AN additional 13,000 jobs are required in the digital sector in Scotland, according to MSP Kate Forbes.

Speaking at the Make Disruption Pay event in Edinburgh yesterday, the Minister for Public Finance and Digital Economy said the focus for the government is to break down the barriers to entry for those wanting to retrain in this area.

“We need to support lifelong learning,” she told the audience. “There might be people out there in minimum wage jobs who might be digital geniuses but haven’t had the opportunity – often they’re the ones with the most disruptive ideas.”

In addition to creating new jobs, she said the government is keen to promote an environment in which businesses are encouraged to experiment.

“Creating a supportive business environment conducive to sustainable economic growth requires us to rethink how we support business as well. As markets change and consumer habits change and as technology changes we have to change our attitude to how we support and equip our businesses to help them grow and deal with disruption too,” she said.


Richard Gill, Managing Partner at Dentsu Aegis Network, which presented the event along with Entrepreneurial Scotland and Newsquest.


The event was hosted by Dentsu Aegis Network, in association with Entrepreneurial Scotland and supported by Newsquest and brought together a variety of marketing experts to discuss how to build a brand in 2019.

While Kate Forbes discussed Brand Scotland, experts from Twitter, Dentsu Aegis Network and Newsquest shared research and trends in marketing and advertising.

“Building on our global marketing rebrand launched last year, Scotland is Now, we have begun to redraft our story, to tell the nation and the wider world the story of what kind of Scotland we wish to be, moving away from the idea that production and commerce are the only measure of a country’s success,” Forbes said.

“Branding is key to our future success, the thousands of stories we share amongst ourselves and tell to others shape our culture. Crucial to our story, is our Digital Strategy, which sets out a vision for Scotland, with digital at the heart of everything we do.”
Director of Planning at Twitter, David Wilding, reassured the audience that building a brand can be straightforward in terms of delivery.

With Twitter, it can be as simple as “launch something now, then connect with what’s happening”, meaning sponsor a post and then engage in the conversation.


Director of Planning at Twitter, David Wilding outlined positive branding practice.

He cited the example of KFC in the aftermath of the company running out of chicken. It launched a “where’s my chicken” interactive feature on Twitter, where users could input their postcode to find their nearest restaurant with a chicken supply.
Robbie Ashcroft from The Story Lab continued the idea of engaging with customers using unusual content. He said programme commissioners are increasingly open to opportunities.

“Our role is to be super connectors,” he said, adding that programmes entirely funded by a brand are performing well against native programmes.

Director of Whitespace Philip Lockwood-Holmes offered five ways to improve the user experience including find the weakest point in your customer journey and fix it, really get your customers talking, decide how you want your customer to feel, nurture the best ideas and define your role in your customers lives,

“I’d recommend doing user testing with actual customers,” he said.

“By 2020, customer experience will overtake price and product as the most important brand differentiator, so how are you going to improve your customer experience?”

A theme of the event was exploding myths, from the importance of long term branding rather than short term hits, to the enduring effectiveness of TV and radio

“Sky and Channel 4 are going to collaborate in terms of datasets – which is a game changer,” said Richard Johnston, Group Investment Director of Dentsu Aegis Network.

“With all this choice and different platforms it’s the golden age of media for advertisers and agencies. We’ve still got the scale, TV, radio and audio is still going to deliver trust and cut through, but if we can strike a balance between the two it’s a very powerful combination.”

During the final panel discussion, the importance of trust was highlighted, along with the power of a small or medium sized enterprise to compete and be disruptive.

Gordon Stevenson, head of digital transformation at Newsquest, highlighted the fact that many companies have the ambition of being small publishers.

“You need to tell a story to influence consumer behaviour,” he said. “We know content can influence behaviour, so use your own social media and then partner with a bigger publisher to amplify that.”