Tuesday, 30 August 2011

Silicon Valley It May Not Be...

But I for one applaud the selection of “Tech City’s” location in and around Shoreditch in East London. Known as East London Tech City (or Silicon Roundabout!) the scheme has already received backing from tech giants such as Google, Facebook and Intel.
I’m not sure that any location selected by the Government would have been welcomed with open arms and minds. Outside of London? Somewhere else in London? Croydon? They have all been touted as alternatives.
Some of the criticism aimed at the Government has been around the level of funding for the plan and indeed the participation (or lack) of organisations. But would it have been different if the location had been different? Probably not.
Okay so the timing of the initiative wasn’t perfect and the slowdown of the economy and general lack of confidence in the short term future has had an impact on this. This landscape has affected organisations putting their money where their mouth is. But in principle it was, and still is, a great idea.
And yes, the infrastructure in terms of transport isn’t perfect, but to be honest that doesn’t seem to have slowed the amazing development of the area around Old Street, Shoreditch, Hoxton etc into a vibrant and growing hub of creativity. And that is a big plus for the selection of the area, as well as the focus it should get (if managed correctly) as the Olympic year approaches.
Also, let’s not forget that many of the tech giants started off in even humbler backgrounds. The favourite start point for the darlings of Silicon Valley was the garden shed: Bill Hewlett and Dave Packard founded HP in a garage, as did the Google Guys and Steve Jobs for Apple’s first tentative steps; and Zuckerberg worked up the billion dollar future of Facebook in a university dorm.
Our office is just on the fringes of the area in Farringdon; but I work with or know of some great marketing agencies that are based in and around that area. Whether that’s the global scale of LBi, or smaller agencies such as Nearby Digital who work with the local communities. These guys really understand how technology and ideas go hand in hand.
Why do I see that as an advantage? Well I see technology being inspired and working at its best not when it sits in isolation from the rest of the world in an ivory tower (or indeed Silicon Valley), but when it works in tandem with some of the ideas generated in the cauldron of real life.
I believe in finding the mix between Tech, Creative and Insight to develop solutions for my clients’ business problems. In fact as I write this piece, sitting next to me, is my Head of Technology, Creative Directors and Head of Planning. I believe that establishing a tech centre of excellence in the heart of one of the creative centres of the world will encourage and foster just that opportunity for Technology to drive creativity and vice versa.
Of course the real question is whether or not the Government and the blue chips of the tech world (both new and old) follow through with their commitment above and beyond satisfying the next photo or sound bite opportunity? I hope so.

(This article was first published on Business Computing World  and also at EHS4D )

Saturday, 27 August 2011

How to Start an Email Conversation

A few months ago I wrote a post on how to start a conversation the right (It's all about the conversation...or is it?: How to start off an email conversation...the right way) . And with this post I gave some tips on sign up

I was sent this fantastic piece of work that shows the benefits of asking people to confirm their email address in the subject line of the confirmation email. ( see it here )

Definitely worth an A/B Test don't you think ?

Friday, 19 August 2011

From Benign Dictatorship to True Democracy

That was the title of the very interesting after dinner speech at the Digital Leadership Dinner given by The Marketing Society on Tuesday evening.

Read a summary here  and listen to a snapshot from speaker John Grant, author and co-founder of  Ecoinomy here 

My own view from a marketing perspective, is that even with many marketing models where we believe that we are moving towards true  democracy we are still just painting Benign Dictatorship in a different colour. The recent example of Subway for example allowing customers to choose between a variety of new sandwiches for the new product launch is limited democracy. They were given a choice from a selection from Subway.

If we are looking to see how widespread democracy through crowd sourcing is, the take a look at over 1000 crowdsorcing and crowdfunding sites listed here

Of course it depends on how we define democracy. If we believe that all brands should be run by consumers, then quite frankly I'm not sure there is a future in that. But if we believe that democratic barnds are ones that allow consumers a say in new product development including suggesting new products and services ( eg Starbucks) , or allow consumes to openly cast a vote on how good a product or service is ( eg Amazon ) then I'm a believer!

Friday, 12 August 2011

Who I ReTweet

According to Tweetstats these are the people I RT the most...and so the ones I recommend on FollowFriday #FF

Thank you :

@chrisgomedia @conversionation @socialemail @eCircleUK @B2BMarketingEU @jvanrijn @andrewbonar @DMA_UK @indiescott @philipstorey

Thursday, 11 August 2011

From Crowd Sourcing to Crowd Tapping

A new way for Brands to connect with and reward consumers
Essentially it allows rewarding of actions like completing surveys, voting polls, participating in a live-online discussions or sharing brand-related content with a few friends via social media and the Crowdtap platform. The reward points  can be redeemed for things like  Amazon gift cards, or  donations to a charity. 



Monday, 8 August 2011

Phygital* - Will The Real QR Code Please Stand Up

A read an interesting piece from Adam Hutchinson the Lead UX Architect at EHS4D ( in fact there he is sat 10 feet away from me), on the value of QR codes.

Adam argued quite legitamately that 'for all their wizardry, they are currently being used in exactly the same way as URLs. That is, to link to a web address'

And indeed in the majority of cases that's right. eConsultancy did show, however, some really clever uses in a recent article, my favourite being the one below

The jury is still out in particular as QR codes penetration is still quite low although recent experiments by broadcasters such as the BBC could very well increase awareness. The BBC One TV Program ''The Good Cook'' now has QR codes on screen to allow you to access recipes from the show.

BBC The Good Cook QR Code

Danny Cohen, Controller, BBC One, says: “I want BBC One to lead the way with interactivity and technological innovation so that we can keep engaging audiences in new ways. I hope viewers will find this experiment with QR codes to be a simple but useful tool to help them re-create the recipes they see on screen.”

But of course as soon as one technology is in the consumers hand, another one takes another large step forward. Why stop at black and white boxes when actually the object itself ,once plastered with a QR code, becomes the tag itself. Check out the video


*Phyigital belongs to those clever people at Momentum

Saturday, 6 August 2011

Reading the Signs

I came across the FIAT Street Evo app recently and was impressed by the numbers claimed at the end of the clip.

  1. 1 million signs spotted
  2. Great feedback
  3. The most viewed Fiat brochure in history!

I think the use of technology, location , gamification make the campaign truly engaging.

Let's hope the conversations turned into conversions.