Steph Macleod Technology for Marketing
NATALIE TURNER [00:00:13] Hello and welcome back to Technology for Marketing day two. I’m Natalie Turner with Disruptive Live and today, I am joined by Steph Macleod. Steph Macleod is the Director from Kaizo. How are you doing, Steph?
STEPH MACLEOD [00:00:26] I’m doing really well, thank you.
NATALIE TURNER [00:00:28] Fantastic. How’s your day been so far?
STEPH MACLEOD [00:00:30] Yeah, pretty busy. There’s lots to see here. Certainly from what we do.
NATALIE TURNER [00:00:33] It’s crazy isn’t it. There’s so many people here today.
STEPH MACLEOD [00:00:36] Absolutely.
NATALIE TURNER [00:00:37] So, Steph let’s start off with the basics. Tell me a little bit more about you, your role and Kaizo, what you do.
STEPH MACLEOD [00:00:43] Okay. So I’ve been in the PR game for about 25 years, which is really quite scary. And my primary experience, I kind of started off doing B2B technology brands. But have since then kind of broadened that portfolio and what’s on business to consumer, some well-being clients so quite an eclectic mix and that’s kind of reflected in Kaizo, actually. Because we are an independent PR agency based in London and we work for two kinds of companies, I guess either big brands or brands with big ambitions. And right across lots of different sectors but we try and group it into technology, again as I said, sort of B2B and consumer. And then health and wellbeing.
NATALIE TURNER [00:01:32] OK. So, I mean, we’re at a tech event. So you fit quite nicely into all of this don’t you.
STEPH MACLEOD [00:01:36] Yes.
[00:01:37] Could you tell me a little bit more about your role here and the changes that you’ve seen from, you know, let’s say last year and from today.
[00:01:45] I think it’s interesting because our technology experience obviously does fit because we get the tech and actually this is applicable for everything we do across all of our clients. PR has certainly changed quite a lot since I started out all these years ago. And really what we try to do now is there still is a place for that classic media coverage column inches coverage generation, that’s still important. But really, we’d say to clients, we want to help their business. Right. And that’s not you can’t just do that by getting media coverage. You need to understand how to reach different audiences using all of these different multiple channels that we have at our disposal today. And I think PR agencies classically have maybe struggled to really understand how that fits with what they do. But we’ve been really lucky. We’ve had some A, great clients over the years that have been up for us being really tapped into their broader marketing programs, great partners who have let us, play with different technologies and sort of test market it for clients and really show what we can do.
NATALIE TURNER [00:02:57] So in your, in your industry, what has been the biggest change for you? What do you think in tech, has really had the biggest impact?
STEPH MACLEOD [00:03:07] I think, oh god where to start, where to start.
NATALIE TURNER [00:03:11] I know, sorry broad question.
STEPH MACLEOD [00:03:13] I think probably attribution and how we approach the campaign that we put together for clients. So at its core what PR agencies do hasn’t changed in terms of it’s always been our job to identify really good stories or themes that are going to engage. Not just media, but readers or viewers. And I think that’s really expanded now to being, to creating content that’s going to engage customers for our customers. So I think that broadening of our remit and the skills that are required to be able to do that effectively is probably the biggest change I’ve seen.
NATALIE TURNER [00:03:57] Fantastic. So you’re also the first person to come onto one of these livestreams. How did you manage that as a PR person?
[00:04:05] Well, I think it’s about probably, hopefully by challenging what people stereotypically think of as, as a PR agency and a PR team, right. What we don’t hopefully don’t do is just to say yes all the time to clients. We we try and really understand their business objectives and then use all of these different channels and marketing technologies to deliver on that objective. So we’re not we’re not narrowing our view. And so hopefully that makes us a little bit different. And then I think also probably just trying to convert through our behaviour in case studies, trying to convert some of these non-believers, that PR people actually get this. And because we’ve also got the ability to identify these good stories. I mean, that’s at our heart of what we do. If you combine the two, you can have a really powerful campaign.
NATALIE TURNER [00:05:01] PR is so relevant. I mean, without it, I don’t think a lot of businesses would run properly, really?
STEPH MACLEOD [00:05:08] Yeah, I think so but I think also that if we think about another change has been in the market, I think PR people, they’re seen as as the the message development team, as the organisers, almost the gatekeepers to the to the how a brand communicates. And I think there’s been a massive shift. Again, that’s still important but we’re about enabling and empowering brands to speak for themselves rather than be that kind of gatekeeper for a lot of our clients.
NATALIE TURNER [00:05:42] Of course. So PR never shows a return on investment.
STEPH MACLEOD [00:05:46] Oh, I don’t know I don’t know obviously, I would disagree with that.
NATALIE TURNER [00:05:51] So how do you attribute.
STEPH MACLEOD [00:05:52] OK, I think that we’ve always been able to show ROI through PR and coverage. Just traditionally it’s been mega expensive to deliver on that. Now, there are some changes now, in terms of being able to attribute traffic in search to editorial content. That is not moving as quickly as we might like because that requires almost like a massive disruption in the publishing industry. So, you know, publications would really have to open their data sources for that attribution to work properly but I think that will come. I think that will come. And then you’ve got the anecdotal stuff. You know, if we get we’ve had lots of examples of where we’ve had a piece in the Times and a business to business client has had, you know, had a really big deal leads and converted that. Not to mention we know if we get consumer product on This Morning, you can guarantee it will sell out.
NATALIE TURNER [00:06:54] Oh, yes.
STEPH MACLEOD [00:06:55] You can see that immediate sale and there’s no better indication of ROI than sales. So, yeah.
NATALIE TURNER [00:07:04] So what’s been the most exciting, what’s the most exciting thing that you’ve experienced being in PR. You know what are the, we spoke about changes earlier but I’m keen to know what’s been the exciting bit for you.
STEPH MACLEOD [00:07:16] I think right now like loads of clients have spoken about the power of video on the online world for years. I mean, Cisco, for example, has for years of their annual Internet reports, said video, it’s very popular and the whole Internet is going to be filled with video. But I think it’s actually taken a long time for a lot of brands to really embrace the power of film and direct communication in that space. I think the exciting thing for us right now is that we’re starting to see that not only go far more mainstream and be intrinsically built into client campaigns. But also the advent of like live video and streaming. So recently we were lucky enough to be, I think it was one of the first tech livestreams on LinkedIn with our clients, the CEO of Avast, which was a majorly exciting. Um we are lucky that we have clients who are willing to do that because again, going back to the changes and what PR does, being that gatekeeper and making sure everything’s prepared and structured, you know, you go live. It’s a different ballgame. But it was exceptionally well received and I really look forward to more of that.
NATALIE TURNER [00:08:39] Would you say that’s like breaking technology or is there something even better than a livestream that you’ve been using.
STEPH MACLEOD [00:08:45] I think it’s breaking in terms of, I think it’s breaking in terms of being on LinkedIn because we know the power of LinkenIn.
NATALIE TURNER [00:08:53] Oh yeah its huge.
STEPH MACLEOD [00:08:53] In terms of targeting, in terms of reaching really targeted audiences and prospects and customers. So that for me is the majorly exciting piece of that. But I think the other development we’re seeing in terms of film is obviously the advent of 360 or VR. And that is all about experience, you know, whether you are a kid watching a Harry Potter movie. You know they don’t want to, they don’t want to be watching somebody fly on a broomstick, they want to be feeling like they’re on the broomstick you know flying with Harry Potter and if you are at the other end of the spectrum. A IT Director, do you want to read a two page supplement about the joys of a data centre or would you like to be feel like you’re in the data centre and seeing, you know, everything is action.
NATALIE TURNER [00:09:41] I think it’s much more exciting, it’s much more engaging.
STEPH MACLEOD [00:09:42] It’s engaging and also I think it feels more if it’s done right, it feels more authentic and that’s critical.
NATALIE TURNER [00:09:49] Yeah, no, absolutely, I couldn’t agree more with you. So what is the future looking like for Kaizo.
STEPH MACLEOD [00:09:55] Well hopefully bright, hopefully bright.
NATALIE TURNER [00:09:58] It sounds like it, you’re definitely you know, getting involved with all the newest technology and what you’ve been saying is amazing.
STEPH MACLEOD [00:10:02] Definitely well that’s the interesting part of what we do, right so hopefully continuing to deliver great work for clients and being really at the forefront of understanding these different changes and how they can be used and adapted and helping them develop to deliver on their business.
NATALIE TURNER [00:10:22] If there was or if there is a key message that you would like to get out to your target audience, what would that be?
STEPH MACLEOD [00:10:29] I think fortune favours the bold.
NATALIE TURNER [00:10:34] Oh, I like that.
STEPH MACLEOD [00:10:34] I think don’t be scared to test market. And we are very aware that, you know sometimes it’s budgetary issues, sometimes it’s corporate culture issues, and sometimes it goes back to what I said at the beginning. It’s about, well a PR agency doesn’t handle that, that’s our marketing department or our marketing agency. But I think hopefully comms people can bring a different, a different take. And really start to think about ideas and ways to use all of this, you know, really, you know plethora of new tech to deliver stuff that’s really good. So, yeah, I think be brave.
NATALIE TURNER [00:11:12] Amazing. Well, thank you so much, what a great thing to end on. Unfortunately we have run out of time, but thank you so much for joining us here at Disruptive.
STEPH MACLEOD [00:11:20] Thank you for having me.
NATALIE TURNER [00:11:21] No problem at all. Great well, as I said, that is all from us for now, however please don’t go away, we will be back after a very short break. We’ll see you in a bit.