December 10, 2012

Infographic Weather…

What a lovely use of infographic design and visual referencing here by the BBC. Small user interaction details such as raising the sun as the temperature increases is subtle and makes for a much improved user experience. Designing information in this way improves our understanding of  it which in turn aids retention.

It is details like this within digital design that if applied to wider businesses and brands would improve conversions, customer satisfaction, engagement, NPS scores along with a whole host of other potential metrics.


Think about the application of this type of design in your next monthly report – wouldn’t a single page  infographic like this do more than boring excel bar charts to help you present your case and win backing?

What if phone companies displayed their data usage levels like this or your bank displayed your spending habits in this way or your car dashboard showed your speed rising and falling and the potential impact that has on petrol consumption – I am sure such subtle adaptations of the everyday things we interact with could bring about more positive changes in our lives.

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December 7, 2012

Will work for…

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  • Healthier Community
  • Leverage cycling to improve environment and health
  • Creative Education

Just 3 of the quick things I wrote down after visiting a new site created by IDEO and Collaborative Fund canned Will work for.

What did you think of? Write it down we will come back to it.

Will work for is a kick starter to a new conversation – what constitutes work, how we go about our work and what value does it have for us and society?

The convergent impact of middle class incomes dropping, the notion of the career changing as a good thing and stayed structures meaning junior and progressive managers looking for new routes to progress is altering what we will work for and what we look to get from it. Daniel Pink explored some of this idea in Drive when he discussed how creative people are not motivated by carrots and sticks but by autonomy, mastery and purpose. This concept is now being put into action as a necessity to progress and I think its an amazing thing.

The videos on Will work for explore the concept of big data being applied to farming, digital innovation to eduction and a 16 year old maker building electronic devices to improve the wealth of the community by selling power back to the grid. AMAZING! These are all things that to most people at just insane but are being done, they will change our world in a positive way and its being done by people no smarter than you or I (borrowed line from Steve Jobs).

logo-sm (1)

In this really short blog post Karyn Campbell (investor) touches on a few key concepts for me:The notion of work is changing

How we apply out creative talents is changing

The role of business in the world is changing to be a force for good

The latter is the most interesting for me right now. Karyn said in her post that both businesses had looked at their goals and values found they aligned and took action through a simple idea. Business is now seeing the value in doing good and making a profit, it doesn’t have to be an either or scenario anymore and in fact the profitable and socially good company has a much greater positive impact on society than just about anything. Just think how much better off the UK economy would be if Starbucks had paid its taxes (which they agreed to do today).

The future is for us to create.

So what 3 things did you write down at the start?

How you use your skills and knowledge and apply them to make things better?

Check out the videos for some inspiration.

November 1, 2012

IKEA Moving Day

This is the perfect example of a brand taking a cultural insight and doing something useful which in turn creates awareness, brand advocacy and their own media. Just a truly brilliant idea. One of those you wish you had come up with.

September 16, 2012

The Reality of ZMOT for Marketers

I think retailers are missing the point with digital and a case today clearly shows why. Let me explain using an experience I had today that I think highlights it perfectly.

After completing nearly 1000km in my favourite trainers a run this morning resulted in the biggest blister and sore pads. This isn’t the first time it’s has happened on a +10k run and made me decided to change them.

For all the technology I use with Nike – Nike+ App on iPhone and now awaiting delivery of my new Nike  Fuelband I will only ever run Brooks.

Brooks for me are the best. They focus only on developing technology for lightweight and unbelievably comfortable running trainers that last ages – great value even at nearly £100 a pair. My upgrades – Ghost 5’s.

When I get something in my head I am incredibly impatient for it. Decide and Act is my way of thinking and not a bad way of going about life I feel. My trainers however are one of those purchases that like to try on and see in the flesh (so to speak). There is a great specialist running store in Leeds called Up & Running which is always at cost price but where I hoped to receive the specialist care and information about these trainers you would expect.

So I walk in and ask one of the staff “Can I have a pair of Brooks Ghost 5 in size 8 please”. At this point all that member of staff should be thinking is SALE, SALE, SALE. I have entered the store with a specific goal and a product in mind that they stock. As the Meerkat would say ‘SIMPLES’.

All you Miss Sales Person have to do is close me by providing that product.

They didn’t have my size, thats ok what else do you have.

They didn’t know what the other best in class trainer was, not great.

They still have an options. They don’t use any of them. I walk out of the store.


Even without the product they have one more card to pull at this Zero Moment of Truth.

The Zero Moment of Truth or ZMOT is the new paradigm of how the web is changing (had changed) consumer in-store purchasing behaviour forever and how brands need to adapt their strategies to this new paradigm. This starts with understanding how they can start to leverage technology to close sales and move away from the download and dash culture. Download and dash is where someone enters a store, picks the brains of the specialist, pulls out their iPhone, finds the cheapest price and walks straight out of the store.

It’s happening all the time.

Brands have a way of getting around this and its simple marketing and sales!

This is how the experience should have played out…

When someone walks in and asks “Can I have a pair of Brooks Ghost 5 in size 8 please” and you have them on your website for sale DO NOT LET THEM LEAVE without closing that sale. The management and marketing team should have identified when this was happening, observed when ZMOT happened and created a strategy to tackle it. That strategy should be to empower the staff with technology. They are not there to fill the shelves, clean the floors and make the place look nice. They are there to sell, to close and without an doubt make sure that if someone walks in asking for a product your company can supply you do all you can to provide it to them in a way that is convenient. Nor is your website just another channel separate from the store – they are linked – get your head around this. The web is an enhancement, an extension of your brand experience not a bolt on.

Finally when I ask about the price of the trainers im told £100. I know I can get them for £89.99 – found this out during research. So we leave.

I then start a new journey.

ZMOT: Was in the store and has now passed.

So I headed home and fire up Google.

Step 1: Google: Brooks Ghost 5

Step 2: (,default,pd.html) – no good the first two listing were .com so US. They need some SEO work to direct to UK right?

Step 3Brooks Ghost 5 UK

Found them. £100 + postage from Brooks – nope can get them cheaper than that. Moving on.

Step 4: Google Again: Brooks Ghost 5 UK > Shopping Results.

Interesting enough that Up and Running don’t feature here and Chain Reaction are (see above). CR have activated their Google Shopping List Data Feed – something U&R need to do – more info on that here

Check out Chain Reaction > £89.99 and FREE delivery. Perfect.

Step 5: Check out Up & Running.

Inside I still actually want to buy from these guys.

How odd right.

I’ve given them a second chance.


Great I can get them even cheaper the research has paid off.

Wait. Whats that at the top of the screen?

FREE delivery over £100!

Heading into the basket there is a £3.99 delivery – still makes them cheaper at £88.99.

Also hate the experience its dark, clunky and uninformative.

Decision time.

Which did I go for?

Chain Reaction. Why? Two reasons:

1.I preferred their checkout process and overall site design experience. Design and UX matter!

2. The feeling that I got something for FREE helped. Even if I did pay £1 more. CR didn’t promise a product for £85 then drop in a hidden deliver charge. They were upfront and used FREE as the clincher. Smart. It’s a small thing but has a huge impact when making that final decision. Swayed me.

Realising ZMOT

So what can Up & Running so?

If the staff in the store had checked in the back and in realising they only had a size 11 had pulled out an iPad quickly checked the company inventor, found they had an 8, told me they were £89.99 I would have bought them there and then.

I would have felt like my journey somehow ended in success and that somehow Up & Running had helped. That would have built my brand advocacy and this post would have been about how great Up & Running had leveraged digital technology to close a sale in a tough economy.

They could have also collected other information about me at that point. They have earned my trust by providing and adding value. Using some additional data such as + age + shoe size + running activity + knowing about a brand I clearly love there are endless possibilities. Data is a lubricant of society and marketing now. Identify where to get it, plan how to use it and test your ideas!

When the new range comes out in 6/12 months they could invite me to test a pair or secure and receive FREE delivery on that order.

They could simply email me about new Brooks releases – Lorelei (girlfriend) runs Brooks Defyance and would also be interested in the latest range.

Would I have given that data at purchase. Course I would just ask!


I hope somewhere in this long anecdote there is a lesson to all retailers and marketers alike. Digital doesn’t just mean having a website it means empowering your staff to solve problems for customers through it. At  the ZMOT, at the checkout and at the interaction. Marketers should be less concerned with how they ‘communicate’ offers and brand messages to their customers and more concerned about how they solve real problems through technology.

Up & Running can now leverage this insight and start to empower their marketers and staff to close more sales.

Ideas based on real human interactions and feedback like this can transform a business.

July 18, 2012

Digital storytelling at its best…

It isn’t often that a web experience really draws you in and makes you feel something, even less often when it is from a creative agency and not a brand.

This site is stunning, digital storytelling at its best and a great use of HTML5 to run video in the background and allow for such smooth transitions.

Make sure you have your headphones in the music is as much a part of the experiences as the visuals.



Found here:

July 12, 2012

Starting with why…

Have you ever asked why you do what you do?

Why the business you work for does what it does?

Why you get up and go to work everyday?

Why you are here?

You know what you do. I do, I advise businesses and brands on how best to leverage digital technologies and strategies to create great ideas that connect with consumers.

I also know how I do it. The processes, methods, knowledge required to execute one of these ideas.

But why? Why? Why? Why? Why? Why?

Starting with why is scary, it requires confidence to think about why you want something and being true to that reason. I believe this is what really separates the super successful form the not so successful.

Having a big enough why changes everything.

Even though its incredibly hard to define your why, your purpose it is amazingly rewarding and leads to Maslow’s theory of self actualisation if you start to build on your whys.

Simon Sinek’s idea is nothing short of  brilliant.


July 6, 2012

June 2, 2012

The China Study…

The Chine Study is a book covering the largest investigation into the impact diet has on health ever undertaken. I was introduced to at a Tony Robbins seminar 2 weeks ago. The 4th day of the seminar is totally dedicated to health inc. exercise and diet. The suggested outcome was: eat a diet that is 70% vegetables, 20% fruit, if you are going to eat animals eat fish but not fish on the sea bed (think Kosher diet), don’t eat chicken it tastes nice because its absorbed it own piss and shit (honestly), don’t eat any dairy (you will see why when you read the book) and finally reduce all animal protein to 0.

Animal protein to 0 WTF. Just a month ago I was writing about a new low carb diet I was trying to get back to winning ways which involved eating protein constantly. This worked in principle (lost weight, looked better) but I felt like shit. Lethargic, moody and unable to concentrate for extended periods of time. Tim Ferris review of how the body works is actually just a mishmash of other peoples work and his own personal experiments that direct you down a high protein Atkins like diet that is on review extremely harmful.

For the last 10 days I have been following the new diet based on the following principles:

  • 3 sessions of deep belly breathing each day (increase oxygen intake)
  • Drink 2 – 4 litres of lemon / lime water (fresh not cordial)
  • Exercise first thing in the morning
  • Eat foods rich in water content – think will this cleanse of clog
  • Get essential oils – Udo Choice are what I am using and they are great for getting healthy fats
  • Eat whole foods such as wheat based pasta, wraps, etc
  • Have a fresh salad ready all week – snack on this
  • Start the day with a lovely fruit smoothy or veg juice
  • Drink wheatgrass
Actually I am going to break off an just touch on wheatgrass. Research I have read say it contains 92 of the 102 minerals we need, high quantities of daily required vitamins, 8 of the 17 animo acids and other digestive enzymes key to a healthy, balanced diet.
The actual result of drinking this stuff is unreal. The feeling is like having your brain turned on to its optimum range. Try some and you will see what iI am talking about. Not sure – read up more about it here.
  • Exercise aerobically not an – e.g. weight training, sprints, etc
  • Detox twice a year

The results of 10 days following this are outstanding!!! 100% more energy, wake up every morning at 5:30 have a smoothy, drive to the gym, train and go all day till 12 only to do it again without feeling tired at all. You’re thinking thats nice but aren’t you drinking loads of coffee and tea. Not a drop since day 2 of the conference (and yes I did get the obligatory 24hr headache).

After feeling somewhat let down by Mr Ferris 4hr body and other diet & health blogs and books that advocated protein consumption as a balanced and healthy way to live I was starting to question it. So remembering The China Study reference off to Amazon I went and read half of it yesterday.

The finds of the book are nothing short of remarkable. Usual scepticism arises whenever the work ‘remarkable‘ is used in the context of anything relating to health as we conform to the status quo. The findings are however about much more than just the food we eat but the direct linkage to known disease and how a shift in diet can reduce / eradicate many of the worlds deadliest ailments, a big promise right.

The first half is focused almost entirely on the impact of animal protein diets, specifically casein (cows milk protein – yes that stuff you put on your weetabix) and accelerated cancer cell growth. The study found a 20% animal protein diet turned on and accelerated cancer cell growth, promoted heart disease, lung and bowel cancer, to name just a few of the nasty things it causes.

Mapping these results over a study of disease and diet in China brought about staggering findings.

The rural Chinese diet of vegetables promoted almost none of the common diseases associated with an affluent society, yes they had diseases but the instances of western concerns was dramatically reduced or non existent in the case of 3 villages and heart disease.

In short we are eating ourselves to death. Our abundant wealth and proximity to animal based food stuffs is killing us.

If you are looking for the single biggest wake up call to change your eating habits and live a longer, healthier and happier life read this book and put into action its recommendations it is likely to be the best thing you ever do.

To significantly increase your well being go on a veg / vegan diet for 10 days following the things I have listed above and I guarantee you will see the health benefits and will not lose muscle or any of the other things that we  link to animal flesh.

More to follow on this but seriously go and buy this book now.

April 21, 2012

When there is doubt there is no doubt…

So this week has been an interesting week and period of education in realising that making a decision doesn’t have to be about changing every aspect of your life, a decision to do more, be more and give more in your current situation and environment is a decision in itself and one that I had ever so slightly and stupidly overlooked.

2 weeks ago I came to the decision that I wanted to change jobs, yesterday I went back on that decision and here is why.

Put simply in my gut I knew the decision I was about to make was wrong. That I had doubt and as a good friend said yesterday, quoting Alex Ferguson ‘When there is doubt, there is no doubt’. I knew it was wrong because my gut was telling me I was taking myself off the course I had set myself down when I was 14 years old, which was to work in advertising after being given a creative brief to work on in media class by a teacher that was formerly an AD at BBDO London (

So where am I now?

I work in advertising with a digital specialism which means not only do I get to create and share ideas with amazing people, manage business and help  brands grow but I get to play with technology as an added bonus.

Everything I could ever want or desire I have and have through this process really came to a realisation of this for which I am very humbled and grateful!

I wanted change but I was trying to create that change through environment rather than changing myself, my outlook, goals and attitudes. I had focused so much on the things I did not want that they started to manifest themselves. Its like if I say, think of the colour blue, you think blue and you notice blue everywhere. This is known as the Baader Meinhof Phenomenon which I am not going to go into in details but the podcast here and put into context here. This can be toxic and I will know in future to notice this happening.

Making the decision to stay where I am but to give more, be more positive, focused on achieving goals, delivering results and enjoying my work and being grateful for the awesome situation I find myself in is I have to say one of the most liberating decisions and feelings of my life.

I haven’t gone about the situation in a slick way. Far from it. Its actually almost comical the amount of stupid things I have done down to actually putting in my notice and now going back on it.

Some might think that is embarrassing but I don’t. Far from it. I have learnt so much from the experience, you only ever learn from mistakes after all and gained valuable experience about decision making, about how to go about ones business, what is good advice and what is bad, who will give you honest council that might hurt, know when your being lead down the garden path and when to realise that your value is your value not what someone else perceives it to be

The decision is made. The stake is well and truly in the ground and the future looks bright, awesome and fucking exciting.

Thank you all for your patience, advice and willing of me to make the right decision.

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