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A Day in the Life of... Michele Griffin, Commercial Director at the RDS

Posted By The Marketing Institute, 10 August 2017
Updated: 04 August 2017

michele griffin rdsThe Marketing Institute: What does the commercial director at the RDS  do?

Michele Griffin: The role of commercial director at the RDS  involves revenue responsibility for the RDS Venues. This includes Key Account Management with the sales team for customers in conferencing, exhibitions, sports, concerts, exams and special events; I work with the Marketing team on venue marketing & brand development and evolving Sponsorship and Revenue Optimisation opportunities at the venue. Catering & hospitality are core ancillary revenue streams and with our partners RDS Hospitality (RDSH) we have launched a number of  new packages in the marketplace and this innovation has been very well received.

 

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

M.G: I started life as a teacher and taught for 2 years full time and then moved to work with Dublin Zoo to head up their education department, and later moved into the business side of the Zoo as Commercial Director. I was a Member of the Management Team that transformed Dublin Zoo from a state-subsidized attraction to a self-financing modern Conservation Park.  The commercial portfolio gave me great insight into running a visitor attraction with a not-for-profit ethos and saw me working across gate admissions and ticketing, retail, catering, sponsorship and associated activities marketing, education, volunteer & outreach services.

A relocation to my home county of Cork presented an opportunity to work with University College Cork (UCC) as their Director of Development at the Cork University Foundation; this involved  raising donations annually from corporates, individuals, Trusts and Foundations to underwrite capital and strategic projects at the University. A subsequent return to Dublin involved a move to the Irish Management Institute (IMI) as Director of Membership & Marketing at the IMI, prior to commencing working here with the RDS!

 

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

M.G: The Event Industry sees daily challenges as you can imagine, bringing a large scale exhibition or conference ‘to life’   as the RDS  seeks to work with our customers to make their event ‘extraordinary’ – and our recent venue re-brand captures this spirit. As Ireland’s busiest venue, the  RDS  positions itself as the venue of choice. Meeting customer expectations that will deliver an exceptional and extraordinary event carries its own pressure! Fortunately, the RDS have a superb team in place with strong event experience, so we are well positioned to meet the challenges of the 500 events that happen here annually.

 

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

M.G: Knowledge of the events industry is essential and an appreciation of the process from concept to planning and execution of an event are core parts of the job; my commercial skills have been honed over the years and the RDS presents an abundance of opportunity to grow, develop and innovate from  new and existing revenue streams. As a person, I’m capable and robust, so that comes into play as the venue operates a busy events calendar annually.

 

MII: Describe a typical working day.

M.G: A typical day is punctuated by activity that ensures the venue will achieve its commercial revenue target for the year and the commercial team at the venue are 100% focused on that goal.

To illustrate a typical day, I’ll talk through today - a typical day in August prior to our biggest annual event – the Dublin Horse Show, where I hold several commercial responsibilities.

Early morning started with a sponsorship meeting:  with an annual Dublin Horse Show sponsorship budget close on €1 million, the sponsorship team meet daily to ensure delivery of the activation packages promised and as the Dublin Horse Show seeks a new ‘’title sponsor’’ significant work is being undertaken on that front in 2017. Next stop was a staff briefing on the Horse Show; followed by a series of other meetings &  interactions with staff on the media centre, hospitality and trade stands at the show, signing a large event contract (the culmination of 2 years work)  and finally writing this article for The Marketing Institute!

 

MII: What do you love most about your role?

M.G: The RDS are re-developing the main arena and we are working currently with a Naming Rights partner to assist funding this; in addition to seeking funding from Government to see this project through. The outcome will be an amazing new facility to support the Dublin Horse Show and our commercial activity with Leinster Rugby, Outdoor Concerts and other large scale outdoor events.  

 

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

M.G: I have had the good fortune to have a career I thoroughly relish and enjoy, and also the privilege of being a parent to my 3 children, with Dara my husband, over the past 17 years. As any working mother will understand, managing the balance between family and career is a daily challenge, but as my kids are moving to a more independent stage, I look forward to  reviewing where my career is going and the opportunities that it will bring.

 

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

M.G: Mary Robinson is a person I admire. As a role model for professional women in a  contemporary working environment, she is a person of principle who represented our country so well as a President and her many achievements and contributions with the UN and progressing the social justice agenda. For myself, working in the not-for-profit sector interests and motivates me;  the ethos of achieving change or positive outcomes,  based on principles and shared values,  is very rewarding. 

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Vizeum Connection Points: July Industry Updates

Posted By Vizeum, 09 August 2017
Updated: 04 August 2017

OOH

JCDecaux have announced the introduction of the Republic of Ireland’s first large format LED Roadside Advertising Screens - at the junction of Pembroke Road, Herbert Park & Elgin Road in D4. 

RTÉ PLAYER 

RTÉ Player are launching Dynamic Ad Insertion into their live stream, this is basically inserting copy into the section where natural TV breaks are which is currently blacked out. 

SNAPCHAT 

Snap Ads are now available in the Irish market. It begins with an up to 10-second vertical video, and then offer the option to add an interactive element one swipe away. 

FACEBOOK 

Facebook are bringing adverts to Messenger. People will see Messenger ads in the home tab of their Messenger mobile app. 

INSTAGRAM 

Ads in Stories is a new format for businesses on Instagram. The full screen vertical format allows an immersive experience in both video or photo options. 

GOOGLE 

Google’s Irish operation has avoided a €1.12bn tax bill after a French court found it did not abuse any loopholes. 

OOH 

Exterion Media have launched a new experiential offering called LIVE! This new offering will take the opportunities available across CIÉ rail and bus stations to maximise brand activation campaigns. 

INM 

INM have announced it is launching PlayersXpe, Irelands first global gaming and entertainment event. It will be help in October in the Convention Centre, and promises to include a number of international gaming stars. 



ABOUT VIZEUM

Vizeum's promise is to drive business value through media for our clients. Established in 2004, Vizeum is structured to take full advantage of the opportunities brought about by the digitization of media. The company manages its client business via a partner structure. This ensures that every client has senior advisors managing their business. These senior points of contact develop integrated strategies across the entire bought, owned and earned media ecosystem. We then have the specialist skills in house to deliver that strategy in the most efficient and cost effective manner.

Vizeum sponsors The Marketing Institute's Marketing Breakfast series.

www.vizeum.ie

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We’ve Tested… the New Google Feed

Posted By Gaelle Robert, The Marketing Institute, 02 August 2017

google news feed

On 19th July Google have announced a new feed experience in the Google app, “making it easier than ever to discover, explore and stay connected to what matters to you”.  It replaces the Now feed that Google have been experimenting since last December.

With major companies like Facebook, Apple and Amazon starting to implement AI, it was only a matter of time until the search giant found a way to put the technology to good use.  With its unique insights into a huge user base, who better than Google could pull off a feed that is truly personalised?  I was truly curious to try it and find out to what extent Google could wow me.

The stories in the feed are influenced by your Google searches, but also by trends in your area and around the world. The difference with other feeds such as Facebook’s? It is not “social”. No Friends, no Likes, no peer pressure. Just the stuff YOU want.

You can customise your feed further by following topics directly from your searches thanks to a new “follow” button on search results, and unfollowing topics in the feed. As an attempt to give you a holistic view on any given topic and avoid the "echo chamber" phenomenon, Google provides a carousel under its stories with similar articles from a range of sources. But with the stories being based on your searches and the absence of a social network to spice up your feed, you are more than ever trapped in your own bubble. Will Google find ways to surprise and delight us, while staying relevant and personalised? Watch this space...

And what does all this imply for marketers? With Google’s revenue coming mostly from search, they are making a bold move when claiming to respond to your needs “even when you don’t have a query in mind”. Some go as far as to say this could mean the end of Search as we know it, which would present a whole lot of new challenges and opportunities in SEO and PPC.

The feed is only available in the iOS and Android Google apps for now, but will soon be rolled out on desktop as well, meaning a major redesign of Google’s iconic homepage (!!!).

So, the verdict? If the new feed doesn’t feel revolutionary so far, it's nice to see that Google is not resting on its laurels. It’s safe to say that they won’t stop there. And marketers should keep a very close eye on it.

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A Day in the Life of... Fiona Hodgins, Director of Brand Team at Edelman

Posted By The Marketing Institute, 02 August 2017
Updated: 01 August 2017

Fiona Hodgins Edelman

The Marketing Institute: What does a Director of a Brand team do in a communications agency?

Fiona Hodgins: I head up the Brand team at Edelman, a communications marketing agency in Dublin.  I’m a senior advisor whose job it is to help clients solve business challenges and identify opportunities that grow brand relationships, reputation and ultimately bottom-line.  I work with a diverse range of blue chip clients who operate in sectors such as FMCG, hospitality, alcohol and retail.

As a discipline, those who have built careers in PR have always been accomplished storytellers. Traditionally, this was driven by the fact we have always had to earn rather than pay for attention.  However, as an agency Edelman is at an interesting stage of evolution. We are super-charging our storytelling capability by bringing in specialisms such as planning to better interrogate challenges and opportunities, data and insight to shape and verify our approach and creative to deliver big ideas that are by design, platform agnostic.  We’ve added paid capability to help our stories travel further with more audience intent and frequency to make them sticky.  Paid is complemented by our influencer marketing and brand partnership capabilities.  We also work closely with Edelman Intelligence, our network insight and analytics division to devise measurement frameworks, which demonstrate tangible ROI, an area that traditional PR agencies have always struggled with.

My job is to work with the team to help our clients better navigate the complexity they are facing in the marketplace and deliver real results that stand up in the boardroom. 

 

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

F.H: Prior to working with Edelman in Dublin I spent a number of years in agency in London.  Even fifteen years ago PR agencies sat at the head table opposite key decision makers both from a client and a wider agency perspective.  It taught me always to stay close to my client’s business objectives and how interesting the world of communications is when you are there for the start of the conversation, not simply trying to amplify an idea that is born outside of the principles of earning attention.

 

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

F.H: People are our business and team is our biggest asset, however recruiting the right talent can be very challenging. We’re an agency in growth and we’re actively pushing the boundaries of the traditional definition of what a PR agency does. Strategically, we are investing in attracting and retaining the right talent.  The challenge is securing talent that can move at our pace, mindset and ambition, whilst holding the core communication consultancy skills that stand up in any business environment. 

That said, when we find the right candidates we tend to hold onto them and our attrition rate is low, which is a comforting counter balance.  We are passionate about helping our talent map their careers with Edelman and have invested significantly in training to enable team to grow and develop in sync with our agency ambition. 

From a personal perspective, the biggest challenge I face daily is time, there is never, ever as much of it as I would like!

 

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

F.H: When it comes to giving the right recommendations to clients and safeguarding the quality of agency outputs having an inquisitive mind, which assumes little and questions a lot, is a great skill to possess at my level. 

Being open to ongoing learning is also a crucial skill.  Experience gives me a gut instinct to lean on but it’s not enough on its own.  The pace of change is fast and many clients are questioning where they invest as some areas of their marketing spend are delivering a diminished state of return with the reality of increased investment to maintain the status quo.  If content and storytelling is our bread and butter then we need to ensure it can perform effectively and efficiently across earned, paid, social and owned.  Harnessing insights from business analytics, understanding how to better optimise content and distribute it more effectively is now part of my day-to-day and ensuring I keep abreast of developments is crucial to maintain the quality of the recommendations I give clients.

On a final note, I think the ability to play nice with others is an under-rated but absolutely essential skill to possess, regardless of level.

 

MII: Describe a typical working day.

F.H: My brain is most productive in the morning so my day starts early.  The lack of email, people and phone traffic during this period lends itself perfectly to writing or sub-editing client or new business content and ensuring I am up to speed with emails and my diary before the day starts.

A day in agency is by its nature diverse, which is what most of us enjoy about it.  Many of my clients are currently in planning for 2018 so my day now is full of briefs, brand growth manifestos and identifying the opportunities we can apply strength to, whilst assembling team to drive the creative ideation process.  

Being part of the largest independent communications marketing agency has its benefits.  Access to thought leadership from a pool of global specialists, intellectual property to verify thinking and access to online tools really helps us show up differently as an agency.   Spending time to ensure I am plugged into this and in a position to share it back with my clients is an important part of my day.

Day to-day workflow is busy and my day includes the operational and quality management of live projects.  This normally takes the form of team meetings to recap progress, identify challenges or new opportunities and plan next steps.  The scope of work is wide and can include translating brand narratives we’ve created into effective press collateral, video or social content or building brand experiences and sampling campaigns.  Inevitably, there are campaign outputs for review and approval, which usually happens back at the desk.

Edelman is an open plan office so it’s a great place to debate and bounce around ideas.  Thanks to the depth and diversity of team it’s also a useful and fun environment in which to stay on top of pop culture and what’s new – brand campaigns, trends, spaces, restaurants, food and beauty.

 

MII: What do you love most about your role?

F.H: I love the new balance of science creeping into my discipline alongside our traditional capability in creative storytelling.  The two combined together are potent and makes thinking about the future very exciting.

 

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

F.H: I am very lucky to work with an agency that is entrepreneurial in nature, which means you have the opportunity to grow or diversify if you bring a considered perspective to the conversation.  We are evolving our offer beyond traditional PR practices such as media relations solely into the generation of big ideas that travel and become contagious with the help of influence, social, experience and paid.  This is work in progress and will no doubt shape where my career plan leads to next.

 

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

F.H: I’m lucky to be surrounded by smart people who challenge the status quo and stretch my thinking. Depending on the day that can be agency or network colleagues, other agency partners or freelance specialists.

Digital has opened access to thinking and inspiration around the world and it is never been easier to tap into the experiences of really smart thinkers. I’m an unapologetic subscriber to streams of curated content as diverse as ‘Strands of Genius’ by Rosie and @Faris to podcasts like ‘Revisionist History’. 

 

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

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Half-Time Sponsorship Scores Signal GAA's Time to Shine

Posted By Onside, 01 August 2017

John Trainor Onside

As the summer season of GAA heats up on the field, sponsors still view gaelic football and hurling as a winning platform, as 1 in 5 sponsorship deals in Ireland so far this year involved a GAA property, according to sponsorship experts ONSIDE. 

While the latest ONSIDE QSR (Quarterly Sponsorship Review) shows that the second quarter of 2017 saw a slower rate of activity to the same period last year In terms of volumes of sponsorship deals made, there has been an overall year on year growth of 3% in sponsorship deals in the first half of 2017 vs. the same period in 2016.

Sport continues to command a lion’s share of the sponsorship activity in Ireland in 2017, with 3 in 4 deals reported so far this year played out in the sports arena. High-profile deals like Bord Gáis Energy’s new sponsorship of the All Ireland Senior Hurling Championships and the GAA’s new partnership with Ericsson all made headlines, while soccer is also showing particularly strong progress this year, including a range of new FAI deals with brands including Fulfill, Rustlers and a major new kit deal with New Balance. 

Commenting on other Irish sponsorship market dynamics at play to date in 2017, John Trainor, Founder and CEO of ONSIDE notes that “media / broadcast and equestrian related sponsorships have also got off to a flying start in the first half of the year.  Financial services and travel & tourism sectors have been most active to date as brands in these sectors establish their positioning for more competitive landscapes to trade in over the medium term.”

In terms of the Irish public’s buy-in to sponsors advances, Trainor notes “a more consistent pattern of admiration for sponsors is emerging as the Irish Sponsorship marketplace matures further. For the second quarter in a row, our research found 2 in 3 Irish adults that could name a sponsorship that they liked.  The other dynamic is that a smaller number of sponsors are ‘making the cut’ in people’s minds as the clutter of brands is being more clearly filtered to 30 or 40 brands consistently standing out for people”. 

Telecoms brands topped the ONSIDE list of most appealing sport sponsors among Irish adults for the second quarter in a row, with main rugby and soccer sponsors Vodafone and 3 championing sports sponsorship appeal.  Vodafone also topped ONSIDE’s poll of Ireland’s most appealing non-sports sponsors, joined by other major sponsors of non-sports platforms such as 3, Guinness, Electric Ireland, Heineken and Bord Gáis Energy.  Aviva’s progress was also singled out by the ONSIDE research as being exponential in the past 12 months, while Bank of Ireland and Lucozade all show good momentum in the latest research.

With all eyes on the GAA sponsorship platform in an otherwise quiet summer of sport this year, the latest ONSIDE QSR research with the Irish public also zoned in specifically on the early performers in terms of most admired GAA sponsorship, finding over 30 sponsors making the cut.  The ONSIDE research demonstrates the importance of strong activation to win over the hearts and minds of the Irish public, with Supervalu, who have supported the GAA since 2010, topping the table of most appealing GAA sponsor in Q2 2017, followed by relative newcomer Lidl, who have invested heavily in promoting their association with Ladies Gaelic Football.  Guinness is still positively associated with the games in third, ahead of AIB and Bank of Ireland. 


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

John Trainor is the CEO and founder of ONSIDE. He has been a contributing member and Fellow of the Marketing Institute of Ireland for over 20 years.

ONSIDE is a leading specialist in marketing and sponsorship consulting and research services – With a proven track record and strong industry experience in a cross section of sectors, ONSIDE is currently feeding into the marketing and sponsorship decision making of circa €50m+ of Irish spend – working on many of Ireland’s premier sponsorships – on sporting, music, cause-related, broadcast and other platforms.

 

www.onside.ie

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