10 Dec 2019

Shape-shifting – the social media storytelling ingredient


Running as a candidate in the UK 2019 elections must be a neurotic pursuit.

There are stories being told about you, sometimes spun by invisible storytellers. The substance of the stories is at best dubious and at worst malevolent and if you want to change the message, you first need to influence the influencers.

The UK election is proving a perfect showcase for the social media ability to subvert the established rules of communications, we call this shape-shifting.

The best example of social media shape-shifting has taken place in the last 24-hours in the run-up to the UK general election 2019.

A four-year-old boy is pictured lying on a hospital floor, waiting for treatment. A debate catches fire with a Daily Telegraph columnist acting as a hub by retweeting doubts about the veracity of the pictures. The circumstances are later confirmed by the NHS.

Health Minister Matt Hancock is sent to the hospital and the BBC tweets that a Labour activist ‘punched Hancock’s advisor.’ The Daily Mail, the Express, the Sun, the Telegraph and the Guardian all tweet news about what is quickly labelled Punchgate.

Later, a reporter attempts to show Prime Minister Johnson pictures of the hospitalised, prostrate child. The journalist, Joe Pike, later tweeted:
‘Tried to show @BorisJohnson the picture of Jack Williment-Barr … The PM grabbed my phone and put it in his pocket’

Brand custodians want to shape the direction of a story and to be efficient and effective, it is critical to know who is providing the viral rocket fuel.

Identifying key influencers, their interests and then connecting conversations, sentiments and allegiances are just some of the key features of the Mediacells Influencer Networks.

Insights are generated by analysing relationships and interactions, bespoke to each of our clients. Influencer Networks identify key influencers, how they feel about relevant topics, who the key protagonists are and where their intellectual allegiances lie.

Messaging activities can then be targeted and measured to deliver results and deepen relationships between Marketing/Communications teams and the journalists, vloggers and influencers who are most relevant.

29 Nov 2019

Set-piece content spurs fans to accept the Special One

by Matt Stone

Mauricio Pochettino had five and a half successful years as Head Coach at Tottenham Hotspur. He failed to win any trophies but the team and the Club undeniably moved forward, better squad, new stadium and training ground.

Meanwhile, Jose Mourinho, a pantomime villain at Spurs for his time at Chelsea, had been sacked from the Blues for a second time and then from Manchester United, after seeming to fall out of love with football.

After losing in the UEFA Champions League final in May, ‘Poch’ cut an increasingly unhappy figure. Rumours of him being unable to lift himself or the team coincided with just 25 points from 24 games.

But no one seriously expected the bombshell on Tuesday 19 November. Poch sacked. The Mourinho rumours began immediately, his price at the bookmakers to be the next manager plummeting to 1/6, then 1/7, then 1/8 then betting was suspended. Dissenting tweets from Spurs fans reached nearly 200 an hour.

By 6.30 the next morning, fans were angry. Mourinho was confirmed, days after Spurs fans laughed at the prospect of the ‘Special One’ joining rivals Arsenal. Now, the man so long associated with Chelsea was in charge. Yet the velocity of negative tweets dropped to 44 per hour.

We then saw a triumph of modern communication. Spurs produced a video interview with Mourinho on their official platforms. It was a masterclass, a best practice example of easing fans through the grief. Jose pushed all the right buttons, counselling fans by using the ‘passion’ connector word repeatedly, showing the beginnings of an authentic love for the club, interacting with focused players in exclusive content and most of all, looking happy – something conspicuously missing from his last two, grumpy, appointments. Fans began bargaining – it just might be ok after all. Negative tweets dropped to just 6 per hour.

All eyes were then on his first press conference at 2pm on the 21st. Which Jose would fans see – the ‘Special One’? The ‘Miserable One’? The ‘Arrogant One’? All would have increased the depression fans might have felt. Instead they got the ‘Humble One’, someone honoured at being employed by a club with such a great stadium, perfect training facilities and a group of players he had praised in the past. Negative tweets finally stood at only 1.7 per hour.

Two days later, Spurs travel to the London Stadium to face West Ham in Mourinho’s first game. The team looks re-energised and re-focused. They race into a 3-0 lead, then concede two late goals, but all seems well. There is a dignified applause from Mourinho to the travelling fans.

After the game tweets were running at a lower level than before the Poch sacking. It’s been a masterclass in transition and communication from the Club.

11 Nov 2019

Bezos decks Powerpoint but collaboration is the main message on show

By Matt Stone

Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos has banned Powerpoint presentations in meetings.

Not only that, but meetings start with each attendee sitting and silently reading a six-page memo for the first 30 minutes. People take notes then discuss the memo. This group reading process is necessary because “executives will bluff their way through the meeting as if they’ve read the memo because we’re busy and so you’ve got to actually carve out the time for the memo to get read,” Bezos said.

It must have been odd at first to have a silent meeting for 30 minutes. It could be perceived as the penalty a flabby workforce pays for not preparing for meetings properly or it could be a signpost to a more transparent, collaborative way of working in large organisations.

It’s the process of drawing up the memo which is the most enlightening feature here:
“The memo is from the whole team. The great memos are written and re-written, shared with colleagues who are asked to improve the work, set aside for a couple of days, and then edited again with a fresh mind. They simply can’t be done in a day or two. [It] is harder for the author, but it forces the author to clarify their own thinking,” Bezos explained.

This is surely the key rather than the Powerpoint ban. The memos prioritise collaboration, focus and careful thinking about what decisions need to be taken at meetings, rather than calling for them for the sake of it.

Collab_Consult_text wob

This plays into our process at Mediacells. Swanky decks have been superseded by live examples for clients to discuss in real-time. Our Collaborative Consulting is akin to the Amazon memo process and means that we are always focused on working with our clients throughout projects.

We start by asking them what success looks like, establish the measurement requirements together and their internal and external communication needs. We always ensure the work is never ‘black boxed’ – it’s always an open two-way process for the client, who has ownership, is involved in all steps and can get at the ‘nuts and bolts’ whenever he needs to.

All knowledge is always transferable to the appropriate people, gradually or as immediately as they require. Throughout the process there will be learnings together and the leaders in the business will get involved when it’s the right time for them.

Powerpoint may have been surpassed by the live experience, but Bezos is right – nothing beats collaboration.

28 Oct 2019

Mediacells appointed by Southampton FC to drive digital transformation

We’re very excited to announce that Mediacells has been appointed by Southampton FC to support the continuing transformation of their digital output. The new agreement will see Mediacells develop a single source social media analytics platform to deliver compelling content that acquires and retains fans. Performance Analytics will deliver Saints a 360-degree, near-live view of […]

18 Oct 2019

iPlayer revamp cuts to the heart of audience and sports rights transformation

by Matt Stone The BBC has announced an update of the iPlayer, the 4th since its launch 12 years ago. Where the iPlayer had a 40% share of streaming audience 5 years ago, it’s now down to 15% due to the Netflix effect – even before the launch of Disney Plus and Apple TV in […]

19 Sep 2019


By Matt Stone The UEFA Champions League Group Stage returned this week – the biggest annual football tournament in the world with elite stars playing each other in the most popular sport. So how should the industry measure their digital footprint and engagement? What constitutes success? The classic ‘big number’ on the press release? Or […]

16 Apr 2019

Spurs’ stadium paves the way for global football

By Matt Stone Can a fan ever be happy to be called a customer? Do they actually care about anything outside the pitch itself? Can the football business ever build something truly authentic for the devoted hardcore? Tottenham Hotspur have taken a £1bn gamble that the answer to these questions is a resounding ‘Yes.’ On the […]

20 Mar 2019
1 Mar 2019

Timely Rolex Faceook post wins at Oscars 2019

What a week. There’s now 3.6bn mobile internet users worldwide, according to eggheads at the annual gathering of mobile digital in Catalonia #MWC. I traded Barcelona for Hollywood this year to cover a data story on the Oscars 2019 which my brilliant Mediacells colleagues have transcended into a stunning visual narrative. Cadillac lit the touchpaper […]

15 Jan 2019

What on Oeuf is going on!

There are lots of predictions at this time of year, particularly in digital circles. Google is predicting that users will spend more time watching online video in 2019 than in front of the television. Is this a surprise to anybody? Mediacells anticipates pioneering media experiences, like Netflix Original’s format-subverting Bandersnatch, will transform traditional viewing habits […]