UK Digital Brands Coming to Ireland

Net imperative ran an interesting event this week in Guinness Storehouse.  It was a pretty full house, wide range of understanding amongst the attendees, had a good line up and strangely enough was free.  Perhaps Piaras was right about the future being free.  As most of the speakers were sponsors it is probably safe to assume that they will be offering or looking to expand their services in Ireland.  Normally these type events are direct sales pitches but the balance was pretty good at this one.

Some interesting insights:

Christopher Bennett, Blyk gave some great insights into the youth market being knowledge driven, collaborative, socially fragmented, multichannelling and microconsuming.  These digital natives want innovation and are digitally aware, confident and looking for value.  In building his story toward the Blyk offering he outlined some of the mobile stats with

  • 3.3 billion mobile hand sets globally
  • Twice the number of TVs
  • Three times the number of PCs
  • and over 78,000 sold during the time of his presentation

Mobile phone usage was also a bit different than you would expect with the most popuar use of phones of the 16-24 age group reporting

  1. Calls
  2. Text messaging (no surprises here)
  3. Alarm clock (not me with blipping mails)
  4. Finally use of it as torch

Blyk provide sim cards and free calls in return for customers agreeing to receive up to 6 messages a day.  The service is invite only (similar to gmail early days) and they only target the 16-24 audience as its a traditionally hard group to reach (an hence very attractive to advertisers).  The real beauty of their service is that they get very detailed information about the users which means they can generate highly relevant ads.  This covers demographic detail, interest etc but also the handset details (so they can customise photos/videos etc).  So much so that the average response rate is 25% with 75% achieved for highly targeted campaigns.  Their firm belief is that with such a focus on the interest areas that advertising is percieved as a valuable service and not intrusive.  This blended in with his discussion on the power of marketing to one.

Chris did not outline plans for Ireland but his description of market places they are interested in has an uncanny resemblance to Ireland.  I imagine there will be lots of recession hit student ready to sell their personal details for free calls.

Adam Parker from RealWire discussed the changes that are taking place in the PR/media market place with a move from the paper based media to publishers such as Total Telecom, Hoovers to the growth of blogs (micro blogs, social media) and now UGC (User Generated Content).  His main points being that the new media is instant, far reaching and enduring and hence can be more powerful that traditional print media. 

So why would PR companies use his service or rather go online – the usual reasons

  • Ability to influence search rankings
  • Online conversations taking place anyway
  • Controlled brand message syndication

He pointed to some online review sites, that no one in audience had heard of, with high Alexa rankings as a examples of opportunities that are being missed with a focus on traditional media. 

On a positive note he reported that up to 70% of UK PR companies either do not report having a online PR service or blog or both.  This would correspond to Damien Mulleys blog on same in the Irish market.

Adman finished on a final note that in addition to the expected online virtues people online are active and looking for something while off line they are passive. 

Claira Jackson from Sony Music entertainment gave some good examples of how the music industry has changed as digital has grown.  Companies like Sony now offer much more value add for brand wishing to engage in music as control over the charts and music distribution has slipped away.  Collaborations with Intel and jamiroquai (access to JK, competitions), Xbox (Xbox live and video releases), Last Minute (access to celebrities and travel habits with 10 minute mini videos), Coke and iTunes.  Their insight team also carried out research and were able to give detailed pen pictures of AC DC fan.  They may not control the distribution as once before but certainly control access to musicans and official use of music by brands.  This supports the arguement by Andrew Keen that the actual music sales are the minority of the financial earnings for artists.

This presentation and the insights from Chris Bennett were of particular interest for Johnny Beirne from Download who is offering a text based music download payment and fulfilment service.  Interesting company to watch and offer lots of opportunities for the PR industry who wish to leverage the independent artists in Ireland.

It will be interesting to see the follow up from the session.  I have already notices additional people following me on twitter from the event and some more LinkedIn follow on invites from the presenters.

1 Comment. Leave new
January 31, 2009 4:38 pm


Nice to get a mention in your review of the event thanks. That fact “that no one in audience had heard of” my website is really understandable. I decided a while ago to focus a couple of mobile phone review sites just on the Irish market just to see if they would work. I can see a market for this but we are a few years behind the UK.


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