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Learn more about the people, progress, and passion behind team Wilderness. For more in-depth writing check us out on Medium.

Has Amazon Prime had its day?

24th September 2018

Amazon Prime Day 2018 Insight Report

The fourth Amazon Prime Day, held on the 16th July 2018 for 36 hours, generated more sales and signups for Amazon Prime than any other comparable period in the retailer’s history. Even with a little website glitch, the final outcome remained the same: another Prime Day that broke all previous Amazon sale records, creating an online phenomenon that impacted both online retailers and the retail industry more widely.

Our latest report highlights Amazon’s success on social media and more generally in retail. This year alone, Amazon gained more than 12,000 new Twitter followers on Prime Day. The conversation swelled online with more than 33 million impressions and 2.8 million users reached from Tweets from the official global @Amazon account.

Just four years on from the first event, Prime Day has become the biggest online sales day of the year and in 2017 and 2018 beat both #BlackFriday and #CyberMonday, this year generating estimated global sales of $1.6 billion.

For the full report, download HERE.

How Nike re-framed brand purpose in the age of social-conscious marketing.

20th September 2018

Quote reading "57% of young people believe brands should use their advertising to raise awareness of social or ethical issues"

Many will argue that Nike’s recent 30th Anniversary ‘Just Do It’ campaign featuring former NFL star and #BlackLivesMatter campaigner, Colin Kaepernick is an example of major American conglomerate with a dodgy human-rights record exploiting a topical news issue for their own gain.

However, I would argue this is the strongest marketing campaign since Patagonia told us not to buy their clothes. For a brand of Nike’s size and global impact to take a stand by not only supporting Kaepernick – who was the first NFL star to ‘take a knee’ during the singing of the national anthem in protest of police brutality and in support of the #BlackLivesMatter movement – but make him the face of their 30th Anniversary campaign, is a powerful statement of intent.

Launching ahead of the new NFL season, the new advertising campaign has redefined the Nike brand purpose, under the slogan “Believe in something, even if it means sacrificing everything.”   

The idea of a brand believing in something and being strong enough to take a stand (or a knee) is now what a new wave of socially conscious consumers expect from the brands they follow, buy from, and talk about. It’s no longer enough to pay lip-service about your corporate responsibility – brands now have to live and breathe it.

This responsibility is a balancing act, however. Just ask Pepsi, who last year came out with one of the most ill-judged ads in history, staring – for no particular reason – Kendall Jenner. In the ad, the model featured in a woke protest which many argued made light of the #BlackLivesMatter protests. The ad ended with her using a can of Pepsi to, in a way, break the tension. The ads were roundly criticised and Pepsi pulled the ads from TV and YouTube saying “Pepsi was trying to project a global message of unity, peace and understanding. Clearly we missed the mark, and we apologize” going on to add, “We did not intend to make light of any serious issue. We are removing the content and halting any further rollout.”

Cause Marketing in the age of the social-conscious consumers

Socially conscious consumerism is not a new concept, but brands’ response to the demands of their audience and consumers is. In a survey commissioned by Channel 4, 57% of young people said they believe brands should use their advertising to raise awareness of social or ethical issues. There is now an expectation that brands should, and will, act more responsibly and if they don’t, consumers will respond by not buying their product or even boycotting them altogether.

We are seeing challenger brands taking on these consumer concerns and putting sustainability and ethical business practices at the forefront of their brand messages; just take a look at brands such as Ever Lane, Lyft, Toms, Innocent, and many, many more.

Brands are now focusing on the impact they have on the world and this is being felt across multiple sectors, from sustainable fashion, to packaging and plastic bag changes in supermarkets. In a recent survey of UK shoppers by ThoughtWorks, it was found that over the next decade, plastic waste will be shoppers’ number one concern – more so than price. Additionally, food waste and food sources are also strong reasons to drive purchases.

This huge shift in consumerism is starting to impact how brands position themselves and many established industry-leaders are getting in on the act. Coke is running a recycling campaign across the UK throughout September, Lego launched a range of plant-based plastic pieces sourced from sugar cane, Adidas recently created a line of trainers using Ocean plastic, supermarket chain Iceland has committed to going plastic-free by 2023, and H&M launched a line of recycled clothing to showcase the possibilities of sustainable fashion.

Nike are now a challenger brand with purpose

Nike have overnight taken a challenger-brand ethos and given any young person who believes that the brands they follow, purchase from, or talk about should have a purpose and opinion.

More than half of respondents to the Channel 4 survey stated that brands should be a force for good in the world, rather than just selling products and services and 60% of consumers overall say any brand can start a conversation about important issues.

By having Kaepernick as the face of the campaign, Nike has taken a powerful political stand and great brands lead by example. Will it work? Well, according to Edison Trends sales were up 31% over the Labour Day weekend in the US.

Having launched the first ad on Labour Day Monday, Nike not only capitalised on the buzz surrounding the new NFL season but were able to transcend sport by making their campaign, and in effect their brand about “sacrifice”.

Some might suggest this is a lofty position to adopt, but it is one that seems to have resonated with a young audience, who clearly want to believe in the positive power of the brands they support. However, this positioning has not been without its critics and some people took to social media to display their anger and vitriol at Nike using #nikeboycott, and in the most extreme cases burning the brands’ clothes and shoes.

As Christopher Miller, Activism Manager for Ben & Jerry’s said at a sustainable conference in June, “It’s better to be deeply loved by some than to be tolerated by many” and Nike are now finding this out for themselves. Miller went on to add, “we don’t do CSR based on who our customers are or what they care about; we follow our own purpose and values and hope it will resonate with others.”

This need for a brand to have its own sense of purpose is now critical for building a long-term sustainable business. Fans and followers reward it with loyalty and passion and younger consumers now expect it from brands, 60% of the 16- to 24-year-olds surveyed by Channel 4 claimed to notice ads more if they deal with important issues. In that case, Nike just got noticed in a big-way.

The Tribal Nature of Groups

18th September 2018

Chalk holding hands with cheese

Social media brings people who might be chalk and cheese in their everyday lives together to experience and share with people from across the world, and with whom we may only share this one common interest.

Social media is a shining modern example of the tribal nature of groups. Just look at the conversations that take place on Twitter after an episode of Love Island or big sporting event.

It is human-nature to form into groups and make connections based on shared experience, or understanding. But what makes a group a tribe?

A group of people only need two things to become a tribe; firstly, a shared interest, secondly a way to communicate.

We therefore need to consider the single element of any communication that gets to the shared interest of the group. What motivates that interest and how can we as marketers utilise this shared interest.

Finding a way to create meaning or value from a groups shared interest is something we do everyday at Wilderness Agency. We take a fan-first approach to building online communities for some of the world’s biggest entertainment brands. Thinking like a fan helps our team create an emotional connection with the audience and it’s this emotion that is often key to the success of our work.

People’s interest is shared through emotional and connecting emotionally with others makes us feel part of a group. Following the dramatic penalty shoot-out victory for England in the World Cup against Columbia, Twitter conversation exploded. Fans interest was to show their pride (and somewhat amazement) at England’s win and a sense of collective celebration was what motivated people to share, just look at the reactions of former England striker Ian Wright, TV celebrity Paddy McGuinness and crowds of England fans. Sharing our experiences instantly with people from across the world, and with whom we may only share this one common interest is such a truly empowering experience.

Brands need to find a way to curate stories their audience want to play an active role in sharing. Nike’s vice-president of global football brand marketing Jesse Stollak is all too aware of this. He recently told Fast Company of the brands “consumer direct offense” approach having “noticed how teen media consumption had shifted to time spent on Instagram, SnapChat, Whatsapp, and YouTube versus traditional broadcast” adding it is now “increasingly difficult to create a single, one-size-fits-all piece of content”.

Nike are now laser-focused on becoming “more specific in the story related to consumer interests and channel” meaning they create a variety of content for audiences based on their shared interests and the channels they use to communicate this interest, meaning they are now “more relevant and thus more effective” as evidence in their long-form documentary on the Nigerian Football squad, This is Naija.    

As marketeers we also need to be mindful of the way groups communicate, ensuring we are on the right channels and our content is optimised and relevant.

This is becoming increasingly important in a fragmented online world and as audiences become more conscious of the effects technology is having on their lives, and that time spend online may not always be time well spent.

Brands must respond as responsible online citizens and ensure we allow groups to communicate freely whilst also being mindful of the negative effects of online experiences. At Wilderness Agency we often say…

“Smart brands join a conversation but smarter brands curate a conversation their fans actively join.”

Giving your audience the space to play an active role in driving the brand narrative is hugely important and we believe the brands that win both now and in the future are those that weave their audience into the conversation, be it through prompting social sharing and stories, encourage participation, and stimulating conversation through a sense of adventure or serendipity.

Get in touch to hear more about how to curate a conversation your fans actively join. 

Mobile is rising the ranks

13th September 2018

A £20 note folded into the shape of a shirt, with drawn arms holding a mobile phone

Think about the last thing you bought. Was it in a shop? Was it online? Was it after seeing an advertisement on Instagram for a personalised pair of socks with your pet’s face on them?

It shouldn’t come as a big surprise to anyone, that 65% of millennials make online purchases through their smartphone. What IS surprising however, is that many brands haven’t quite caught up with this shift in behaviour on their social pages yet.

As an audience, millennials are over-catered-to and spoilt for choice. They scroll through hundreds of pieces of content every day and advertising is part and parcel of the experience. As a brand, you can easily put out an ad, but it will cost you and there is only a slim chance that people will actually pay attention to it.

To optimise the likelihood your brand will be engaged with, always remember that millennials appreciate a good experience, like a well-optimised web shop or a small bonus item added in the packaging. The happier your customer is with the effort you’ve shown them in the sale, the more likely they are to post about their new purchase to their friends – and peer recommendations are a valuable commodity. Reports show 92% of consumers trust peer recommendations over advertising. Since brands can’t create thousands of catfish accounts to get the word out “authentically”, they need to heavily rely on making a genuine impact on an audience so that they will want to spread the word on their own accord.

However, millennial audiences will only spread the word once they have picked your brand from all the competition. Since there is so much choice on mobile and the ability to compare prices in a way your audience wouldn’t be able to in a shopping mall, brands need to make sure they stand out through advertising and social and gain a trusted status. ASOS, for example, have created a very loyal fan base with the many perks they offer; Loyalty points, offers and student discounts, free delivery and returns etc. People go to ASOS for something specific and people trust the brand.

But why are people buying on mobile now more than ever before?

Technological advances have helped the increase of popularity of mobile sales. Every site is now optimised for social in a way that it wasn’t just a couple of years ago. The introduction of Apple Pay has proven to be trustworthy and secure, and the check out process couldn’t be simpler. Ease of purchase, means that in some cases, people will be willing to spend more with a particular store if they feel the brand are making their lives and the shopping process easier.

As well as a good experience, Forbes found that 60% of millennials tend to gravitate toward purchases that makes them feel good. Unlike baby boomers and Gen Xers, who consume based on quantity, millennials value their money more and value products with an emotional USP that makes them feel good about parting with their money. TOMS are a great example of this, with their “One for One®” incentive, where they help a person in need with every product purchased.

A brand’s ads can’t be fuelled by one-off content, it has to be systematic. One-off pieces aren’t designed to build a relationship with anyone. Second of all, the strategy should be to build a long-term relationship instead of one-off interaction. As a business, you shouldn’t expect huge results off a one time thing. If you want long term results and loyal customers, then you need to realise that social is a long game that you need to play and not one with instant returns.

Reward your fans on social media and they will come back for more

24th August 2018

A photograph of a red balloon, with a hand-drawn girl holding onto it

It comes as no surprise that brand logos, campaigns, jingles or social media content that evoke “good feelings” and brand promises are far more upweighted in consumers’ minds than the product itself.

Plugging our worlds into the digital marketing space, we see a shift in how hard brands have to work in order to evoke emotion in their audience for that valuable millisecond.

Consumers more than ever are spoilt for choice and have a right to be fickle with their loyalty. If they become immune to that “good feeling” from the dopamine rush they get when connecting with content, they will seek another brand.

Interestingly one emotion that is key to social success is anticipation. This hits higher on a dopamine rush scale than pleasure. The marketing objective is to place more investment on anticipation, with the outcome of short-term levels of enjoyment. Ultimately this behavioural pattern leads to the consumer making the conscious or subconscious decision to come back for that emotional reward.

As cyclical as it may be – the more we feel rewarded the more we will engage with the brand.

There is a fine line to walk as a brand, and that is not to sour the hit with overtly promotional content. Once the anticipation is rewarded with only disappointment, the result will be losing audiences that will never come back. Get the balance right, and your audience will start associating your brand with the same feeling they get when the person they spent all night chatting up at a party adds them as a friend on Facebook.

Boomerang Account Win

22nd August 2018

Boomerang characters surrounding logo, laughing

We are going loony for this win! Stay tuned as we run a six week long campaign to maximise awareness for Boomerang‘s roster of timeless shows, amongst a hyper-selected audience of parents.


The strategy behind our content has been based around promoting kids programming in a way that is relevant to parents, showcasing Boomerang’s unique personality and incredible shows. As well as creating our own content for ads and page posts, we have collaborated with the influencer LadyLand. Together with Ladyland, we have produced authentic content in line with her usual posts to ensure it is seen as a genuine endorsement rather than a purely paid promotion.

How can we use social media to bring people closer together instead of driving them apart?

21st August 2018

Handwritten quote reading "How can we use social media to bring people closer together instead of driving them apart?" surrounded by confetti

No matter how ‘individual’ we think are, we follow brands that tell stories that we can play an active part in shaping. We follow the herd, we post to align ourselves with others and to grow and nourish relationships. People think individualism is on the rise but on social media, community is still king.

More and more social media is dividing people as they become stuck in their algorithms. It seems, where there is community there is also division, and for this reason it is important for brands, advertisers and social media experts to create content that nourishes and grows relationships, not divisive click bate that creates rifts.

In a New York Times Study they found the main reasons why people share content are:

– To improve the lives of others.

– To define themselves.

– To grow and nourish relationships.

– To get the word out about causes they believe in.

If we centre social strategies around these principles, we can not only increase engagement and meaningful social interaction but also rest easy that we are creating content that intends to bring people together.

Facebook’s new vision for the platform might be a worry for brands. Zuckerberg wants people to spend “better time” on the platform, forcing brands to work harder to create content that their fans love. But if the algorithms does what it has promised, reducing siloed chambers with fake news and spam, it could be a turning point for us all and a welcomed change.

The art of selling on social is subtlety

15th August 2018

A tennis ball in the middle of a line of apples, with a speech bubble reading "They still haven't noticed"

The best ads don’t always need to stand out. Think subtlety, be chill and don’t always broadcast your sell.

Everyone on social is selling something. Brands, insta-celebrities, influencers, real celebrities, agencies, people – we’re all selling a story. More and more people are concerned with their brand on social. In a relatively short time (most) humans have adapted to a social landscape where everyone is curating their story. We formulate a narrative about how great our lives are; how stunning that view is; how delicious that meal was (it did LOOK delicious to be fair) and we SELL people on this idea of ourselves.

Agencies and social marketers get best results when they are able to tell their brand story in the same way that a (decent) human would offline. By creating a back-and-forth, generating interactions and responding to users.

Given the above, it’s weird that a lot of advertisers on social seem to be unable to grasp that this human-led approach to social ads is the best way to get results. Users on social are by default in browsing mode and it takes time and effort to transition them into buying mode. In the same way you wouldn’t hang out with someone who is constantly broadcasting about their life in your face, online people are put off by the hard sell. A lot of the ads I get served on social are the equivalent of someone sidling up to me on the street unsolicited, opening their gross overcoat and showing me a selection of knock-off watches that are available at VERY reasonable prices.

The art of the sale on social is about subtle micro-persuasions; building up a dialogue between a brand and their audience. First you need to raise awareness, identify those users who don’t know you and educate them. Once people know who you are they will be more likely to interact with you. This second phase is about fostering deeper engagements and building buyer trust. Subtly shifting users from simply being aware of you to considering whether or not they want to buy from you. Once people know who you are and you are able to identify users who have shown real interest in your brand then you can convert them from consideration to consumption.

Interaction. Traction. Transaction. If only the guy with the dodgy watches was just a bit more subtle about it…

Could IGTV be a game-changer for Instagram?

9th August 2018

A drawing of a living room, with IGTV logo on the television

On 20th June, Kevin Systrom CEO and Co-founder of Instagram (or @Kev as he is known to 1 billion monthly active users who now use the social platform) stood on stage in San Francisco and made an announcement that could change the social media landscape.

This announcement was IGTV, a new product that allows Instagram’s massive community to start sharing longer-form video content. The function, now open to all users and brands, aims squarely to take a huge bite-out of Snapchat and also YouTube. Over the last couple of years, Facebook have used Instagram as a tool to beat-off competition from Snapchat, and others, with the launch of various copy-cat features such as lenses and Instagram stories.

IGTV is a bold step for the platform into longer form content, up until now videos could only be a minute long, with IGTV anyone can create hour long, vertical, full-screen videos. The feature appears directly within Instagram and anyone can setup a ‘channel’ at the touch of a button.

Systrom stated in a blog post announcement by the company that he hopes IGTV will “bring you closer to the people and things you love” and that Instagram has“always been a place to connect with the people who inspire, educate and entertain you every day”.

Should Snapchat and YouTube be worried? In a word, yes! Instagram has continued to see massive growth over the last 12 months and the move into longer-form TV-style content through the Instagram app and the IGTV stand-alone app could be massive. We will just have to wait and see.

Anchoring your audience on social media

31st July 2018

Image of a drawing of an anchor

Don’t think about an anchor. What did you just do?

You thought about an anchor!

The ‘anchoring effect’ is a process that causes you to focus on the first piece of information given to you before making a decision. Humans love to latch onto whatever’s nearest to them and form an instant opinion.

For example, when you’re at the shop buying a bottle of wine (or two), an anchor is established when you first see the price tag. The first price you view – no matter how high or low – influences your final spend. And brands are using this brain default all the time to get us to make purchases.

This phenomenon is used across marketing to drive us to a purchase but how can we use this information on social? It’s not simple. Social media is like a living organism – there are so many factors affecting people’s views and decisions BUT we can still use anchors to our advantage.

People’s time is precious and you’re competing with the 4.75 billion pieces of content shared daily on social. Brands need to grab attention quickly and get people to stop scrolling. If they can do that, then they need to make sure that the first thing people see – that thumb-stopping piece of content – plants the right message in the first 3 seconds.

Remember that peoples’ first perception lingers in their mind, affecting later perceptions and decisions. So plan your strategy over time and make sure a post is not a lone piece in an unliked puzzle.

Storytelling has gone from ‘once upon a time…’ to ‘tap to find out…’

23rd July 2018

Image of the Three Little Pigs

Storytelling has gone from ‘once upon a time…’ to ‘tap to find out…’ but how do you make the most of Instagram Stories?

When Instagram Stories first launched it was blatantly obvious to everyone that it was a huge Snapchat rip off. But while Snapchat usage has plateaued, IG Stories have continued to grow and with them the options for brands have become more and more apparent. 250m active daily users post stories and of those a whopping 33% most popular stories are from businesses.

The amazing opportunity is that 20% of stories result in a direct messageThe amazing revelation is that – loads of brands do a horrendous job.

As an agency, we have been reveling in the opportunity to be creative and innovative on the platform and it’s baffling to us to see so many brands simply posting a vertical (if you’re lucky) version of a trailer or a TV spot. We want to create immersive and high quality story content that sits in user’s feeds and gives them a reason to tap through or swipe up. As a user, when obvious ad creative drops in whilst I’m watching stories it takes me out of my experience and I can’t skip fast enough.

Social media is NOT a broadcast medium – I say that so much in new business meetings I should get it tattooed on my neck. Why would we want to just send out a message without trying to start a conversation when we have the tools to generate meaningful social interactions with our audience? Social has always been about making connections and Instagram Stories are a way to connect in an even more visceral way. You’ve got 24 hours to see what someone’s up to. They might be posting live. Sometimes they’re quick and throwaway. Sometimes they’re curated and painstakingly considered.

The best performing stories that we’ve created for our clients take film fans on a journey, make a game using the tap and swipe functionality, use the polls and slider functions in fun and innovative ways. Stories created by people are often self-shot and look handmade. We’ve had success when we show our fingerprints all over our work because users like to know that there’s another human at the other end sending a message. We’ve also built a strategy around posting beautiful bespoke creative and make sure that it gives users something to do, tells a story, is something to play with. We want to let users feel like they’re part of the story – or even better that they can control the story in some way.

Wilderness Agency in Marketing Week’s Masters awards shortlist

18th July 2018

Image shows Wilderness employee jumping in the air as they are nominated for an award

We’re absolutely jumping for joy to be nominated for a Master of Marketing Award! A big well done to the team for their hard work on the Christmas Elves campaign, created for our wonderful client Warner Brothers.

 

GSMA ACCOUNT WIN

11th July 2018

Image from the Case for Change campaign showing Syrian Refugees in Jordan

We are delighted to announce that we have been chosen to partner with the GSMA on the Case For Change campaign.

17 Goals. 800 Mobile Operators. 1 #CaseForChange. The project is an online awareness campaign sharing stories about the direct, positive impact that mobile operators have on the lives of billions of men, women and children around the world.

When the United Nations set out 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), they had a clear mission to end all forms of poverty, fight inequalities, and tackle climate change – while ensuring that no one is left behind. Mobile operators are challenged to help reach these Goals and connecting everyone and everything to a better future.

We are excited to help tell their story through social strategy and content production.

Check GSMA out

3 award nominations for Digital Agency Wilderness

10th July 2018

Our Digital Agency has been nominated for Best Use of Social, Best Use of Video and Most Effective/Measurable Campaign.

We are feeling hyped as we receive these 3 award nominations as part of the 2018 Digiday Marketing and Advertising Awards Europe.

Our work with Discovery Channel UK led to our nomination for Best Use of Video. Whilst our work with Warner Bros. on their Instagram Stories and their Christmas campaign ‘Warner Bros. Christmas Elves’ has led to our nomination in Best Use of Social and Most Effective/Measurable Campaign.