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Top appointments announced for CTN Staff

Four of CTN’s have been recognised by appointments to leading organisations across the communications and creative industries. 

Olivia Lory-Kay, CTN’s Creative Director, has been selected to join the team of international judges for this year’s New York Festivals, the world’s premiere awards for television and film production.  The jury is comprised of creative media professionals from around the world who have had the honour to win a gold medal in the global competition, judging not only creativity, production and content, but also communication effectiveness.  In 2013 CTN won gold for staging and bringing a global audience to share the Dalai Lama receiving his Templeton Award in London’s St Paul’s Cathedral.  Olivia said: “It’s a privilege to be peer judging a showcase of the best work from around the world.  And to see how the visual communications landscape is being enriched through the impact of digital and social including long-form and short form programming, idents, reportage and events.’

Client Services Director Sharon Bennett was elected as a member of the Board of Directors to the Eventia-IVCA Board last year.  The International Visual Communications Association (IVCA) aims to be a centre of excellence for best communication practice and works with production companies, freelancers, support service providers and clients of the industry to represent their interests, promoting effective business and public service communications of the highest ethical and professional standards. The IVCA is the largest professional body of its kind in Europe with 1000 production members and 1500 Client Associates who commission business solutions from the industry. Sharon commented: “Clients increasingly see the value of visual communication and storytelling as part of their marketing strategy.  I’m thrilled to be involved with an association that has identified the opportunities in bringing together both live experiences and content.”  As a board member, Sharon is responsible for shaping the direction and focus for the organisation, most recently looking at membership benefits. 

Alastair Sava, a Communications Consultant at CTN, has been elected onto the Executive Committee of the British-German Association (BGA). The BGA is over 50 years old and exists to promote understanding and to forge links between Britain and Germany. Alastair is the youngest person to be appointed as a director on the Executive Committee.  At CTN, he consults on the messaging and communications strategies for a number of political and corporate leaders – many of whom are either German or who have key markets in Germany. According to Alastair, the relationship between Britain and Germany is becoming increasingly important:  “Last year, the UK replaced France as Germany’s biggest trade partner globally, and English is the business language for the leadership of most German companies. At the same time, questions are being raised about the nature of Britain’s position in the EU. I’m excited to be playing a part at such a critical and interesting moment in the bilateral relations of the two countries.”

Gemma Griffiths, Account Director at CTN, has joined Engage for Success, the movement born from the government task force investigating employee engagement in the UK. Following the MacLeod report in 2011 which found the UK to be lacking in engagement, its aim is to develop best practice in this area. Gemma said: “Employee engagement is a key part of CTN’s service for clients so our involvement with Engage for Success provides an opportunity to share and further our knowledge. Personally, I’m excited to be working with communications professionals from world leading brands.”  Gemma joins the cross-cultural sub-group, the aim of which is to identify best practice for cross-cultural engagement and develop the UK’s point of view on international engagement, working with employee engagement practitioners from leading global businesses.

Stephen Watson, CEO at CTN commented: “I am delighted we are able to announce these appointments.  There is no better illustration of the breadth of our work and the calibre of our staff who all passionate about their individual specialisms.   From internal engagement to leadership and visual communications, we provide clients with a unique set of capabilities that support business objectives.”

National Apprenticeship Scheme

CTN apprentice completes National Apprenticeship Scheme training and joins the team as a full-time employee

CTN, the creative, digital and leadership communications company based in central London, is pleased to announce the successful completion of their first candidate on the National Apprenticeship Scheme by 19 year old Selasie Bodjawah from Islington.  He is now employed full-time at CTN as an IT Support Technician.  Selasie joined CTN in October last year on the government-backed scheme which aims to offer young people the opportunity to earn a wage while they train in a real job gaining a proper qualification while laying the foundations for a successful future.

Selasie’s 12 month apprenticeship was based in CTN’s IT support department and was sourced through QA, the approved apprenticeship training organisation.  The programme, entitled Microsoft – IT Systems & Networking, included a work-based portfolio of assignments supported by both CTN and a qualified QA Assessor.  Formal reviews took place every six weeks and regular meetings with his assessor were conducted both at CTN offices and off-site.

Rosie Hewat, CTN’s Human Resources Manager said: “Selasie has been very committed and enthusiastic about his apprenticeship throughout the scheme, consistently demonstrating the traits and attributes of the motivated CTN workforce.  He has rapidly become part of the team and is popular amongst his colleagues.”

Rosie continued; “We firmly believe that apprenticeship schemes help businesses to grow their talent, developing a motivated, skilled and qualified work force, improving the skills base within the business, helping to improve productivity whilst reducing costs.”

Stephen Watson, Chief Executive, commented: “I am delighted that our first apprenticeship of this kind has been such a success.  We feel strongly about growing talent in-house and the new government apprenticeship initiative provided a good way to extend opportunities to someone not realising their potential. It was an easy decision to offer Selasie a full-time position last week on the completion of his training.

Selasie said: “The apprenticeship has been better than I thought it would be.  It’s fun and I have gained skills that I am now using every day.  There are opportunities for me to progress here at CTN and that’s exciting too.”

PR Services - press release

CTN launches PR service

CTN has launched a PR practice to complement its existing range of services. The agency has recruited Anita Hamilton to lead the operation and to direct all PR and marketing activities for the agency.

Stephen Watson, CTN’s Chief Executive explains: “We are responding to client demand.  CTN has been providing Public Relations activities to support other core CTN activities for a number of years. Our clients look to us for integrated solutions that extend communications to maximise impact, the heart of which is reputation management. Increasingly this requires PR support.”

“Anita's breadth and depth of experience in PR and marketing,” Stephen continues, “both in-house and with her own consultancy, in brand development and in broadcast media, makes her a particularly good fit for CTN.”

Hamilton has 25 years’ experience in PR and marketing and has worked with some of the UK's leading brands in the media, retail, arts and entertainment.   After starting her career at Marks & Spencer, Hamilton moved to Express Newspapers and later held senior roles with Capital Radio, Lynne Franks PR, LBC radio and Planet 24 Productions.  Hamilton launched her own PR consultancy in 2002 and has advised a range of UK and international clients. 




Lulu is a private network for girls to express and share their opinions openly and honestly.  It was created to unleash the value of girl talk and to empower girls to make smarter decisions – starting with relationships.

Our creative team decided that the best way to demonstrate the product working in its full glory was to create a real life scenario – for this project, the scenario was an American house party!

The promo film was being created at the same time as a photo shoot for new marketing material. We decided from the outset to use the same actors and models in the film to get more out of both opportunities and to create a more 360 degree flavour to the campaign. Time was short (the turnaround for the project was 4 weeks) so we used the casting session for the photo shoot as not only a casting session for the film, but also a rehearsal.

We wrote the script from the perspective of a girl who creates a Lulu review to recommend her guy friend to other girls. This scenario provided the basis for the product demo, amidst the fun party atmosphere of girls dancing on the dance floor and guys with ‘hashtag’ attributes appearing above their heads from the app.

In the style of the film we referenced Taylor Swift’s award winning promo ‘22’ with home-movie fly-on-the-wall perspective, backlighting and fluid moves between real-time and slowed motion. We built in subtle uses of Lulu’s brand colours to compliment what an audience saw in the product demo. For the product demo we worked closely with our clients to ensure that the final script was picking up on the right editorial cues, but also that we were showcasing the right technology platforms (a mix of Android and iOS). Shooting live action, but also green-screen provided some flexibility in the edit and also offered the ability to create new language versions when the app is being launched in new markets

We are really pleased with the film and the quick turnaround of the project. This film is a great addition to our marketing collateral and really captures the Lulu brand and what the app can do – thanks CTN team”.

Deborah Singer
Director of Marketing & PR

Learn more about the Lulu project.

Port Baku Mall

Port Baku Mall will be the first luxury destination shopping development in Azerbaijan when it opens next year.

 Port Baku

CTN was commissioned to raise the profile of the new Port Baku Mall that is scheduled to open next spring in Azerbaijan’s capital city Baku.  The campaign aimed to highlight the Causcaus region as a significant business opportunity for luxury brands and Port Baku Mall in particular as the new exclusive destination mall for high-end retailers to realise growth ambitions.

We created a two-part business-to-business PR campaign targeting business correspondents and fashion trade media in the client’s key markets (the UK; France; Russia; the USA; and Italy). The first stage aimed to raise awareness of  Azerbaijan as one of the most significant new retail opportunities in the world today, with fast-growing GDP and a hungry demand for luxury goods. The second stage, which is taking place over this Christmas period, is to draw attention to the luxury brands that have already committed to Port Baku including the luxury  jewellery company Tiffany & Co and world-renowned designer Alexander McQueen. The media coverage has been extensive covering all target areas with publications ranging from Drapers in the UK to Pambianco News in Italy. Click here to read press releases.  Port Baku Mall is expected to open later in 2014, and promises to redefine luxury retail in the region.

Supply Chain live

Client challenge
Unilever Supply Chain have been running half yearly internal communications events for several years but the conference style format of previous events was no longer engaging online viewers in today’s multi-screen world. In late 2013 the team approached CTN to come up with a new proposition that would be more relevant and engaging for everyone.

We worked with the Unilever team on all of the visual branding and editorial content to create and develop Supply Chain Live. This was a fresh TV channel identity featuring a new look studio show with live presenters, opening titles, case study videos and a branded microsite. The new format also successfully integrated Unilever’s internal social media tool, Chatter, enabling everyone in the Supply Chain community to contribute their thoughts during the webcast.

The feedback from the viewers was extremely positive. People said that they felt more included, more motivated and that the newsroom platform approach was an exciting development.

  • 94% of viewers thought that the new format was an improvement on previous events
  • 95% were totally or very satisfied with the event, up from 85% previously.

Feedback included:

  • “More interactive with the Chatter feature, I’m excited to see the improvements using virtual communications and social media platforms for the organization”
  • This virtual event helped me to more fully understand rationale behind some of decisions being made by the organisation
  • Informative, interactive and well managed - loved the use of Chatter!

Using real stories to attract talent

Client challenge
The Royal Navy is in a unique position.  It is still expanding and, in order to maintain its world class reputation, it needs to attract and retain top talent.  To do this requires an effective communications campaign that conveys the energy, team work and collaboration required of candidates, whilst balancing expectations of the more challenging aspects of life in the armed forces.

As such, the Navy developed an ‘initial careers presentation’ (ICP) in the form of a DVD for use in careers offices; this was the first point of contact between many potential applicants and the Naval careers office.  Initial feedback suggested that the video presentation wasn’t sufficiently tailored and categorised to showcase each of the myriad of opportunities available within a Navy career. A DVD also demanded that candidates attend their local careers office to gain access to more in-depth information. The client needed to modernise and improve this solution by taking the presentation online. This would allow candidates to seek out chaptered in-depth information most relevant to them, review as necessary and share crucial information with family members.

A career in the Royal Navy and Royal Marines is distinctive because of the lifestyle it offers. CTN partnered with the Royal Navy recruitment marketing team to create a suite of emotive films that illustrate this lifestyle and provide specific audiences with content that is tailored to the users’ specific areas of interest. CTN created an overall user journey, using films of increasing length and detail to encourage users to navigate towards topics of direct interest to them. The experience started with an overview of ‘Life in the Naval Service’, and then progressed through to short taster films of each of the myriad of jobs available, before building to the more detailed films about each of the fighting arms, branches and training films. The films were designed to fit alongside the Royal Navy advertising campaigns. They needed to convey a lot of information in a creative way whilst portraying the dynamism, energy and aspirational nature of the organisation, effectively depicting naval personnel journeys from civilian to fully trained expert in an engaging yet honest way.

The films provided clear markers of specific requirements for eligibility and CTN worked with the Navy to identify four key personas of potential candidates so that the films acted as filters for candidates unlikely to pass the rigorous enrolment process. The client wanted to set realistic expectations for candidate eligibility to ensure a low attrition rate once recruited. CTN used real naval personnel going about their daily lives in the films to capture the human interest element of the narrative. The films were voice-over lead but non-scripted and personnel used their own words to describe their daily activities, injecting vital energy and passion into their stories, providing clear role models with which potential candidates could identify themselves. 

The award winning films were a great success and following their implementation, the web agency reported 25,593 video plays in one month. The most popular Royal Marines videos were played multiple times by the same users with the ‘Life in the Naval Service’ clip played an average of three times. Between August and December 2013 there were 22,916 applications of interest via web.

Retaining talent in a growing economy

No company is an island

The globalised marketplace

Almost all business takes place at a global level now. Even ‘local market’ companies may have stakeholders thousands of miles away: investors, suppliers, shippers or consumers. The concept of corporate isolation is effectively redundant, especially in an age when information can travel across the Earth in seconds. Likewise, communications strategies have had to adapt.

Companies often ask us how they can effectively communicate to an audience of such size and variety.  In fact, it is the most consistent challenge that our clients face. At first glance, there seems to be a trade-off between engaging on a personal level and reaching the full extent of the audience. But this is wrong. While messages may be targeted for different audiences and accessed through a variety of bidirectional channels, consistency and coherence can still be maintained – or even improved. We work with our clients to tailor specific solutions that work for them as a business and achieve the results they desire.

How to communicate to a global audience

Your external audiences need to understand your business and your strategy; your people need to live your brand values; and your customers and the communities in which you operate need to know they can trust you.

We partner with our clients to deliver the most appropriate ways of engaging with their audiences. We have created live satellite linkups, online communities, discrete Web TV channels and UGV content. Sometimes the communication has embraced several of these elements. We also work with the leaders of these organisations to refine their communications to specific audience demographics.

The reality for many of our clients is that there is now often little distinction between communication to internal and external audiences, due to the joined up nature of the digital world. We always assume that an internal communication is a global, external communication.

Who we do it for

Most of CTN’s clients are large companies with a global reach and many thousands of employees spread across dozens of countries. Below are two examples.

Tetra Pak

Tetra Pak operates in 170 countries and employs over 22,000 employees worldwide. In partnership with CTN, Tetra Pak has been successfully delivering engaging leadership communications to staff across the globe for many years. ‘Marketwatch’ is a powerful visual programme and features a globe-trotting look at operations in Tetra Pak. Staff are taken on a virtual journey to see the challenges that colleagues and customers face in different markets. The content varies hugely between films, in terms of location and topic, so as to ensure that the wider Tetra Pak family is informed about developments in other countries and divisions. The films are watched in facilitated team meetings in every continent, and customers are encouraged to give honest assessments of Tetra Pak to ensure that a healthy and open dialogue is formed.

Tullow Oil

Tullow Oil is a leading exploration and production company operating in 22 countries worldwide. They approached us to help them engage their employees worldwide, and convey the breadth of initiatives taking place. Our solution was to produce an on-going series of short, concise and visually strong stories about the countries in which Tullow Oil has a presence.   The films use 3D motion graphics to highlight key facts and figures, and bring to life the local culture and communities. The audience also has an opportunity to hear from the local country manager and see colleagues and local suppliers at work. The films are being used on the corporate website and internally to showcase their initiatives and progress.  They continue to receive excellent feedback.

Cyber security – humans are the weakest link

Information security - changing behaviour

'Protecting Values' - information security campaign

Client challenge
Information security is an ever increasing challenge in high profile organisations – and the way employees manage data is a key element in stopping potential security breaches. Tullow Oil was looking for a creative solution to educate employees, ultimately resulting in a behaviour change.

We produced realistic drama to help raise awareness of the potential security risks and to promote culture change in data security. Given the global scope of Tullow Oil’s operations, the film had to relate to all areas of the business both in Africa and at their head office in London. With scripts written and actors cast the production went into full swing with filming in London and soon after on oil rigs in North-West Uganda and around the streets and colourful markets in the heart of Kampala.

The drama was played out in global workshops where the various scenarios were discussed.  In addition to the drama, we produced posters, lanyards and screensavers to support the campaign.

‘Protecting Values’ is being shown to employees across the company as part of structured workshops.  

The film has been viewed by a 3rd of staff (around 700) from countries including; Ghana, Uganda, London, Dublin and Kenya.

Feedback includes:
• “the drama was an eye opener”
• “I really enjoyed the short video”
• “first Rate - excellent video – very informative”

Employees have positively responded to the drama and campaign.  Awareness of the issues surrounding cyber security has increased across the organisation and employees do feel that they have a role to play.

‘Security Operations Centre’ film

‘Security Operations Centre’ film

Client challenge
Tullow Oil recently invested in a specialist Security Operations Centre to monitor data security and to protect the company from potential cyber threats. They approached CTN to create a film which would showcase the operational running of this facility and the in-house expertise. Tullow wanted employees and its industry peers to recognise what the centre is achieving, and how Tullow is quickly becoming an industry leader in this area. The film will be shown to all staff as well as being presented at industry conferences

The film treatment needed to capture the audiences’ attention in a just a few minutes. It also needed to support wider communications about the centre, and to form part of an ongoing IS ‘Protecting Value’ campaign, for which CTN had already produced a Protecting Value, Info Security.

One of the main challenges CTN faced was that the analysts working in the centre didn’t want to appear on camera and the centre itself was a discreet space. CTN came up with a deliberately scaled back creative approach to highlight the centre’s ‘silent’ efficiency and how it is in constant operation behind the scenes. The idea focused on creating a stylised sequence of shots from around Tullow’s offices to show what the centre was protecting, and why, rather than the details about how it was protecting it. CTN used a combination of real-time footage cut together with accelerated time-lapses following Tullow during a 24-hour-cycle. This was designed to show daily life within the equilibrium that the centre maintains.  It was also important to remind employees of the external threat of security breaches, so at various points disturbing shots of codes and system errors flashed onto the screen to interrupt the equilibrium of the film. The use of sound design helped to build tension and simple text graphics revealed key facts and figures about the centre’s successful work.

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A creative, digital and leadership communications agency

No company is an island

No company is an island
Almost all business takes place at a global level now. Even ‘local market’ companies may have stakeholders thousands of miles away: investors, suppliers, shippers or consumers.

‘Security Operations Centre’ film

‘Security Operations Centre’ film
Tullow Oil recently invested in a specialist Security Operations Centre to monitor data security and to protect the company from potential cyber threats.