Archives for March 2013

March 26, 2013Published by: Drew

The UK gets a dose of Buzzfeed: is this the future of journalism?

Buzzfeed UK

Brace yourself. Buzzfeed, the "first true social news organisation" has arrived in the UK. Catering for the appetite we have for surfing the web and grazing social media for random factoids and entertainment, Buzzfeed is one of the hottest properties online.

Buzzfeed combines viral curation with editorial management of its content. The Guardian in its preview of the UK launch back in January sums up the importance of the emergence of this new kind of media succinctly:

"Is this the future of journalism? [...] Its mix of the serious and stupid poses a fresh challenge for traditional media companies as they battle for web users' time and attention. Its flexible approach to advertising – shunning the tired model of banner ads in favour of sponsored content – makes it a trailblazer in the rise of the social web."

Follow the UK edition of Buzzfeed online at and on Twitter at @buzzfeeduk.

March 22, 2013Published by: Drew

Battenhall in the 2013 PR Week Power Book


This week PR Week launched their seventh annual Power Book. The list of the top PR people in the UK went to press just at the right time, because Battenhall, at the time not yet two weeks old, made an entry. The book is also online on PR Week here. Thanks PR Week for the continued support and here's to a storming 2013.

March 22, 2013Published by: Drew

10 technology trends and how brands will use them in 2013

Screen Shot 2013-03-18 at 22.49.23

Only half of the things connected to the web are people. The other 50% are 'things'. This is according to Forbes magazine's feature: the top 10 strategic technology trends for 2013. Forbes says that by 2020, over 30 billion things will be connected to the web, up from 15 billion just over a year ago, powered by smart sensors and image recognition.

How are brands going to tune into the data and insights given off by the internet of things? The full article is worth a read. It includes trends such as cloud, big data and enterprise apps.

How brands adapt to the burgeoning internet of things will be crucial to their ability to gain customer insights, plan engaging communications campaigns, and gain a competitive edge. This is a theme we will come back to regularly on this blog throughout the year so stay tuned.

March 19, 2013Published by: Drew

The Advertising Week Europe essential guide

Advertising Week Europe

If you work in media and you're in London, chances are you will find something of interest in the line-up at Advertising Week Europe, which has arrived in town this week.

Sessions are being held by Twitter, Facebook, Google, LinkedIn, Spotify, Yahoo and all the major mainstream media. Sessions range from the future of TV to realtime engagement for brands on Twitter.

Here is a full list of what's coming up this week. You also have an app that can guide you around town. And a handy PDF guide. Enjoy #AWEurope.

March 11, 2013Published by: Drew

SXSW and Expo: the week of digital health


This week two major innovation conferences are taking place. The digital behemoth that is SXSW in Austin, Texas, and Expo (also known as the Healthcare Innovation Expo) at ExCel in London. Were it not launch week for us at Battenhall, we'd be going to both. But as we're only at the London event, we thought a handy run-down of what's going to be happening at each event would be useful.

Everyone in digital knows about SXSW and the pure size and breadth of it. Expo however is not so well-known to the digital communications industry. So why is it of importance now? Digital Health, m-health, e-health, Quantified Self, or whatever moniker the movement is given, is a renaissance that is happening at the converging point of digital, tech and health. It is one of the early stage innovations that is beginning to shape brand management and consumer engagement. Both SXSW and EXPO have digital health content and a high-level speaker and delegate base.


The 'interactive' leg of SXSW is the bit that most in the digital space refer to when talking about the conference itself. It runs from 8-12 March 2013 and is undoubtedly the highlight of the digital calendar. One event which took place last night titled: how self-tracking geeks are shaping our future attracted a large amount of buzz onilne. Blogger Dane Hartzell was one of those in the audience who typed up and published his notes. They included snippets such as Apple's invesment in self tracking, the popularity of the self tracking movement being greater than the user base of Twitter, and the potential impact on brands. SXSW's official Twitter hashtag is #SXSW although try #SXSW13, #SXSW2013 and combine them with #selftrack to see the online buzz.


The event is Wednesday-Thursday this week, with keynotes from speakers including Sir Mark Walport, the UK Government's chief scientific advisor, Cisco's healthcare MD Kevin Dean talking about the impact of digital on future healthcare, and Johnson & Johnson's Chief Scientific Officer Dr Paul Stoffels and GSK's CEO Sir Andrew Witty both talking about innovation and collaboration. Follow @NHSExpo on Twitter for the chatter from the event.

March 8, 2013Published by: Drew

New agency Battenhall launches founded by Drew Benvie

Battenhall logo

By founder of Battenhall, Drew Benvie.

These are incredibly exciting times we live in. There is fundamental disruption happening in the media landscape and its impact on the way brands do business, the way we communicate and the way we consume is nothing short of seismic. We will look back on these times in the future and see them as a renaissance.

I cut my teeth in-house doing PR at the dotcoms, during the boom times. Then I joined comms agency land during the tough times. And I became an accidental early adopter when my passion for what we now call social media got me into blogging, tweeting and defining the social media landscape long before it was socially acceptable to admit to being involved in it. I have had the pleasure of working on some truly amazing campaigns over the years, with brands like Red Bull, The Financial Times, Evernote and Microsoft.

I am now incredibly excited to launch what I hope will become the next great comms agency

Today I am launching Battenhall, a comms agency for the social media economy. Battenhall launches with three clients and a team of five. HQ is in London, just across from Google and next door to Mind Candy on Bonhill St, in Tech City.

At Battenhall we are helping brands to engage, to build their reputations and to manage those reputations across all media, especially social. Our pedigree in public relations, digital marketing, creative, design and build means we are able to work across a range of comms disciplines and be the trusted agency and an extension of our clients' teams.

Redefining work: the agency model and disruptive innovation

My aim is to redefine how we work. I have seen fundamental shifts in how we deliver excellent work as a team in recent years, and I know the biggest changes are still to come. Battenhall employees are all partners in the company. We all share in the profits, we all vote at the meetings and we all have a say in the direction of the business. Team members are all makers too - we set aside 20% of work time for side projects so that people working here can invent new things and innovate rather than feel it needs to be done on top of everything else. We also have a vibrant CSR programme, putting a lot back into the causes we believe in.

We work hard too, naturally, as we want to be the best. So we offer unlimited holiday to all the team, remote and flexi working, a Moleskine allowance, and enough technology to get you a sore shoulder (so yes, we cover the costs of the masseuse too, naturally).

My experience as former UK CEO of PR agency Hotwire and founder of social media agency 33 has been instrumental in how Battenhall is evolving. I have spent almost eight years at Hotwire and 33 Digital, and am sad to be leaving behind many good clients, friends and memories. Experiencing this time with some awesome friends and clients has been epic.

But the future beckons and I hope you will join me for the adventure in some way, either by getting in touch and catching up over a coffee, or just by following our progress in the growth of this new agency.

Update: 11/3/2013

The launch has now been and gone and feedback has been better than we could ever have hoped for. Here are the highlights:

March 7, 2013Published by: Drew

What is disruption

If there's one thing we believe in, it's that innovation rules. We think that the rate of change we're seeing in the media landscape has rendered the old model of agency and brand communications obsolete. The disruption that has happened to the media at the hands os social is now happening in PR and communications. And we want to find a new way forward.

Our article in the Huffington Post, titled: 'why the comms agency model is ripe for disruption', explores just how agencies currently work when it comes to social media and digital, and what the new way forward could be.

Our thinking is that the traditional ways of working with social media (see figs 1-3 below) are never going to cut it with the rate of change we're seeing in the media landscape. The social media economy moves faster than that.

Fig 1 2 and 3

The depth of skill in an agency needs to be in the media landscape itself - and that means social. So the future agency model is turned on its head (see fig 4).

Fig 4

Do have a read of our piece and let us know what you think.

March 7, 2013Published by: Drew

90% of media is digital


Recent research published by Google shows that 90 percent of all media we consume is screen-based, and 77% of our time in front of the TV is spent also on another screen.

If there's one thing February's Superbowl showed us about building a connection with a brand, it's that relying on just one screen isn't enough. 50% of the Superbowl TV ads included mentions of Twitter. And the winner of our hearts and minds, Oreo's dunking in the dark blackout hijack, was a social media masterstroke. So how will brands react in light of the flurry of articles analysing the 'realtime marketing' success story that we saw?

Seeing advertising becoming more like PR and more like social is surely a massive step forward. Keep an eye out for Twitter's increasing focus on the TV game. With its recent acquisition of Bluefin Labs, this space is hotting up.