simply require project approval as opposed to funds.

You can also suggest reallocating funds from one part of your marketing strategy to test-bed a new approach. By showing the CEO or board that you are being innovative in your thinking and experimenting with new approaches without expecting fresh funding, you are much more likely to get sign-off on new strategies and engage their interest. By proving your thinking is right on small projects, you are much more likely to earn their trust and support when it comes to undertaking a major new strategy.

I knew you were going to say that.

Before you present your marketing strategy to the CEO or the board, prepare, prepare, and then prepare some more. Use your knowledge of the personalities you’re presenting to and anticipate the questions they’ll ask and be realistic about the difficulties they will raise and the problems they will identify. Have your answers and solutions ready to any of the barriers you know or anticipate will be raised.

Also – you might want to think about lobbying support for your proposal before going into the presentation. Share your ideas with key influencers that will have the ear of the CEO or board. Get their input as if they identify issues, you can be sure the CEO or board will as well.

Remember – the CEO or board will often not have the information you have and are making their decisions on a fraction of the knowledge and or market intelligence you have. This often manifests itself as the default mode of ‘’let’s not rock the boat”. You don’t have to rock the boat, but by understanding and validating your reasoning, you can navigate the boat around the rocks.

Reassure the CEO or board with real-life case studies or examples of other companies that have used their marketing to push ahead. This helps diminish the risk factor and gives the CEO or board the comfort of knowing that they are not the guinea pig.

Benchmark yourself against best-in-class companies and competitors.

There will always be a default company or brand’s marketing success that the CEO or board reference and admire. Use that knowledge to your advantage. Make it your job to understand the strategy and tactics that company is using and explain why your proposed strategy will work by referencing those successes.

You also need to come out of the ivory tower. One of the most common mistakes marketing teams make is to view their brand and marketing is isolation to the competition. You only have to look through some of your industry’s trade publications or view your literature and digital assets side by side with competitors and it quickly becomes apparent, a lot of B2B brands especially, all look and act the same.

Know you competition and also who is nipping at your heels. A simple SWOT analysis can help you identify where you have an opportunity to separate your brand and marketing from the herd and also, where you need to correct your strategy to compensate for weaknesses.

But above all – keep your strategy and thinking agile. Your brand and your marketing exists in a state of continuous flux and needs to be ready to take advantage of opportunities and respond to threats.

Mission Accomplished!

“Article adapted from 7 strategies for selling marketing to your CEO” on CMO.com.

 

When you have good people, it pays to invest in them and their thinking.

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We promise our people that we will teach them everything we know about the industry when they start with us. But we are also smart enough to know that there is always something new to learn. So if you want to stay sharp and at the top of your game, you need to ensure that your people have access to the best training in the world.

That is why today, our team is in London to take part in the first of a series of D&AD workshops and training courses that will open their eyes and their minds to new ways of thinking and doing things.

D&AD training is just one of the perks of working at The Mission Control Communications.

Mission Accomplished!