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Marcomms fund to support circular economy

A new fund has been launched by the Chartered Institution of Wastes Management (CIWM) to give circular economy innovators the opportunity to fast-track their ambitions and grow their business through fully funded brand communications, marketing and design support. 

The Circular Economy Innovators Fund is the first of its kind and will see up to six businesses awarded tailored support to the value of £10,000 each to build on their marcomms strategy.

Aimed at small and micro businesses based in the UK and Republic of Ireland, CIWM is looking for emerging circular economy innovators that have established their businesses and are looking to expand and broaden their offering.

The fund’s unique approach will give small teams with big ideas access to crucial guidance and skillsets that can help their businesses grow. The winners will receive support from an award-winning communications agency, Barley Communications, whose experienced brand designers, media relations specialists and social media experts will work alongside them to understand their needs and develop a tailored brand communications plan and corresponding content for them.

CIWM’s President Dan Cooke said: “CIWM’s purpose is to move the world beyond waste and accelerating the transition to a more circular economy is vital to achieving this. The Circular Economy Innovators Fund is the first challenger fund to offer circular economy businesses access to specialist marketing and communications support and expert advice to fast-track their business growth.

There are many small and micro companies in the sector that have incredible forward-thinking products and services which clearly contribute to greater resource efficiency and a more circular economy. But they might welcome help with accessing the skills required to better tell their stories and accelerate their business to the next level. Through partnering with a communications agency that has strategic experts in a wide range of areas, winners can choose which channels of communication they feel they will most benefit from.”

The Circular Economy Innovators Fund is open to small and micro businesses that have a focus on contributing to a circular economy. This can include businesses promoting initiatives that involve sharing, leasing, reusing, repairing, refurbishing and recycling existing materials and products for as long as possible.

Applications are open until Monday 22nd April. Successful applicants will be selected by early summer and winning projects will be featured across CIWM’s award-winning content channels later in the year.

For more details on the fund and how to apply, visit:

Welcome to the new Digital Marketing Solutions Summit!

The Digital Marketing Solutions Summit is set to take place on May 8th at London’s Grange Tower Bridge Hotel.

Formerly known as the Internet Marketing Summit, the event will once again match senior marketing professionals with leading product and service providers for a day of match-made business meetings.

Last year the event attracted over 65 senior professionals from the likes of Bupa, Lloyds Bank, Tesco, Hilton, BT, Vision Express, Investec, Legal & General, MetLife, Paragon and more meet and network with companies including Amobee, Click Consult, Adestra, Redfish Group, King Content, Yoyo Design and Soak to discuss their respective requirements.

Attending the event is free for all marketing professionals and your complimentary place includes lunch and all refreshments throughout the day. You’ll also get access to a seminar programme covering topics including Web Analytics and Search Engine Optimisation, Content Marketing and Email Marketing.


To find out more about attending, contact Kerry Naumburger on 01992 374099 or email


A number of supplier packages are available for companies looking to meet with some of the UK’s leading marketeers. Contact Carlos Dieguez on 01992 374091 or via to find out more.


Facebook beats LinkedIn as content king for senior execs…

B2B content marketing agency, Grist has confirmed Facebook to be the ‘go to’ social platform for C-suite executives to seek business advice.

As a result of its new The Value of B2B Thought Leadership Survey – presenting the findings from more than 200 interviews conducted at FTSE 350 companies – Facebook was cited as the most popular social platform for senior executives to engage with business content (79 per cent), followed by Twitter (73 per cent) and LinkedIn (68 per cent).

Regards thought leadership, 84 per cent believe this plays an important part in adding value to their role. Meanwhile, two-thirds search for thought leadership particularly on a Monday and believe it fails to make an impact when it’s too generic (63 per cent); lacks original ideas (58 per cent); or doesn’t address the reader’s needs (53 per cent).

Andrew Rogerson, founder and managing director at Grist said: “This research is great news if you are in control of your firm’s marketing and communications programme. The C-suite clearly values thought leadership and is happy to receive it from advisers.

“However, we can also see that much of this content is below par. The C-suite is a sophisticated and demanding audience, and will not respond to rehashed marketing material. Instead, thought leadership must provide a return on investment (ROI), both for the firms that invest the money to produce it and the senior executives that invest time in reading it.

“Consider, too, that Facebook matters in business-to-business communications. The marketing department, content teams and agencies need to deal with the consequences of this and devise a compelling editorial plan that includes a wide range of channels and different perspectives.”

Format was also discussed, as 800-word articles (63 per cent) and 300-500-word blog posts are preferable to longer content pieces.

Access the full survey here

Guest Blog, Keren Lerner: Social media in business – who’s responsible?

Social media is undeniably a key factor in business success.  In an era where prospects and supply partners will Google both company and management team before even considering any further interaction, social media content has evolved to be more than a shop window: it is the chance to display the essential voice and vision of the business – and who better to deliver this than the senior managers that define them?

Yet far too many innovative, exciting businesses now mask their true nature by opting to delegate all responsibility for social media channels away from the team’s founder, owner or leaders – often due to the mindset: “I’ll leave this to the experts, it’s not my field, and I am too busy anyway.”

Granted, experienced marketers have the skills and techniques required to create content and manage social media output, but it is the voice of the business owner or managing director that needs to be heard, and the role of the marketer to ensure responsibility isn’t abdicated entirely, but intelligently.


Mechanics plus vision

Most businesses that do recognise the need to embrace a dynamic and interactive approach to social media – and, unfortunately, far too many don’t – assume the entire process can be delivered by marketers, either in house or via third party agencies.

But this is not an out-of-the-box, one-size-fits-all scenario.

Marketers are fantastic at putting the right mechanics in place, ensuring social media feeds are integrated and link back to original content. But does the marketer have that essential business vision or understand what led to the creation of the company in the first place? Not unless the marketer was the founder.

It is only the owner who fully understands why the business was set up, the problems it was designed to solve or the customers it wants to help. And a failure to communicate that message is a real missed opportunity.


Capturing the voice

The voice of the company should have an interactive social media strategy, coupled with an engaging website, well-written blog posts and content marketing. But it is also important to gain input from across the business – so the founder and the leadership team coming together to discuss ideas in keeping with the company ‘voice’ is invaluable.

The right line of questions and facilitation can prompt new insights and make it easier for a marketer to harness the essential nature of the business.


And it doesn’t end there

Following an initial discussion, senior management needs to stay engaged with this key aspect of business success and identity. It doesn’t need to be onerous – a scheduled time each week or month discussing ideas, from customer issues to market change, is essential to ensure published content and messages truly reflect the nature of the organisation.



Marketers must steer senior management to re-evaluate how they approach their company’s social media presence. This is a portal to the business, a way to drive engagement with prospects and customers, suppliers and business partners – and it needs to be as compelling and engaging as possible – with real insight, real stories and real experiences.

Although it is widely thought that business leaders are typically driven, opinionated and focused – that is what underpins success. So, harness that uniqueness. Generic content completely masks the true nature of the company – make sure the critical business lens of social media channels such as Twitter and LinkedIn are a true reflection of its core beliefs, passion and expertise.



Keren Lerner is founder and managing director of London-based design and marketing agency, Top Left Design and holds regular social media workshops,  with her next event – ‘Nine things you need to do on LinkedIn for business’ – taking place at Soho House on September 23,  2016, at 1pm. Email for more information.

Industry Spotlight, Apple iOS 10: What do brands need to know?

Product marketing manager for Urban Airship Engage, Diana Laboy-Rush looks at the implications for brands following Apple’s recent iOS 10 release , with its support for Rich Notifications, where images, video, audio, GIFs and interactive buttons are embedded directly within push notifications.

For businesses, iOS 10 brings massive changes to Apple’s operating system that place better and richer app engagement front-and-centre. If past adoption rates hold steady, it won’t be long before all of your iPhone app users gain richer experiences that offer deeper insight into what they care about. Here are some key points that businesses should be aware of…


Reap before you sow with key improvements

iOS 10 solves existing barriers that will make current engagement efforts more effective. A Raise to Wake feature means TouchID users won’t blow past lockscreen notifications when unlocking their phones. Notifications are immediately visible as users pick up their phones. Notifications also become the default view for the Notification Center, a chronologically-ordered archive that makes messages easier to find later.


If a picture is worth 1,000 words, then a GIF or video could be worth more

Rich Notifications can include images, GIFs, audio, video and interactive buttons embedded directly within push notifications. Grab the attention of your audience with notifications that inspire action. Recent Android data analysis found a 56 per cent higher response rate to notifications with pictures versus those without.


Better visibility for richer, actionable notification experiences

With iOS 10, users get visual and written cues that there’s a richer notification experience awaiting them. Lockscreen notifications arrive with rich media thumbnails and an instruction to either “Press for more” or “Slide for more” depending on whether Force Touch is available on the device.

That’s in stark contrast to previous Apple operating systems, which had businesses building these instructions into notification text to help ensure interactive buttons were discovered.


Mind your media, or risk ruin with too much of a good thing

Apple provides maximum file sizes for images, audio and video that would be best to undercut dramatically. Rich media will impact consumers’ data plans, ranging from barely noticeable with judicious use of images, to potential reasons to delete an app for sending files that are too large or too frequent. These files will impact your bandwidth costs too. Think about opt-in campaigns where users can get a taste and choose to receive these richer, more immersive and data-heavy experiences.


Don’t be a blockhead with Rich Notifications

With brands running to emojis for a quick if quirky engagement hit, it would be easy but wrong to approach Rich Notifications in the same manner. When rich media is tailored to specific users’ interests it adds immersive depth not interpretive color to messaging campaigns.

Remember also that not all users will immediately upgrade to iOS 10, so messaging should be made to work without reference to embedded rich media or sent specifically to the segment of your users that have adopted iOS 10. Some solutions will allow you to provide alternative text if the rich media successfully downloads.”

Guest Blog, Jenny Bernarde: Social media marketing to grow your business…

We all head to Facebook or Twitter when we need a bit of downtime and businesses are no different, spending large amounts of time and money on social media every year. As such, this sector is forever changing, matching the needs of both users and businesses with their sophisticated social media marketing.

Not only are social platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat evolving with technology – such as new capabilities for live or recorded video – but behind the scenes, social media channels are adapting APIs to create new methods for businesses to best reach their target audiences.


What makes an effective social media strategy?

A social media strategy isn’t just creating quality, engaging content anymore. Instead it also focuses on creating shareable content and using intelligent targeting to get your posts in front of the right people.

Promoted posts are available on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and now Instagram. Each platform has a variety of ways you can push your content further to the people who may engage and convert, targeting your posts to your audience’s age group, their location and their interests. Simply create and audience persona, which can involve a variety of interests, habits and hobbies, and promote your content using the relevant targeting options.

There’s plenty of opportunity to widen your audience base and grow your business through Facebook custom audience marketing. The options for targeting your content and ads on Facebook have grown significantly as Facebook has become one of the top platforms for marketing, particularly within the B2C market.

You can create custom lists using email addresses from your own database, or track those who have visited your website and deliver your ads directly to these people. There’s also the option to create a lookalike audience, in which Facebook will take the interests and other attributes from profiles of your custom audience list and match these personal qualities to other Facebook profiles within a percentage of the country.

Remember, it’s always worth testing ads to audience groups and working out the success based on audience engagement metrics.


What are the similarities between search and social marketing?

It’s important to consider search marketing when working on your social media campaigns, as there are some strong similarities between the two.

Paid advertising on social media can complement your Google AdWords campaigns and vice versa. If you start with a PPC campaign on Google – testing which audiences work and which do not – this data can be reflected through similar targeting on social media. Paid advertising also means you have control over how your adverts and your brand looks, instead of the appearance of organic search results that are defined by Google.

If you’re only relying on strong organic results, social media is the best place to put your products in front of the right people, instead of waiting for them to search for, and find your business. If your business suffers from seasonal peaks and troughs in organic search throughout the year, you can rely on social media marketing to drive traffic to your website all year round.


What are the best platforms to use?

The best platforms to use will depend on the nature of your business. If you’re a B2B business, then LinkedIn has a vast audience for B2B marketing, giving you the option of targeting specific companies, job titles and employment skills. However, it is worth trialling ads on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to discover relevant audiences away from a work environment.

For B2C companies, Facebook’s advanced marketing platform is a good place to start. Even a small amount of marketing budget can increase the reach of your posts, boost engagement and drive relevant traffic to your website.

Facebook and Twitter are continually advancing their advertising platforms, with the capability to create custom audiences and retarget ads to website visitors. Facebook’s recent purchase of Instagram means you can also create ads, or replicate your Facebook ads on Instagram, using Facebook’s advance database and clever targeting options on this channel too.


Jenny is the social media lead at Bozboz, a digital marketing and web design agency based in Brighton. She manages social media for a variety of clients across a range of platforms. Her specialism lies in paid social media marketing for both B2B and B2C clients.