This Christmas we have had our cards created by the very talented Jemma Millen who worked with us earlier in the year to create what was to become a multi-award-winning, international advertising campaign that targeted companies, universities, private and state funded research institutions working to help the up to 1 billion people worldwide who suffer from neurological disorders ranging from Alzheimer’s and Parkinson disease, to strokes and multiple sclerosis.
The tactile and very human story behind the campaign was developed to bridge the gap between our US client’s sales team and the knowledge bank of services held within their company and the ever marketing skeptical, scientific community.
The effectiveness and relevancy of the campaign provided our client with an emotive, relevant and tactile solution that opened the door to a sales channel with an estimated value of £26 billion pounds in the UK alone for research into Alzheimer’s and a further £10 billion for Parkinson’s.
These figures increase significantly in the United States with Parkinson’s research is valued at $28 billion and Alzheimer’s care conservatively valued at £200 billion.
However – the real effectiveness in the campaign was the potential to transform the traditional B2B communications model into something much more personal – a campaign that encapsulated the need for research and the hope that a cure will soon be found.
So to cut a very long story short, that is why there are brains and hearts on our Christmas cards this year.
If you work in the science, healthcare or in-house marketing field and would like one of these beautiful cards, please send us your details.
ABOUT: AS A MULTI-AWARD WINNING INTERNATIONAL ADVERTISING AND BRAND DESIGN CONSULTANCY, THE MISSION CONTROL COMMUNICATIONS AND DEDICATED SCIENCE AND HEALTHCARE STUDIO, THE MISSION DISCOVERY, 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.
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.’
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
“Article adapted from 7 strategies for selling marketing to your CEO” on CMO.com.
Every so often we like to share a piece of work that we are particularly proud of. In this instance; that piece is a direct mail campaign created to plug directly into a fully integrated marketing strategy targeting doctors, surgeons and researchers working to understand, treat and cure degenerative neurological conditions including Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.
The campaign was aimed to break through the clutter of press and digital banner ads that the audience is traditionally used to being bombarded with and for the most part, block out – especially since the rise in popularity of ad blockers.
The thinking was to create a talking point that would find a permanent place with in the recipient’s office and mind space – not just a temporary impression on their desktop before being deleted.
“We can’t ignore the impact of degenerative neurological conditions so let’s create a campaign that people can’t ignore.”
This tactile approach was created to make people stop and think. It was to promote a human engagement with the objective of solving a human problem that shatters tens-of-thousands of lives every year.
It is also an opportunity to get inside our heads and see how we approach some of the most complex and sensitive subject matters.
We’ll have more on this project and more on our new site – coming soon!
In this interview, we chat to Patricia Killoran, managing director at The Mission Control Communications about the impact of Brexit on an agency that is best known for its work overseas.
“I don’t think anyone really expected the outcome of the referendum to be what it was, not even those leading it. In an interview with the Sunday Telegraph, Sir Martin Sorrell summed it up: ‘the fact that the Brexiteers, having not expected to win, don’t even have a Plan A, let alone Plan B, hardly helps to boost market confidence.’
However – with the majority of our work originating from brands in the United States, the collapse in the value of the pound against the US dollar post Brexit has proved to be a blessing in disguise. The drop in the value of sterling means US companies are now saving as much as 20cents on the pound. In layman terms – a US company can now save up to $2,000 against every £10,000 billed.
This sudden and unexpected windfall means that US brands are finding their marketing dollar buys them a lot more than it did a few short weeks ago in the UK. Likewise, we’re seeing a similar trend in work coming from South Korea and Japan where the value of a weak pound is also being felt.
Whist the real impact of Brexit is yet to be felt on the ground, this initial short-term benefit is helping to lift my post-referendum depression and putting a smile on the faces of US clients.”
‘Winning awards isn’t about being smug. It’s about setting an international standard for your clients’ work that raises it above that of its competitors,’ says The Mission Control Communications.
There is now a valid case with volumes of supporting evidence that proves, effective, creative, and award-winning work drives sales and improves share price performance in science and healthcare – a sector that previously had a reputation for shying away from ‘creative’ advertising and marketing.
This alignment between creativity and a booming bottom line was first demonstrated in the Institute of Practitioners in Advertising’s 2010 white paper, ‘The Link Between Creativity and Effectiveness’, which looked at 10 years of its Effectiveness Awards (which assess marketing ROI) compared with data over the same time period from The Gunn Report (an annual publication ranking the most creatively-awarded advertising).
Notably, creatively-awarded campaigns were 11 times more effective at driving market share growth than those that didn’t win awards. Even with equal investment, creatively-awarded campaigns were more successful across sales volume gain, market penetration, customer acquisition and loyalty, while a strong correlation was discovered between increased creativity (where more creative awards were won) and improved levels of commercial effectiveness.
This was substantiated a year later by James Hurman in his book The Case for Creativity, which analysed 30 years’-worth of data, including the business results from Cannes Lions’ Creative Marketers of the Year. He states: ‘In every case, the companies that have been most tenacious in their pursuit of great creativity have been among the ones outperforming the stock market and enjoying historic periods of financial prosperity.’” (source IPA)
Understanding the commercial benefits of awards to a brand, we approach every project with the mindset that no matter how small or seemingly insignificant it might appear, even to the client, it has the potential to be an award winner. Again – the award itself is not the objective; it’s recognizing that the thinking that goes into an award winning piece of work is proven to be commercially more beneficial to a brand. The actually trophies, whilst nice, are simply a byproduct.
We’ve applied this approach to every brand we work with and it works. Our clients have seen their ranking in the Fortune 500 jump and profits as much as double in some instances. Many of our clients have also found that a ‘winning’ culture has yielded successes in other areas of their business and in addition to the awards we enter on their behalf, they are also entering and winning directly across multiple categories.
The result, motivated workforces, confident investors and increased sales and brand influence.
All in all – we’d call that Mission Accomplished!
Liberty Mutual SuretyTM, part of the wider Liberty Mutual Group is much more than just a brand – it’s an American institution – a multi-billion-dollar company employing more than 50,000 people in over 900 locations.
So when invited to work alongside the US marketing team to create a series of internal vision, mission and culture statements that would be rolled out across the company, we were honoured.
The vision, mission and culture statements were authored by Liberty Mutual Surety based on a culture of continual research – our challenge was to give these words a canvas on which to perform that would bring them to life, solidifying the brand’s position as a modern and dynamic company with deep roots, a rich heritage and a clear vision for the future.
Interpreting that vision we explored a number of options – each with significant underlying meaning. From aerial flybys of Lower Manhattan and the One World Trade Center, to global animations indicating the more than 900 locations – a host of statement platforms were created for regional relevancy throughout the company.
The campaign will run in print, digital and mobile, online video, screen savers and social media.
The 2016 Communicator Awards concluded last week in New York and we’re proud to announce that working in partnership with Taconic Biosciences, we won two Golden Awards of Excellence:
- Gold Award of Excellence Integrated Campaign – Business to Business
- Gold Award of Excellence Marketing Effectiveness – Integrated Campaign
Both awards reflect the combined efforts of everyone involved in creating and delivering an intelligent and engaging approach to communicating in one of the most tightly regulated spheres of marketing in the world.
“We’re delighted with the wins, as are the team at Taconic,” says James Killoran from The Mission Control Communications and Mission Discovery – the agency’s new dedicated science and healthcare division. “A lot of work went into creating these campaigns on both sides of the Atlantic and to see that effort recognised by the Academy of Interactive and Visual Arts is a proud moment for us all. I’d personally like to congratulate all those involved.”
In our latest interview with Patricia Killoran from The Mission Control Communications, we hear her thoughts on a subject that is rarely out off the media at the moment – mergers and acquisitions.
“Regionally, we’re more used to associating news of mergers and acquisitions with job losses and the hyperbole of hysteria press and politicians subsequently generate around it.
However – step outside of Northern Ireland and there’s a different story to be had. Globally M&A’s are one of the most effective ways for businesses to grow. Overnight a company can find itself with an established foothold and heritage in an overseas market – something that otherwise can take years to achieve.
M&A’s are also a catalyst for innovation with R&D being shared between companies that may formally have been bitter rivals but whose collective knowledge and insights can and often does result in amazing breakthroughs and leaps of logic that are simply inspired.
The M&A culture is also a catalyst for many companies, especially those small companies specializing in a particular niche. Venture capitalists will often invest heavily in these businesses, as whilst they recognize that the product or service alone stands little chance of success, they are betting that another company will spot a use for it within their own model and therefore acquire it.
Understanding the mechanics of M&A’s has allowed us to earn a reputation within what is often called the billion dollar ideas club as a trusted and discreet partner capable of assisting companies navigate the communications, marketing and strategic considerations necessary during this volatile and sensitive process.
In the context of M&A’s, our role differs significantly to that of a typical rebrand project, which relies on building on the existing creditability and goodwill associated with the brand.
No two M&A projects are ever the same. But one of the most common mistakes made during the process is to overlook the importance of engaging the workforce. These people are essentially the backbone of the business that has been absorbed and as mentioned at the top of this article, they will normally default to a position of fear and uncertainty when an merger or acquisition is announced. Without proper engagement, you can quickly find that the intelligence and reputation you thought you were buying in the employees of the business is snapped up by a competitor who will play on the uncertainty they feel. So engage with employees early and put their minds at ease. Remember – whist for you this is just business, for employees it’s the difference between being able to pay their mortgage and not.
Another reason to engage with employees is actually rooted in our subconscious need to belong to something. Just as our ancestors banded together first in tribes and then as nations, the same is true with people and brands. So when you step into remove the brand and values that employees have belonged to for years, you need to be in a position to replace it with something better that they will be proud to be part of. Again – the key is early employee engagement and clear messaging that will galvanize people behind a common purpose.
Historically, brands have saw this as a secondary necessity after informing customers, but as experience has taught us, if your employees are not initiated into the new brand and its mission, vision and values, the experience customers have will not be consistent with the image you’re paying to create.
As mentioned, when you are creating a new brand, it has to offer employees something more than the brand you are telling them to leave behind. However – it’s also worth noting in the midst of a merger or acquisition, many companies lose sight of the importance of marketing, which is why it’s important to have a strategic partner in place that can support you during the process and cover the bases in the event that you get distracted with the wealth of other subjects that need dealt with.
You might wonder why I keep using the term strategic partner as opposed to ‘agency’. Simple. An agency infers something that is simply commissioned to do a defined job. However, positioning the agency as a partner in your mind leads to multiple benefits. Firstly, it leads to more open and honest discussions and will actually alleviate you from a lot of work.
As a strategic partner, it’s our responsibility to create a brand that is more than just a name and logo, but something that encapsulates where your company is going. This can and does lead to some very open and honest discussions, but there is no use in creating a brand that does not give you room to grow or, simply follows current trends. Do that and you end up with a brand that fits in somewhere between your competitors, whereas experience proves that the most successful brands are those that redefine a sector and leave competitors in the dust.
If you are comfortable with the new brand, the chances are it’s because it’s familiar and your brain is unconsciously associating it with existing brands. Therefore – you’ve failed to create your own identity. Our job is to create what can often make you feel initially uncomfortable, but time will validate its effectiveness.
It is also important during any merger or acquisition that your strategic partner works with you to realize an authentic brand story that effectively integrates the two or more company cultures. Remember – it’s not just a case of rehashing your old brand story. The purpose of a merger or acquisition is to make you better and by default your brand story needs to reflect that and unite everyone behind a common purpose.”
With 2016 shaping up to be a year in which we see unprecedented mergers and acquisition coming to the table and many established brands acting like venture capitalists, it’s going to be an interesting ride.