23rd July 2020
Tom Jenkin

A Q&A with Eulogy CEO Lis Field

As part of our efforts to understand and share learnings around evolving communications strategies in this fast changing world of comms, this week our Head of Communications Georgie Weedon is talking to Eulogy CEO Lis Field.

A leading UK communications agency, Eulogy prides itself on helping brands manage their reputation and delivering impactful content-led campaigns.

Eulogy recently launched a report Riding the New Wave of Disruption, featuring contributions from prominent global thought leaders including MIT Tech Review, PWC, HP, SeedCamp and, glad to say, Signal AI. We caught up with Lis on the report, communications strategies and using AI to elevate media monitoring.

Thanks for sharing your time with us, Lis. Can you explain why you created this report, Riding the New Wave of Disruption, and some of the key highlights we should expect to find? 

The tech industry was already contending with huge disruptive forces before Covid-19 hit us. When the pandemic erupted, it opened up new challenges and opportunities that we could never have predicted.

We wanted to unpick this ‘new wave of disruption’ and understand directly from tech businesses what they expected for the future—and provide advice on how they could set themselves up to weather the challenges ahead.

We spoke with tech organisations representing every corner of the industry to get their take on the situation, with contributions from the likes of London Tech Week and Tech Nation to MINI UK and VC firm Creandum and – of course – your very own CEO at Signal AI.

The report includes some fascinating insights – from a continued focus on ESG investment through to the need for an ethical purpose to be baked into your proposition from the outset. As we now emerge from lockdown, the pressure is on for tech businesses looking to maximise the opportunities that lie ahead.

What in your view is going to be key to tech business’ success in 2020 given the current climate and situation?

Collaboration has always been central to innovation and commercial progress, but Covid-19 has shone a light on its importance like never before. With customer and market needs changing rapidly, businesses need to work together to remain agile and pivot their offerings.

As Arun Anand, Founder & CEO, Electric Miles commented in the report: “Collaboration is the only way forward to ensure businesses and government are able to meet impending sustainable and commercial needs.” This is hugely relevant in our current situation, as we’ve seen governments and software providers join forces to develop symptom tracking programmes and solutions to the ventilator shortage.

As economic pressure continues to hit consumer spending, many tech businesses will need to think beyond their current offering to ensure survival. Collaboration with other organisations and industries to find solutions to new needs provides a clear opportunity to find new revenue streams, and therefore long-term success.

Having just emerged from lockdown, can you share some trends you are seeing in the communications field, specifically in tech? Has anything surprised you in the communications field in the last couple of months?

Getting your voice across and connecting with audiences as we gradually come out of lockdown, have remained a real challenge.

A recent YouGov study showed that over two-thirds of the British public think that brands are delivering similar messages to one another.

What surprises me the most is the lack of differentiation.

If you have something important to communicate, deliver it with authenticity, in human language that captures the sentiment of what your audiences are experiencing, not just what you think you ought to be saying.

Above everything else, the most important thing is to be relevant.  There’s no point wanting to be heard in a debate if you have nothing relevant to say. Be patient. And play to your strengths.

What are the best practices, in your view, of reporting communication strategy success to clients? Are there any particular benchmarks that Eulogy teams use or that you recommend? 

Our work ultimately aims to support positive business growth and enhance reputations amongst key stakeholder groups. This can be measured quite easily by tracking sentiment and engagement over time, as well as assessing the impact of comms activity on the bottom line.

We work closely with brand and sales teams to ensure we’re integrated into their marketing functions, which enables us to shape our campaigns around the most prominent business objectives.

Eulogy has been going for over 20 years, can you give some insight into how PR and Communications has changed, and what we can expect going forward? Will Covid change the industry? 

The industry has evolved tremendously in the last few years and I believe Covid has simply accelerated trends already in existence.

The media has taken a hit with many publications transitioning to online-only platforms, reducing headcounts or, sadly, even closing. Meanwhile, the value of high quality, measured and trusted journalism has become increasingly important in a world where everyone is now a publisher.

The ongoing rise of brand-led content, such as podcasts and webinars, has been very positive for the industry, providing more opportunities for businesses to build connections with their audiences, which has in turn increased the requirement for higher quality content and production.

As an independent agency, we’ve always been able to remain nimble and quickly adapt to reflect shifts in our industry.

Eulogy is an early adopter of new forms of communications – we were one of the first PR agencies to have a digital offering back in the early 2000s and now we’re a fully integrated communications agency, supporting our clients with everything from social content creation and activation through to above the line and media relations.

Covid-19 has undeniably had a huge impact on the comms industry, with many businesses reconsidering where their budgets are best spent during such an unstable time. But recent data have shown that businesses who continue to invest in communications during the pandemic are likely to see a much faster recovery once it is over. Therefore, investing in comms is truly essential for businesses to help them ride this current wave of disruption.

Which client would you love to work with that you yet to work with, and why?

Really tough question! The list is too long.

I guess anyone can dream of the scope that big tech brands of Silicon Valley promise, and I am no different.

The leadership role big tech needs to play today has never been more important, and yet it is so easily lost in the pursuit of market dominance. The challenges we enjoy at Eulogy are often around helping those burgeoning business get the traction they need to get that first major step toward real, sustainable market penetration and growth. But at heart I’m a conservationist and a global citizen.

So new tech, sustainable and purpose driven tech—anything that is helping protect and promote our natural world will always get my attention and support.

Our AIQ-powered platform at Signal AI is used by communications professionals and analysts to monitor – in real time-  companies, industries, individuals, ideas or topics as they emerge in the global media, from a data pool of around 4m media and regulatory documents a day. AIQ can be trained to learn a new topic or entity. Apart from your own clients, what topic you would be interested to train AIQ to learn? 

We are currently trialling your daily AI briefings on key industries that are relevant for our own clients and loving it.

It would be fascinating to be able to train your programme to monitor ‘content’ produced by brands, publishers, and businesses. As Eulogy, alongside others, begin to pursue new opportunities such as podcasts, webinars, and partnerships via social platforms, it’d be a valuable insight into what others are doing within the industry and help us identify future opportunities for our clients.

Catch-up on Eulogy’s recent tech trends webinar, in which the agency delved into the latest trends impacting the tech sector, featuring expert panellists from London Tech Week, Tech Nation and Seedcamp.

Eulogy is an independent communications agency based in London. Founded in 1996, Eulogy provides strategic communications support to a diverse range of technology companies, with client experience including Virgin Media Business, Epic Games, Ocado Technology, Oxbotica and Foundry.