Linstock’s Friday Takeaway – 19 August 2016

“A new survey by Marketing Week has found that brands are increasingly treating social media as a top strategic priority”

In the News

Good week: A-Level students
This week, A-Level students across the country have been celebrating as a record number of UK university places are offered. According to the UCAS admissions services, a total of 424,000 places have been offered so far, up by 3 percent on results day last year. This figure is expected to rise with predictions of a significant number of places still being available through clearing. Although some are questioning whether the rise will negatively impact the value of a degree, the likely rise in competition between universities could improve the experience and teaching quality they offer still further.

Bad week: Racial equality
A review by the Equality and Human Rights Commission reveals a rise in systemic unfairness and racial inequality in many areas of everyday life, including education and health. According to the study, people in Britain from ethnic minority backgrounds are under-represented in senior positions, particularly in the legal sector, and are more likely to live in poverty – earning an average of 23 percent less than white employees with the same qualifications. The watchdog has proposed new targets to improve opportunities and outcomes for ethnic minorities to be introduced.

Good week: Social media marketing
A new survey by Marketing Week has found that brands are increasingly treating social media as a top strategic priority. Of the 585 marketers surveyed, 56 percent believe that social media drives the best brand engagement while less than 3 percent see print advertising as a priority. The statistics are further evidence of the shift in the channels used for brand building and customer engagement.

Bad week: Childhood obesity
The Government’s childhood obesity plan, published yesterday, has been heavily criticised by health experts, campaigners and supermarket chains. The plan, which some MPs herald as ambitious, calls for the food and drink industry to cut 5 percent of the sugar in products popular with children over the next year. However, commentators including the Chief Executive of Sainsbury’s, argue that the targets are not enough to tackle the issue of childhood obesity. Another concern raised by Dr Wollaston, Chairman of the health select committee, is the Government’s decision not to include measures around advertising junk food and two-for-one promotional deals on unhealthy food.

Linstock News
Team GB’s performance in this year’s Olympic Games has been beyond expectations, with medals being won in gymnastics, rowing, cycling and more. We carried out a social listening exercise to capture the sentiment amongst Brits towards the Rio Olympics compared with the 2012 London games. Interestingly, social media sentiment among Brits has been higher during Rio than when the Games were held on home ground.

Client News
New commentary on the use of equity release among retirees from Alice Watson of Retirement Advantage was published by FT Adviser. Alice argues that the latest research in this area fails to account for the holistic approach to financial planning which is now widespread among people in their later years.