Why community, authenticity and value are trends that will endure

Beyond this year’s headline-making trends in marketing, there are some insights that are here to last.

According to the 2024 prediction lists, the big trends in marketing in the coming months range from the increasing impact of AI to the Gen Z preference for ‘social as search’. 

Marketing insights like these are often aimed at consumer retail brands, but which of them cross over to make an impact for B2B brands or for membership organisations, for example?

This year at CPL One, among the hype, we can see three drivers that resonate through the headline trends and have particular relevance for our clients and their audiences’ needs: community, authenticity and value. Together, they can work to bring people together around a brand or organisation, in a place they feel they belong.

Community

Communities help us to make sense of our world. From local business meet-ups and YouTube tutorials, to the way we organise our conversations on WhatsApp and Tik-Tok – group activity, shared learning, support and fun are increasingly the ways we make sense of our world and the basis for community-building. 

Fostering and engaging communities can help your business understand customer needs and pain points, leverage brand awareness, boost acquisition and loyalty, and turn customers into brand advocates. Communities, therefore, are an active and responsive mechanism that provides insight and direction for your business.

Finding fresh and relevant ways to support your customer communities should be a priority for supporting your business’s future.

Authenticity 

Authenticity powers togetherness and belonging. A strong community can be a place where people feel they belong together and have a future together, but that doesn’t always mean they share the same backgrounds, experiences, ambitions or abilities. It might seem counter-intuitive, but individuality is vital for the togetherness of any community. 

This is where authenticity comes in. Authenticity is about having the opportunity to be true to ourselves. It’s about supporting our individuality and helping others, so we can all become the people we want to be. 

People join communities when they feel that within that community they can live more authentically. And they leave when they can’t. 

When a business communicates and supports individuals within its customer or member communities in a more personalised, meaningful way, and its offering meets the needs of the individual as well as the group, then it empowers that individual’s sense of authenticity. In turn, that can increase loyalty and engagement. As a consequence, the whole community is strengthened – and so is the value of your product or service.

Value

Value is the real benefit gained from a product or service in relation to the price paid.

In other words, ‘value’ doesn’t directly correlate with ‘cost’ – and offering value for your customer isn’t done through price alone. 

It also means that value-delivery doesn’t end with a conversion at the point of sale or sign-up – it’s an ongoing challenge that must be constantly supported, meeting customer needs throughout your relationship with them. 

Value drivers include:

  • Understanding people’s changing needs and desires 
  • Helping people discover useful solutions and apply them to the challenges they face
  • Offering your support and guidance, and helping them gain support from peers
  • Creating platforms and places for engagement, to encourage a sense of togetherness and belonging
  • Helping people build confidence in how they use your products/services, and in their ability to apply new knowledge and experience and become advocates in what they do

At CPL One, we help clients strengthen their value proposition so their customers come together around their products and services in meaningful and authentic ways. 

That might sound like ‘marketing-speak’, but behind the jargon it’s really about supporting real people doing real things in the real world. When we do that, we help people belong. And that’s not a trend, it’s a principle we can use for future-proofing our businesses.

Twelve hot topics that got us talking in 2023

The year in review: from connecting communities and commercial strategy, to the power of video and demonstrating member value, here are our top 12 hot topics from 2023.

1. It’s time to put people first

The audiences we create content for are often professional experts in their fields. It’s paramount that our editorial features reflect that. But those audiences also consist of real people with real-world concerns – and that needs to be reflected too. The specific industry may set the context, the agenda, and define the detail, but across those considerations it’s time to put people first when it comes to deepening the connection between member and organisation, or audience and brand.
Read how we take a people-first approach with CIBSE Journal.

2. Multichannel content drives momentum

In the past 12 months, we’ve seen some clients increase the frequency of their printed editorial content, while others have reduced it. So, who’s right? We would suggest that it should never be thought of as a binary opposition of print vs digital. Good research and understanding the target audience helps you to shape your approach to multichannel content, while benchmarking what success looks like can help you to measure progress.  With a little strategic thinking, digital and print should work in harmony.
Read about how we are combining digital and print solutions for the ACT.

3. Good content cuts through the noise

In April, CPL One was in London for the 2023 Content Marketing Association B2B Summit. What did we learn? Well, lots of things. If there was a key insight from the sessions, it would be that we live in very uncertain times with a changing world of work and rapidly advancing technology just two of the challenges we face. Amid all that insecurity, our clients want us to help them cut through the noise, disentangle and declutter their messaging, and help them to focus on the things that will let them achieve their goals.
Here are 12 take-outs from the day.

4. AI remains a hot topic, with unanswered questions

In May, the conversation was all about the potential impact of ChatGPT. At the time, CPL One managing director Mike Sewell wrote that software like ChatGPT had the potential to help us (among many things) drive efficiencies and speed up the initial stages of web-based research for our journalists and sales teams. He also warned that it probably shouldn’t be trusted to provide information that is either correct or original. So, did we get it right?
Read our full set of predictions.

5. Video excels at storytelling

Video can deliver real impact for your organisation. What’s more, creating short films doesn’t always need a Barbie-level budget. With our smartphones at our sides, ready to record and share special moments, aren’t we all moviemakers now? So, while some videos that we shoot at CPL One incur costs such as location and actor/model fees, others deliver successfully against the brief with a mobile phone and a little initiative. Is it time to schedule some video into your comms calendar?
See how we used video to drive a recruitment campaign.

6. Our mission is to help people belong
In the middle of the year, we officially launched the new visual brand identity for CPL One. Its design reinforces our primary business purpose, which is that ‘We help people belong’. And when we say ‘belong’, we are thinking of three audiences: the people who engage with the content we create on behalf of our clients; the individuals who work for our clients and from whom we learn so much; and all the team at CPL One – our most important asset.
Here, managing director Mike Sewell outlines the latest phase in the CPL One story.

7. Flexibility is a foundation for success
Talking of ‘belonging’… whatever work takes priority at CPL One, we want everyone here to feel supported in what they do, with the freedom to express themselves and reach their personal goals. We were delighted to win another Gold accreditation as a Best Employer, reflecting our focus on: having the right working environment to develop creative solutions for clients; ensuring everyone feels supported as individuals; working together in teams to maximise the positive difference we make as a company.
See how flexibility supports creativity, individuality and togetherness.

8. Commercial strategies are due an MOT
Our in-house commercial and media sales team have a trusted process to increase revenues from magazines and websites. Increasingly, however, we find that to get the best from commercial opportunities, organisations need to think holistically, looking at multi-channel sponsorship packages, events, podcasts, recruitment portals and more. In challenging times, it’s about asking “What else can we do for you?” And whether that’s a solus email campaign or a sponsored drinks reception, it is about ensuring we find the best way to deliver tangible benefits for your target audience.
Take a look at our full range of commercial and creative services.

9. Brand evolution can bring a fresh start
Print magazines remain highly regarded by audiences as a vehicle for quality content. A redesigned or relaunched magazine can bring a fresh and more contemporary look, but it can also support a strategic repositioning of an organisation’s key offering in response to a changing world and an audience’s evolving needs and expectations. Could your printed matter work harder to support your business objectives?
Read how we relaunched a charity magazine to drive membership.

10. It’s about connecting communities
At CPL One, we know that in the medium and long term, engaging audiences and building loyalty is about developing trusted relationships and helping to build supportive communities. Those communities are a fount of knowledge and a place where vital experience is shared. Creating podcasts and chairing discussions at conferences is an increasing part of the job for CPL One editors – and it reflects our understanding that connecting communities helps create positive change for organisations.
Read about how we connect communities for CIWM.

11. Demonstrating value is key for membership organisations
Setting out to refresh your membership value proposition (MVP) can feel like a big, big ask. The same can be said when you set out to tackle other broad-based outputs of strategic marketing aimed at long-term transformation. Ultimately, your MVP needs to give your audience a reason to join, and then stay as a member. But does yours do this? And how do you know? 
Here are five tips to help kick-start your MVP refresh.

12. Your brand proposition needs to be delivered 52 weeks a year
To maximise the power of your brand, you need a relentless focus on ensuring customers and other stakeholders experience it in the same consistent way at every touchpoint. For our client Darley Stallions, we help create high-quality multichannel communications on a daily basis. Whether it’s an animated online ad, an exciting promotional film or a major physical installation at a racecourse, we focus on presenting the brand in the best possible light. That’s one reason why Darley has such a strong reputation in its field – and we’re delighted that during 2023 CPL One’s reputation as a leading content marketing agency has only been enhanced too.

Five-minute intro to… TAXI newspaper and the LTDA

In the third of an occasional and informal series introducing you to our work at CPL One, we hitch a ride with a London-based client.

So, who’s in the back of the cab this week? 

I see what you did there! Yes, it’s the official newspaper of the Licensed Taxi Drivers’ Association (LTDA). TAXI newspaper, which CPL One creates for the LTDA, is circulated in and around central London every fortnight. 

How many members does the organisation have?

With more than 10,000 members, the LTDA represents the majority of London’s black-cab drivers.

What’s the aim of the LTDA?

That’s quite simple: it’s the biggest trade organisation dedicated to protecting London taxi drivers’ livelihoods. Members’ subscriptions help pay for legal representation (should drivers need it), support with licensing issues, and campaigns against changes and legislation that may have an impact on drivers’ welfare or earnings. For example, earlier this year the LTDA legal team helped save drivers’ livelihoods after TfL changed its driver suitability policy.

And are they all familiar with TAXI newspaper?

The newspaper is well established – it launched way back in 1970 and has more than 35 distribution points across London,  including Euston, Paddington, Waterloo and Wimbledon. It can now also be downloaded as a digital pdf. So yes, it’s pretty well known. In fact, TAXI is a great example of a free publication model that continues to thrive.     

What’s in the paper then? Any celebrity gossip or humorous tales of the late-night drunk and disorderly?      

Of course not, that’s all confidential! In fact, there’s a mix of news and views on the big issues and topics that taxi drivers have to deal with. London cabbies are a close-knit and loyal community and they band together, for example, around issues such as road access and the future of the Knowledge of London.

Oh yes, ‘The Knowledge’. So TAXI brings the drivers’ perspective to the stories?

It does. But the big news stories are only part of the picture. There’s also room for lifestyle stories, ranging from theatre and film reviews, to satirical pieces, opinion and history features. It’s a real A-to-Z of news, views and leisure offers that cabbies can use.     

Tell me more…

Amon Warmann, Empire magazine’s contributing editor, writes monthly film reviews; financial expert Emma Lunn offers advice on topical money-saving issues; and historian Rob Lordan crafts some weird and wonderful (and sometimes murderous!) tales of London’s colourful past.

So, as a cabbie might say: “you never know what you’re going to pick up”.

Essentially, the aim is to get the paper into the hands of cab drivers all over the capital, for both an informative and entertaining read. Each publication addresses the latest issues and covers the biggest news from the taxi world, while also offering content related to London life and its culture.

What does the LTDA say about TAXI as the go-to read for cabbies?

“Ask any driver – TAXI has more readers than the rest put together!”

And what does CPL One say?

The LTDA is a long-standing client for us and we love working on the newspaper and with the team there.

See our previous Five-minute intros to CPL One clients CIBSE and Nautilus.

How flexible working practices help people belong

As Zoom orders more of its staff back to the office, we look at how working practices at CPL One ensure we always support the people who work here – and our clients.

How do you get the most from your working day? Is it by being at your own desk in the office; meeting with your team around a collaboration table; or working quietly at home, on your own? 

Perhaps being productive at work involves a bit of all three. 

At CPL One, we find it depends on the type of work we are doing – and as a full-service agency, the work we do is varied. It could be writing an in-depth feature for a specialist magazine, brainstorming a fresh new design route for a client website or brand revamp, or putting in calls to meet media sales targets.

Whatever work is taking priority, we want everyone here to feel supported in what they do, with the freedom to express themselves and reach their personal goals.

Our purpose at CPL One is to ‘help people belong’, and that applies equally to the people who work here as to our clients and their customers. It means ensuring everyone can:

  • Find the right working environment to develop creative solutions for CPL One clients
  • Feel supported as individuals with their own personal needs and in their careers
  • Come together in teams to maximise the positive difference we can make as a company.

We believe that if you support creativity, individuality and togetherness, you have a much better chance of achieving success.

Hybrid working at CPL One

Like many companies, CPL One operates a hybrid working policy that encourages our teams to work in ways that get the best results. This helps provide a supportive environment – one in which, hopefully, everyone can reach their full potential. 

With a few exceptions, we ask that everyone spends 60 per cent of the working week in the office. Exceptions? Well, some colleagues live only a few minutes’ easy walk away. Others have good reasons not to travel in regularly – our most ‘remote’ team member checks in from the Philippines.

Also, CPL One has offices in two locations – Cambridge and St Albans. We encourage people to work from a different office from time to time, so they can connect with the right people when they are working on specific projects. 

“Team get-togethers can facilitate this,” says director Sarah Simpson. “For example, we’ve recently held training sessions for our sales team, with one session in St Albans and the next in Cambridge.

“Whichever office people work from, we know that being together, as a group, helps to integrate teams – by deepening our understanding of the work and each other – and facilitate the sharing of ideas.”

Different teams have different needs

“For design briefings and collaborating on concept work, face-to-face interaction is still best,” says art director Kevin Reed. “But working from home is a great option when we are deep into day-to-day magazine layout.”

Wherever we work, finding support through the teams of which we are a part is a foundation of what we do, says Sarah.

“Our commercial team is a good example of this. It’s important for them to be around a bank of desks, putting in and answering calls. It brings a sales buzz that you can’t recreate at home. In media sales, building trust and rapport is a priority. We also know how infuriating it can be when key decision-makers at a company are constantly unavailable. So, wherever you work from, being present and available is a must.”

At CPL One, our thinking on hybrid working continues to evolve, and our latest employee opinion survey will help us continue to align our working practices and office environment to meet our teams’ – and our clients’ – needs. 

We think being open to evolution is key. If you want to help people belong, there’s no single or fixed way of achieving it. That’s why, when it comes to the way we work, we always continue to listen, learn and adapt.

Five-minute intro to… Nautilus International

In the second of an occasional and informal series introducing you to our work at CPL One, we turn the spotlight on a global client.

Ahoy there, Captain Nemo!

What? There’s no Captain Nemo here.

Oh. It’s just that Nautilus was the name of Captain Nemo’s submarine in the Jules Verne novel Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea.

Ah yes, of course. This is about the sea, though, you’re right. Nautilus International is a global trade union that looks after the interests of more than 20,000 seafarers, their dependents and other maritime professionals in the UK, Netherlands and Switzerland.

Switzerland? You’re having me on. That’s pretty famously a landlocked country.

Correct, but it has some major inland waterways and, in any case, maritime professionals from many countries are employed on ships that really do sail the high seas, across international waters – which means, as a trade union, Nautilus has a truly global reach.

So who gets to be a Nautilus International member?

It could be the crew of specialist research vessels in the Antarctic, or employees working on ferries or cruise liners, or servicing offshore wind farms, onboard container ships, tankers… maybe even superyachts. Remember during the early days of the Covid pandemic when people got locked down on cruise liners that weren’t allowed to dock?

Ooh, yes. That must have been scary.

Well, if the crew needed support, including legal advice and information about employment rights, they could look to Nautilus International. The same when P&O Ferries summarily sacked 786 people, many by video message, in 2022. Nautilus was there to provide a voice, assistance and offer guidance to its members.

What about the huge container ship that got stuck in the Suez Canal?

That ship was the Ever Given, and it caused delays in international supply chains, impacting many companies in the UK and beyond. And then there was the global food security crisis caused by the war in Ukraine. Ships needed export routes to be re-opened via a humanitarian corridor in the Black Sea. No export routes means no-one gets Ukraine’s vast stocks of grain. No grain means no bread for your sandwiches. You see, the smooth operation of shipping and other maritime work affects our lives in many ways, and if Nautilus wasn’t around, many seafarers would be left without support and potentially at risk of leaving an industry that we depend on, even though most of us don’t know it.

I get the picture. So what does CPL One do for Nautilus International?

We started working with Nautilus International in 2018, originally to design and lay out its monthly member magazine, Telegraph. CPL One redesigned the magazine in 2022. Now we produce a whole range of multimedia content, to help them communicate with all these members we’ve been talking about – including videos, animations and podcasts, as well as social media collateral. For example, we’ve made animated videos for Nautilus’s campaigning work, as well as short, fun, awareness-raising social media videos for TikTok. We also produce a podcast, Off course: A sideways look at life at sea.

How’s that going?

Well, it’s just been shortlisted for a Memcom Excellence Award, so pretty well, we think.

OK, since we’re talking salty dog stories, what about pirates? Tell me about pirates.

Arrgghhh! I knew you’d ask that. Actually, yes, piracy is a big issue for seafarers. In fact, an Off Course podcast featured Captain Phillips, who was kidnapped by pirates – his story was made into a movie starring Tom Hanks.

What does the team at Nautilus International say about working with CPL One?

Helen Kelly, director of communications, campaigns and digital, says: “We’re always looking for new and fresh ideas that can help us be at the forefront of supporting seafaring. Our approach to campaigning and awareness-raising at Nautilus International is often digital first, and we find the team at CPL One are always enthusiastic, creative and agile in responding to any challenge that arises.”

What else should we know about CPL One’s work with Nautilus International?

We love working with Nautilus as it touches on many of our skill sets, from journalism and design to video and animation. It’s a holistic CPL One offering – and while the subject matter is big and important, we get to unleash some creativity and originality too. It’s fun.

Read our Five-minute intro to… CIBSE.

Showcasing equine photography

The groundbreaking work of John Reardon, a long-time photographer for CPL One, is highlighted in a new exhibition currently running in London.

John Reardon (1951-2018) photographed stallions owned by our client Darley in America, Japan, Europe and Australia from 2000-2016, pictures that graced advertisements, brochures, pedigree cards and much more.

(after) Whistlejacket, Contemporary Equine Photographs by John Reardon, is at the MMX Gallery, 448 New Cross Road, London SE14 6TY from 2 June – 1 July from 12-6pm on Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays and from 12-5pm on Saturdays. Admission is free.

This is the first time these photographs have been put on public display. As Darley’s Creative Consultant Jocelyn Targett writes in an essay that accompanies the exhibition: “These photographs of thoroughbred stallions raced by Sheikh Mohammed of Dubai’s Godolphin stable, began as a half-derided summer job – ‘Just commercial work!’ Reardon would wince. It lasted 16 years, almost until his death at 66 five years ago. Back when it all began – on the eve of his 50th birthday and after photographing 14 wars and untold natural disasters for news pages and Sunday supplements, the kind of stark, stylish foreign forays that newspaper budgets would less and less stretch to – he might have feared that he was retiring to grass. In fact, it was to be one last wild ride.”

The hoof belongs to Cape Cross, who sired one of the all-time greats, Sea The Stars.
That arching neck? King’s Best, sire, too, of a Derby winner.
The silhouette in the trees, Mark Of Esteem, winner of the 2,000 Guineas under jockey Frankie Dettori back in 1996.
The dappled grey by a matching wall is Sagamix, hero of Europe’s greatest race, the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe.
Dubawi photographed at Dalham Hall Stud, Newmarket, 2009.

Mike Sewell blog: five things I do believe about ChatGPT; and five I don’t

CPL One’s managing director assesses the implications of generative AI for the agency and our clients.

I’ve made a few rash promises in my time. 

However, few have been rasher than when I promised colleagues I would “draft a short, simple blog in the next couple of weeks” summing up CPL One’s position on iterative AI (and ChatGPT in particular).

That was more than a month ago. So why the delay? 

Apart from the obvious reason that we have a lot of other stuff happening at the moment, it’s also extremely hard to write anything useful on this subject that is either “short” or “simple”.

In the past few weeks, a dedicated section of my inbox has become packed with links to relevant pieces on ChatGPT and its ilk. And my notebook has filled up with plenty of scribbled thoughts about the pros and cons. (I suppose I could have asked ChatGPT to have a go at summarising what I’d written, but surely no robot will ever be able to interpret my shocking shorthand!)

Since I wrote a few lines about the subject in March, it has continued to grab the headlines. 

We’ve had plenty of warnings about the risks, including from Elon Musk and Google’s so-called ‘AI godfather’, shortly before the company announced its latest iteration of AI updates designed to rival ChatGPT. 

Closer to home, a session at a recent Content Marketing Association summit attended by CPL One-ers featured some cautionary tales about data breaches, lack of transparency and IP issues. Another colleague pointed out this podcast from John Oliver which is, in equal measure, funny and scary.  

Some of the other commentary has also been funny but, thankfully, rather less scary. 

For example, The Guardian’s Alex Hern spent a week with ChatGPT to see if it would make him a “healthier, happier, more productive person”. (The answer – summarised by ChatGPT, obviously – was not a surprise: “While helpful, ChatGPT cannot replace the depth and authenticity of human interaction.”)

Meanwhile, colleagues at CPL One have continued to experiment with ChatGPT and other similar software, taking care not to trust all that it delivers for them. 

One example saw an editor prompting ChatGPT to turn his quite heavyweight piece on a technical conference into “brilliant quotes for social media”. The result was pretty good – and the AI-generated words certainly took him less time to tidy up than if he’d drafted them from scratch.

So where does all this leave CPL One and our clients? Here’s five things I do believe and five I don’t.

I DO believe software like ChatGPT can:

  • Drive efficiencies, especially in any type of proforma work
  • Be one of a number of AI programs that will make web developers’ lives a little easier
  • Speed up the initial stages of web-based research for our journalists and sales teams
  • Help with a first stab at summarising and simplifying existing content
  • Provide interesting career opportunities for anyone who makes themselves a skilled AI prompter.

I DON’T believe software like ChatGPT can:

  • Be trusted to provide information that is either correct or original
  • Replace highly skilled editorial and other professionals like those at CPL One
  • Deliver work as creative, imaginative, fun or authentic as humans can
  • Be a one-size-fits-all solution to sort out your content marketing challenges (but CPL One might be)
  • Provide a reason for clients to try to negotiate reductions in fees charged by content marketing agencies!

We will continue to monitor the new iterations of generative AI as they emerge. And, even more importantly, we will continue to be incredibly proud of the fantastic, creative and individual work delivered day in, day out by the 70-plus humans at CPL One Group.

12 ideas to make your marketing relevant right now

The Content Marketing Association’s B2B Summit was a day of forward-looking debate and ideas, writes senior content strategist Martin Bewick.

CPL One was in London last week for the 2023 Content Marketing Association B2B Summit. The full-day of talks from leading marketers and business and technology experts covered topics ranging from what content the C-suite is looking for to the role of social channels and AI in B2B marketing.

What did we learn? Well, lots of things. If there was one consensus drawn from the various sessions, it would be that we live in a very uncertain world with a changing world of work and rapidly advancing technology just two of the challenges we face.

Amid the insecurity, our clients want us to help them cut through the noise, disentangle and declutter their messaging, and help them to focus on the things that will let them achieve their goals.

Here are 12 take-outs from the day that might help us do just that.

1. Accept the connection paradox

It can seem like a paradox, but in an age of seamless and always-on connection, some audiences are increasingly disconnected. Our job isn’t just to reach these people, it’s to understand the disconnect and fix it with a product that really serves audience needs.

2. Make it good

The organisations we work with want good content, not just more content – because that’s how we reflect their customers’ needs and help businesses achieve their goals. Also, ‘good’ isn’t a synonym for ‘slick’, or ‘expensive’. For ‘good’, read ‘thoughtful’, read ‘useful’.

3. Be authentic

Authenticity needs to be at the centre of your business’s communications – that means hearing from employees and customers at all levels, not just replaying the marketing mantras of those at the top. 

4. Take me to your leader

However, in B2B your CEO is a fine asset for your ‘leadership brand’. Peer-to-peer conversation works and leaders always want to hear from other leaders – about their hard-won successes, and also about where challenges remain. Keep it real. 

5. Build long-term commitment

More than a sunshine-filled ad campaign built on KPIs, good content should be an ongoing expression of your organisation’s authentic purpose and values. Think of all the ways you can express those foundations, and keep demonstrating them.

6. Action it!

As well as being authentic, content should be action-orientated if it’s really going to stand out from competitors and create impact. Good creative work changes people’s minds and gets them to take action, so fill your content with purpose.

7. Use your currency

In an uncertain world, content also needs to be timely. Instead of future-gazing and going big on predictions, make sure your content is sharply ‘current’ and helps people answer the vital questions of today. Tomorrow can wait… for a while.

8. Serial love

Everyone loves video content these days – but no-one has time to watch your masterpiece. Instead of filming an epic, could you chunk up your content and serialise it, treating each short video as a building block? It’s all in the edit.

9. Get quirky

Be brave with your content, even when you’re not a consumer brand. It’s OK to be quirky. Who you are is defined by what you do and how confident you are doing it. So don’t be afraid of being ‘more you’. Forget audience pre-conceptions – and maybe lose some inhibitions. 

10. School your tech

The latest tech can be seen as a super-powered tool, whether that’s the potential of AI-generated text, or using Tik-Tok as a search engine. But don’t let hype confine you. Creativity is always the real key, so school your tech, don’t let it school you.

11. Get positive

If the world looks too difficult and complicated, can we make it simpler? If it’s chaotic can we provide some calm? When the impact we have on the world and society is positive and beneficial, it makes us feel better. It also builds trust and loyalty. This is a good thing, right?

12. Stay curious

If there was one take-out from the CMA B2B Summit, it was that if you want to be relevant, stay curious. Don’t just do what you’ve done in the past. Try something new. Start a conversation. Test an idea. See what comes of it. 

Okay, so you may not want to action all of these at once. Maybe start with the last point – and get curious. That’s the basis of what we do at CPL One, where we’re already talking to clients and working with these latest trends and insights.

If you’d like to know more about what we’re doing, get in touch.

Five-minute intro to… CIBSE

In the first of an occasional and informal series introducing you to CPL One customers, we turn the spotlight on one of our long-standing clients.

First things first, let’s get the acronym out of the way. What does CIBSE actually stand for?

Chartered Institution of Building Services Engineers.

And how do you pronounce it?

Do…  say Sibseeee

Don’t… spell out each of the letters.

What do CIBSE members do?

CIBSE says its members “drive better built-environment performance, unlocking economic, environmental and social value”.

Sounds impressive. But how?

Well, here’s one example from the CIBSE website. “Buildings account for almost 50% of damaging carbon emissions, yet innovative services design can bring dramatic improvements in energy efficiency.” According to CIBSE, “our members continue to create the most environmentally friendly systems in major projects across the globe”.

OK, now we’ve got that out of the way, what’s this got to do with CPL?

We create and produce CIBSE Journal, a monthly print and digital magazine for CIBSE’s 20,000-plus members. We also look after the accompanying content hub – you can access loads of stories, podcasts, CPD information and all the back issues from there.

Who’s involved at CPL?

The multi award-winning Alex Smith, who has been editor for the past decade, leads our team, which also includes reporter Molly Tooher-Rudd, technical editor Tim Dwyer and designer James Baldwin. Lots of other people at CPL One, plus a number of freelancers, also get involved. 

Why should I bother reading it?

For a magazine whose core audience includes some highly technical people, it’s actually pretty accessible for the rest of us. Sure, pieces such as this one contain more equations and graphs than some might be comfortable with. But there’s plenty for the non-scientific reader too. For example, a feature in March posed the challenging question “Who’s standing up to inequality?” and a January article on mental health in the workplace would resonate with most people. Plus, for those who love iconic (and hopefully sustainable) buildings, there’s plenty of those too, including a fascinating piece on the new Google HQ at King’s Cross this month. 

And what does the client say?

Well, CIBSE and CPL One have been working together since 2009 so we think it’s fair to say they rate us. In fact, CIBSE chief executive Ruth Carter often says that, before starting in her role in 2021, she believed the magazine should be managed in-house and not by an agency. But after a few months at the helm, and working closely with Alex as editor, Ruth was happy to acknowledge a change of mind. “He is an absolutely fantastic editor,” she says. “Even though he’s officially employed by CPL One, he is part and parcel of the CIBSE community, and has an innate understanding of the huge issues affecting our members and industry.” (Alex will hate us for including this bit, by the way.)

Anything else we should know about this client?

It’s an interesting example of CPL One being agile, in this case by working in a highly effective partnership with another agency. We’re responsible for all the content and the platforms it’s delivered on – they manage the advertising and event sales. We’re not saying this model would always work, but it certainly does in this case.