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December, 2019 - Dave Corlett

Shooting the breeze: Met Office x Workbrands

Maybe, like me, you’re (just about) old enough to remember a time when you had to turn the telly on and wait until roughly 27 minutes past the hour to get a weather report.

Thankfully those days are long gone. Whether it’s hour-by-hour updates for today you’re after, or an idea of what the weather will be like in Hamburg next Tuesday, a whole raft of information is quite literally at our fingertips whenever we need it.

As the national meteorological service for the UK, the Met Office is responsible for collecting and disseminating this information. Given the way we all communicate today, social media forms a crucial part of this dissemination. So when we were given the chance to spend a morning with the Met Office’s social media and content team, learning from each other’s approaches and sharing creative ideas, we jumped at the chance.

Tom, Si and I headed down to Exeter bright and early. Ross Middleham, the Met Office’s social media and content lead, was our host for the day, which started (as every day does there) with a morning meeting chaired by Ross on the day’s social content.

And what a meeting it was to sit in on. It began with a summary of the day’s weather, followed by Ross and a multitude of people from different departments (plus the organisation’s full-time weather presenters) rattling through how this would be communicated across various channels, from Twitter to Instagram Stories and everything in between. Tasks were assigned, content was confirmed, and the team dispersed back to their desks across the monolithic 2000-strong office.

From there, we took in a quick tour of the office before diving into part one of the creative workshop. Ross took us through a detailed introduction to how the challenge of providing a world-class weather service has changed unimaginably in the last two decades. Where once you’d find weather updates on TV, radio and the newspaper, there are now dozens of platforms and channels to take into account. All of them, basically. Fascinating stuff.

Part two was our bit, so the rest of the Met Office content team joined us, including ex-BBC weather presenter Alex Deakin. On a brief side-note, it was really interesting to see how involved Alex and the other presenters are in creating bespoke content for social media. They do it in such a fun way as well, which goes down a storm – pun fully intended – with audiences.

Tom, our creative director, took the team through some of our recent projects, discussing various challenges along the way such as how we put our project teams together, dealing with client feedback, and managing expectations and budgets.

We also set them a little challenge, showing them three creative routes on our branding project for The Rated Wine Co. before asking them which they thought the client went with. Two-thirds of them plumped for the right option. Not bad!

The final part of our experience was pretty awesome. Alex took us down to one of the studios, where we had a go at stepping into his shoes and presenting the day’s weather. I don’t think any of us will be quitting the day jobs any time soon, but it was a lot of fun!

After a spot of lunch, we headed back to Workbrands HQ feeling very inspired. But it’s not over yet! We’ve got a second session in the diary at our place, so Ross and the Met Office folks can come and spend some time in our studio checking out how we work.

Fingers crossed for some January sunshine!

Don’t forget to follow us on LinkedIn and Twitter to stay up to date with what the team get up to, rain or shine.