Harvard’s Big Moves of the Month: May

Joe McNamara

10 Jun 2022

This month, we look at what hit the headlines in May, developments in the marketing and PR industry, pick our favourite creative campaign, and ask one of our wonderful team members for her best piece of career advice.

Tech news: Broadcom acquires VMWare

VMware, founded in 1998, is one of a handful of companies that can say it led a true revolution, which is why the news that chip goliath Broadcom will acquire ‘Virtzilla’ for a whopping $61 billion has received a mixed reception from tech industry stakeholders and media. Virtualisation, a process that simply describes turning physical devices into virtual machines that can be run via a single computer, can be seen as one of the breakthrough technologies that bridged the gap between old and new data centre technology. It is hoped, therefore, that the VMware brand can live on post-acquisition, despite some scepticism that Broadcom’s stated strategy is not in-keeping with the customer experience VMware has cultivated for over 20 years.

Industry news: If I can make it there, I’ll make it anywhere

A company so synonymous with the city that never sleeps that its co-founder and CEO is a former mayor, New York headquartered news, finance and technology giant Bloomberg has launched a UK-based news channel. Its latest venture Bloomberg UK aims to become the leading source of financial, business and markets news targeted at a UK audience. It will include a website, a weekly Bloomberg Quicktake video series profiling British newsmakers, a podcast about the City of London, and a summit taking place in 2022 devoted to the future of British business. It has made a number of notable media hires including former BBC presenter Emma Barnett; former Times of London economic editor Philip Aldrick; Olivia Solon as technology investigations reporter; Alex Wickham formerly of Politico; and most recently, former Downing Street Press Secretary Allegra Stratton as contributing editor.

Frontpage news: Cost of living crisis continues to bite

Rising prices of basically everything has made the past month or so a challenging time for many. The cost of living crisis has reduced disposable income and led to families looking to economise and cut back on unnecessary purchases. This is of course a challenge for brands, but also an opportunity to provide a bit of support. It has not gone unnoticed that many companies have not been shy about raising their own prices despite the well-publicised energy crisis that has caused utility bills to rocket in recent months. Whether it’s making products more affordable in the short-term or offering greater flexibility on payment terms, brands that outperform expectations in the bust reap the benefits in the boom.

Creative moves: Are NFTs coming or going?

Non-fungible tokens (NFTs) create excitement and controversy in equal measure it seems. And recent events really haven’t made their future any clearer to predict. The market rout that wiped $800 billion off Ethereum’s value felt like a conclusive blow for the blockchain platform and maybe even the NFTs that live on it. However, the hype that has seen pictures of apes sold for millions of dollars continues undeterred. Brands are determined to figure out how to use NFTs to create more innovative communications. Diageo-owned whiskey brand, Johnnie Walker, created an NFT collection of rare whiskey bottles costing $35,000 a piece alongside experiential gifts for those drunk enough to buy one. Meanwhile, Salesforce has gone ahead with an interesting move of creating an NFT cloud, which will allow marketers to mint, manage and sell NFTs.

Making your move with… Anna Samuels

As a member of our Marketing Client Services team, my role consists of making sure our clients’ voices are captured across the business, implementing marketing strategies that drive real value, and much more. No day is the same, so my time is split across taking client briefs, project management, managing content production, and handling social media activity. This includes consulting on the visual assets we create for clients and experiential activations. Before marketing found me, I knew I wanted to work in comms and I started my career working in advertising agencies, developing some very transferrable skills! My best piece of advice for somebody looking to pursue a career in marketing is to get out there and never be afraid to be yourself. Coming from someone without a degree or professional qualifications – you can do anything you set your mind to. Just give it a shout and you’ll be pleasantly surprised by how many agencies offer work experience, internships, and word of mouth can be your best friend.