Unstoppable at Unbound 2018

Spirable returned to UnboundLDN 2018 as part of the Vodafone Dig 20 (20 of the most innovative startups in the UK as selected by Vodafone). It was a fantastic opportunity for the team to showcase how Contextual Video is delivering phenomenal results for some of the world’s biggest brands such as Vodafone, Unilever and Diageo (to name a few).

Our CEO and Co-Founder, Ger O-Meara, was busy taking delegates from brands, agencies and tech companies through how Spirable is working to inspire people with useful content across Social, Display and CRM. He was also giving interviews, pitching to investors and competing against some of the UK’s hottest startups across the two days.

The Vodafone Startup Battle

Rounding off the two-day event was the Vodafone Startup Battle: a three-minute, Dragon’s Den-style presentation to a carefully selected judging panel hosted by Vodafone on the main stage. The competition was fierce as Spirable went up again five other startups including Vidsy and Seenit, all keen to wow the audience with their unique and innovative ideas. The prize? An all-expenses paid trip to an upcoming Unbound event in either Bahrain, Singapore or Miami.

Our CEO Ger delivered a seamless pitch in front of over 100 delegates, in which he demonstrated how Spirable is bringing together data and creative to deliver content that is personalised, relevant and in-the-moment and therefore reimagining storytelling for brands and agencies. The exciting work that Spirable has done for brands like Philips and Manchester City, as well as Spirable’s vision for the future was met with big cheers and applause from the crowd.

After tense deliberations from the Vodafone panel, Spirable was award the Judge’s Vote and an all-expenses paid trip to Unbound!

See you in Miami!


The Buzz from Cannes - Unifying Creative & Analytics

Mid June means one thing for creatives and advertising bods - Cannes. The team at Spirable were busy showcasing their platform to both current and prospective clients and enjoying the buzz from all that creativity. However leaving to one side the rose wine, million-dollar yachts and beach parties, some interesting research pieces and reports have been released in the last week with one standing out, primarily because of what is was saying, but also because of who was saying it.

Consultancy firms well documented expansion into areas traditionally occupied by media agencies, is giving both clients and their traditional agency partners a lot to think about. Accenture Digitals stand size alone may be giving agency bosses more sleepless nights than any media owner party, Kylie or no Kylie! It was therefore the insight piece released by McKinsey & Company, who’s key theme for Cannes was based around their findings that companies who harness creativity and data in tandem, grew twice as fast as those who didn’t (10% annually vs 5%) that generated alot of interest.

McKinsey surveyed two hundred CMO’s and senior marketers and categorised those who have successfully combined data and creativity as ‘integrators’, and they believe they are modernizing marketing in three distinct ways:

1. They treat creativity and data as equal partners

Creative functions are becoming more data driven and data driven functions are becoming more creative. Advanced consumer insight is moving from the background, allowing analysts a new voice in the creative process, and crucially the opportunity to see their work come to life.

2. They make integration a way of life through an agile marketing operating model.

They have embraced agile marketing teams, where small, cross-functional teams, work relatively autonomously on focused objectives. As a result, timelines for creating new campaigns or initiatives shrinks from months to weeks, or even days.

3. They seek “whole brain” talent

Companies want talent with both left and right brain skills, even if their primary function will utilize one more the other. Creativity can no longer just be confined to creative roles.

Interesting to note that ‘integrators’ are far more likely to have adopted dynamic personalised adverts and be creating content based on data about individual consumers, as opposed to mass, generic messaging.

Creating useful and inspiring content through contextual messaging at scale, is what we do here at Spirable. Our AI driven, self-serve platform, allows businesses to combine data and creative seamlessly. Research, such as that which McKinsey has undertaken, combined with our campaign results, continues to show just how effective data driven creativity can be – in many cases we see an 8 x increase in consumer engagement – the ambition of advertising finally becoming relevant and useful for the individual, based on their current situation and mindset, is beginning to be realised at genuine scale.

We are only scratching the surface with the types of campaigns intelligent data usage will bring in the coming months/years. Everyone at Spirable is excited to be able to offer the platform, through which clients and agencies (and consultancies) can fully exploit this shift in corporate strategy and consumer expectations.

If you want to know how we can help do this, please give us a shout.


Personalisation 2.0 - From “Hi ” to contextual, useful and relevant video content.

Contextual video is gaining real traction within marketing today - but how can brands bring it into their marketing mix - and what results should they expect from it?

Personalised, or contextual?

Contextualisation shares a lot in common with personalisation, but draws on a broader range of data sources - covering not just user demographics and behaviours, but also environmental information such as weather, location, temperature, UV levels and other contextual data points such as trending topics, location and many more. This data can be applied to achieve contextual personalisation at every stage of the funnel; from increasing conversions using compelling, targeted narratives, to re-engaging old customers with personalised offers.

Why does contextual content work?

There’s an increasing demand amongst consumers, particularly Millennials and Generation Z’ers, for more personal connections with brands.

With more companies than ever trying to reach these high-value audience groups, they are gravitating towards brands that give them an authentic experience - those that provide them with genuinely useful information and connect with them on an individual level.

For brands looking to create those kinds of connections, research and data gathering are key to understanding how best to create value - while personalisation and contextualisation are essential to delivering it.

Product recommendations

Personalised recommendations typically draw on a customer’s search and purchase histories - selecting previously looked at or similar items, to match new suggestions to the consumer’s already recorded preferences.

Contextual recommendations expand the range of data inputs used to select a relevant product. So, for example, if you’re advertising to a consumer currently in a location where it’s raining, you can serve them a personalised advert for waterproof boots.

Customised narratives

The same information can be used to create narratives which adapt to audiences’ interests, demographics, and environments. For example, a football fan in Birmingham being served an ad from a sportswear brand would see a narrative designed to play on her love of football, with directions to a store or training ground in central Birmingham.

On the other hand, a tennis enthusiast in Bristol would see a story based around tennis, with local venues and opportunities highlighted.

Video

For maximum impact, combining personalisation with today’s most dynamic content format can’t be beaten. Personalised and contextual videos take the same principles and apply them to a more engaging format; increasing reach on social, and capitalising on significantly higher video engagement rates.

Results

Here at Spirable, we’ve seen some great results from clients using our platform to generate contextual video - with 8x increase in engagement, 3x more conversions, and a 5x reduction in cost when compared to traditional (non-contextual) video advertising. We’ve even had one of our campaigns nominated for the 2018 Campaign Tech Awards, in the category ‘Best Use of Creative Personalisation on Social Media’ - a new addition reflecting the rise of personalised content throughout the marketing world.

What’s more, plenty of other brands are seeing significant improvements too, and feedback continues to suggest that audiences prefer receiving communications that are relevant and demonstrate an understanding of what matters to them in the moment.


5 Marketing Takeaways from Millennial 20/20

This year’s Millennial 20/20 featured representatives from some of the world’s biggest brands, as well as its most exciting startups. Here’s what we learned, with an eye on the developments that will be shaping marketing this year:

For brands trying to reach millennials, trust and personalisation are paramount

Much of the event's discussion revolved around how to reach generations X, Y, and Z - with a dedicated panel on Tuesday morning featuring representatives from McLaren, Stakla, Piaggio Group and Estee Lauder. The key takeaway? To younger audiences, it’s all about trust, authenticity, and personalised communication.

In short, the X-Z generations are more discerning than their predecessors, with a sharp eye for insincere and inauthentic messaging, and high expectations of brands and their content. What’s more, creating genuine, emotional engagements with audiences remains a key element of relationship building - and failing to recognise the importance of those one-to-one relationships will put brands at a disadvantage as we come to rely ever more on younger consumers.

Today, it’s not enough to expect to reach younger audiences with a single, generic message promoting a brand’s preferred narrative - instead, organisations must earn the respect of their consumers, and leverage that respect to achieve loyalty and word of mouth.

AI is gathering momentum

After spending a long time as something of a marketing black box, brands are beginning to talk openly about exactly how they are using AI to inform their marketing processes. At Millennial 20/20, we heard from Booking.com’s CMO Pepijn Rijvers, who revealed their plan to create a chatbot capable of processing complex property descriptions and turning out the perfect result based on machine analysis of images, descriptions and reviews.

Several other speakers and panelists also delved into the topic, exploring the applications of AI in developing audience understanding, distributing content at scale, and developing predictive models to achieve more effective targeting - while TATA Communications’ CMO Julie Woods Moss perhaps summarised one of the event's biggest themes best: “If you’re going to learn one thing this year, learn about AI”.

Video continues to dominate

Any discussion around marketing ultimately raises the question of format, and video is still a driving force in 2018.

With engagement rates still higher than for any other content type, marketing efforts remain focused on extracting maximum value from video - be that by pushing the boundaries of personalisation, introducing new roles to support internal and external video production, or finding new ways to enhance the medium with new tech.

User generated content is growing up

Companies are learning how to extract value from user generated content - despite initial difficulties with filtering and quality control. With trust and personal relationships taking a central role in brand/consumer communications, those with audiences passionate enough to want to craft their own content to endorse brands are already leading the pack.

‘Unmanaging’ will be the next branding buzzword

Dropped into Tuesday morning’s Communicating Across Generations panel by EMEA’s Andy Mallinson, ‘unmanaging your brand’ captures the essence of the debate on the best ways to reach today’s contemporary audiences.

More specifically, it describes the decision to entrust your brand to your consumers - encouraging them to generate content and word of mouth which shapes your brand’s identity - rather than sticking to rigorously controlled content. Given the shift towards personalised connections between brands and users, and the growth of UGC, now seems like unmanaging’s time to shine. --

Spirable is a contextual video platform dedicated to empowering brands to build relationships with individual consumers. Our platform combines data with brand storytelling to create thousands of uniquely personalised messages as part of a single campaign - and distributes them automatically across social channels and CRM. Find out more about how contextual video can enhance your marketing.


What we learned at Mobile World Congress, 2018

Mobile World Congress always makes headlines - but some of the most exciting developments go beyond just tech. After spending three days in Barcelona last week, seeing the world’s biggest tech show first hand, here’s what this year’s MWC taught us about the future of the marketing landscape:

AR is growing

AR is still a major player when it comes to mobile content - something cemented by Samsung’s decision to throw their hat into the ring this year. With their AR Emoji popping up on new flagship phones S9 and S9+, it’s clear that manufacturers are anticipating a continued demand for augmented reality - and that, in turn, marketers will need to find new and more compelling ways to utilise it.

AI is going mobile

AI has long been big news across marketing and tech - and this year’s Mobile World Congress just goes to show that it’s not going anywhere. This year, an increasing number of manufacturers are putting AI capacity at the forefront of new devices - from smartphone-driven cars to Nokia’s inclusion of facial recognition unlocking across all of their major new models.

The question for marketers is how this capacity can be leveraged in the race to reach users. Expect applications across users experience, content personalisation, and distribution, as AI gives us new tools for optimisation, data processing and scalability.

5G is getting closer

5G certainly isn’t a new concept in mobile tech, but this year’s MWC saw it take a big leap forward - thanks to Huawei’s first 5G chip. Although not quite there yet, a full roll-out of 5G connectivity will be a game changer - with faster speeds meaning better viewing experiences, more scope for interactive content and up-to-the-minute personalisation.

For marketers, that means bigger, more diverse audiences with new touchpoints, as connectivity becomes stronger around the clock. It also means increased scope for more intensive content formats such as video - and a corresponding need to meet new and higher expectations.

Storytelling is (still) key

The biggest news at MWC this year wasn’t so much the announcement of wholly new ideas - but rather important developments in how new tech is becoming a core part of how we experience mobile. The challenge for marketers - how to use it.

That means not just understanding the new features - but also using learning how to use them to build meaningful connections with audiences. What’s exciting is that these new capacities will allow brands and agencies to take new approaches to storytelling, and communicate with users in ever more personal, tailored, and valuable ways.

So how does the future of marketing look, post-MWC?

Yes, there will be 5G, yes there will be better AI, and yes there will be AR. But the most successful brands won’t just be using this new tech - they’ll be integrating it into their marketing workflows, building it into their strategic planning, and using it to create richer narratives and stronger relationships with their consumers. The new tech won’t just mean better devices - it’ll mean better storytelling, too.

Spirable is a contextual video platform that allows brands & agencies to serve highly targeted video content at scale. The resulting campaigns deliver narratives in a whole new way, communicating with audiences on a personal level, using content that’s targeted, personally relevant, and always up-to-date. Get in touch to find out more about how Spirable can help you.


Contextual Video: The Future of Video Marketing

What really is contextual video? And what makes it different from personalised video?

There’s a simple answer. Although contextual and personalised video have a lot in common, there is a crucial difference - contextual video draws on a much broader range of data.

While personalised video utilises information about individuals to create content that addresses them personally, contextual content also pays attention to the circumstances that surround them - such as the weather, temperature, day of the week, local events, nearby locations, trending topics, and so on. In fact, the range of contextual variables that can be drawn on is limited only by what data is available - so brands can tailor their input depending on their campaign.

Why is contextual video important?

When it comes to marketing, brands and agencies are always looking for the best way to connect with their audiences. As in real life, stronger connections come about when brands get to know the people they want to reach - which is where data comes into play.

Contextual video takes that all-important data, combines it with powerful narratives and high-impact creative assets, and provides consumers with the information and product recommendations that are most likely to meet their immediate needs.

Contextual video in practice

Say you want to promote a sportswear brand online, but want to do more than just advertise the same item to everyone in the same way.

A personalised video will take into account individual demographic information and purchase history to customise the product recommendation (and sometimes also the narrative for delivery).

Contextual video, on the other hand, goes a step further; adapting to also reflect your users’ contextual information. This can be done in a multitude of ways. For example, someone in a rainy part of the country will get a narrative and a product recommendation that are tailored to keeping warm and dry in the rain - while someone in a place that’s warm and sunny will see content based on keeping cool and enjoying the outdoors.

In other campaigns, ads may feature directions to consumers’ nearest stores, promote upcoming local events, or integrate trending data.

The benefits

With contextual video, people don’t just get adverts for things that data suggests they’ll like - but also things that they are likely to want or need, based on their immediate circumstances. Which means creating an instant connection between brand and consumer - as well as connecting with them at a time when they have an increased motivation to purchase.

What’s more, as the data changes, so do the ads. So people will see different content from one day to the next - again, always tailored to address who they are and what’s happening around them.

Reaching audiences in today’s crowded market is all about understanding what matters to them. Contextual video allows brands to leverage today???s most essential content format, while drawing on more data than ever to connect on a personal level.

_

At Spirable, we’re pioneering the use of contextual video to serve high-performing ads across CRM and social channels, at scale. Get in touch for more information on how we can help you.

 


Why We Changed Our Name To Spirable

In 2015, Dave and I started on a journey to help brands communicate their stories through visual content. We set up as Photospire, and started to build a technology company.

The strategy back then was to enable brands to reuse their data and creative assets to create personalised content. At the start, our assumption was that the creative assets would primarily be photos. Hence, the Photospire name was born.

Very early into our journey, we recognised that video was on the rise and offered the best medium for digital storytelling. Because of this, our product offering expanded back in 2015 to focus on the personalisation and contextualisation of video. Alas, the name didn’t change as we piled our efforts into building the product and getting it out to customers.

Over the last three years, we’ve evolved significantly as a business, more than quadrupling in size by hiring some very talented people across our technology and client facing functions. Today, we’re proud to have built valuable customer relationships and maintained the culture we set out with. As we embark on the next stage of our growth, the time is right to refocus under a name that more accurately defines us.

The English definition of Spirable is something that is capable of being breathed. Stories are something that people all over the world share, live and breathe. We bring stories to life digitally by making them relevant and useful for every single person. Right now, we do this through video and AI, but the pace of change in our industry is so incredible that it makes the future very exciting indeed.

So what is it about Spirable that aligns with our company today? We believe it’s reflects our unwavering commitment to live our mission: change the way brands communicate with people for the better through useful, inspiring content. Spirable encapsulates our commitment to bringing action and inspiration together, to make digital storytelling more valuable across all mediums and channels.

I hope you enjoy what’s coming. Our evolution doesn’t stop.

Ger O’Meara - CEO & Co-Founder - Feb 2018


The Three Steps to Producing Contextual Video

Storytelling is changing – it’s been flipped on its head by technology and data.

Mobile has driven this change over the last ten years, impacting the format, length and medium in which stories are told. Capturing customer attention has become increasingly difficult and more devices and more channels demand more content.

These challenges provide huge opportunities to marketers – in particular, they now have the ability to tailor their story for each customer using location and other contextual data.

Voice and IoT devices will continue this trend; capturing even more contextual and behavioural data and enabling storytellers to become increasingly personalised with their stories.

Brands that grasp these opportunities and deliver contextual content – content that is personalised, relevant and in-the-moment will stand out from the crowd. Below are the three steps brands can take towards producing contextual content.

1. Understand Your Customer’s Context

In the past, brands treated every customer the same way – producing one piece of content such as a television commercial and serving it to millions of people.

Understanding customers is step one when it comes to creating better content and with the huge range of data now available we can derive customer insights and treat people as individuals.

When you know what will resonate with a customer based on their demographics, location, interests, preferences and behaviours then you can become much more contextual in your approach.

2. Create Content In Real Time

Your audience is living life in-the-moment; reacting instantaneously to events on social media, ordering goods and services to be delivered within the hour and consuming news on demand. There is a huge opportunity for brands which can produce relevant content in real-time.

Managing customer’s expectations and demand for content at this pace is a management nightmare. This is why artificial intelligence and bots in particular will have a major impact over the coming years, enabling brands to create and respond to customers with personalised content in real time.

That’s the second step toward creating contextual content – leveraging technology to create content in real time at scale.

3. Never Rest, Keep Optimising

Understanding your customer and creating compelling, individualised content in real time is a huge step forward but it doesn’t mean your work is done.

Constant testing is required because what works today won’t necessarily work tomorrow – customer’s interests change rapidly and become fatigued if they’re served the same advert on multiple occasions.

Using AI, machine learning and image recognition, brands can tailor their approach and derive creative insights; allowing smart brands to continually optimise their content for each customer over time.

Photospire helps brands and agencies embrace these opportunities – to understand their customer’s individual context, create relevant content in real time and then optimise that content.

 


New Places and Faces

Well… it’s been three weeks since we moved Photospire HQ from Victoria to Borough and it’s fair to say that we are loving our new surroundings. Everything from delicious street food, vibrant culture, wonderful theatre and, well… more delicious street food is at our fingertips. Our neighbours include creative agencies, innovative start ups and some exciting brands and it’s an inspiring part of town to be based.

Having spent two very happy years at True benefiting from their immense support and encouragement our growing team needed a new, larger space to accommodate everybody and spread our wings. We will be expanding on an even greater scale in the coming months and feel we are in the right place to do this. Our offices are based in a warehouse conversion on a quiet cobbled street and the relaxed atmosphere is conducive to great working environment.

Let us introduce our newest team members who have joined in the last few weeks:

Corina – Our savvy new Junior full-stack developer is a recent graduate from the Technical University of Cluj-Napoca. She has worked with Java, Python and C on web applications for years outside of her University environment. She is currently working on perfecting her craft in AI to add to her list of accomplishments.

Amitabh – Joined us from Emerson Process Management  as an experienced and highly skilled, senior full-stack developer. He has 11 years experience developing end-to-end desktop software and web applications with Python, C++ & Django. Amitabh also holds an MBA from the Indian Institute of Management, Indore.

Sam – Sam has joined our optimisation team, adding considerable expertise in Machine Learning. Sam has studied all around the world from Shanghai Normal University to The University of Florence as well as gaining a degree in MPhil Economics from the University of Cambridge.

With Corina’s drive, Sam’s expertise and Amitabh’s decade long experience in back-end development, our most recent members add a host of capabilities to our development team already composed of multiple PhDs and former McLaren F1 engineers.

In addition, Amran, the newest member and also the baby of the team is our brand new Apprentice. As Facebook Marketing partners, we believe in developing the next generation of Facebook Marketing experts. Using Facebook Blueprint Amran is continually enhancing his expertise to support the team.

So that’s the news from us at the moment but stay tuned for more developments in the coming weeks.

Photospire is always looking for bright people to get on board. If you are interested in joining the team in Borough, we have a host of open opportunities which you can see here


Photospire Join The Mayor of London On A Trade Envoy To Paris

Photospire led by our client solution manager Jack, joined Sadiq Khan on a trade envoy to Paris yesterday.

Jack was joined by twelve of London’s fastest growing tech startup companies and met business heads from some of France’s best known brands.  The opportunity was organised by the Mayor’s International Business Programme and supported by Eurostar.

Photospire are delighted to get behind the Mayor’s #LondonIsOpen

Read the full story:

https://www.forbes.com/sites/davidprosser/2017/10/23/12-british-tech-businesses-ignoring-brexit-to-target-europe/#1aec70a75d90