Lamb CMC

And the winner is...

Many of you will know that for a few years now Lamb CMC have created the theming for Post Magazine’s annual British Insurance Awards. Seeing this year’s shortlist being published always gives us here a timely reminder of what a great event this is and how the reputation of winning a “BIA” have helped drive some stellar work by all those who feel it worthy of submitting their efforts for stringent, objective and external scrutiny. As a business that has the word brand at the spiritual heart of everything we do, we take our collective hat off to all those that made this step and would congratulate them in equal measure as those that have been shortlisted and the eventual winners. Within the insurance industry “brand worth” is something that is sometimes not properly understood or appreciated to itself, but the metrics that define it are. It is a sector that is utterly driven by reputations at the corporate or personal level founded upon trust. Another word for which could be truth and it is the ability to show this across the business and more importantly deliver it in its service offerings that truly define a real winner.


When we look at a business’s brand, we look to four key facets that we believe define it:

Authenticity – How ‘true’ does the business remain to its original vision

Compelling – What emotional connection does the business make with its clients

Distinctive – How different is the business to others/competitors

Excellence – Does the business offer any unique service or skill and is it good at it/a leader


To us a good brand has to deliver on all four. Any failing within any of these can, in our mind, cause an imbalance that will mean the business will never reach its full potential and stand out amongst a “Night of the Champions”.

Our sister company is placed in top 50 marcomms agencies

We'd like to say a big congratulations to our sister company brandformula for their recent placement in the 2012 B2B marcomms agencies league table.

Given that these figures are prior to our merger, coming in at an outstanding number 32 demonstrates how we are now able to maximise the combined experience, skills and resources of a larger specialist agency as well as bringing together our own ways of working with our clients.

Here's looking to next year...

See the full article here.

Lamb and Brandformula join forces

Lamb CMC Limited and Brandformula Limited have announced that they have merged. A new company WHJE Limited has been created and acquired the businesses of the specialist insurance and financial services marketing agencies. The current Lamb and Brandformula shareholders own all of the WHJE shares, with no external interests or backing. From the outset both will continue to trade under their respective names but with the probable longer-term plan of merging them into a single identity. Lamb will move to the larger Brandformula offices in East Tenter St, E1 relocating there immediately and it will now become the single location for both businesses.

Both Lamb and Brandformula will now benefit from the combined experience, skills and resources of a larger specialist agency as well as bringing together their own ways of working for their clients.

In a separate move early last week the management of Brandformula had acquired the existing shares of the previous owner FWD Group Limited prior to the merger.

Speaking of the merger, Martin Wiggins, Executive Director of Brandformula said,

Brandformula and Lamb enjoy excellent reputations as specialist brand and marketing agencies, with a particular emphasis upon the insurance and related industries. We share the same passion and enthusiasm for the creation of value and engagement for our respective clients’ brands. It was a natural fit that can only bring benefits to both our businesses and our clients.”

Mark Huxley, one of the founding Directors of Lamb added,

With a deep ability for understanding the complexities of this sector we have both delivered an unrivalled level of skills, experience and business value to our clients. Combining this into a single business will allow us to develop even further, with a much-expanded base of knowledge, experience, infrastructure and broader range of services.”


For more information please contact:

Mark Huxley 07966 019533

Martin Wiggins 07974 348020

Neil Johnson 07771 538568 

Marketing your company through social media

Lamb CMC's essential tips to consider when thinking about building a social media presence for your company.  Probably the fastest growing area of our business, both in interest and actual work has been communication services involving social media. We have written a number of times here about how Linkedin and Twitter need to be considered as a key element of your external brand positioning, so we won’t preach here, but rather assume that if you are reading this then you have made that leap of faith to give it some serious consideration.


So what should be in your mind when thinking about how it should be delivered within your organisation?

Well the very first thing is to realise is that this is a strategy that will by its nature spread across the whole your organisation. It cannot nor ever will be delivered as a single thread that will not influence all else. It is a public broadcasting medium, therefore you need to appreciate that what is said here could extend many times beyond your direct following or networks. People sharing or retweeting could potentially give it a huge outreach that will overlap all your other communication channels. So think organisation-wide and develop a concerted strategy before pressing send.


Know your goals

Most think that it is the size of your community that is the key aim. Of course that is important, but knowing what you want to achieve with that community is of much greater importance; is it to drive brand awareness, traffic back to your website or is it perhaps sales? Your social communications strategies must accord to these goals and always have them in mind.


What is your ROI?

Whether managed internally or externally there will be a cost and with that you need to have the measurements to know that the campaign is meeting your goals. Whether short, medium or ultimate aims, be clear about how it will be measured.


Should I worry about Follower numbers?

In a word, no! It is more about having influencers – people that are trusted and have engaged followers themselves. Look out for bloggers, acknowledged experts, interesting “celebrities” in your sector and active tweeters; all of whom can help spread and evangelise your messages.


Look out for other communities to be active within

There are some obvious channels to use, Twitter & LinkedIn being two here, plus Facebook, as with its new Timeline platform it finally makes some sense for businesses to profile on it. But there are equally many other communities that have been created to be shared amongst like-minded people. Look them out and get involved as you never know who might be on them.


Klout score analysis

Understand the data

There are a plethora of tools on the internet that can help you delve into the effectiveness of your social media presence. Everyone has their favourites; here at Lamb we use HootSuite  as the dashboard for monitoring the various accounts we have. Aside of the usual timelines, mentions, messages, etc it has a great search tool for looking at Twitter trends as well as being able to tell you when and how many times a tweet posted has been retweeted, thereby showing the outreach of it. We use Klout and its inbuilt scoring matrix to gauge how effective our accounts are. Its algorithms assess amongst other things, your activity, the quality of your followers and the outreach of your tweets to build a number score. Very simply the higher the number the greater your perceived Twitter clout or Klout is considered. It also shows how it goes up and down, which can be a great indicator of any specific messaging done. SocialBro is great for lifting the bonnet of your Twitter account and seeing who’s following you, who they really are, how active they are and how influential they are for you.


Make everything social

Ultimately one of the prime motivations of all this is to raise awareness. A big part of which is to drive traffic to your site and likewise raise its profile in the Google search rankings. This is now almost entirely driven by how active and contemporary your site is, therefore it pays huge attention to the social media content within it. Don’t miss that trick then and make sure your site captures and displays that content where Google will find it.

Don't fear the cookie monsters

There’s been a lot of panic around recently due to a change in the UK online cookie privacy law that became compulsory in May 2012. This has got a lot of people worried and confused as to whether their website is complying or not within this new law. So what is all this cookie stuff about?  

What's the beef?

In a nutshell, a new law now requires all websites to ask visitors for permission to store and access cookies on their computers.

There was an EU ePrivacy directive passed back in 2009 which in itself isn't a law but from which each EU country is required to make their own enforceable laws. The UK brought its new cookie law into action in 2011 but gave a years grace period which ended in May 2012, which is probably why you've recently noticed more messages on various websites asking you to accept cookies on to your machine. Prior to this websites were allowed to automatically place cookies on your computer as long as your browser preferences were set to accept them.


Cookie Cookie Cookie

What the hell is a cookie anyway?

A cookie is a small file that allows information to be sent back and forth between a website and a user’s browser so that websites work smoother and the user gets a better, uninterupted web experience. This can contain information that helps with things like remembering login passwords so that you are automatically logged in next time you visit a site. Other uses of cookies are storing a user's preferences, google analytics details, access/authentication, identification of a session, remembering shopping cart contents, etc.

Your cookies can also pass on information from one site that you visit to another, for example, if you are logged into a social network like facebook and you visit a news website your browser will realise you are logged into facebook and allow you to share a news story to your facebook friends directly from the news site without asking you to log in again.

This same method can be used for targeted advertising which allows websites to see what sort of sites you have been visiting previously and tailor the adverts displayed to you according to what you are interested in.


What's this new law trying to achieve?

The principle purpose of this law is to protect privacy even when the information collected via a cookie is not necessarily personally identifiable. The issue around consent is about transparency and helping the user know what information is being collected and by whom.


ico Cookie Law Guidance

What does the law say?

Regulations already existed dating back to 2003 which stated that you had an obligation to tell users how your site uses any cookies and give them information on how they can opt out if they objected. This was usually contained within a privacy policy page typically placed in the footer of a website.

However as of 26 May 2011* new regulations state that:

1) All websites must provide clear and comprehensive information about the purposes of the storage of or access of information via any cookies they are using; and

2) Website owners must obtain consent to store a cookie on a user or subscribers device when they visit a website.

Essentially the law is very similar to the 2003 regulation with the main difference being that whereas previously you just had to provide an option to opt out, the new law now requires every visitor to a website to actively ‘consent’ i.e. opt in or opt out of cookies being set for their web session.

It is this active step of flagging up a message or a pop-up box that has got the web industry annoyed as it is disruptive to the user's experience on most websites they will visit. Considering that 92% of websites use cookies to varying degrees you can see why developers might feel this is annoying but the fact is that this is the law now and unless they are going to stop using cookies then they will need to comply or ignore the law.

* The regulations were enacted in May 2011, however a year’s grace was granted for implementation meaning the deadline for compliance was 26 May 2012.


What could this mean for you?

Generally we would say that there is no great cause for panic for many B2B websites like those of our clients as they tend to not rely on cookies too much past the analytics use. It is something that should be implemented into your site alongside any other updates you are performing. Most sites can be amended quite simply to display a message asking for permission to store cookies with a simple accept or refuse button for customers to click on.

If your site is selling anything or storing details of users then you should definitely be looking to comply as a matter of urgency as the ico (Information Commissioner's Office) has the power of fining up to £500,000 (though there is suggestion that this would only be for when serious fraud has been committed causing substantial damage or loss to the user).


So, simple isn't it

We've tried to give you the edited version and keep it fairly simple and in layman's terms here. Obviously there is a lot of information surrounding anything like this and ico are the official body responsible for handling this new regulation. They have prepared a PDF containing the full details regarding the cookie law and this can be downloaded here.

There is also a FAQs video presented by Dave Evans from ico explaining what companies should be doing in order to comply with the new regulations which you can view here.


As a final note, if any of our Lamb client's out there are reading this and want to discuss any potential changes that may need to be implemented on their website then please contact Carl on 020 7247 2233.

Twitter in action

As regular readers of our blog will know, we are social media enthusiasts and have made it a key part of our work to try and show why every brand should at least contemplate its use. I think it would be fair to say that most people see the benefits of LinkedIn as a 21st century addition to the old fashioned networking, but not so many see the benefits of something as eclectic as Twitter, with its fast moving, up to second micro-blogging. It really is a medium where the art is to be in constant touch with it and to actively participate, rather than sit on the sidelines as a watcher. Part of our social media service delivery is to manage the Twitter accounts for some of our clients that use them and we were recently involved in an event that we believe shows the real worth of Twitter.

One of our clients, Howe & Co is probably the best regarded human rights law firm in the UK, if not internationally. They have represented in many high profile cases, not least of which the settlement rights of the Ghurkas, publicly led by Joanna Lumley. With their status, their Twitter account (which only started a month or so back), whilst small in number, counts some highly influential people, one of which is the MP Peter Carroll, himself vocal on all manner of human rights issues.

At around 9.30pm one evening a week or so ago, Mr Carroll posted the following tweet:

"@relresuk @realmissfiona I would think that the lawyers @HoweAndCo could help with this. They fought for the Gurkhas & they are brilliant"

Because we use some of the many social media monitoring tools, we were immediately alerted and responded to the tweet in the name of Howe & Co, inviting some direct follow up. We also forwarded the tweet on to Howe & Co, who similarly responded immediately.

Cutting what could be a long story of the next few hours, the plea for help was on behalf of Jane Worroll, the daughter that had exposed the abuse of her mother Maria at the Ash Court Care Home. As part of an employment tribunal by an ex-employee she was being summonsed to provide her videos in defence of the ex-employee. For obvious reasons, she found this whole idea horribly distressing, especially as the summons had been delivered earlier that evening for her to present them the next morning.

With social networks and Twitter especially sharing the news, it had come to the attention of The Relatives & Residents Association, who support, inform and campaign on behalf of older people in care & who had worked closely upon this case, TV Presenter Fiona Philips, who was involved in the original Panorama programme as well as the subsequent news coverage and as already said, MP Peter Carroll. Adding Howe & Co into the equation it meant that some solid advice was given as well as some much needed moral support. With this in place, Jane Worroll received the help she needed and with the support given, Howe & Co made a firm connection with the charity.

Pleasingly this episode was recognised by Fiona Philips and she reported it and the support given by Howe & Co in her regular newspaper column in the Daily Mirror.

I will leave you to ponder the respective merits here, but for a simple act, well executed and some intelligent thinking by Howe & Co about social media, their whole worth of their business has been lifted into a hugely positive place of its own.


If you'd like to follow either us or Howe and Co. on Twitter then our links are below:

Lamb CMC

Howe and Co.