Sunday, 29 November 2009

Return On Investment, Social Media Marketing

Return on investment can be a hard financial measure.
I embed a great presentation by Olivier Blanchard who clarifies elements more eloquently than I could.

Wednesday, 25 November 2009

Social Media and traffic congestion

I don't know where this picture came from but it happened to be on my hard drive - an electric motorbike - yum...

My latest submission to The Drum magazine

Tuesday, 24 November 2009

What do you do all day?

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Are you a leader in your field, a starter who has just been made redundant or a sole trader with more work than you can cope with? Ever been asked what you do all day?

My wife asked me - aside from thinking "cheeky bint" I thought I'll make a journal. Hell, I've got a blog I can chuck it up there - that will soon tell me what I do most of the time. Needless to say I took the old school route and started writing a journal rather than endure the public humiliation of sharing the fact that I spent the best part of 5 hours with a retained client for the monstrous (reduced) fee of £x

The Red Dress core activity is web design (and yes it's amazing, effective...), don't get me wrong we do lots of other stuff too (however this is not the platform for pontificating about our own brilliant work); but I soon established that the amount of time I spend online is scary, I mean literally 14 to 18 hours a day. And where is that time spent?

Our working processes are known as cloud based... yes I know - it doesn't mean much to me either but basically our email, documents, server, all the things we need to run an effective business are not office based - there is no big box with battery backup and whirring fans to keep it alive in our building. It all lives in Googleland with local memory drives (hard drives).

This got me thinking about subliminal messaging, advertising and voting. Here we have a massive machine (Google) that we as a business, and I as an individual is registered with (like Facebook and all those others) where it automatically knows our web history (not just surfing). And yes I know Google are keen to be seen as the good guys, which fair play is hard when you are the size and power they behold. But the opportunity to place messages, ask a quick question or place a vote is right there for the taking and yet they don't, or do they?

There is only 5 of us, Google had in June 2008 19,000 employees, what do they do all day?

Social Media Marketing 101

Social Media marketing care of Guy Kawasaki

Mark Glaser of PBS got five social media and PR experts together to talk about the basics of social-media marketing on video. The experts are Cheryl Contee, Jeff Pester, Laura Pexton, Brian Solis, and Caleb Zigas. Interesting stuff for anyone who wants an overview of the subject.

Original link can be found here

Thursday, 19 November 2009

Starter for 6

I'm just back from an excellent evening at The Arches in Glasgow organised by Lynsey at the Starter for 6 programme along with colleague Gillian. I was sharing the stage with Debs and Gaylie at RM* (rm star) for an active discussion centred around networks, social media and marketing.

Starter for 6 "is an enterprise training programme that supports up and coming creative entrepreneurs across Scotland. By helping to turn creative ideas into successful businesses, the programme not only contributes towards the success of the Scottish economy but also raises the awareness and profile of talented entrepreneurs in Scotland." Check out the website to find out more: Starter for 6

When I'm commissioned to provide a seminar it's great to have a local company who can share the limelight and their experience of networking and networks. In the world of creative businesses RM* are a great example; both Debs and Gaylie were fine artists and designers and have successfully forged a careeer and business. What has really helped them is their network of friends and their ability to network a room.

Artists in my opinion become successful when they challenge their comfort zone - RM* are a great example of that.

So if you know anyone in the creative industries in Scotland who is looking to branch out on their own get them to check out Starter for 6 and contact either: Lynsey Smith – Programme Manager or Sally Johnston – Assistant Programme Officer - applications are now being taken.

Extract: (Starter for 6 is an enterprise training programme that supports up-and-coming creative entrepreneurs across Scotland. Over the past three years the programme has received over 600 applications, supported 210 creative individuals and awarded 84 of them with grants up to £10,000.)

Wednesday, 18 November 2009

Scotland needs a kick up the arse

In my opinion Scotland is falling behind in its adoption of using social media to better promote itself and the businesses within it.

I'm still coming across businesses that don't know what a blog is and the difference it could make to their business both in sales and brand management. Hells teeth blogs have been around for 10 years!

Woohoo the government have a Youtube channel and Flickr stream, great - is it there to create conversation, is it hell. What of Business Gateway or Scottish Enterprise - the Gateway mention all the cautions and don't provide much else; the enterprise have just launched a new website... Just something to indicate that they know something about this communications revolution... but no.

I want to say more but it's for a post I'm being paid for so have to keep it all close to the heart.

Monday, 16 November 2009

Use the tools you have

You maybe not appreciate that some of the tools you have might be just the answer you are looking for. We are in a tight economy, we're keen to recycle, reuse rather than further invest in new products to better facilitate that job you need doing.

Where am I going with this?

Part of my role has been enlightening clients that using their existing tools but in a different way will provide the results they were looking for. The following video is an old one but demonstrates a left field approach. 3 guys using tools they know well to produce an unexpected result that is just amazing.

Final Countdown, Cellos by 'Melo M'

Friday, 13 November 2009

Facebook Saved My Business.

There's a great article in the New York Times about businesses that use Facebook to advertise; one story:

"Some guys use Facebook to find single women. Chris Meyer used it to find women who are already engaged.

Mr. Meyer, a wedding photographer in Woodbury, Minn., had had little luck with traditional advertising. A full-page ad in a bridal magazine generated zero leads and a trade show yielded only four bookings, barely covering the cost of his booth. But Facebook proved a digital bonanza.

Mr. Meyer aimed at women ages 22 to 28 who listed their martial status as engaged in the Minneapolis-St. Paul metropolitan area. He estimates that he has spent about $300 on Facebook ads in the last two years and has generated more than $60,000 in business. He says about three-quarters of his clients now come to him through Facebook, either from ads or recommendations from friends.

“I’d be out of business if I didn’t have Facebook,” Mr. Meyer said. “Especially with this economy, I need to stretch each marketing dollar as much as I possibly can.”

The other story:

"For Mr. Nelson, this is serious business. He and his wife, Candace, own Sprinkles, a cupcake bakery that relies on social media in lieu of traditional advertising. Mr. Nelson considers Facebook marketing essential. “People are out there talking about your business everyday, whether you’re looking or not,” he said. “This gives people a place to come and speak directly to us.”

Sprinkles uses Facebook to give customers a whiff of what’s cooking. Every day it posts a password on Facebook that can be redeemed for a free cupcake. Since April, its fan base has risen tenfold to 70,000.

Mr. Nelson and his wife previously worked as investment bankers in the technology sector and were keenly aware that, even for a traditional business like a bakery, social media is a crucial ingredient. His advice: make it relevant to the customer, keep it fresh and remember that the return on investment may come slowly.

“Be patient with it,” Mr. Nelson advised. “People are not going to flock to your social media site overnight. Technology is about the network effect. It takes time for those connections to build.”

The whole article can be seen here: NEW YORK TIMES

Thursday, 12 November 2009

Newspapers and Social Media

My latest offering to The Drum blog

Poppy our office dog has been feeling left out recently, feel free to feel sorry for her!

Thursday, 5 November 2009

Provide brilliance for equity, because we do!


What the hell is going on out there!

In the past week we as an agency (Red Dress) have been asked to provide design, print, social media marketing strategy, web, interior design, video and music production - the whole nine yards - oh but guess what, you'll get paid - a little bit, the rest we can give you as equity in the business - by, get this, 5 different companies!

And you know what, it's brilliant because we've just been made redundant and we have some cash to follow our dream which you can be part of...

So do we become a design agency that invests in businesses - you know what we might be; as a previous investor I've been burnt but had a couple of successes along the way. It's made me look at our offer in a very different way - not only that it's made me cross examine those particular businesses in a way that makes some of them squirm - because lets face it if we're investing - the business model has to be damn solid.

Ok so we've turned £1 into £700 for one client - but they had a product that the market wanted - and we knew how to find that market and present to it - don't presume good marketing is going to turn your crap product into the biggest most successful thing on the planet just because you've got a great design and marketing agency behind it. I'm not in the business of helping every Tom, Dick or Harriet that wants our services (he says this hoping some of the company Directors and share holders wont read this...) but seriously, we are Gods gift to some companies - but not everybody - particularly when they ask us to invest in their business!

Time to take a chill pill - but seriously, straight forward client that wants our services on a retained basis please. Thanks, I know your listening.

Tuesday, 3 November 2009

A little bad = great; too much = exit...

I love podcasts, in particular I am a big fan of Radio Lab they say: "Radiolab believes your ears are a portal to another world. Where sound illuminates ideas, and the boundaries blur between science, philosophy, and human experience. Big questions are investigated, tinkered with, and encouraged to grow. Bring your curiosity, and we'll feed it with possibility." If you're ever looking for educational, creative and innovative inspiration it's a great place to lose an hour.

A recent post of theirs talks about bugs and parasites - one story centres round this guy who suffers from asthma and loads of other allergies and cures himself by going on holiday, standing barefoot in the faeces of African villagers for a couple of weeks; the answer = Hookworms. In his research he discovered that hookworms have always been part of the human makeup - increasingly the way we live our lives in the western world, is destroying their natural habitat, our sanitised surroundings have driven them away. He also established that if you have too many in your system you get anaemia, so there was a fine balance.

This made me think that in order to be at our peek state not only does our body require 'bad bacteria' but some parasites to maintain an equilibrium; could the same be said of relationships, companies and brands?

Is a brand loved more when we establish that they have a naughty or slightly suspect past? I think of Kate Moss caught in a compromising position with drugs, if I recall Burberry dropped her, yet Rimmel kept her on and the subsequent PR and coverage was massive - or relationships that continue with little white lies, you tell a whopper and it breaks down...

Is this just a metaphore for life and we all seek a little piece of naughty, but not too much?

How bad is your brand?

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It's not often...

It's not often that you get the word genius on the same line as accordian player - just to share this.

Aside from having a softspot for great music, people that do anything with real passion are believable, impressive: