Is your marketing team eating content for breakfast?

Earlier this month, when it was socially acceptable to be outside of the house and mingling with others at a conference (gasp!), I took part in a panel discussion on creating killer content.

Addressing marketing, communications and digital professionals in the third sector, the Charity Digital team asked me to share strategic advice and top tips to stay ahead of the content curve. So, here they are:

Creating content is like eating breakfast

You wouldn’t skip the most important meal of the day, would you? OK, well you shouldn’t! The truth is, we’re all content creators, whether we like it or not. If you have a smartphone in your back pocket, you’re (practically) qualified for a role in content production – whether that’s in front of the camera or behind it.

So, why doesn’t it seem that easy? It’s down to marketing leaders to embed a positive content culture within organisations and start to become comfortable with rough cut edits – and it all starts with confidence on both sides of the table.

Set informal team challenges through content apps such as Seenit; start a YouTube channel to share insights and learning from the sector (check out Bloom & Wild’s Code & Wild technology and culture blog); and continuously recognise good examples of ‘homegrown’ content to encourage people to produce more.

You’ll develop good habits, like producing content at pace and eating your breakfast everyday.

Why watch content when you can wear it

We’re entering a content revolution. Traditionally, the age-old marketing question was: ‘Can you create a video’? This brought its own challenges, mainly because by the time this question had been asked a plan had already been formed (usually without any marketing budget.) So, you were at the mercy of a one paragraph content brief to create something that needed Oscar-winning potential.

But, now there are so many more forms of content to embrace – and I don’t just mean podcasts. Action for Children, End Youth Homelessness and The Prince’s Trust have all launched t-shirt collaborations (designed with influencers, illustrators and beneficiaries) to connect with audiences in a new way.

Although the view count is far lower on a t-shirt, the positive conversations and repeated wear makes it a great way for brand ambassadors to connect with the general public.

Remember that stats don’t tell the whole story

‘How many people watched that video?’ is a question that frequently gets asked when it comes to evaluation season. But, marketers know the true answer is much more complex. Are you interested in three-second views or completed views? Or does the success of your content lie in engagement or acquisition?

There are always a lot of numbers to work through but it’s important to retain a healthy sense of perspective and not to get too disheartened if it’s not what you expected. Content creation is a marathon, not a sprint (learning the latest algorithm trends are!) But your content was made to live forever.

Make opportunities to refine content by testing it with sample audiences (focus groups, panel discussions, office polls etc) and leverage the right partners in your network to sustain momentum.

And don’t forget, in a world where we’re all keen to publish, it takes an incredibly strong marketer to know when it’s right to hold content back. Timing is everything.

Scripts are for Spielberg

‘I’ve single-handedly written a great script,’ said no one ever. Great content is a team effort, unless you really are Spielberg. Not only to ensure that what you produce doesn’t fall tone deaf on society!

But, more than this, when story boarding and scripting content it’s important to remain flexible and be prepared to ‘murder your darlings’. This is one of the only ways to invite the people you’re working with to be their authentic selves (using their slang and mannerisms etc). And it’s this relatability factor that is the difference between a video being seen and enjoyed.

That’s not forgetting the need to warm people up too before alerting them to the ‘on air’ red button. For most people, cameras are daunting and the thought of being ‘pitch perfect’ makes them nervous. So, invest as much time as possible in briefing them in and out of the studio – as well as continuing to keep the camera rolling after interviewing. Sometimes that’s when the best content is discovered.

This list only begins to scratch the surface when it comes to content. Share yours in the comments below.

What Nike’s co-founder taught me about developing high-performing teams

I’m a few years late to the party, but this week I finished Phil Knight’s memoir Shoe Dog. It’s the telling of a story where the ending is the world’s worst-kept secret. Because everyone knows where Nike, co-founded by Knight, ends up. On the track, field and commuter trails of millions across the globe. But I’ve never known or appreciated this iconic brand’s humble beginnings before.

Shoe Dog bookSomething that stood out to me while reading in detail how ‘Buck’ established his company is his unwavering entrepreneurial spirit and belief. Numerous times he put his livelihood, and that of many of his employees, on the line to give the company the best chance of success.

Cash flow issues weren’t fully resolved until the company finally went public in 1980 (coincidentally, the same week as Apple.)

But Knight felt able to take risks because he recognised that his team were equally passionate about the company’s potential.


Here’s how I believe he achieved the fine leadership feat of inspiring people on a journey to a shared vision.

Draw on your strengths

Knight recognised that confidence was needed to bring employees on a tumultuous journey. When he was running low on his own reserves, he drew strength by ‘borrowing’ it from one of his trusted teammates. As a result, he demonstrated a deep value for them; involving them democratically in the detailed decisions that needed to be made daily to ensure the company thrived.

From brainstorming company names and deciding on logos to innovating running technology, team members may have specialised in certain areas but when it mattered, they came together. They had one leader, but everyone had a voice.

In the early days success was in no way guaranteed, but as a collective they understood that if Nike was going to fail, it was going to fail on its own terms.

Share what you know

Knight includes stories of the frequent trips he made to Asia to meet with manufacturers, including Japan, China and Taiwan. As the culture is very different, he made sure to take colleagues away with him to show them the ropes. He also emphasised that the best way to reinforce your knowledge is to share it.

By explaining the ways of working, including the nuances of dealing with different firms, he not only gave himself confidence that he knew what he was talking about, but also up-skilled others.

Invest in training

Even when going public Nike was able to retain its unique start-up culture because Knight took the time to cultivate its management team to become future leaders. Investing in training was a long game, compared to hiring external candidates, but what it cost in patience eventually paid out.

External leaders didn’t ‘gel’ with the company’s ethos, but in the future Nike was able to seize the right type of opportunities through the people who lived and breathed the brand.

Don’t say thank you

Something which struck me was Knight’s decision, despite being full of thanks to his team, was not to overtly praise two colleagues for ‘switching’ locations on either side of the US. Later, Knight follows this up by saying that his regular praise ‘sound bite’ to colleagues was, simply: ‘not bad’.

At first, it seems that Knight is simply unapologetic when it comes to the cause. He’s already got the passionate ‘buy in’, so he’s not ‘wasting’ emphasis on encouraging the heart. However, later, he explains that his management style is plain.

“Don’t tell people how to do things, tell them what to do and be surprised by their results.”

His lack of praise isn’t synonymous with a lack of enthusiasm. He’s simply demonstrating an authoritative leadership style. Here’s the vision, here’s the tools. Now deliver. Once you’ve delivered, give me more.

This level of autonomy for the right type of people is highly beneficial for inducing a creative workforce that can clearly see the impact their work is having. Needless to say, no one asked him for a pay rise during these early years. Money simply didn’t matter; just the product.

Nike advertising example

Trust to say the right thing at the right time

More than autonomy, Knight also have his staff space. It was refreshing to read that he didn’t feel obligated, albeit slightly guilty, to respond to each piece of correspondence that one of his first faithful full-time sales colleague sent to him each day.

In his memoir he recalls receiving letters with ideas, updates, questions and thought starters. Without knowing how to respond, as he was focused on his own project goals, Knight let the letters build up. He then continued to receive more asking why he wasn’t answering; almost pleading. The sheer volume left Knight feeling intimidated and that meant the silence continued.

In the long term, it didn’t harm their working relationship. The ‘silent treatment’ spurred the colleague, Johnson, on to continue building upon his ideas which eventually turned into trainer designs.

In time, they learnt to appreciate each other’s working styles and Knight made sure to invest face-to-face time with Johnson when it mattered.

It’s important to remember that those were posted letters. The digitised culture we work in today means we’re made to feel that there’s little to no excuse for not responding – and quickly.

But this anecdote has inspired me to take my time. When there’s something important to say, say it. A positive response rate is not always equal to trust and respect. A valuable response will suffice – and just maybe your team will appreciate the space to develop and thrive.

What will you do differently? Whatever you decide, just do it.

Every body has a reason to get healthy. It’s called January

There’s nothing more refreshing then slam-dunking people who ask you what your 2019 aims / goals / resolutions are by telling them you don’t have any. They tend to look at you, head tilted with confusion, trying to work out how you’ve managed to escape the mandatory ‘new year, new you’ mantra.

The truth is I’m happy. I’m so content that I could barely find the words to articulate myself to friends recently (probably because the term’s been so far from my vocabulary since my student days).

OK. So, I wouldn’t say no to becoming fitter, getting a buzz out of eating vegetables and learning new skills. But, I’m not going to upset myself trying to achieve these things either.

Instead, I’m going to find ways to naturally weave them into the activities that genuinely make me smile so they organically become part of me – the things I want to do.

And that’s the exact direction I feel WW (Weight Watchers is so 2018) is headed with its latest campaign: For Every Body.

Launched at the tail end of last year and supported by Oprah and Robbie Williams, it highlights that everyone has a reason to want to be healthier. But, its campaign doesn’t labour on food (or lack of). Instead, it celebrates health and wellness; recognising that these positive habits are what enable people to be the best version of themselves.




The campaign video is upbeat, fast paced and a showcase of everyday people’s accomplishments – occasionally highlighting the amount of weight lost by an individual. But WW is also careful not to define them by this.


It’s not about what they’ve done; it’s about what they can do as a result of their new lifestyle – in homage to the approachable and inclusive #ThisGirlCan movement.

Using Robbie as a brand ambassador is a smart move. Not only does it enable WW to capitalise on his 2.59m Twitter followers (which has helped the campaign video he posted on Boxing Day generate over 34,000 views), but also helps to change people’s perceptions of what WW is all about.

Robbie is a maverick. He doesn’t play by the rules and you certainly can’t imagine him counting calories and dieting. It’s just not the lifestyle rock stars were made for. But, he does bring a lot of energy to the campaign and is a great role model and advocate for positive mental health, encouraging people to take the next step.

As part of the brand’s refresh, there’s no more ‘sign up’ or ‘join now’ language on WW’s website. Users are urged to ‘Commit to change like Robbie’ where they can find out how they fit into this global community. Small and subtle changes, but inspiring none-the-less.

This is starting to sound like an organisation I can get on board with.

It’ll be interesting to see how the results translate into genuine, long-term sign ups. After all, however much a company wants to make an impact on the population’s wellness, it can’t operate without subscription fees.

At the moment, WW UK’s marketing emphasis has been on securing TV advertising spots for the campaign – notably within ITV’s showing of Star Wars: The Force Awakens last week and its ambassadors’ online endorsements. WW UK’s Twitter channel has generated fewer than 2,000 video views, which is less than 10x the success of its US counterpart (which isn’t in proportion to its follower count).

So sustaining momentum is vital for the brand to remain relevant. This is easy to achieve in January with transformational success stories and quick win nutritional advice at a time when people need motivation to step away from the leftovers. And, as the ultimate authority on healthy eating, it instantly carries a lot of credibility.

But, it’s the campaign’s holistic wellness approach that will turn heads post January: tempting people like me, living without goals, to make empowering lifestyle tweaks to live well, indefinitely.

Here’s to a great 2019!

Enjoy a Prime Time classic by checking out this Weight Watchers’ social media cafe blog post from 2014.

Reversible poetry reveal violent Christmas scenes

Just being surrounded by mince pies makes me feel lardy. Then I think about the number of Milk Tray chocolates, muffins and cups of tea laden with sugar I’ve consumed just to get me to this point in December (don’t judge, it’s been incredibly busy) and I feel nauseous.

During this month, I’ve also had my fill of festive ‘buy now’ marketing campaigns – including John Lewis and Elton John, Sky Cinema and Cassette Boy and Lidl’s Kevin the Carrot. So, it’s refreshing when you stumble across a project that’s puts Christmas into perspective.

I don’t know about you but in my house statements such as, “I’ve bought you another Christmas present today” is followed by a tragic sigh as it means someone has to brave the high street once again to find something we can justify that each other will make use of. Note – we don’t even have to like it. Just use it. Once. For me… please?

During this peak time for selling high-end gifts and luxurious lifestyles, only charities could use this season as an opportunity to humble the general public when we start to get too carried away.

So, it’s no surprise that I’ve been touched by Refuge’s hard-hitting Christmas campaign, developed pro bono by McCann Bristol, that seeks to raise awareness of domestic violence through poetry.

Refuge's Auld Lang Syne reversible poem

Read from top to bottom the collection of three poems denote a loving family-filled scene. But, as soon as you read them the other way, it reveals the horrific reality for the one in four women who experience this situation in their lifetime.

As a result, the charity is calling on women to turn to the organisation if their partner turns on them.

What’s great about this advert series is that the creative team behind it recognises that the poetic words are powerful enough to allow the viewer or reader to develop their own imagery. After all, our own imaginations are always much darker and chilling. But, with statistics this high, it’s just as worrying how easy it may be for individuals to see themselves or loved ones between the lines.

But, between the impactful press, radio and OOH campaign media types, has Refuge focused too much on outreach, over donations and other forms of support – particularly when people are in the spirit of giving? With a subtle and small call to action, it’s very much down to consumers to take the prompt to get involved and drive change.

For example, the campaign could have benefited hugely from a microsite that gives people opportunities to understand the signs and indicators of domestic abuse and how to engage sensitively in conversation with potential victims.

This support could literally be the difference between life and death.

Refuge's Christmas Eve reversible poem

By doing so, this campaign would begin to reduce any stigma around domestic violence and how to support loved ones, by understanding what to do for the best, and when – without making situations worse.

Overall, it’s made me realise that Christmas is more than just creating a cosy atmosphere; it’s about reaching out to others and making sure you’re creating safe spaces for friends and family to confidently open up to you, no matter what.

And, even if you believe this isn’t relevant for you or your connections, there’s one thing you can do this Christmas. Share, give or get involved to emphasise the severity of domestic violence >

Merry Christmas Prime Timers!

Are brands failing to represent women in ad campaigns?

In the same week that new research revealed that London women feel excluded from the capital’s advertising, the likes of Reebok, Jordan Brand and Calvin Klein have launched empowering campaigns. But, do they hit the spot?

City Hall and University College London recently surveyed 2,000 women and found that just 26% of adverts in London were relevant to them (for example, either their body size wasn’t reflected or women were over-sexualised in revealing clothing). Compare this to over 55s and more than half simply feel invisible.

So, the Mayor of London (cue the obligatory Sadiq swoon) is offering £500,000 of free digital OOH advertising across TfL’s network to the brand with the best pitch that will challenge gender stereotypes and reflect the city’s rich diversity, as part of the new Women We See initiative.

This isn’t just a lock, stock and two smoking barrels tactic to ensure controversial brands like Protein World don’t slip through the net again. Remember that ‘Beach Body Ready?’ campaign that went down like a lead balloon?

This is about credibly bringing ethnic and LGBT+ female minorities to the forefront of campaigns to represent everyone.

Calvin Klein Women

Calvin Klein Women fragrance campaign

CK’s Instagram advertising campaign to launch its new fragrance features Lupita Nyong’o and Saoirse Ronan, alongside the iconic women who have helped shape their identities. From Eartha Kitt to Katherine Hepburn, the project oozes class, glamour and strength in a very credible, authentic and natural way.

Not only do Lupita and Saoirse seem incredibly natural in the marketing assets, but they also help denote that this is more than just pushing product; it’s about recognising individuality.

  • Diversity rating (culture, ethnicity, age): 3/5. Not only a good ethnic mix, but it also makes reference to iconic women through the ages. However the celebrities are young and don’t necessarily relate to older women. But, there is no reason why the campaign couldn’t be followed up with different ambassadors.
  • Observations: Just like the fragrance, it’s refreshing to be served with light, uncluttered imagery, with messages that don’t ‘over sell’. This subtle approach works, and makes those who interact with it feel like they’re in safe hands.
  • Prime Time rating: 4/5

Jordan x Vogue

Jordan Brand x Vogue collection

Vogue Editor-in-Chief Anna Wintour has signed off two iconic Jordan Brand sneakers (with another in the pipeline for September) as part of the brand’s first ever women’s-only collection.

Inspired by Ms Wintour’s signature suits and sunglasses, the product features a soft leather upper, a sexy zip down the tongue and the ‘AWOK’ moniker (for Anna Wintour OK, her sign off on editorial content) on the sole and tongue. For colour schemes, women can currently opt for a bold red version or traditional white / ivory edition – both of which come with an ‘edited by Vogue’ tag.

  • Diversity rating (culture, ethnicity, age): 2/5. Jordan is doing what Jordan does best – letting the trainers do all the talking. The short video featuring Anna Wintour is mildly amusing but the storyboard seems slightly unbelievable and stifled. Anna may be iconic but as a white, upper class high-powered female, she certainly doesn’t represent all women.
  • Observations: The brands on their own are very self-indulgent. There is no ‘do good’ element here. So much so, a portion of the profits will actually be going to Vogue, according to the press release’s vague description. Women may champion these brands, but will quickly recognise that the campaign only goes skin deep.
  • Prime Time rating: 5/5 (Jordan) 2/5 (campaign)


Reebok: Be More Human

Ariana Grande for Reeboks #BeMoreHuman campaign

Reebok is supporting women’s charities – The Movemeant Foundation and The Women’s Strength Coalition – through its latest Be More Human campaign, featuring chart dominator Ariana Grande, millennial model Gigi Hadid and Wonder Woman Gal Gadot.

Through a series of films and creative used to promote 10 limited edition shirts featuring a message from one of the brand’s ambassadors, the campaign inspires others to be their ‘best self’. And, unlike Vogue which will be taking a portion of the Jordan sales for itself, Reebok is committed to donated 100% of the purchase price to charity, to be split equally.

What I like about this campaign, is that it gives fans another way to participate in the campaign mission by donating in sweat. For those who post a work out selfie using the #BeMoreHuman hashtag on Twitter or Instagram, Reebok will make a further donation to the charities.

  • Diversity rating (culture, ethnicity, age): 4/5. Yes, the campaign piques consumers’ interest with the A-listers, but the sports brand has been wise enough to include a diverse range of influencers on this campaign. These individuals include: Reese Scott, Founder of Women’s World of Boxing; Shannon Kim Wagner, Founder of the Women’s Strength Coalition; and Jenny Gaither, Founder and CEO of Movemeant Foundation – further proof that the brand is committed to celebrating women’s strength in all forms.
  • Observations: Through its digital channels, Reebok is driving people to find out more about the charities its supporting, to drive change for women everywhere – creating a ripple effect much broader than the campaign itself.
  • Prime Time rating: 4/5

Do these advertising campaigns represent you? What makes you think twice about a campaign? Leave a comment below or tweet Prime Time on @dmhwhite.

adidas x Parley sustainability campaign steps up

While Nike has had its head turned by Nigerian World Cup football kit hysteria this month, rival adidas has quietly ensured it’s not ‘sold out’ to commercialism [entirely] – by launching its sustainable Parley range.

Working with Parley, a network organisation of leaders who purposefully come together to tackle ocean destruction, Adidas has co-created a clothing and footwear range made from upcycled waste found on beaches and coastal communities, intercepted before it reaches the oceans.

And, with every pair of trainers developed from approx. 11 plastic bottles and other sustainable elements, there’s no doubt that these kicks are environmentally friendly.

I’ve already seen an advertising takeover on this week’s Time Out magazine in London (front, back and inside covers), but the conscious brand which is committed to changing lives through sport, is doing more than just an ‘off the shelf’ marketing push for its ‘Run for the Oceans’ campaign – it’s creating a movement.

This Sunday (17th June 2018), adidas is hosting a one-mile closed road running route, starting from St Paul’s Cathedral, whereby participants can track their performance on the Runtastic app. All results will be tracked globally, with $1 donated to the Parley Ocean Plastic Programme for the first 1m kilometres run.

You do the maths. That’s a $1m investment straight up. This is responsive, behavioural changing PR.

But, don’t be too swayed. Prime Time is nothing if not cynical.

A new study by has revealed that over two thirds of consumers would pay more for environmentally-friendly products, and 60% also claimed they’d pay more to brands which ‘give back’. So, by adidas taking responsibility for its impact, the company is appealing to customers’ ‘buy good, feel good, do good’ nature – and can therefore justify up to £180 for a pair of Adizero Prime Ltd running shoes.

But, when CSR becomes a key selling point for products, how does this impact an organisation’s overarching marketing strategy? Is it possible to exhaust environmentally-friendly USPs? And, how will it look to consumers if adidas decides to dial up its investment in commercial campaigns over the coming months?

Fortunately, these are questions adidas doesn’t have to answer. The current leading ethical clothing company, according to Good On You, there’s no one to learn from – meaning there’s no other role to play apart from setting the agenda. And, that’s a good position for any brand to be in.

A six-point prayer to improve your leadership skills

Dame Sarah Mullally recently moved from Devon to take on one of the top jobs at St Paul’s as the 133rd Bishop of London. Last night, she took part in a Q&A at the iconic cathedral to discuss the role, her vision and the future of the church. Sarah wasn’t just highly engaging, but also came across as incredibly savvy. So much so, I’ve compiled her top six sound bites into effective leadership tips.


Whether you’re in PR, marketing, digital or an industry that’s rather left field (like shepherding flocks for example), these can apply – and, more importantly, add value to what you do day-to-day.

  1. You can’t fix everything by yourself: Look at who your current partners are to see how they can help you achieve your shared goals. Then, look at a wide spread of similar institutions (in this case, churches of all shapes and sizes) and find out what they can teach you (there’s always something, you just need to look hard enough), you can teach them and introduce skills-sharing initiatives to benefit all parties.
  2. Take time out to reflect: This uninterrupted time can give you the space you need to see how you can become the solution to your own problems. Sarah was referring to prayer. But, used well, quiet time is an opportunity to be transformed just as much as it is to develop ideas to transform the world.
  3. If you can’t change it, respect it. Then find a way around it: Sarah may have been talking about gender inequality within the church, but this is applicable elsewhere. Recognising that change can be slow, she encourages individuals to focus their energies on identifying the resources they personally have access to, to drive change. Ask yourself, ‘where’s my influence?’ and take action.
  4. Be open to change: Failure to listen and learn will prevent your organisation from evolving. Change is vital, yet hard fought so you need to be in it for the long run.
  5. If you’re too noisy, people won’t listen: AKA the classic ‘one mouth, two ears’ approach. To avoid falling into this trap invite other people’s voices into your projects – to genuinely help shape your ideas into something you might not have achieved on your own.
  6. You own the vision, but let the team help interpret how you get there: When asked how she perceived the church’s responsibility to balance the split between outreach and service, Sarah said she sees clergies across London finding their own way to achieve God’s vision to make disciples of all men and compassionately heal those in need. If your business priorities are of equal importance or, even worse, interdependent, let those on the shop floor decide what happens next. This will free you up to continue enabling and empowering them to do their jobs even more effectively.

After an enlightening evening, that’s my ‘divine’ interpretation of Sarah’s thoughts. A wise and inspirational woman, with a successful background in nursing, I firmly believe her advice is applicable beyond the pulpit and can help managers and future leaders everywhere, no matter what the sector.

Check out St Paul’s website to view the event film and listen to the Q&A podcast to hear it for yourselves.


5 GDPR habits every marketer should adopt…now

I’ve got a lot of names for GDPR, but they’re not accurate, definitely not savoury and, more to the point, won’t prevent the clock from striking midnight on Friday 25th May. So, I’ll keep my opinions to myself. 

What I do know is that six months ago I accidentally volunteered myself to become the ‘GDPR champion’ (spoiler alert: no pom-poms are big enough to take this task on) for my charity’s Marketing and Communications department – and I’ve learnt to tolerate enjoy the difficult questions teams are asking me about the Information Commissioner’s Office‘s (ICO) changing law.

But, with its website intermittently crashing as businesses big and small attempt to untangle the subjective jargon, it’s no surprise that confusion looms around what it actually means for consumers and businesses – forcing the organisation to plan more effective awareness campaigns, starting with ‘Your Data Matters‘.

Your Data Matters poster


Robert Parker, Head of Communications for the ICO, recently admitted to PR Week that he has a challenge on his hands to land this message (that individuals are in the control of their data and the ICO is there if they’re in any doubt that an organisation is following the rules) with a limited budget. But, has enough been done to prepare businesses first and foremost?

The ICO partnered with the Federation of Small Businesses earlier this year, targeting companies with 10 or fewer employees, to encourage them to raise the bar when it comes to data protection. But, there’s little evidence to suggest they’re now feeling comfortable and confident with the upcoming changes.

The ‘Making Data Protection Your Business‘ campaign used radio adverts to drive website traffic, where employers could watch videos and download FAQs. But, surely if it were that simple, no one would have anything to worry about in the first place?

I’m by no means an expert (but then again, all the GDPR experts I seem to have worked with like to admit they’re not either, very early on into the relationship). But, here are my five quick-fire tips for all marketers (yes, that includes you) to clearly demonstrate how you’re taking personal accountability to protect personal data – handling it with care and respect at all times:

  • Don’t save personal and / or special category data on your desktop

From case studies and films to consent forms and contact details, these elements enable us to identify individuals. Always save documentation in your server folders opposed to desktop and personal drives. 

  • Don’t email attachments containing personal and / or special category data

This enables people to save, share and edit their own versions of the documentation. Instead, provide links to files from your server, so teams can work from one true copy. If you do need to send email attachments, ensure the document is password protected.

  • Check if your email content is appropriate for the recipient

Before forwarding emails, check the full content of the email (to ensure it doesn’t contain any personal and / or special category data). If it does, sense check whether the intended recipient should receive this information. If in doubt, check or omit. 

  • Ensure your data collection touch points outline how data will be used and stored 

From webforms to event brochures, if you’re asking for an individual’s details, you must use clear wording that informs them how their data will be stored, used and handled – with links to your organisation’s privacy policy for the #longread details. 

  • Only use personal data you have been given in the way that it was intended

If you’re processing data given to you by a third party (e.g. beneficiary, influencer, ambassador etc.), you can only use it in the way it was originally intended. For example, if you are given a private postal address to order a taxi, you cannot use that address to send communications unless you have explicit consent. Verbal consent is appropriate (and should be recorded), but written consent is better.

SpongeBob SquarePants runs riot
SpongeBob SquarePants runs riot

Friday 25th May is just the beginning. And, like Robert mentions, different strands of the ICO’s education campaign will be rolled out over the coming years.

We’re all on the same journey.  But, if you can make the five points above a habit now, you, your department and your Data Protection Officer will thank you in the future. 

Corona encourages consumers to take time off

The sun’s out and I’ve spent the day ‘chilling’ in an air-conditioned office looking relentlessly through my calendar for opportunities to plan my next day off (and wondering if it’s acceptable to spend at least three quarters of it catching up on sleep).

And when I do book my time off, I’ll leave absolutely no thought whatsoever to my out of office. Why? Because people who do this tend to, in my eyes, be slightly irritating with a wry sense of humour that makes me eye-roll so much that I get a headache.

But, rather than disregard the humble Microsoft Outlook auto-reply, beer brand Corona is viewing it as an ‘untapped’ opportunity to encourage the UK to relax.

The campaign – aptly and unapologetically named Wooohooo – was developed after research found that 40% of UK adults feel guilty about taking time off and almost a third take less than half of their annual holiday allowance.

Maybe because almost half said that when they were away their workplace expected them to be available at all times.

I can’t have been the only one who felt utterly grateful after reading these statistics to work for an organisation that has a positive attitude and warm culture towards time off. So, no wonder it inspired Corona to take its appreciation to the next level by creating an out of office generator and social media assets to encourage employees to switch off and relax.

By logging onto the very swish flash-based microsite, you can be served up an auto reply at random or create one of your own.

From ‘Work schmerk until D/M/Y’ and ‘On a holiday I’ll want to relive over and over again. Back at my desk D/M/Y’ to even ‘Can this wait? Got to get seawater out of my ear. Back in the office D/M/Y’ – you set your dates and are speedily shared a GIF that you can post direct to your Gmail, Outlook or direct to your inbox for use across Twitter, Facebook and Instagram channels.

Corona's inspirational out of office
It’s a fun, light and breezy campaign which not only gives the brand a data capture opportunity, but produces content for a social brand that hasn’t posted on Twitter for over a month and over half a year on Facebook since launching last week. (I hope it’s not taking advice from JD Wetherspoon.)

With large social numbers but a significantly disengaged audience due to its intermittent communications, and no paid advertising that I can see of at present, it’s a shame to think that this creative idea may have belly flopped into the pool, rather than dived with grace. The issue is that the brand has some really credible research under its belt which consumers can identify with (I need a holiday), but have solely attached it to a problem which people have a desire to resolve (I will book a holiday), leaving the brand to get lost in the crossfire (what do I need to drink on holiday again?)

As a result, the campaign positions itself as one worthy of a ‘nod’ of respect, but little action. After all, it takes big incentives to encourage people to change their social profiles with third party messaging at the drop of a hat.

A free five-star holiday, round-the-world trip or a free case of beer for every day of the summer might have been a place to start to drive comments, likes and shares around these posts – rather than the brand reviving its channels with one hero video.

With another Bank Holiday around the corner, all is not lost for Corona to right its wrongs. But, if you want people to enjoy their holidays, and associate your brand as the one that put them there, it’ll take more than some shareable social assets. Start with the sangria next time. Cheers!