Questions with Harri Owen, Fundamental Amp


Social Media Week

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Fundamental Amp are generously sponsoring Social Media Week London.

We managed to grab a few minutes with Fundamental Amp‘s CEO, Harri Owen, for a Question and Answer session.

What is Fundamental Amp?

We’re an agency of marketing and communication eclecticism – creating as well as reshaping traditional media and content into Social media without being confined to any one method or channel. There’s no dark art at work – we simply turn the once didactic or one dimensional into the immersive and instantly accessible and where appropriate, malleable sticky stuff that gets people involved.

Niche, buzz, tribal, guerrilla, grass roots, unencumbered – they all apply to what we do. Traditional doesn’t. We’re replacing the boring marketing speak and loathsome spam with real opinions and one-on-one discussions.

What do you look when approaching a new campaign?

We chat to our clients and we chat to our contacts. Of course, we have strict protocols for brand and consumer research and insight but we always have a good, old natter first. Every campaign is unique and by its very nature must respect the brand, the product and the target market. We never rush. And we never, ever spam.

We look for a vernacular, a suitable rhetoric, a way in, something to share. We certainly don’t suggest that every client uses Social Media – far from it but we do create and encourage conversation using a variety of impetuses, innovating for a number of global brands and entertainment clients. All sides need to be actively participating, reacting, adapting, conversing, engaging… and willing as well as respectful – otherwise we’re just shouting into the crowd.

Consultation with the client and their other agencies is a no brainer yet often overlooked with Social Media seen as a bolt-on solution. SEO, PR, Advertising, CRM, Comms – Social Media is part of it and has influence over and impact on it all…therefore as an agency so do we. Sometimes we’re the proverbial whatsit at the wedding but it’s fun to be mixing it up with the trad boys. Cohesion is crucial. There are no silos anymore. Linking architecture must be a priority and we can manage multi-faceted yet personalised executions without stepping on anyone’s toes.

Social media has exploded and to miss the importance of the consumer and their social habitats is to essentially sound the death knell on either your brand or your existing or potential markets. Peer-to-peer power is growing exponentially and with no sense of propriety and brand managers understand the importance of both creativity and adding value using Networks and advocates. We cost a lot less than some bigger agencies and on average deliver an ROI of 6:1.

What platforms are you really excited about?

Where to start..?! Social TV is moving forward at an astounding pace. What started with simple apps that let you tell people what you’re watching has grown into a much more complete and enriching experience. People log in to their favourite shows and experience a media-rich environment and share every part of their experience as they feel it. Think water cooler moment 24/7.

More and more people are two (or three) -screening; using their phones, tablets and laptops at the same time as they’re watching TV, texting, IM’ing or actually talking on their phone. We’re constantly looking into ways in which we can keep them engaged with what they’re viewing while also enjoying a wide-reaching social experience. The same applies to other entertainment industries. Digital distribution has meant users have access to a wealth of online content – video, music, blogs, forums, networks, gaming and books – and they can all be interacted with concurrently. The more ‘connected’ we can be, the more enjoyable and valuable our experiences can be. And the better the experience, the better the conversation.

Where do you see the future of Social Media?

The biggest challenge facing social media platforms today is fragmentation.

With the mighty Facebook and, to a lesser extent, twitter dominating our online conversations, developers are looking at (and to) niche markets and applications to innovate and invigorate the landscape.

There’s an incredibly varied range of services available on any conceivable device but users may not be aware of the little guy trying to get out of the bigger platforms’ shadows. Tribes will become mainstream in time but we need to harness cross- platform/channel experience encouraging users to see the opportunities for social interaction through whatever technology they have to hand. For example, connected gaming experiences are rapidly developing into opportunities for social expression in a controlled virtual environment. Thanks to the tools many games ship with now, personal creativity through user generated content is growing. We’re eager to see what platforms emerge from the homebrew community – out of their own necessity. The expanding range of AR-capable devices is also creating a potential community of millions of people all able to integrate their Social Media experiences into real-life settings. The simplicity of this technology is its biggest benefit. Social media is moving away from the web and is placing itself in more friendly, familiar applications to suit an increasingly varied user base.

It’s an exciting time as new platforms and technologies are springing up out of start- ups, bigger players like Google and Microsoft as well as bedroom developers and hackers.

The future is as unpredictable as it is enticing but we are working to keep at the bleeding edge of every new development. Opt for the new kid on the block and see what kind of experience you get…

Fundamental Amp are sponsoring The Future of TV Advertising: Keeping it Social on Tuesday 8th, 2.30 – 4.30pm at the Design Council.

In a challenging environment for the TV ad industry, advertising revenues are being eroded by channel fragmentation, time-shifting devices like Sky+ and Virgin TiVo and the many other forms of screen-based entertainment that vie for viewers’ attention. These very platforms offer a new world of interactivity, audience engagement and behavioural data, but we’ve been here before. Anyone remember interactive TV first time around? Is Social TV a reality?

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