We're looking for an organised, enthusiastic, solutions-oriented addition to our London team in lovely Hoxton Square, taking the lead on office and finance management...
Crowd DNA is a fast, fun and ever-changing business environment, with an amazing array of clients. This is a role for someone that takes absolute pride in ensuring all of the logistics and financial considerations are in place, working with the project teams and senior management in areas as follows -
- Booking in and managing client meets, and leading all front desk requirements
- Logistics/organisation of exciting client events in our office; and equally importantly, of team social events
- Keeping a keen eye on how we maintain the office and advising on improvements where relevant
- Working with the project teams (London, New York, Amsterdam) on travel requirements
- Ordering supplies for the office
- Onboarding new starters at Crowd DNA
- Reasonable degree of IT competence (don’t worry, you won’t have to rebuild the server…)
- Working with the senior team on sales, supplier and expense payments (previous experience with QuickBooks an advantage)
- Assisting our accountants on preparing quarterly VAT reporting in the UK and comparable processes in the US
- Contributing to analysing the financial status of projects and where optimisations can be made
- Working on ideas for how we best manage finance procedures at Crowd DNA
- Petty cash management
Crowd DNA is a collaborative, inclusive place, where you’ll get to feel highly involved from day one. We can offer a competitive salary and benefits; plus the scope to grow the role – in particular, as we develop our business further in other cities (Amsterdam, New York and beyond…), the need to manage/synchronise office and finance logistics across each location.
Please apply by sending a CV and covering email to Andy Crysell
Engage to succeed. Disengage to fail. Our online communities director, Sabrina Qureshi, explores how best to keep community participants motivated and productive…
Why do people join communities?
For the money, because they are bored? Happily there’s generally more to it than that. Having asked a lot of members from various communities why they decided to join, the feedback is regularly: ‘I’m interested in finding out more about the brand.’ It’s always a relief to know that members are not just driven by the monetary gain and it helps to emphasise the difference between a community and a panel. It also provides the fuel to convince teams that engagement is important. In fact, the success of the whole community relies on it.
Engaged communities provide an altogether better working model: better retention, higher volume of responses, richer content and you can set more demanding tasks. It ensures less cost to manage, increases efficiencies and inspires stronger insights. It’s a no brainer.
There’s a lot at stake
When you create a branded community it is an extension of your values, expectations and, yes, your brand. So, if consumers get a bad experience, it won’t just affect your research but the brand as a whole. Conversely, if you succeed, you can reap the rewards of positive word-of-mouth. If you’re creating a non-branded community, members don’t have the pull of a brand to help engage, (even more so if it’s a low engagement subject), so you need to work even harder to create a worthwhile and fun environment for participants.
There are many elements that can help to engage community members, from scheduled incentives and the look, feel and personality of the community, to the quality of the actual research work itself.
- Brainstorm all areas of the community when thinking about engagement
- Build up an engagement bank early and keep updating it
- Keep the ideas relevant and unique to your brand/members; one size doesn’t fit all
- Think creatively; make it fun
If you want participants to share with you, share back with them as much as you can. It’s incredibly important to provide regular feedback from the business on the impact the members are making. We know this is not always possible, as things take a while to develop in-house plus confidentially may be a factor, but share what you can, as often as you can. This could take the form of video updates from the brand team, emails or content published on the community platform.
Members want to feel like they are part of something, so add in a range of activities to encourage them to get to know each other. Introduce them to each other with personal on-boarding sessions and member spotlights. Introduce your team and whoever is running the community, and share your answers to questions. Schedule face to face group meetings, Skype chats or live online focus groups. Try to treat everyone as an individual, send them a birthday card or reminder of a brand discount. Remember this is a long-term relationship – aim to make friends!
If the research schedule is busy, make sure each project is as engaging as possible. If you’re sending a long survey (try not to!), add a forum on the back to get people talking to each other. Gamify response options with quick fire questions or task and points-based activities. Split longer activities over multiple days. Add in tiered incentives for multiphase projects. Use engaging tech platforms to help, not hinder. Ask paeticipants if they enjoyed it, and what you should change.
Most communities go through stages of high and low volumes of research activity. It’s extremely useful that your community managers own the activity schedule and help to organise it. When there’s a gap or a project cancellation it can be a scramble to get anything onto the community. If you build up your engagement bank at the start you can be prepared with activities to fill the gaps as soon as you need to. These could take any form – a timely forum debate, weekend photo task, scheduled live chat etc…
We talked about this in the recruitment stage, and it applies throughout the life of the community. What are participants, as well as you, going to get out of community membership? This doesn’t need to be something physical, but it could be a new friendship, a wider understanding about their fellow members, learning about a life hack. It could be support on their new business, or a feeling of being part of something that influences new products and service design. Try to achieve a fair value exchange.
In it to win it
Extrinsic incentives are always a fail-safe basic for ongoing engagement, but try not to use points that link directly to money, as this encourages a transactional mind frame. Create a monthly prize draw with multiple vouchers prizes, and preferably individualise the vouchers to the personal interests of the members. Get up to speed local market best practise, as in some countries not all vouchers are acceptable. Audit the assets the brand has and use them to surprise and delight especially engaged members. Gamified engagement points can be used to create tiered systems where members graduate up, and in return get extra benefits (additional prize draw entries, surprises, early release content, influence over future research topics).
Time spent engaging members sometimes fails to be adequately prioritised when running communities and often involves more input than initially envisaged. But with the right guidance and planning it can become an extremely symbiotic aspect of helping your community to succeed.
Online communities: put the best in to get the best out. Recruitment tips from our online communities director, Sabrina Qureshi...
Recruiting people to take part in research can be hastily brushed over in the planning stages of project design, if left in the wrong hands, but it’s one of the most important aspects to get right – and never more so than with a community. Think about the members of a community as vital ingredients of a cake (bear with me) – if you put the wrong elements in, or even an imbalance of measures, your cake just isn’t going to work. Get it right, and you’ll be able to tap into a highly engaged, always-on group of people; to build up a rich picture of who they are, and follow them as their tastes and choices change based on the cultural influences around them; rely on them for honest advice and opinions. That, in insight terms, is a jolly good cake…
Recruiting to communities isn’t straight forward. There’s a few things to consider, especially to keep the community going long-term.
Define who, but stay flexible
Go back to the objectives of the community to help guide who the members are. If you get this bit wrong, not only do you risk annoying the members with irrelevant content, but you won’t get what you need out the other side.
If you’re thinking long-term, will this target audience be able to answer a majority of the research topics (at least 80%), or will you need to speak to different groups over the course of a year? If the latter, maybe consider shorter communities where you define the audience each time.
Reflect the global footprint of your brand by bringing in the voices of markets that are of most strategic importance. Make sure the tech you’re using and the community team can appropriately support this, and have the ability to engage members in the language most comfortable for them, getting to truer and more accurate insights.
Variety is the spice of life, so don’t be afraid to bring in different voices to your community for short periods of time, or specific projects. We sometimes tap into our CrowdStars for expert opinions, or bring in a separate group of non-customers to take part in a few projects and then let them go.
When getting into the nuances of cultural trends, you don’t need to limit the group to your customer; rather, you might want to concentrate on those who are ahead of the curve. For innovation, you might want a group of trusted advisors who are invested in the brand, so current customers are great. Supplement with dips of non-customers along the way, so you don’t lose the wider market view.
The value exchange
Once you know who to target, think about why those people might want to join your community. What are they going to get out of it? Especially for long-term communities there has to be a strong sense this will be mutually beneficial – a few Amazon vouchers won’t suffice. Appeal to the needs of that audience and think about what your brand can offer:
- Time poor execs might answer some activities if in return they get advice on sales techniques
- Trendsetters might be swayed by exclusive content and early bird access
- Mums might appreciate a community of like-minded individuals to chat to socially
- Adventure seekers might enjoy being part of one-off experiences
One surefire way to lose members is through unaligned expectations. If you want people to commit to one hour a week, let them know upfront. Part of this is also about gathering individualised information on your members at the sign-up and tailoring the experience to their needs. Some people don’t want to send in videos every week, but others are happy to take part in three surveys over a few days.
Onboard and connect
Once you have your members recruited the focus is to keep them there – and enthusiastic about taking part in the community projects. Plan an intro stage, no matter how short the community is live. Get to know your members personally and encourage them to get to know each other. Intro tasks are engaging for members plus a great source of foundational, scene-setting content to share back with internal stakeholders.
Once things have got going, we usually plan a variety of engagement activities which help to keep members interested, encourage responses and reduce drop off – but that’s a whole other blog post!
Recruitment isn’t a one-time affair
You’ll have to appreciate that not everyone wants to, or can, stay on a community forever. The aim is to keep as many people there for as long as possible, and make sure they have a good experience along the way. Keep your recruitment plans up to date (your community managers should be able to help), and make sure they are varied and consistent. Apply as many ongoing recruitment sources as you can, and as a brand, do an audit on the communication platforms you can use.
Ongoing recruitment techniques include:
- setting up a Twitter account and tweeting about updates, prizes and encourage sign up
- using Facebook to identify the profiles you want to speak to and contact them directly
- asking members to refer their friends or family via their social network and give prizes to those who succeed
- broadcasting the impact the community members have on the brand on public platforms such as your website
As with most aspects of a community, keep reviewing. Does the audience continue to fit with your research needs, strategically and for each project that is allocated to the community workstream? Ideally you should be able to rely on your community management partners to proactively advise on the audience and provide creative solutions for mixed audience projects.
For more information on starting a community please get in touch.
Crowd DNA online communities director, Sabrina Qureshi, advises that an adaptable community is a future-proofed one...
Online communities bring a wealth of great content and insight to clients in timely and agile ways. But, all too often, after a few months or a first year of great success the community can lose its way. There is an abundance of reasons why this might happen; key champions leaving, day to day owners changing, company strategies developing, or initial objectives being fulfilled. Client and agency teams sit around twiddling their thumbs trying to work out what to do – or, worse still, let the communities dwindle to a slow death.
This is a real shame as usually the hard work, such as creating a look and feel, building engaged members and selling it into the business, is already done. This should be the time to reap the rewards of the well-oiled machine!
Without clear objectives, a community can’t survive, but we know that needs can change. So there’s a requirement to think about communities as shape shifters. They represent a long-term relationship, but one that’s adaptable and fluid. They can morph in line with a brand’s strategy, to continue to be a relevant source of insight.
It’s incredibly simple to do this; here are some tips:
- Let go of the original objectives (if you need to): If these are no longer fit for the business, don’t be afraid to relinquish them. They will only hold you back.
- Brainstorm with everyone (regularly): Maybe the objectives were specific to one team within the business, but how else could the rest of the business use the community to help support their decisions?
- Mix and match: Review who you are talking to – is this still the group you need? Do you need to expand and include other target groups, or maybe you want to focus in on a particular group?
- Ability to flex: Make sure you have the right community solution from the start, one that allows you to be flexible later down the line, from a tech and expertise perspective.
We’ve worked with brands whose original community objectives were focused on deep profiling and behavioural understanding. Once those initial objectives were achieved we identified that there was a developing need to explore the wider cultural trends across the markets the members were in, in order to feed more broadly into the innovation and product development teams. This simple side-step focus allowed us to keep the community relevant for the client, and therefore keep engaging the members in important topics and activities.
An online community has the potential to benefit the entire business, from UX designers, to marketing and R’n’D. But fundamentally, you need to make sure that it fits with the future strategy of the brand to help distribute knowledge and understanding in key areas.
Building on solid experience in the field, we're excited to be boosting our online communities offer at Crowd DNA...
Crowd Communities is Crowd DNA’s newly launched business specialism. We’re not actually new to online communities. We’ve been running them for years for the likes of IKEA, Booking.com, Sony Music and Channel 4. But now we’re giving the offer an even stronger position within our business – recognising the value of online communities in developing deep and continuous relationships with target audiences for our clients.
Online Communities Director
Sabrina Qureshi joins Crowd DNA as online communities director. Previously head of online communities at Harris Interactive, she brings extensive experience in all areas from best practice and team development, to platform innovation and client relations.
1# Communities For Rich Immersion
We’ve a passion for communities that provide rich immersion in the lives of people, creating bold content and powerful narratives. These communities allow stakeholders to truly empathise with consumers and to map their products and services against the wider cultural context. We augment this work with our own trends research, social listening and in-house content creation to socialise findings.
2# Communities For Innovation
Online communities can also play a vital role in fuelling innovation pipelines, allowing for fast and iterative work at all points from need states exploration to prototype development and user experience. Sometimes we blend online communities with offline methods. Often the work requires intense collaboration with stakeholder teams.
There’s a lot of moving parts to an online community. Our skill-set extends across recruitment, participant and stakeholder engagement, method design and performance metrics. Moreover, we bring the same highly developed analysis techniques, cultural understanding and means of sharing findings to online communities as we do to all of our great work at Crowd DNA.
Crowd DNA’s work is extremely global – we’ve operated in over 45 markets in the last year alone – and our online communities offer follows suit. Right now, we’re running communities in China, Japan, Sweden, the UK, Brazil, India and the US.
Long-term & Pop-Up
There’s a place for long-term communities, environments in which to foster continuous dialogue with people. Equally, there’s a role for shorter term communities, created to meet a more specific objective. Different communities require different dynamics and we design accordingly.
We don’t have a community platform of our own and we’re pleased about that! We get to compare and contrast a spectrum of supplier options, choosing the most appropriate fit for a particular project and making sure their development goals are in line with our needs. Our communities are mobile enabled and multi-featured (from capturing videos and images, to blogging, in-the-moment discussion, and tools to test products).
Crowd DNA's Lucy Crotty charts 30 years of comms evolution at IKEA...
We’ve worked with IKEA on some really interesting projects recently and raise a glass in celebrating their 30th year in the UK this month.
IKEA is a special brand in the marketing and advertising world, constantly admired by the industry and public for delighting with their creative ideas.
As we know, these great ideas don’t fall from trees – there is an awful lot of work that goes on behind the scenes. IKEA positioned itself as a disruptor in the 90s, crashing into a world of chintz and challenging the British public to embrace a new version of taste and ‘homeliness’. A bold, risky move and a rebellious stance that informed the brand’s communications strategy for the next five years.
In the noughties, as IKEA became part of the normal British home, it didn’t need to – or perhaps couldn’t so easily – flex its rebel credentials. But rather than just settle for familiarity and functional attributes, IKEA have always gone deeper to understand emotional brand benefits. They realised that when people buy into IKEA, they buy into possibility, an incredible insight that has moved them from selling affordable furniture to selling lifestyle solutions. IKEA is all about cool stuff to create a better everyday life and through this brand purpose they have moved into a charming creative territory of The Wonderful Everyday.
When a brand has a clear purpose, exciting, creative things can happen. IKEA has never just sold candles – it sells imagination. Stay tuned for an upcoming Crowd DNA Rise event on the theme of purpose.
We're looking for a new recruit to join our business and strategy team at Crowd DNA's London HQ in lovely Hoxton Square...
The focus in this team is on external communication of the agency, business development, responding to briefs, project design, developing future strategy alongside our directors, briefing in new commissions to the project teams and having a strategic overview on live work.
What we’re looking for:
- There’s some flexibility over the seniority of the role (with pay and expectations to match), but this is most likely for someone with between 18 months and four years of agency experience
- We say ‘agency experience’, as while you might well be working in the insight field, there’s also scope for hiring someone with a background in a different type of agency (creative, strategy, media etc)
- We want someone who demonstrates an interest in insight, strategy work and trends, but who also comes equipped with a particularly commercial brain; if you can show any previous experience in something business development-related, that’s a plus
- You’ll need to be seriously pro-active, super-quick at taking on new challenges and not short on confidence (we’ll want to get you speaking with clients ASAP; you’ll be expected to collaborate with director level staff)
- First rate communication skills (both verbal and how you get ideas down on paper and in presentations) is absolutely key
We can offer a competitive salary and benefits for the role. As importantly, we’re firmly convinced there’s few other openings out there that will give you exposure to such an amazing array of clients and fascinating people/culture-oriented business challenges. It’s an entrepreneurial and energised environment, fast paced and collaborative. If you fancy working in a place where setting the agenda for the future of insight and innovation is coded into the culture, please get in touch with Crowd DNA managing director Andy Crysell, attaching a CV and covering letter.