Daniel Evans is the founder of Hello You Creatives. I thought I would grill him under the spotlight and find out why he reckons it is so important that brands create and use crafted content in their campaigns. I also wanted the inside-his-mind scoop on which brands he believes are best blending creative, social and innovation and last but not least, what is it that he finds most infectious and alluring about the creative industry…
Sir, describe yourself in 5 words please? Professional trouble maker since 1982
Why does social media and word of mouth marketing matter to you? Social Media is the best expression of communication moving from a presentational format into a conversational format. For years brands, governments and organisations have been telling us to wash our clothes like x, to stand in line like y but now we can ask why, when and how. It allows people to be the center of communication rather than the end point. It means that someone somewhere can share an idea quickly and get feedback on it. For marketing it means we’re now creating on-going, meanigful conversation and relationships with our consumers. Finally the most important person in marketing, the consumer, is at the center.
Social media brings that word of mouth marketing to a larger scale. Previous to this only a few products or brands could tap into a ground swell of recommendations but now it allows even smaller brands, new products and companies to go directly to their audiences, (just as 3Doodler has done through Kickstarter) rather than just present their stories and tell people to buy it - means they can be more open and allow their audience to be part of their communications and more importantly lead the direction of the marketing. Plus it is an excellent source of funny gifs.
Je suis d’accord… GIFs ‘is’ good. So, in your opinion, which brands are currently leading the way with creativity, innovation and a killer social media strategy? Why? A lot of brands sadly still treat social media like a press release feed, or another outlet to spread their corporate successes. Brands that have really engaged are the ones that have set their brand free, let other people take control. Lego has been fantastic at allowing people to take the Lego world and create something, right from Rebrick right through to letting social media influence new products.
Another great use of brand in social media is Brewdog, who allow their social media channels to have a personality, to sit away from just releasing information but to create a tone a voice. This widens the audience, it means you get a different part of the brand on different touch points.
This is the key part of good social media work – allowing your conversations to live, to be different from the presentational formats of TV and print. To have an opinion, this is what attracts people. They want to feel like they’re talking to a real person, you know – being social.
Ditch the cold-press release approach and be more human. Makes sense… But consumers of content have more choice now-days through multiple channels, consequently brands (the content creators) need to be more strategic and relevant with what they share, without compromising their identity... What makes a campaign outstanding enough for you to want to endorse it through your own creative blog? Again I look at work through the filter of conversation. What is the conversation that the idea is starting, what’s the talking point of the Creative. That’s why I can be pretty open with what I post. Sometimes I post things because they’re great and other times because I want to see what other people think. Content creators need to think about what creative is right for which platform. A blanket approach to social media, in fact to any platform is wrong. You need to start with your audience and work backwards. See what they’re interested in and getting to know how your message sits next to it.
This comes back to putting the consumers at the center. We’re trying to talk to them, so why not actually get to know them, create something they’d want to see rather than forcing a message on them that isn’t relevant. The key message, and one that is often forgotten in marketing, is to respect the person you are speaking to. Take the time to find a piece of their world that can bridge your message to them.
Our competition isn’t other brands or advertising, it is entertainment, it is information and all those other more important things that people actually switch on the computer or get their phone out for. So content creators more than ever have to remember that when we’re creating a brand message, we were never invited, we’ve tagged along. We need to earn the right to talk to people on social media and in marketing.
Earning the right to talk to people? Interesting... So what was your last social media update?
He who controls the spice, controls the universe along with this picture.
Which marketing buzzword drives you insane? Making a viral. You can’t make a viral, you can only hope to make content that can go viral. Viral also comes with a lot of baggage – people think it means violence, porn or old scripts. It is one of those words that has lost all meaning.
The other big buzzword that seems to have come about with the rise of digital advertising is the word “GURU” which basically means “person who knows a lot about something but we don’t actually know what they do” Digital Guru, social media guru, engagement guru.
Got it – GURU is most definitely not a complimentary term in your code. Onto next question, who would be your dream collaboration? I’d love to launch a product, not just a help launch one but actually work with a company to create something from the ground up that can solve a problem. Be that software, hardware or physical thing. To make, create and promote. I feel this is where the future of marketing and advertising will go. Merging the world of tech, advertising and innovation. It isn’t just about an idea to sell more of something but looking for a solution to a problem, how can we actually solve real problems.
So you believe in creative business solutions which blend both creativity and innovation into one core concept. What would you say is the best piece of 'constructive criticism' that you have received in your career thus far? “Seek out the bastards.” I was told that the worst feedback you can get is “it’s alright”. You can’t do much with that. You need to get people with passion to look at your work. Even if they hate it, you can decide they are wrong but you have to fight for your idea. It gives you a chance to work out what you think is worth fighting for and what to take on board. Find people who’ll push you and make you question your work. Of course don’t just exclusively seek out hard critics but it helps you balance out what you truly belief in. The other most important thing I have learned is to stand for something, set a standard for what type of creative and type of work that you aim for. Without that you’ll just float around the industry but with it, you’ll know if you’re heading in a direction you’re happy with.
What judicious advice. Merci! Can you tell me which blogs do you follow to keep your finger on the pulse? ‘Popurls.com’ - it isn’t really a blog, more of an aggregator of popular new stories, links, images and videos from around the web. From there I dip my toe in and out. Running HelloYouCreatives helps too - I get a lot of people emailing in their work and links which means that every day I get to discover more amazing work that is out there.
If you work in advertising, inspire yourself with art and music. If you work in graphic design and illustration look at movies and moving image. Always looks for inspiration outside your working world. Otherwise you’ll find yourself following insider trends and playing catch up.
Describe your perfect day? It’d start, as most days seem to do, in the morning and be followed by several hours of day light before night comes in. I don’t think I’d ever find a perfect day, every day should be a mix of the good and the bad. Smiles and frustrations, new things mixed in with old feelings each and every day can be perfect in some way. If we stop looking for one big perfect moment we can start to discover all the little perfect moments in life.
Why does creativity matter to you? Creativity is about looking at new ways of doing something, new ways to tell stories, to find solutions and to problems to try something different. Without it we’d have no progress, no discoveries. No questions would ever be asked, we’d just accept things as they are. Creativity drives us on to keep discovering, trying new things. Change only comes with creativity. It allows us to fail, to learn, to try again. Make something every day and see how it sparks a thousand new ideas