Pilot Light

Inferno is a PR consultancy. This is not. This is Inferno’s blog.

Archive for February 2009

Jukebox Friday 27.02

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This week’s theme – The Weather

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Written by pilotlight

27/02/2009 at 5:32 pm

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Upwardly Mobile

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Just send me an SMS...

In the wake of Mobile World Congress it’s got me thinking about the idea of this new ‘21st Century’ way of working. Mobile technology is by no means a new innovation but people are claiming that the current need to cut costs has pushed us fully into the next stage of a truly mobile workforce.

Hot stories to come out of MWC last week included the buzz around fourth generation technologies such as LTE – where mobile broadband and downloading speeds are second to none. People are always ‘on’ and available to their clients, there is no dead time wasted whilst on the train or away from the desktop. The latest smartphones, such as the Palm Pre and open OS systems like Android that enable a wider ecosystem of applications available on one platform, mean you have the latest 3G technology in your pocket, with all the applications you need, and linked to all your devices. Work has become truly collaborated, mobile and instant.

I’m currently training for the marathon so welcome the fact that I can always leave the office on time, in order to get back to go for a run before it’s too dark or late. I know I can keep up to date with emails and the team whilst on the bus or can log into the server from home if necessary. Work can fit more easily around my life and commitments. This is all good, in theory. But with the increasing economic pressures and continued blurring between home and work is it not also slightly worrying that people are now expected to be available 24/7 and able to read and reply to queries instantly?

Beth

Written by pilotlight

26/02/2009 at 1:30 pm

Posted in Business, Tech, Web 2.0

Tagged with , ,

Hordes hold (Earls) Court

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It was a tight squeeze at the TFM&A show

It was a tight squeeze at the TFM&A show

The vicious rumour doing the rounds over the past several years, since the sad demise Comdex in Las Vegas and the toning down of CeBit, is that trade shows are dead. People, so the rumour goes, no longer have the time, inclination or willingness to spend the day in what amounts to an aircraft hanger basically being sold to.

But while some tech trade shows may have had their day, it seems people still have appetite for learning. Attending the Technology for Marketing and Advertising show yesterday at Earls Court, the education seminars were not only full, but people were being turned away by bouncers at the entrance – a scene unheard of at most trade show seminars.

The Google seminar centred on website analytics was, as expected, full to the rafters half an hour before the event even begin. It seems even if Google is slipping out of favour with many, the power of its search engine cannot yet be overlooked by those with websites and e-commerce portals.

Other seminars such as the Chartered Institute of Marketing were similarly busy, even if they had slightly smaller presentation theatres. The real eye opener was that even the sponsored seminars, which are, let’s face it, are tantamount to someone selling to a large audience via a PowerPoint presentation, were jam-packed.

But what is the reason for all of this keen-bean enthusiasm? The first is the content. As with all things these days, content is king. And the content of this trade show was right on the ticket – social media, cloud computing, marketing and advertising in a recession, digital marketing.

Added to this that the show was free to enter so the only outlay for most businesses is the time of the attendee, which when weighed up with the possibility of increased web traffic, better customer engagement and more knowledgeable staff, is a no-brainer.

Another reason is that presentations and seminars are trade shows are now a lot better than they used to be. Gone are the hour-long pitches and death by PowerPoint. Instead companies have woken up to the fact that the audience wants something; that they, as presenters have to give value to their audience, whether in terms of knowledge-sharing, research, discounts or just hints and tips, no longer is it about pure selling.

A change in culture also has a part to play too. As we are beseeched by this digital and social world, employees know they need to know more in order for their companies to thrive – although this could also could be selfish reason that they want to increase their own knowledge for career progression or alternative jobs. In the tight economy people look for new ways to invent themselves and with the hype around social and digital media, becoming an advocate cannot do any harm and it enhances their personal brand.

The seminars from the show are available here

Sara Driscoll

Written by pilotlight

25/02/2009 at 3:53 pm

Jukebox Friday – 20 Feb

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Theme Furniture

Written by pilotlight

20/02/2009 at 6:05 pm

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Wherefore art thou Iggy?

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Shine on you crazy diamond....One piece of marketing heresy I have come across recently is the latest campaign from Swiftcover Car Insurance. They have taken one of the world’s greatest visionaries and reduced him to a car insurance salesman. I’m not sure whether to throw up or start drafting a letter to David Bowie to say “With my dearest sympathies…” expressing my condolences for the death of a lifestyle born of broken glass and heavy distortion in a room in 1960s Michigan.

But who’s to blame for this punk charade? Is no ground sacred for advertising, marketing and PR anymore or has the credit crunch started to squeeze the sales of rocks last remaining legends? What next? Radiohead bin liners?

I guess the irony of the whole situation is they have someone selling car insurance who is most famous for being The Passenger.

Matt L

Written by pilotlight

19/02/2009 at 11:20 am

Is twitter the new email?

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Next stop Tweeters corner - Hyde Park

Now that Twitter, the micro blogging site, has reached the heady heights of one of the top 100 sites in the UK, I thought it might be useful to have some kind of Twitter language discussion; not just the usual how you should use it, why you should use it, how it helps you business (or not) etc, but also tone, language and style of tweets.

Following in the footsteps of email, 10 or more years ago, Twitter has people excited, bored and cautious all in the same breadth. And, in the same vein as email, businesses are attempting to understand how this new form of communication can help their company develop, or indeed if it’s just a time-wasting, productivity-reducing, miniature FaceBook ‘status’ type application.

But while FaceBook is designed for and mainly used by Friends to reunite and share their lives, email has become the primary source of business communications. Back in the mid-1990s, email was shrouded in FUD, and many businesses blocked their workers from using it – an eventuality that could happen to Twitter.

To stop that from happening I have come up with the following ten tips for those of you starting out in the Twitter tundra.

1 ) If your followers are mainly colleagues use appropriate language – if you wouldn’t use it in an email to a client – don’t Tweet it

2 ) Saying that, don’t be boring and corporate. Twitter is a social networking tool, so keep the tone light and simple

3 ) Twitter is only 140 characters, but this is no excuse to start using text language like a teenager. L8r and 4u aren’t professional

4 ) Abbreviations can be things such as, pls, tho, thru – general rule of thumb – if your parents would understand it, then you can use it

5 ) Ensure you use the right capital letters in the right place, this is 140 characters, it doesn’t mean 140 characters of bad grammar

6 ) Use punctuation, otherwise people will not understand what you are talking about and may misinterpret your tone

7 ) Remember discretion. You wouldn’t put what you think about your customer/client in an email to them, so don’t announce it on Twitter

8 ) Don’t run over 140 characters – if you can’t say it in the allotted space then maybe you shouldn’t be saying it to a Twitter audience

9 ) Be useful – you wouldn’t just send an email out to customers telling them what you had for breakfast so don’t Tweet it

10 ) Twitter is developing a sub-language. Don’t succumb to this. Twitter is just micro blogging no need for a new vocabulary

And there you have it. 10 rules all succinctly conveyed in 140 characters or less in true Twitter style. But in the meantime, let’s make hay and get busy twittering our thoughts, passions, funnies and important news articles, to our loyal followers. With any form of communications you have to think about the audience – who is reading this and why? And from that point, adapt your style, language and content accordingly.

Happy tweeting.

Sarahttp://twitter.com/saradriscoll

Written by pilotlight

16/02/2009 at 2:03 pm

Foxes, Bears and Video tape

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Bear, Beer or Bare

Polar bears, arctic foxes and beluga whales aren’t usually associated with technology, but in the case of the BBC’s new series Natures Greatest Events, animals and technology it seems go hand in hand.

The series covers the most dramatic wild events that happen across the globe, from the melting arctic ice during the summer, to the mass migration of animal across the African plains. If the rest of the series is as good as last night’s episode, I’ll be glued to all of them.

For those lucky enough to have BBC HD, the nature programme delivered what can only be described as a stunning visual experience, showing off baby polar bears skidding on ice, the rare narwhal whales and the tender moment Guillemot chick first take their flight from a 300 metre cliff top encouraged by a nudge from their parents.

The reason that the production team were able to capture such amazing natural sights is due to the very latest in filming and production technology, and of course a great deal of perseverance. The entire series has been filmed in HD, allowing the team to get the clarity of depth and pictures unavailable previously.

They also used FrankenCam, a motion-control macro camera developed by Ammonite Films and capable of shooting extreme close-ups of tiny subjects. And to round off the technological bonanza last night’s episode was also able to demonstrate how the arctic melt has been affected by climate change using images of the earth taken from space by NASA.

While beast and machine may not live quite in harmony yet, the series will be sure to open our eyes to the beauty and phenomena that occur in the natural world around us and raise awareness of exactly what is at stake. I would seriously recommend this programme to everyone, it’s another Attenborough/BBC masterpiece.

Sara

Written by pilotlight

12/02/2009 at 12:53 pm

Posted in Media, Tech

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