Interviews, insight & analysis on digital media & marketing

New Business Bulletin: Virgin Media O2, Workday, Hawk, Nano and more

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More than half of UK businesses expected the King’s Coronation and extra Bank Holiday to give a bigger boost to revenues than the Platinum Jubilee celebrations last year, with new movement data showing over 114,000 people made their way to central London to be part of the historic parade. These insights mark the launch of the first Virgin Media O2 Business Movers Index. This quarterly index combines anonymised and aggregated UK movement data from O2 Motion*, with national polling findings to reveal key trends relating to the behaviour of 2,000 British consumers and 1,000 business leaders. Together, the data paints a clear picture of UK movement patterns and the trends behind them, with this first quarter painting a positive picture of Britain embracing spring with increased commuting and shopping trips. The first publication has revealed that commuting, retail and transport use across major British towns and cities have notably increased over the first quarter of 2023, despite the tough economic backdrop and cost-of-living crisis.

Workday has announced that VNDLY is now Workday VNDLY, following its acquisition of the leading vendor management system (VMS). The news marks a significant milestone in the integration of VNDLY with Workday, and reflects Workday’s commitment to helping customers enable a unified approach to managing the extended workforce. Workday VNDLY – now with Workday’s full suite of products – provides organisations with full visibility into their entire workforce, including total costs, plan and develop talent to meet labour needs, and control compliance and security risks for contingent workers. 

Hawk, a European player in omnichannel digital communication, has announced multiple partnerships with the main players in the field of advertising attention measurement. The move meets the growing demand from media agencies and advertisers to optimise their digital campaigns using this new metric. As of today, all Hawk clients can optimise and measure the effectiveness of their digital campaigns using the tools offered by Adelaide, Contxtful, DoubleVerify, Lumen, Playground XYZ and xpln.ai. The different partnerships allow Hawk to offer its clients a range of measurement solutions based on the specific configuration of their advertising campaigns, which can be activated on mobile, desktop and tablet (in-app and web environments, display and online video formats).

Warner Bros. Discovery U.K. & Ireland and Sky Media, the advertising sales arm of Sky, have announced an expansion of their long-running partnership. From the 1st of July 2023, iconic kids’ channels Cartoon Network, Boomerang and Cartoonito will be joining the Sky Media advertising portfolio. The partnership means Sky Media enhances its position as the home of children’s TV in the UK, with the three channels joining a strong line-up which already includes the Milkshake, Nickelodeon and POP brands from Narrative Entertainment and Paramount. Sky Media will be the exclusive sales house for Spot and On Demand advertising across Sky platforms and will sell sponsorship alongside Warner Bros. Discovery for Brands, the advertising sales arm of WBD. To further support the Kids’ advertising industry, Sky Media will be launching a new Kids Upfronts event in Q3 2023. Bringing together key players across the agency, client and creative industries, the event will showcase and explore how to deliver the best experience and impact for brands across a range of screens.

Extreme Networks, a specialist in cloud networking, has announced that Living Tomorrow Innovation Campus, an experimental lab located just outside of Brussels, Belgium, has selected Extreme as its network connectivity partner to build, test and validate cutting-edge, technology-driven experiences and products. In collaboration with a wide network of customers, partners and government agencies, Extreme will work with Living Tomorrow to promote and design innovative products that are likely to become widely adopted by the year 2030. The Living Tomorrow Innovation campus will become the largest technological showcase to date, with a 10,000-square-meter demo center.

VistaPrint, the design and marketing partner for small businesses, has announced the 20 winners of its Realising the Remarkable grant programme with Enterprise Nation. The winners will each receive an equal share of the £150,000 grant money as well as access to VistaCreate Pro, 99designs by Vista´s Silver logo and brand guide package and £500 to spend on marketing materials on the VistaPrint website. According to data collected by VistaPrint between Dec 2022 and Jan 2023, four in five (83%) UK SMEs are struggling to plan beyond 2023 and, while just over a third (34%) are confident that they’ll hit targets, a larger proportion (40%) are unsure and 11% suspect they will not. The grant programme, which was launched in January 2023 aims to aid resilient entrepreneurs who seek to grow and thrive despite the difficult economic circumstances and uncertainty they face. 

While many online advertisers are preparing for Google’s 2024 third-party cookie switch-off, a new study from Nano Interactive reveals the rise of private browsing is already significantly impacting advertisers’ ability to target users online. The Tipping Point report, which surveyed 2,000 UK consumers to understand their online privacy habits, reveals 70% are accessing the internet in ways which mask their personal information on a weekly basis, such as browsing in private or incognito mode, using Safari as their main browser or regularly clearing their cookie cache. 

S’Young International, initiators of the CP (China Partner) cooperation model, which offers international brands omni-channel market support to the lucrative Chinese beauty market, recently launched their first-ever Global Brand Festival event, allowing international brands to connect and explore the opportunities to market. Held in Changsha, a rapidly emerging and vibrant cosmopolitan city, the event gives international brands the opportunity to work with a reputable partner like S’Young International to capture a slice of China’s beauty and personal care market, which is estimated to be worth US$5.9.06bn in 2023, expecting annual growth of 5.41% (CAGR 2023-2027). Brands including Pier Augé, a French skincare range designed for sensitive skin, Evidens de Beauté, a French-Japanese anti-ageing luxury cosmetics brand, Lumene, offering Finnish natural beauty skincare and LORD & BERRY, an Italian make-up atelier, were some of the brands introduced to the captive Chinese market, which consisted of customers, partners, influencers and channel distributors from online e-commerce, high end stores, luxury hotels and beauty retail collection stores. 

Freshsound, the self-serve licensing platform for commercially released music, has closed a seed funding round of €2 million. The investment round will support Freshsound through its next phase as it aims for market leadership in commercial music licensing, aiming to lead the way to more impactful commercials, branded content, films, TV and games. The investment round comes less than one year after the previous pre-seed fund round that raised €1.3 million. The €2 million investment round has been led by Zenith Venture Capital and Aligned, supported by a range of investors with expertise in music, innovation, product development and sales. These include Kristina Tunkrans (former lawyer and copyright expert), Erik Segerborg (investor and former Executive at Hemnet and Avito), Gustav Nordlindh (Founder and CEO at Royal Streaming), William Olsson (Movie Producer and Director) and Shiv Prakash (previous Vice President of the Investment Team at Hipgnosis Song Management). The seed funding round will support the company as it seeks to go international while continuing to grow in the Nordic market. It also aims to increase awareness of the platform’s capabilities for licensing music for any kind of production.

Merkle, dentsu’s technology-enabled, data-driven customer experience management (CXM) company, launched its global B2B Superpowers Index; the guide for brands endeavouring to deliver exceptional B2B experiences and increase their customer base. The report was developed by Merkle B2B, which provides an integrated suite of specialised capabilities, tailored to the needs of global B2B organisations. This global research report combines quantitative and qualitative data from B2B buyers across different industries – including technology, financial services, manufacturing, and professional services – and across key markets around the world. It is the third edition of the Superpowers research survey, which tracks year-on-year trends and aims to support B2B brands in developing strategies for the future.  

Esports organisation, G2 Esports, has launched a ground-breaking collaboration with Jägermeister, marking the spirit brand’s first step into the world of gaming. Sharing a breadth of core values, the brands will combine their authenticity, creativity and shared love for pop culture references to expand beyond its core product offering. Jägermeister’s mission is to “enable the best nights of your life – today and tomorrow”. The partnership will help awaken the magic of esports to a new audience while giving G2 the chance to celebrate its successes bigger and better than ever before. This partnership will see both brands create magical moments for esports fans across the globe while truly turning G2’s successes into the best nights on and off the server. A partnership that puts the fans at its very core, G2 will look to enhance the experience for members of the G2 Army by taking community activities to the next level. This includes, elevating and enabling great nights for gaming enthusiasts, rewarding fans and giving them access to special moments and their favourite talents. And the brands are wasting no time, kicking off the announcement with a Jägermeister x G2 Party on the 12th of May in London. As part of this partnership, the brands will team up to create a new and exciting content series to be released later in the year. Fans also will have the opportunity to buy limited-edition apparel where the brands will blend their innovative design experience to create unique pieces. 

HR leaders are struggling to keep up with changing employee expectations and this can have dire consequences for businesses, according to a new study by Oracle. The survey of 1,000 employees and HR leaders across the United Kingdom (UK) found that despite current economic uncertainty, worker expectations are higher than ever, and HR leaders need help to get the employee experience right or risk losing profits and market share.

Deel, the full-stack global HR platform, has unveiled its first global advertising campaign, “Bring the World to Work/Yes Day.” The multi-channel campaign further highlights the brand’s full HR platform capabilities as it tells audiences you can say “yes” to doing it all with Deel, wherever you are in the world. Running in 14 major global cities, including London, New York, Berlin, Rio de Janeiro, Singapore and Toronto, the campaign aims to broaden the perception of Deel as the all-in-one HR platform, while still emphasizing its global differentiation. Following the business’ HRIS and US Payroll launches in January, plus Deel Immigration and Global Payroll, Deel wants to show the world how it has grown to a $12 billion valued business, now supporting the full suite of HR needs. The campaign will be activated across OOH, social and paid video. The creative harnesses the power of “YES”, featuring Deel employees saying it in their language, demonstrating how HR can flip the script and become the epicentre for company growth and excellence.

Despite half of consumers (50%) being frustrated by the experiences they receive online, 43% say they will never share any feedback so brands can address their shortcomings. That’s according to a new report from FullStory, the market and technology leader in Digital Experience Intelligence (DXI). The Quiet Critics report, based on a survey of 7,000 consumers across Asia, Europe, and North America, also found that two-thirds (65%) of consumers will simply abandon a website or app when confronted with a digital frustration–and only 16% are “very likely” to give a brand a second chance. This influential group of silent but dissatisfied customers—“quiet critics”—mirror the workplace trend “quiet quitting,” where disgruntled or ambivalent employees do not inform their bosses of their dissatisfaction, and instead do the bare minimum work required to not get fired. The findings highlight the importance of flawless first-time digital experiences, whilst also demonstrating the incompleteness of traditional customer feedback mechanisms. Brands across all industries have spent millions in recent years to elicit feedback through customer surveys, reviews, CSAT, and Voice of the Customer programmes, but these fail to capture the opinions of millions of consumers who abandon websites and apps without saying anything.

Fiverr International Ltd., the company that is revolutionizing how the world works together, is introducing Fiverr Enterprise, formerly Stoke Talent. This announcement comes as Stoke Talent is being integrated into Fiverr, and as the company continues to expand its solutions upmarket and aims to bring larger brands into the Fiverr suite of products as well as offer its existing customers additional capabilities. Fiverr Enterprise gives businesses complete control and offers a frictionless all-in-one solution to source, onboard, manage and pay their own freelance talent, while importantly simplifying budget tracking, tax, legal and workforce classification and compliance processes. Fiverr Enterprise will continue serving Stoke Talent’s wide range of customers including Amdocs, Similarweb, MinuteMedia and Waymo. Fiverr Enterprise gives businesses the ability to build their own curated freelance workforce with both online and offline talent whether they come from Fiverr or not, risk-free by leveraging its legal, tax, and worker classification capabilities. It provides onboarding and management capabilities that are standardized across the organization along with complete visibility into the organization’s global freelance workforce. 

SevenRooms, a global guest experience and retention platform for the hospitality industry, has announced a new product feature, Pre-Shift, which provides operators with key shift details they can leverage to inform and lead pre-service meetings. Pre-Shift is built to power and simplify pre-service meetings for restaurant operators and their staff around the world. The new feature provides operators a real-time, unified view of everything they need ahead of each shift and saves employees’ time with an out-of-the-box informational report. Instead of paper print-outs and laborious briefing forms, Pre-Shift allows teams to harness rich customer data with up-to-the-minute information on every guest joining during that shift. With ongoing labour shortages, Pre-Shift is a crucial tool in helping operators save time on administrative tasks like pulling guest and reservation data to optimise a team’s pre-shift meeting ahead of service with all stakeholders. This allows operators and staff to instead focus on delivering exceptional, personalised experiences the moment that guest walks through the door. Operators have the ability to embrace new consumer expectations to provide an incredible guest journey from start to finish. 

Go1, the learning content expert, has announced the acquisition of Blinkist, a mobile-first learning app that summarises key ideas from professional books and podcasts which is used by tens of millions of people worldwide. The acquisition forms the foundation of an innovative new model of corporate learning which seeks to engage learners throughout their day-to-day lives. Go1 has made a name for itself as an aggregator of learning and development content, offering access to tens of thousands of short-form courses that are typically consumed in a corporate setting. However, engaging learners on a grand scale relies not only on democratising access to more types of learning content but also on making that content available in more places, meeting learners where they are. For many online corporate learners, that’s on their cell phone or during their commute. This is where Blinkist excels. The acquisition of Blinkist expands Go1’s appeal to an audience that seeks to learn new skills and stay up to date on business and self-improvement topics with bite-sized content, consumable on demand. Learners can access Blinkist content through their corporate learning management system (LMS) but, for the first time ever, they will also be able to access content on their mobile, in CarPlay, or wherever and whenever they choose to learn.

Icertis has announced Icertis ExploreAI, its next-generation AI-powered contract intelligence partner, with generative, assistive, natural language capabilities that enable even greater customer value from unstructured and structured contract data, connected across the enterprise. ExploreAI combines the power of large language AI models and Icertis proprietary AI models to derive insights from a customer’s contract data, enterprise data, the Icertis Data Lake, and ChatGPT to deliver new, powerful, material business outcomes. The new AI capabilities build on the strong momentum Icertis customers already experience leveraging Icertis AI products to accelerate drafting, negotiating, and execution of commercial agreements, derive deep insights from their contracts, and ensure the full intent of those agreements is realized. Developed in collaboration with Microsoft, Icertis ExploreAI uses both Icertis AI services and Microsoft Azure OpenAI Service so customers can trust that the valuable, unique business data inside their contracts remains secure, while responsibly leveraging generative AI technology. Icertis was a launch partner for the Azure OpenAI Service.

Definition, one of the fastest growing brand alignment groups in the UK, has continued its strategic expansion by today announcing the acquisition of London-based creative marketing agency OTM. The deal marks Definition Group’s seventh acquisition and the third in the last twelve months as it continues its ambitious buy-and-build growth programme, bringing together like-minded specialist consultancies to define, align and deliver brand and marketing services for clients. The deal brings the group’s annual revenue to £14m and grows its team of specialists to 120. OTM is a creative marketing agency that specialises in B2B technology, financial services and the public sector with clients including HSBC, SS&C Advent, 8×8, ION Group, Transport for London and TPXimpact. The agency uses its audience insight model – Human Affinity – to develop “impossible to ignore” brand strategies and campaigns spanning lead generation, content creation, asset delivery and performance.   

UK Amazon agency, Venture Forge, has revealed a brand overhaul to celebrate another year of record-breaking growth and a raft of new high-profile client wins. The company has undergone an extensive branding project to reshape its core principles, service set, and visual identity to underline Venture Forge’s position as the most trusted and respected Amazon partner for brands across the UK, Europe and America at a time when other agencies are diluting their Amazon offering. Design studio Hello Katy was tasked with Venture Forge’s rebrand project and Crush Pixels, built the new website.

Ogury has recently commissioned IT market research firm IDC to conduct a global survey on 1,000 major brand and media agency executives, to get their perspective and understanding of the future of digital advertising in a cookieless world. Most of the polled executives (60%) agree that user tracking will soon become obsolete. However, more than 40% of respondents are not familiar with targeting technologies that are independent of advertising identifiers. The survey also found that more than half of advertisers (60%) believe user tracking to be a source of reputational risk for brands. 56% of them think cookies and IDs represent a threat to user privacy, while 60% believe it is only a matter of time before they come to an end.