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A guide to influencer marketing in Ireland

Posted By Rachel Purcell, Edelman, Wednesday 4 October 2017

Over the past few years Ireland has seen an explosion in the number of brand partnerships with “influencers”. This in turn has led to a significant rise in the number and type of online personalities categorising themselves as influencers coupled with a corresponding erosion of trust in their effectiveness. Added to this, several bespoke influencer agencies have emerged and we’ve seen the introduction of new advertising codes aimed at providing more clarity to the public and the industry in general. However, there remain significant challenges particularly when it comes to transparency and trust, and the industry will have to combat these challenges if it is to build credibility with the public and ultimately secure more marketing investment.

Endorsements and the use of brand advocates and ambassadors to influence behaviour has always had a place in the marketing mix and this will continue to be the case. But to be effective, marketers must focus on quality and strategic fit over quantity and reach. While working with influencers who have a significant social media following helps increase the chances of your campaign driving reach, this should never be the key objective – an opportunity exists to use influencers to do exactly what they’re supposed to do – influence our audience perception of the brand and its products. The critical factor in all of this is transparency and authenticity. Genuine influencers do not align with non-relevant brands. They understand the value of their own brand and their followers which dictates what content they share.  When an influencer and brand relationship is authentic and relevant, this can be highly valuable to both parties and play a crucial role in the wider marketing strategy.

As well as a lack of transparency, inflated influencer costs are also driving negativity. It started off as a relatively low-cost way for brands to engage audiences but now prices have sky rocketed with little justification given the proliferation of brand associations and the consequent erosion of the value of those associations. This has helped fuel the emergence of micro-influencers who are more choiceful of their associations and provide a more targeted and more cost-effective approach to delivering strong results for brands.

The requirement to be transparent is everyone’s responsibility, strong advertising codes and enforcement play their part, but new developments from social platforms to allow sponsored content to become more identifiable across platforms will perhaps have the biggest impact. We’ve recently trialled a new Facebook feature which gives influencers the option to tag brands in their posts to allow them to promote their content but also clearly flag that they are partnering with the brand and it is sponsored content. So far, the results are really encouraging and in our view, it certainly helps with transparency by making it considerably easier for the audience to identify promoted content. Instagram have also added a new tool which allows influencers to clearly identify when they're getting paid by a brand by including a tag at the top of the Instagram post that reads "Paid partnership with (insert brand)".

So, what does the future of influencer marketing look like? We’ve seen a significant shift in brands seeking out micro-influencers particularly internationally. While micro-influencers might not have a massive reach they tend to have very high engagement rates in their niche and can deliver cut-through, relevance and the all-important third-party endorsement from a trusted source.

We’re also witnessing influencers develop new skills such as photo and video editing to help them generate incredible, standout content in an industry that is over saturated with bland branded content. They are becoming content collaborators who through their own point of view and engaging content are a very useful tool in a brands armoury in the battle to influence behaviour.



Rachel Purcell is a digital account manager at Edelman Ireland. At Edelman Ireland, Rachel leads the influencer division in Dublin and works closely with the global Edelman influencer team. She works with a range of leading Irish and international brands to deliver successful digital campaigns.

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Who Won the Summer of Sponsorship?

Posted By The Marketing Institute & Onside, Wednesday 27 September 2017

Interested in learning about what consumers, thought leaders, and your industry peers think were the highs and lows of this past summer of sponsorship? Then join us for another insightful marketing breakfast in partnership with ONSIDE as we examine the changing landscape of Irish sponsorship in 2017. Our expert panel will feature key sponsorship influencers from Ireland’s biggest brands, including new GAA All-Ireland Hurling headliners Bord Gáis Energy and award-winning sports and entertainment giants Vodafone. Further details on speakers to be announced next week. 
Be a part of the discussion! Tell us who you think ‘Won the Summer of Sponsorship’ by taking this short survey. Survey results will be shared and discussed during the event, and all participants who take the survey will receive a free Key Findings Snapshot Report of this research!
For more information or to register for this event, check out our event page.  


Take the Survey

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A Day in the Life of... Yvonne Kiely, Director at EY

Posted By The Marketing Institute, Wednesday 27 September 2017
Updated: Tuesday 26 September 2017

 The Marketing Institute: What does a Director of EY Ireland do?

Y.K: EY Ireland has a number of Service Lines but specifically I am a Director in EY’s Performance Improvement Advisory practice, specialising in Customer and Digital.

My role involves helping clients cultivate actionable customer insights and be first-to-market with differential customer experiences. Typically I will lead programmes and teams across utilities, retail, technology and financial services sectors, which aim to increase customer lifetime value. We work with our clients to identify a customer need or behaviour, co-create a tailored solution, and build the customer experience, operating model and technology platform to suit. Our research and experience shows that by focusing on making customers happy, businesses become more profitable – improving loyalty, attracting new customers, getting them to spend more and reducing costs.


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

Y.K: I believe that having worked in both professional services and industry roles has made me a stronger advisor today. Joining EY has also given me access to an enormous global network of experienced colleagues which allows me to continue to grow and also to build engagement teams that have deep knowledge and experience across all facets of any type of project.


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

Y.K: So many businesses have historically designed their products and services based on technology, processes and structure, resulting in fragmented and frustrating experiences for the customer. This usually has created a great deal of “legacy” infrastructure and entrenched behaviours that need to be worked around or sometimes radically changed in order to adopt a truly customer-centric approach. In addition, delivering end to end effective customer experience involves many functions across an organisation This type of change is difficult to progress at an accelerated pace without  highly empowered front line employees and C-level sponsorship. Securing these for a particular project is often where I invest my own time in order to make a project successful.


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

Y.K: Leadership skills and the ability to prioritise are critical. Every day, I need to make sure that our team members are making the best use of their time, for the benefit of our clients, to grow our Customer & Digital business and to develop their own capabilities. I also need to be able to inspire a delivery team made up of individuals motivated by very different objectives, from different companies and backgrounds, to come together and achieve a common goal, rooted in customer insight.  As part of that, I must balance strong advocacy and listening skills in order to help define problems and opportunities accurately, as well as champion the client, customer and consumer perspectives.


MII: Describe a typical working day?

Y.K: A typical working day is very rarely the same – I may be on a client site delivering a service design workshop one day and the next could involve meeting with clients to help identify their key customer objectives for the next three to five years. When I am in the office, I might be overseeing activity in our Customer Lab, counselling members of my team on their longer-term career progression, or recruiting new team members to help fuel our growth.


MII: What do you love most about your role?

Y.K: Immersing myself in the challenge of exceeding client expectations on a daily basis which requires a focus on customer data and trends, commercial insights and building meaningful relationships. I love the culture of our team and of EY Ireland. It is genuinely exciting to see such rapid growth as it continues to open up new opportunities for people across the team to share in the journey as we help clients build more profitable relationships with their customers.


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

Y.K: We operate in a very dynamic and exciting area of business often leading the charge around digital integration, pioneering insights to action, accelerating organisational redesign to drive customer centricity, and advocating for continuous improvement. That means we too continue to improve, challenge and champion as the team grows. As such we are continuing to expand our Customer and Digital strength in Ireland with additional service offerings and capabilities. With that comes further opportunity to enable our clients accelerate their own growth in truly innovative and differentiated ways that drive sustained firm value. I look forward to leading that next stage in our evolution and expanding our relationships so that we can continue to help our clients meet their objectives and work together in achieving these successes.

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A Day in the Life of... Ian McGrath, Managing Director at MediaCom

Posted By The Marketing Institute, Wednesday 13 September 2017
Updated: Tuesday 12 September 2017

ian mcgrath mediacom

The Marketing Institute: What does a Managing Director at MediaCom do?

Ian McGrath: As a communications business, MediaCom operates in a highly energetic, expansive and competitive environment. The extent of specialism across this industry, and its pace, keeps it refreshing. Our central belief in MediaCom is that our people defines us – People First. Instilling this across everything we do is my number one priority.


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

I.M: I’ve worked in media agencies throughout my career. If you know me, you know I genuinely love this business. Few industries are driven by such an extent of exploration, learning and proof as marketing is.


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

I.M: In one word – Leadership. I would not believe anyone who says that leadership is easy, but it is hugely rewarding.


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

I.M: Our core purpose in MediaCom is to grow clients’ businesses. The capability and motivation of our team is what moves business forward. Understanding people is how you really grow penetration, so to be truly effective in my role I need to ensure this is the focus of everything we do.


MII: Describe a typical working day.

I.M: There is no day that is wash, rinse, repeat. As I mentioned, that’s what I love about this business. In MediaCom we work with a stellar list of clients, many in tough markets. No two days could be the same. I do like to get an early start as I believe that sets you up for the rest of the day.

Reading and exercise are important no matter how busy you are. And make sure you have time to think. Lasting solutions are often better than quick solutions.


MII: What do you love most about your role?

I.M: I believe that brands are cultural. Understanding how to influence choice, commitment and intent is something you have to immerse yourself in. I also like to know the technical ins-and-outs of how things work. Both these areas excite me.

The people in this business are also generally hard working, passionate and nice. That makes a big difference in any industry.


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

I.M: I’m a big believer ‘that chance favours the well prepared’. I’m always open to opportunities, once I keep to this I’m sure I’ll keep finding them. In the meantime I’ll keep trying to improve myself and continue to learn.


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

I.M: Sometimes people forget that musicians are big fans of music. There is a lot of inspiration to take from the Irish marketing industry over the years. We should be proud. And the privilege we have today is that it's never been more accessible. Please find it, read it and share it.

And lastly I can never overlook the support of my family and friends. I always have to give a special thank you to these people.

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Attitudes to Advertising in Ireland

Posted By James Wilson, Mintel, Tuesday 12 September 2017

attitudes to advertising

Mintel’s latest Attitudes to Advertising, Ireland 2017 Report examines the advertising industry in Northern Ireland (NI) and the Republic of Ireland (RoI). 

The report highlights that Irish consumers are increasingly taking steps to avoid commercial content, while they lack belief that advertising has a strong impact on them. However, with consumers paying attention to humorous and informative advertising, there is scope for brands to reach them effectively and gain their attention, boosting recall and purchase intention. In this article James Wilson, Research Analyst at Mintel, discusses consumers’ perceptions of current advertising platforms. 

Social media the most effective online advertising channel

Social networks are an effective way to reach consumers, with around a third of consumers in both NI and RoI agreeing that advertising on social network news feeds is effective in gaining their attention. In comparison, advertisements on internet services such as video streaming channels, ads on search engines and banners on webpages are considered less engaging. However, usage of social network platforms amongst younger audiences is fragmenting towards smaller sites and more interest-oriented groups. As such, brands will need to include more channels into their social media activity and segment younger consumers by their interests to ensure that the right content is being delivered to the right audience on the right platform. This will help brands to contribute to the conversations younger consumers are having and thus boost their relevance among these key users of social networks.

TV the most effective offline advertising channel

TV remains the most powerful medium for brands looking to get their message out, as stated by 62% of NI and 57% of RoI consumers who consider it effective. However, as TV viewing habits change and become more fragmented, brands will need to embrace multi-device viewers and develop viewing profiles of consumers who are accessing content in different ways to ensure that they maintain the effectiveness of this channel. 

Outdoor billboards better at reaching urban consumers

Billboards and outdoor posters are effective in reaching urban consumers. Indeed, 40% of consumers from the city of Belfast stated that this type of advertising caught their attention, compared to an average of 30% in NI overall. Identifying high-footfall areas within cities for an outdoor campaign will help advertisers to boost the exposure and awareness of their brands. Furthermore, with usage of public transport increasing in NI and RoI, and set to continue growing in the coming years, the out-of-home sector offers brands significant potential. Digitising more advertising panels at bus and train stations would help brands to deliver a more interactive experience for the growing number of public transport users, therefore boosting recall and purchase intention. 

Irish consumers taking steps to avoid advertising

Looking at interaction with advertising, it seems Irish consumers feel overexposed to commercial content due to the increased amount of advertising they receive, particularly online. Indeed, 37% of NI and 38% of RoI consumers have noticed more advertising online compared to 12 months ago. As a consequence, they are increasingly taking steps to avoid commercial content, with more than half of consumers saying they fast forward through television adverts when using catch-up/on-demand services. Moreover, consumers feel misled by advertising, as around four in 10 think products are never as good as commercials make them look. This is particularly the case with online advertising, considered more misleading compared to traditional print and TV channels.

Humorous advertising appeals to consumers

Less than one in 10 NI and RoI consumers think advertising has a strong impact on them. However, Mintel data shows that consumers do pay attention to advertising that makes them laugh and informs them of special offers and discounts. Using humorous advertising that informs consumers will help brands to gain their attention, boosting recall and purchase intention. 

Consumers avoid advertising but understand it keeps services free

Although the majority of Irish consumers understand that advertising is essential to keep some services that are particularly important to them in their daily lives, such as Google and Facebook, free to use, there remains a significant level of negativity among consumers towards commercial content. This likely reflects that consumers feel that there is too much advertising and that it is becoming invasive, intrusive and annoying. 

As such, Irish consumers are reducing their exposure to commercial content by changing TV channels, radio stations and web browsers, fast forwarding through TV ads on catch-up services and not using websites due to high volumes of advertising. However, despite taking steps to avoid advertising, there is currently little appetite among Irish consumers to pay for a premium service to do so.

This does not necessarily mean that consumers accept or are happy with the advertising experience that they receive. Instead, consumers may think that these services do not represent value for money. More clearly demonstrating the benefits (eg fast page load times, greater privacy, exclusive content) of paid-for ad-free services will help providers to boost subscriptions and usage and see fewer consumers using ad blockers to obtain an ad-free experience.


As a research analyst with Mintel, James researches and writes in the retail, technology and leisure sectors for Mintel’s Irish series of reports. His specialist areas include all things digital with a focus on social media and consumer shopping habits. He has featured in radio interviews and national publications such as The Times.

Mintel’s Attitudes to Advertising, Ireland, 2017 report is available to purchase. For more information on this report and how Mintel can help your business, contact Ciara Rafferty, Director Mintel Ireland on +44 (0)28 9024 1849 or

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