Friday, 28 August 2009

Interior design

Don't you just love it.
Passion is an essential ingredient in the best and most successful products and people. Maybe it doesn't make sense, but does it need to?
The inspiration was found here: UK.html

Tuesday, 25 August 2009

News - the future?

I have been commenting for a while on the future of the newspaper - how far into the future have the BBC looked or those big publishing houses that rely on competitive news coverage?

There is no doubt that newspapers are losing out, particularly the big all consuming broad coverage types - the succeeders so far seem to be the wee regional tabloids who are feeding a specific market. (All hail the Press & Journal)

After a meeting with Andy last night we started shooting the breeze about the role advertising plays in providing a source of income for papers and Rupert Murdochs subscription models to protect his control of newspapers online. The most interesting is the time based model, where you start to read an article and if you have been looking at the site for over a minute it locks you out unless you pay for access (semi accurate description).

Another element that got us quite fired up was the fact that if you go anywhere else in the world to look at the BBC website to read the news the website is covered in advertising unlike in its home country.

What if the big newspapers came tumbling down and we were reduced to news agencies who sold their content to community sites - where are we likely to go for our news?

I'm guessing the BBC - who don't rely on advertising just our license fee... Is the BBC the devil, and we own it, destroying any other trust worthy, paid for news source in its path?

The big picture says to me that if online newspapers are to compete they have to take on the BBC, not just from a content but a credibility point of view; and how do they compete with a free access global giant like the BBC?

They stay small, regional, specific and opinionated - in other words they don't compete they play in a different park.

Image credits:
Perfect Competition

Thursday, 20 August 2009

Web 2.0; The Machine is Us/ing Us

Here is a fascinating take on internet, it's impact on the way we write and what the internet (Us) is learning. Thank you Ian Burgess for the note!

Web 2.0 … The Machine is Us/ing Us

Tuesday, 18 August 2009

Creativity solves everything

If you are in any way connected to the advertising industry this is a must see:

Unfortunately for those of us in the UK it's release is in selected cinemas in the US only, from Friday... We need to persuade the distributor to have a screening over here! Get on to them here:

Monday, 17 August 2009

Social Marketing - it's winning, almost.

It's about time some of the big investors in marketing and advertising asked themselves the most effective way to communicate with their audience.

Is it better to have a conversation than push something in my face? Damn right it is.
But that has been the predominant way of promoting products.

Enter social networks and ways of creating conversations online (comments on forums, blogs, newspapers...). All of a sudden companies have the opportunity to engage with their consumer, their precious customer.

Now here is a radical thought - instead of spending vast amounts on advertising budgets how about spending that same money on customer care personnel? Getting those staff to build up personal relationships with the customer, making them feel wanted, cared for, looked after - like a V.I.P. And of course the best way to do that is using social tools, Facebook, Twitter, Youtube and a Blog for instance.

In my experience the majority of companies that are using those social sites are effectively putting website copy on a new page and calling it a blog or a social tool - BOLLOCKS. These tools exist to create a conversation not somewhere else to push your limp product!

If you chose to invest in staff instead of advertising you would soon see that those precious customers would rave about you to all of their friends and start marketing you without much effort on your behalf. There is additional investment required in your sites and blogs to accommodate certain social tools to assist in the process but largely investing in people and company product (giveaways, incentives...) are largely all that's required.

This arguement falls flat if you are a major brand like Obama or Coca-Cola; an arguement for another day; and I will concede that TV advertising is still a worthy investment when targetted correctly; however... please please please, if you are using Facebook, Youtube, Twitter and especially a Blog learn how to use it, don't just put stuff up and hope for the best - 'building it and they will come' just does not work in social media!

PS. The image is courtesy of GAP who have just scrapped their TV advertising for a social media campaign.

Wednesday, 12 August 2009

Psychometric testing

I know of a very successful company (based in the US) that will only interview you if you fill certain criteria in a psychometric test - your profile has to be inline with the company or you just simpy wont fit in...

I have briefly met a couple of guys from "PeopleMaps" who have just launched a private beta of their service, you can find it here:

Ok so I did their free personality test, it's not indepth and no good for professional use but quite fun:

How you're likely to react to this report colin?
"Oh cool, what's this going to be saying about me?" You will immediately share it with all your family and friends.

Challenges you present to friends and colleagues
"A regular whirlwind is about when colin's excited about something" - friends often feel they need to lie down when they're met by the full force of your enthusiasm!

How best to communicate with colin
You always have a tale to tell colin, and a real need of a rapt audience to listen. To be effective in communicating with you it is wise for others to show interest in you as a person.

How others see you colin
You have been known to fall in love if not exactly at first sight, certainly at second!

Your attitude to gardening
Designing is what you love colin and this will be no exception when it comes to your garden.
You will have many great ideas and want exotic plants but how these plants are going to be kept alive in unsuitable climates will not be your concern.

Your response to someone cutting in front of you in traffic
You can become really annoyed if the car overtaking is smaller than yours colin. They're not going to get away with that, is your thought as you chase them down the motorway.

How you react if late for an appointment
You know that you will be able to charm anyone into accepting the excuse you create for being late colin.

Life is always in the fast lane for you and this makes it difficult to be on time for everything.

My wife tells me this is scarily accurate... ok then!

Monday, 10 August 2009

Secret to Success

It's a simple question: What is the secret to success?

Here Richard St. John describes in 3 minutes after 7 years of research and 500 interviews the equation that leads to success:

What is missing from your folio of personal development? Now you know the answer, get on the case, oh and if it isn't working you can blame your Mum.

Saturday, 8 August 2009

For you

I was asked by someone (who shall remain nameless to protect his innocence) why I do this blogging thing - here is a conversation by a couple of people that I respect who put it more succinctly than I ever could.

Monday, 3 August 2009

Feel It

I've come down to London this time not for work but to take the girls to some of my old stomping grounds and meet up with some friends. Saturday we ended up getting lashed at Hard Rock which was down to a sympathetic barman who was clearly crashing from having a big night the night before. We were at thhe bar downstairs and had been waiting over an hour so every now and then he'd surrupticiously hand overr another shooter to try. I don't remember getting back to thhe room...

Sunday we took a visit to Camden, the home of one of my first forays into entrepreneurial activities aged 18. It was great seeing thhe place again, it's been over 20 years since I was here last, it's changed a wee bit but not much; just loads more people. In the evening we had a table booked at Kensington Place, a fab restaurant to meet our friend Rafael. Another alcohol fuelled night but at least I remember getting back this time - not having to feel my way to the door...

I get the distinct feeling that this evening will be a little bit the same as the last two. But at least the old liver is now prepared.