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Q&A with David Jago: How the Food Industry is Striving to Win Consumer Trust

Posted By The Marketing Institute, 27 June 2017

David Jago, Mintel, how the food industry is striving to win consumer trust

At our recent Breakfast Briefing with MINTELDavid Jago, world-class food and drink analyst, explored the issue of consumer trust in the food industry.

It is not just politics and big business which people have trust issues with: the level of consumer trust in the food industry has been shaken, according to new Mintel data. David's presentation explored the role of trust in the relationship between consumers and food and drink, and what brands can do to win it. Here are the presentation slides and our follow-up Q&A with David.


Click here to view presentation


The Marketing Institute: You mentioned Financial Transparency as a means of building consumer trust; How can brands do this effectively?

David Jago: In food and drink markets real financial transparency is still very rare! One notable example is the US wine company Alit, which lists the costs of raw materials, staff, packaging etc., as well as the declared gross profit per bottle. Alit sells direct (online) to consumers, “cutting out the middle man”, so part of the strategy is simply to demonstrate that wine pricing is not arbitrary. But it has discovered that this degree of financial transparency really appeals to Millennial consumers as part of the “story” behind the brand, as well as helping to justify the relatively premium prices it charges. It might not work for major players with multinational sourcing, production and marketing, but financial transparency is an element of the marketing mix that could work for smaller, independent producers.


MII: 40% of consumers value family and friends’ opinions over the expert. How is this impacting the experts and what should they be doing to tackle this?

D.J: When it comes to food and drink products, in particular, the “risk” of trying something new based on a friend’s opinion is relatively low – we’re generally talking about relatively low cost items, so that encourages a degree of experimentation. A potentially more dangerous area is that of healthy-eating and nutrition, where the views of qualified experts may be lost in the noise of bloggers and vloggers. Big brands and major retailers need to better position themselves as experts, working collectively and with consumers via social media, to ensure that the right information gets the high profile it needs, and to encouraging positive dialogue.


MII: How do you think Brexit will impact consumer trust in the food industry?

D.J: The immediate result of Brexit is uncertainty, whether we’re talking about consumers or industry, in the UK or Ireland, or indeed anywhere else. Younger consumers in any country are significantly more likely to trust EU regulations for food and drink safety standards, and fear rising food prices and poorer quality. Generally speaking, though, consumers have greater trust in food and drink produced in their own country, and we’re likely to see a lot more of that in the future. Companies will need to create more transparency around sourcing, making a virtue of sourcing from within their own country to support local or national interests, even though the key driver may in fact be cost.


MII: Ultra-Provenance is heavily influencing consumer choice and certainly trust in brands. But with consumer cynicism surrounding big brands, do you think consumers could become more cynical and see through this trend?

D.J: Consumers today have more information at their fingertips than ever before, while they’re in store or shopping online, and while they’re consuming the product, and social media means that “fake” stories will quickly be exposed. Ultra-provenance can only work when it is real and honest, and may be challenging for big brands, but anything that helps to “tell the story” can reassure consumers – bear in mind that ultra-provenance is often only an indicator of premium quality, and there are many other ways to communicate that.


MII: How has the rise in veganism and plant-based proteins affected the food industry?

D.J: As with any trend, there are winners and losers! We have seen a huge amount of product development in vegan and plant-based foods, often from small, entrepreneurial players who have grown fast based on Millennials’ adoption of the trend. We have also seen meat and dairy companies going vegan, notably in Germany. Traditional meat supplier Rügenwalder recognised an opportunity rather than a threat and has had success with a wide range of meat-free products; dairy companies Molkerei Söbbeke and Emmi have launched plant-based alternatives to yogurt. And of course Danone acquired plant-based foods specialist Whitewave.

It’s important to look at the number of consumers who are cutting back on meat or dairy consumption (a third or more of adults in some European markets), rather than the number of (dedicated) vegans and vegetarians. And consider the high impact among Millennials and the fact that their consumption behaviours may not change as they age, and may be reflected equally as strongly in their children. Then we’re talking about a long term shift in consumer behaviour, not just a fad.


MII: You mentioned accepting faults as an effective way to regain consumer trust, do you have any advice on how to go about admitting wrongs that may seem unforgivable?

D.J: Admit mistakes quickly, communicate openly, and create a positive story! An excellent example is Marks & Spencer, who in March this year apologised after a dairy supplier was found to be breaking animal welfare laws. Rather than dump the supplier M&S pledged to work with them “to help rectify issues and make them a more robust business.”

Tags:  consumer trust  food industry 

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A Day in the Life of... Lorraine Walsh, Head of Marketing at Laya Healthcare

Posted By The Marketing Institute, 14 June 2017

Lorraine Walsh Laya Healthcare

The Marketing Institute: What does a Head of Marketing at laya healthcare do?

Lorraine Walsh: As Head of Marketing I am ultimately responsible for the laya healthcare brand.  We would also ensure that the customer is at the heart of every business decision in order to deliver on our brand promise of looking after you always.  Promoting the brand and delivering on innovations to make the customer experience better is a key component of the role.


MII: What were your key career moves to get to your current role?

L.W: I started the first part of my Marketing career in a research company in Amsterdam. I became a customer service advisor in BUPA Ireland (now laya healthcare) for 6 months and over the years, I went onto become Marketing Executive, Brand Manager, Marketing Manager and then Head of Marketing for laya healthcare. The company has had some brand transitions over the years and I’ve been lucky to have been part of that.


MII: What is the biggest challenge you face in your role?

L.W: We all want to make things easier for our customers in a timely way, but good innovations can take time – so getting an exciting innovation to your customer in a simple yet impressive way can be a challenge.


MII: What key skills do you need to be effective in your role?

L.W: I believe that you need to think strategically while being able to deliver the strategy operationally.  Strong listening skills, attention to detail and remaining objective are important.  Enthusiasm and positivity go a long way to bringing people on board with your ideas. Strong communication skills are a must of course. 


MII: Describe a typical working day.

L.W: It’s very varied. I could be brainstorming a new member benefit, organising an event, reviewing web analytics, getting a press release signed off, reviewing a sponsorship contract with our lawyers, presenting to the senior management team, signing off on a new TV storyboard and script, reviewing survey results from customers, doing an evaluation paper for something that I want to roll out in the business, meeting with my team, calls, meetings and from time to time eating cake for someone’s birthday! 


MII: What do you love most about your role?

L.W: I love the people in the business and the team.  A strong culture and a willingness to do the right thing by the customer makes my role so much easier. I take great pride when the brand (and the overall business) is performing well; it’s a real sense of accomplishment.


MII: Looking ahead, where might your career path lead to next?

L.W: I tend not to overthink it; I believe that if you do the best job you possibly can to the highest standards, you will get recognized. I’d like to learn more about coaching in the coming years.


MII: To whom do you look for professional inspiration in your role?

L.W: I don’t have one specific person, but there are many people over the years who have inspired me in different ways - I’d like to take different qualities from all of those people and pop them into a potion and drink it! But we all do the best we can and I know I’m never finished learning from other people.


You can read all the A Day in the Life features here.

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Social Media Survey 2017

Posted By Darragh Rea, Edelman, 14 June 2017
Updated: 08 June 2017

There have been significant shifts in our world of communications over the last 10 years, many of which have been documented in our Edelman Trust Barometer and Earned Brand Studies. In case we didn’t know it before, the age of top down, one-way communications strategies is well and truly over - brands now need to work harder to earn positive relationships, behaving in a way that is meaningful, memorable, and beneficial to their audience. One of the major catalysts for this change has been the meteoric rise of social media and its profound impact on our behaviour and society in general.

To better understand how Irish marketing professionals are embracing these changes, and what social media investment and strategy decisions they’re making, we’ve been tracking their views for the past three years. The online study, in partnership with the Marketing Institute of Ireland, which has captured responses from hundreds of marketing professionals across a wide range of disciplines and varying organisation sizes, looks at several key areas:

1) The importance of social media to their business and how they have integrated it with traditional activities

2) The ability to track and measure effectiveness and return on investment

3) Platform usage and investment plans

4) The role of paid social

5) The use, credibility, and ethics of influencers

6) The rise of video and real-time marketing

7) Crisis preparedness

Here’s a snapshot of this year’s key results:

social media survey 2017

So, what have we learned over the last few years is that:

1) Social is now more integrated and receives more investment than ever before. 99 percent of respondents now see it as being important to their business up from 91 percent in 2015 with the same figure (99 percent) having integrated social into traditional activities (compared with 82 percent in 2015).

2) There has been a significant improvement in terms of setting KPIs, tracking these metrics and translating that into a read on ROI. 34 percent of this year’s respondents said they can measure ROI and a further 54 percent that they can measure the ROI on at least some areas – a significant rise from our study three  years ago when 51 percent said they couldn’t measure ROI. Similarly, 55 percent now claim to have set KPIs, versus the 45 percent who said they did in 2015.

3) Facebook is still the major player in town but platforms like LinkedIn and Twitter are also seen as having a key role. 47 percent highlight Facebook as the single most important platform for their business with a further 22 percent choosing LinkedIn and 21 percent selecting Twitter – this compares with 36 percent for Facebook, 24 percent LinkedIn and 31 percent for Twitter in 2015.

4) There is an understanding that social has become pay to play and investment decisions are being made to back this. This year, 73 percent of survey respondents stated that they will increase paid spend on social this year compared to 70 percent last year.

5) With all the hype around social media influencers it is interesting to note that there has been a drop off in the perceived influence of the influencers. Less than 35 percent Irish marketers intend to increase their work with influencers in 2017 whereas in 2016 52 percent  had indicated that they would increase the use of influencers. Whilst it’s impossible to know for definite what is driving this apparent turn away from influencers, our own experience would suggest that there is a serious misunderstanding of this world and how to use influencers effectively.

6) Unsurprisingly video continues to witness a phenomenal rise with 92 percent indicating that they will increase their use of video this year, possibly reflecting its strong performance across all social platforms and technology advances which have made it much more accessible and economical.

7) Real-time marketing on the other hand has fallen a bit from its previously dizzy heights with 55 percent of those surveyed saying that they don’t intend to invest more in real-time initiatives.

8) Rather surprisingly crisis preparedness is an area which has not improved over the last few years, with 22 percent still viewing themselves as being unprepared versus 19 percent three years ago. Despite this concern and recent high profile brand crises, 88 percent of respondents still don’t intend on undergoing crisis simulation exercises.

The survey gives us some things to consider in our ever-evolving world. It’s clear that the role of social media in our marketing and communications will continue to rise but as we publish even more content to add to the infinite amount already in existence the question remains – how do we get cut through in this sea of content?



Darragh Rea is a Director at Edelman.

Tags:  social media 

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Build your Professional Brand on LinkedIn

Posted By Keith Browning, LinkedIn, 12 June 2017
Updated: 08 June 2017

At our recent breakfast briefing with Dublin Institute of Technology, Keith Browning gave a presentation on "How to Build your Professional Brand on LinkedIn". Keith gave his insider advice on how to optimise your LinkedIn profile and grow your network.


To read slideshow notes, view the presentation on Slideshare:



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A Day in the Life of... Victor Coleman, Digital Marketing & Communications Manager at Veolia UK & Ireland

Posted By The Marketing Institute, 07 June 2017
Updated: 06 June 2017

Victor Coleman Veolia

The Marketing Institute: What does a Digital Marketing & Communications Manager do?

Victor Coleman: I look after all aspects of digital marketing and communications for Veolia's UK and Ireland Zone. This includes the primary UK and Ireland websites along with a number of specialist and local websites, UK and Ireland social media channels, online advertising and, internally, our intranet and various online communities for staff.

Veolia, a French multinational, is a leader in environmental solutions. As such, Veolia is a B2B company, though increasingly becoming a B2B2C company.



 MII: What were your key career moves to get to your current role?

V.C: My introduction to the world of B2B marketing came in Ernst & Young where I spend 8 years. I was really lucky in that I was part of the team that introduced the Entrepreneur Of The Year Awards to Ireland where I learned a lot about what makes a business successful. 20 years later the EOY Awards is still going strong.

I have since spent time working on the agency side with Baseline, a fantastic experience I would recommend to anyone, as well as with an Irish software company and other professional services firms.


MII: What is the biggest challenge you face in your role?

V.C: The biggest challenge I face is also what makes the role so interesting - the pace of change. Digital marketing and communications is changing so rapidly that keeping up to date with developments, trends and best practice can be hard. Marketing Institute events such as DMX Dublin and the Marketing Breakfast are invaluable in this.

It is also a challenge to apply some of the more consumer-focused ideas and concepts of marketing to a B2B environment particularly where the buying cycle is very long and complex.


MII: What key skills do you need to be effective in your role?

V.C: I need to be able to influence people. I need to be able to persuade them that digital tools can help them achieve their goals as well as the goals of the business.

I also need to be able to work with, and lead, virtual teams as the UK and Ireland Marketing team is spread across four locations and I also work with corporate teams based in Paris.


MII: Describe a typical working day.

V.C: It’s a real cliche but no two days are ever the same. Typically I would start the day by having a quick look at our planned social media content for the day and any comments received overnight.

I have a series of weekly catch-ups with colleagues from other teams, which we typically do by Google Hangout video call. We try to keep these short but they are very useful in terms of making sure we coordinate all of our activities.

After that I will set time a side to look at one of a number of strategic projects which include a significant re-working of the UK website and a more focused use of LinkedIn for business development purposes.


MII: What do you love most about your role?

V.C: I love the variety of the role. We provide such a variety of solutions that even after 3 years I am still learning new things about our offering to customers. Working with the UK business is great also as I am working on a much larger scale that I would be if I was only focused on the Irish market.


MII: Looking ahead, where might your career path lead to next?

V.C: There is so much opportunity in my current role that it should keep me busy for a while yet. The whole area of smart cities and the Internet of things is fascinating and as Veolia’s solutions in this area develop that is something I might well look at.


MII: To whom do you look for professional inspiration in your role?

V.C: There are lots of great people working in marketing in Ireland many of whom make an impact on the global stage too. Michael Carey, probably best know for Jacobs Fruitfield, has always impressed me. Willie Walsh is another superb Irish businessman who did a great job in Aer Lingus and is doing a great job now in IAG. My Dad was a great influence on me too. He ran his own retail business for 25 year and growing up I was immersed in the business (as it often the case in a family business). It gave me a great grounding in the basics of business.


You can read all the A Day in the Life features here.

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