Michael Evans, our Managing Partner, has been included in PRWeek’s Power Book for the sixth consecutive year. PRWeek’s Power Book is the “definitive guide” to the most respected and influential British PR professionals.
You can see Michael’s entry in the Power Book and read his interview questions here.
Madano is committed to building a better world through intelligent and creative communications. We work with clients who are taking on major challenges of our time through innovation and creative thinking – helping them tell their story, make the right connections, change attitudes, and influence behaviours.
To find out how we can work with you to shape your organisation’s future, please get in touch for a chat. And if you’re interested in joining the growing Madano team, check out our current vacancies here.
This week the UK celebrates British Science Week – an event created by the British Science Association to showcase all things STEM. As well as providing educational resources and activity packs for schools, British Science Week is also smashing stereotypes about science.
At Madano we’re proud to work with some game changing clients in the field of science, engineering and technology. Preetam recently joined our Healthcare team and he tell us about his journey from studying science to working in communications within a scientific field.
What was your experience of science at school?
In school, science was mainly a subject that I used to do to get good grades and get to the other end! It was only during A-Levels where I got more involved in science – joining in during open days, tutoring younger students and discussing different news with teachers. I do think as a subject, it was hard to really enjoy what we learn in school. A lot of it was just reading a textbook and studying the marking scheme for exams. University does a much better job of making science exciting, but unfortunately, I feel at that point a lot of students don’t want to take it further.
Why did you decide to study Neuroscience at University?
Mental health has always been an interest of mine. I am a strong advocate for mental health and ensuring people treat it the same way as their physical health. During school and university, I saw friends and family suffer and went through dips myself, particularly during university. It was here where I thought to myself that this is an area that I feel very passionately about and one that I want to help in any way that I can. So, when it came to my undergraduate dissertation and my master’s degree, it was clear to me that I wanted to go into neuroscience areas so that I could help in the way that I enjoy; behind the scenes and researching.
Were you inspired by anyone or anything specifically?
I have never really considered being inspired by any one person, but I do think some of the passion comes from my sister. She is a pharmacist and used to come home with stories about how she ensured her patients got the help they need. She also used to express her joy when patients would thank her for helping and providing them with their quality-of-life changing medication. That feeling of helping people is a big thing in science and that’s something that I feel quite strongly about.
British Science Week has ‘smashing stereotypes’ as one of its themes – are there are science stereotypes that you have encountered in your own science journey?
One of the biggest stereotypes is that scientists are boring, and they don’t do much outside of research but that’s a very big lie! From my time in university, I met plenty of lecturers who have done plenty outside of the lab: one has a published poetry book and owns a vineyard back in Italy, another has climbed many of the mountains in the UK. When I was in university, he had plans to extend that list abroad. I would say that scientists are a lot cooler than some may say or think!
What was it like working in a scientific field (pharmaceutical)?
It was great to see how a pharmaceutical company works from the inside. Apart from the laboratory work, seeing how all the other departments work together; medical, marketing, research, and development etc. was really interesting.
As part of the Competitive Intelligence team, my main day-to-day work was observing competitors who were bringing generics (medications using the same active ingredient as ours) and how they brought them to market. I also monitored the market and determined what the company could do to “combat” issues and maintain being the company with the widest reach.
What made you decide to use your science background to work in communications?
I’ve always had an interest in research, publications and medical editing and being at the forefront of breakthrough science and novel medications, in whatever way I could. At first, I was unsure about what my career path would be, so I put myself in a position where I was able to try things out and see what felt right.
My undergraduate degree was very broad. For my Masters, I wanted to specialise in a particular area (neuroscience). My Masters was completely laboratory based which showed me that working in the lab was not for me and I really didn’t enjoy it!
My job in pharmaceuticals showed me the difference side of communications, one that taught me a range of skills (client based and content creation) that I used to get the role I’m in now. Madano is the perfect blend of communications + client facing roles, alongside working with ground-breaking science companies that will innovate the medical world!
What are you most excited about working in communications?
I’m excited to learn! I see every opportunity to learn new things and develop as a person both outside of work and in work. I’m also very excited to work on the accounts in the company and help bring interesting and innovative science to the public, to continue developing the medical world and progressing. I’m also excited to meet many different people who come from all different backgrounds but managed to arrive at the same place as I am, working in communications. I’m excited to see where the role takes me!
Any advice for buddying scientists?
I would say the best advice I can give is that your degree doesn’t necessarily dictate what you do as a career. The science you learn is a great base to build upon, but I think the most valuable thing to take away from university is that all skills are transferable. No matter what the skill is, if you can relate it to a skill within a description for a job, you can really apply for anything that you really want to do. Of course, if the role is something very specific getting a little bit of experience there will help but transferable skills are extremely valuable!
Madano is one of the UK’s leading strategic communications consultancies. We simplify complexity within highly regulated sectors, primarily in energy & environment, technology, and healthcare. To get in touch with our healthcare team, email us at [email protected] or check out our current healthcare opportunities here.
The 8th of March marks International Women’s Day – a day for celebrating women’s achievements, raising awareness against bias and taking action against inequality. This year’s theme aims to #BreakTheBias 🙅🏻♀️🙅🏻♂️ against women in our communities, workplaces, schools, and society. Even today, prejudice against women continues to represent a significant challenge to gender equality. In fact, according to the World Economic Forum, it is estimated that gender equality will not be achieved for another 135 years.
At Madano, we are taking International Women’s Day as an opportunity to remember how far society has come in campaigning for gender equality. Below are some key milestones in British Women’s History:
- 1918: Following the British suffrage movement, women won the right to vote (if they met the criteria of owning a property and being over the age of 30).
- 1918: Irishwoman Constance Markievicz became the first women to be elected to the House of Commons – but refused to take her seat in protest.
- 1928: All women ages over 21 were given voting rights.
- 1952: Queen Elizabeth II ascended to the throne and is the UK’s longest-reigning monarch.
- 1961: The contraceptive pill for married women became available on the NHS, it was later made available to single women in 1967.
- 1979: Margaret Thatcher was elected the first female Prime Minister of the UK and was the longest serving British Prime Minister of the 20th
- 1991: Helen Sharman became the first British Astronaut.
- 1999: Women were legally entitled to 18 weeks unpaid maternity leave, whereas maternity leave varied depending on length of service in previous years.
- 2017: Nearly 20 per cent of small businesses in the UK are female owned – increasing to 30 per cent in 2020.
- 2021: The gender pay gap between men and women dropped to 4 per cent, and women on FTSE boards increased by 50 per cent in five years.
International Women’s Day has been observed since the early 1900s and celebrated in the UK since 1977. The historic event commemorates its 45th annual event this year. It is undeniable that much progress has been made towards a more gender-equal world, though we still have a long way to go to achieve gender parity. It is important to continue to champion for gender equality beyond March 8th and remember that we can all make a positive difference for women across the world.
Join us as we aim to #BreakTheBias in our workplace, champion women’s voices and celebrate our women colleagues this month.
Madano colleagues supporting IWD with the #BreakTheBias pose.
2016 Fawcett Report
GOV.UK Research and analysis: Gender equality at work: research on the barriers to women’s progression
World Economic Forum Global Gender Gap Report 2021
The Fawcett Society
Helen Bamber Foundation
Like many of you, last Friday, while taking shelter as Storm Eunice battered the UK, I found myself gripped to my laptop screen as I watched countless jumbo jets make furtive and fraught attempts to land several hundred tonnes of steel safely in gale force winds. I was able to do this thanks to the efforts of Big Jet TV’s very own Jerry Dyer, as he narrated several hours of flights with a giddy thrill and abandon not seen outside of Martin Tyler commentary for Aguero’s last minute winner at the Etihad in 2012.
His effervescent charisma and natural enthusiasm for the subject at hand shone through, as he streamed a variety of aircraft landing in treacherous 70 mph winds, punctuated with a blokey bonhomie and a general bemusement at the sudden interest in his channel.
At its height, his videos reached over 200,000 viewers, and we were treated to Jerry’s nonplussed responses to the increasing media requests and celebrity mentions on Twitter, in addition to his cries of encouragement to the under-pressure pilots.
Eunice really did turn out to be a perfect storm for the popularity of Big Jet TV; a country forced back inside once again, tired of the misery of the 24-hour news cycle, fatigued by a lack of integrity in our public figures, seeking communal joy after two years of solitude. What we needed was Jerry bellowing “GO ON SON” at the pilot of an All-Nippon Airways flight.
With Big Jet TV registering viewing figures for which some satellite channels would kill, it reminded me of another unlikely influencer, in the form of “Francis Bourgeois”. Francis, or Luke to his parents, became a doyenne of TikTok through his series of trainspotting videos. Trainspotting, for the uninitiated, is a deeply uncool pursuit that has been a longstanding cultural punchline. Trainspotters are derided as a matter of course, and certainly would be the last subculture one would expect to discover a social media superstar.
However, Francis, with his infectious enthusiasm and eccentric charm has become one of the fastest rising and most unlikely influencers. Francis now has recorded videos with members of the Jonas Brothers, appeared in a The North Face x Gucci campaign and has subsequently signed with YMU Group talent agency, home to as disparate a group of celebrities as Gary Barlow and Claudia Winkleman. It’s a long way from standing on a windswept flyover waving at the 12:20 to Bristol Parkway.
His impact is a lot more than mere pop culture status, though. Since 2021, Google searches for “steam train experiences” have increased by 110%, with many industry experts attributing this to his incredible rise in popularity. Quite an impact for a trainspotter.
So, what is it about these two men with extraordinarily niche pastimes that has caused the nation to take them to their collective heart? The answer is, quite simply, authenticity.
Their genuine zeal for the subject at hand, no matter how indifferent the public are toward them usually, allowed us into their world and connected with us in an entirely uncynical way. With the rise of “virtual influencers” such as Lil Miquela and Lu do Magulu, the question of authenticity in the world of influencers has become a pertinent one.
Why would people take the endorsement of a virtual influencer seriously if we know the sole reason they are endorsing the product is because a brand manager programmed them to do so? (a more cynical person than I might suggest that this is also the case for innumerate other influencers)?
When we undertake an influencer mapping project here at Madano, we seek to not only identify those individuals who have a standing in the specific community to be able to influence, but those who are credible. Having a platform from which to shape debate is one thing, but without the authority to ensure your audience takes your views seriously is entirely another. So while we can’t all be a Jerry Dyer or Francis Bourgeois, we can certainly take inspiration from their authenticity.
To better understand online influence and how it impacts your organisation, please get in touch with Ben or one of our expert digital team at [email protected]
What has changed or stayed the same in communication? When Mark Dailey, Director at Madano and communications veteran of more than three and a half decades, revealed that he had written a book about effective communication in a business environment and had it published by Routledge, we felt it was a great opportunity to sit down with him and pick his brains about the fundamentals of good communication through the decades. What has changed over time? And, more importantly, what has stayed the same?
Responding to those points, Mark was characteristically direct: “Good communication hasn’t really changed throughout the decades, although we’re probably better at decoding and describing it now.”
For Mark, any communicator has to cover three bases if their messages are to be successful. First, they need to make sure that what they’re saying is relevant to the intended audience. Second, they must be careful that what they’re saying doesn’t take too long or they risk losing their audience’s attention. (“No one’s ever asked me if I’ve got one more slide to show them,” he joked.) And finally, whatever they’re saying has to be engaging or interesting – it needs to grab the audience in some way.
The importance of storytelling and meaning
“That’s where storytelling comes in,” he explained. “Storytelling is in our DNA. It’s our favourite way of receiving information and it’s also the most effective, because stories are easy to remember and are laden with the two things people need the most: a little bit of emotion and a lot of meaning.”
The importance of meaning was a theme running through most of our conversation. Thanks to digital technology’s ability to provide access to the internet via devices that fit in our pocket, there’s never been more information available to us 24/7. But, at the same time, we’re increasingly suffering from a paucity of meaning. Why is that? Mark thinks part of the answer lies in the lack of visual, human clues offered by modern communication channels.
“People are animals,” he said, “and they react to communications in a visceral way. They instinctively look for clues like body language, tone and facial expressions when someone is talking to them, and those things are often missing in an online setting.
But even in real life, presenters often feel the content is most important and the non-verbal is less important. But initially, the audience really wants to see confidence from the speaker – no one likes a car crash – as well as authenticity, passion and sincerity. Then they might be prepared to listen to what’s being said.”
This encapsulates another of Mark’s principles of good communication: start with the audience and what’s relevant to them, then focus on how to connect with them and win their engagement. Only then worry about constructing content. He believes that our ability to absorb information is now so shattered and at a premium that the onus is on communicators to establish the three key messages (not 17!) that they want to convey, and a simple storyline or narrative, and then stick to them.
It’s not as simple as saying that people’s inability to concentrate on a speaker’s messages is because we’re all suffering from shorter attention spans, as anyone who’s watched an entire season of their favourite boxset in a single viewing can confirm. Instead, it’s recognising that, in a business context, short of getting up and walking out of the room, we don’t have a choice about whether and how we’re being communicated with – we simply feel that we’re being communicated at. If the speaker doesn’t win us over in the first two-to-five minutes and gain the right to speak to us, the only way we can express our lack of engagement is by withdrawing our attention.
“Effective communication is a lot closer to sales than we like to think it is,” said Mark. “Most people don’t like being sold to, but the analogy works. The best salespeople do two things: they either make the benefit to you so blindly obvious from the outset that you’re compelled to listen to them, or they begin by telling you a story, often about themselves, which demonstrates vulnerability and authenticity. This allows people to empathise, make the connection and then apply it to their own situation. It’s a delicate balancing act between showing both confidence and an element of vulnerability.
“We process content in two very different ways. Yes, we want the rational side – the three key messages and the information – but information needs to be transformed into emotion and meaning in order for us to digest and reflect on it, so that it can then be committed to long-term memory.”
Because we’re bombarded by messages on a daily basis, successful communicators understand that their communication style needs to be personal and empathetic if it is to achieve cut-through. It’s slightly counterintuitive, but rational, factually correct messages simply aren’t enough; communicators have to be brave enough to show emotion if they are to establish a meaningful connection with their audience.
“That’s why we need a reset on empathetic communications,” Mark explained. “People are often reluctant to show emotion or talk about meaning at work – they’re the two great taboos – but those are the two key things that people want the most. This is the central conundrum of modern communications.”
So, what overriding piece of advice would Mark offer to modern communicators, be they fledgling or seasoned?
“Thanks to the massive shift towards the digital realm that has taken place in the last two years,” he stated, “people now want you to be direct, because they don’t want to stay on screen any longer than necessary, and professional, so that the process runs smoothly.
“Above all, they’re craving authenticity even more than usual, as they don’t expect engagement in virtual land.”
Mark specialises in corporate and strategic communications, media training, facilitation and transformation/crisis communications. To find out more about how Mark and the Madano team could help you, please get in touch at [email protected].