Social Bites: Martin Kevill (Specsavers, Pizza Hut, Iceland Foods, Bargain Booze)

What’s your name?

Martin Kevill

What major social media accounts have you managed?

Specsavers, Pizza Hut Restaurants, Iceland Foods, Bargain Booze and many more

What was the best thing about managing these accounts?

I love being able to bring iconic brands to life and give them a tangible voice that speaks directly to the public. When you’re speaking as a brand, you become a part of their evolution and humanise them in an era where the public is looking to engage. You get to put on a mask and become a talking logo; you get to make the public smile.

What was the HARDEST thing about managing these accounts?

Factoring every commercial, cultural and creative need into everything we do. There’s a balance to find and it requires quick thinking when running reactive social accounts. It’s the hardest thing, but it’s also the most rewarding.

How do you think up your posts?

We have a few sophisticated, bespoke insight tools at Tangerine and they’re always serving up incredible opportunities that pre-empt trends. For the bigger brands, some opportunities come naturally as we’re all so in tune with the strategy. The thinking can happen in groups, in WhatsApps, in the office across the room. The best ideas come when we give people the creative freedom to express their ideas and take things forward at speed.

Is there a long approval process for social content or are you trusted to pretty much do your own thing?

We always start with processes that allow our clients to see what we do and how we do it. Over time, as the relationship strengthens, we are given more autonomy. Our most successful work comes out of freedom and trust. Obviously, in social media, you have to move quickly. The current topic of the moment will have changed by the time I’ve finished this sentence and I can type quickly.

What have some of your most popular posts been, and why do you think they struck such a chord?

Our Euro 2020 work for Specsavers has won some big awards and the It’s Coming Home billboard post out performed our already high expectations. After England beat Germany, the nation was starting to believe we could go the whole way and an eye test chart spelling out IT’S COMING HOME tapped into the public’s optimism. This is down to the excellent Specsavers social media team, which helped us move quickly and boldly during the live matches.

What have some of your favorite posts been, even if they aren’t necessarily the ones that went “viral”?

I love doing things a brand wouldn’t normally do. We produced a really dark, short mockumentary called The Secret Life of the Man with the Crying Laughing Emoji Face for a casual dining brand. It was so weird, but it was exactly what we wanted to create and it still get views on YouTube to this day, because it’s strange and surprising and oddly moving.

Has a post ever landed you in hot water? (Tell us ALL the juicy details!)

Yes. When the strategy lets us, we can create conversation globally and disrupt breaking news so people are talking about our brands. We’ve been discussed on talk shows in the UK and US, and we once received a call from the press team of the most famous rapper in the world… about a tweet.

What do you wish you knew before you started managing this account that might have made things easier at the beginning?

Testing and learning is so important in this industry and it makes us better creatives. I wouldn’t really want to change that. If I started again, I’d start from the start.

What’s your advice for someone starting out in social?

Create your own content, immerse yourself in every platform and get in touch with agencies you respect. Look for relevant apprenticeship programmes, such as The Juice Academy, which places you in a paid, one-year long role at a business where you can get real-world experience.

What’s your advice for brand managers to get the best out of their social media managers?

Be engaged. Ask questions, offer input. Collaborate.

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