Friday, 28 September 2012

Cirkle's latest flexible working option?

We love our flexible working locations at Cirkle, our current choices are home, London or Beaconsfield... With this portable desk, complete with its own power supply, surely there's a case for us to add the beach to that list. Winter sun anyone?
Portable desk enables users to work in any location, the Field Power Desk from KANZ Outdoors is a portable freestanding workspace that includes power outlets.


Thursday, 27 September 2012

Need tips on how to achieve your career goals? New software helps with what and who you need to know

ResumUP is a new platform from the States, currently in BETA, which helps you map and chart your career and achieve specific career goals. It works by taking data from existing social media sites (Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter) and putting it together into an impressively thorough visual representation of your career to date with very little additional input from yourself (see this video link for some rather fetching examples).

It gets better from here: ResumUp can help map out the steps you need to make to achieve your next career goal or change with practical tips and advice. It does this by cross referencing the career information you've provided with career information from people already in the role you want in order to analyse the gaps in your current skills and experience. 

This struck me as pretty nifty for a couple of reasons. It’s the first useful example I’ve seen of information being sourced across platforms, cross-referenced and presented as one cohesive package, it’s also a new example of how software is improving our lives and interestingly, how our data is being used (with our permission) in more sophisticated ways.

ResumUP also responds to a need. Trend and insight forecasters The Future Laboratory have found that the current workforce generation has on average seven to ten career changes in their lifetime, compared to an average of three changes in their parent’s generation. This software seems a pretty relevant way of reaching what The Future Laboratory term the Slash/Slash generation, in all their internet savvy glory.

Tuesday, 25 September 2012

What makes a 'Cool Brand' cool?

The latest round up of “Cool Brands” (as defined by key cultural influencers, designers, journalists, musicians, and of course celebrities for good measure) was out this week with Apple toppling Aston Martin from the top. What makes them cool? Well, according to the panel, they demonstrate style, innovation, originality, authenticity, desirability and uniqueness. Pretty obvious it would seem when you consider who makes the list ….. YouTube, Glastonbury, Virgin, Bang & Olufsen, Vogue …. But ‘coolness’ is often something that is short lived so there must be something more to it surely? As with any brand that it is successful, these names are giving something to their consumers that creates a reason for their fans to welcome them into their lives. For Aston Martin it is surely status, for Haagen Dazs it is pleasure, for iPlayer it is entertainment. You see, today’s consumer edits out irrelevant brand messages simply because there are just too many to consume and the ones that achieve cut through are the ones that give them something genuine in return. These brands aren’t just cool, they are enriching people’s lives. Blackberry fell out of the Top 20 in this year’s list – it stopped being cool because rather than improving people’s lives, it ignored their needs.

Friday, 14 September 2012

2013… the year to up brand confidence?

Six or seven years ago McDonalds UK seemed a bit embarrassed about itself. Under huge pressure as the poster child for obese Britain, it invested little in its restaurants and was seeing quarter after quarter of declining results. The initial response was to introduce fruits and salads and oranges juices. Then someone with sense said “whoa, whoa, whoa…”. 
Rather than be embarrassed, they needed pride. They realised they had an amazing estate, gave chances to tens of thousands of young people and made burgers and fries which millions of people liked and made a big contribution to the economy and wider society.

They introduced all sorts of comms around this re-found confidence… in the opportunities they create for employment, in their food and its provenance, in their restaurant estate and its future. 2012 is likely to be its best year on a long-term upward curve.

For Brand GB, we had perhaps the worst ever case of Pre-Olympic Tension. We were crap “at this sort of thing”, our athletes will crumble, the roads will be jammed, there’ll be queues everywhere, the security won’t stop what-it-needs-to… we’ll fail not just in front of ourselves but in front of the entire watching world. Self-Hate Britain writ-large.

But then, Liz jumped out of a helicopter, Mr Bean made a fart gag, the transport worked, helpful squaddies and gamesmakers charmed and British athletes of all shapes, sizes, colours and classes out-performed expectation at every turn. Confidence grew and before we knew it, we were slapping ourselves on the back, basking in the glow of a job brilliantly, creatively, effectively, humorously and successfully done.

Just as psychologists will tell us we’re more attracted to confident people, so, it seems reasonable to assume, are we more attracted to confident brands.  Brands which share opinions, get involved, make themselves relevant, are transparent, can laugh, are generous, involving, trusting and honest… these are the brands we want.

Waitrose/John Lewis, Innocent, Marmite, McDonalds, P&G, Paddy Power, IKEA, the Guardian, Mumsnet, Red Bull, … if you’re wondering what to brief your agency on for 2013, you could do a lot worse than asking them how to boost your brand’s confidence.

Thursday, 13 September 2012

Can music cool help The Guardian work its way back into profit?

It's always interesting to see the Guardian's continuing progression from a print newspaper to digital lifestyle brand. This campaign by We Are Social began in August and sees the Guardian focus on their music coverage as a core property. It's quite interesting to see a potentially rebellious act like working with graffiti artists to re-skin Camden Barfly executed in such a restrained way with relatively conservative artwork. While The Guardian is clearly experimenting it hasn't moved too far from the sobriety of a quality newspaper. Lets wait and see if this innovation starts to translate into money for the media company that lost £44.2 million last year.