Subscribe to the daily newsletter.

Points North: Emily Shelley, Managing Director of Sticky Content


Points-North-Weber-ShandwickEach Friday in Points North, one of the North’s leading media personalities will be giving us their take on the news covered by Prolific North over the last seven days.

This week it’s the turn of Emily Shelley, Managing Director of Sticky Content.

I have a theory Phil Neville was deliberately pants at commentating on the England v Italy game as part of a masterful PR campaign.

The humble way he accepted the criticism of his sat-nav monotone, and his ‘I’ll do better’ tweets are a classic X-Factor-style ploy for us to root for the try-hard underdog.

The pundit line-up was over-defended by the BBC who should have left the story to play out on its own. Much as we love to ridicule a failure, we love to watch that become a success even more.

Emily ShelleyAs we saw from a survey in the North this week, fear of failure has to be overcome or it can have a massive impact on creativity.

In this case nearly all the business leaders accepted that creativity was critical to their success, but only a quarter of them regularly approve creative ideas.

We’re always talking to clients about building a ‘content culture’ which often conflicts with corporate structures. The boardroom want the ideas but they are often least qualified to judge them or evaluate their risks, particularly with content.

Freedom to fail has to come with parameters though. With expensive projects, it’s even more important to research the ROI.

Every business under the sun started throwing money at content apps a few years ago, with no coherent strategy. So it’s good to see some worthwhile projects launching this week – the Everton stadium tour and The Sharp Project’s ParentHub – which clearly target a demand.

Setting specific challenges to creative teams is another way to ensure the ideas you get back are relevant and aligned with goals.

I love Uniform’s challenge for designers from each of the World Cup nations to spend 90 minutes on a piece of art that represents their most recent game. Clearly defined format, timeframe and brief – and the results are brilliant.

You can limit risk of failure by reinventing previous successes too. The only surprise with the Danger Mouse reboot is that it took so long to happen.

All Phil Neville needs to do now is to nail his hapless Penfold impression and he’s a bona fide hit.

Emily Shelley is Managing Director of Sticky Content, which is now part of the Press Association.

Related News