MONK wins Brainwave Drinks creative pitch

MONK has picked up the creative account for the UK business of the world’s first Braintenance drink, specifically developed to help retain, sustain, maintain and entertain your brain, following a competitive pitch. The brief is MONK’s first from Brainwave Drinks.

Brainwave products have already been available in the UK in the form of high end gyms, universities and select distribution partners since 2014.

Market News International appoint MONK for Re-Positioning

Market News International (MNI) hires MONK for Global re-brand. Tasked with the re-positioning and re-brand of the 12 Bureau financial news organization. The first part of this project will be to leverage MNI’s inherent competitive advantages and how from a branding perspective these bring value to the markets it serves.

Samsung Techwin chooses MONK for Brand Re-Vamp

MONK is thrilled to announce that they have been appointed to manage the re-brand of Samsung Techwin in Europe, following on from the news that Hanwha Group has completed its acquisition of its major shareholding.

Samsung Techwin’s brief to agencies in the pitch was to work with them to help advance towards becoming the world’s best total security solutions provider by offering a one-stop security solution, facilitating the global network, and continuously conducting research and development. MONK was selected because of the bold confidence in creative and inventive strategy, leveraging the brands potential.

Mark Blaylock, Creative Director, MONK London: “We have a unique opportunity to break down preconceptions of what security means in the world Today. Samsung Techwin are at the forefront of of this market, winning countless awards for their high performance and resilience products. It’s our job to create a category leading brand customers can believe in”.

In this new partnership, the agency will be involved deeply in the company’s business and is expected to deliver creative ideas against every brand touchpoint, in support of Samsung Techwin’s ambitious growth targets and development of the brand globally, under the new acquisition. The first work is expected to break toward the end of 2015, with a focus on European markets.

“Hanwha Techwin will serve as the growth engine for the group and will receive dedicated support from the group” said Kim Cheol-kyo, President of Hanwha Techwin. He also added “we will play the role of a bridgehead for the globalisation of the group through the achievement of our long-term vision.”

Pernod Ricard reward Strategic Event pitch to MONK

MONK London has won a strategic event pitch from Chivas Brothers, part of Pernod Ricard, to help devise an event strategy and execute across five sites, as part of its annual CSR event for employees – Responsib’ALL Day.

Tasked with raising awareness of the brands commitments to the alcohol industry among employees, MONK will help raise awareness and create lasting change in as many employees as possible.

“Chivas Brothers is the Scotch whisky and premium gin business of Pernod Ricard – the world’s co-leader in wine and spirits. Chivas Brothers is the global leader in luxury Scotch whisky and premium gin. Its portfolio includes Chivas Regal, Ballantine’s, Beefeater Gin, The Glenlivet, Royal Salute, Aberlour, Plymouth Gin, Longmorn, Scapa, 100 Pipers, Clan Campbell, Something Special and Passport.”

MONK has worked with Chivas Brothers and the Pernod Ricard Group since November 2013, having already helped with the brand with previous events and film projects.

What’s a Brand Manager to do?

With a plethora of marketing channels to use, which ones are right for you and your budgets?

There was a time, not so long ago, that the options for brand managers were fairly simple and were clearly defined.

To raise awareness for the brand and increase advocacy, there was above-the-line communication. Remember when people used to actually look out for the last ads on TV? Come on, I can’t be alone in remembering those days?

For driving sales, there was direct mail. Yes, you had to flight for attention on the doormat, but with clever thinking you could usually guarantee a response rate of 4%!

And finally there were events, which were great for pressing the flesh and getting your brand (and yourself) into the trade press.

Fairly straightforward and everything fitted together nicely.

Then along came social media and smartphones and tablets and the world’s gone out of the window.

So how does the smart brand manager still get brand advocacy, drive sales and get their brand mentioned by all the right people?


Apart from being the world’s second most used search engine (and yes, a surprising number of brand managers still forget this) YouTube has become what ITV and Channel 4 used to be – the place to go to see the ‘ads’ that capture your imagination.

YouTube can help your business to:

Create a brand profile
Reach a broad, unspecified demographic
Demonstrate your brand’s relevance with ‘how to’ videos
Engage with consumers through UGC (User Generated Content)

Cost: £ – £££ Perfect as a platform for UGC ‘how to’ films and viral, brands are now spending more and more on creating good content


Facebook says that 24 million people in the UK now use Facebook every single day. That’s nearly a third of the population who simply can’t let a day pass without checking their Facebook page. And for that reason it comes as no surprise that in a statement via its PR agency, Facebook said that “businesses should focus on people who come back online every single day”.

But why?

Has this simply become something that ‘you must do’ and like the Emperor’s New Clothes, no one’s questioning its relevance. Experience says that Facebook is full with mums and dads and those who are 30+. Meanwhile the ‘kids’ are leaving it in droves.

And as for the importance of building a fan base, recent research is showing that in reality people don’t engage with branded social content very often, if at all.

The percentage of brand Fans who interact with brand posts is 0.7% on Facebook*.

These are not random people. These are brand Fans. People you would expect to be brand champions and people who you would expect to interact with content that a brand posts.

And before you say that this is just one example of research and therefore maybe skewed – this has been confirmed by the Ehrenberg Institute who recorded that just 0.5% of Facebook Fans interact with the posts of those brands that they’re fans of.

So what use is Facebook?

As Will Stevens of 123 Reg says: “Facebook offers you the chance to build a community around your business. You can use it for gathering feedback, passing on useful and interesting information and handling complaints. It has an ad platform as well, which you can use to promote your content, such as blog posts, and the products you want to sell. The biggest drawback of Facebook is its lack of organic reach. This means that even if you have built up a large following on the site, very few people will see your posts unless you pay to promote them.”

For all this, Facebook can help your business to:

Boost brand awareness
Boost sales with advertising
Create a community

Cost: £ – ££ Rather than budget, social media can eat into your time. If you can’t do it regularly yourself, look to get support.


Twitter has been branded vacuous by a lot of people, but that’s simply because they have failed to utilise it correctly and to see it for what it is. It is a great platform from which to communicate both quickly and intimately with consumers. And as such you should be using it as a platform through which to start the communication, leading consumers into deeper more relevant conversations elsewhere.

Twitter can help your business to:

Address customer concerns
Boost sales with advertising
Boost lead numbers
Boosting customer retention with ‘instant’ support

Cost: £ – However, you do need to have a social media team in place to do this properly.


Pictures and short film clips are Instagram’s lifeblood. Therefore Instagram is only relevant to those brand who can post regular images about either their products or the people who use their service. Think of it as the modern version of the 48-sht poster. You have a split second to capture the viewer’s attention, but where it differs from simple above-the-line communication, get it right, and you’ll create a follower. A follower who will also, hopefully, be posting content that you can use.

In short – use Instagram to show off!

Instagram can help your business to:

Boost brand awareness
Boost product awareness
Boost lead numbers
Boosting sales numbers through product promotion

Cost: £ This can be incredibly cheap as you can simply create images using a handy smart device.


Just like Instagram, this is a visual social media platform, however, there are no films.

Rather you can create themed ‘boards’ that users can interact with. These give you the opportunity to really connect with consumers – as they’re notified when you add to a given board.

Pinterest can help your business to:

Boost brand awareness
Boost product awareness
Boost lead numbers
Boosting sales numbers through product promotion

Cost: £ – As above.


This is positioned as the social media channel for businesses. In truth, few brands or for that matter, businesses have managed to use it effectively for anything other than recruitment. That said, sole traders have found it to be an effective resource for new business.

LinkedIn can help your business to:

Find the right staff
Boost leads
Raise your personal profile

Cost: £££ (saved) – You can save yourself huge recruitment costs here, but you will need to invest time then going through all the CVs.


OK. So now that YouTube’s here, TV’s dead right?


Consumers have simply changed their viewing preferences. In fact, according to Nielsen, 45% of tablet owners watch TV and use their tablet together at least once a day. So while they might not be ‘focussed’ on your ad, the opportunities for driving viewers straight form the 30” commercial to a purchase have improved.

TV can help your business to:

Raise its profile
Drive sales
Empty your bank account (It’s still very expensive!)

Cost: ££££££ – Creating the commercial, buying airtime etc isn’t cheap, but there still isn’t anything quite like TV for creating brand advocacy.


I’ve place this marketing platform directly under TV because of the fact that according to Nielsen, checking email is the most popular activity for tablet owners while watching TV (61%). This is followed by visiting social networking sites (47%) and looking up information about TV programs.

Email is also the perfect way to stay in touch with customers, ether cross selling, making them aware of new products, add-ons or simply incentivising recipients so that they become a channel through which you can get new customers.

Email can help your business to:

Boost sales
Drive engagement
Drive new business

Cost: £ – As part of a broader strategy, email is very cost effective, with the emphasis being on effective.

Direct Mail

There’s never been a better time to revert to this traditional marketing tool. Why? Because no one else is using it and you’ll have no competition on the doormat. Now with the added advantage of PURLs (Personalised URLs) you can really drive engagement, achieving response rates that are in double figures, so long as your creativity is up to scratch. More than that, the tangible nature of print can reinforce your brand’s characteristics.

Direct Mail can help your business to:

Drive sales
Build your brand
Develop an online CRM strategy

Cost: ££ – Targeted direct mail is a perfect tool to have in every marketeers arsenal and can pound for pound can outperform most platforms.

This is just a quick snapshot of how you can use just some of the platforms available. But to summarise, in many ways, there’s never been a better time to be brand manager. You have more opportunities than ever before to connect with your chosen demographic and it’s all clearly trackable, so you can achieve a defined ROI. However, no one platform can deliver everything that you want and therefore, be prepared to recognise that some of the more popular platforms may not actually be right for you. It’ll help your budget to go further and more than that, you’ll be able to focus on those areas that are truly relevant to you – allowing you to get the results you want.

* Forrester Q1 2014 US Top 50 Brands Social WebTrack

Intercontinental Hotel Group selects MONK for China Diversity Pitch

MONK has just started working for InterContinental Hotel Group, owners of 724,000 guest rooms across more than 4,900 hotels in nearly 100 countries.

IHG invited agencies to compete for the marketing communications to support their ‘Are you China ready?’ programme, designed to train staff on Chinese etiquette, culture, and hospitality; with more than 10,000 employees completing the training programme last year.
The important ingredient for the winning pitch being MONK were able to help bring the information and subject matter to life to a whole new level.
Over the next six months, MONK will be tasked with bringing the commission report to life, supporting and developing the surrounding assets to ready hotels to welcome more Chinese travellers in a way that is familiar to them.

MONK chosen as partner to manage re-brand for MD+S, Deutsche Borse Group

MONK, the London based strategic creative firm, today announced it has been chosen agency to re-brand Market Data + Services, Part of Deutsche Borse Group. In this new relationship, MONK will work on a wide range of branding programs for all of Market Data + Services businesses.

“Market Data + Services, a wholly owned division of Deutsche Börse Group, is uniquely placed to build upon its core competences in data and Index innovation, specialist software applications and infrastructure integration. The Business will lead the revolution: transforming the way data-intelligence activates investment trading and investment decisions,” said Matt Jones MD of MONK London. “Our goal is to continue strengthening the brand as we create a meaningful and powerful position that adds value to the market’s it serves.”

MONK has worked with Deutsche Borse Group since June 2014, having already helped with the brands re-architecture. This new assignment will include branding, naming and planning.

Marketing trends for 2015

And what really should be ‘on trend’ this year.

Every year it’s the same.

Marketeers, both the trusted and the hopeful publish their lists of what they see at the marketing trends for the upcoming year.

This lists are extensive and comprehensive.

And this year has been no exception.

A snippet of the predictions for 2015 includes; content, search optimization, social media (still people haven’t twigged this?), analytics, authentic connections online (which sounds like an oxymoron to me) and mixing paid media with owned media.

Which is all well and good.

I’m not proposing that any of these predictions is wrong or that any of them may not come to fruition. No. What I am protesting at is that the whole focus of marketing predictions is wrong.

It’s all about the platform or, if you’re talking to creatives, the execution.

Yet according to The Oxford English Dictionary, marketing is: The action of buying or selling…

The action of buying or selling.


How many marketeers still think of themselves as people who are there to help their clients sell more?

I’d guess not many.

Certainly judging by this year’s offering of marketing predictions, very few of them are acutely focussed on selling.

And shouldn’t that be the focus?

Shouldn’t the key marketing trend for 2015 be how you can sell more of whatever it is that your client makes.

Creating more things that more ‘marketing’ people are going to be impressed with is all well and good. And it will certainly do your career no harm at all – but it’s not actually helping the person that it should be. The Brand Manager or Owner.

So, if you want a marketing trend list for 2015 – here’s one:

  • Really get to understand your audience. Your actual audience. Not the cool trendy ones that you want, unless they are actually your audience
  • Understand how your product and your brand can help these people
  • Find out how they like to communicate. You may want to create a beautiful film, but if they can’t be bothered or simply don’t have the time to watch a 5 minute film, then maybe, just maybe, a simple piece of direct mail might be best
  • Be honest. Admit what you have time to do. You may have discovered that your target audience live on social media, but if you truly haven’t got the time or the inclination to create the content they crave, admit this, and get someone to create it for you
  • Finally, unless you are selling the cure for cancer, no matter what it is that you’re selling, it doesn’t matter. It really doesn’t. So have fun with it and be honest about its importance. You may find that people love you for this refreshing approach and actually start to buy more from you.

Brand engagement

Why it doesn’t exist and what to do in its place

Brand engagement.

This has been for a number of years now, the manta by which every progressive brand has lived.

We must have brand engagement and the best way to achieve this is to create engaging content.

By doing this we will create brand advocates who will in turn not only buy more from our brand, but will share their positive attitude with everyone they know.

The reality is that people don’t engage with branded social content very often, if at all.

The percentage of brand Fans who interact with brand posts is 0.7% on Facebook and 0.3% on Twitter*.

These are not random people. These are brand Fans. People you would expect to be brand champions and people who you would expect to interact with content that a brand posts.

And before yo say that this is just one example of research and therefore maybe skewed – this has been confirmed by the Ehrenberg Institute who recorded that just 0.5% of Facebook Fans interact with the posts of those brands that they’re fans of.

Shocking stuff.

Ahh, but maybe it’s because these aren’t passion brands you say.


Nike’s engagement is 0.39%

Porsche 0.62%

Tiffany & Co. 1.14%**

So where is everybody going wrong?

Paul Adams, Facebook’s Ex-.‐Global Head Of Brand Design on this matter; “Almost every app built for a brand on Facebook has NO usage.”

And now we’re getting to the nub of the issue.

People don’t really care about brands.

They care about things that they’re really interested in.

Football, holidays, friends and family, food, in short, all the things that we’re all really, honestly interested in.

In fact according to Meaningful Brands, part of the Havas Media Group, 92% of people in Europe and America wouldn’t care if brands disappeared.

That means that only 8%of people care a jot about brands.

And no surprise at all really when you look at 99% of the marketing that’s created today – but that’s another rant for another day.

To put this another way, in a way that most of us will find tangible, 72% of Pepsi drinkers also buy Coke.***

So much for the Pepsi challenge.

if this is the case,, then what’s the solution, if indeed there is a solution?

It’s simple really.

Start with the premise that your brand isn’t the first of the last thing that people think about.

Actually, you’ll be lucky if they think about you at all.

Therefore, your creative work has to be exceptional.

It needs to truly touch people.

It needs to take an interest in what people are interested in, as opposed to the other way round.

It needs to make them laugh.

It needs to make them pause and think.

It needs to enhance their lives.

It needs to be more than simply ‘cool looking’.

It needs to have an idea behind it that resonates with people.

Most people find it easy to participate with a brand. After all, sharing is usually just a click. So make it something that people want to share.

Also, make sure its seen. It’s all well and good having a PPC campaign that ensures your film is seen by 100,000 people, but are these the right people or are you simply making up the numbers? If you’re looking for brand growth, don’t go to those people who are already buying form you, look for ways that you can appeal to infrequent buyers – these are the people who will help your brand to really grow.

And remember, just because you’ve created something that’s engaging and appeals to the right demographic that only 10% of viewers will ever share content.

So be spectacular with your creativity and look for those people who don’t already know you – for through them you’ll find the key to helping your brand to really grow.

* Forrester Q1 2014 US Top 50 Brands Social WebTrack

** Source: Facebook fans: A fan for life? Karen Nelson – Field and Jennifer Taylor

*** Source: Byron Sharp “How Brands Grow” TNS UK

All figures supplied by Nigel Rahimpour, Planning Director.

The UK’s greatest, untapped target audience

The 12 million people with a disposable income who are being ignored by brands.

There is a huge target demographic out there that brand managers, agencies and media buyers seem to be ignoring and it’s a significant audience. There are 12,352,000 people* aged from 45 – 59. That’s nearly 20% of the UK population!

Ah, but who’s interested in these old duffers, more politely referred to as Generation X?

Well, you should be.

These are the people who brought in skateboarding and started snowboarding.

These are the people who went to Nirvana gigs.

These are the people who knew life before and after the internet.

These are the people who own their homes and have a disposable income.

And these are the people that for some very strange reason, brands on the whole, seem to be ignoring.

OK, so I might have piqued your interest.

But how do you reach these people?

Well, to be honest, they’re not an easy group to influence, but they do tend to fall into four groups. And once you understand these clusters, then you can see how your brand can appeal to them.

The four different segments of Generation X can be classed as Pragmatics, Disenfranchised, Thrillers and Quality Seekers.

“Pragmatics” are the Generation Xers most interested in information and the internet. They understand the intricacies of media and marketing. While they’re sometimes considered cynical, there is however, an underlying optimism in their outlook.

The “Disenfranchised” are those dissatisfied with the world and who feel they often are overlooked as they’re wedged between aging Baby-boomers and Gen Y who are now growing up.

“Thrillers” Thrillers are the adrenalin junkies who refuse to grow old. They contributed to the rise in extreme sports, such as snowboarding, skateboarding and skydiving. Remember the Olympics has now legitimized snowboarding.

Finally the“Quality seekers”. This group is at the sweet-spot of personal wealth and sophistication. Quality Seekers are almost cult-like loyal followers of high-quality, localized brands. Quality Seekers are willing to spend more to get superior ingredients and they are more likely to champion premium brands.

They have become the trendsetters and the early adopters for their generation.

So before you automatically write 24-30 year old or 35-45 year olds in the Target Audience box on your Creative Brief. Pause.

Ask yourself, is there a better, more sophisticated and wealthier audience I could be talking to? An audience that is at best being ignored, but at worse, being patronized and wrongly stereotyped.

*Source: 2011 Census: Usual resident population by five-year age group and sex,  local authorities in the United Kingdom, Access 23 December 2012.