Blog : #StripeLife

Social Media News: September

Social Media News: September

It’s that time of the month again and we’re back to recap our highlights from the world of social media in the past month! 

From our favourite campaigns, the top trends, and exciting new updates to social platforms, we’re unpacking what captured our attention here at Stripe.

Diversity performance

Credit: Instagram/ITVf


A campaign that moved us… 

After dance group, Diversity’s performance on ITV’s Britain’s Got Talent, the show – and in particular judge Ashley Banjo – came under fire from critics on social media and received record complaints from Ofcom. 

Rather than buckling under the pressure, ITV took the opportunity to stand by both the performance and the #BlackLivesMatter movement. They took advertising space in every national newspaper to share a simple B&W image from the performance, with some emotive copy to show their support. 

We support the campaign and the message, and applaud ITV’s efforts to support the movement in a consistent way. 

Platform updates

Top #3 Platform Updates

Back to its roots! Facebook launched its new ‘Campus’ feature, allowing students who go to the same Uni to connect.

TikTok creators will soon be able to sell merch directly on the platform with a new Teespring integration.

Snapchat launched permanent public profiles to allow users to create more of a presence on the app as well as audience analytics.

Favourite Viral MemeCredit: @tripgore

 

Favourite Viral Meme 

We just can’t get over the 2020 memes that keep on coming, we’re obsessed! Naturally, one of our favourites was the movement Twitter users tried their hand at explaining various 2020 scenarios to someone from 2019 through memes. Who would have seen a priest giving a socially distanced blessing using a water gun coming? 

Don’t forget to follow @StripeCom on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn to keep up to date with what’s happening in the world of Stripe as it happens.

Long time no see London: Stripe is back in Shoreditch

Long time no see London: Stripe is back in Shoreditch

After 6 months, 9 million zoom calls, a dear friend and colleague going on maternity leave with no proper send off, a much loved team member emigrating with no proper send off, work lows and work highs, a distinctly average Zoom summer party, new team members joining remotely and endless days of rummaging in a kitchen cupboard for that mid-morning break, we finally returned to the office on Monday.

We all had the same feelings you’re having reading this (if you’re still working remotely); will I be safe? Will the commute be terrible? Will the masks be annoying? Will people be responsible about social distancing and hygiene? Isn’t it easier working remotely? There are probably more to add to that list. Like most, we went back into the office in two bubbles on rotation, designed to ensure continuity of our business in the event of any lockdowns and changes to our ways of working in the future.

Before we went back and we carefully and meticulously completed our ‘safe return to work’ plan, it felt like we were writing the ‘suck the fun out of work’ plan. Those tactile moments of a shared birthday cake, the work drinks, all the stuff that helps make going to the office is fun for all swiped away with a sanitised hand.

So, in short, we didn’t know what to expect really. I personally knew I was losing love for work, working in a remote environment. It was becoming a grind and something to endure versus something to enjoy. I came to the realisation I am only as effective in my role as I want to be when I am inspired by other people to challenge my thinking and make me challenge myself and that that is not as effective when done remotely.

That first day back in the office was the most I have enjoyed a day’s work in 6 months. Most of us in PR went into it because we are people people. We enjoy company and we enjoy a work culture that is fun, collaborative and inspiring. Otherwise you could happily clock in your work hours driving an HGV up and down the M1.

I have struggled to describe articulately just how much good it did for us all. Because really, it’s everything that being together means. The chat about my lockdown DIY haircut, the dubious music choices on the office stereo, the nefarious celebrities laid bare on the Mail Online sidebar of shame that warrant our attention, the listening and helping, the ideas building and ruminating, the support and the friendly ear, the encouragement, the many many laughs, the caring, the people.

Lockdown rushed the conversation about remote working. It has thrown us forward to the extreme of remote working and made us adapt with no preparation in what most likely would have taken 5-10 years. Whilst we’re all aware we may not go back to a full 9-5 five days a week any time soon, what I have come to realise is that balance is so critical. My opinion is that creative businesses, operating in creative office/work environments with creative people in them will deliver greater end product than when those same people are forced only to converse via video conference.

This is not a ‘pro return to work rant’ I have loved being closer to my family, seeing them more, being home for every bedtime and just knowing more about their lives, that working from home has granted, but I also know that I am happy when I feel like I am doing a good job at work and I do a better job as part of a connected team working together in person.

Stripe is a people business where people matter. What going back to the office this week has made me realise is that the people in our business, that I am lucky to call friends and colleagues are what matter most to me and there is no virtual facetime substitute for the real thing.

Social Media News: August

Social Media News: August

A lot has been happening in the world of social media in August and in this week’s blog post, we’re sharing some of our highlights… 

 

From our favourite integrated campaigns to some exciting new features and updates to the most popular platforms, including Facebook, TikTok, and Instagram, we’ll be unpacking what made the biggest impact in the digital space and what’s captured our attention at Stripe!  

Beluga whaleCredit: @PA

A campaign that made us smile…

This month marked a major milestone in our historic global PR & Social Media campaign for the SEA LIFE Trust Beluga Whale Sanctuary project. After years of planning, logistical hurdles, weather postponements and a global pandemic to overcome, this was the day that two former captive whales, Little Grey and Little White, would finally be reunited with the sea after spending the majority of their lives in captivity. The campaign caused a massive splash, making global news around the world, including two UK national news front pages, a BBC Breakfast, and ITN News at Ten feature. This was supported by a social content strategy focused on amplifying major media milestones in the journey of Little Grey and Little White, resulting in two Twitter Moments.

 

Platform updatesTop #3 Platform Updates

Out with the old! Facebook has changed to its new-look platform, making it easier for users to navigate. 

Twitter now lets users limit replies to their tweets. This is not the only update with the platform having launched their new API for third-party suppliers. 

Copycat alert! Instagram has now launched Reels it’s very own ‘TikTok-esque’ feature.

Reese Witherspoon

Credit: @ReeseWitherspoon

 

Favourite Viral Meme

The months of 2020… as told by celeb photos. Celebs have been describing how we’ve all been feeling during each month of 2020, using pictures of themselves. This trend has been jumped on by Reese Witherspoon and Mindy Kaling, among others. 

 

Don’t forget to follow @StripeCom on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn to keep up to date with what’s happening in the world of Stripe!

HOME TO THE OCEAN – AN EPIC STORY GIVEN A GLOBAL PLATFORM

HOME TO THE OCEAN – AN EPIC STORY GIVEN A GLOBAL PLATFORM

Senior Account Director, Andrew Boocock, reflects on the epic nature of delivering a historic global PR & Social Media campaign to tell the story of the world’s first open water sanctuary for beluga whales.

Waking up at 4.45am in the Hotel Vestmannaeyjar on Friday 7th August, the calm Icelandic dawn brought a reassuring sense of inevitability.

After years of planning, logistical hurdles, weather postponements and a global pandemic to overcome, this was the day that two former captive whales, Little Grey and Little White, would finally be reunited with the sea after spending the majority of their lives in captivity.

As I reluctantly swallowed my daily shot of cod liver oil, I had to pinch myself. Not in response to this frankly disgusting breakfast I had routinely adopted, but at the sheer scale of the journey myself and the team had been on with the SEA LIFE Trust Beluga Whale Sanctuary project.

We were about to help tell the story of a historic moment in marine and animal welfare which had never been done before. Gulp!

 

From Shanghai to Iceland: a global strategy to build love, excitement and sentiment

Almost three years earlier, I had relocated my family from Edinburgh to London to start a new life in the capital. The SEA LIFE Trust Beluga Whale Sanctuary project represented a massive opportunity to fulfil my ambitions for travelling the world and being part of an agency delivering campaigns with purpose. As a global communications brief, it didn’t get more epic.

This was a multi-faceted story to tell, not least in its scale and complexity. No-one had ever created a campaign strategy for a beluga whale sanctuary before.

We were starting from scratch, but at its core the team set out with a clear vision and objectives:

  • Build awareness, love and excitement for the Beluga Whale Sanctuary to take a global audience on a journey of discovery
  • Deliver engaging and educative content to grow a community of advocates and show the different stages of Little Grey and Little White’s journey to the world’s first open water sanctuary
  • Protect and manage the reputation of the associated brands and the Beluga Whale Sanctuary on a global scale during each stage of the project.

Using a multi-channel approach, our content strategy focused on amplifying major media milestones in the journey of Little Grey and Little White, whilst creating a drum beat of news and regular updates on the whale’s progress to help grow a community of fans on social using video and beautiful imagery.

From the initial project announcement in June 2018 to Little Grey and Little White’s 6,000 miles journey by land, air and sea from an aquarium in Shanghai to a remote Icelandic island called Heimaey last year, we have focused on maximising visibility and engagement at every phase of the campaign.

But amongst all the media coverage, Twitter moments and boots-on-the-ground assignments, there is one principle which has been integral to the campaign’s success: building relationships.

 

Home to the ocean

I learnt early on in my career that starting conversations, building connections and establishing relationships matters. People work with people, and over the past three years the relationships the team has cultivated and trust this has forged with the client, their stakeholders and international media contacts on an individual level is what has helped to make each moment fly.

The relationship forged with a media partner such as PA Media, for example, has been critical to the lifeblood of the story. Capturing video content and stills assets at different stages has not only helped to manage the flow of comms but also to inspire people’s love for the whales and the project.

Thanks to the beluga care experts, vets, Icelandic volunteers and none other than TV presenter and comedian, John Bishop, who is narrating an ITV documentary series on the project due to be aired this autumn, I’m pleased to say Little Grey and Little White are doing well after moving from their landside care facility to the sea sanctuary care pools.

John Bishop with Andrew Boocock, Senior Account Director, Stripe Communication, at the SEA LIFE Trust Beluga Whale SanctuaryBefore a big story breaks, there are always anxious moments the night before. How will the media react? Will people engage as you had hoped?

When the embargo lifted on Monday 10 August, I believed we had done all we can as a team to give the story its best chance.

Two UK national news front pages, a BBC Breakfast and ITN News at Ten feature later, the press office email has not stopped. We’ve set up interviews and responded to media as far away as Los Angeles in the West, and Seoul in the East.

But it’s the small things that matter which brings me back to my point about relationships.

At the end of a long and busy week I received a WhatsApp from one of the key visionaries behind the project.

‘Have a fab weekend and thanks again for all your support with this project. The biggest piece of this is about inspiring the public by getting the message out…’

Time for another one of those pinch-myself moments.

 

An ode to the office

An ode to the office

There’s a bit of a tradition at Stripe which started when there was four of us crowded round a single deskphone back in 2007 – when it’s a colleague’s birthday we get cake and candles and we sing happy birthday. That’s it. But oh my god, do I miss those moments. Ten perfect minutes of celebration, joy and community all wrapped in glorious cake-y goodness.

It might be an unpopular opinion, but I miss the office. In all likelihood this is compounded by the fact that I have three marauding kids at home. Even still, I miss the office. I miss coffee and chat with my work wife, I miss the shared moments when you crack a brief, I miss the energy and buzz of big days and busy weeks, I miss spontaneous conversations and random comments that turn into really productive moments. I miss all the teamwork and togetherness that you just don’t seem to get on a Zoom call.

When Twitter announced last month that it would be changing its WFH policy to, well, forever, it set a forward-thinking precedent that could shape the future of how we work. There’s no doubt the benefits of working from home have been huge and have reinforced the value of mental health and work life balance. Letting go of some of the more stressful parts of work life – for me, the commute, the school run and the pressure to ‘be somewhere’ – and then also the realisation that, in fact, productivity doesn’t drop while working remotely.

So yes, absolutely the work is getting done but, in my opinion, it’s just not as much fun. It might sound naff but in a creative and agile industry like PR we don’t just go to work to work, we also go to play and be social. Productivity is important but it isn’t everything. Certainly, for some businesses and their workforces, fully WFH will work like a charm and it’s amazing that this moment has propelled in such positive change. I suppose that when we consider what the future holds for office-based cultures, I’m just not convinced it’s exclusively one thing or another and that maybe the reality is we’ll need a little bit of both.

Perhaps with flexibility, trust and compassion, there’s a chance we can have our cake and eat it.

VIRTUAL STRIPE ACADEMY LAUNCHES

VIRTUAL STRIPE ACADEMY LAUNCHES

Are you a student or graduate thinking about a career in communications? Do you have smart thinking, bright ideas and a passion for communicating?

We know this year will be tough for people starting out in the communications industry. To help talented people kick-start their careers, we’re launching the Virtual Stripe Academy to provide free online training on how things work at an award-winning communications agency.

The Virtual Stripe Academy will provide 12 online training sessions over four weeks. You’ll meet Stripe’s senior team and learn from their experience and expertise – providing industry insight and the skills you’ll need to get started. You can check out the full schedule here. It will run on Zoom from 10 August to 4 September 2020.

The programme is open to anyone studying at college or university as well as those who have graduated in the last two years. You don’t need to study any specific course, but you should have an interest in pursuing a career in the communications industry in the future.

Everyone who completes this training course will be offered the chance to join the new Stripe Mentor programme. The top 10 applicants will be mentored for three months by a senior member of the Stripe team – getting one-to-one career advice and help into the industry.

Registration for Virtual Stipe Academy has now closed. 

MENTORING IS A SUPERPOWER NOT TO BE TAKEN LYING DOWN

MENTORING IS A SUPERPOWER NOT TO BE TAKEN LYING DOWN

I never had a mentor when I was working my way up through the agency ranks, so when someone suggested that I should become one, my initial reaction was to decline. I made the same excuses that I use for avoiding the gym; no time and I don’t have the technique – a classic case of imposter syndrome.

Looking back, I had a subconscious fear of giving the wrong advice and being judged. I thought I wasn’t high profile or experienced enough to be a mentor. It was all in my head but feeling self-conscious is one of the biggest barriers to discovering what could turn out be a mentoring superpower!

To clarify, I’m not claiming that being a mentor makes you a hero (although I love the idea of wearing a cape to my next session), but it does have a positive impact on mental health – for both the mentee and the mentor. And, as many people are still working remotely and are anxious about their futures, the need for a mentor has never been so relevant.

 

What is a mentor?

Not to be confused with coaching, which addresses specific goals, mentoring is about the longer-term holistic development of a mentee. A mentor looks at the bigger picture by assessing overall strengths and weaknesses, and by helping the mentee to realise their own potential for themselves.

So why is mentoring good for mental health?

 

It reduces the feeling of isolation

You don’t have to be living alone or working remotely to feel isolated. Not having anyone to open up to can make your working life feel lonely. Having a mentor, a trusted confidante, can make a huge difference. Simply getting a different perspective and encouraged to find your own solution to a problem gives a sense of relief and empowerment.

K-PowIt helps combat anxiety

Most people experience some level of work-related anxiety, that’s normal. But, add a global pandemic and economic crisis to the mixing pot and anxiety levels can bubble over. It can be hard for people to share their feelings because they’re worried that it will reflect negatively on them, which creates even more anxiety. A mentor helps to get under the skin of the issue; to break it down and tear it apart, before guiding the mentee to find practical ways to move forward.

 

It boosts confidence

Mentees frequently report an increase in their self-confidence because they feel supported.

The relationship with a mentor gives a mentee a safe space to share their thoughts and ideas without fear of judgement. In turn, they get validation from someone with more experience, who they trust and admire. But it’s not just the mentees that benefit. Mentors also experience a confidence boost – the very act of helping someone else to reach their goals, and overcome hurdles provides a sense of achievement.

 

MENTORING MYTHS

A mentor can transform lives but, to do that effectively, you must get past some myths. Here are a few that I overcame:

“I don’t have anything to offer”

Nonsense. You’re a skilled professional that’s being paid to do what you do.

“I don’t have time”

Do what you can. An hour a month is plenty. A mentoring session can happen over a coffee, or a zoom call – whatever works best for you. I’m still too busy for the gym though.

“I’ve never had a mentor, so I can’t be one”

I’m living proof that, that’s not true.

“I cannot relate”

I’m currently mentoring a counsellor with his own practice, an entrepreneur through Virgin StartUp and various people through the PRCA – none of them operate in the sectors that I’m experienced in.

“I am responsible for all of my mentee’s decisions”

Not true. Your role as a mentor is to help the mentee think outside the box and explore all avenues before making ‘their own’ decisions.

spiderman

 

“I haven’t reached my full potential”

That’s good. You’re still striving. But, mentoring isn’t about you reaching your potential, it’s about helping others to reach theirs.

“I can save them!”

I love your enthusiasm and how you’ve moved from imposter syndrome to having a saviour complex! But seriously, mentors aren’t superheroes and are not here to save anyone. But, if they use their superpower wisely, it can be transformative for both parties.

mentoring superwoman

STRIPE EXPANDS SENIOR LEADERSHIP TEAM WITH GROUP ACCOUNT DIRECTOR APPOINTMENTS

STRIPE EXPANDS SENIOR LEADERSHIP TEAM WITH GROUP ACCOUNT DIRECTOR APPOINTMENTS

Stripe today announces a series of promotions that strengthen its senior leadership team in Edinburgh.

Stepping into new Group Account Director roles are Nadine Reilly, Shaun Bell, Adele Thomson and Kirsty Grierson, in recognition of their contribution and ongoing commitment to the business.

Managing Director, Morna McLelland, said: “Our new team of Group Account Directors will continue to deliver strategic, creative and exciting work while building and maintaining our strong client relationships. As part of our new Senior Leadership Team, they will be firmly focused on maintaining business growth and development of our people.”

Established by CEO Juliet Simpson in 2006, Stripe now has offices in Edinburgh and London and employees over 50 staff. The company was revealed as the seventh fastest growing consultancy in the UK in the 2019 PR Week Top 150.

Stripe: more than red noses

Stripe: more than red noses

Today is Red Nose Day (RND), and a great opportunity to get out there and, in Comic Relief’s own words, “do something funny for money”.   We’re supporting RND at Stripe (not by buying plastic noses but paying to wear red and tell the worst jokes), but what about the rest of the year?  What are we doing as a business and as individuals to play our part and ‘give back’ beyond baking cakes and taking the calorific content of morning tea to epic proportions?

It’s a good question.  Let’s face it, we don’t really need £10 worth of homemade cookies and cakes at 11am, but it’s easy, quick and visible.  It lets us all feel OK that we’ve done our bit for charity.

While fundraising is hugely important, what’s harder is really being committed. What’s harder is standing up for something we believe in, tackling difficult issues, putting ourselves in others’ shoes, taking the path less travelled, thinking and acting differently. And asking your staff to do all that when you’re already a busy agency.

At Stripe, giving back is high on our agenda.  We believe it’s our duty to support the communities we live and work in, to provide opportunity, to inspire, assist, encourage and champion.  It benefits those around us and invigorates our staff, challenges perspectives and encourages fresh thinking year-round.

So, are we walking the walk – you decide?  For the past 12 years, we’ve offered every Stripe a Passion Day to support a cause close to their heart, had a companywide charitable focus for the year and given guest lectures to inform and inspire the next generation of communicators.  We’ve worked free of charge to address the taboo of self-harm, to challenge sexism and outdated mindsets in the communications industry and to raise awareness (and funds) for a specialist Breast Cancer unit.  We’ve slept out in freezing temperatures to support the end of homelessness in Scotland, we’ve improved school playgrounds, cycled across the country, paid every single internship and mentored rising stars.

We’re doing all this not because we have to, but because we want to. So, while we’re absolutely doing something funny for money today, it’s important to us to give back and pay it forward year-round.

International Women’s Day 2019: What’s more important than balance is equality

International Women’s Day 2019: What’s more important than balance is equality

The theme for International Women’s Day this year is Balance for Better which of course makes perfect sense. It’s what we’re all striving for and although we’ve come a long way in the last 12 months, there’s still a huge amount to be achieved.

So, if this year is all about balance it got us thinking about where that left us at Stripe. You see, our workforce is 80% female and although we have a 50/50 Executive Board, our Management Board in Scotland is 100% female. Does this mean we’re in the wrong? Should we be beating ourselves up for not having more men in our business? Some would say yes, that we’re creating an environment which is positively discriminating in favour of women.

I disagree. Balance is important, but what’s much more important is creating a level playing field for every one of our team to fulfil their ambitions regardless of their gender. What’s more important than balance is equality.

We didn’t start out to create a female led business but when two thirds of people employed in our profession are female, Stripe isn’t unusual. However with only 30% of women making it to Board level, this is an area where I’m proud we lead the way.  Whilst we’re far from perfect, we’ve learnt that the key to retaining senior women isn’t about HR policies, it’s about culture. Management teams need to create an environment where all staff are supported to have a flexible working day where they can be there for family when it matters and that their career won’t suffer as a result.

I also believe if you have female leadership in a business it sets the tone and positively impacts how women are recruited, promoted and retained. This is why it’s so critically important that women are equally represented at Board level, because without that cultural shift at the top nothing will ever change.

At Stripe our culture is everything. It’s not driven by gender but is dictated by the common values that we all share. Our values are universal, but emotional intelligence plays a large part in our decision making. We treat our people as human beings rather than employees – recognising that what goes on outside of work can hugely impact their performance in the office.

Don’t get me wrong we combine this approach with a good dose of commerciality. Last year we had our most successful year and grew by 35%. That doesn’t come without a huge amount of hard work, personal sacrifices and not being afraid to make tough decisions when we need to.

Over the years we’ve kept our heads down and worked hard, rarely taking time to stop and recognise what we’ve achieved. But when we thought about this we realised we weren’t just doing a disservice to ourselves and our people, we were neglecting the fact that we have an important role to play on International Women’s Day.

And that role is to inspire. No one should have to work in an environment where they aren’t treated with respect or where there isn’t an equal playing field and people need to vote with the their feet if that’s happening to them. By telling our story we hope to inspire all future leaders to build businesses where the only thing that defines you is your talent and your values.

So, this year we are standing up and are proud to be who we are and of what we’ve achieved. We may not have perfect balance, but we will always strive for equality and surely that’s what’s important.