In this episode, Katy Howell chats to James Pearson, Digital Marketing Manager at Arla Foods. They’ll cover some gritty topics on measurement and ROI, alongside challenges like an audience of everyone, and managing 19,000 stakeholders! James is in the thick of social, being innovative and smart. You’ll learn loads.
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– Well, hello and wow. Hello on this very, very stormy, windy day. I’ve just watched a doggy poo bag fly across my screen here. So outside, I hasten to add. So welcome. And now more than ever this year, we’re seeing brands getting really serious about social. So that’s why I am just over the moon to welcome my guest, James Pearson, digital marketing manager at Arla Foods. And he’s responsible for FMCG brands in paid, earned, and of course owned channel. So let me bring him on. Hello, James.
– Hello, hi, everyone.
– So quite clear, I think we met back in 2013 when you were at Bloom, and social just hasn’t changed in the last 10 years. It’s a completely different beast.
– It still feels, in fact we were talking about this before. It feels like it is still very new, and it’s constantly and quite often painfully changing.
– So it comes with no surprise, really. And I hear this so often talking to brands that one of the biggest challenges marketers face is actually evolving the mindset of internal colleagues and stakeholders. And in your case, James, that’s 19,000 mindsets all wanting to see an ROI.
– Yeah, and I guess also there’s that perception of, oh, it’s digital marketing, we’ll give it to the interns, this is your millennially Gen Z type stuff. And actually, it’s so multifaceted. It does need some of its oldest still in the frame.
– Yes, yeah. My utter frustration is the idea that just being capable of understanding digital or the social channels is enough when actually when it’s great, if it’s just for you, but if you are doing it on behalf of a brand, you need to be a marketer. You need to understand how to translate the brand.
– So we’re gonna chat, James, for the next 30 or 40 minutes. I’ve got loads of house-wise and what on earth to ask you. And but please do leave questions in the comments, happy to hear from anybody else. I’ll put those to James as we talk about the journey of getting to serious social and the kinda nitty gritty of things like managing influences. So why don’t you kick off, James? I’d love to hear how you got into social.
– Well, I think what attracted me to social is very similar to your spirit, Katy. We are very much renegades. We’re always interested in what’s new coming around the corner. And we were working in marketing before the internet was born, so we all got very excited by it. We’d started watching “Big Brother” on our work screens in black and white when it was first broadcasted through. So at the time, I was still quite obsessed with celebrity pop culture and always trying to tease that into my work with getting celebrity faces behind your brands and also my work involved a lot of networking. So it was the skills that you do in networking that apply to how you talk to people on social media. So I think, quite gregarious characters do have a role in being good engages on social media, but that kind of personality take doesn’t always fit with all the multifaceted scope in a social media manager’s role to have a look at the analytics, the planning, the buying strategies. And I suppose my first foray into it was literally just getting a client meeting with a really big retail eCommerce brand saying, come in and tell us about social media. And we literally had to spend two days back to back 36 hours researching everything from Facebook to Twitter. ‘Cause Twitter was the thing that was just taking off at the time. So it will be around about 2010 maybe. And we were attending events. It was probably at one of the events that you were at, Katy, where on all my research, one of the key characters that came across that had that celebrity pop culture gregarious sense of humour approach was David Schneider. He was doing all this debating.
– Through the Dolphin Pub, they were meeting at behind this scenes at the BBC in the Dolphin Pub and just having good fun talking about what was happening on TV in the media. And they formed this whole renegade social media gang on Twitter. And I stayed following that, those people turned it into a career. They mainly took on TV clients and they managed all of their Twitter conversations for Eurovision, BBC campaigns, did some really big brand stuff. And years later, I met them at the big Adobe marketing conference where social media managers from all over the world would fly in and talk about big data and strategies. And I was working in big data, I was one of those people. And I had the pleasure of meeting David Schneider’s team behind that Dolphin Pub he would set up their own creative agency to do all this work called that lot. And I said to them, what, in terms of big data, how do you find time to do all the analytics and planning and have a look at where you should be tweeting, who you should be involving? And they just said to me, James, you can have all the data and all the analytics you like, but if your content’s no good, no one’s gonna literally share it anyway. And that has stuck to me to this day. And my role is less about the analytics and stuff. I’m fortunate to have a whole team to help me back to that. I stick to what’s good for me, which is a gregarious sense of having a look at what’s trending, trying to apply that into my social media marketing to damn well make sure it’s gonna be entertaining enough for people to want to engage with.
– And funny enough, that is just, it’s more important now than ever. There is so much, we call it boring content, but maybe bland is a more polite way of posing. It just doesn’t say anything.
– But it’s not like you’re not paying attention to the data, it’s just that you’re not sifting through it.
– I’m definitely paying attention to the data, sometimes too much, and that’s where I can get it wrong. Generally it’s happened to me this week.
– Oh yeah, how?
– Well, we have social trends and social data analytics presented back to us every single week in our planning. And one of the brands I work on is Paneer. And Paneer has gone through a massive growth over the last couple of years. I spotted it coming through during the American elections night. One of the American Congress women was the first female Indian congresswoman to be elected into the Democratic Party. And she was settling down to the results of the 2020 election. And everybody stayed up to watch as much of it as possible. It touched the whole world and she posted what she was eating that night. And it was a paneer curry ’cause she’s a vegetarian. And the engagement that she got for that was huge because we didn’t wanna talk about politics. We wanted to engage with each other.
– That’s why cheese.
– We’ll end it all today. So I thought, oh my God, there’s a viral moment happening here for Paneer. How do I get involved in it? My company will be really nervous about getting involved in politics elections. And we just, we turned it into educational content and it was the hook that allowed us to talk about Paneer historically. So we’ve brought the tweet out and how it had cut through and how to cook with it properly ’cause that was the debate. But then I got over, hung up about oh, this is a trend. And when I did my new posts about Paneer just this week, my caption was, “Have you tried the latest trend with Paneer?” I’d forgotten about all of the people who are massive advocates of Paneer. It’s like mama, it’s got a real love, hate relationship with people. They all just jumped on and went, what? You mean this trend that’s we’ve been cooking with for centuries historically. Oh God, I’ve done marketing speak. I’ve talked about trends, worse than that.
– Just got to change the caps from-
– They have us and the best of us I could tell you.
– Yeah, yeah, yeah.
– Very easy to slip. But thinking as we’re all sitting in our little bubbles endlessly.
– But let’s, I’ll tell you what, I just wanna chase up. Let’s jump into the big question, which is why we’ve got everybody watching this, which is when every pound spent needs to make a difference, how do you prove value?
– Well, you probably remember like me when everyone got excited about social media, the big counter debate was, oh, we can’t make any ROI from social media. How do we measure it? And you can’t sell through social media, and everyone was concentrating on SEO, PPC, things which I know I should be really excited about, but I’m not excited about.
– It’s so creative.
– So we lived with our ROI thing through the whole period. Well, lately we obviously, we can track an ROI directly back to sales from social media. But that isn’t so easy when you work for an FMCG brand because the point of conversion is, it’s on a retailer’s website that we have no tracking for. Yes, we know what our sales are at the end of the day, but we don’t know where they’ve come from. We don’t know where the referral track is. So I don’t know if I’ve done an influencer recipe post and then someone’s gone off click my link straight to buy now at Tabasco and is converted. I can’t measure that. So measuring the ROI for a big FMCG global company is very similar to how they measure TV. What reach did we get? How many million impressions did we serve? What were the engagements? And it’s putting that across in a meaningful way. And I think we get quite hung up about the vanity of impressions. I did a campaign recently where they talked, my company talked about, we served 129 million impressions in the UK. I was like, well, that’s clever. There are hundred 29 million people in the UK. So you’ve gotta actually put some real-world stats behind that. And the social media tells us so much more than the value of social media is so much more than just how many sales did we get? It informs everything we do in our business. So we are having a look at the sentiment of new product launches. How is that product tasting? We have a look at the excitement of customers, the issues with customers, with pricing, changes, with stock availability changes, all the big things that have happened during the pandemic. Get all that sentiment back into your planning, how your packaging needs to respond. All of that, logistics, HR, everything can be learned from analysing conversations around social media.
– It’s so true. Says the man who is not an analyst. But is so true. It’s so true, and tracking, it is going beyond that there is depth to social, because there’s fluidity, there’s depth to it that actually has enormous value. And there was a time when I’d say, well, this is how people behave on social and this is how they behave in real life. But there is becoming a squishy bit in the middle now because everybody is on social. So pretty much anyway. But there are other challenges. Being sophisticated with social, let’s talk about the other challenges that, particularly for FMCG, there are some more challenges.
– I think in terms of sophistication, I’m quite lucky that I have a big team with me that do all of the buying and the planning. We have to think about how we plan out a campaign. There’s a lot of FMCG brands that have eight or 10 people just in a social media team every day tweeting. They can respond to Storm Eunice or whatever’s happening in the world. We’ve seen FMCG brands just literally dive in and take on what’s happening in politics. We are not like that as the company I work with, Arla Foods. We’re a little bit more reserved and we are very mindful of the community that we serve. So we’re a farmer’s cooperative. So that’s where our employees do top like 20,000 in the UK where every single farmer is getting up at five o’clock in the morning to plough the fields and milk the cows. We have to take them into consideration as well. So we can’t just go rogue and be really renegade. And we also have to be very mindful of the channels that we’re using. With quite limited budgets, there’s not huge profits in dairy to invest back into multi multimillion campaigns. Every pound spend has got to be evaluated for. And we have assumptions about who buys our products. We create these very sophisticated audience personas. We can see what aged people are when they buy a certain type of milk. So we have this fixed mindset of everyone who’s buying your product is a age 60, 45, 25, married, kids, all that sort of stuff, but it isn’t the real world, actually. And it’s only when your campaigns are live that you realise which audiences are buying into your creative messages, how to optimise it to engage with those audience that is gonna push them to actually trail your product. And over the last two years, we’ve seen a massive difference in people actually trialling the yoghourt brands that I work on, skyr yoghourt, protein yoghourt, because we’ve adapted that audience, and we’ve seen something that we thought was really attractive to 18 to 25-year-olds is actually a product that is just as suitable for 70-year-olds.
– I love this about social. I absolutely love it. It’s the psychographic data. We don’t self-select by our age range. I hope we don’t, ’cause I’m ancient and I don’t wanna hang around with those other ancient people. But we do segregate buyer interests. And you could be any age when you’re interested in your health or in getting fitter or just enjoying a product, it doesn’t make any difference, does it? And I think, there’s something else that you’ve said that I think is also super interesting. The actual sophistication of social is trial, test and trial, isn’t it? It’s just, let’s put this out there, see what works, hone it this way or that way. And that’s something that I think you embrace when your audience is everyone. So how do you segment is to embrace how receptive certain segments are to what you’re talking about or your products.
– Yeah, and a lot of the creative that Arla dairy has to work with for digital and TV is created from another country. And we’re a Danish-owned company, and it’s a different culture. We’ve got to try and address the needs of the British consumer, which is really broad, really diverse, very heavily populated urban countryside. And you need quite a lot of content there to create that lay down story. And you’ve gotta make that into audience-specific in order to resonate. How can you create that much content? And I think that’s where we’ve done well with the role of influences is helping tell that story by having diverse influences that represent all those different audiences and produce the content for a needs state. When a consumer is coming into the mindset of I’m gonna change my breakfast, I’m gonna make something really healthy. Be positioned in that mindset.
– Yeah, I mean, you mentioned. You and I are quite fond of the content funnel. Talk about how, because that bit of how you make a choice, you can’t create end endless amounts of content, nobody can.
– And then the value would just get smaller and smaller and smaller again with the content. Talk about how you approach the content funnel.
– They’ve really, I think they’ve done something really smart at Arla because I’m not gonna give away their DNA, but we have categorised the content funnel in different types of creative messages. So traditionally, we’ve looked at the role of influences, getting that first initial broad reach out there, that spark or interest. And then we’d start tailoring the message once we’ve got people interacting with that with retargeting messages. We start introducing links to browse, where to buy, how to use. And I’ve tested many different tracking links to see which convert better. We can see on our side if people are page browsing, what they’re looking at, but really we wanna get ’em straight onto Sainsbury’s, Tesco, Waitrose, you name it. And sometimes I’ve tested dropping links in there to see if people are going straight into by now. So it is moving people through funnel that way. The initial stage is getting that big brand concept out there, that big Stella Artois sort of theme, and then moving it into more educational content which might include in the nature of food recipes, how you cook with it, and that’s where you do need to be as diverse as possible. We can’t create millions of recipes in heavy production. So diverse influences can help us do that in a more authentic, true way.
– Yeah, yeah, yeah, I think so too, and I’m a real believer in understanding how, that you tell the story all the way through that funnel in different ways. You don’t have to be as obvious or as linear about it, but it’s still understanding how the mindset changes. So we’ve talked about the funnel and the challenges, and you mentioned something there which is about where the links go. So it makes me think, I know that during the pandemic, lots more people went to online grocery shopping. It’d be interesting to hear how you manage that shift into people buying the product online. And do you think it’s, does that play out in social? Is that something that’s gonna stay? Are you going to be social shopping your yoghourt or your milk through Facebook?
– Probably not in the same way the fashion brands can like Adidas or Missguided, no. But yes, we can do it. The FMCG retailers, the food retailers have moved into social shopping in as much that, if I’m searching on Tesco for cheese, how we optimise what brands come up there, we can help influence that by putting some paid budget behind it, we can help influences by getting our keywords about it. But it’s all about the reviews. We’re so used to shopping on Amazon and reading those reviews, we love the reviews. It’s a really nosy thing to look at, and the more personal, the better. So I think companies like Sainsbury’s have been really clever to start pulling over all those Instagram food posts and moving them as reviews on that site. I don’t know how much traffic it’s getting. But we have to speak to Sainsbury’s to validate that, but that has become part of our conversion journey. And so we can plug in business partners who can help us bridge that gap and getting reviews onto the website. I spotted on Skyr that when you search for certain yoghourts, our competitors were getting hundreds of reviews, and we were only getting few, why aren’t people reviewing our product? We’re the market leader. And it’s because they plugged in some of these business partners and got campaigns out to help them and encourage them to do that. That’s gonna push new people into trial, getting all your sign posts of your special offers out there. It was fascinating during the pandemic to see how we had to react to price offers, which is so big in supermarket, isn’t it? Buy one, get one free. That’s everything that pushes itself in line, just take that. All out due to shortages, food shortages, panic buying, we’ve gone through a huge journey and we’re about to revolve and respond to it daily as that pandemic changed, and got Brexit.
– Yes, but I think as, I mean, the review thing is really interesting ’cause that is social proof. When you look at the art of persuasion, Cialdini’s book of “Influence” is one of his six characteristics in social proof. And we do, it’s very easy to think social is all about getting ads out, it’s all about promoting our product. That bit of the interaction around reviews is a campaign in its own right, and you’re spot on there are people that can help with it or you can drive it from social social into online reviews. So yeah, I’m with you on that. But of course, as we kind of open up again all around the world, brand memorability is just as important because people do not wander around. Well, they don’t where I am. They don’t wander around the supermarket, Facebooking or Instagramming.
– They don’t.
– And hopefully, don’t know. Hopefully they’re looking at their informants shopping this. So yeah, brand memorability is all about kinda sticking in people’s heads. You need that to travel from the social post to the supermarket where people say, if I’m going to buy milk, it’s gonna be Arla. If I’m going to buy yoghourt, it’s gonna be, you need that brand to mean something to people. So how do you create memorable social?
– I mean, that is the last quadrant that we look to fulfil in funnel marketing. And it’s turning these brand advocates, getting more people to be really loyal and proud of the food that they buy, and it becoming a way of life. So they think about it instinctively for all of the strength of the brand values. That’s gonna be so precious to us as we move into more price sensitivity and copycat branding in the lights of Aldi and Little, the discount retailers. So I think just as we are fascinated about reviews on Amazon sites, our influencers need to be similar. They have to be true and authentic. When I first joined Arla over two years ago, our influencers were all very posh and middle-class and have beautiful kitchens. And I didn’t wanna do that because that’s not the real world. So I was quite happy to work with people that had quite, a bit more of, a bit of a mess over the kitchen. ‘Cause we wanted to see more people, and those posts around how people have rated the product, they don’t have to be beautifully sharp. They can be a bit clumsy because we are savvy as shoppers. We wanna see the real reviews, not the paid for ones. And there’s all sorts of little tactics that we can do to get people to add to basket, add to favourites, all that sort of stuff. I think it was fascinating to see their massive quantum leap of people going into e-commerce for their weekly shop, rather than doing four or five retailers in the week and shopping for a specific meal. And they actually had to like, oh, buy for the week or the month or whatever. That is starting to tailor off. People are going back into store again, and where our challenge compared to, and fashion brand or training shoes, that might be a one off purchase for the year. So I can target and target and target that customer, knowing that they’re interested, get them over the line with an offer. We’ve got to remind people to buy our products every single week. And we can’t afford to do that without a marketing project. So you do need your organic social media. You do need people to want to follow your channels, hopefully see your organic content to cling, must remember to add that to my basket. I’m only getting Cravendale ’cause I know it lasts longer. I can feed the whole family. It’s got all the right nutritionals, stuff that I need for my family. All of those messages have gotta be drip, drip, drip, drip fed. We do it in campaign bursts, but organic social media will have to tell that story.
– Yeah, I’m with you, I’m so sorry, but my dogs are going a little bit insane here, so. I can hear one of them grounding outside. There’s no big fighting, hopefully. So, but I think you’re absolutely right, is that you’ve got to be more emotional. It’s not really just about frequency. It’s about the message you set out with that. And memorability is never really just about being in everybody’s face, it’s about people understanding the values that you stand for. And I think we’ve got more food-conscious, more aware of what we’re buying.
– Yeah, yeah.
– So that actually opens up this idea that we can actually tap into that values versus what other people will want, what people want.
– Yeah, yeah, yeah.
– You can see what I mean. So I think there’s some really interesting parts. Now all the way through this, you have talked about influences, but you know I had it, oh, love it. Love it, no, I love it. We had a conversation when we first decided to do this where you told me how, not just that about the authenticity, but you build really long term relationships with influencers.
– Yeah, and I suppose that comes back to my networking days and my gregarious personality. I don’t wanna just hide behind a screen. I like to talk to the influencers, like to. So we noticed during the first phase of lockdown that shopping behaviours have changed. People weren’t going into the office. One of the things that they stopped buying was a yoghourt for the little Eleven Rush. So sales went through the floor, we weren’t doing the big promotions. It wasn’t buy three, get four or whatever to get you to stock up for the week. And also, all these people, myself included, could no longer go to the gym which, or do any kind of exercise at home, it was really, really boring. Didn’t know what we should be doing. I had to chase on in the background trying to do crunches. It just didn’t work. So we got in touch with some PTs to film us some home workout videos. But we found the celebrity moment, right? Because we’re a mainstream bound, we do need some big hero influences. And we just called somebody at the right time. They weren’t super expensive. They’d come off a reality show. They’d had a big personal life smashed all over the media and they were real. They weren’t skinny thin, they didn’t wanna be skinny thin. They had an interesting storyline with their boyfriend who has been falling in and out breakups, all that sort of stuff. And this is real world, that’s what people wanna watch. And they were really, really personable. When we got them on the show, they did all their questioning of, oh, what’s this product? What’s it gonna do for me? All the perceptions that yoghourts are high in sugar, all that sort of stuff. And we are gonna have to sell this product. We really had to get them to buy in and understand the product and its values. The minute we cracked that, they loved talking about it. It was an extension to their life, and it became real and authentic and a bit silly. And what we found just quite back, so we never thought we’d achieve it, is people. This is the holy grail dream for brands. People were watching keep-fit videos with that personality in it for an hour every day. You just can’t get that normally, can you? About little or certain logos in it and everything. Suddenly, we’d gone from sales that were flat lining all going down just suddenly. This was like, oh, this is a product I need. It’s got all the personality and the fun behind it for my life as well. And we shot up in sales and we maintained those sales. Now can’t justify it’s all down to the influencers, even though I want to. But that journey that we took worked and we had some low-level influences underneath it all to back it all up. So it wasn’t just big celebrity says, go out, buy this. But it’s just true and authentic and real and it worked.
– And it’s the time you spend in bringing on the influencer to understand the product, rather than packaging it up and sending in a box and saying.
– I don’t tend to agree with that, yeah. I think it really knows you when you see the celebs that you’re following and they go, look, I got sent a beautiful gift box or I’m the customer. I buy the products and I don’t get sent. So and lightning to do always strike twice. We didn’t go into the next campaign and manage to get that same sort of halo effect. It was learning and testing involving. We tried to do new things with the next campaign. We really went into Facebook groups ’cause we’d thought, that had taken off. We’d thought we were targeting 18 to 25-year-olds with Instagram content. But we had a lot of older people like me doing their AB crunches in of the chase, that also engaged to the content, ’cause she’d been anonymous celebrity getting me out of here, which probably has an older viewing audience.
– Yeah, and as I said, it’s about interest, not about demographic. I think that’s lovely, I think it’s wonderful. And frankly, everybody buys the products things. So anyway, their whole audience is everyone, so.
– That’s it, that’s it.
– Let’s, I would like to just turn to another challenge, which we haven’t quite touched on yet, but yeah, you’ve got the share number of stakeholders, but there’s this other challenge is really about how you position dairy farmers and the produce for a world that is very climate-aware, sustainable and purpose-driven consciousness. How do you take a stand on that? Or do you take a stand on it?
– I do, it was the thing I wanted to do when I first joined Arla before we’d even thought that a pandemic was coming. Because we are really aware of the impact that we’re having on the climate. We’re really worried about what we’re leaving behind for our children. Sustainability, it shouldn’t be a marketing trend. It’s a consumer trend. We have to respond to it, but it is right down to the production, the impact that the company leaves. Now we have to be really transparent about that. And we’re a large food manufacturer. Every single large food manufacturer is making an impact on the climate in that production chain. There isn’t enough plastic in the world to have everything go back in the bin recycled, then come back to you the week after in a new yoghourt pot, that isn’t gonna happen. And yet that is the public perception, that you should be able to just change my packaging overnight. Well, there isn’t enough plastic in the world. So we don’t how we do. We have to be really, really responsible about it. There’s a lot of brands out there that are putting out loads of noises about how sustainable they are compared to dairy. They’re doing it through puppets and gimmicks and all sorts of different ways that they can do it. But if you put like for like comparisons and the truth together there’s different arguments to both that look at the weather in Britain compared to the weather in America. How we make an impact on the climate in the UK is different to food production in another country. So we just have to be really responsible how we sell that story. And I always want to be a renegade and really drive my dairy fans to let them do the talking, be really, really proud. But we’ve gotta be mindful of the farmers that get up at five o’clock in the morning, remember, and do look after their cows really well and respect them. There was a lovely feature on Sunday night while I was making a tea on “Countryfile” about, it was one of our dairy farmers. Put in all this anaerobic digesters to recycle all of the cow poop into fuel, which they were reinvesting in heating their home in the farm, but also into the trucks that go out and drive the foam to the factory. Really good, lovely 10-minute story, great. Now normally, a company would latch onto that and get all their social posts out before, after, and look at us were great, we’re great, we’re great. We didn’t do that. So we just let people watch “Countryfile”. Couple of people chatted about it, nice. Next day, “Panorama” go live with a huge campaign about one farm that was abusing their herd really badly. I couldn’t watch it, it was.
– Absolutely boring to me working in dairy. And it wasn’t an Arla farm, that exploded on social media literally the next night. Obviously we knew it was coming, but that was isn’t the reason why we didn’t go hard on our sustainability message during “Countryfile”. But had we done, we would’ve been forced into that debate ’cause they ran one after the other. So you’ve gonna wanna be so careful and transparent and 100% honest about what you are doing in food manufacturing and how you’re trying to help combat that climate change. And that’s what we’re trying to do.
– Just spot-on, yeah. I wrote an article last week for “New Digital Age” and I’ll pop the link in if anybody’s interested because you’re doing what exactly what I said needs doing which is thinking about your ESG. Thinking about it and thinking how it plays out in social, not just doing it over here, and then social is a second thought because the backlash can be quite severe. And I think one of the other challenges that you have is exactly as you said, now I will call the brader ’cause I call it out in the article, which is the ASA has slapped the risk of Oakley because they made claims. And this is the veracity of your claims is really important. I love what you say when you talk about this is not just a marketing thing. This is your whole business. And people would understand in terms of marketing, not that you virtue signal, but you say we are on a journey. We can’t do everything today because our systems won’t let us and we still need to put milk on the shelves. But here’s the thing. We are on a journey, and bit by bit, we are moving as fast as we can towards this. But we are never going to be sainted on this because from the ground, we’re not building from ground up. We are changing what, there’s behemoth already. And I think sometimes it’s too easy to use social as this kind of signalling, aren’t we good, aren’t we clever and sort of bandwagoning and it just is such a mistake.
– Yeah, yeah, yeah.
– That is we have to think hard.
– Yeah, I think people will come and search for our sustainability story. It might bring people onto our website. They might be sceptical and think, let’s find room for attack. So we gotta be really transparent and show video footage of what we’re doing across the whole of the world. This is a global business. And putting that production together for getting out and filming it was really challenging during the pandemic and didn’t wanna do it all in infographics ’cause then it’s not real.
– So it is a blend of both, telling the stories through visual comparison starts versus get out, speak to the farmers, put the real world in there. Not every farmer can afford that massive investment in that anaerobic digester. So what else are we doing? And it’s an ongoing story and I think people are fascinated by it and I feel so proud to be able to help tell that story, that is my challenge this year, and I think.
– Yeah, I will look forward to watching it, so.
– No pressure.
– Yeah, no pressure. So we’re almost up. So couple of quick questions. For others about to embark on getting really serious about social, what advice would you give?
– Well, my first advice for anyone embarking in social media is moisturise, moisturise, moisturise. You only have to get our bloody air link, you’re still gonna be working late. People think it’s a young person’s game. So I don’t have any Instagram filters, so. But seriously, the role of anybody working in social media, it’s multifaceted. And I think companies think they can just put it in a box, employ one person. They usually be around 23, don’t have to pay them much money. They do it ’cause they like chatting on Facebook. That’s absolute bullshit. We’re a big team, none of this is me. But we’re all of us are playing a part in my work. I’m so lucky to have that team mentality behind us, the planners, the buyers, the analytics, the reporting, all the bits that I found quite difficult today. I want rushing to get my next story out. And then all the creative people that really get their head down, interpret what you’ve briefed in into an engaging story, and it’s evolving every day. So set up your own social profiles. Make sure you damn well take part every day. If TikTok’s kicking off, you need to get a TikTok profile. If everyone’s on Spotify, you need to get on Spotify. Learn how the ads are set, what the formats are. If everyone’s on, I’ve got a Pinterest account. When I first started as a social media manager, God, it’s a while ago, my company didn’t want me to post anything. They were terrified of social media, but they just thought it was gonna be the holy grail and then get loads of sales. So rather than do nothing and wait for them to get over that, I put my cap on every single social media profile I could found and tested influencer strategies, planning tools, scheduling tools through my cat account. My poor cat’s still being tweeted. Obviously there’s no one, it’s great.
– So basically your advice is get.
– Yeah, yeah.
– Advice is get a cat account.
– Yeah, yeah. So I would say to anybody, make sure you’re on the damn platforms to understand how people are using them. Get on ’em every day, learn how people chat, respond to that. Stay on the trends.
– Yeah, absolutely. You have to, in my view, you have to live social. If you’re not living and breathing it.
– It’s just, I’m consuming, that’s why you need your moisturiser.
– Yeah, no. Honestly, if you could see where I’m sitting, there is hand moisturiser, fake moisturiser. Oh, and one of those. ‘Cause everything dries out.
– All the time.
– Right, last question, James. If there was one book or podcast you’d recommend to your viewers, what would it be?
– I didn’t have to think very long and hard about this if I’m honest. Everyone that’s watching this, if anyone knows me, they’ll think is gonna talk about Madonna now, I’m not. I read loads of books. Well, I say that, that makes me sound clever. No, I don’t have a book. But couple of paragraphs, loads of books on it. I do listen to a lot of podcasts. I love James O’Brien, keeping my finger on the pulse of everything, challenging everything that’s happening every day in the world. But there was one moment over the last two years which felt like a huge ripple effect all over the world. It felt like a massive turning point. I don’t read poetry actually. But if everyone could remember where they were on the inauguration of Joe Biden, that was a global turning point for the whole of the world. We’d been spinning in a really mad, angry direction. And one girl got up on stage and made a speech. Amanda Gorman, “The Hill We Climb”. I’m not gonna recite it now. But when she said that, this sentiment, everything that echoed in that was a ripple effect across the whole of the world that something now was gonna change it, it was beautiful. She was 23, she won the Poet Laureate award before she was even 18. So age should never hold you back. She didn’t go into it thinking, right, I need to do this to get here, be famous. She just thought, this is the right thing to do. This is what I’m passionate believe. She wrote one thing, which was, “Where a skinny black girl descended from slaves and raised by a single mother can dream of becoming a president, only to find herself reciting for one of ’em,” age 23. That spirit of activism and that change, that to me really inspires me. And I’ll go back and keep reading that to remind myself.
– What you don’t know, James, is my screensaver, when things go quiet, it says the hill we climb.
– The hill we climb.
– I’m so with you, I love that. That poem, I listen to it frequently. It is the spirit of change, isn’t it?
– Yeah, yeah.
– Thank you so much.
– No, thank you.
– I knew this would be amazing. I knew I would enjoy every minute with you, and yeah, my biggest, I think my biggest takeaway is moisturiser.
– Yeah, yeah.
– And but also, I love the frankness and openness of how you tackle what is a very difficult market in the sense that FMCG is small things that we buy every day. It’s not life-changing. And, but it’s really hard marketing. It’s really tough marketing. And I think-
– We’ll enjoy it, I’m very proud to work in it. We’re very lucky, aren’t we?
– We are very lucky indeed. Thank you very much. And thank you for Samuel as well. We’ve kind of gone for some time, but I think it’s been so much fun. Thank you so much, really appreciate all your time. Please do keep pinging questions and ideas to us on our channels ’cause we’re.