No one can resist a best-of list, but the unveiling earlier this week of Kantar-Brand Z’s top 75 most valuable UK brands was accompanied by a chorus of alarm bells.
Anything connected with 2020 will forever have a large asterisk next to it and the ongoing traumas of the pandemic loom large over this year’s 75, with overall value down by a wincing 13% over the past 12 months.
That drop puts UK brands in very real danger of falling off the radar when compared to international markets. Kantar data suggests that there will be no UK company in their Global Top 100 list within the next few years.
The top 10 remains fairly static (Vodafone is in first place, followed by HSBC, Shell, BP and BT), but look a bit further up the table and you can see some more positive Coronavirus knock-on effects. The fastest risers include Ocado, Deliveroo and JustEat, while Grand Theft Auto and Gordon’s are among the new entries, reflecting demand from housebound consumers.
Stakes are high for Lucio’s replacement at Facebook
When Antonio Lucio announced in August he was stepping down as Facebook’s chief marketing officer, he wrote in a post that it was, “a time for reckoning for the nation and my industry and it is time for me to play a more active part in accelerating change”.
Many were left wondering what part Facebook would play in such an acceleration or, indeed, if it would continue to be widely perceived as placing obstacles in the path of social change.
The social platform announced earlier this week that it would not be accepting ads that discourage users from not voting in the forthcoming US presidential election or that spread misinformation about voting fraud, but has stopped well short of Twitter’s ban on any political advertising in the run up to 3 November.
And it continues to be at the centre of controversies around hate speech and fake news, leading to an advertising boycott during the summer.
Lucio’s replacement Alex Schultz has a great record of product growth and analytics and is clearly a proud company man. Whether he’s the right choice to engage and communicate with an increasingly sceptical customer base remains very much to be seen.
WeWork tries to put the past behind it
It might be a year since WeWork’ mensis horribilis in which it had to drop its IPO, get rid of its CEO and make thousands redundant, but those issues are still very much top of mind for many.
CMO Roger Solé, however, wants people to put this “noise” behind them and look to the future. The company now has a new management team, fresh funding and a renewed positioning around flexible working.
As questions circle about what the future of office work might look like, WeWork believes it has found a sweet spot offering the type of flexbility it believes businesses will need in the future. While it’s clear most companies won’t be allowing working from home permanently once we are through the pandemic, it’s likely most also won’t be expecting a return to the 9am-5pm in the office.
The job for Solé is to convince businesses that WeWork is the solution. He might think the “noise” is dissipating but it’s still top of mind for many. Getting them to shift their perceptions will be a slow burner but Solé has previous having turned around mobile operators Sprint in the US and TIM in Brazil.
He’ll need to use every strategy he has learned, though, to revive the fortunes of WeWork.
Reddit heads to the UK trying to see off brand safety concerns
Brand safety is not an issue for advertisers on social media network Reddit, which has launched a UK office to drive growth in its second biggest market, according to its COO.
While social media platforms have been criticised for harbouring sources of fake news, hate speech and conspiracy theories, Reddit CCO Jen Wong says it is not a big worry for brands. “Honestly, brand safety is always an industry discussion. But on Reddit it’s not an issue and it’s probably not where we’re spending a lot of time having conversations with our clients. It’s important to them. But we are more talking about how we deliver against their performance needs,” she says.
Layered levels of protection exist to help brands feel they are in a safe space while surrounded by user generated content, says Wong. Reddit has its own rules, such as a recently updated policy on hateful content, and each community has between three and 100 moderators. These apply community rules, which can be agreed in addition to those imposed by Reddit, and moderate all posts. Posts can be marked both up and down by platform user votes.
Around half of Reddit’s audience is based outside its native UK market, with the UK home to the biggest tranche of users. It is promising an audience of 430m active users and 130,000 special interest communities, with a high proportion of users who are not active on other social networks.
Brands including Samsung, Playstation and Netflix will be using the platform.
Gareth Helm takes on new role after McDonald’s
Gareth Helm has taken on a new role as HomeServe’s global CMO.
The former McDonald’s UK CMO left the fast food chain in June, prompting the brand to rejig its marketing. However, his new role at the home repairs company will be a little different.
Not only is it a different sector but Helm is charged with guiding the company’s multi-brand strategy and unlike at McDonalds will have to navigate different brands and markets including the UK, Canada, Spain and Japan.
However, this isn’t the first time that Helm has looked for a new challenge. Starting at Unilever, his career has spanned property company Zoopla, Nestlé, Mars, Innocent and MoneySuperMarket.com.
Helm is experienced at transferring his skills across category and HomeServe seems committed to marketing as a key part of this expansion through this newly created role.