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#FC16 | Paul Sutton On Lost Wedding Rings & The Unpredictable Future Of Comms

Blog post   •   Jun 08, 2016 16:34 BST

Paul Sutton, an independent Social & Digital Media Consultant and Head of Social at Popcorn PR, gives us a glimpse into what to expect from his talk at FutureComms16 on 15th June...

Why have you chosen to discuss social media measurement?

There's so much smoke and mirrors around social media metrics. Half of the problem is caused because there's so much you can measure. And this leads to brands measuring the most spurious of measures and putting weight behind metrics that really don't deserve to see the light of day. But it needn't be that way. Using the PESO model, you can take a planned and methodic approach to measurement that looks at relevant social metrics, ignores the others, and importantly, looks beyond social media at its impact on beliefs, behaviours and buying behaviour. The communications industry has made progress in this area, but still seems to be sidelined by things like reach and response rather than focusing on return.

What are the key themes of your talk?

Back in December, my wife lost her wedding ring. Among other things, I launched a social media 'search' to see if we could find it. My talk treats that search as if it were a brand campaign and looks at some of the typical measures used to evaluate social media to determine whether it was a success. It's a personal story but with a strong business angle. Or vice-versa...I'm not sure!

Whose talks are you most looking forward to and why?

I'm very much looking forward to the live crisis simulation. As I understand it, it's the first of it's type on stage (certainly in the UK) and it promises to be very revealing. I've worked with Polpeo, the company behind the software, and have seen first hand how powerful it is, so it's going to be interesting seeing how it pans out in a conference environment. Rica Squires' talk on the hype around the rate of change in communications looks very interesting, and I'm also looking forward to hearing from Levi Roots. Again, I've worked with Peter Jones' investment company this year (the Dragon who 'discovered' Levi) and have been told that his story is a very inspirational one.

What are your predictions for the future of comms?

My prediction is that you can't predict anything. That might sound like side-stepping the question, but if there's one thing that working in digital media for the best part of ten years has taught me it's that you just don't know what's round the corner. I could talk about the explosion in video and the growth of private messaging, but they're short-term trends not long-term predictions.

What does the industry need to do to keep up with the evolution of communications?

For me there are two key things. First, read. Read everything you can get your hands on. It's the only way to keep up with the changes. Listen to podcasts too. But not just about the communications industry; think broad. You never know where the next thing is going to come from. Either that, or team up with a great consultant who does that for a living and can help you keep up to date and who you can trust to provide best practice advice (*hint!!*). And second, keep an open mind. Never, ever dismiss anything. If you read or hear about something happening within the industry, show an interest in and evaluate it properly. There are companies and people out there doing some great work to move things forward - listen to them.

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