There was a time when, if you wanted to be noticed as a writer, you had to pester a publisher to get your material into print. Except for those who were writing just for the fun of it, the purpose was to make money. Submit articles to magazines and hope to get paid for it; get your book published and hope it appears on the Best Sellers list.
Now that we’re firmly in the internet era, anyone can get their material published and get it noticed. I’m talking here about Blogging and how it can make money for your business.
Blogs (a shortened form of Web Log) started out as a purely personal kind of online diary. “I went to a party the other day…” and so on. But it wasn’t long before the commercial benefits of publishing your own material were harnessed by businesses and we’ve embraced this too at DNA.
If you are in business you may be asking “do I really need a blog?” and I will answer with a resounding “Youbetcha!”
Just like having a decent website, Social Media (under which umbrella blogging fits) is another vital tool for successful 21st century businesses. Whether you are a freelance carpet fitter or a global chemicals company, well-crafted blogging can bring web traffic – and potential customers – to your virtual shop counter.
Take Google’s Street View, add a splash of Java script and top it all up with a photographic time-lapse technique with sweeping camera moves and what do you get? This:
This is a trend known as Hyper-lapse photography – a technique combining time-lapse and sweeping camera movements typically focused on a point of interest and has been a growing trend on video sites. Creating them requires precision and many hours stitching together photos taken from carefully mapped locations… or does it?
Step up Teehan+Lax, a creative outfit based in Toronto. By using Google’s Street View as source material and some clever Java script programming to designate a point of interest within the animation, Teehan+Lax has made the process much simpler. In fact, it worked so well they decided to design a UI around the engine and release Google Street View Hyperlapse. Street View takes all the photo stitching hard work out so anyone can make their own Hyperlapse by using easy-to-use interface and engine. Chrome is recommended due to the WebGL platform.
We at dna eagerly await the annual TEDxExeter day at the Northcott Theatre. It gives us a chance to get out of the office, listen to always inspiring talks and meet some interesting and extremely open-minded people.
This year, the day explored how to live the questions facing us in all areas of life, including money, business, prosperity, sustainability, the environment, childhood and old age, community, society, science. The talks were full to bursting with fascinating takes on new ways of looking at life, and making that new way happen by living the new way now, not later.
Tom Crompton’s (Change Strategist at WWF-UK) discussion on ‘the conscience industry’ struck a particular note as we’re working with several charities at the moment – Rowcroft Hospice, Families for Children and Lilongwe Wildlife Centre.
Tom looked at how to appeal to the most important values of people you’re asking for help from (if you work for a charity, for example) in these days of economic darkness where everything is seemingly related to or motivated by money. It’s all too easy for marketeers to say ‘make it really easy’ and ‘tell them how they will save money’ or ‘if you do this it will save £x’.
People are motivated by the values they hold, and there are two main types – intrinsic values such as care for others, relationships and the environment; and extrinsic values which are concerns about wealth, prosperity and public perception. It’s these extrinsic values that are reinforced constantly through advertising, the cult of celebrity and consumerism, to the detriment of the more important intrinsic values.
Tom put forward a convincing argument that marketeers should not forget – intrinsic values should be promoted via clever and relevant campaign messaging to hopefully enable the real value of what’s being asked of people to be understood and not forgotten for the greater good of all of us, in today’s financial and image obsessed society.
This morning I attended an event hosted by the Torbay Development Agency (TDA) at the Torquay Innovation Centre. This morning’s particular networking event hosted by Adrian Sheen, featured a high profile guest speaker Katie Wright of ‘The Apprentice’ fame. The talk that Katie gave, was a real hit with the larger than usual audience. She provided all that attended with a detailed insight into the world of the hit TV show, telling it how it is. Stories of the process, the lack of sleep, the bitching between contestants and boardroom antics, captivated the delegates.
There was a Q&A session at the end of Katie’s talk which, from my recollection, went something like this:
Q. Did you really all have twenty minutes to get ready from when the phone rang at six in the morning?
A. Yes, although the boys would get up and dressed in twenty minutes (no showering), the girls would get up at three or four in the morning to ensure that they were ready, just in case the phone rang at six.
Q. Were the tasks intense?
A. Yes. All the tasks ran back to back for twelve weeks.
Q. Were you allowed any contact with the outside world?
A. No. All contestants were restricted to staying in the house, with no phone calls, email, use of the internet or even watching TV. The only sense of the outside world that they were allowed, was to watch a pre-recorded episode of the X-Factor every week.
Q. Were you allowed to go home to your family at weekends?
A. No, this was strictly forbidden.
Q. Did you learn anything from the process?
A. No not really. Because it was a completely unreal situation that you were thrown into on each task, it would not be transferable in the real world.
Q. Is Alan Sugar the same in real life as he appears on TV?
A. Yes. He can be quite rude and abrupt and is quite short.
Q. Why were you picked?
A. People who clashed with others at the auditions would then be put together in the final sixteen as it would create better TV.
Q. Does Nick Hewer make the same faces in real life as he does on TV?
A. Yes – I meet up with him frequently and have remained friends since the show – and Nick still makes the same faces.
Q. What are the major benefits of going on the apprentice?
A. It helps to elevate you and your career. Many contestants go on to be guest speakers, mentors and coaches. Others further their careers in their chosen industry and command higher salaries as a result of being on ‘The Apprentice’. It also opens more doors for other opportunities that may not have arisen without their involvement with the show.
All in all, Katie came across as a very likeable and genuine person. I would happily hire her.
The TDA host several events each month in varying locations around the bay and beyond. If any of you are interested in attending any of these events, please take a look at the Events section of the TDA website by following this link: http://www.torbaydevelopmentagency.co.uk/networking-and-events
It’s a great chance to meet with like minded business people, but without the pomp and circumstance sometimes associated with similar events.
It’s that time of year again, when all the Christmas TV adverts come out to play. You know it’s nearly Christmas every year when the ‘Holidays are coming’ Coca Cola advert makes its annual appearance. A true Christmas classic.
But this year there is a new kid (or should I say snowman) on the block. The new John Lewis Christmas 2012 advert. The advert depicts a male and female snowman and the male snowman wants to give his partner a nice Christmas gift and decides to go on an epic journey, through forest, river, mountain and road, and city to buy his lady her perfect gift. The snowmans facial expressions really help to engage the audience and to help tell the story of his personal struggle through his arduous journey. He eventually arrives on Christmas Day with his gift and the final scene has them holding hands.
The advert was created by ad agency adamandeveddb and has an updated soundtrack accompaniment of the Frankie Goes to Hollywood classic ‘The Power of Love’ sung by Gabrielle Aplin http://www.gabrielleaplin.co.uk/. Gabrielle is a 20 year old singer signed to Parlophone Records. Her debut album is due for release in 2013.
The combination of excellent concept, exquisite production, perfect soundtrack and emotive story make this advert a masterpiece. John Lewis Marketing Director, Craig Inglis, said: “We know that our customers put real effort and emotion into finding the perfect gift for their loved ones at Christmas. This year’s ad brings that to life, with a creative twist, as we follow our hero on an epic journey.”
For those who have yet to see it, just press play: