12 Questions With Chris Le’cand-Harwood

by • August 3, 2016 • Experts Talk, InterviewsComments Off on 12 Questions With Chris Le’cand-Harwood3342

Social media and the campaigns that drive brand success, are nothing without the people who make things happen!

Each week we profile one innovative industry executive and get them to answer 12 questions. Then, we share their insight with you!

This week I had the pleasure of stopping by the offices of Havas People in London, to speak to their Head of Social Media, Chris Le’cand-Harwood.

Hello Chris! 

Hi Linleigh! Thanks for stopping by. Havas People – part of Havas Worldwide – is a full-service agency specialising in education, recruitment and employee comms. I’ve been in agency life for nearly 14 years. I set up the social media function here in 2011, and we work with all departments to ensure social media helps universities and employers attract the right talent.

Excellent! Let’s get to it! 

About Social Media In General

1. Which is your favorite social media platform? 

I would say at the moment, it’s Snapchat. I really like what they are doing and how they’re treading on the toes of established players. I mean, they turned down Facebook a few years ago because they felt confident they could go it alone, and I think they are showing that. 10 billion video views a day versus Facebook’s 8 billion is impressive.

I really like Snapchat’s authenticity, its rawness. It’s in the moment, and then gone within 24 hours. Snapchat Memories may change that, but it’s still great storytelling tech. I think there are some really exciting times ahead for Snapchat in the next few years.

My favourite account to follow at the moment is thebodycoachJoe Wicks is really natural and knows his audience.

2. Which social platform is used most by your agency?

Because our agency is involved in recruitment marketing, people think LinkedIn is the default platform. But there are so many options. And platforms like Facebook are big considerations for us. Facebook has incredible targeting capabilities, multi-generational reach, it’s great for video, and is constantly innovating (look out for brands using 360 photos, Facebook Live and chatbots!). It’s a powerful platform to tell stories to very specific target groups, and to build a community. This is important to our clients who want to recruit talent into their courses, or job roles.

We also are doing a lot more Instagram work, and Snapchat will take up more of our time in the coming months.

3. In your opinion, what is the future of social media, and which platforms do you think will lead the way?

Marketing’s future is social media. There’s always been that quest for word of mouth, and great marketing has always achieved that. So I see social moving to the front and centre of marketing, and fading away as a silo category – so if you don’t know social media, you don’t know marketing.

I think Facebook will have a big say in the direction of social media (the company own Instagram, Messenger and WhatsApp after all!). But so will Snapchat. And you never know… the next major player may be hatching as we speak! Exciting times.

If you like our stories, there is an easy way to stay updated:

About Great Social Media Campaigns

4. Please tell us about the one social media campaign you liked the most this year.

I like what WWF have done with UK Earth Hour. It’s a great cause, and they’ve used a nice blend of media: They encouraged people to get involved in the hashtag, #EarthHourUK, and streamed their content onto digital poster sites across the TFL network with the help of Exterion Media. I loved their ability to mix elements of participation from the audience and blend it with traditional media. It’s good to mix things up and it’s always nice to see marketing used for important causes.

5. What about the latest campaign your brand or agency was involved in?

The work we have done for the National Offender Management Service (NOMS). They manage HM Prisons Service in the UK. They needed to recruit a number of prison officers so we worked with them to develop a long term campaign that was fully integrated across a number of platforms. The great thing was that they recognised that social media was a core part of this integrated campaign.

There can be misconceptions about what it takes to be a great prison officer and we needed to tackle those head on. So we developed the campaign around an important question: “Is it in you to be a prison officer?”

It’s a long recruitment process, and a tough job, so we wanted to help people make the right decision while supporting them through the process.

NOMS were new to social media a couple of years ago, but their Facebook Page is now a hub of content and a thriving community of potential prison officers who support each other. So it hasn’t only been a great piece of marketing, but also a fantastic piece of CRM.

We now have a public sector recruiter occupying that best-in-class space, and that’s great to see. We’re super pleased for them, as they have now got six awards for this campaign so far in 2016 (Best Use of Social Media, Best Integrated Campaign, and Best Work) for both the RAD Awards and the CIPD Recruitment Marketing Awards.

6. What is the most important thing brands and agencies must keep in mind, in order to build a successful social media campaign?

Think about social media in the beginning. Not at the end. It’s not about taking an ad and then turning it into social media content… unless it’s social in the first place.

Also, ask questions when developing a campaign

Is it something people want to be part of? Does it inspire them? Does it educate them? Will someone stop their scroll in the newsfeed to spend their valuable time with you? Can we do more than put a job vacancy in front of them?

It all comes back to basic content marketing principles. It sounds so obvious, but you have to understand what the audience needs, and give them that. I tell clients that they are not just in the business of selling courses, or job vacancies, they’re helping people make the right decision. Our careers take up so much of our lives that it’s important to get this right.

7. In your opinion, which is the most important KPI to watch during a social media campaign?

Ultimately the goal is to sell something – in our case it’s a client’s course or a career. But there are a number of factors that get you to that goal. If you just focused on the end-goal, all you would do is put course listings or job vacancies in front of people.

You can’t have quality applications without engagement with the audience (they need to get to know you, and you them). You can’t have engagement without the right people being aware of you in the first place. So we will focus our KPIs on these truths, and dial each one up or down depending on the client need.

About The Future Of Social Media Marketing

8. What will be the role of social media in the marketing mix of the future?

The future marketing mix will be determined by the audience. And social media is where the time is spent. Increasingly so in the future. You only have to look at yourself and others around you, commuting or sitting on the sofa, to see that the attention is eyes down on mobile and social apps. So, marketing efforts and spend needs to go the way of social, IMHO (in my humble opinion).

I have never seen such a shift in the communications industry as I have this decade. Things are changing so quickly: I mean Facebook changed its algorithm to prioritise your friends and family’s content above brands, and now there’s a big fuss from brands going “Why did that happen?!” But it just means we have to keep up with those changes. And it’s pretty cool when new opportunities pop up.

The future also depends on brands’ willingness to keep testing and experimenting with platforms. Sometimes, you don’t have all the answers, but you do have the data and audience behaviour patterns that tell you it’s worth testing. In the past you haven’t been able to quantify behaviour quite like you can today.

9. What would you say is the biggest obstacle within the field of social media marketing?

I suppose knowledge and talent really. There need to be more people who have that fundamental understanding of social. But that will come, as more and more people with the Gen Z and Gen Y mindset get involved. Knowledge has always been the challenge in everything, hasn’t it? But now it’s about keeping up with the pace of change.

10. If you had to give one piece of advice to someone who has just started out in the industry, what would it be?

Be eager to get involved in most things. And if you have an idea, don’t be afraid to speak up. Especially in social media. The chances are you know the latest trends better than your senior colleagues or your clients, because you use them. The challenge then, is about how that knowledge can be applied to campaigns. I am always keen for my team to have a number of different skills. They do social, but they are also close to paid social, creative, analysis and events. You need to be a self-starter; implement things you think should be in place, get advice and just make it happen. Your ideas don’t happen without you.

11. In your opinion, which is the “ad format of the future”?

Anything that offers an immersive experience. For us, that’s important: when people are considering a university, taking the first steps in their career, or changing jobs, they want to know what it’s like being there. So, live video will finally be a big deal thanks to Periscope and Facebook Live specifically. As will 360° content (Facebook photos and video and YouTube). Virtual Reality will also have a big say. Especially with university marketing, when you want people to experience a campus before they apply.

Oh, and there’s Pokemon Go, which has been going bonkers over the past few weeks. Nostalgia and mobile is the perfect addictive blend, but I think that shows there’s something about Augmented Reality too.

Fun Fact

12. Finally, tell us one thing someone would NOT be able to find about you from looking at your social media profiles.

In the 80’s I met the Octopussy Girls. My dad was an ad man and decided to use the latest Bond film to promote his client (a DIY store called Octopus), rather than go down the usual route of advertising in local press. He got in the Octopussy Girls and a James Bond look alike (Roger Moore was too expensive!) to do a big launch in the store. Loads of people came along to check it out and then the Octopussy gang went on a float to the centre of Cambridge where the film was being premiered. So I was just hanging around, as a kid, meeting the Octopussy girls playing with the Octopussy guns (they were wooden!)

Haha. Fabulous! I’m sure they made you feel very “Roger Moore”! Thanks so much for letting me swing by and chat!

If you would like to chat with Chris, join us for this week’s #WeRSMChat via Twitter. We kick off this Sunday August 7th 8pm BST.


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