Meet the Team: Welcome Ollie!

In the first in the ‘Meet the Team’ series Spirable welcomes Ollie to the team. Get to know us better week by week as we chat to members of the team old and new about life at Spirable, what makes them tick and why Spirable is a great place to work.

Ollie joined Spirable this summer as an Account Executive in the Client Services team.

Where are you originally from?

I am originally from Essex in the UK.

Tell us a bit about your background.

For four years I studied International Business at Sheffield Hallam. During my third year I completed a 13-month placement at an American data company called NetApp. This provided me with great insight into the tech scene and it when then that I decided this was the sector I wanted to pursue after graduation.

How did you find Spirable?

I spoke in detail to a Recruiter about what I was looking for in a graduate role, things like the location, the type of company and the roles and responsibilities. They recommended applying for a role in the Client Services team at Spirable and here we are!

What do you like most about your job?

I really enjoy the exposure I get to a variety of sectors, as well as the opportunity to work with some of the world’s biggest brands and agencies. Working in a startup means that from the outset you are given a lot of autonomy and you can make a positive impact from the get-go whilst receiving the help and guidance you need throughout.

What is the most valuable thing you have learnt at Spirable so far?

I’ve learnt so much about the platform itself and how Spirable creates videos at scale before pushing them through to social platforms such as Facebook and Instagram.

If Spirable had to choose a mascot what would that be and why?

A giraffe, as we’re head and shoulders above the rest. (Ba-dum-ch!! But seriously...)

What are your passions outside of work?

I’m a big fan of music and Formula One.

What or who inspires you and why?

What inspires me at Spirable is that we as a company are always striving for or achieving world-firsts. We’re at the forefront of our technology and for me that means constantly learning and enjoy what I do day-to-day.

Great to have Ollie aboard, look out for next weeks 'Meet the Team' as we introduce Myrianthi from the Tech team!


Trends Reshaping the Fashion Industry: Personalisation & Ecommerce

In the first of a two-part blog looking into personalisation in the fashion industry, we looked at how personalisation is changing the fashion industry in a digital world. This week, we’re honing in on the demand for personalised online shopping experiences.

The customer journey is linear no more! There are multiple on and offline touchpoints and consumers expect a frictionless experience across a number of different platforms and devices. Online shopping is becoming a clear preference as shoppers opt for a more convenient, relevant experience and a broader product offering.

In a society where consumers are spoilt for choice they can be as particular as they like, however according to Epsilon 80% are more likely to buy when a brand offers a more personalised experience. Companies must therefore be customer-centric and tailor what they’re showing their customers, even down to a single product. Done well, investing in new innovative tech can lead to a seamless shopping experience where a customer feels truly valued.

Chatbots Improving Customer Relations

Unsurprisingly, 75% of fashion retailers plan to invest in AI in 2018/2019. Net-A-Porter has already invested £400M in tech for personalisation, using applications that can predict what a customer is looking for. AI enables brands to match complimentary products based on data and can also power chatbots to mimic the interaction between a Sales Advisor and a customer. Other brands are using “Virtual Stylists” to recommend products or share tips and advice, for example Burberry who are using customer data and Facebook Chatbots to share information and updates on new products.

Executing a Chatbot campaign can be challenging without the right tech partner. Spirable’s fully automated platform is already being used by brands to take their marketing efforts to the next level with personalised chatbot campaigns leveraging valuable data to drive engagement, awareness and conversions.

As we discussed in our last blog, consumers are more and more willing to trade personal data for a more personalised experience. They want to feel ‘known’. Furthermore, where consumers are more connected than ever across Social platforms, they expect customer service to be 24/7 or ‘always-on’ and this is another key area where AI-powered chatbots can help brands to build long-lasting relationships with their customers.


Trends Reshaping the Fashion Industry: Personalisation

Digitalisation and AI are reshaping the fashion industry and the brands who react the quickest are winning. The rise of personalisation and omni-channel shopping are pushing brands to develop avant-garde solutions, and in the first of a two-part blog, we look at how personalisation is changing the game in fashion.

Increased Demand for Personalised, Relevant Advertising and Customised Products

In a recent survey, personalisation was named the number one trend to watch for fashion brands in 2018. Consumers want their purchases to reflect their values and express their uniqueness, are increasingly selective and have high expectations, particularly when it comes to luxury goods.

Jose Neves, Founder and CEO of online platform Farfetch noted “customisation will be the next revolution in luxury.” Demand is on the rise for unconventional, signature items, reflected by innovative brand partnerships and and in-store customisation services.

As well as products, consumers want a personalised, seamless customer journey. According to research by trend forecasters WGSN and Walpole one of the most effective ways to acquire new customers in the luxury field is to offer a personalised online experience. In a smartphone era, consumers have started to miss the human element and digital personalisation has the potential to fill the void. Highly personalised marketing and online shopping experiences can make consumers feel more engaged with and ultimately more loyal to certain brands.

The Power of Shoppable Instagram Stories

In a study of 108 fashion houses with revenue ranging from the millions to the billions, Instagram was determined to be the most relevant app, with 100% of companies surveyed active on the platform. As well as organic posts and sponsored content, Shoppable Instagram Story Ads are a powerful tool for inspiring, engaging and retargeting consumers to drive conversions. Unsurprisingly, 72% of people have made fashion, beauty or style-related purchases after seeing items on Instagram.

Forward-facing brands have noticed this change in customer behaviour and are leveraging data and technology to speak to their customers as individuals and not as strangers. In a cluttered space unique, personalised adverts really cut through the noise and consumers are happy to exchange personal data for a more tailored experience.

Spirable is helping fashion brands like Hunter Boots create contextually relevant ads that drive engagement, deliver more return on ad spend and increase conversions. Why not read Facebook’s Case Study outlining how contextually relevant, weather-triggered video ads performed significantly better than generic ads.

When it comes to personalisation in the fashion industry it’s not about asking consumers to buy, but about surprising and delighting them with useful content that is personalised, relevant and in-the-moment.


Reaching Millennial Consumers

The term Millennials (or Generation Y) refers to those born between 1980 and 2000, those who are today between 18 and 38 years old. Clearly, there are significant differences between the youngest and oldest Millennials. However, there are common patterns in lifestyle choices that can be shared with the majority of Millennials. There have been huge societal and cultural changes during the last few decades, and as a result Millennials are leading vastly different lifestyles compared to their parents at the same age. To begin with, almost 50% of Millennials are highly educated and tech savvy and they tend to be detached from traditional institutions such as political parties, religions and marriage. Millennials represent a diverse group of people - a vast variety of social groups and lifestyles. They want to be recognised as individuals with their own values and needs.

From a broader social point of view, a higher standard of living is available for more and more people and opportunities seem to be endless. Many things earlier generations had to work hard for, can today be taken for granted. Nonetheless, this generation faces its own challenges. Despite all the popular fitness tracking apps and health food trends, millennials are expected to become the fattest of all. It’s not only their physical health that is suffering, but also mental health issues are on the rise. The “on-the-go” lifestyle, constant competition and increased uncertainty combined with pressure from social media are clearly having consequences on Millennials.

Still, as a generation Millennials carry a lot of potential. They are more likely to be socially conscious and most willing (almost three out of four) to pay extra for sustainable offerings. Having observed the problems of over spending of older generations, millennials are more cost conscious than older generations: over half compare prices before making a purchase decision. Millennials are looking for products and services with convenience. Overall, they seem to be less attached to material things and traditional status symbols: they are more into the style of life than the stuff of life. Many are reluctant to buy homes, cars and luxury goods and instead they are more keen to a “sharing economy”, which is why they are loyal customers for services like Uber and AirBnB.

They have their real and virtual identities, and are highly influenced by social media. They want to be noticed, ‘liked’ and ‘followed’ and be part of the brand conversation, not just passive observers of ads. They prefer authentic advertising that is useful and entertaining, and brands as content creators, telling a story rather than advertising a product. They have high expectations and expect the message to be personalised and targeted for their specific individual needs.

This is a generation of multitasking: millennials are plugged and logged in to multiple devices and social media channels. For marketers this is great opportunity to reach potential customers from various angles if they are able to create an authentic, personalised and consistent message across platforms. Millennials express true brand loyalty as long as the brand resonates with their values, and thus they can become valuable brand ambassadors across social media for vast audiences.

Spirable is changing the way brands communicate with customers and offers innovative ways to target Millennials and other customer groups with highly relevant and personalised video content that can be easily distributed at scale across all social platforms.


Taking Spirable To The USA

We’ve received major support from our friends and investors at True right from the very early days. This has continued with support expanding in the US including introductions to senior management at major CPG companies and retailers. Following our recent roadshows to Chicago and New York we’ve compiled some of our thoughts around taking a European tech business to the US.
One of the most enticing features of the SaaS business model is its potential to scale quickly in terms of number of clients and territories. There are certainly plenty of challenges to scaling a tech business but tackling entry to the US market is one that can't be put off if you've ambitions of becoming a market leader in your sector.
When we first founded Spirable we focused on our home patch, the London market. Over the last couple of years we’ve expanded across the UK, Europe and are now serving clients across Asia, Africa and increasingly in North America.
When it comes to expanding in the US, we've been lucky to get a lot of help and advice from other founders who have tackled this challenge and succeeded. Here are a few of the lessons we've learned so far:

Reference Points

Case studies in your pitch deck from brands that are recognised and respected names in the US helps with early validation. Some big European brands are unknown in the US and don't hold the same weight when pitching. Targeting US recognised brands with pilots in exchange for case studies can help make your pitch much more relatable.

Target Clients

We were amazed to discover brands that are hardly known outside of a specific area in the US but are generating revenues in excess of $10bn. When putting your list of ideal target clients together it's worth researching beyond the obvious names and regions. There are opportunities in towns and with brands that may be less familiar.

Existing Partners

Leveraging your existing network of partners, clients, investors, DIT and friends can be very useful initially. There are some generous people out there that are willing to help. This might be your chance to get in front of clients and start building US reference points. Doing a great job for these early client adopters in the US can give you a solid base to build from.

Face-To-Face

From our experience there is no substitute for getting face to face with clients. Initially this might mean doing a lot of travel but over time having more boots on the ground in the US will help. Initially these hires may be consultants which gives some flexibility before ramping up to make local hires.

Budget

Doing business in the US isn't cheap. Wages, legal fees and travel costs can all be considerably higher than in your home market. Planning these costs into your budget is a must as you scale up in the US.
We’re proud that our team is made up of a diverse group of talent from around the world. This diversity doesn’t just offer complementary skill sets and perspectives but gives the team more of a global focus. The future for Spirable is exciting and focused on delivering market leading technology, that serves our clients, wherever they operate.

DMEXCO 2018: 3 Key Takeaways

An insight into the world’s largest digital marketing event from our Head of Partnerships, Andrew Gibson .

Last week Spirable made the now annual pilgrimage to DMEXCO, an event which has grown to host over 50,000 delegates and countless businesses. It’s so vast you’d be forgiven for getting lost among the bright lights, free gifts and food stalls.

Our objectives were clear: meet our customers, listen to what is important to our partners and uncover the trends that will be taking the work of digital marketing and advertising by storm in the next 12 to 18 months.

Manning our stand in the DMEXCO ‘StartUp Village’ we got a real sense of how buoyant the industry is right now in terms of innovation. The Spirable team had arranged a good number of meetings across both days and were invited along to a number of events as a Facebook Marketing Partner, however the tactics used to encourage delegates to stop by other stands ranged from biscuits and coffees to free baseball caps and even shots!!

Reflecting on my first time at DMEXCO, as well as the leads and interesting conversations I had around partnerships with Spirable, it’s important to think about what we learnt from our clients and the key themes emerging from the biggest players in AdTech and MarTech.

Below are my top three takeaways from DMEXCO 2018:

1. 5G is coming!

What does this mean? It means lightning download speeds will not only increase video consumption on mobile but will also make it more accessible.

2. Companies want a truly scalable Contextual Video solution.

There is a real appetite for Contextual Video and finding the right technology partner who makes it easy to implement at scale.

3. It pays to shop around.

Not strictly about the latest trends in digital, but... don't pay €16 for water when they’re giving it away for free in the next hall!!

We were thrilled to meet so many existing and potential customers and partners and who knows, next year you might find us in a 1000 sq ft stand, complete with meeting rooms, catering and a DJ...

See you next year!


Mastering Omni-Channel Marketing in the Digital World

Whereas marketing previously focused solely on targeting audiences, today we have access to various data sources which make it possible to target individuals with personalised ads and offerings that meet their needs. From a digital marketing point of view, understanding the principles of omni-channel marketing is crucial. The challenge is collecting relevant data from various sources and creating a refined, single picture of customers and ultimately telling an inspiring story across multiple platforms that is engaging and ultimately converts into paying cusomers.
Omni-channel marketing should not be confused with multi-channel marketing which refers to the ability to interact with potential customers on various platforms. Omni-channel marketing can be defined as a multi-channel approach which provides the customer with an integrated, seamless shopping experience by delivering personalised brand messaging across diverse channels. From email campaigns to social media to TV ads, the focus should be on creating logical journeys for people instead of optimising each channel separately.

So why should companies master omni-channel marketing?

Firstly, buying a product or service is no longer a straight forward journey. Before deciding between various sales platforms - everything from brick-and-mortar to mobile apps - consumers visit multiple review sites. This trend has driven competition for sellers and empowered consumers, heightened expectations. According to a recent report by Salesforce, most companies recognize the importance of customer experience and have placed it at the heart of their marketing strategies. In a world of fragmented information and hectic lifestyles, customers expect more customized brand messaging: over half of customers are likely to switch brands if communication is not personalized. This is particularly relevant to millennials (58%) who are more willing to share their personal data for product recommendations.
Secondly, whilst social media has a significant role in marketing consumers have their own preferences and purposes for different channels. Facebook and Twitter have the largest portion of users getting information on their sites whereas YouTube, Instagram and Pinterest are typically used for inspiration. Here, the key is to choose your customers’ preferred marketing channels and deliver a consistent message across various platforms and between devices.
For example, a customer may watch a beautiful, personalised video on her Instagram account in the morning...add the product to her online shopping basket through the app in the afternoon...but not actually purchase until the evening on her desktop. If your omni-channel marketing strategy is fully integrated, this whole journey should be a seamless brand experience so that customers can pick up where they left off.

How to get the message through effectively cross platform?

To implement omni-channel marketing strategy successfully, all internal departments need to work together. The brand image and messaging across channels should be consistent, which helps increase familiarity and builds trust among consumers.
At its best, Omni-channel Marketing can become a true value exchange between customers and brands.

The Future is Native: Personalised Video Marketing

In a visual era, videos are replacing more traditional media as a powerful tool for Marketeers. This trend is amplified by the fact that millennials are watching the most videos online and both Millennials and Gen Z (those born into an internet age), they find ads on Social Media to be more relevant than on any other channel and strongly prefer less disruptive forms of advertising.

A key challenge for Marketers today is consumers’ ever shorter attention span. A couple of years ago it was reported that that our ‘on-the-go’ lifestyle means we now have a shorter attention span than a goldfish. Unsurprisingly 90% of people skip pre-roll video ads appearing and of those who watched the majority cannot even recall the brand or messaging.

Native Advertising and Social Media

The major question now is, how do you cut through and reach consumers who don’t want to be bothered by irrelevant marketing? Many companies have turned to native advertising, which can be defined as the integrating paid adverts into the media format in which they appear and therefore not interrupting the editorial flow of the page. When it comes to Social Media, most ads are native by nature - good news for marketers as these types of ads are not always blocked by ad blockers. However, the concern among regulators is whether ads on social disclose sponsorship clearly enough so that consumers aren’t misled. A recent study showed that whilst consumers are good at differentiating between adverts and content, adverts still have a significant influence.

Personalisation and Native Advertising

Personalisation can really take native advertising to the next level. Consumers want to be served useful content that matches their needs instead of a news feed full of irrelevant adverts. Marketers need to adapt and embrace a new approach. According to McKinsey & Co experts, simply addressing customers by their names is not enough. To really drive results, attention should be paid to relevant, contextual triggers, for example moving into a new home, celebrating a birthday, social trending topics, etc. Done right, personalised, contextual advertising can lead to a 10-30% uplift in revenue.

To deliver long-term value through personalisation and native advertising companies should implement agile data and analytics processes, feed in the right data and refine their marketing activity accordingly so that their message to their customers is up-to-date and relevant - and scalable! Secondly, marketing regulation and industry guidelines should not be ignored. Establishing your brand as reputable and trustworthy from the very beginning is essential for survival in competitive markets.

At Spirable we believe that inspiring storytelling via contextual, personalised video is the key to a more successful marketing strategy.

Get in touch to find out more about using Contextual Personalised Video as part of your marketing strategy.


Video Marketing Overload: How to Stand Out From the Crowd

Video marketing is still on the rise. We’re consuming more and more video content each day and globally 80% of all internet traffic is estimated to be video by 2021 according to Cisco. As it stands today one third of internet activity is spent watching video. People aren’t just watching for fun either, they’re learning to play instruments and taking online fitness classes to fit around their busy schedules.

The online world is full of information and whilst it can open up so many possibilities, many consumers can be left feeling overwhelmed. Video can deliver information instantly which, whilst it has its benefits, can actually be more difficult to digest than traditional forms of media as most consumers don’t have the tools to effectively filter all of the video content they watch.

Imagine a world in which consumers only see content that is valuable, relevant and tailored to their needs. Personalised video marketing is an effective way for brands to build meaningful relationships with their customers online.

As a marketeer, how can you use video to not only reach but engage your target audience?

1. Use Artificial Intelligence to understand your Customers

AI is a powerful tool that enables brands to develop highly targeted marketing campaigns, developing intent based on consumers interests and showing them the right products at the right time. A recent study showed that the majority of companies with AI systems effectively increased sales and inbound leads.

2. Deliver Contextual Video to Increase Engagement

Contextual Video uses data to generate content that is personalised, relevant and in-the-moment. Don’t waste your resources targeting the wrong consumer with the wrong product. Use data to create inspiring content for each person showing them products that they’re more likely to need based on their circumstances and unique interests.

3. Create Mobile-friendly Content

Understand where people are watching and sharing your videos and the format your content needs to be in. Today over half of all video content is consumed on mobile. Moreover, video platforms for smartphones are evolving and ‘more mature’ social networks are developing new solutions. Think about IGTV, for example, which enables full-screen, vertical, longer-form videos.

4. Keep it simple

Make content that’s useful for people. 'Choice Overload' can discourage people from buying, yet if you are able to provide a product or service that speaks to an individual on a personal level, they’re more likely to engage with your brand. Furthermore, think about the length of your marketing videos. People have shorter and shorter attention spans and don’t necessarily have the patience to watch a full-length movie on their phones.

5. Inspire with Clever Storytelling

Create inspiring video content by bringing together data, creative and old-fashioned storytelling. Last but certainly not least, add unique visuals that make your videos stand out from the crowd.

Get in touch with Spirable to find out how Contextual Personalised Video could work for your brand.


Takeaways from UnboundLDN 2018

Last week some of the team at Spirable were at UnboundLDN - a festival of innovation where big brands, startups and technology pioneers were showcasing the exciting ways in which they’re disrupting various sectors.

This year we were part of the Vodafone Dig 20, twenty startups carefully selected by Vodafone from a long-list of one hundred businesses who are disrupting their industry.

Here are some of the many topics that grabbed our attention.

Content & Cutting Through The Noise

We’ve all heard the phrase ‘Content is King’. These days as brands find themselves up against an infinite amount of content it’s all about the approach and delivering useful, relevant content to consumers.

It was fascinating to hear personalisation and adaptive content run through several talks and panels as a key theme, and to hear about the challenges brands are facing regarding personalisation across digital and social.

Undoubtedly, brands are more focused than ever on delivering content that is personalised, relevant and in-the-moment at all stages of the funnel.

Data & Creativity

Another interesting topic was the relationship between data & creativity and how brands can leverage both to tell a captivating and compelling story to their consumers.

This leads nicely on from the point above about reaching customers with the right message at the right time. Instead of stifling creative, data is empowering creative ideas and allowing brands to connect on a more personal level with their customers online and leveraging content to drive sales.

At Spirable we believe in putting storytelling back in the hands of marketeers, using data-driven creative to change the story based on contextual data.

Technology and the Future

From how technology will impact the workplace, to smart cities, to unpacking the AI opportunity… one key theme emerged linking them all: the future.

As a collective of innovators and entrepreneurs, Unbound London is naturally a future-facing event. Many conversations were had about how emerging technologies could or should shape the future of certain industries and how to scale innovation in order to have a meaningful impact.

Our Vision

At Spirable our vision is simple: inspire people through useful content.

For us the future is enabling brands to reach customers and inspire them with content that is useful, relevant in in-the-moment. The Spirable platform is designed to combine data with creativity to tell compelling stories across digital and social.

Get in touch to find out how Contextual Personalised Video could work at scale for your brand, and join businesses such as Vodafone, Diageo and Domino’s who are benefiting from personalised video at scale.