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Breaking old habits: Hybrid-working setups call for different ways of communicating

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Breaking old habits: Hybrid-working setups call for different ways of communicating

Much of the future of work will center on a mix of in-office and remote working. And onus will be on leaders to adapt how they communicate so that employees remain connected, motivated and productive in such environments.

Employees — tired and uncertain from the pandemic — are reevaluating their relationships with work. And business leaders are having to balance negotiating this frontline alongside the day-to-day running of their operations. To get it right, they require the soft skills necessary to humanize the workplace during this bumpy ride.   

We spoke with academic and industry experts to find out what communicative skills are necessary to navigate these new waters successfully and lead happy, productive teams. 

Writing the new playbook 

When it comes to addressing the future of work — specifically remote and hybrid models, as well as a mix of part- and full-time workers — the most successful teams will “write the playbook together,” said Amy Edmondson, Novartis professor of leadership at Harvard Business School. “Virtual work can make it harder to foster genuine connections and build the psychological safety for employees to speak openly with their thoughts. You don’t want people holding back concerns or questions — that are in some cases mission critical — because of interpersonal fear,” she said. 

The first step toward evolving workplace communication involves breaking old habits. Rather than focusing on habitual leadership styles of command and control, the new era embraces positive feedback, transparency and a learning mindset. Such a culture focuses on sharing: concerns, data, methods, successes and encourages people to seek out the perspectives of others. In many ways, it is an art within a science, according to Edmonson. 

In order to achieve these goals, and outgrow old habits, a new method of workplace communication becomes necessary. Edmondson metaphorically described a “linguistic system of science,” that co-opts our communicative habits with parts of the scientific method, creating a culture that says: Here is what I see, here’s some hypotheses and experiments that we could try. Let’s remain open to the data we receive and to others’ ideas. 

“This is a very different mindset from old fashioned management,” added Edmonson. 

Soft touch in a hard world 

For the freelance market, work opportunities ballooned during the pandemic. Companies felt pressed to champion agile strategies in a competitive market and looked to the gig economy for the answer, minimizing fixed costs in the process. 

In light of a more outsourced workplace, having more general knowledge of the people you work with and where they come from is important. “You’re going to encounter people with different varieties of language — whether that is an accent, style or an entirely different language — that you need to mesh well with,” said Alexus Brown, a PhD student of linguistics at the University of Pittsburgh. “Really good communicators reduce stressors and bring in that human component — respect in how you communicate with others — where you don’t just feel like a cog in the machine, you feel like an essential part of a team.” 

If leaders take the time to focus on how they communicate with others, they can capture a critical aspect of humanizing the workplace: softs skills. Brown further elaborated that sociolinguistic style — how you tend to converse and interact with people in a particular setting — influences how connected a person can feel in their workplace, affecting not only their drive to learn the ins and outs of the job, but where they fit into the culture at large.

Technical difficulties

The modern workforce is made up of four generations, from Baby Boomers to Gen Z, and they all have different habits and expectations when it comes to digital conversations. For instance, in each age group the tone and style of writing in a Slack message will differ from that used in an email. This raises the question, what is the appropriate manner to behave yourself through each modality? 

Hybrid and remote work has ramped up the use of communications tools like Slack, Zoom and Teams. In navigating these various communication channels, certain new norms develop in terms of conversation management. “These different modalities [digital tools] are framing devices for parsing out what the stances and styles are going to be,” said Dr. Scott Kiesling, department chair of Linguistics at the University of Pittsburgh. “Different modes have different social meanings and it’s going to be through conversations that people figure out which are most useful for getting the desired message across.” 

Stance and style are two important linguistic factors that can determine the quality of social interactions. Stance is expressive of a person’s attitude or relationship to the people they’re interacting with, including the subject they’re talking about and the language they use. For example, how you express your stance might be clearer in person and video chat, because of body language and tone of voice, than with instant messaging. 

https://digiday.com/?p=424111

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The 2021 Digiday Awards Shortlist

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The 2021 Digiday Awards Shortlist

New audiences, inclusivity and reemergence from quarantine became the backbeat of this year’s Digiday Awards shortlist

In what is still a time of uncertainty, with some parts of the world navigating a great reopening and other parts grappling with COVID-19 variants and limited vaccine access (or adoption), the nature of consumer behavior is constantly changing. However, digital media and marketing persist, and the nature of the ecosystems in which they work is now a part of the everyday fabric of the job. As always, the creative teams that drive campaigns for publishers and advertisers adapt. 

The latest installment of the Digiday Awards acknowledges the evolution of an industry, one that has not only transformed because of the pandemic and quarantines but one that has shifted in other profound ways as well. The sweeping calls for advocacy and inclusion have also shaped what the Digiday Awards judges have before them, in October 2021, as does an ongoing industry-wide shift to represent — and reach — younger demographics in the developing spaces they work and play (specifically, mobile and online games). 

Finalists found their gamers in 2021 campaigns

Take, for example, Excedrin, a double Digiday Awards finalist for Best Multi-Platform campaign and Best Strategy Pivot. Working with Weber Shandwick, the pain reliever’s program in 2021—  “Game Over for Headaches” — broke through to a new audience by leveraging influential streamers in the gaming space. Excedrin partnered with Twitch to create original content that spoke authentically to gamers. The outcome for the campaign was heightened earned coverage and positive consumer attention, and ultimately “Game Over” became the start of meaningful business results. 

To be sure, Mtn Dew is no stranger to gamers, with its “Game Fuel” slogan securely a part of console culture. As the PepsiCo brand worked with OMD, the media agency fused the caffeinated beverage with game influencer messaging that foregrounded authenticity and premium content. John Cena, professional wrestler and actor, helmed the launch of Mtn Dew Major Melon, the brand’s first new flavor in more than a decade, driving interest in the runup to the 2021 Super Bowl and highlighting in-game sweepstakes across every major social media channel. The campaign drove significant sales in Q1 and garnered OMD triple-finalist status in the Digiday Awards — Best Use of Influencer Marketing, Best Product Launch Campaign and Most Innovative Media Agency. 

Brands and media companies maintained the inclusivity beat

From deodorants to swimwear, from soft drinks to cinema, advertisers, media companies and their partners continued to push for expanded representation in their 2021 campaigns.

Degree showcased inclusive design that made its deodorant product accessible to people with different upper-limb abilities and differently sighted individuals. Their campaign told truthful and courageous stories and highlighted how other brands and companies could successfully implement similar changes to their product designs. The ‘Degree Inclusive’ campaign is shortlisted for Best Product Launch Campaign.

Amazon Studios connected with Imprint Projects and put voter suppression in the spotlight in 2021. ‘All In for Voting’ included documentary films, an experiential roadshow, and a multi-platform awareness campaign. It touched down at 55 brand-hosted voter registration events and 21 outdoor film screenings in disenfranchised communities. The effort earned Amazon and Imprint a spot among the finalists for Best Multi-Platform campaign.

Body inclusivity and alternatives to hyper-sexualized swimwear were the driving themes behind Summersalt’s ‘Every Body is a Summersalt Body’ campaign. Featuring two dozen accomplished women, the messaging showcased a spectrum of sizes, different sizes, backgrounds, ethnicities, ages, and sexualities to demonstrate that every single body belongs in a suit of its choosing. Summersalt is shortlisted for best Branding Campaign B2C in the Digiday Awards.

Finally, The Coca-Cola Company activated its Sprite brand to make a statement supporting social justice and Black Lives Matter. Partnering with Havas Atlanta, Moxi, and industry influencers, the program gave $50,000 to influencers to give to the causes of their choice. The brand also hosted a series of virtual performances by artists called “Sprite Way” — the shows also gave back, donating funds to independent performance venues via Save Our Stages. The campaign stands among finalists for Best Strategy Pivot.

As cities and travel reopened, campaigns centralized support and safety

With storefront businesses deeply impacted during quarantines, as HBO Max brought on-site film productions back online, they did so with an eye on helping local vendors benefit from having their locales featured on audiences’ screens. Dropping giant purple pins with QR codes near the stores filmed on and around locations for its film “In the Heights,” customers could scan the codes and redeem rewards from the local businesses. Complete with a micro-site to help people find the pins, the campaign wrapped with a spot on the Digiday Awards shortlist for Best Multi-Platform Campaign.

Expedia knows travel, and as the world cautiously returns to the roads, the air and destinations, the full-service travel site provided inspiration and tips to give travelers confidence in their plans. They also replicated superstar Joe Jonas’s hand and distributed 500 of the exact replicas for those who might need a little actual hand-holding on their first trip after quarantine. The campaign, in turn, handed Expedia a finalist spot for Best PR Campaign.

Check out the full shortlist below as we wait for the judges’ decisions on all the Digiday Awards finalists.

Best Creative

Tapjoy and Bully Pulpit Interactive – The Biden/Harris 2020 Presidential Campaign

Comedy Central

Verizon and Madwell – The Reset

Land Rover and Outside

twelvenote

Known and Shift4 – Inspiration4

Best Collaboration

SHISEIDO and Dentsu Inc. – “Camellia” The brand film we didn’t shoot

Pepsi, NFL and Roc Nation – Super Bowl LV Halftime Show

Genero and Nespresso – Nespresso Talents

Fox News Media and Tunnel to Towers Foundation – Memorial Day Special Branded Content

INNOCEAN USA and Hyundai Motor America – The Un-Adventurers

Digital Dominance and ResMed – Changing lives with every breath

Best Use of Social

Nomadic Agency – Capcom Resident Evil Village Alternate Reality Game

Courageous Studio – AT&T Forces of Change

Initiative – Gen Z chooses Rexona

eos products and Mischief @ No Fixed Address – Cooch Blessings Campaign

Febreze and M Booth – Bedazzling Millennials with a Kardashian Brand Fan

Campfire and The INKEY List – #AskINKEY Campaign

Best Use of Mobile

Buzzer

Tapjoy and Bully Pulpit Interactive – The Biden/Harris 2020 Presidential Campaign

Aki Technologies and Family Dollar

Insider – Rebranding with New Mobile App Launch

(General Mills) Nature Valley & Mindshare – Sensory Ads by RUMBLE

NTWRK

Best Use of Video

Known and TikTok – It Starts On TikTok

CarMax – “Pinch Me”

TV Land

CONVICTS

XX Artists – Ancestry’s Kidsplaining Series

Edelman and TAZO Tea (Unilever)

Best Use of Influencer Marketing – NEW

MG Empower and Bumble – #MyLoveIsBlackLove

Collab, OMD and PepsiCo – Late Night Tastebuds

eos products and Mischief @ No Fixed Address – Cooch Blessings Campaign

Zeno Group and Crest – Crest Whitening’s Beauty Breakthrough

MTN DEW GAME FUEL – 2020 Gaming Influencer Campaign

Known and TikTok – It Starts On TikTok

Best Product Launch Campaign

Barbarian and Fenty Beauty –  Fenty Eau De Parfum Ghost Stores

NYX Professional Makeup – Shine Loud High Shine Lip Color Launch

Accompany Creative – Launch of Nespresso Premium Single-Origin Coffee Portfolio

Signia & Griffin360 – Signia Active X hearing aid launch

Degree – Launch of Degree Inclusive

OMD and PepsiCo – Launch of Mountain Dew Major Melon

Best Branding Campaign B2B

Insider and ING – Transforming Business/Changemakers’ Playbook campaign

Oracle – Wall Street Journal Brand Advertising Campaign

Lycored – Nourishing connections

IDG and Domo – State of the CIO Data Dashboard

Trelleborg

Wistia – Show Business

Best Branding Campaign B2C

Movement Strategy and Klarna

SEEN Connects and Simply Be – Fit For An Icon

GSG and ASICS

Pepsi – Match Me if You Can

InvestingChannel – IG US CONTENT SERIES AWARD

Summersalt – “Every Body Is A Summersalt Body” Campaign

Best Multi-Platform Campaign

ViacomCBS

HBO Max – On Location

Movement Strategy and Looney Tunes

Evoke and Foundation Consumer Healthcare, Plan B One-Step

Imprint Projects and Amazon Studios – “All In For Voting”

Weber Shandwick & Excedrin (GSK Consumer Healthcare) – Game Over for Headaches

Best Search Campaign

Goodway Group and Anytime Fitness

Investis Digital and Happy Valley

In The Know Glossary

Terakeet and Leading Mortgage/Lending Company

January Digital for David’s Bridal

Adtaxi

Best Strategy Pivot – NEW

American Century Investments – #ACCFantasyGolf

Weber Shandwick & Excedrin (GSK Consumer Healthcare) – Game Over for Headaches

Havas Atlanta, Social Center (The Coca-Cola Company – North America), Moxie

Warm Street

Atlassian

Hubilo

Best Audio Campaign

Edelman & Good Humor (Unilever)

Velocity, ViacomCBS and LEGO® – Lego Friends Podcast

Nickelodeon and iHeartRadio – Avatar: Braving the Elements podcast

CBS News – My Life Of Crime Podcast

In The Know – We Should Talk

Best PR Campaign

Edelman & Dove (Unilever)

Expedia & Zeno Group – Lend A Helping Hand to Anxious Travelers

Weber Shandwick, Chicago – “Swim Heard Round the World”

Weber Shandwick, Chicago – American Pecans – Super Safe Pecan Debate

Movers+Shakers & e.l.f. Cosmetics – Chipotle Mexican Grill & DayOne Agency

The Martin Agency – UPS and J Balvin #JuntosImparables

Most Innovative Publisher

The Dodo

BDG

WAVE.tv

Dotdash

In The Know

Courageous Studios

Best Gaming/esports Campaign

In The Know Bowl

SHISEIDO, Dentsu Inc. – “Camellia” The brand film we didn’t shoot

BEN Group, Electronic Arts, and Velan Studios – Launch of “Knockout City”

Viral Nation – PUBG MOBILE Version Update Launch

Edelman & Edgewell Personal Care (Schick)

Enthusiast Gaming and TikTok – TikTok Gamers Greatest Talent

Most Innovative Media Agency

Known

Kyra Media

Canvas Worldwide

Sela, a PCA Group Company, and OZNaturals

m/SIX

OMD Worldwide

Most Innovative Brand

Pepsi – PepsiCo Beverages North America

Reverb – The Pedal Movie

Lycored – Nourishing Connections

Noom

NTWRK

Known and Shift4 – Inspiration4

Most Innovative Technology Platform

VidMob

Iterable

STN Video

Truthset

Intowow Yieldbooster

Premion

Most Innovative Independent Agency

Movers+Shakers

B-Reel

Imprint Projects

Klick Health

We are Rosie – Welcome To A New Way To Work

SEEN Connects

Leader of the Year

OS Studios – John Higgins, CEO

SEEN Connects – Sedge Beswick, Founder and Managing Director

Bev – Alix Peabody, Founder and CEO

Collectively – Ryan Stern, CEO

PepsiCo Beverages, North America – Greg Lyons, CMO

HUM Nutrition – Walter Faulstroh, Co-founder & CEO

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Adobe Photoshop finally comes to the browser, and Chromebooks

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Adobe Photoshop finally comes to the browser, and Chromebooks

Note: When you purchase something after clicking links in our articles, we may earn a small commission. Read our affiliate link policy for more details.

Michael is a former graphic designer who’s been building and tweaking desktop computers for longer than he cares to admit. His interests include folk music, football, science fiction, and salsa verde, in no particular order.

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The Rundown: Amazon steps up its courtship of brand advertising dollars at Unboxed

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The Rundown: Amazon steps up its courtship of brand advertising dollars at Unboxed

October 26, 2021 by Max Willens

As it continues to hunt for brand advertisers’ dollars, Amazon will try to act more like a social network while continuing to think like a marketplace.

The ecommerce giant today announced a clutch of new additions to its advertising ecosystem at Unboxed, the company’s third annual advertising conference. Many of the changes seem explicitly aimed at helping advertisers who are focused on driving brand awareness or consideration, rather than strictly sales. 

The key details:

  • The company launched Brand Metrics, a “self-service measurement solution” that allows advertisers to track how many people are considering their brand and how they stack up to competitors. It also launched a brand lift tool that allows marketers to create studies within Amazon DSP, then send them to a panel of opted-in Amazon shoppers. 
  • Amazon is also expanding the availability of its marketing cloud to all of its DSP customers. Those customers now have the ability to upload pseudonymized data sets to query alongside Amazon ad campaign data, using either custom queries or by choosing from a library of queries Amazon supplies DSP users.  
  • The Unboxed announcement included several ad formats that could help performance marketers too, including more interactive ads. For example, customers that hear an ad on Amazon Music through any Alexa-enabled device can ask the assistant software to send them more information about the product advertised; customers that see an ad on IMDBtv through Fire TV can now ask Amazon to send them more information.
  • Advertisers can now also buy sponsored display ads within Twitch livestreams.

Seeking trust signals

Many of the changes Amazon is making seem designed to boost its customers’ engagement with ads and brands.

In addition to the new ad products, Amazon’s announcement also included fresh promotion of its “follow” button, which Amazon began testing about six months ago in the U.S. Customers that follow brands within Amazon get notifications when the brand does things like stream live — brands may also have deals for followers surfaced to them on Amazon’s homepage. Amazon said there are 20 million follow relationships in place within its ecosystem; as of 2019, there were more than 2 million brands selling on Amazon, according to Marketplace Pulse.

While Amazon will need more people to actually begin following brands, it potentially solves for problems that many kinds of advertisers have long had with Amazon as a marketplace. “What Amazon does really well is drive down customer acquisition cost, but their lifetime value is atrocious,” said Ryan Flannagan, the CEO of Nuanced Media, a performance-focused media agency. “Playing with these types of things could improve that.”

If follower features and follower counts become more visible within Amazon over time, it should help customers and advertisers begin to think about brands within the platform differently.

“They’re layering on these brand metrics because they also want another gauge of credibility,” Flannagan said. “Right now, [shopping on] Amazon is a price play. If it becomes a brand play, that changes things.”

The store(front) of the future

The addition of the follow button also opens the door for merchants and brands to start treating their storefronts differently. “It’ll allow them to treat Amazon stores like their websites,” said Peter Vasilakos, director of digital marketplaces at Assembly. “They’re going for a social approach.”

Amazon’s embrace of social sends it back in the direction that large tech platforms are heading, albeit from the opposite direction, with Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest are all adding more native commerce opportunities, and large retailers, including Walmart, looking to do more to grow their advertising ecosystems. “Everything is turning into a marketplace,” Vasilakos said. 

https://digiday.com/?p=430102

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