Insights: Social Media Snapshots Report 2015

In today’s guest feature, insight agency McCallum Layton takes a closer look at how consumers are engaging with brands on social media, as part their annual social media snapshots report.

There’s no doubt that the growth of social media has created a powerful new tool through which brands are able to communicate with consumers. Coca Cola, the top performing brand on social media has notched up an impressive 93 million fans so it’s certainly not difficult to see the significant role that this relatively new platform can play in a marketing campaign.

The opportunities to engage keep on growing. Instagram for example, a page which was previously only open to a select group of brands is now accessible to all. But is this necessarily a good thing?

The ‘climb to get online’ is potentially damaging  the social media experience, and the indication is that the market may be moving towards saturation.   A recent report from Forrester Research, showed that over 80% of top global brands actively post on Twitter, Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn and Instagram, and are doing so more frequently than before.  Despite the increase in content, engagement rates on Twitter, Instagram, Google+ and Pinterest have all declined.  Talk about information overload! Are consumers getting bored with brands on social media?

At McCallum Layton we conduct an annual study into how consumers use social media to interact with brands. When we first carried out the study in 2014, 39% of respondents believed they will interact more with brands over the next 12 months via social media. This year, that figure has dropped to 29%.

Due to the sheer volume of brands and increased number of social media platforms, consumers it seems are starting to be more selective when deciding who and how to follow.

Similarly consumers can be more clinical when deciding which brands to unfollow.  Amongst the 18-34s who took part in our survey, the likelihood of unfollowing  a company or brand on Twitter rose significantly from  2014 (from 27% to 52%).  Of course brands want to be heard and social media is a great platform to make some noise but in an environment where consumers have the power to switch you off at the click of a button, engaging, relevant content is an absolute must.

Consider this, 81% of the 18-34s we sampled claim that they would be interested in contributing to a company’s NDP process through social media in the future.  Consumers clearly seek more than offers and promotions – they really want to get involved with the brands they feel an affinity with.  Reflecting this, 41%  believe that social media allows them to get more of a feel for a company’s brand’s/personality and 25%  feel more emotionally attached to a brand as a result of its social media activity.

There’s a real opportunity here for brands to connect more with customers/potential customers without having to be so focused on incentives – for example Petplan insurance maintains pinboards with tips and hints aimed at pet lovers. This approach has done an excellent job of  allowing the company to relate its messaging to an overall strategic goal.

The fall in interest in interacting with brands through social media could be a glitch. When we conduct our study next year the situation might have changed. But in my opinion and from my social media accounts perspective, unless companies decide to invest properly and develop strategies which deliver engaging, targeted content,  a decline in people wanting to interact with brands through social media might become the new trend.

Social Media Snapshots Report 2015 by McCallum Layton

If you’d like to further discuss the findings of the report, please contact Dale Henry, Head of Client Services at McCallum Layton.

#BEMLeeds Review: Jennie Fisher at Provident Financial

Jennie Fisher, Digital Marketing Campaign Manager at Provident Financial, shares her own unique experience from attending last week’s Brand & Audience Engagement Masterclass #BEMLeeds, which was hosted at Elmwood’s office in Leeds.

We’re Marketers and we like to delight our customer by giving them tailored messages and products and services! Oh and we know everything about Marketing!

No. No we don’t.

We think we know everything and we like to put people in boxes and give *groups* of people tailored messages and products.

Identifying those groups used to be quite straightforward and I thought I really understood who I was looking at until I listened to a presentation by Dan Monteith and Tim Leonard from Elmwood.  Now I am questioning everything. And. It’s. Awesome.

No really!

I work in Financial Services.  We have one service (a short-term loan) which we provide to around a million people across the UK and Republic of Ireland.  Now whilst there are some similarities between customers they are not robots or clones.  They are all individuals and it was good to be reminded of that.

Just like it was good to be reminded that despite the numerous spreadsheets I look at, Marketing is still not a pure science.  Every day, regardless of which sector you are in, we are constantly trying to make people like us. Yes you can ask customers to say out of 10 how much they like you or trust you or feel something fluffy and warm inside about your brand and produce a lovely chart, but that’s just a snapshot of that moment in time.  Maintaining and building that fluffy feeling i.e. getting people to feel engaged with your brand takes time, data and a bit of a gut instinct, it seems.

Getting these reminders can be difficult though, especially if you happen to work and live in the North of England.  If you are in London, there are tons of opportunities to go and listen to a new viewpoint and discuss the latest trends or ideas with your peers.  If you are in Bradford, those opportunities generally come with a 6.30am train departure.

Not anymore!

I have had the opportunity to attend both Masterclasses hosted by John and I have come away from both with that “I knew that but I never thought of it like that…” a feeling which is great.  The last thing you want is to sit through three hours of PowerPoint and feel like you haven’t gained anything.  Ok so nothing that I’ve heard has been new to my ears.  Frankly, I’d be a bit worried if it was but each speaker has given me a new perspective on a topic that maybe I’ve not really thought about for a while. It’s been the inspiration for me to question not just why we are doing something but why we are not doing something.

And I didn’t have to get up at 5am to get it.

If you’d like to attend the Digital Leaders Masterclass, which takes place in Leeds on Tuesday 3rd November 2015, please click here to book your seat.

Speaker Spotlight: Tim Sinclair (Wolfstar)

In today’s #BEMLeeds Speaker Spotlight, I wanted to try something a little different to the previous editions by introducing our official chair for the Brand & Audience Engagement Masterclass – Wolfstar’s Managing Director, Tim Sinclair.

In this short video, Tim shares his thoughts on the importance of storytelling and measuring campaign effectiveness, when it comes to ‘Brand Engagement’.

Tim will be delivering his session with Sam Oakley, Co-Founder of Stashmetrics, at the masterclass on Tuesday 14th July, and will take a closer look at ‘The art of brand engagement and social listening.’


Speaker Spotlight: Carol Smith (WRG)

In today’s edition of Speaker Spotlight, WRG’s Director of Brand Engagement Carol Smith, reveals the importance of ‘Trust’ when it comes to brand engagement.

Don’t miss Carol’s session: Trust me – I’m a brand at the masterclass in Leeds on 14th July.

What inspired you to enter a career in brand marketing?

Ads. I distinctly recall a phase in my teenage years when I realised that I was looking forward to the ad breaks more than the programmes. I started to wonder who had made them? How did they make them? Why? This was pre-internet so after a few frustrating sessions at the school careers office, I eventually landed some work experience with TBWA (then BDH) and the rest as they say is (my career) history.

In your opinion – What is the single biggest challenge that brands face when it comes to ‘Brand & Audience Engagement’?

I think one of the key challenges that brands face is the degree of trust we’re all placing with strangers online – and how to control or influence it. Trip Advisor, Amazon, Yelp – more and more we’re relying on reviews from people we don’t know. Social Media is punching above its weight in terms of influence – at times it can feel like your brand’s a tweet or review away from reputation meltdown.

 What is your career defining project to-date?

My most enriching experience has been outside my day job. For the past six years I have been a member of the charitable fundraising board for Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital – this always feels like marketing with purpose!

Who would be your ‘Dream’ client – if you could win their business?

Right here? Right Now? The Labour Party.

What is the 1-book that changed your thinking and approach to your career/job?

Disruption by Jean-Marie Dru. The TBWA network of course handle Apple who remain one of their greatest examples of Disruption. I was lucky enough to witness first hand, in downtown Los Angeles, the relationship and trust between Steve Jobs and Lee Clow. In terms of how it shaped my career, it was – to coin a phrase – priceless. It taught me the importance of ‘changing the rules’, wherever possible and never being afraid to challenge convention.

Speaker Spotlight: Tim Leonard (Elmwood)

Elmwood’s Brand Provocator Tim Leonard shares an insight into his career defining work on the Morrisons Market Street project.

Tim’s session ‘The Death of Who: The Birth of Me’ at the Brand & Audience Engagement Masterclass will look at the changing face of demographics and how smart brands are responding and rethinking the very meaning of targeting.

What or Who inspired you to enter a career in brand marketing?

The amazing planet we live on and the fascinating creatures (humans) that run around on its surface! I’m personally very interested in behaviour and consumer insight. The better we understand people, the better we can make the experience when people come into contact with a brand. Ultimately this will make the world a better place, and it’s my job to try and make a difference.

What is the single biggest challenge that brands face when it comes to ‘Brand & Audience Engagement’?

Indifference. It’s the anaesthetic of the familiar. The bland, the safe and the unadventurous has no point of view. It can’t hope to bring people out to play.

What is your career defining project to-date?

Morrisons Market Street. We needed to set Market Street apart from the other supermarkets – create a more engaging customer experience, give Market Street a sense of ‘theatre’ and develop a unique and ownable new identity and personality. During the initial strategy work, we carried out customer journey mapping to gain a better understanding of how customers shop and where we could optimise the experience. A very involving project with an impactful end result.

Who would be your ‘Dream’ client – if you could win their business?

Whilst I love working with small challenger brands (rule breakers are so much fun) I’d love to work with Lego. A multi-generation brand that blends physical and digital – phygital if you will!

What is the 1-book that changed your thinking and approach to your career/job?

Made to Stick: Why some ideas take hold and others come unstuck. By Chip Heath and Dan Heath. Would definitely recommend it.


Speaker Spotlight: Nicola Carey (Jaywing)

In today’s edition of ‘Speaker Spotlight’, Jaywing’s Head of Strategy & Planning Nicola Carey shares her thoughts on all things brand engagement.

At the Brand & Audience Engagement Masterclass BEMLeeds, Nicola will deliver a session on – The Dating Game: The importance of brand seduction in the age of information

What inspired you to enter a career in brand marketing?

When I was in my early teens I didn’t have photos of Take That on my wall. I had Absolut Vodka Ads. (Not sure what this says about my upbringing!) Also, and I know it’s a cliché of advertising, but whenever I need lifting I watch the Guinness show reel – the idea that a brand through its communication could make me ‘feel’ something was what brought me into marketing.

In your opinion – What is the single biggest challenge that brands face when it comes to ‘Brand & Audience Engagement’?

I do think there is a big challenge in cutting through all the ‘buzzword bingo’ to enable brands to get to the heart of what engagement means for customers as individuals. It may indeed be that the engagement sticking point is one of ‘making sense of all the data’ or ‘creating exciting content’ but in my experience, it is very rare these play out consistently for brands across sectors or even audience groups. I guess you could say that the greatest challenge for brands is actually defining their own ‘rules of engagement’.

What is your career defining project to-date?

That’s a difficult question as my career has been pretty varied! I would have said it was spear-heading a 12 market insight project for BBC News which saw me understanding the role of the BBC brand and how it engages audiences in everywhere from Afghanistan to Seattle.

Who would be your ‘Dream’ client – if you could win their business?

For me, this changes all the time. I’ve been lucky enough to work with a number of brands that might be thought of as classically ‘sexy’ brands to work with – Red Bull, Diageo, EE and most recently First Direct. However, and without wanting to sound too earnest, it’s the unique challenges and problems and the client’s attitude towards tackling them which makes a client a dream client.

What is the 1-book that changed your thinking and approach to your career/job?

Neither of the two things which come to mind are actually books. Simon Sinek’s whole ‘Start With Why’/Golden Circles philosophy (as best summarised in one of his TED talks) really helped bring to life brand purpose for me in a way which felt meaningful. Being a planner, I also often look to my peers for inspiration. There are so many good blogs out there but the one which stands out for me is Richard Huntington’s Adliterate, full of interesting thinking and provocations.


Strong Line-Up Confirmed for Brand & Audience Engagement Masterclass

I’m delighted to announce that the speaker line-up for the Brand & Audience Engagement Masterclass has now been confirmed with leading experts from Elmwood, Jaywing, WRG, Wolfstar and Igniyte  – presenting a series of engaging sessions on Tuesday 14th July 2015.

The masterclass in association with Network Marketing and the University of Liverpool will provide delegates with a powerful series of insights, strategies and tactics from five industry leaders who will share their latest thinking on brand and audience engagement.


  • Developing the right brand engagement strategy
  • Creating and promoting powerful content through owned, earned and paid media channels
  • Tactics for driving customer acquisition and retention through better online brand engagement
  • Measuring the effectiveness of brand and social engagement
  • How to deliver an engaging online user experience

Who’s attending?

  • Head of Marketing Operations, O2
  • Global Vice President – Brand Strategy, Arla Foods
  • Professor of Marketing, University of Liverpool
  • Marketing Director, Joe Browns
  • Marketing Director, Taylors of Harrogate
  • Global Marketing Manager, Mamas & Papas
  • Head of Community & Social Media Marketing, Premier Farnell
  • Head of Marketing, WageDayAdvance
  • Digital Marketing Manager, Irwin Mitchell
  • Regional Marketing Manager, DLA Piper
  • Marketing Manager, Yorkshire Water
  • Senior Manager – Brand Operations, Lloyds Banking Group
  • Customer Strategy & Planning Manager, Yorkshire Building Society
  • Customer Insight Manager, Asda
  • Marketing & Communications Director, Capita
  • Brand Activation Manager, Bettys & Taylors of Harrogate
  • Digital Marketing Manager, The Co-operative Group
  • Senior Manager – Online Content, Brand & Communications, TD Direct
  • Head of Customer Knowledge & Insight, TD Direct
  • US Marketing Coordinator, Pure Collection
  • Digital Content Coordinator, Pure Collection
  • Retail Development Manager, Warburtons
  • Brand & Social Media Manager, Superbreak
  • Customer Retention Manager, WageDayAdvance
  • Customer Retention & Engagement Manager, Satsuma Loans
  • Communications Manager, Xerox
  • UK Marketing Manager, Smoothwall
  • Marketing Manager, University of Leeds
  • Head of Marketing, Pets Choice
  • Social and PR Manager, Pets Choice

If you’d like to attend, please complete the contact form or call me on +44 (0)7796322894.

#MLleeds Round-up

The Marketing Leaders Masterclass officially kicked-off in style yesterday at Elmwood’s Leeds office with a fantastic show of support from some of the North’s biggest brands and marketing agencies.

The event in association with Network Marketing (Headline Sponsor) brought together a group of leading experts from the world of digital, social, creative, PR and consumer insight  – who delivered a series of insightful and thought-provoking sessions.

The senior delegation included representatives from brands such as Asda, Co-operative Group, Ernst & Young, Irwin Mitchell, Sky Bet, JD Williams, Provident, TD Direct, Wilko, JCT600 and Victoria Plumb to name but a few, as well as the CIM’s chair of Mid-Yorkshire Branch and Professor of Marketing Anthony Patterson from University of Liverpool.

I would like to personally thank all the speakers and delegates for taking part; Elmwood for allowing the event to be hosted at their beautiful office, Duncan McCallum from McCallum Layton for doing a brilliant job as the official chair, and finally Network Marketing for supporting #MLleeds as the official Headline Sponsor.

All speaker presentations can be viewed below via Slideshare

Please click here to view the extended commentary on the talk by Duncan McCallum, Founding Partner, McCallum Layton.

If you’d like to take part in the next scheduled masterclass which will focus on ‘Brand Engagement & User Experience’, please drop me a message.