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Spotlight on… Film Technology

Spotlight on… Film Technology

The 2018 awards season is well underway. Commentators are announcing their last-minute predictions ahead of today’s Oscar nominations and #TimesUp is making this one of the most memorable and poignant seasons of all time. It’s no surprise that the media has a sharper focus on the film industry than ever before.

The filmmaking business has undergone some real change in the past couple of years, and technology has been monumental in driving progress and empowering independent filmmakers and content creators. But which Film Technology companies should we be keeping an eye on in the next year?

The edit: Frame.io

Frame.io is the tool that helps creatives keep the creative process moving. Editing content is often slowed down drastically by file transfer and lengthy review processes. Frame.io replaces Dropbox, for file sharing, Vimeo for video review, and email for feedback. Integrated with all of filmmakers’ favourite tools including Premiere Pro, After Effects, Final Cut, Slack, and Vimeo, this is a collaboration platform with some serious streamlining powers.

The training: Masterclass

Masterclass has firmly made its mark on the online learning space in the last year with its all-access pass to online classes taught by some of the biggest names in the creative industries. With screenwriting programmes from Aaron Sorkin, film scoring lessons from Hans Zimmer, directing classes from Ron Howard, and writing masterclasses from Shonda Rhimes, the platform offers unparalleled access to flexible learning course from world-class industry professionals.

The grade: DaVinci Resolve

A favourite of editors and colourists around the globe, the latest iteration of DaVinci Resolve is an industry leading set of tools for editing, colour correction and professional audio post production. The software – which is completely free – was originally designed for the industry’s elite colourists, but is now available to all. With Resolve 14, creatives can switch between editing, colour correcting and audio mastering almost seamlessly, making it one of the easiest tools to use.

The soundtrack: Filmstro

Finding or scoring music for pre-shot footage can be an incredibly frustrating process for creatives, but new platforms such as Filmstro aim to make this time-consuming process far easier. Filmstro is a music library for content creators and filmmakers that sits behind ‘intuitive software’ and allows them to create musical scores to accompany their footage. Now integrated with both Premiere Pro and Final Cut Pro, the platform uses a roster of talented composers from across the globe to allow users to control the momentum, depth and power of their music.

The gadget: DJI Osmo

DJI have been leading the way when it comes to drones in recent years, but one of their newest tools is a game-changer for creatives looking to create professional looking video on the go. The newest version of the Osmo Mobile is a compact handheld gimbal for smartphones. With a lightweight design, cinematic movement, and active tracking, this is the perfect tool for professionals on the move.

The subscription: Flix Premiere

The appetite for independent films is growing year on year, and Flix Premiere is looking to feed this growing demand for originally storytelling with its video-on-demand platform. With new, exclusive, releases each week, it’s an online cinema that helps overlooked independent films find their audiences. The platform offers exclusive access to curated theatrical releases, and award winning independent productions making it perfect for movie goers tired of studio blockbusters.

How to grow instagram for your start-up

Frequently termed ‘The King of Social’, Instagram started as a simple picture sharing app, used mainly between close friends and some carefully-selected family, to display the ‘best’ snapshots of your life. It was a refreshing alternative to the swathes of imagery that confronted you on Facebook, each one only slightly different to the last. It’s single-picture format enforced a kind of self-control not seen elsewhere. Of course, this wouldn’t last forever. Years later we have video, galleries and stories, and Instagram has expanded far beyond your own social circle. It has, however, kept its highly-polished aesthetic and fetish for ‘authenticity’.

Photo by @argonautphoto (Aaron Huey). Spider Rock, Canyon de Chelly, #NavajoNation. Headed to #BearsEarsNationalMonument in Utah on assignment for the magazine. More photos from the region here and at @argonautphoto all this week!

A post shared by National Geographic (@natgeo) on

Now the app is one of the biggest Social Media sites in the world, with over 700 million users, 400 million of which are active daily! It’s impressive to say the least and the potential audience reach on this platform is ever growing. It took only four months to gain the last 100 million followers, whereas the previous took six months.

So, what makes it such a great platform? It’s seen as considerably cooler than Facebook, more interesting than Twitter, and more useful than Snapchat. Instagram has become incredibly sophisticated in storytelling and doing so in an artistic manner. The ability to fluently and diversely communicate a brand or individual’s story has become indispensable. Authenticity is key to modern marketing, and Instagram is the platform that allows this ‘intimate’ insight into a brand. And what better brand to apply it to than a Start-Up? A company that is rooted in individuality, ingenuity and passion. One that is already trying to tell its own story, and express its personality, unlike many conglomerates that churn out an all-encompassing ‘brand’ worldwide.

Engage your audience

So, we know Instagram has the audience and the tools to effectively tell your story, but what techniques can you employ to make Instagram work for you? As a Start-Up, it’s important not only to put out great content, but to actively engage with your following, and users who you feel would be interested in your brand. This engagement, or ‘community managing’, is what will help you grow your channel, awareness, and ultimately your brand. It may seem like a lot of work, but just taking the time to reply to comments and reach out to users and brands can make all the difference.

Hashtag it

Building this community can be done in several ways, but the most immediate is through hashtags. By putting up to 30 relevant hashtags underneath your post you can make yourself visible to the potentially millions of daily users who are engaging with account and brands like yours. Engaging with other users in these hashtags is the next step to generating conversation, and this is worth remembering. Social Media is not a one-way street, you need ask questions, respond authentically, get people interested and keep them talking with you and about you.

If you are a local business, such as a restaurant, boutique or event, then you can utilise these hashtags to target a specific audience. Likewise, you may also use geo-tagging to involve the local community in a location-targeted campaign. These techniques allow you to build a community both offline and online.

Collaborate and listen

Many brands have taken to cross-posting and collaborations to bolster their online presence. This is a mutually beneficial process that sees both brands raise awareness, and is particularly applicable in a Start-Up environment, where both have a chance to establish themselves in an industry. It’s not just other brands that you might consider this tactic with; featuring your customers is an increasingly valuable tool in promoting your brand’s merit. Not only will this provide potential customers with authentic, positive feedback for your brand, but it also rewards fans for being fans. In doing this, you encourage them to continue to share their interactions with your brand on Social Media. It’s a win-win, they get to interact with the brands they love in an authentic way, and you get exposure and great content for your own channels. Just make sure you always credit them!

 

For me?! @chapabouttown is ready to chow down on some Turkey and Duck Dinner! 🍗 #FuelledByCanagan

A post shared by Canagan (@canaganpetfood) on

Do what works for you

There are a plethora of techniques to employ on this ever-expanding channel. To do it perfectly, you would be using a variation of careful curated daily posts and stories to provide the most artistic storytelling experience you can. You could run competitions, and cross-post and promote other brands. You could shout about your brand down every relevant avenue, and target it perfectly with paid posts and influencer marketing. This is a lot to take on, especially as a Start-Up. It can seem overwhelming, but it is also wholly unnecessary to try to do all of them at once, and to sustain them. Our advice would be to cherry pick what works for your brand, and remember that creativity and authenticity are at the heart of successful Social Media marketing.

Get Creative

If you want to champion your brand on Instagram effectively, the main thing to consider in this whirlwind of possibilities is creativity. Instagram is a platform that welcomes creativity more than any other. This is the point of difference needed to stop users endlessly scrolling through their feeds and focus on your post. This is the first point of engagement with a consumer, and one of the hardest things to engineer. You want to disrupt and simultaneously engage; having a creative edge here is key.

‪How to grow an avocado tree:‬ ‪1. Find an avocado stone‬ ‪2. Wash it‬ ‪3. Add some cocktail sticks‬ ‪4. Half submerge it in water‬ ‪5. Wait‬

A post shared by innocent (@innocent) on

Of course, this is perhaps easier said than done. But with a proper strategy and some practice, you should quickly find yourself building your brands presence and identity online. Building and maintaining this presence is of huge value to brands and businesses, after all, 32% of all internet users are on Instagram. That’s a big slice of the pie to be missing out on!

If you would like to talk about how our digital services could help grow your Instagram following, why not get in touch with us today.

Most memorable tweets, posts, shares, pins, tumbles of 2013

As the year brings to a close, the digital team reflect on the most memorable tweets, posts, shares, pins, and tumbles of 2013. Here are some of our favourites;

Firstly, there was the Ad That Stole The Superbowl…


When the power went out at the Superdome whilst the San Francisco 49ers and Baltimore Ravens battled for the right to lift the Lombardi Trophy. Oreo, as one of the Superbowl Advertisers, were listening to the twitter chatter and seized the opportunity with a spur of the moment tweet. The tweet went viral… retweeted 10,000 times in one hour, helping them to gain nearly 8,000 followers. The reaction from the audience has left us wondering whether the tweet had an even greater pay off than Oreo’s actual Super Bowl ad, which cost $3.8 million to create and marked the launch of their Cookie vs. Crème campaign.

2013 Best social media London Fashion Week

Courtesy of flickr.com/photos/suarts/

Then at this years AW 13 London Fashion Week Topshop partnered with Google, to launch the first interactive live streamed fashion show. A customised YouTube feed allowed live-streaming of content from the red carpet and behind the scenes. Google Hang Outs allowed people to speak directly with the design team at Topshop HQ. Their “Be the Buyer App” enabled users to get tips from buyers on how to put catwalk looks together. HD micro-cameras, worn by the likes of Cara Delevigne, allowed viewers a never seen before models eye of the catwalk.  Changing the way designers think about catwalk shows forever.

Manchester United finally joined Twitter, one of the last global sporting brands to do so.


Having amassed 40 million Facebook fans, the penny finally dropped for United that they should be on Twitter. The departure of Sir Alex Ferguson, a manager not fond of social media, to say the least, opened the door for United to join the social network.

Finally, Marks & Spencer’s launched their ‘Believe in Magic and Sparkle’ Campaign. The Christmas campaign took a fantasy theme, with elements of Alice in Wonderland, The Wizard of Oz and Aladdin all incorporated within it. Hot celebs Rosie Huntington-Whitely, David Gandy and Helena Bonham-Carter all featured in the magical ad making it very easy viewing but the star of the show for us was the white westy dog that has now become a Facebook star, along with a whole load of other westies and cute pups.
Soon after the ad launched, M&S melted the heart of their 1 million+ fans by releasing their ‘Top Dog’ competition where they ask fans to send in pictures of their cute doggies. They then choose from a thousand of ‘pawsome’ entries and celebrate the ‘best in show’ in a Facebook album. A great example of a successful photo sharing campaign that has helped raise brand awareness.

Let us know what campaigns you enjoyed this year, and here’s to an innovative 2014.

Natwest Social Media Crisis – The Importance of Immediacy in a Social Media Crisis

In the digital age we live in, when we are not happy with the service a company has provided us, more often than not we turn to Facebook and Twitter to seek immediate support.  But what happens when the right information isn’t readily available to us?

natwest-5 A new report from Birdsong:  Social Media Reconnaissance reveals a number of failings by Natwest in actively supporting its customers via Twitter during the IT collapse in late June.  Despite the surge in followers and influx of mentions of @natwest_help, extended branch hours and weekend openings, the bank’s Twitter account did not actively extend its social media presence or increase replies until very late on in the crisis, choosing a ‘business as usual approach’.

The new report from Bird Song: Social Media Reconnaissance showed numerous elements which shows that Natwest failed to increase its Twitter support to match the measures taken by branch staff and call centres.

As the problems unfolded, the followers of @Natwest_Help escalated at a rapid rate, growing by over 200% during the crisis, taking the bank from one of the least followed to one of the most followed UK bank accounts.  During this time the number of mention @natwest_help grew 8 times more than its original amount.

The report also reveals the slow reaction time from the bank.  Despite the influx in followers and mentions, the bank maintained standard tweeting hours of 9-5 at a time when branches were being opened later.  It took a week for the bank to start maintaining a later presence on Twitter, until 7p.m.

In addition to this, for the weekend that the bank opened, the Twitter account was left to broadcast automated messages, offering no active support, only a link to direct followers to online help.  The tweet alone generated 800 links (Bit.ly) of people seeking support.
natwest-crisis-email

This has also been the case for both Virgin Atlantic and British Airways in December 2010 and was the case for O2 last week.  Since the start of the national coverage disruption, the @O2 account has grown by 50%.

National crises such as the Natwest fiasco, demonstrate just how dependent we are on the web and computer networks, and the ability to adapt to the consequences of a major systems breakdown.  Therefore it is imperative that companies such as Natwest act immediately, enforcing a social media strategy that would see to support those who have been affected.  Putting social media on the back burner could have a detrimental effect on the reputation of the brand, resulting in a leap of unwanted negative comments, which ultimately could lead to customers taking their business elsewhere.

 

Cover image courtesy of lamoix, flickr.com

How O2 avoided an online PR crisis

Back in the day, life was that little bit simpler: You only had one phone number per friend to remember, there was never the threat of ugly pictures of yourself popping up on the Internet (you didn’t have the Internet!) and what’s more a customer complaint stayed between the company and the customer.

Then came along the digital revolution, and the rest is history. Now, if a customer needs to complain they have a choice of soapboxes to stand on. Customers are not only making the business aware of their issues but thanks to the multiple public platforms available to them, they are also broadcasting their complaint to other members of the public. It’s very interesting to see how a company chooses to respond to these very public complaints, in my opinion, it could be exactly what makes them or breaks them.

So, when O2 services went down last week it was only natural that O2 customers turned to Twitter to vent their frustration. O2’s response? They replied humorously:

How O2 avoided an online PR crisis

 

Now, this was either very clever of them or very stupid, and I suspect for the first hour everyone was holding their breath. But after responding to hundreds of angry tweets in this manner, others started noticing and joining in the fun.  However, there was still a tiny bit of resentment on the customers’ part

How O2 avoided an online PR crisis

The risk paid off, turning their company crisis into a great PR opportunity. The O2 Twitter account soon became a must watch online with the bitter anger the customers held a day before now turning into ‘love’:

How O2 avoided an online PR crisis

With followers even trying to help them trend for the right reasons, not the hostile signal failing ones:

How O2 avoided an online PR crisis

You might be wondering how on earth did this work in their favour? And here is my theory, the customers sending in angry messages were expecting to hear back the usual pitch about contacting customer services, which in most peoples experience doesn’t get you anywhere. When O2 replied with the random humorous (but argumentative) messages, it threw people off course; they didn’t know how to respond. We all know what it’s like when you are trying to be angry with someone but they keep making you laugh…you’re not angry for long, are you?

So, there you have it – how to dodge a potentially fatal company crisis with humour. Brilliant.

 

Kraft Macaroni’s brilliant ‘likeapella’

I can never help but smile and click ‘like’ whenever I come across a selfless campaign by a brand that shows them giving something back to their fan-base.

One campaign that I came across last week, which was no exception to this rule, was the recent Likapella video released by Kraft Macaroni, with the purpose of individually thanking 4,600 of their online fans.

In case you missed the story and have no idea who or what I am talking about, Kraft Dinner, known as Kraft Macaroni and Cheese in America, are a popular and inexpensive convenience food, better known in the USA and Canada. At the end of April this year a post was sent out on the Kraft Facebook Page urging fans to ‘like’ the Facebook post, as they “never know what could happen”.

Two days later – low and behold – a video called Likeapella appeared on the Kraft Facebook wall showing Kraft reciprocating the ‘likes’ of the 4,600 fans that had responded to the post.

Within Likeapella, a barbershop quintet perform a song that individually thanks the 4,600 fans that responded to the original post, name-checking many mid-song and pointing to a scroll containing the remaining fan names.

A fantastic and very shareable piece of content that adds personality to the brand and drives fans to its social feeds as they lie in wait for the next stunt to go off – Note: Yes I am now a fan of Kraft Macaroni and Cheese and yes, I would indeed very much like to have my name sung aloud by a chorus of men in yellow waistcoats and bowties.

You can view the video here:

A couple of other brands that have seen the benefit of thanking their online fan base would be Porsche and Heineken.

You might remember at the beginning of last year when Porsche celebrated reaching 1 million fans on their Facebook page by putting all 1 million fan names on a specially customised 911 GT3R Hybrid car, which now sits in the Porsche museum. However, did you know that when the car manufacturer reached the 2 million mark, they printed the names of all 2 million fans on a Cayman S? You can view the video here: https://2m.porsche.com/

Pretty impressive, right!

Heineken decided to take a different approach and instead thanked their fans with hugs:

It’s really refreshing to see big brands giving something back to their communities and making their fans feel included in their campaigns. Hopefully, this is something that we will see more of in the future, greater emphasis on engagement and building a loyal fan-base over obvious sale pitches that will result in an alienated community.

 

Cover image courtesy of: Mike Mozart, flickr.com

Ann Summers take their social media to the next level

Ann Summers have managed to add over 250,000 new Facebook fans in the last three months alone. As a result, the retailer has rocketed 36 places up the Facebook League table since the last study back in December 2011.

So how have they managed it? The answer is high-profile campaigns.

The People’s Panel concept started the social media ball rolling. The campaign searched for 10 women from across the UK who wanted to work with the sexy brand to create a new and unique sex toy – known as ‘The People’s Vibrator’. Chief Executive of Ann Summers, Jacqueline Gold, said: “We sell more than two million sex toys a year and we know the appetite to create and design a toy that will revolutionize orgasms is absolutely there; it is a great way of giving women exactly what they want. This panel of talented women will be followed by a TV crew on their unique journey and we hope they will deliver a product that will blow our minds.”

The People’s Panel is a great example of a brand becoming aware of its consumers and recognising that social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter are key to reaching these ‘everyday’ consumers.

Ann Summers integrated a second 3-month campaign to find a new face of the brand for the 2012 Valentines campaign. Lucy Moore beat over 4,000 other entrants and was one of the few curvy girls to take part in the competition. Lucy, who studies criminal justice at the University of Westminster, won with 22 percent of the votes.  The big reveal caused quite a stir online and in national, regional, trade and broadcast media.

In addition, the lingerie brand launched a jaw-dropping campaign right here in Wardour Street. To celebrate National Cleavage day and the launch of their refurbished Wardour Street store, 20+ women marched along Oxford Street in their underwear in front of shocked and delighted onlookers. The march can be viewed here on the Ann Summers YouTube page – note that it’s reached nearly 10,000 views!

CEO of Ann Summers, Jacqueline Gold, has an impressive 24k Twitter following. She continues to run a Women on Wednesday competition, hash-tagged as the #WOW competition. From 1-3pm every Wednesday, over 200 female entrepreneurs tweet Jacqueline about their business in the hope of a retweet and a #WOW winning badge.

Clever and regular campaigns result in social media success, that much is undebateable but still, a lot of brands are neglecting their social media accounts over periods when social networking activity is at its highest. To improve strategies and to develop their following, retailers need to ensure that they are researching their social media audience and releasing the types of content. Ann Summers are doing this incredibly well at the moment – their social media is obviously in safe hands…

Greggs Online PR

Since launching in 2006, Twitter has stormed the social networking sphere, rapidly gaining worldwide popularity, with over 140 million active users as of the beginning of 2012. Some have dubbed Twitter, a replacement of Facebook, referring to it as the SMS of the Internet – but what can it do for brands and digital PR?

In my opinion, for brands like Greggs, it can do wonders! Demonstrated recently when the brand became a trending topic on Twitter – not once but twice!

In the digital world, a trend means much more than a piece of coverage. A trend on Twitter means that potentially 140 million active users are talking and sharing their thoughts about you. When ‘Greggs’ began to trend, the brand were quick to act, seizing the bull by the horns and using it to their full advantage.

The Twitter frenzy began after Labour Leader Ed Miliband was photographed outside a Gregg’s store as the row about ‘pie tax’ began to heat up. Greggs cleverly took advantage of the news story and began to send out updates with the hashtag #pieshakespeare, encouraging Twitter users to come up with a line of poetry about pies. This takeover resulted in a huge increase in followers for the bakery.

There is a serious note behind the pie puns. The story began when George Osborne closed a tax loophole that meant hot food would be subject to VAT, wiping 30m off of Gregg’s value share. The move has since been dubbed the ‘pie tax’, and has given Greggs a much-needed boost both on and offline.

This is a fine example of a brand acting on impulse and being in a position to take advantage of a good news story on Twitter when the opportunity arises.

The team behind the @GreggstheBakers Twitter feed were quick to act and quick to respond to incoming tweets, which is just what a brand should be doing. Through their fast actions and pie puns, they managed to maintain their rare trend and even had a little fun with it, generating positive sentiment for themselves. A great example of digital PR!

They even managed to catch the eye of former Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott!

Social Media Twitter times are a changing

Twitter 2011Many tweeps will log on over the next few weeks to find a whole new look to their Twitter world.

Twitter have just announced big changes and there is a fair bit of buzz in techy circles about this overhaul. The official statement from Twitter is that they have observed that individual tweets are steeped in content and as such ‘started to take on a life of their own’.

The Twitter powers-that-be have clearly spotted some unrealised potential here. The revamp is an attempt to connect users with the original experience behind a tweet (even if that experience was offline).

Basically, the new look Twitter is focussed on four main hubs. The old features remain but with some snazzy new add-ons and a general restructure:

 

 

1. Home – Fundamentally, there are no great changes here. There is still a stream of incoming tweets from the people you follow and the tweet box remains as before. The toolbar has changed slightly to accommodate the other new hubs; Connect, Discover and Me

2. Connect – this tab displays all the activity (mentions, retweets, new followers) connected with your profile. You can filter this to show only certain ‘types’ of tweets and when you click on a conversational tweet the history of the interaction is revealed.

3. Discover – this is in my opinion, the biggest and most commercially savvy change. It really taps into what many people use Twitter for – as an information resource. Discover helps users maximise their Twitter reach and the value of their experience on the site. Your Discover tab highlights interesting Twitter stories or trending topics as well as suggesting new profiles to follow. Ultimately Twitter have strengthened their USP and accommodated those who use Twitter as a sort of tailored news feed. Consider that this year Twitter revealed that 40% of their active users log on to read rather than tweet. These users (and the rest who tweet and read) can now categorise Twitter profiles to find the tweets that interest them most.

4. Me – This section contains your profile, stats, drafts, lists and any searches you save, as well as your settings.

The changes are a clear step to encourage existing users to grow their profiles in size and interactivity. They also add a new dimension to the platform that could be attractive to new users and more users are good for everyone – not least Twitter.

 

The Twitter Timeline: The change from ‘me’ to ‘we’.

Who could have known in 2006 when Twitter was launched that five years later it would have well over 200 million users worldwide?

The micro-blogging site that was previously expected to be a mobile personal update service had people doubting how a minimal 140 characters would ever be of any use to anyone…

In this post, I take a look at how the tone of Twitter has changed through the prompting question and the greeting message.

2006:  Prompting question began at ‘What are you doing?’

This question promotes a tweet limited to the individual: allowing for personal musings.  BUT with Twitter being such an open network this question appeared quite limiting. It was evidently ignored by people and businesses sharing anything and everything they wanted with little regard for the initial question.

2009:  Prompting question changed to ‘What’s happening?’

By changing this simple question, Twitter has opened the doors for a myriad of responses. I argue that this is symbolic for Twitter growth: a reflection of how the platform has reached far beyond its original expectations.

Compare the Twitter tagline 2011 to that of two years previously and it clearly reflects this change:

2009: ‘Share and discover what’s happening right now, anywhere in the world’.

2011: ‘Follow your interests. Instant updates from your friends, industry experts, favourite celebrities, and what’s happening around the world’.

So what does this mean for the future of Twitter? From 2006 – 2011 Twitter has shifted from a personal updating device to a global learning platform. Twitter continues to unravel the ‘now’. 

Instead of asking for a series of personal updates from users, it transcended and opened the doors for people and businesses to share any content.

I am convinced that Twitter will continue to evolve and only time will tell the direction it will take next year….

In order to get the most out of Twitter for your company, it is important to acknowledge the expanding nature of the micro-blogging site. It is a communications tool – a learning platform containing a huge trove of valuable information about YOUR customers. The trick is to tap into this information and react accordingly…

I suggest there are four simple steps to take:

Talk, Listen, Engage and React.

Companies should embrace Twitter, develop a personality and evolve with the platform itself. Think of how easy business communication could be if you were always restricted to getting your point across in 140 characters….