Did you know that every 2 letter .com is now taken? With this in mind, ICANN are releasing a whole swathe of new TLDs (Top Level Domains), such as .london, .rugby and even .beer! There are rules and regulations around owning domains like ilove.rugby, so here’s what you should know.
You won’t be owning your own .yourname
Unless you’ve got around £200 000 to do so, that is. Domain Venture Partners for instance raised around $400m to get it’s piece of the top level domain pie, so you’ll be competing with them.
There are rules around what you can own
.london, for instance will require your business to be registered in London. This could be a good time to trade under the name you want to secure, to get your hands on shopin.london. You’d need to check with each registrar as to the specific rules (view the list of domains).
They’re released in batches
.london, for instance is open to registration on 29th April. The project in general is a huge undertaking, possibly one of the biggest organisation overhauls the internet has ever seen (or maybe it’s IP V6, but that’s a bit more personal geekery). Check with your registrar as to when you can register your specific interest in a domain. If you’ve a particular domain in mind, Google for the domain you should find registrars to register your interest.
They may not be that useful to many
Especially in the public sector, if you’re bound to a .gov domain. If you’re able to use a .london or .photography domain for a single project, or don’t sit under the .gov umbrella, then it’s wise to think about if it does make you stand out from the crowd, or not. It’s more of a rental property, in the way that the amount you pay each year could vary, and will depend on which domain you go for. I expect .london to sell for around £50 a year.
You could pick up a .diamonds domain though, with them being a girls best friend and all. At £30 a year, a .diamond domain could be your best friend too.
Are you going to be securing your own domain when they become available? I’ve got my eyes on a couple for myself.
The end of the financial year is almost here so quite possibly you’re working on a 2014-15 strategy. Good luck to you!
We know strategy is important. Everyone likes to talk about it, especially candidates on the Apprentice.
But for a more considered perspective we could look instead to Sir Lawrence Freedman, author of Strategy: A History and professor at Kings College, London.
It’s almost an hour long and you may not be sat comfortably enough for that right now, so here are my highlights:
- A strategy is not synonymous with a plan, although the process of planning is valuable
- A good strategy starts with understanding the problem and the here and now, rather than defining an end point
- Strategy is about living with uncertainty, rather than removing it
- Strategy is a story written in the future tense; an (imprecise) idea of where you’d like to be
Digital marketing problems
With this in mind, what should you be considering for your marketing strategy? Of course every organisation is different, but here’s a few suggestions from me that probably apply to your digital efforts.
1. Attention is moving faster than ever
This chart is from bit.ly, a link shortener with tons of data about the sharing of online content. You can read the full post, but in short it shows that most content shared online only gets a few hours’ attention.
How can your organisation produce enough content, of enough interest, to sustain people’s attention? How can you produce the right combination of stock and flow content to both provide value and capture attention?
And beyond that, why do you need the attention? How much do you need? What will you do if you get it?
2. Your organisation is vertical, but real people are horizontal
Real people don’t care about your org chart and silos. They just care about the bits of your organisation that help them do what they need to do. And they get frustrated when they have to navigate your verticals. (Think what it’s like when you have to keep repeating your problem to different people on a help line).
Digital has exaggerated this. In marketing terms, people now move in one fluid experience between your owned, earned and paid channels; from website, to banner ad, to email, to what people say about you on Twitter. Any inconsistencies will jar and could affect your credibility and reputation.
So, how can your organisation get more horizontal? Which verticals need to collaborate to create a brilliant horizontal experience for real people? How can you create a bias to horizontal action, rather than vertical bureaucracy? (Much more on this in Joel Bailey’s fabulous A Horizontal Manifesto. I particular like the idea of a switch to people having to make a business case for why something shouldn’t be done.)
3. Digital will punch you in the mouth
As Mike Tyson (almost) said, everyone has a plan until they get punched in the mouth. The complexity and speed of the Internet is like a billion digital fists, so how will you react when one of them takes a swing at your jaw?
Marketing is still stuck in the language of campaigns and plans, predict and control. Humans are notoriously bad planners though so what if it turns out your plans have a glass jaw? Digital marketing needs to be a reactive, ongoing, always-on activity done in collaboration with people rather than to people, and the good news is that digital makes this more possible than ever before.
How will you build adaptability into your strategy? How will you take advantage of the opportunity you can’t foresee now? Perhaps you should adopt the 70:20:10 rule for budgeting? Maybe it’s time to adopt some of the ideas of lean marketing?
Tackling Youth Unemployment panel discussion, with special guest Kit Malthouse
When: Tuesday 4th March
Time: 8am – 9am
Where: Rosebery Room, Sadler’s Wells Theatre, Rosebery Avenue, Clerkenwell, EC1R 4TN
With 2.34 million young people out of work youth unemployment is a problem all around the country.
In Islington alone there are 1,110 18-24 year olds claiming benefits (NOMIS January 2014) but 15,280 employers in the area (Office of National Statistics 2013). So that means if just 1 in 15 employers hired just one apprentice this would eradicate youth unemployment in the whole of Islington.
As part of National Apprenticeship Week 2014 (#NAW2014), Claremont is hosting a panel discussion on Tuesday 4th March to highlight to employers the benefits that hiring an apprentice can bring and how employing an apprentice also benefits the wider community.
The panel will consist of:
- Jon Thorn – Head of Business Development at the National Apprenticeship Service
- Kate Balston – HR Director at One Plus One
- Alison Wells – BPP Law School
- And chaired by Ben Caspersz – Managing Director of Claremont
With special guest Kit Malthouse – Deputy Mayor for Business and Enterprise
If you don’t employ an apprentice (yet) come down and find out how Apprenticeships help employers grow their own talent by developing a motivated, skilled and qualified workforce.
The question is: Will you be the one of the 1 in 15?
There’s also time to organise your own activity for National Apprenticeship Week, click here for the toolkit to find more information on what you can do to promote Apprenticeships.
In an industry that sometimes struggles to prove its effectiveness, one Claremont campaign helps answer the age old question ‘why do PR’.
Last weekend the government announced that as a result of Tomorrow’s Engineers Week, the number of young people interested in a career in engineering has seen a sharp rise – by 6 percentage points (from 50 to 56% agreeing they would consider a career in engineering).
Among 11-14 year old girls, the 6 percentage point rise is even more significant as it is a jump from 35% to 41% interested in pursing a engineering career.
Government and industry launched Tomorrow’s Engineers Week following the Perkins Review of Engineering Skills, which focused on the need to shore up the pipeline of skills throughout the whole engineering sector. As Chief Executive of EngineeringUK, Paul Jackson, said:
Tomorrow’s Engineers Week is an example of the positive impact that can be made when organisations work together. The Week has proven an effective calendar item for raising awareness of engineering careers and EngineeringUK will be delighted to coordinate it on behalf of the engineering community in 2014.
So for a campaign that set out with three clear objectives we’ve now got the proof we hit all three – and on a modest budget:
An amazing result, only made possible thanks to our partnership with Tribe PR and On Broadcast, working closely with the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, EngineeringUK and other stakeholders, many of whom delivered outreach activity direct to young people, reinforcing the PR activity on the ground.
As Secretary of State for Business Innovation and Skills Vince Cable said:
As a country we excel in hi-tech industries but we need the engineers to maintain our competitive advantage. Government alone cannot solve this. We need to work with industry, universities, colleges and schools to keep momentum and guarantee the pipeline of talent so that businesses are not disadvantaged. It is encouraging to see that our efforts to highlight the importance of engineering as a career has had a positive affect and that more women and girls are seeing it as an exciting career.
So why do PR? To get results that will increase the chances of young people working in a sector that will help the UK economy and avoid creating future skills gaps.
For more information on Tomorrow’s Engineers visit: tomorrowsengineers.org.uk
If you’re a regular Buzzfeed-er you might also have noticed the rapid increase of the Buzzfeed quiz.
But why is there such an increase and why is it that people – myself included – can’t get enough of them?
The end of last year
At the end of last year something terribly strange happened. The most shared article on The New York Times was in fact a dialect quiz. This in itself is a strange occurrence but what’s even more disturbing is the fact that it was posted on the 21st December.
That means that in the 11 days it was on the site, it was shared more than any other content all year.
So obviously a procrastination hotbed like Buzzfeed picked it up straight away with almost three quizzes a day being posted since the New Year.
Well, unlike the Slate article about Buzzfeed quizzes, I don’t think it has anything to do about people wanting to “believe the world is categorise-able”. This is a terribly dim outlook on how people use Buzzfeed and the quizzes that it provides.
In all honesty it’s just a bit of fun.
We ‘millennials’ are not trying to categorise the world on the basis of being Thor or Dr Druid from the Avengers. It’s not about dealing with our problems. It’s merely about seeing how your answers turn out and laughing at the friend who got Percy Weasley as their Harry Potter character.
People forget that Buzzfeed is quite possibly the greatest procrastinating tool ever. Even without its quizzes Buzzfeed is perfectly positioned for not doing anything useful online – possibly better than both YouTube and Facebook. With articles like ‘The 22 Funniest Things Jimmy Carr Has Ever Said“ or ‘What Celebrities Would Look Like If They Were Fat’ no matter how pathetic these articles are the fact is that they are easy to consume meaning that there’s no chance that you can have one eye on Buzzfeed and the other on The Economist – it just isn’t going to happen.
There are two ways that the Buzzfeed quiz can go.
Firstly, they could go the way of the hula-hoop – rapidly expanding in popularity before disappearing from our memories and day-to-day activities for good.
Or they could be start becoming useful to people. If set out in the right way, with more time being spent on them, they could be used to help people find a job that would suit them.
Obviously to have people complete a quiz and tell them what job, apprenticeship or traineeship they should take is utterly wrong. The quiz could give guidance and advice based on skill set, interests and qualifications.
This clearly requires a lot of work from both the person answering the quiz and the person designing it – a quiz helping people actually choose a career path can’t be set up in the same amount of time as Buzzfeed’s new ‘What Career Should You Actually Have?’ quiz (where questions consist of what’s your favourite trilogy or what would you bring on a desert island). It would have to be much more intricate and layered.
The above is a brilliant example of how these quizzes are used for fun (I’ve just taken the quiz and got professor).
This isn’t a bad thing but if set up the right way these quizzes could actually become useful for people seeking employment direction rather than leading people down the dark alley of procrastination.
As part of a client campaign rolling out soon (watch this space!), we wanted to explore the potential marketing opportunities for Vine. Following it’s first birthday, Vine is beginning to attract the relevant media attention it finally deserves (see Channel 4). This is the next big thing for social media PR (especially when targeting young people) with over 40 million people with an account.
It’s really interesting to see that Vine (like Instagram) is still quite a pure platform, and hasn’t really been touched by the ‘marketing monster’. So pure, in fact, it’s nearly impossible to upload any content that does not come from a smartphone. So here it is: a simple tutorial on how to create your first vine.
1) Set up your shot
Simple things like taking a stable shot really make the vine look professional. There are a few ways of doing this:
Tripod + iPhone Tripod adapter
Although Vines are meant to be pure and random, using a tripod really helps to create a good finish. You can buy tripods for a fairly reasonable price (starting at about £10) and adapters for about £2 too. These are probably the most important instruments in turning an average Vine video into a professionally worked up one.
There is a feature on the Vine app which reveals the shot before in a faded view. This is extremely helpful when creating a professional looking stop motion clip, as you can see the image before and therefore keep in line with the next image.
Gridlines are great (esp. if you don’t have a tripod). If you line up an object (preferably in the background) with the gridlines, and turn on the ghosting feature, you can create a stable shot to refer back to (as you your movable objects change, your stable objects will stay in the same place).
What you need
2) Making the magic happen
The magic is in your understanding of how to use Vine and keeping things simple and creative. The beauty of Vine is in it being a vacuum of six second stories, told with minimal special effects. This means the emphasis is not on the quality (as other Platforms such as Instagram are), but more on the creative.
All below are stories, using different techniques to tell them:
Messing about with perspective can create a really good video. For instance, if an object is in the background, it will appear smaller, and therefore an object closer to the camera looks bigger. A Vine I made a while back, used a beer bottle placed quite far away and a hand nearer the lens to appear to be moving the bottle.
Understanding Stop Frame Motion
We’ve spent so long mastering special effects to eradicate the need for the time consuming stop motion technique for filming, that it’s now become an art that is well sought after by many brands trying to get into Vine. Just as the Polaroid camera has made it’s return, so has stop motion, showing this sector in the media industry has gone full circle on itself.
3) Film it!
Film your six second clip by touching the screen to take a shot. The longer you hold, the bigger the shot and therefore the less time you have left to film. Short sharp taps, allow you to create a stop motion effect.
The next thing to do is to upload your clip. Once you have more than four seconds of footage recorded, the arrow in the top right hand corner will appear. Tap that to move onto editing (for the more advanced “Viners”) and then tap it again to move onto publishing and sharing your Vine. You can share it on various networks including Twitter and Facebook, and you can embed it onto other websites too.
Don’t consider yourself a creator? Not to worry! Share the content others make. Lots of my friends have Vine accounts to watch other people’s stories and then to share it on Twitter to recommend their followers to watch too. Here’s some of my favourite Viners:
If you’d like some more information, or have a specific question about Vine, feel free to drop me an email – email@example.com
Produced by Ben Caspersz as an informal introduction to Claremont, made with an iPhone and iMovies.
Credit to Major Lazer for their ace track ‘Hold The Line’.
This short video – only 42 seconds in total – by Frauenzentrale Zürich about the huge affect that domestic violence has on children is the most heart-wrenching PSA to date.
Showing a young girl who can no be older than maybe four or five years old dressing up in her mother’s clothes and putting on her make-up all seems like something that every girl that age might be doing. But when the camera pans round to show that this small child has painted a black eye on herself, you can’t help but shudder.
The power of this terribly short video is the fact that, apart from ‘Mad World’ playing in the background there is no sound, making the whole thing much more striking and the message all the more potent. Also, we aren’t seeing – or hearing – any violence take place as we have with earlier PSA’s like the ‘Would you stop yourself?’ campaign. All we see are the effects, and not to the initial victim but the psychological affects that it has on children who witness such scenes.
To communicate more effectively with people we need to understand them better.
To do this we can do various things but assuming we’re using research we can use quantitative methods to get figures, stats and trends about people – the what, the where, the when – or we can use qualitative research to help us understand the how and the why. Or of course, we can use both.
When carrying out qualitative research it is likely to involve running group sessions which immediately creates difficulties seeing as group dynamics can change people. Below are just a few tips to help you get the most from your group and reach new levels of information.
Invest time upfront
Have a very clear idea of what your outcome is, or if you’re running the session on someone else’s behalf, make sure you’ve established what their desired outcome is and keep this at the forefront of your mind at all times.
Consider the best structure for your group: would an open discussion or breakout groups work better? How many people should be in the group? What type of person do you want? What is their relationship with the topic?
The session starts the moment you invite people to it. When inviting people remember two key things:
- Be honest. That is, always give people a rough idea of what the session entails – are they going to be asked to share anything particularly personal. Is any level of ‘performance’ expected? Being faced with unexpected role-play is some (most) people’s worst nightmare and will immediately extinguish engagement
- Sound excited. THAT DOESN’T MEAN YOU HAVE TO PUT SUPER EXCITING EXCLAMATION MARKS ALL OVER YOUR EMAIL!! But it does mean that you have to sound as if you are looking forward to the session, otherwise why on earth would anyone else be?
Set the tone on the day
Remember that as facilitator it is almost impossible for you not to have an impact on the group:
- If you’re open and friendly people are more likely to be the same – (but avoid the ‘I should have been a holiday rep’ vibe)
- If you’re quiet, secretive and constantly taking notes it will make people feel uneasy and quiet.
Never scrimp on the introduction. It’s incredibly tempting to rush through this bit, especially if time is tight but I strongly advise giving it as much time as possible. This is the bit where you can put people on common ground by giving everyone a chance to say something.
Think of it like small talk – get it right and you’ll find your way to generating deeper, more meaningful conversations but get it wrong and you’ll find yourself forever chatting about the weather or some football team your granddad loosely supports and really, you know nothing about.
Never underestimate people’s natural urge to conform and be part of the norm.
It can be hugely challenging for humans to strike a balance between conforming (merging and belonging) and being individual – this fear of bucking the trend or rocking the status quo can skew results. (Experience of handling dominant/ quiet participants helps with this).
Reduce this practice of conforming by spending time making people feel comfortable around each other – this will encourage people to give more honest answers. Try this:
- Encourage each person to say something that is a bit private/that we don’t know. In this situation people will have, consciously or not, chosen to say something that puts them in a certain light to other people in the group.
- A participant may have chosen to say ‘I love to ride bikes’ out of any number of things he/she could have said
- To provoke and get a little closer to other possible answers rather than responding with ‘why do you like bikes?’ ask them why they chose to disclose that particular piece of information out of others they could have chosen.
Finally remember to always respond positively or neutrally. It as a massive privilege that people are willing to share private information with you so treat it with respect and even offer up some of your own bits of information to show you’re serious.
It’s really easy to slip into a bad habit of getting everything we want at the click of a button. This may seem great at the time, but it has diminished self-discipline and gratitude in many aspects of our lives.
Lots of things are to blame for this but I will avoid listing them because I’d rather not get too political.
With the new year, new hopes, new me, yadda yadda yadda, I’m sure a lot of people have been thinking about how they can better themselves by making new lifestyle choices and fixing personality flaws.
How about this one?
Delay your gratification
Think about it, make this choice and it actually applies to most common New Year’s resolutions: losing weight, lowering alcohol intake, dating, career success.
People have a sense of self-entitlement or self-pity when it comes to results. You haven’t got there, because you haven’t tried hard enough or haven’t stuck at it. It’s as simple as that. It is common knowledge that if you persevere you are a thousand times more likely to achieve results.
So you have two options: to reward yourself for nothing or to reward yourself for something.
And most importantly, there are two types of rewards: small rewards (instant gratification) and large rewards (delayed gratification).
The problem is most people don’t have a clue how to identify them.
Priorities must be reset. These obviously depend on your objective but let’s use a simple example – losing weight.
The small rewards (requires no work):
- Watching TV instead of exercising.
- Having a snack
- Eating fast food
- Drinking alcohol
Get healthy about your worklife
- Go to the gym three times a week
- Start your required diet and stick to it
- Resist those snacks!
The big rewards
- Your favourite meal and a drink at the end of the week (you will appreciate these a whole lot more)
- Physical and mental health
- Men/women will throw themselves at you – obviously!
Small rewards (what you think you want) < Work (what you don’t think you want) < Big rewards (what you really want).
Stand the test of time
The best thing is that once the work starts, it’s a lot easier to avoid those smaller rewards because you’ll have a lot more to lose.
See it like this – when you’re not working, you’re getting the small rewards and the small rewards are what hold you back.
Obviously there’s such a thing as too much work but it’s best to let common sense be the judge of that.
And of course, PERSIST.
Remember, good things come to those who wait.
Social media is now a well established platform for communicating in the public sector. Although some brands have been slower to adopt, it is fair to say, a large majority of public sector agencies have identified their audiences and created platforms appealing to them. Using technology to connect with your audience, and then (through ads) being able to personalise content based on key features of the individuals within that audience has provided unprecedented opportunities to tap into new behaviours and attract new followers.
However, the constant evolving of social media channels providing the aforementioned opportunities mean the pace of change is moving extremely quickly and advertising spaces are becoming less effective as users become more savvy and new channels gain popularity.
The relatively-low cost to advertise on social media encourages poor advertising which interweaves itself amongst genuinely engaging promoted posts, resulting in users ignoring all forms of advertising space. The user’s eye can skim across and “block out” posts that do not have any meaning to them, and so it takes very clever targeting to achieve the result you want. This is one of the reasons that contribute to the growing popularity of Instagram; an ad-free channel and a “purer” sharing platform – in 2013, Instagram was the fastest growing network with 150 million users and 40 million photos being uploaded each day.
“I’m allowed the freedom to choose who I want to follow and what I want to see.”
So purer channels sound like good news for users – but can they be used by (ethical) marketers? As usual, the key is in high quality, engaging, relevant content that strikes an emotional chord with your audience – see Kristian’s post (How to write for social media and create content people want to see and share: a short guide). However, running parallel to this, are two factors that should also be taken on board when considering using Instagram for business:
The rise and rise of devices:
- Half of UK adults now use a mobile phone to go online and more than one in
ten use a tablet computer, games console/ player or portable media player
- 189 million of Facebook’s users are “mobile only”
The importance of images:
Images and imagery are the quickest way to connect with the mobile generation:
- Photos on Facebook receive 53 percent more likes than posts without.
- Tweets with images receive 18 percent more clicks than those without, 89 percent more favorites, and 150 percent more retweets.
Who’s doing it right?
A mixture of despair and hope, Oxfam’s Instagram has engaging pictures from all over the world. Of course, they’re a huge not-for-profit, but it’s good to note, the focus on their page is about the people they’re helping. No CEO selfies, no blowing their own trumpet. Just simple, emotive posts.
A brilliant example of using the channel for specific campaigns. The “I love Arctic” selfies taken at the Thames Festival integrate the platform with the people.
Moving on from the Ceefax pages, (which ceased in 2012) the BBC are trialing a round up of the day’s news in the form of Instagram videos. The one month trial aims to attract a new audience (the on-the-go generation) and was set up in response to new data showing mobile and tablet consumption has replaced desktop.
So, here are some stead fast rules for Instagram:
- The importance of content cannot be underestimated; there needs to be a purpose as to why it is there
- User experience must be kept front of mind when delivering content
- People access Instagram whilst on the go, so time it well (finishing work – around 6pm?)
- Scrolling is fast, so the image must be powerful in order for the user take it in
- Instagram is still very “pure”. Your image must match the appeal of your user’s friend’s image
- Focus on “likes” – there is no way you can tell if someone has reposted (“shared”) your post
- KNOW YOUR BRAND – images speak a thousand words and each word is associated with your brand, so additionally, post wisely
So, Instagram for business?
The beauty of Instagram is in it’s brevity; it’s just images. Instagram is not a personal journal in the same respect as Facebook and Twitter are, and words won’t attract likes and shares as Facebook and Twitter do. In order to use Instagram for business, one must apply a traditional PR approach; using word of mouth to achieve results. Advertising on this network holds no weight as it’s impossible to do and so a clever, personal touch is needed instead.
Get the right content in the right place at the right time, and remember – however clever all this might seem, on the receiving end is a real human being just as impatient and busy as you.
Social media predictions - some great stats in there!
Is it too late to stop the relentless march of the hashtag? I think it might be.
Hashtags used to be a useful tool for finding relevant and useful information on Twitter. But we now have better ways of doing this – through social search such as Topsy, Facebook Graph Search, Twitter’s Search engine and Twitter’s ‘Discover’ tab.
Instead, hashtags have now been a way for brands to clog up my Facebook and Twitter newsfeeds with branded garbage and witty asides.
Take a look at the #BlueMonday hashtag for instance, currently Trending on Twitter. Not one person seems to be addressing the fact that today is the most depressing day of the year (something that, incidentally, gets thoroughly debunked every year.)
No, it is just a way for marketers to prove how ‘plugged in’ they are to the conversation by linking a promotional tweet to a Trending Topic. Way to go guys! #socialstrategy!
Anyway, a bad hashtag – or (ugh) a ‘bashtag’ – can be a massive liability. Just Ask British Gas.
Hashtag’s now appear to be hitting the mainstream, but my prediction is that we will one day look back on them as a bygone relic of a time when finding information on social media was hard.
Will 2014 be the year when the hashtag starts to decline? It looks like BuzzFeed agrees with me.