Thursday, 22 December 2011

Cheers ‘til New Years

Deck the bells and away with that manger, it’s time for us to head for homes, families, fires, Quality Streets (other Christmas chocolates are available, but may not be accepted by Idealogy team members) and films we’ve all seen before. We’ve had our Christmas bash, weird to do it on a ‘school night’ this year, but tasty, jolly and more than a teeny bit merry it was nonetheless, cheers all!

We hope you’ve received our Christmas card by the way, and that you’ve visited the site – – to watch our festive vid, fun to make and, we hope, fun to watch.

So ‘that’s all folks’ - all that remains for us is a smoked-salmon bagel, a glass of bucks fizz, a quick game of darts and the obligatory setup of the Out-of-Office Assistant, who’ll assist in not a lot of ways save to inform any who care to write in that we won’t be back until January the 3rd. Of course if you REALLY need us in the meantime, you know where we are, among the Quality Streets, watching films we’ve all seen before, so give us a shout if all hell breaks loose, we’ll still help.

Thanks all for a great 2011, see y’all in 2012… we can tell… it’s gonna be a blinder!

Posted by Idealogy

Wednesday, 21 December 2011

Some Simple Christmas presence...on Facebook

Since January 2007, Facebook has had an average of 250,000 new registrations per day and there have been over 52,000 apps built on the platform.

There's no getting away from it - with more than 800 million active users, these days it's vital for B2C brands to have a Facebook presence. It's the perfect environment to drive engagement and discussion between people, communities, and brands of all sizes.

Monday, 19 December 2011

An Idealogy Christmas in 3 parts...(or 3 bah humbugs and 2 Hail Marys)


The Nightmare Before Christmas

Deadlines! Who needs ‘em?

They are the ultimate driver for everything we do in commercial life and at this time of year the ultimate deadline is Christmas. Having been in Brand and Market Communications for almost 4 decades it hasn’t escaped our attention that during December the deadline condition is amplified – creeping into the already exaggerated operational tension to create almost total panic! From the very start of the Advent season a form of terror sets in. It feels as if our partners, suppliers, even our clients, invent projects that seem to have appeared on schedules when the previous week they weren’t there. Budgets have to be spent (or we’ll lose them), when for the rest of the year budget management is always an unshakeable mantra. Diaries have spaces that need to be filled in an impractical attempt to continue the facade of ‘busy’, right up to the bitter end.

Thursday, 15 December 2011

An Idealogy Christmas in 3 parts...(or 3 bah humbugs and 2 Hail Marys)


For maybe the last 10-15 years, the spread of the festive season has crept into parts of our lives that many of us find astonishing.

Who would have thought, for instance, that the ‘competition’ for most decorated (not even ‘best’ decorated) family home would become such an emotive subject? There is no doubting the attention value of a local house illuminated from chimney to front door with snowflakes, Santa and his Reindeer, seasonal eulogies and even the Manger in Bethlehem – really! And, handled tastefully, it can create a sense of neighbourhood pride and a powerful festive fillip as we wander the streets posting Christmas cards to family and friends.

Thursday, 1 December 2011

An Idealogy Christmas in 3 parts...(or 3 bah humbugs and 2 Hail Marys)


Sitting here at the denouement of November, writing this 3 part set-up for how Christmas has changed over the years, I can’t help thinking that, just possibly, I am contributing to the condition of Christmas Creep – ‘if you’re not the solution you’re part of the problem!’ to paraphrase many awful movie scripts.

Thursday, 24 November 2011

Comment without Responsibility – (or how The News Of The World came to the rescue of journalistic standards)…

Let’s begin with what many believe to be the lowest common denominator where research is concerned – good old Wikipedia.

“Journalism is the practice of investigation and reporting of events, issues and trends to a broad audience in a timely fashion. Though there are many variations of journalism, the ideal is to inform the intended audience.”

Monday, 21 November 2011

New clothes for the Emperor again! Pt.2

Time for some pragmatism, Time for a digital idealogy!
To be effective in digital strategy “Discover yesterday, enjoy today and visualise tomorrow”.

5 Digital Idealogies

1. Ensure relevant and manageable self-sufficiency
2. Turn existing assets and activities into profitable pilots
3. Prioritise your housekeeping - search, social, information architecture and content strategy
4. Always follow the chronology of strategy > creativity > technology
5. Test! Test! Test! There are no rules of engagement!

Monday, 14 November 2011

New clothes for the Emperor again! Pt.1

The digital galaxy is like the ‘Emperor’s New Clothes’ to anyone associated with the sales and marketing process.

The new technology, new challenges and the inevitable new sales initiatives that follow can leave budget holders completely bewildered.

Monday, 7 November 2011

Idealogy’s BrandPrint™ reputation spreads across 2 continents

It’s been a busy 9 months for Idealogy consultants. So far, 2011 has seen us roll-out our BrandPrint™ process in a number of glamorous locations around the USA and Europe – Frankfurt, Treviso, Tampa, Zurich, Chicago, Northampton, even Manchester – for several of our key B2B and B2C accounts looking to refresh, reposition or redefine their brand for internal and external business development.

Thursday, 27 October 2011

Do you need Facebook or Twitter? pt.2

The You Tube Example

Understanding your Internet audience is one of the hardest things to do. While in the business world there is a lot of structure and business models that can work each and every time, in social media your work is always reflexive. This of course has some similarities with the principles of marketing and PR, but you’ll find there isn’t time to spend a month looking at figures, trying to work out how to improve your next mail out AND it means that traditional marketing techniques can fail!

It’s the here and now that dictates the break-neck speed in which you need to react, interact and direct your activities, as well as something more than a transparent offer.

Thursday, 20 October 2011

Do you need Facebook or Twitter? pt.1

Writing a blog about Social Media for business is actually a fairly easy exercise – and I’m not trying to be flippant about it.

People want to know the basics such as; do I need Facebook or Twitter? How do I get more followers? And so on, but while these are good questions they only really scratch the surface of something that’s ultimately much larger and sophisticated than it appears.

Tuesday, 18 October 2011

We've been busy on Flickr!

If you want to see what we've been up to over the past couple of months then get over to Flickr and check out our latest content. You'll find a mix of film, brochures, HQ reception concepts and interiors, email marketing and websites.

Posted by Idealogy

Thursday, 6 October 2011

Don’t Go Breaking Our Hearts – Kiki D has the Portland Street Office under close control!

Karine Djivanian – who wouldn’t want a name like that?

She could be the mysterious love interest for any of the 3 Musketeers (in 3D). Maybe she could be the Curator for The Louvre in Paris. She would be a brilliant interpreter at the UN.

Monday, 3 October 2011

It’s all in the detail

On a daily basis we at Idealogy have to think not only about the ‘big’ ideas and the processes that will get us to the best solution, but we think about the detail too. We are used to thinking about the little additions and tweaks that make the difference but were still blown away when we saw the level of detail that Dalton Ghetti works at ALL the time!

Monday, 26 September 2011

Paying 20th Century Fox a 21st Century visit – in a Square, far, far, away!

There’s no sitting on the fence with this. It’s a bit like Marmite, you either love it or hate it!

Star Wars…there, it’s out there. So where do you sit – if you’re prepared to answer the question?

Thursday, 22 September 2011

It’s Good To Talk – so why won’t anyone talk to me?..(or how a once iconic brand lost it’s voice!)

I can’t be alone in this thought but why is it so difficult to speak to BT nowadays?

I would advise you to try their website but, for a world famous telecoms company, it’s a wilderness of useful contact numbers. And when you find them it’s because you’ve lost the will to live, accidentally click on a pretty icon and, hey presto, a number appears to entice you to waste hours being told how busy BT are at the moment – before someone within BT puts down their newspaper and coffee in, happily, Newcastle or Glasgow, utters monosyllabic nonsense and then packs you off into ‘Telecoms Hades’ to wait for another useless answer.

Thursday, 15 September 2011

Using Innovation to Map our Key Accounts

Most companies fuel growth by creating new products and services. But many repeat the same growth-sapping mistakes in their efforts to innovate. In practise, to innovate successfully you need to have made those mistakes in order to build potent solutions.

Now, we’re all worldly–wise. We know that innovation goes in and out of fashion as a marker for business growth, but just occasionally it provides just the nudge a business needs to resolve a number of inward facing issues.

Thursday, 8 September 2011

Twitter – redefining ‘Social Kudos’

Twitter - the micro blogging tool that stormed the digital world all that time ago, and yes, in the digital world, years are like centuries, so it was an age ago…

I like Twitter. There are some seriously talented people on there and a wealth of information to be found, as long as you have the time to read it. If you’re not on Twitter then you’re missing out, especially if you have ‘niche hobbies’ or other passionate interests. It’s a useful personal interest tool but it is also a powerful business development mechanism - as long as it’s used in the right way! This brings me neatly to my topic: following vs. followers.

Thursday, 25 August 2011

Hands up if you all agree!

Consensus – that’s a good word! The Oxford English Dictionary defines it as “majority of opinion: general agreement or concord; harmony”. It’s one of Idealogy’s ‘watchwords’. Which is OK if you can get 15 people in a room and everyone puts their hands up when decisions need to be taken. But life’s not like that.

No pressure then!

One of the reasons this new site has been so long in development is that we have been maxed out with a number of ‘marquee’ sites and user experiences for major B2B and B2C customers – like Simple, Fitness First, Lifetime Awarding, Paperlinx, Millbrook and FastLane. And as with all things, success breeds success.

The WORM has turned out OK!

One of the biggest challenges for our regular communications was to create an accessible character - a 3rd person to become Idealogy’s eyes and ears in the marketplace. We’re very comfortable when it comes to generating content for blogs and social media, but it’s a whole different kettle of fish to dig out the relevant issues that are going to have a profound effect on our entire industry.

The view from the digital front line

You might think that creating the company website would be a dream job for the designers and developers at Idealogy, well that would be what anyone who’d never run an internal company project across the entire company might think. Too many cooks and other such proverbs never held so much truth but then what’s life without a challenge? And at Idealogy we like challenges.

Monday, 22 August 2011

From the Casting Couch to the Mallory Suite – putting a valuable face to METTLER TOLEDO Global Service

All the discussions in the run-up to this mammoth photographic project were about the journey – the journey for METTLER TOLEDO’s Service Personnel and the journey for their global customers as they experience the core principles behind each of the 4 Global Service cornerstone values - Compliance, Expertise, Performance and Uptime.

Monday, 15 August 2011

Top marks for new Lifetime Awarding Web site

Lifetime Awarding is part of the Lifetime Training Group. This innovative awarding organisation works with employers, training providers and FE colleges of all shapes and sizes. Their ‘raison d’être’ is the development of off-the-shelf, customised and bespoke vocational qualifications for candidates building their careers in Administration, Management, Childcare, Hospitality & Catering, Customer Service, Sales, Health & Social Care and Active Leisure.

Thursday, 11 August 2011

Rioters and Photo Albums – no, it’s not a new band. Just 2 stories for the price of one…

In these troubled social and economic times, here’s an efficient use of the bloggers keyboard – a double header!

Walking through the precinct this morning with Richard (one of Idealogy’s evil Digital clones!) we were warmed by the sight of a new Jessops store opening and the juxtaposition of the TV coverage during this violent week - images of this venerable but troubled brand being targeted by feral teen looters wandering the streets of our fair cities. There was something quite uplifting about the ‘old for new’ transition and that business leaders felt that Southampton was a good bet to refresh the fortunes of this trusted High Street name.

Tuesday, 9 August 2011

It's a hacker’s why do we make it SO easy for them.

Like many other developers, I often have to think up new passwords for myself and other users accounts. While I use a Mac dashboard to generate passwords, many people use the weakest link - the good old human memory - for their passwords. In almost all cases, this will create the weakest link in a security chain.

How quick could your account be hacked?

Monday, 1 August 2011

Fit for Purpose

Is it just me or has anyone else noticed how everyone on TV – well certainly the BBC – has become either a) much, much thinner b) found out where they left there cheekbones or c) acquired a robust twin pack of pushy-uppy bra’s in an attempt to achieve a 1960’s figure?

Monday, 25 July 2011

Every Little Helps OR Food For The Seoul

Today, Tesco plc is the third-largest retailer in the world after Wal-Mart and Carrefour.

As strange as it sounds, this expansive UK brand is also a major food provider in the South Korean Food Market, but they have to explore increasingly ingenious ways to keep the competition on its toes. So, in an innovation hungry market, they’ve gone virtual.

Thursday, 21 July 2011

ART for art's sake

As you know, here at Idealogy we like to keep ourselves (and you) up to speed with the newest technological happenings.

In the past we've told you about AugmentedReality and QR codes but here is something that, from a technical point of view, combines the two: Aurasma is a new implementation of what's being labeled as 'Advert Recognition Technology'.

Thursday, 14 July 2011

Turning the camera on ourselves

Images can be really powerful things, and often induce an immediate emotional response to a situation, a setting or a product. Without a decent image how can you communicate your plight, your appeal?

We’re fortunate to be charged with sourcing and capturing images for our clients, to represent their products, services or people, and we pride ourselves on being able to brief our photographic people or partners in a way that creates exactly what a good image should…a response!

Monday, 11 July 2011

My wife's a loose woman!

Some strange things have been happening to the rhythm of my weekend life. Saturdays have always been a better day than Sundays because we get out and do things. Sundays have always been for doing the stuff you need to do before you go back to work on Monday – but not anymore.

For the last month, my wife has been disappearing for 2-3 hours in the middle of the day without a why, where or a thank you. I’ve tried asking questions but, to date, little information has been forth coming. I’ve even tried asking my daughter if she knew where her Mum had been going, but she seemed none the wiser – either innocently or as part of a cover up.

Thursday, 7 July 2011

I TOOK THAT... and it rocked!

The fastest selling tour in UK history, 85,000 lucky ticket holders, a £15m production cost, 5 very happy band members and… a 60ft mechanical man.
What a night!

In the true sense of the word this really was an 'awesome' jaw-dropping show.
With amazing set design, sensational costumes, tight choreography and stunning pyrotechnics it was almost too overwhelming when TAKE THAT took to the stage and actually sung.

Monday, 4 July 2011

Big Brands are rubbish!

In the midst of one of Southampton’s longest ever Council worker disputes, and let’s be honest, at times it’s been easy to think that our fair city has twinned with Mumbai, Rio, Beirut, Tripoli and Dhaka, it’s interesting to do a passing analysis of life’s flotsam and jetsam as you wander along the city’s troubled and rubbish filled streets.

And what does that analysis tell you? Well, to begin with, there is a definite ‘scavenging bird’ hierarchy and that pigeons are coming off second best to herring gulls (that’s if the numbers of pigeon carcasses are anything to go by!).

Thursday, 30 June 2011

The Screensaver is alive and well…

Screensavers are very popular; thousands of people download them everyday and some of the biggest companies in the world use them to promote their brands in difficult channels.

Idealogy have gone a bit screensaver crazy this month too, making a couple of our own for internal use and experimentation (here and here) and and one for the mighty ABB, the global leader in power and automation technologies that enable utility and industry customers to improve their performance while lowering environmental impact. (here)

Wednesday, 29 June 2011

Go West – life is peaceful there

In a blog about pushing our business efforts towards the (South) West of our marvelous country it would be great to start with how we’re all ultra-thin, shaggy-haired surf types, up early to hit the beach before some casual branding and consultancy after a pasty and a pint. So having painted that image I’ll destroy it, because we’re not any of these things… except we do like a pasty.

Monday, 27 June 2011

Training for the future – HTML5 & CSS3

The prospect of two days hardcore programming would fill most people outside the Web world with dread! Luckily, the digital team at Idealogy ‘lives to programme’ and ‘programmes to live’.

“Hmmm” they say in their robotic little voices!

For those who don’t know it yet, HTML5 is the long awaited revision to HTML and we could spend all day trying to write a description of what it is, what it does and how differently it does it, but trusty old Wikipedia says it best:

Wednesday, 22 June 2011

Idealogy INSIGHT - A new look for The New Forest Hotels Group

New Forest Hotels

Welcome to the first in a series of idealogy INSIGHT project studies, taking you through the thoughts and processes that have shaped a successful piece of work for a client. Each story will look at the rationale behind the recommendations we made, explore the history of the client-side input, the conditions of engagement or touchpoints with specific audiences, all the way through to how the ideas and themes have been implemented.

Monday, 20 June 2011

3D or not 3D, that is the question…

I love films – but I don’t love going to the cinema. There’s something missing from the heady days of my youth when queuing around the block for an hour to get in was all part of the experience. So, to try and enhance the soulless multiplex cinema experience we now have 3D to bring the WOW factor back to the big screen.

Now, I had managed to avoid this up until recently, finally buckling with the prospect of a new Tron film popping out the screen. So after paying twice the normal price for the privilege, and donning a pair of large shades that even Bono couldn’t work with, I sat down for an hour and a half of sensory overload.

Thursday, 16 June 2011

Positive PMT from Idealogy - Idealogy Training Day

Initiation triangles, plants, shapers and implementers – all sound a little like the plot from a Harry Potter movie? Well you’re right, yes it does, but for the Idealogy Project Management Team it’s all in a day’s work – well a day away from work anyway.

Our mission is to offer a lot more than brand, or business development consultancy. A service not just confined to inspirational creative, but to enabling a more effective way of working, for us and for our clients. With a group of six of us, with backgrounds as diverse as it’s possible to achieve, one thing’s for sure – none of us manage a project in the same way…

Monday, 13 June 2011

Sign of the Times - Elmtree Signs new website launched

Here’s a heart-warming tale of an experienced Southampton signage business that knew how to read the market signs (no pun intended!).

During 2009, Idealogy worked with Elmtree Signs to rebrand, bringing their 25+ years of local and national signage heritage, screaming and kicking into the 21st century. The results were a demonstration of the old adage ‘evolution not revolution’, moving the business gently forward without losing touch with it’s huge and loyal client base, established over a quarter of a century of ‘above and beyond’ customer experience.

And they really loved the results – so much so, that the next step was to translate the new look into a sympathetic web presence, at the same time moving them from their old, static, fixed content site to an editable, open source CMS with ECRM functionality – and that’s a big leap for a local Southampton company.

But here’s where Elmtree’s ability to read the landscape came in – call it wisdom, call it foresight, but whatever you do, call it ‘a good call’. In late 2009 the whole world slid into, arguably, the most painful and far-reaching recession in recent memory. Rather than press on, Elmtree did the smart thing. They pushed the web project onto the back burner, but they didn’t ever stop creating content, generating new case histories, and generally learning about what managing a living, breathing front-line communication platform was all about. So they learned about ECRM, content management and text/image editing, and now, with the site live, they’re good to go. Ready to take over the site management and all the responsibilities that come with it.

See, that’s what more than 25 years in the signage industry does for you. You learn to read the future indicators, and you learn to bide your time. Because there’s no point pressing on when all the signs say stop!

View the website:-

Posted by Idealogy

Thursday, 2 June 2011

Don’t mention the ‘B’ word! - BrandPrint™

BRAND. How can a 5-letter word trigger so much positive and negative emotion – all at once?

Business people understand the importance of how their products and services are perceived, but often dread the process of fixing something or aligning themselves to make the most of their opportunities.


Thursday, 26 May 2011

Idealogy’s (wo)Man on the Ground (floor)

I love our office in Southampton. I love it so much I had to move in to a flat over the road just so I can see the office when I’m not at work!

It’s a lovely old building, slap bang in the middle of town, with access to all the coffee, doughnuts and posh sandwiches any growing business could ask for. The building has all the meeting rooms we need, our boardroom (nicknamed the squash court) and even our photography studio on floor three, so there’s always plenty going on.

Monday, 23 May 2011

Will the real Algerian Racing Snake please stand up? Oh! You are standing up!

The Urban Dictionary provides it’s own interpretation of ‘racing snake’ – “Someone built for speed. i.e. someone lean, an immensely fast runner”.

In part, that does a fairly solid job of describing our own North African Ectothermic Amniotes Vertebrate, but it’s only a small part of David Birch’s story – itself, a complex mix of survival, tough human spirit, fierce individuality, love of music and movies, but most importantly from Idealogy’s point of view, a passion for contemporary design as a compelling vehicle for successful communication.

Dave shudders at the ‘pink puff’ that seems to attach itself to design - railing at how easily the business falls into media generated traps – he recently cited “design is the froth on top of the cappuccino of commercialism” as an example of how our industry does itself a constant disservice by creating ‘café society’ symbolism to try to ‘up the ante’. But he also accepts that we live in cynical times – he believes clients still don’t really understand the value of good design – unless, of course, their market offer is truly design based.

Thursday, 19 May 2011

The Walk the Walk London Moonwalk 2011 - one night, one very good cause and a great sense of achievement

After a pasta picnic for 14,000, some very funny warm ups and a minutes silence all hand in hand, we set off on our 26.2 mile walk through London. Here we were again having first completed it back in 2008, it couldn’t be that tough… could it?

We left the Moonwalk tent at 23.40 and set our pace. There was a real party atmosphere, lots of chatter and nervous laughter and the first few miles went by in a flash. In no time we had passed Buckingham Palace, gone on up through Hyde Park Corner and St James Park and were heading for the Victoria Embankment.

Monday, 9 May 2011

I HATE acronyms!

Ok! It’s a fact.

I have a deep, deep, dark hatred for acronyms that is only superseded by my deep, dark hatred of prunes! Irrational maybe, but it’s a hatred based on two simple and very clear factors. The first is that, in whatever industry, and mine is no exception, acronyms are linguistic laziness. They obviate the need to write a definition in full, and, quite often, render a written piece incomprehensible, sacrificed on the altar of efficiency! CRAP (which stands for Content Reduction After Pontificating) I say!

The second is the delusional, and some would argue, perverse view that it makes the writer smarter or better informed than the audience. But what’s the point of that? Why wouldn’t you want someone to understand, first time, what you’re saying? In my experience, acronyms in articles, blogs, journals or technical communications are invariably accompanied by the expression meaning in full. So why not write the meaning in full in the first place? FUBAR….

Thursday, 5 May 2011

The Royal Wedding - what did you do???

So, how did you all enjoy the Royal Wedding last Friday?
Check out the pics below for a little taste of what Idealogy got up to on the day.

Steve Barnes: Stag do in Amsterdam

Simon Johnson: The Bulldog Johnsons on the day

Thursday, 21 April 2011

A Night at the M(T)useum…


So,  there we were, James and I, on our first night in Greifensee, just south of Zurich in Switzerland, in town for 3 days of ‘learning workshops’ at the invitation of the METTLER TOLEDO Corporate Communications team. The evening had begun at a local restaurant as a pleasant ‘meet and greet’, getting to know the MT Corp Comms personalities, enjoying some great food and, of course, a few small tinctures.

Wednesday, 20 April 2011

The Train is Leaving The Station

2011 is going to be another ambitious ‘learning year’ for Idealogy. January was Appraisal time and the process threw-up a wide range of individual training requirements, from Confidence improvements all the way through to more conventional HTML skills development. So, another full training program begins for a business that takes its Personnel development role very seriously.

But perhaps the most significant step for the business has been a LEADERSHIP AND BEHAVIOURAL residential event, coordinated by MTA Consulting, and attended by the Idealogy Management Team in mid-February, which focused on 21st Century methods for harnessing leadership, team-building, responsibility and behaviour as the energy to drive the business forward.

Tuesday, 19 April 2011

Another Level (not the boy-band silly… it’s Idealogy’s new space)

So a couple of months back we told you that we were about to embark on creating a new Level here at Idealogy Towers. Now it’s not to describe our office as a shanty-town house, where a new corrugated iron floor is added to accommodate an ever-expanding family – but it is to say that the top floor here that up until recently had all kinds of junk in it, is now home to our great new breakout area.

Wednesday, 13 April 2011

Seeing others as they see themselves

During a recent Workshop with the Kenwood NPD Team, held during February at The Langstone on Hayling Island, Idealogy set the team a simple but often controversial task.

“Draw a picture of somebody (anybody) and focus on the single most distinguishing feature of that person”. It’s a tried and trusted technique for defining group characteristics and dynamics and, as most amateur psychologists will tell you, a picture is worth a thousand words and provides as good a reflection of personality as your handwriting ever can – assuming, of course, that we actually understand handwriting!

Thursday, 24 March 2011

Don’t forget your birthday cakes you TWIT

Did you celebrate? Did you remember? Did you even know?

It was the 5th birthday of Social Networking game-changer Twitter this week, and I’ll bet you didn’t even have a party, did you?


Truth be told, neither did we, it didn’t seem important enough really.

Monday, 21 March 2011

It doesn't Costa lot!

Customer experience is a fickle thing – it’s tough to pick out the highs and the lows; sometimes you know full well that service could be better (say, at a Supermarket check out – whatever you do, never make eye contact!) and sometimes you know that it doesn’t get much better (in this instance, an online experience with one of the big ones like Amazon, who seem to know what you’re thinking and when you’re thinking it – has spending money ever been so painless?).

Thursday, 17 March 2011

A quick reaction to QR Codes

Some of you may have noticed a new breed of barcode (albeit square)-type-things appearing in various places, on various products and in various scenarios in our day-to-day lives of late.

Quick Response, or QR codes are the latest 2 Dimensional way to access additional information about, well, whatever the QR code creator wants you to access really! A QR can be scanned by a smartphone to automatically receive text, imagery, video, sound and URLs - a mobile-friendly way to point people who are offline to an online resource.

The Japanese love them. Well I never! And they are becoming increasingly popular over here and in the U.S. But are they just another gimmick? - well no, not if you think about how they can be used:

Thursday, 10 March 2011

Best of British – a blessing or a curse

So I’m sat here working, and Adele’s new song is on the radio, it’s currently number one in every country you can imagine, and for good reason - it, and the album it’s from, ‘21’ is great IMHO (see how ‘down with the kids’ I am there too? IMHO… Cool eh?).

There’s been a load of media coverage for Adele - ‘Best of British’, ‘flying the flag for Britain’ and all the other things our nation attaches to anything good, before dropping it when something bad happens – just like when Andy Murray does well, he changes, for the week of the match at least, from being Scottish, to being British, because it gives us all hope… for a bit.

So here’s the point I’m trying to make; do people outside of Britain care at all that something is British? Does it mean what it used to? Is it worth anything?

Monday, 7 March 2011

2011 - the year of the mobile and bright yellow pandas!

Did you know there are more mobile devices in the world than PC’s? I’m sure you did!

Yep, 2011 will be the year of mobile and location services and apps and HTML 5 and bright yellow pandas…I guess you’ve heard most of this before (maybe not the panda part though!) Every year, the experts try to predict the big trends and they rarely seem to get it wrong - they just happen to be a year or so out sometimes! That statement would certainly be true with their mobile predictions anyway, as 09 and 10 were both going to be the year of mobile, when, in fact they nearly were. At least, that’s my opinion.

I do agree with them this year though! 2011 does seem to be the year that things are really going to take off. The big brands are on-board already and the SME brands are realising they need to do something for the mobile customer - they just need some help on what that might be.

I believe you can thank Apple for the massive drive forward in mobile absorption in 10 and 11. The iPhone certainly kick-started a slow market and added real ingenuity and style. The iPad added to the momentum and with Google (Android) and Microsoft (Windows 7 mobile) biting away at Apple’s heels with some classy stuff, the train has well and truly left the station and it’s getting faster and faster in 2011.

Add to that, the fact that Nokia has just thrown it’s full support behind Windows 7 mobile, and then there is the ever growing glut of iPod ‘wannabees’ (and possibly a real contender in there as well) and you don’t have to look hard to see a rapidly increasing market and opportunity.

Tuesday, 1 March 2011

This month’s Poppy appeal

My friend Charlotte, and I hope YOU all have a Charlotte in your lives, is an idiot. But that she’s an idiot is brilliant, because if she wasn’t, she wouldn’t have created this blog:

It’s a silly blog, at first glance, and a silly idea to write to great big companies from the perspective of your female Labrador Poppy, and in Poppy’s own language too, complete with her adoration of all things ham! But look closer, look closer still, c’mon, really look – shouldn’t the UKs biggest loved (or not) brands be able to communicate with you in the way you choose to communicate with them? Through Facebook, email, phone or dogmail for that matter.

Friday, 25 February 2011

Why an X-Blog beats an iBlog any day!

We’re all used to iThings; where technology’s concerned we know as consumers that the obligatory ‘i’ prefix is what we need.

‘A blender Sir’ - ‘no thank you’

‘An iBlender Sir’ - ‘I’ll take three of those please, and with iWhisk attachments too’.

See? Works every time. Replace the word blender with anything else you choose and you’ll want it more when it’s an iThing. iBeer (want), iBike (need), iKellyBrook (let’s not even go there!)

Tuesday, 22 February 2011

Rent a mob!

Heard of Crowdsourcing? No… then read on, it might just provide you with the solutions you’re looking for.

‘Crowdsourcing - the act of a company or institution taking a function once performed by employees and outsourcing it to an undefined (and generally large) network of people in the form of an open call’
Jeff Howe, June 2006, Wired Magazine.

Tuesday, 15 February 2011

Planning – on an Olympian scale!

You can have any number of opinions about the London Olympics 2012. You can be angry about the overall £9billion plus budget (but don’t forget the legacy!). You can be astounded at the huge infrastructure project that is going to change the face of transport in East London forever. You can be bemused about the ‘Rock man’ logo that, 3 years down the line, is still harsh and unapproachable. But surely, what everyone must agree on is the masterful way this massive project has been planned, managed and executed.

When was the last time that any of us were able to reel off the 4 cornerstones of project management with such ease and consummate professionalism as the LOCOG planners – Scope, Quality, Time and Cost – all delivered with, what appears to be clockwork milestone efficiency and powerful public perception.

And today, Tuesday 15th February, we have the next piece of brilliantly executed and masterfully fulfilled product promise – the release of the 2012 Olympics ticketing schedule. Now we’re really getting to the business end of the planning for what everyone describes, in the contemporary absence of the Barnum and Bailey Circus, as the ‘Greatest Show on Earth’.

Monday, 14 February 2011

Welcome to ‘the family’

As a close-knit team of 15 or so (we expand and contract if we need specialist skills see) it often feels like a family here; we can certainly tell you which of us is the embarrassing uncle, the nagging wife and the grumpy old grandfather! So the coming few months are especially exciting as both Simon J (our Digital mastermind) and Nick H (Client Liaison something or other) are both expecting new additions in their, and that means our, lives. Best of luck to them both, but more importantly may they be back at work in one day, and not at all affected by sleep depravation, there’s still plenty of work to do fellas!

A picture sells a thousands words

We’ve worked, over the years (more than 20 now, but we’re still oh so young… honest!) on a massive variety of projects. As part and parcel of helping engage audiences for our clients we’ve had to take, source or commission high-quality pictures of industrial technology, kitchen machines, fitness fanatics, mobile phones, beauty products and even super posh yachts.

Now we know all of the above won’t fit into the Idealogy headquarters for photographing, but for the things that will we now have in-house facilities to help us turn these projects around more quickly, more cost-effectively and with a greater creative control.

Tuesday, 8 February 2011

From an “Oh No!” to an ‘I Do!” moment

Unfortunately, there’s no way to put this delicately!

So, OK – on a scale of 1-10, what’s the worst thing that a designer can be asked to create? We’ve all been asked to ‘do me a Business Card’. Then there’s the old ‘logo for a friend’s new Delivery Business’ chestnut. Or, in at number 8 with a bullet, an advert for a small local hotel, owned by a friend of your Mum’s cousin who’d heard that you were good at drawing!

Well, and you need to trust us on this, there’s something worse, much worse, than any of those. How about Wedding Stationery for a highly valued and much loved client? Scary, eh?

The first reaction is always to try to think of an excuse – “it’s a lovely thought, but I’m just so busy and I’m worried that I won’t do the project justice!” Maybe, in such circumstances, a more honest –“you must be joking!” – response would be more useful.

Nothing like that happened, so this story is about how Idealogy turned an “Oh No!’ moment into a powerful personal branding experience for Lisa Rickhuss, Simple’s CRM Manager and her new husband Nigel Taylor, who began their own official partnership at the end of October 2010.

Wednesday, 2 February 2011

Give us a penny for a proper tune mate!

A recent television commercial, this one, for John Lewis, has an accompanying piece of music, that let’s face it, breaks your heart when combined with the images you see on screen. And here at Idealogy HQ we’re often tasked with making films, and choosing their accompanying pieces of music… so what’s in a soundtrack?

Thursday, 27 January 2011

W.I.I.F.M: the art of developing compelling value propositions

Well thought through, meaningful propositions are vital to any brand, product or service. Idealogy have a very simple, single-minded and effective definition of a proposition that always looks at it from a customer perspective:

The short version: “what’s in it for me?”

The idealogy: what’s the single most differentiating thing we can say that will create a reason to believe?

Often, propositions are driven by ‘inside out’ thinking, whereas we believe the start point should always be the customer and therefore ‘outside in’.

Monday, 24 January 2011

Idealogy and the World of Apps! A slightly personal view…

With well over 300,000 Apps at our fingertips (and that number seems to be growing by the minute) people seemingly can’t get enough of them. But are they good for us or, for that matter, good for business?

Having an iPhone or Android phone and a business related App is no longer a choice. Depending on your
Business, its de rigeur - it's a modern requirement expected of today’s competitive marketplace. And it’s
becoming impossible to overlook the opportunity - it's even the same when you think about a mobile version
of your website.

Go back 10 years – then the debate was ‘do I have to get a website or not?’ People were unsure, but
today the answer seems obvious: if you’re not on the Web then you don’t exist, or you’re ex-directory. Either
way, no-one knows you’re there! So, by extension, will it become a requirement that you’ve got to exist as
an iPhone App?

With millions of new iPhone , iPod Touch and iPad users jumping on the App wagon every month, can your
business afford to ignore this as a delivery channel?

For the business who gets it right, an iPhone app opens up a world of possibilities for customer experience that
many only dream about. The right app allows your company to refresh your brand, identity and customer
touchpoints that really provide ‘stand out’ in a highly competitive world.

But then, of course, there’s the flip side of the story!

How did we ever survive before the world of Apps consumed us!

Thursday, 20 January 2011

The Media, its responsibility, and the culture of self-absorption

As a very regular commuter on the IOW Ferry, there are certain moments in the journey where you just switch off. For example, I now seldom notice that the boat has left the berth at either end of the journey. It’s just part of the process of acceptance – it’s a 55 minute journey, it begins and it ends. Nothing remarkable in that!

But what I am always aware of are the on-board announcements about safety, facilities and, my particular favourite, “…don’t allow children to wander around unattended or unsupervised for the comfort of the other passengers”. What this unremarkable instruction asks for is an amount of care for fellow travellers. Don’t let your kids run riot and, perhaps more importantly, understand what it means to share space with other people.

Thursday, 13 January 2011

Can you see what it is yet?

A reflection by Alan Mutter

People often say to me, “You know what…you're a really great 'drawer', I wish I could draw like that”. Which is quite a compliment, but technically flawed on a number of counts:

Firstly, everyone can draw a picture in some fashion or other, often not that 'photographically' accurate, but nevertheless drawn in their own style, be it immature, crude, childlike or just plain lacking in confidence. It is, however, a drawing. Which is what I do all day everyday (whenever I can).

Secondly, as a ‘Creative’, I suppose I do have more than my fair share of artistic skills (of which drawing is one), but really...Michelangelo was a great drawer, so were Rembrandt, Leonardo Da Vinci, Picasso and all those other guys, too many to mention. So is the autistic savant Stephen Wiltshire... and even good old Rolf Harris and Bradford’s own David Hockney if you must be 21st century! They are great drawers!

If, for a moment, I can be presumptuous enough to group myself within the aforementioned list, we can all draw, paint and produce 'images' that please the viewer in one way or another. What I do is 'bring a creative idea to life' visually in a way that really helps explain it. Something my old buddy Leonardo was fairly hot on. He was also a top 'problem solver' (and engineer, and mathematician, and scientist, and…).

I 'problem solve' all the time and, as a creative team member, what I do with my “old school” arty skill of putting pen to paper as opposed to sitting at the Mac all day, is to give a rough, but ultimately inspirational, version of what the 'creative concept' could look like eventually. The initial 'scamped' versions can often be open to any amount of interpretation by clients and other creatives, which allows everyone on the team to feel involved in the creative processes, something clients find highly desirable and very useful. It also gives the younger, edgy Mac-literate designers an opportunity to mock an old guy!
Bring it on! Magic Markers at dawn!!

Monday, 10 January 2011

Inspiring confidence - while you wait

Ever sat in an uber-cool reception? Ever relaxed on a couch, flicking through a copy of Wallpaper with an authentic Italian Mochaccino whilst taking in the latest icon product offering on display? Ever wondered how it all got there?

A great deal of thought goes in to making sure the best environments belonging to your favourite brands are great experiences - we know! We're currently working with Kenwood UK to give their HQ in Havant, Hampshire the Idealogy treatment that marks a continued drive into the really sexy world of what is now known in the trade as 'experiential design'.

Wednesday, 5 January 2011

The ‘A’ word and the art of sending people to sleep!

Appraisals! There, the cat’s out of the bag! I’ve said it.

But before you all drift off into a never-to-end, apathy fuelled coma, let’s all agree that we go through this for all the right reasons. And those reasons, loosely, are: -

  1. To give employees the opportunity to assess their years progress and candidly assess performance against previously set objectives
  2. To set KPIs for the next year
  3. To identify skills and future training opportunities
  4. To discuss what they have enjoyed and let them vent on anything they haven’t enjoyed in the process (You can’t please everyone all the time!)
  5. To clarify any HR or Contractual issues
Which, now you mention it, isn’t very exciting is it?