10 Promising Video Games That Totally Botched Their Launch

Everyone looks forward to the launch of a new game. After all the pre-release marketing and hype has swollen to bursting point, the launch of a game is supposed to be a celebration of a developer’s hard work and perseverance.

Unfortunately, some games just don’t quite get it right. Months of anticipation can come crashing down around a developer, or in more recent cases, a publisher. Whether it’s because the game arrives completely broken out the gate or its release is marred by an industry controversy, a bad launch can often derail what should’ve been an otherwise popular game.

In today’s world of day-one patches, a disastrous launch should, theoretically, be easier to avoid. However, the advent of always-online and multiplayer-heavy titles depending on often unreliable servers makes it considerably harder to predict how a launch will go. Not only that, but the internet’s intolerance for anti-consumer business practices is at such a high that it can smash a game’s reputation to pieces before it’s even on the shelves.

The following games learned all too well what happens when you underestimate your audience, in more ways than one.

MCV’s 30 Under 30 2017

MCV’s 30 Under 30 2017

For this year’s 30 Under 30 (sponsored by OPM Jobs) we were inundated with entries. It’s fantastic that there are so many brilliant young people working in the UK games industry, though that did make choosing the final list of 30 very tough, and so this really is the cream of the crop. Thanks for all your entries and, for those who aren’t turning 30 soon, there’s always next year’s list to contest.

We’re really pleased with the diverse nature of the list this year. It encompasses business development, community management, creative services, esports, event planning, journalism, marketing, streamer partnerships, publishing, PR, retail strategy, and many more aspects of our increasingly diverse industry. Congratulations to you all and if you’re not currently receiving MCV in print, then let us know.

Colm Ahern (29) – Deputy editor, VideoGamer

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Colm Ahern has been described to us as “one of the most dedicated, most creative, and hardest working people in the industry, a truly formidable talent of the sort our industry could do with more of.” 

After spending five years making video for God is a Geek in his spare time, he moved from Ireland to take a job as marketing assistant at Bossa Studios in 2015 – by then, God is a Geek had a GMA nomination for best video. 

He joined VideoGamer in October 2016 and was promoted to deputy editor a couple of months ago. 

He continues to produce both video and written work. While other sites often have different staff scripting, filming, performing and editing, Ahern does all of that himself for his videos.

Cloe Ashtari (25) – Content and creative manager, Multiplay

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Since joining Multiplay in 2015, Cloe Ashtari has risen from graphic designer to content and creative manager. She ran all of the content and creative pieces for Insomnia61 and Brick Live events across the summer and delivered some amazing features across the shows and in the build up and post event media. She’s also been bringing her vision to globally relevant events such as Runefest and Minecon. 

Her work has been instrumental in the growth and development of the UK’s biggest gaming festival – Insomnia – as it expanded beyond the RICOH to fill the halls of the Birmingham NEC. Ashtari is « consistently coming up with great ideas and bringing them to life, » MCV has been told.

Chris Bratt (27) – Video producer, Eurogamer

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Chris Bratt has joined Eurogamer’s video team after a stint at VideoGamer. Permanently working, he’s been described as « a delight to be with in both personal and professional settings » and « one of the best video guys in the industry. » 

   He’s behind Eurogamer’s ‘Here’s A Thing’ video series and is always pushing for how games, the companies that make them, and the scenarios they’re made in should be better. He’s also been described as « never afraid to go after a story despite pressures in the opposite direction. »

Zoe Brown (28) – Senior producer, Sony Interactive Entertainment Europe

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Zoe Brown started off her career in games two and a half years ago, as a development producer for Guitar Hero Live at FreeStyleGames, working extensively with the gameplay, networking and user interface teams. 

From there, she took the leap into publishing, quickly taking on the role of the Square Enix producer for Life is Strange: Before the Storm. In her role at Square Enix, she worked hard to ensure the game was creatively ambitious, of high quality, adhered to fan expectations of the franchise, and delivered on time. 

As of November, Brown has made the move to Sony as a senior producer on an unannounced project.


Dave Burroughs (29) – Junior PR manager, Ubisoft

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As junior PR manager, Dave Burroughs has worked tirelessly behind the scenes on titles such as Mario Rabbids, Ghost Recon Wildlands, the Assassin’s Creed franchise, Just Dance, Trackmania Turbo and many more. He came into his own in mid-2015 after Ubisoft UK lost two of its senior PR managers, a difficult transition for any department, during which he stepped up to absorb many more front-line duties, providing no break in continuity during a loaded release period.  

Among the (many) praises MCV received about Burroughs, he’s been described as « a mainstay at Ubisoft UK », « hardworking », « enthusiastic », « passionate », « always honest about what is and isn’t realistic from a PR perspective » and simply « among the best to work with. »

Grace Carroll (26) – Social media manager, Creative Assembly

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Grace Carroll started her career in games at Jagex in 2014. She joined Creative Assembly in 2015 as social media manager. She worked tirelessly to promote Total War: Warhammer and then Total War: Warhammer II, managing the social media campaigns over several platforms in the run up to release, post-release and throughout the release of DLCs. 

She develops social media campaigns and strategies to optimise the promotion of the titles based on her interactions with the community and constantly feeds what she is learning back into the process to develop new ideas. Since she joined, the number of followers on the Total War Twitter account has more than doubled to over 89k. 

Awais Dar (23) – Trade analyst, Green Man Gaming

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Described as the ‘Trading Data Wizard’ at Green Man Gaming, Awais Dar has played an integral role in the company’s growth, providing key trade and commercial insights that have helped the trading team meet their targets and increase revenue.

At just 23 years old, his complex business reports and forecasting models have supported many of the critical business decisions made by the management team, including stock management and company strategy. Before joining the business intelligence team, he built up his knowledge of the business and the industry by working in the content and customer support departments. 

Lewis Denby (28) – Director, Game If You Are

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Starting as a journalist for Eurogamer, PC Gamer and PC Zone from the age of 18, Lewis Denby then joined BeefJack part-time as the editor of its online magazine at 21, and co-created successful indie game Richard Alice on the side. He then went on to lead BeefJack’s PR and marketing division. By 2016 he’d been promoted to head of operations and was in charge of building and developing company processes as well as contributing to new business development and company strategy.

He set up his own PR consultancy in October last year, Game If You Are, which specialises in publicising indie games and creative studios that otherwise wouldn’t be able to afford high-end PR services.

Pontus Eskilsson (26) – Senior partnership manager EMEA, Twitch

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Pontus Eskilsson entered the games industry at just 15, starting an esports website that became the third-largest in Sweden. This led him to Fragbite where he became the site’s director and grew it to become the largest esports news site in Sweden. He then created the premier tournament circuit for CS:GO, Dota, and StarCraft, Fragbite Masters, the pioneer of online tournament production as we know it today.

A milestone for Fragbite Masters was reached when Eskilsson sold brand activations to non-endemic companies, including McDonald’s and PokerStars. After Fragbite, he moved to Twitch in 2015 as the Nordic partnerships lead and was promoted to partnerships account manager for EMEA in less than six months. 


Ben Finch (30) – Marketing manager, nDreams

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Ben Finch squeezes into this year’s 30 Under 30 despite his age, as his birthday landed in between the end of nominations and us going to print. Finch’s first role in the industry was at Sega, working his way up from marketing assistant to senior brand manager on the Sonic the Hedgehog brand. His highlight was the huge success Sonic and All-Stars Racing Transformed, creating everything from the global packaging through to TV ads for over 20 countries. He also delivered Sonic to iOS audiences with the 250m+ downloaded Sonic Dash.

He joined nDreams in 2014, heading up its brand marketing team. He helped rebrand the company, and headed up all marketing activity on The Assembly, Perfect, Danger Goat and the upcoming Shooty Fruity. 

Amy-Marie Graves (27) – Community manager, Square Enix Collective

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Before joining Square Enix in June 2017, Amy-Marie Graves has had stints in both the video game and film industries. 

She started her career at Universal Pictures in 2014, before joining the games industry as PR and community management trainee at Curve Digital in summer 2015.

At Square Enix, she primarily focuses on internal indie label Square Enix Collective, where she helps promoting and publishing the titles, as well as looking after the firm’s social channels and community.

« Amy’s confidence, experience, determination and motivation has grown as much as her passion for the games industry in just a few years, » MCV has been told. 

Alexandre Grimonpont (27) – Senior publishing producer, Hi-Rez Studios Europe

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Having started his career as a pro player at 14, Alexandre Grimonpont started to focus on content creation in 2013 and casted games on his spare time. He was noticed by Blizzard and was involved in the Starcraft 2 World Championship Series global final casting. He continued on this path for a little while and then started working on creating content in French for Blizzard’s main events.

He joined Hi-Rez in 2016, managing the community team as well as PR, events, esports and influencer marketing across EMEA. He attented multiple European events in 2017, strengthening Hi-Rez’s social media reach in several European languages and greatly increased interaction with players.

Josh Heaton (27) – Design manager and head of Gamer Creative, Gamer Network

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Josh Heaton has been with Gamer Network since 2010, when he joined Eurogamer as a junior designer. Since then, he’s continued to work on design for Gamer Network’s portfolio of sites (Eurogamer, VG247, Rock Paper Shotgun and more). 

Additionally, he formed and heads up Gamer Creative, Gamer Network’s in-house creative agency, which has helped thousands of developers and publishers (from indie to triple-A) with creative and design work for their marketing, earning accolades from around the industry. There are very few video game publishers out there who haven’t worked with Heaton on design to help market their games at some point.

He’s been described as « working incredibly hard behind the scenes. »

Sofie Marien (25) – Social media and community manager, Good Catch Games

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Sofie Marien looks beyond her role to the wider industry and has helped make it a more inclusive place for all players. 

She founded the PlayStation LGBT group and helped bring PlayStation to London Pride in 2017. At PlayStation, she was the Dutch community manager, promoting all first party and some third-party titles. She led the promotion of Horizon Zero Dawn, helping promote its diverse world to make its own space in the open world market, leading to this new IP’s success. 

Marien has just started at new publisher and developer Good Catch Games, lending her skill and experience from working at PlayStation for two and-a-half years.



Jessie Meola (28) – Senior marketing manager, Frontier Developments

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Jessie Meola started her gaming career at Frontier Developments four years ago and has been with the publisher-developer from the very beginning of Frontier’s journey into self-publishing, starting out as marketing assistant and rapidly progressing through the ranks to oversee all Frontier’s marketing activities. 

Today, Meola manages a team overseeing product marketing, digital advertising and brand partnerships as the studio’s sole senior marketing manager, working on Elite Dangerous and Planet Coaster, and working closely with Universal Pictures on Frontier’s newest game, Jurassic World Evolution.

Nathan Mills (23) – Senior PR executive, Koei Tecmo Europe

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Having started his career at Koei Tecmo just under two years ago, Nathan Mills has already reached the level of a senior member of staff. Before joining the publisher’s UK office,  he had short stints at PR firms Wildfire PR and Stature PR, and has been running a YouTube channel for eight years.

As senior PR and marketing executive at Koei Tecmo, he’s currently working on the marketing campaigns for titles such as Blue Reflection, Dynasty Warriors 9, Nights of Azure 2: Bride of the New Moon and Warriors All-Stars.

Described as « a vital member of the Koei Tecmo team » at only 23, Mills « has shown great growth, wisdom, insight and maturity in a role that requires a high degree of sensibility, levelheadedness and tenacity. »



Hollie Pattison (25) – Community manager, Ripstone

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Considered to be « a rising star in the industry, » Hollie Pattison is « more than a community manager. » As part of a small team, she gets involved in everything from media and influencer relations to writing store copy and aiding PR strategy. As well as the usual community management tasks of handling social media strategy and implementation, plus dealing with customer queries, she has grown Ripstone’s Twitch channel from barely non-existent to a now Partnered channel with regular front-page featured streams.

She is also a SpecialEffect charity ambassador, helping to raise awareness as well as funds for the charity.

Daniela Pietrosanu (27) – Senior publicist, Premier PR

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Having spent two years plying her trade at board game specialists Esdevium, Daniela Pietrosanu made the leap to Premier PR in October 2014 and quickly established herself as one of the sector’s finest. Having worked on numerous titles from smaller independent gems to triple-A leviathans, no project is too big for her hands. Most recently, she has become the current UK lead for Square Enix agency-side and helped deliver outstanding coverage for titles such as Hitman, Rise of the Tomb Raider and Final Fantasy XV. 

If that wasn’t enough, she is also part of the ‘Them Video Dames’ Twitch channel with former 30 Under 30 entrant, Lucy Pullinger.

Adam Raisborough (29) – Retail planning manager, Warner Bros

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Adam Raisborough started his career in January 2013 as an insight analyst with Warner Bros, working across film, games, TV and family entertainment. He was promoted to senior insight analyst in 2015, quickly followed by a promotion to retail planning manager in 2016. Raisborough has worked on the successful launches and catalogue strategies of Dying Light, Batman: Arkham Knight, Mortal Kombat X and XL and Injustice 2, along with several Lego titles.

He also, from an analytical perspective, led on the launch of Shadow Of War. More recently, Raisborough has also been leading the effort within the UK to better harness and harmonise the process of digital games and mobile games data collection.


Megan Rice (24) – Business development executive, Ukie

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At only 24, Megan Rice has already worked for the likes of Bossa Studios as marketing assistant, Curve Digital as studio manager and marketing assistant, and Playhubs as community manager. 

Joining Ukie in August last year, Rice has quickly risen to be at the forefront of expanding the work of the trade body, leading on key Ukie projects including the industry defining student membership and training courses. 

As the lead on the Ukie student programme, she’s been giving talks and organising conferences and activities to help bring the industry and the academia closer together. 

Maria Laura Scuri (28) – Executive operations manager, FaceIt

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Maria Laura Scuri started with FaceIt’s core team in 2014 as an intern assisting with everything from customer support through to event management. She soon became executive assistant to the CEO and worked her way up to her current position. Together with the CGO, she now works alongside major game publishers assisting during the integration phase by coordinating several teams, making sure integrations standards are met before the game goes live and providing a launch strategy including social media and PR.

She follows a team of people that ensures all competitions on the platform, from the big qualifiers to ongoing tournaments, run smoothly and the best mix of competitions is offered. 


Adam Simmons (26) – VP content and marketing, Level Up Media

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Prior to joining DingIt.TV, Adam Simmons combined competitive gaming and esports casting with his career as a Team GB Paralympian, competing in sprint kayaking.

In just under four years since joining a pre-launch DingIt he has overseen the platform’s launch, growth and shift from live streaming to premium highlights content. The site has subsequently exploded in popularity to more than 40m unique monthly visitors. In February 2017 he was central to the creation of Level Up Media, with DingIt as the company’s flagship site. This autumn Simmons led Level Up Media’s launch of TheGamer.TV platform for mainstream gaming fans.

Simmons was also featured in a Channel 4 series on pro gamers.

Jen Simpkins (24) – Deputy editor, Edge

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Jen Simpkins joined the industry at the end of 2015 as staff writer on Official PlayStation Magazine. The self-described ‘princess of print’ worked at the publication when it did the impossible: increasing its print circulation by nearly ten per cent. 

Simpkins was promoted to games editor in September 2016, before she left Official PlayStation Magazine in June 2017 to become deputy editor of Edge, less than two years into her career. 

Among the numerous praises MCV received about Simpkins, she has for instance been described as a « lovely, hardworking and strong woman who has done something unfounded by becoming the deputy editor of such a prolific magazine at such a young age and has a loyalty to print which is rare to see in this industry. »

Lai-Ling Soo (27) – Marketing executive, Xbox UK

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As marketing executive, Lai-Ling Soo is responsible for managing the Xbox presence at consumer gaming events in the UK. In the last year, these have included small events but also the biggest shows in the country such as EGX (80,000 attendees), EGX Rezzed (17,000 attendees) and Insomnia (50,000 attendees). 

Soo is also in charge of executing the firm’s marketing campaigns, as well as managing Xbox UK’s social channels which, combined, reach over 2.7m people. 

She’s been described as « highly diligent, efficient and attentive to detail and always gets the job done on time, on budget and with a massive smile on her face. »


Luke ‘LTZonda’ Taylor (23) – Content creator, founder of Streamers Connected

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Luke ‘LTZonda’ Taylor is one of the most prolific content creators in the UK with a following of nearly 650k combined. 

This year, he set up Streamers Connected, a community for streamers and content creators gathering over 5,000 members. It’s the UK’s biggest Discord community and it offers content creators of all sizes the chance to learn, collaborate, network and share. 

Through his professionalism he has earned sponsorship with some of the biggest brands in the UK including Nvidia, Green Man Gaming and Corsair and he recently became the official UK brand ambassador for XSplit and Player.me.

Robin Valentine (29) – Editor, GamesMaster

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Robin Valentine became editor of GamesMaster earlier this year, becoming one of the youngest editor of any of the UK games magazines. 

At this role, Valentine has been maintaining and strengthening GamesMaster’s « passionate, slightly anarchic, unashamedly geeky spirit of the cult titles of the past, » his colleagues told MCV. They continued: « His carefully-assembled team of writers delivers 100 pages packed with the joy of games, and some of the most excruciating jokes and puns you’ll ever read, month after month. And he runs RPGs so is, quite literally, a gamesmaster. »

Haley Uyrus (29) – PR and marketing manager, Failbetter Games

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After a career in graphic design at Hasbro and Staples, plus three degrees (BFA Communications Design, MA Game Design Theory, and MBA Creative Industries Management), Haley Uyrus started working in the games industry in 2014 at PR firm BeefJack, where she worked on over 25 indie games. In six months, she increased the company’s income through its business development initiative by 167 per cent. She joined Failbetter Games in May 2016, originally looking after browser title Fallen London, before moving on to look after and strategise for RPG Sunless Sea (500k units sold) and upcoming Kickstarted game Sunless Skies. 

She’s been labelled as « the woman with eight million degrees, » her peers told MCV, as well as « resilient », « reliable » and with a « broad skillset. »

Casey Vatcher (24) – Product manager, Nintendo UK

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Casey Vatcher first started at Nintendo UK as a marketing intern in 2013. After completing his degree, he returned to Nintendo UK as an assistant product manager. Once in the role, Vatcher helmed campaigns for some of Nintendo UK’s biggest releases – the largest being the multi-award winning launch of Pokémon Sun and Pokémon Moon in 2016. Using this as a platform, he was then promoted to product manager in 2017 and now looks after the full Nintendo 3DS hardware and software family for the UK. 

« His growth and rise through the business has all come as a result of his willingness to learn, hard work and dedication to doing his best, » MCV’s been told.

Anita Wong (26) – Account manager, Indigo Pearl

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In just under four years, Anita Wong has become one of the most recognisable faces in the UK video games industry, helping Indigo Pearl win three consecutive MCV PR Agency Awards. Never one to shy away from an event – or organise one herself – Wong has consistently been a frontline representative for Indigo Pearl, managing PR campaigns for the some of its biggest clients, including Activision Blizzard, Pokémon GO, Trion Worlds, Good Shepherd, and most recently Andy Serkis’ new studio The Imaginarium.

She’s been described as « a tireless workhorse and dance floor diva, » with her co-workers adding: « Anita’s presence is most notable when she’s not around – we simply wouldn’t be the same without her. »

Rik Wortman (28) – Live events manager RuneScape, Jagex

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The first words MCV received about Rik Wortman when the nomination period for 30 Under 30 began was that he’s a unicorn, but not « an actual sparkly, rainbow emitting-unicorn » (which left us a bit disappointed really) but « a multi-talented tour-de-force marketing expert with a unique blend of skills. »

At Jagex, Wortman works with RuneScape’s live events team on monetisation, virtual item sales, time-limited events and competitive gaming, all designed with game KPIs first and foremost. This has led Jagex to record breaking performance for three consecutive years. 

Wortman has worked his way up from a player support representative to one of the most challenging and specialist roles in the industry.

Honourable mentions

Laura Durrant – Jagex  /   Rob Dwiar – Freelance writer  /  Adam Jenkins – Edelman – Xbox UK  /  Edward Lewis – Frontier Developments  /    

Daniel Pitt – Nintendo UK  / Kiron Ramdewar – PlayStack /  Otisha Sealy – Warner Bros  /  Claire Sharkey – Level Up Media  /   

Paul Stone – PressXtra.net – Indigo Pearl  / Victoria Wallace – Warner Bros  /   Alison Woods – Frontier Developments  /   


MCV’s 30 Under 30 is sponsored by OPM Jobs

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Economics of influence

Laurie Shannon had no experience with filming, social media, or cake decorating when she started making YouTube videos from her parents’ basement.

She taped parchment paper over a lamp and used a camera she already owned to make her first videos, which she uploaded to her channel, The Icing Artist. “It was really hard because the quality of the content wasn’t good,” says Laurie. “We uploaded every week, but didn’t get any momentum.”

For the first two years, The Icing Artist earned about $5,000 per year. She kept her costs low by using gear she already owned, but she made a big investment in time. She worked at a bakery to pay the bills and spent every evening and weekend baking, filming and editing. “I thought if I keep pushing and pushing then maybe I can get there.”

Over time, the Icing Artist attracted 1 million subscribers, giving Laurie the opportunity to work from her home near Toronto alongside her fiance who also quit his job to work on the channel full time. Together, they earn between $10,000 and $40,000 per month.

Making cake videos from your home might sound like a dream job, but it’s no get-rich-quick scheme. “It was two and a half years of hard work before I could do this full time, and it’s still hard work,” says Laurie. “We work seven days a week and long hours every day.”

As more people try to become influencers, they are coming face-to-face with this harsh reality, says Robert Kyncl, Chief Business Officer at YouTube, in his new book.

YouTube alone saw 1,000 accounts “cross the 1,000-subscriber threshold every day in 2016,” says Kyncl’s book. “Breaking through the noise to capture a viewer’s precious attention has never been harder, even if the opportunity exists for nearly anyone to do so.”

Successful influencers like Laurie have built their careers on real relationships with their fans and developing quality content that speaks global audiences—showing that influence can’t be manufactured, it has to be earned.

Influence is money

Paying social media stars to promote products is becoming a popular way for brands to advertise online.

A decade ago, print advertising accounted for 53 percent of Google searches worldwide, according to Google Trends, which shows how often search terms are entered. Today, influencer marketing accounts for 51 percent of Google searches, while video advertising accounts for 32 percent and print advertising makes up the remaining 21 percent.

The millions of people who follow fitness, fashion, and pet accounts fit specific demographics. And their attention is worth a lot of money. This year, companies were expected to spend $50,000-$100,000 per influencer marketing program according to a survey by marketing agency Linqia.

Fitness influencer Lyzabeth Lopez, the creator of the Hourglass Workout, told Forbes she charges up to $5,000 per post and $100,000 per campaign. Famous yogi Rachel Brathen, who has more Instagram followers than the populations of most Canadian cities, charges a minimum of $25,000 per social media post, according to Forbes.

Even so-called “micro-influencers” can earn money from social media, says a recent blog post by the Influence Agency, a company that matches influencers with brands. Instagram accounts under 50,000 followers can earn between $250-$2,000 per post, while accounts with up to 100,000 followers can earn $1,000-$4,000 per post.

Max Chafkin, a writer at Bloomberg Businessweek, wanted to see just how hard it was to become an influencer, so he set out to turn his “schlubby” Instagram feed with 212 followers into a sleek men’s fashion account. His goal was “to persuade someone, somewhere, to pay me cash money for my influence.”

Chafkin dished out about $2,000 over six weeks on professional photography. He got a haircut, borrowed clothes from Lord Taylor and enlisted the help of an agency pro bono. He also paid $10 per month for bots that left thousands of comments and likes around Instagram, and eventually resorted to buying 500 fake followers for $15.

Chafkin ultimately completed his goal, but he doesn’t have an optimistic outlook on the industry. “I spent a couple thousand dollars and got one free t-shirt,” Chafkin told VICE Money. “I was so far away from breaking even it’s almost not even worth talking about.”

The experiment shows that it is possible to use tricks to jumpstart an influencer career, says Chafkin. “But in the end you’re going to need some sort of talent.”

The size of a creator’s audience is the basis for how much they get paid, but brands consider lots of other factors when they decide whether to work with an influencer, according to Parker.

Having high-quality content that looks authentic and fits a creative niche can get the attention of a brand. It’s also important that your followers are real people who engage genuinely with your content, he explained.

Being reliable and responsive is another big part of working with brands because they have strict deadlines, according to Parker. The creators who turn their brands into businesses are ultimately the ones that will thrive in the industry, he explained.

Jahtna Hernandez did all of the above last year when she switched up her approach to YouTube and turned it into a source of full-time income.

Last year, she was unemployed, in debt, fresh out of a relationship, and living with her parents. She decided to focus on her YouTube channel, xoJahtna, and spent the next three months immersed in creating videos. “I would go days without sleeping…my mom was very concerned,” says Hernandez.

She had failed at YouTube two years before — she was creating nail art videos and had built up a following of 70,000 subscribers. But she didn’t enjoy filming it and eventually quit.  

Hernandez decided to change the topic of her channel and make videos about do-it-yourself life hacks. Her first video demonstrated different ways to style your hair using household items like a fork. Something about the video resonated with her online audience. It went viral and her subscriptions started to snowball, giving her 77,000 followers and 2 million views in a single month. Her first cheque from YouTube paid off her entire debt, which had climbed to $8,000.

Hernandez was seeing success on YouTube, but it didn’t make her an influencer overnight. Her income was coming directly from YouTube ads, which is based on the number of views her videos had, rather than from brand deals.

It took another seven months and 320,000 subscribers for a brand to contact her about sponsorship.  “You have to have a good amount of traction to actually live off of [YouTube],” she says.

Hernandez is learning how to negotiate with brands to increase her revenue and create a more sustainable career. The added pressure of delivering branded content has increased the intensity of her work, sometimes creating multiple videos at the same time to meet her deadlines.

To be successful at YouTube, “you have to go all the way in,” says Hernandez. “The harder you go, the more results you’ll get.”

‘Bermuda calling’ video marketing ploy a big hit | The Royal Gazette …

Scott Neil Assistant Business Editor


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  • Summer success: a woman reacts to being offered a trip to Bermuda after picking up a ringing phone in a New York City street. The video marketing campaign by JetBlue Airways, in conjunction with the Bermuda Tourism Authority, was seen by hundreds of thousands of viewers on JetBlues social-media platforms and YouTube

    Summer success: a woman reacts to being offered a trip to Bermuda after picking up a ringing phone in a New York City street. The video marketing campaign by JetBlue Airways, in conjunction with the Bermuda Tourism Authority, was seen by hundreds of thousands of viewers on JetBlues social-media platforms and YouTube

A quirky piece of experimental marketing involving the Bermuda Tourism Authority and JetBlue Airways drew hearty applause from a roomful of business executives.

They were reacting to an online video that showed pedestrians in New York City answering a ringing telephone in the street and being offered a free trip to Bermuda.

The Bermuda Calling video was devised by JetBlue in co-operation with the BTA and has been viewed by an estimated audience of hundreds of thousands through YouTube and JetBlues social-media platforms.

The campaign ran during the summer. Members of the Association of Bermuda International Companies were shown the video by Kevin Dallas, CEO of the BTA, who was guest speaker at Abics annual meeting.

Featuring squeals of delight from passers-by who stopped to answer the ringing phone, which was attached to a vacant storefront, the video campaign attracted positive tourism media coverage in the US.

Mr Dallas said: It went out online on all of JetBlues social-media channels and YouTube, where it was seen by hundreds of thousands of people. This is a great example of integrated marketing.

The video was an example of the new ways the island is being marketed, both by the BTA and by outside companies with an interest in bringing customers to the island.

Mr Dallas explained the different ways the BTA has been marketing Bermuda, and the success that has been achieved.

He said it had decided the Bermuda brand should reflect the islands people and what it is to be an authentic Bermudian, and a more modern and refreshed version of ourselves.

It was about selling the island more as a lifestyle brand rather than purely as a destination.

Mr Dallas said: The way in which we sell the Bermudian brand, the way in which we tell the Bermuda story, is through real Bermudian stories.

It is often through Bermudas spokespeople that we are telling the Bermuda story, rather than flashy marketing.

The BTA has focused its attention on gateway cities, such as Boston, New York, Philadelphia, Washington DC and Toronto.

Mentioning that the organisation is operating on roughly half of the budget once given to the Ministry of Tourism, Mr Dallas said: Out of strategy and necessity we focus where we have the highest ROI [return on investment].

Air arrivals are up 11 per cent on the year to date, while visitor spending is up 22 per cent.

Thats an extra $40 million coming from leisure visitors, and over $50 million if you count all visitor arrivals. Thats roughly 1 per cent of GDP.

He said 90 per cent of that growth was from visitors under the age of 45.

However, Mr Dallas would like to see hotel occupancy, currently on track to be in the low 60s per cent for the year, reach the 70 mark in order to be true investment-grade territory.

He said that was one reason the BTA is grateful for the Bermuda Government bringing forward the Tourism Investment Act ahead of the Caribbean Hotel Investment Conference and Operations Summit, which was held on the island earlier this month.

A number of the BTAs short TV commercials promoting Bermuda to audiences in the northeast US were shown to Abir members. Mr Dallas said the videos were deliberately intriguing and with an air of mystic in order to draw the curious to the Bermuda tourism website, where the aim was to convert them into future visitors of the island.

Looking ahead, he spoke about the tourism-centred events planned for 2018, including the hosting of a ITU World Triathlon event in April, which is being promoted with assistance from Bermudas reigning ITU World Champion Flora Duffy.

And while acknowledging that Bermuda is about much more than sailing, he said that post-Americas Cup, the island has a lot of inbound opportunity in the sailing world.

One of those opportunities will come in 2019, when Bermuda hosts the World Conference of Sailing which brings together the worlds sailing organisations.

It is a fantastic thing for us to have because the people who decide where the regattas are for every class of boat out there will be here, so we can show them Bermuda and sell them Bermuda for their events, said Mr Dallas.

And this event, when they are here, will be the first time they have a regatta alongside the meeting.

Mr Dallas added: We know that Bermuda has not had the broad community engagement that we want to have. But were delighted there are Bermudians out there in the world of sailing.

In particular Emily Nagel, who is on a Volvo Ocean Racing Team. And the BTA and XL Catlin have partnered to sponsor Mustafa Ingham to go as well. He is at the Volvo Ocean Race Academy. We are hoping he gets the certification to sail the last couple of legs of the Volvo Ocean Race.

We think thats a good story internationally for Bermuda, its an important vehicle for building community engagement, having people follow and get excited about Mustafas journey, and Emilys.


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Published Nov 22, 2017 at 8:00 am
(Updated Nov 21, 2017 at 11:44 pm)

5 Marketing Trends That Should Influence Your 2018 Budget

Between wrapping up end-of-year campaigns and aiming to finish 2017 on a high note, it’s tempting to live in the moment and procrastinate on your 2018 strategy development. But the foundation for next year’s success is being laid right now, as marketing leaders examine how they can push their current strategies to the next level.

This growth can’t depend solely on beating 2017’s performance numbers and ROI. Marketing leaders need to step back and examine the big picture of what’s happening across their industry. As new marketing trends emerge, savvy leaders are on the hunt for new ways to reach their audience, increase engagement, and drive growth for the entire company.

In 2018, many of the leading trends in marketing will revolve around deeper investments into channels that continue to be underutilized, despite strong evidence of their promise and value to brands. Here’s a look at five such trends that marketers will want to consider in their 2018 marketing budget.

1. Video’s value will soar as brands refine their targeting strategy.

We already know that video is a high-value medium that offers great potential for engagement from audiences. But its role in reaching consumers continues to become more prominent: By the end of 2017, 74 percent of all Internet traffic will be video-based, predicted Mary Meeker in her 2015 Internet Trends Report.

Similarly, marketers have also probably heard that the cost of video production continues to drop. With today’s technology, some video producers are getting it done with solutions as simple as an iPhone 8 and a high-quality microphone. But in 2018, the biggest boost to video will be the improved audience targeting capabilities that YouTube and other platforms are able to provide. Marketing Land points out that the audience targeting options for video marketing content are better than ever before. These diverse tools can target a refined audience that makes your ad spending more efficient and profitable than ever before, while retargeting capabilities for video will make big strides in accuracy and contextual video placement.

If your company is still holding out on video due to the costs and concerns about generating strong ROI from this channel, these enhanced targeting tools should serve as encouragement to get in on the action.

A man shoots video footage using a handheld camera

Image attribution: Seth Doyle

2. Your consumer data needs an audit before GDPR goes into effect.

If your company does any business with European businesses or consumers, you’re about to get well-acquainted with GDPR. General Data Protection Regulation is a new set of regulatory rules that strengthen personal data protection for consumers in Europe. As the Content Standard’s Lauren McMenemy reports, GDPR will go into effect in May 2018, and it will affect all companies that do business with private individuals in Europe—including American companies with consumers overseas.

GDPR will require companies to implement a range of changes to how they gather and maintain consumer data. If this new regulatory act is going to affect your business, it’s wise to begin a data audit now to assess which aspects of your current data management routine are out of compliance with these new rules. McMenemy reports that many global brands are hiring data protection officers to serve as the leads for this transition to more consumer-friendly data protection practices.

Don’t wait until the new regulations go into effect. Be proactive now and allocate some of your 2018 budget to preparing for this transition.

3. Influencer marketing isn’t going anywhere.

Were you hoping that influencer campaigns were one of those marketing trends that would quickly fall out of fashion? You’re out of luck. According to data from Marketing Profs, 84 percent of marketers believe influencer campaigns are effective at reaching their goals. In fact, 55 percent of marketers believe they acquire better customers through influencer campaigns.

According to MDG’s “The State of Influencer Marketing” report, 48 percent of marketers plan on increasing their influencer budgets in 2018. The costs of influencer campaigns can vary widely depending on the influencer’s relative fame and audience influence, but MDG notes that Instagram influencers alone are already generating around $500 million in revenue every year.

In 2018, marketers will be forced to conduct research that identifies top influencers among their target audiences, and they’ll need to make sure money is allocated to fund these influencer campaigns. If you don’t build relationships with your audience’s top influencers, it leaves the door open for your competitors to gain an advantage.

Conan O'Brien

Image attribution: Koka Sexton

4. Brand storytelling will continue to evolve in complexity and depth.

Content creation continues to evolve on several fronts. Beyond an ongoing transition to story-centric, narrative-driven content marketing for brands, creators are also investing more time into creating fewer high-quality pieces. According to research from Orbit Media, bloggers in recent years have transitioned to longer-form content that takes six or more hours to create, instead of the one to two hours that was more common in years past. More importantly, they’re getting results: 49 percent of bloggers spending more than six hours on a single post reported “strong results” for that content.

Meanwhile, storytelling continues to expand across different channels, including mediums unfamiliar to most marketers. CMO reports that 53 percent of marketers are either actively deploying or testing AR content, while 43 percent are doing the same for VR. AI and IoT are also receiving active interest from more than 20 percent of marketers, showcasing how marketers are sinking resources into research and development for the next generation of brand storytelling.

5. Brands will continue to build their own audience, instead of renting ad space.

Purchasing space to publish ads and content on relevant websites remains a core component of digital marketing, but many brands are also looking for ways they can take control of their content and the platforms used for publishing. Social media is one example of this transition in action: While the social network company owns the platform, brands have control over the content they create and promote, and they’re able to build a custom audience over time, according to the Content Standard’s Michael Box.

For a large global company, this might mean producing their own industry publication or even producing a proprietary content app that consumers can access directly, like what Netflix and other content destinations have achieved. In most cases, success hinges on the quality of original content offered through that content channel. If you’re able to create compelling content and collect this content in a single destination, you have a decent shot at building an audience that will come back time and time again.

Success in 2018 starts today, and it starts with a marketing budget that allocates money to the right initiatives. As you plan out the next calendar year, make sure you’re leaving room in the budget to spur on new innovations that help your brand marketing strategy evolve.

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Featured image attribution: 85Fifteen

Video marketing: A beginner’s guide – Marketing Week

Video marketing guide

Here Marketing Week looks at some of the core issues that brands should consider around video marketing.

Jump to:

  • Creating a video marketing strategy
  • Choosing a video format
  • Choosing the right screen size
  • Autoplay and no sound
  • Measuring video
  • Video on a budget

Creating a video marketing strategy

Devising an effective video strategy is no mean feat. Although the barriers to entry are lower for brands compared to other media channels such as TV or cinema, marketers must think carefully about the type of video content they produce, the audience it is aimed at and the platforms on which it is shared.

Although marketers can create and publish videos with relative ease, they should aim to take a scientific approach to their video strategy. For publisher Time Inc that means looking at the data rather than doing things on a hunch.

The publisher has also experimented with a range of different video formats across its brands. Look magazine, for example, creates tutorials and has used shoppable Facebook Live videos to help monetise partnerships with brands like Asos and Benefit Cosmetics.

Creating a recurring series of content is another way to build audiences. For example, one video in the #MumWins series created by Time Inc’s Good to Know site attracted 49 million views on

READ MORE: How to devise an effective video strategy

Choosing a video format

From a 15-minute series to six-second Snapchat clips, the sheer volume of video formats and channels available means marketers need to carefully consider how video works for their specific brand. These are the options:

Long-form video

As the home of long-form video content, YouTube is a favourite with brands looking to break the conventions of TV schedules and go direct to consumers. Buzzfeed attracts seven billion global views each month so is firmly of the belief digital shows can break through at scale. In fact, one in six people in the UK currently subscribes to one of BuzzFeed’s Tasty food channels on YouTube.

Beauty brand Benefit, meanwhile, opts for YouTube when it wants to generate the mass awareness needed to promote a new product. However, quantity doesn’t beat quality. Head of digital marketing for Benefit UK and Ireland, Michelle Stoodley, says the brand attempted to do one video a week on YouTube last year but didn’t quite appreciate the work involved, the time needed and the budgets so now believes less is more.

Short-form video

Whether it’s a six-second Snapchat clip or a polished, high-end Instagram Stories campaign, marketers are increasingly adding short-form video to their media mix. This means marketers are experimenting with how to use the screen space to make a real impact.

The square format of Instagram and the vertical nature of Snapchat can both present a challenge when it comes to figuring out assets, however. But despite the issues with viewability and impact, Mondelez’s digital and social media manager, Pollyanna Ward says it has taught the brand that when it comes to creative, there is no one-size-fits-all approach, which is a valuable lesson.

User-generated content

Content created by brand fans, influencers and staff has been a big success for Benefit. To coincide with the roll-out of its mascara Roller Lash in 2015, Benefit created a montage video featuring user-generated content (UGC) posted by consumers.

It gets store-based employees involved in creating tutorials, which the brand says consumers respond well to.

READ MORE: When to use video: The ultimate guide

Live video

Livestreaming is currently being tried, tested and launched via various platforms. Twitter announced its plans for a 24/7 live video stream in April, Facebook and YouTube continue to try and grow their live offering and other players in the market are proving their worth.

Brands can advertise against live video streams to reach a desired audience but increasingly it’s a way for brands to create their own live content.

Aside from creating this content with Google, Facebook and Twitter, other platforms are emerging that offer the tools to take control and brand a video experience rather than having to use the existing platforms and all that comes with them.

One example is Telefónica’s livestreaming tool Xtreamr, which is designed to help brands, content producers and TV broadcasters create interactive live experiences for audiences via a web tool and mobile app.


Instagram stories Airbnb
Airbnb used Instagram Stories to build awareness of its Airbnb Experiences offer.

Snapchat, Instagram and Facebook all offer a ‘stories’ function on their sites. Stories originated with Snapchat in 2013 and allows users of the social media platform to play a series of ‘snaps’ or videos in one sequence. Instagram and Facebook followed suit in 2016 and 2017 with their own not dissimilar versions of the feature.

A report in TechCrunch found that view counts on Snapchat Stories dropped by 15-40% after the launch of Instagram Stories, and posting volume declined as well so there is much competition in this area. These functions are now open to brands to create their own stories and Instagram seems to be stealing a lot of the limelight.

READ MORE: From stories to livestreaming: The newest video formats for brands

Choosing the right screen size

Brands need to ensure they are thinking about creating content specifically for screen size to make sure it is relevant to the device, particularly mobile.

Teads’ research, conducted with Ipsos, shows that mobile-optimised square video formats drive 66% more completed views than horizontal creative when viewed on mobile devices.

It also shows that outstream vertical and square formats are the least intrusive of all mobile ads, driving a 39% enhancement in user experience. Vertical formats achieve 83% higher ad recall than the horizontal format, with square ads achieving 60% better ad recall.

Autoplay and a lack of sound

It’s no longer a viable option for brands to simply repurpose TV ads for use on other channels. A 30-second TV ad might work OK as a pre-roll but its message could be lost if it is autoplayed in a news feed or on social media.

Understanding users’ context is also key. This means thinking about how a video is being viewed, which is often without sound. While it does present a challenge it also gives marketers the opportunity to be creative and design content specifically without sound.

Measuring video

Many marketers are scratching their heads when it comes to understanding how to successfully measure video effectiveness, with many relying too heavily on completion rate.

Measurement is still not sophisticated, with some suggesting the fact Facebook and Google partner with Nielsen means the standard ad recall and impact on perception video metrics are too much like above-the-line measures so not fit for purpose.

READ MORE: Mark Ritson: Facebook’s erroneous video metrics show no one has a clue about digital

Collecting data like impressions, video views or average completion rates does not in itself prove that customers or prospects have remembered, enjoyed, felt persuaded by or done anything different because of a branded video.

Instead marketers should be asking questions around whether video views lead to brand or product advocacy, argues Andre van Loon, research and insight director at We Are Social, as well as if they were successful in reinforcing existing attitudes or behaviours, or creating new ones, and if a brand’s videos impacted on consumers’ purchase intentions or increased sales.

READ MORE: How to measure video effectiveness

Video on a budget

Brands need to make sure they achieve the right look and feel, while at the same time making a big impact. Here are some straightforward tips to make the most of a small budget when making video:

Plan your video

It is easy for brands to dive straight into filming without any consideration of the video’s message, timing or desired outcome. Planning ahead means the project will be less likely to go over budget, helping brands avoid expensive reshoots and wasted investment.

READ MORE: How to devise an effective video strategy

Brands should firstly define their goals and what they want the video to achieve. Clarity on the video’s key messages will ensure marketers stay on track. Each piece of video content should also include a call to action, which acts as an instruction for the viewer and helps to provoke an immediate response. If the goal is to drive traffic to a website or sign people up to a newsletter, then define this at the outset and build a call to action into the video that looks to achieve this.

Be resourceful with video equipment

Be it your phone or a professional DSLR camera, making video has never been more democratised, with influencers shooting quality video straight from their bedrooms with little kit or money.

Re-use old video

Re-editing past video footage is a cost-effective method of getting more bang for your buck – don’t avoid using footage just because it is old. Videos can also be freshened up with new music and by working with the frames from a different angle to produce something new.

Avoid video pitfalls

Some brands create a piece of video content just for the sake of it, while others take a one-size-fits-all approach, placing the same video on every social media platform.

To avoid these problems, make video social media ready. In practice, this means personalising video for the chosen social media platform and understanding each channel.

It’s also important to identify each social media platform’s optimal video format. The horizontal video aspect ratio that was once the gold standard for social and online video has been proven less effective in engagement than vertical and square videos, especially thanks to Snapchat.

In depth

Iran hits back over Saudi’s prince’s ‘Hitler’ comment

Image copyright

Image caption

Prince Mohammed bin Salman, right, warned against trying to appease Ayatollah Ali Khamenei

Iran has accused the Saudi crown prince of being « immature » after he described the Iranian Supreme Leader as the Hitler of the Middle East.

In a war of words between the two regional rivals, Iran’s foreign ministry said Prince Mohammed bin Salman should « ponder the fate » of regional dictators.

The prince, Saudi Arabia’s de facto ruler, has taken a hard line on Iran.

He told the New York Times it could not be allowed to spread its influence.

« We learned from Europe that appeasement doesn’t work. We don’t want the new Hitler in Iran to repeat what happened in Europe in the Middle East, » he said, referring to Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

His remarks drew a strong response from Tehran.

Iranian foreign ministry spokesman Bahram Qasemi accused the « adventurist » crown prince of « immature, inconsiderate, and baseless remarks and behaviour », the semi-official Isna news agency reported.

« I strongly advise him to think and ponder upon the fate of the famous dictators of the region in the past few years now that he is thinking of considering their policies and behaviour as a role model, » he said.

Media captionWill Saudi Arabia go to war with Iran?

Relations between the two powers have become increasingly strained.

Earlier this month, the prince blamed Iran for a missile attack aimed at the Saudi capital, Riyadh, by rebels in neighbouring Yemen. He said the attack might be considered an act of war.

Iran denied it was involved.

Sunni-Muslim majority Saudi Arabia and Shia Muslim-led Iran are at loggerheads across the Middle East.

The Saudis accuse Iran of helping Shia Houthi rebels in Yemen, where a Saudi-led coalition has been fighting a war since 2015.

Iran and the rebels deny the charge.

Saudi Arabia has been widely blamed for exacerbating Yemen’s humanitarian crisis by imposing a blockade on the country.

Saudi Arabia has also warned against Iran’s growing influence in Iraq, where its proxy militias have played a key role in defeating so-called Islamic State, and in Syria, where it has militarily helped President Bashar al-Assad gain the upper hand in the civil war.

Media captionFive things about Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman

Both countries have also accused one another of trying to destabilise Lebanon, where the pro-Saudi prime minister leads a coalition including the Iranian-backed Hezbollah movement.

The prime minister, Saad Hariri, recently announced – then suspended – his resignation, accusing Iran and Hezbollah of sowing strife, while Iran accused Saudi Arabia of engineering the crisis.

Tiger shot and killed after escaping from Paris circus

PARIS — Police in Paris say a tiger escaped from a circus in the city and roamed the streets of the French capital for « some time » before being killed. 

Police said that the big cat was « neutralized » by a staff member from the circus near a bridge over the River Seine, about 1.24 miles from the Eiffel Tower. 

Police authorities tweeted « all danger is over » alongside a tiger emoticon. 

A Paris police official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, confirmed that the tiger had been loose for « some time » Friday but said there had been no reported injuries or casualties. 

Residents in the 15th district where the tiger was shot circulated photos of the beast’s limp corpse on social media, many angry that it had been killed. 

Why Trump should be nervous, but not panicking, after Michael Flynn’s lawyers cut off communication

Michael Flynn and his son, Michael G. Flynn, arrived at Trump Tower in New York on Nov. 17, 2016. (Carolyn Kaster/AP)

The juiciest possible meaning of a decision by Michael Flynn’s legal team to cut off communication with President Trump’s team is that Flynn, the former White House national security adviser, is about to roll over and provide incriminating information about Trump or members of his inner circle to special counsel Robert S. Mueller III.

The New York Times reported on Thursday that “the notification led Mr. Trump’s lawyers to believe that Mr. Flynn — who, along with his son, is seen as having significant criminal exposure — has, at the least, begun discussions with Mr. Mueller about cooperating.” That’s a logical conclusion because, as the Times’s Michael S. Schmidt, Matt Apuzzo and Maggie Haberman explained, “it is unethical for lawyers to work together when one client is cooperating with prosecutors and another is still under investigation.”

Norman Eisen — President Barack Obama’s White House ethics czar, now a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution — tweeted that personal experience with Mueller leads him to believe that Flynn could implicate Donald Trump Jr., Jared Kushner or even the president himself.

Trump should be nervous, but he need not hit the panic button yet. Here’s why:

As The Washington Post’s Carol D. Leonnig and Rosalind S. Helderman pointed out in their report on Flynn’s move, “even if Flynn has begun discussions with Mueller’s office, there is no guarantee he will ultimately reach a deal with prosecutors.” Mueller might demand more information than Flynn is willing to give or Flynn’s knowledge might prove unworthy of favorable treatment by Mueller. It’s hard to know whether a deal involving Flynn could hurt Trump when we don’t know whether there will be a deal at all.

Could Flynn merely offer incriminating information about himself, in an effort to protect his son? Not likely, said Jeffrey S. Jacobovitz, a partner at Arnall Golden Gregory in Washington who specializes in white-collar criminal defense.

“I don’t think Mueller would offer him a deal, if that were the case,” Jacobovitz told me. “I think it would have to be some higher-ups that Flynn would be able to provide information about.”

Someone higher up does not necessarily mean the president or a member of his family, however. An alternative target: Paul Manafort, the former Trump campaign chairman, against whom Mueller already has secured an indictment.

“That would be valuable because Manafort, at this point, is still going to trial,” Jacobovitz said, adding that Mueller “would take all the help he can get” in that case.

Trump has effectively turned his back on Manafort. On the day Mueller announced charges against the man who once headed Trump’s campaign, White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders told reporters that the indictment “has nothing to do with the president, has nothing to do with the president’s campaign or campaign activity.”

Don’t expect the president to feel too bad if the result of Flynn’s possible cooperation with Mueller is more trouble for Manafort.

It also is possible that Flynn could spill damaging information about Trump that is unrelated to collusion with Russia.

“It could be related to obstruction,” Jacobovitz told me, pointing to James B. Comey’s claim that Trump asked the then-director of the FBI to drop its investigation of Flynn.

That would be bad for the president, but it would not indicate that his campaign aided Russia’s effort to meddle in the presidential election. It would not, in other words, undermine the validity of Trump’s victory, which seems to be Trump’s primary concern about Mueller’s probe.

Build your 2018 marketing blueprint: Experts on three strategies for success next year

How will you portray your brand in the year ahead? Now is the time to develop that marketing blueprint for 2018, and no matter what your budget, our experts say results can be achieved if you simply plan for the year.

Will you pour resources in developing a content hub or throw out the line to find influencers who fit with your brand?

We’ve asked the experts for where they would put their focus in 2018 — here are their best bets.

Video trumps all

Social media platforms are fast becoming an endless stream of moving pictures, with even the previously text-heavy LinkedIn jumping in on the video action this year.

Director of Good Things Marketing Helen Ahrens says it will be impossible to ignore video as an option to get your brand noticed in the year ahead.

Video is the best performing content for social media with it outperforming the rest nine times over. Try out Facebook Live to launch your next campaign or integrate Snapchat into your marketing mix,” she suggests.

Social media expert Dionne Lew agrees businesses will be expected to use video to give an insight into their business operations over the next year, but warns that with dwindling marketing budgets, punters need to know what they want to get out of it before hitting record.

“If you know your strategic intent ahead of time then what you decide to say and share will be strategically aligned with your aims,” she says.

Crunch the numbers

Businesses have more data at their fingertips than ever before, and that doesn’t just mean you can track how many people are engaging with your brand — it should also mean you’re ruthless with what you spend time and money on.

We will see a focus on ROI [return on investment] campaigns in 2018 — no longer are big budgets thrown around but cut-through strategies that meet identified targets,” director of InsideOut PR, Nicole Reaney, says.

Brand communications expert Kirryn Zerna has written on this subject earlier in 2017, and says businesses looking to create their marketing blueprint for the next 12 months should also sit down and work out how each piece of their marketing plan fits together, rather than thinking of each Facebook post or customer event as separate items.

Crafting up an annual plan focused around key themes including integrated engagement that includes distribution ideas with a mix of emails to your database, social media posts, webinars and regular blogs or podcasts will go a long way for brand awareness in 2018,” she recommends.

Head of communications agency Antelope Media, Ralph Grayden, says at this point in time, small businesses should have a handle on data driven content marketing.

For instance, Facebook advertising lets you target people based on pretty much anything, including interests, demographics, life events, location and more.

The aim is to think about who would be interested in content you’re putting out about a business, and using social media settings to feed this directly to those demographics.

“You’re seeing many small businesses adopt very tight content targeting strategies using this.”

Elevate the conversation

From finding a community of influencers to endless calls to start a blog, small businesses and startups are constantly told to build a community around their products, rather than just a brand.

Over the next year, it will become more important for companies to frame marketing material in the broader social context, Grayden says.

Most small businesses start with their product as the selling point for content but the best content marketing always connects a product or service with something bigger,” he observes.

While tying your product to a broader idea isn’t a new concept, Grayden predicts early stage companies who will succeed next year will have found a winning formula to tell a broader story about what they offer, whether that’s through engaging with their industry or interests of their community.

“More small businesses are doing the same and becoming publishers in their own right, attaching what they do to a broader topic and even using a separate magazine-style website to do so.”

Lew agrees, advising businesses take the tact of being “useful, not boastful” and thinking about ways they can discuss what they offer while also genuinely sharing their expertise with an audience.

“Be helpful. Think about 100 questions they may have about your area – what you sell – and answer their questions through micro-content above,” she suggests.

Zerna observes when it comes to building a conversation, influencers still also have a role to play — but maybe not in way brands have previously approached this area.

She suggests startups and SMEs search for a pool of people who might be able to collaborate with the brand to engage with it, but suggests companies search the smaller end of the Instagram follower count in order to find voices that will count.

A micro influencer may not have the millions, but their tribe of 3,000 to 30,000 to 300,000 are very engaged and at times hold even more sway than the big name celebrities,” she suggests.

Reaney agrees, saying when it comes to brand awareness over the next year, the trend will be to find many faces to promote it, rather than one key ambassador.

Influencer engagement continues to grow and companies are investing in a diversity of up and coming social influencers rather than necessarily one major core celebrity,” she says.

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