News

  • Do you have data, or an opinion? Share both with our SSP panel on diversity, equity, and inclusion

    Vital Signs research program     

    When TBI Communications conducted the Heatmaps industry research to capture key business and marketing indicators, the scholarly publishing industry was at the beginning of a period of great transformation. Since then, digital technologies have fundamentally changed research and scholarly communications, accelerating discovery and global knowledge sharing. But a comparable paradigm shift has yet to touch our workplace culture, where ingrained biases and inequitable practices stubbornly hang on. Despite many good intentions and some welcome steps forward in recent years, organizations in our community still have predominantly male leadership, a female workforce, very few people of color at any level, and deeply rooted structural issues.

    (more…)

  • Susan Spilka Joins TBI Communications as Director of Strategic Communications

    TBI expands PR and content development services and will introduce a new workplace equity assessment program

    Oxford, UK, 9 September 2020 – Business development and marketing services agency TBI Communications Limited (TBI) recently welcomed Susan Spilka as its Director of Strategic Communications. Based in New York, Susan provides content development, public relations, marketing communications, and research services for TBI clients, which include leading publishers, technology solution providers, professional associations, non-profits/NGOs, and international governmental organizations around the world.

    “We are delighted to have Susan on board to help our clients reach their communications, marketing, and market research goals,” said Lynne Miller, TBI’s Managing Director. “She brings a strategic mindset, industry expertise, an extensive tactical toolset, and a wide network that is already helping our clients grow their brands, markets, and revenue withexpanded PR and content development services. Susan’s leadership in workplace equity assessment and TBI’s market research capabilities will lead to deeper insights for organizations and our industry on meaningful diversity, equity, and inclusion practices.”

    Susan elaborated, “The research program and assessment tool that TBI will introduce can help organizations to recognize their own strengths and weaknesses as inclusive organizations, and benchmark themselves against the industry data from the 2018 WE Survey.” She added, “One of the most exciting aspects of joining TBI Communications’ team of collaborative marketing, research, and communications professionals is the opportunity to extend the work of the Workplace Equity Project, an initiative that I co-founded in 2018 to map bias across the global scholarly publishing industry.” To broaden the WE Survey’s reach around the world, Susan developed and executed a strategy that employed the goodwill and resources of a dozen leading industry organizations. With her co-founders, she amplified the survey’s impact by sharing its findings on the conference circuit, in a peer-reviewed paper published in ALPSP’s Learned Publishing, and through contributions to the Toolkits for Equity. The WE Project is now part of C4DISC, which addresses diversity, equity, and inclusion issues in scholarly communications collectively on behalf of the Society of Scholarly Publishing and nine leading industry associations.

    Susan has worked closely with C-suite leaders and across organizational levels to advance public relations, communications (internal and external), marketing, and business development programs. She led global internal and external communications at scholarly and professional publisher Wiley for two decades during a period of tremendous company and industry change. In recent years, she helped to build CHORUS as its first Communications & Marketing Director (and continues to serve on its Communications Working Group) and has consulted with a wide array of publishers, societies, technology services, and pioneering initiatives, such as Knowledge Unlatched, CLOCKSS, and Crossref.

    For more information about TBI and how it can help your organization with  market research, marketing, and communications, please visit http://tbicommunications.com/ or contact:

    lynne.miller@tbicommunications.com
    anne.stone@tbicommunications.com
    SusanSpilka@tbicommunications.com

     

     

  • Leadership in a Time of Uncertainty

    Every day leaders assess challenges, identify new opportunities, and make decisions with the best information available to benefit stakeholders. That process became far more difficult with 2020’s unprecedented, uncharted, and seismic events. It is difficult to imagine the scale of the impact in the months and years ahead but for now, we are dealing with the disruption and tragedy as best we can.

    It is remarkable to see how people quickly pivoted to working, learning, and collaborating at a distance. In many ways, the global research community has been adapting to large-scale digital disruption for more than a decade. That work, across our community, has helped to make possible a medical and scientific response unlike any other in history. We can certainly find reason for hope when the world is looking to scientists for leadership and innovation: Humanity can and will overcome COVID-19 through global collaboration among researchers, practitioners, and leaders, boosted by the rapidly evolving capabilities of technology.

    For everyone, it’s difficult to say when we will again feel safe – and comfortable – bringing people together again in our homes, workplaces, classrooms, and conferences. There isn’t a clear path forward for individuals, organizations, or institutions, and we don’t know when and where the pandemic’s trajectory will end. The economic reverberations are immense and higher education institutions and membership associations have already been hit hard.

    Supporting sustainable scholarship and shared objectives for accessibility, transparency, reliability, and agility while maintaining the scholarly record will be more challenging – that is clear. What lies ahead for academic conferences, and university classes, labs, and libraries? The only certainty is uncertainty. Fear and necessity may take us down the road of austerity. Yet there are other directions we can take, as the two characters that make up the Japanese word for crisis imply.

    At TBI Communications, we are helping resilient organizations navigate through this year’s landscape of dangers and opportunities by listening to their employees, customers, members, councils, committees, authors, and editorial boards. We are helping leaders to connect with their stakeholders to understand their experiences and insights, inform pressing decisions, and consider the future in new time horizons.


    Client 1: The Electrochemical Society 

    The society had to cancel their North American May meeting. At the same time they needed to begin promoting their global quadrennial meeting in October. Held jointly with two international societies, the planned location has a two-week quarantine for visitors. Despite the challenges, promotion of the Fall meeting was effective. Abstract submissions are on track and they are adapting their communications to convey that the meeting format may change, but they will find ways to bring the community together.

    We helped them take the pulse of the community. We wanted to learn how they were adapting to changes in teaching and research. We conducted market research interviews with several members including students and long-time members.  The association’s leaders are learning first-hand how members are adapting and what they seek from their “professional home.”

    We turned these interviews into a blog series: ECS Community Adapts and Advances. These stories give voice to shared challenges, to showcase the inspiring ways members are adapting, staying connected, helping others with professional development, and advancing their research (including front-line COVID-19-related projects).

    “With TBI’s assistance and collaboration, The Electrochemical Society launched a campaign sharing our community’s personal and scientific responses to the COVID-19 pandemic. Our goal is to share our global members’ common experiences in this time of isolation, and highlight our community’s resilience and adaptability. These inspirational articles, based on community interviews, reassure our members that ECS is there to support their personal and professional lives.” – Shannon C. Reed, Director of Community Engagement


    Client 2: International NGO

    The crisis communications team reached out to us early in March. They are facing dramatically increased workloads across their global organization and wanted to assess the impact on their workforce. TBI helped them create their first Employee Pulse Survey, turning around a question bank the same morning the organization reached out to us. Within days, the crisis communications team learned that work-life balance was the top concern. By listening, the communications team and leadership team were able to prioritize their communications and demonstrate a culture of concern for those on the front lines in their responses.


    TBI is available to help your organization listen and understand with market research, strategy and communications services. We can help you to:

    • Quickly plan a market research program to understand your stakeholder’s priorities, to learn about the impact on your publication pipeline and event planning
    • Develop communication strategies that connect your community by bridging distances and responding to needs
    • Develop responsive and valued programs, services, and products

    All TBI services are customized to address our clients’ specifications, budgets and timeframes.

    We have a quick and affordable way to take the pulse of your community.

    If you want to change uncertainty into risk management, please contact anne.stone@tbicommunications.com (North America) or lynne.miller@tbicommunications.com (UK, Europe, Asia Pacific)

     

     

  • Expanding presence and impact for major U.S Society

    We’re excited to share news of our recent partnership with a major U.S. Society to expand their presence and impact in Europe.

    Under this new agreement, we co-recruited and co-manage a dedicated member of staff on behalf of the Society, based in TBIʼs Oxford office in the UK. This new role oversees the expansion of the Society’s influence within Europe, working to increase engagement with decision makers and users of its products and services, partners, thought leaders, leading institutions, top corporations and government officials at both the member state and EU level across Europe.

    We provide the U.S. Society with a local base, a dedicated member of staff, and the benefits of working within a team environment alongside our team with deep experience and knowledge of the scholarly communications market, and the opportunities for academic and professional societies more generally.

    Our on the ground support for the Society has taken the headache out of employing a member of staff themselves with all the associated admin and costs of office space, local market taxation, employment law and so on. The TBI team is also giving the Society access to immediate and flexible additional resource as and when they need it.

    If you’re considering options for expanding your Society’s presence in Europe, then please get in touch.

     

     

  • Recent Projects

    Awareness, Brand Development, Product Launches

    • Online advertising campaign for award-winning new science magazine
    • Campaign plan for new journal launch for leading European medical society
    • Competitive positioning, brand concept development, messaging platform for new product launch by platform provider
    • Publicity support for start-up organizations (copy-writing; Ghost writing for senior leadership team with placements in trade publications and corporate blog)

    Readership Campaigns

    • Integrated email/social media campaigns (Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn) to drive usage of Review Journals – copywriting, social media implementation, reporting
    • Topic and article research (Impact Vizor, Web of Science) to support successful readership/engagement email campaigns

    Product Strategy/ Customer Insights/Market Research

    • Competitive analysis, quantitative and qualitative market research to inform publication strategy/product development
    • Membership satisfaction research to inform program and communication development for world-recognized international scientific and professional societies
    • Persona development for membership organization based on customer insights research
    • Market research regarding new pricing models for textbook affordability and student engagement for global technology solutions provider
    • Website analysis for launch in Asia market

     

     

  • Save the date for Transforming Research

    “Thought-provoking content, excellent speaker choices and a diversity in the audience which led to good discussion and networking opportunities.”(Attendee feedback)

    Save the date for Transforming Research, September 26-27, 2019. This conference brings together leaders from the research ecosystem for engaging discussion on trends and methods that promise to advance research endeavors across all fields.  The conference will be hosted by the Institute for International Science & Technology Policy at George Washington University.

    The call for presentations is now open through May 30, 2019. You can submit a presentation idea here.

    This year’s themes are:

    * Data governance and open data

    * Macro scale research transformation and Plan S: how government and funders effect change

    * Entrepreneurialism, collaboration, and economic impact

    * Managing the cycle of research planning, portfolio management, and evaluation

    * Science analytics for portfolio management and opportunity targeting

    We encourage participation from across research endeavors, including humanities, social science, and STEM fields.

    Click here to see past program topics and speakers and learn more.

     

     

  • TBI Communications at ALPSP 2018

    TBI Communications has regularly attended the ALPSP annual conferences for the past ten years. The Conference has always offered a wide-ranging program, expert speakers and provides a friendly forum for everyone in the scholarly publishing community to share information and knowledge, learn about new initiatives and engage in open discussions on the challenges and opportunities in the industry.

    This year’s ALPSP conference had several sessions that stood out for us, one of which was the address by the keynote speaker Prof. Chris Jackson from Imperial College London. Prof. Jackson’s address titled ‘Adventures in Publishing’, gave a refreshing author perspective on several different topics and challenges in the industry. He had a strong message for the attending publishers and societies – which we thought he summarised nicely on this one slide.

    In particular his point about ‘building brand loyalty, and using it to attract and retain authors’, certainly resonated with us. Many societies and publishers we have worked with recently have recognised the importance of developing author loyalty programs to build brand recognition. The starting point for our work with them is understanding author behaviours, assessing the various challenges they face throughout their career stage – whether that’s securing funding, time management, or making their research discoverable. From this research, we develop messaging recommendations, a detailed plan of marketing activities and content assets to support our author campaigns.

    One of the other stand-out sessions for us was the ‘Tackling harassment and the roots of gender bias’ plenary session. The talks and Q&A really engaged people. If you would like to find out more about publisher initiatives in educating their staff – in order to manage effectively this sensitive topic, you can listen to this session here. A big shout out to ALPSP for organising this as a plenary session, and recognising its importance.

    In between the opening and closing sessions, we enjoyed the fun traditional quiz night, plenty of opportunities to socialise with our clients and colleagues in the industry, but certainly, the highlight for us was celebrating the success of one of our clients – Code Ocean winning this year’s ALPSP award for Innovation in Publishing! It was another great conference and we certainly look forward to the next one.

     

     

  • Shout out for our client Code Ocean

    We take pride in working with some of the most prestigious publishers, societies and technology companies within the academic publishing sector.
    Working alongside very smart people on very interesting projects and making a difference in the world of research, knowledge and scholarly communication is all extremely gratifying! When our clients receive recognition for their amazing work we really want to shout out and share our excitement – so we were absolutely delighted when Code Ocean received their well-deserved ALPSP award for Innovation in Publishing last month!


    “Code Ocean stood out as a shining example of a robust, well-executed, transformational solution to a real challenge for researchers, allowing them to build on the work of others more efficiently and therefore help to accelerate research” – said David Sommer, the chair of the judging panel and we couldn’t agree more.

    The winners of this prestigious award must demonstrate excellence in terms of originality and innovation, significance and value to the community, utility and long-term viability and Code Ocean truly achieved it all! We hope that we will continue supporting them on their mission to accelerate research and continue making a difference in the world of academic publishing and we are very proud to work closely with their amazing team.

    Here is a shout out too for the projects we’ve been involved in during recent months with our various partners:

    Digital Marketing Campaign Planning, Implementation and Reporting
    > Managing Google Display Network campaigns, optimization, and reporting
    > Researching media and social media channels for online advertising opportunities, placing ads, reporting on conversion
    > Targeted multi-channel campaigns to drive awareness and convert to readership/newsletter subscribers (email, social)

    Thought-leadership and publicity
    > Ghostwriting for a CMO in Marketing Tech Outlook
    > Press releases/content placement in industry news channels

    Market Research
    > Awareness and perceptions of Higher Education Course Materials Delivery Models
    > Brand perceptions of top scientific journals among researchers and librarians
    > Research programme to explore the market need for a potential new ‘gold-standard’ reference product in a highly targeted subject area.
    > Led the first membership research programme for an international membership organisation, exploring the relevance and visibility of the organisation to groups around the world

    General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR)
    > Advised several clients on best practices to ensure legacy customer and prospect data were assessed ahead of the General Data Protection Regulation coming into force, and helping establish GDPR-compliant workflows.

    If you would like to find out how we can help you accelerate your organisation’s growth don’t hesitate to contact us, we would be delighted to share our insights.

     

     

  • SEMrush – marketing toolkit for digital marketing professionals

    Here at TBI, it’s important for us to keep up with the latest technology developments in order to advise clients on tools that may help them achieve their goals. That’s why we were very excited to trial SEMrush recently, incorporating it in our day to day SEO and marketing activities!

    What is SEMrush? What does it do?

    SEMrush, simply, is an analysis tool, dubbed “all-in-one marketing toolkit for digital marketing professionals”.
    Keyword research, competitive audits, keyword tracking, social monitoring, and local listing monitoring are just a few of the features available.

    Keyword research to inform strategy

    Keyword research is extremely important in optimising your website pages to rank higher in both organic and paid search. Being able to see which keywords are driving to a specific domain, as well as the keywords that their competitors are ranking for, is invaluable to our clients, and with this data we’re able to assist in developing a truly competitive strategy.

    Social media insights

    As we manage social media accounts on behalf of our clients with SEMrush we can easily track the total engagement numbers, our best performing tweets, and any accounts that have mentioned us to boost our social media strategy. Again, data informs strategy and through the insights we are able to retrieve using the tool, we can advise on iterative improvements that deliver higher returns.

    Streamlined reporting

    We really appreciated the reporting features of SEMrush. The reports are fully customisable and use a simple builder tool to quickly make professional and data-rich reports in minutes.

    Contact us here to find out more about the digital marketing projects we’ve recently undertaken.

     

     

  • BrightonSEO

    “Oh, I do like to be beside the seaside. Oh, I do like to be beside the sea.” So sang our Marketing Manager, Amy Card, as she travelled to one of the largest bi-annual search marketing conferences in Europe last month – BrightonSEO.

    BrightonSEO is a one-day event that brings together experts in pay-per-click (PPC) advertising, search engine optimisation (SEO), and digital marketing strategy with a strong focus on social media channels.

    Sarah Bradley, Head of Student Engagement and Communications at Oxford Student Union, spoke early in the day on her experiences of engaging “millennials” on social media. (Slides available here:https://www.slideshare.net/SarahMBradley1/getting-students-attention-on-social-media).
    Sarah has conducted several experiments over recent years, notably staging a week-long student takeover of the University of Nottingham social media channels. Her takeaways? Students are often labelled and pigeonholed – do make the effort to understand their circumstances and engage with their interests and the return on your time investment will be enormous.

    Another talk of note came from Stacey MacNaught, (slides:https://www.slideshare.net/staceycav/securing-your-links-before-producing-your-content-stacey-macnaught-brightonseo-september-2018) who shared her positive experiences in validating ideas for resource-intensive content pieces (such as market research) before investing in production. Pitching an idea to a journalist at the earliest possible moment enables testing of the potential reception to a piece, offers an opportunity to iron out potential pitfalls and can secure coverage in principle before you commit any resources to creation.

    From a search marketing perspective, a keynote from marketing, tech and start-up industry leader, Rand Fishkin, echoed the sentiments heard throughout the day with two difficult truths for marketers:

    1. It’s never been harder to earn organic traffic from the web’s major players.
    2. It’s never been more important to mark your website (and email list) the centre of your campaigns.

    Businesses must now actively include SEO and website performance as a priority in their digital marketing mix. At TBI Communications we are trialling various technology solutions that streamline website keyword auditing and tracking backlinks, just two pieces of an increasingly complex puzzle our clients are facing in an effort to keep their site in front of their customers. Events such as BrightonSEO enable us to advise clients on best practice and suggest new strategies that maintain their competitive edge.

    Contact us here if you would like to get a better understanding of how we can help you increase your organisation’s SEO performance.