Saturday, 28 February 2009

Bizlinx - Sport Scotland

Networking... not online but face to face, it's a great thing when you get it right. I chair one networking group (temporary post) 'First for Business', it meets at 7:00am at a Hotel on the outskirts of Edinburgh with people like Anderson Strathern, RBS, Thomson Bethune and Euler Hermes attending. ECM you've heard me talk about already. There's also Thrive for Business run by Amanda Kremer - now there's an interesting person - there's no doubting her passion and commitment. Winning Entrepreneurs run by Belinda Roberts, she's just asked me to join, needless to say I've accepted.

One however is doing really well for me at the moment - Bizlinx (EH4) our chapter is run by Ewan Menzies of The Infinite Group; yesterday I attended a session at Sport Scotland which Ewan had coordinated. I think there are in the region of 54 sporting bodies in Scotland all part of the Scottish Sports Association.

This was something that had never been attempted before; Ewan had arranged for the CEO's of Tennis, Cycling, Hockey, Judo, Rowing and Squash and introduced business owners to them as an opportunity to assess whether they may benefit from a business / commercial world approach to better promote membership, integrate infrastructure, assess cost cutting opportunities... the list goes on. In my opinion it was a great success and I would like to thank all who took part, in particular Chris Robison the Policy Director of Sport Scotland for seeing the opportunities that it may open up to all his member sports associations.

Needless to say Digital Face made a couple of appointments... watch this space.

Friday, 27 February 2009

CentOtre / ECM / Thank You's

Edinburgh Coffee Morning hosted at CentOtre is a gathering of the good and great (and some attempts) of the tech, media, entrepreneur sorts who are able to get out of bed in preparation to listen to some laid back tunes whilst delighting in excellent coffee and nosh. I should say the tunes are piped - the real reason of course is to discuss what is topical in our world.

Topics range from the
online marketing team behind Obama's Presidential campaign, the benefits of Cloud computing to new business case studies for Twitter and of course software v's software, the latest iphone app...

Typical attendees can vary from PR, photographers, Channel 4 commissioning editors, geeks of all shapes and sizes.

This morning I just wanted to say a couple of Thank you's - specifically Andy Gilpin from Business Gateway - E'Business, great to see you and I look forward to the West Lothian event on the 11th March.

The other 'Thank You' is to Juliet Lawrence Wilson - the provider of my winning raffle prize at the Ed Twestival - wow, I hope the picture does it some justice (will post later... honest). Tweed covers for my laptop and blackberry, seriously awesome.

Saturday, 21 February 2009

I have long been a fan of Seth Godin (he's recently brought out a new book - Tribes); his latest blog / article hits the nail fairly on the head when it comes to previous marketing techniques and how the market place and peoples perceptions have changed in such a short space of time.

Going from selling door to door, to mass marketing to now permission based marketing.

"Social media's growth in the last three years, though, gives marketers an inkling that there may be something else going on. Sure, they can run spam ads on Facebook, but they don't work. Social media, it turns out, isn't about aggregating audiences so you can yell at them about the junk you want to sell.

Social media, in fact, is a basic human need, revealed digitally online. We want to be connected, to make a difference, to matter, to be missed. We want to belong, and yes, we want to be led."

Knowledge Management and Social Networks

I have just returned from a lecture at Napier University in Edinburgh where I was invited to speak to 4th year students - their module was Knowledge Management.

I was asked by Dr Hazel Hall at the Computer School to discuss the practical benefits surrounding the successful implementation of providing a bespoke 'Social Network' for a business park (Edinburgh Park).

My talk centred around the necessity of the developers on the park to have a 'Green Travel' plan for the park in order to be granted further planning permission. Due to the increased number of employees working on the park and its location next to the Gyle, M8, Edinburgh Bypass, main thoroughfair into Edinburgh, vacinity to Edinburgh Airport and the Forth Bridge traffic congestion has been an issue.

Due to the creation of a community or social networking site this has allowed the promotion of car sharing, bus and train routes and timetables, cycle paths, traffic web cams whilst also offering discount vouchers for purchasing from other local community suppliers. Hazel: "Many thanks for coming to speak to the students this afternoon. It was great to see a practical implementation of the theoretical concepts associated with KM (knowledge management) that we have been discussing in class over the past six weeks. I expect to see reference to this in the concept maps that the students are producing for assessment on Thursday."

Friday, 20 February 2009

Digital Face are more and more being offered the opportunity to work on some really very large scale projects; inevitably this has required a scale up in our technical ability and knowledge.

Tradtionally evangelists in open source software has lead to us missing out on providing our creative genius to those big scale projects that run on Microsoft platforms whether dot NET, Sharepoint or a combination of a number of MS products.

Forging a relationship with Andy and his team at Company net has opened some interesting doors and we look forward to a long and fruitful partnership.

All hail Microsoft (shh say it quietly some of my developers might be listening...).

"Change the World or Go Home!"

What is it with age and time in the business...

Recently I have met or been introduced to two people a week apart - one was in the FBI for 20 years, the other was in MI5 for 20 years.

Fascinating people - Ed Gibson is the Head of Microsoft Security and worked for the FBI (he didn't know where the X Files were kept and assured me that they don't use hockey masks for convicts that are wheeled around on trolleys...).

Some of you may be thinking that Microsoft Security is a contradiction in terms (an intriguing point I'll admit) however Ed made some seriously interesting points, not least the web cam that's pointing at you now - if you have kids cover it or point it to the ceiling; it would take him 30 minutes to be watching you without you knowing. The other was the chatroom online sites that ask for your name, date of birth... you talk to school friends, family... the whole identity theft issue is very real and remarkably simple if you know what you're doing.

MI5 - Andrew Fulton the new Chaiman of the Scottish Tory Party; a mate of mine Hogie (Allan Hogarth - Mr PR & Events) introduced me to Andrew who has invited me to join the SNABC (Scottish North American Business Council) - a networking group that promotes business between Scottish and American Business. Andrew who has worked for his fair share of governments is now alowed to pin his colours to the mast is bringing an interesting angle to the communication of the Scottish Tories.

I don't know what my mate Hugh would bring to me meeting these two but I can guess (see cartoon widget above).

Digital Dog

Radio Forth that Edinburgh Radio stalwart gave our Poppy a mention on Boogie's show this morning - yes she's a Dalmation, yes she's adored and getting quite a name for herself in the creative industry and yes she loves the attention.

In response to their adoration of all things spotty and creative - we reciprocate:

Thank you and we look forward to further mentions and support - the odd dog biscuit wouldn't go amiss either - although you'll find that her gate keeper (Dave our Creative Director & father figure to Poppy) can be quite restrictive on treats...

To witter or not - who's the twit?

There are those that are of the opinion that Twitter is an all consuming waste of time and energy - others become obsessed and tell the world they are picking up the kids from school (or similar).

Truly however it is a tool that can be extremely useful if you know how to use it. I could witter on for pages on making it individual for you however in my example the following works.

Use it sparingly and mostly as a way to track news from Journalists, key industry figures, event updates, prolific bloggers and partner organisations - not necessarily to post yourself.

That's it in a nutshell - 2 minutes at the start of most days, dip in and then out - if you linger you'll get sucked in. I can honestly say it took me a while to grasp it's value but some of our business decisions have been based on the knowledge gained from this little portal.

Tools I use:

Tweetdeck, MrTweet, Seach.Twitter, CoTweet...

Corporate and Social Responsibility

My company Digital Face passionately believe in a responsible work ethic. Putting ourselves in the glare of our community and our stakeholders. With this in mind we are continually re-evaluating every aspect of our business to ensure our governance. Environmental management, labour standards, social equity and employee relations are analysed and kept in check.

Digital Face fully recognises its responsibilities to all stakeholders in the company, whether employees, suppliers, clients, shareholders or members of the communities it serves.

Digital Face strives to maintain the highest standards of behaviour and professionalism in all of its commercial dealings and proactively addresses the needs of our shared environment, by way of its responsible and supportive community-based approach.

This is reflected in our commitment to the pursuit of sustainability, quality and customer satisfaction and to our wide-ranging support for local community and charitable initiatives.

With a robust and integrated procedurally-based structure, Digital Face is geared to ensuring the development of the highest possible standards across the company. All parts of the company passionately support the structured approach to both personal and team development, at all levels of the organisation. All areas have a well-developed internal communication structure, which seeks to involve all members of the Digital Face team in the pursuit of common goals.

Who is Colin Gilchrist?

Colin is the CEO, MD, Business Developer, Account Director, Buck Stopper, Whisky Drinker. From Edinburgh originally by way of Manchester (freshers week consisted of Madonnas first UK gig at the Hacienda... 1984) by way of London for a number of years and then home again - relief!
It's fair to say I am an opportunist that is passionate about making business in Scotland successful.

I project manage website builds and carryout large scale social media strategies both Marketing and Customer Relationship Management - working with advertising agencies and businesses.

Business-to-Business: Social Media activity working with Law, Finance and Commercial Property Businesses.
Assessing staff existing social activity, providing a training needs analysis, delivering training, developing strategies and then policing that activity.  Activity typically revolves around the creation of deeper more effective Linkedin profiles for better business development.

Business-to-Consumer: Delivering marketing and customer care programmes to FMCG , Fashion Retail and the Leisure sectors:
The format works like this:
Firstly ensure a staff policy exists for social media activity - to cover the business and employee (as email and web use within the business).
1. Analysing the company and its competitors
2. Analysing the staff existing social activity
3. Supplying a Training Needs Analysis
4. Developing and delivering a Training programme
5. Developing a strategy for each division within the company (in association with the retained or inhouse advertising or marketing company)
6. Setting up monitoring and assessing tools to police the activity to deliver weekly or monthly reports
7. Assist in the appointment of a Community Manager if appropriate