New ADINTELLECTS blog

Hi guys, just realised that link I provided in the last post doesnt work, please click here to follow my new blog:)

It is a new blog free of academic theories, just some weekly updates about what I found in the marketing and advertising field. (Thats why its called AdIntellects!) And its not just about the UK/London, I have included things about Hong Kong too! Promise to be entertaining and insightful, feel free to comment/like!

 

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Reflective essay

This is the last blog post from Yin Man Law K1144553, which describes what she has learned from this Design thinking and Entrepreneurship module this year and relate these experiences to her future goals.

Introduction

Coming from a background of marketing and advertising, it is not an easy task to think and evaluate each idea down to earth. The difficulty of running a business has been further increased due to other constraints such as time and resources. Yet the fear of failure is the greatest barrier to succeed. Therefore, I took the responsibility to be the team leader for Ukreate and started our very interesting and innovative journey. Below is the reflection of the process from inception into development and what I have learned from it, which would be beneficial for my future goal – starting my own advertising agency.

Learning from mistakes

Ukreate is probably one of the few teams that changed its idea radically from its initial inception. It went from the London souvenirs idea to tidy desk, from card holder to the multifunctional phone holder (as illustrated below). The target audience change from tourists to children and from women to students (and business professionals with later modifications of the styles and materials). The need to change throughout the year is not because of the product itself, it is the combination of the wrongly addressed market demand, lack of resources (technical and financial support) and the inadequate marketing implementation, which are included in the top 10 reasons for products/services failures (Greenbook, 2010). After reviewing the reasons for failures, Ukreate conducted an online survey and interviewed potential consumers to understand their needs and wants. To keep up to date with the market changes in the real world, Ukreate read industry reports and followed the social changes and created the final product – personalised multifunctional phone holder. The journey has been invaluable because we have been made constant adjustments along the way, refining and tweaking our business model and idea. This has enabled us to see what strategy was successful and what was not, in addition to enable us to come up with what we feel is one of the best incarnations of our initial idea.

Managing creativity/innovation

Cox (2005) stated that ʻCreativity, employed properly, carefully evaluated, skilfully managed and soundly implemented, is a key to future business – and to national prosperity.ʼ From this, it is implied that creativity needs to be managed. Innovation process is therefore important in creating valuable outcome and turn ideas into successful businesses. This is supported by academics by defining ‘creativity is the production of novel and useful ideas in any domainsʼ whereas innovation is the process of ʻsifting, refining and most critically the implementation of those ideasʼ (Gurteen, 1998).

In current market conditions, it is imperative to innovate. However, regarding that there is only less than 5% of the new products/services succeeded each year after the launch, investing in innovation is a risky business (Burkitt and Bruno-Forbes.com, 2011). Through actually operating the business, I was able to see the importance of concept screening and testing. It is not all about preparation and planning. One might argue that planning is the most crucial part to the strategic development and the business. Nonetheless, the world is moving at ever increasing pace (with technological advances in production and communication), you might be left behind (in researching and planning) if you are not introducing your product. ‘From a marketing standpoint, listening to your customer is one of the most important aspects of doing business. Beta tests are one of the most effective ways to listen.’ (Epic Trends, 2010). It saves time and money in doing redundant testing and provides free feedback and advertising for the business. Sending out free samples to a group of target audience and bloggers are widely adopted nowadays. This could be related back to the user-centered system learned from class (referring to the blog post ‘ Obesrving user needs’ by Yin 2012). Observation, confidence and experiment are the three main elements in development processes, in which the relationship between the user, designer and community are often analysed. This user-centered approach which provides a logical understanding of the target audiences is particularly useful for my future career in marketing and advertising field, in terms of decoding the consumers needs and wants.

Williams (2001)  stressed the importance of creativity training programs suggested in enhancing problem-solving generations. Brainstorming is one common example of such and techniques involved in the process in found to be effective to both individuals and groups in developing solutions. Sutton (2006) suggested eight guidelines that could help running an effective brainstorming for groups, which are listed below:

  1. Use brainstorming to combine and extend ideas, not just to harvest ideas.
  2. Don’t bother if people live in fear.
  3. Do individual brainstorming before and after group sessions.
  4. Brainstorming sessions are worthless unless they are woven with other work practices.
  5. Brainstorming requires skill and experience both to do and, especially, to facilitate
  6. A good brainstorming session is competitive—in the right way
  7. Use brainstorming sessions for more than just generating good ideas.
  8. Follow the rules, or don’t call it a brainstorm.

Williams (2001)  identified five stages of a typical creativity training program, namely, fact finding, problem finding, idea finding, solution finding and acceptance finding. These stages are in fact what we have been doing and learning in class, particularly in this design thinking and entrepreneurship module. Since October last year, we have been told to put our own expertise/skills in practice and develop the entrepreneurship skills by actually doing it. Identifying different skills set of each of the members in the group and doing market research are indeed fact and problem finding. Further in-depth interviews with potential users, prototyping with different possibilities and group discussions are what our team have undertaken in the processes of idea, solution and acceptance finding. Our design thinking processes are in line with the prototyping approach suggested by Akker et al (1999), which include extensive uses of prototypes, high degree of iteration and considerable amount of representatives of the target audience. Intensive discussions and prototyping enabled our group delivering a final offering that satisfy our consumers and winning the ‘Best Product Award’ from the Young Enterprise at the Kingston Campus Trade Fair (see below).

Time and people management

“The purpose of time management and getting more done in less time is to enable you to spend more face time with the people you care about and doing the things that give you the greatest amount of joy in life.” by Brian Tracy.Brian Tracy is a famous motivational speaker and author that helps people in personal development and business training. This quote above shows the benefits of having a good time management in balancing work and personal life. Referring back to Williams (2001), the role of the leader is to cultivate members’ creativity and avoid directing the group to only one solution. As a result, I have given freedom to each member to express their opinions and given them time to develop their concepts. However, as the old cliche says ‘Time is money”. Being the team leader in the group, I had to act as the time keeper to ensure the group has met every deadlines set for course and been able to launch one single product/service. I have tackled the challenge (organizing and prioritizing tasks) by following the table below:

Throughout the two semesters, being a team leader empowered me to manage people and offered me the opportunity to develop my leadership skills. For instance, I asked Kusalin (whose backgrond is graphic design) to design the product packaging and logo; and Hajime (whose background is film-making) to shoot and edit the video advert. Apart from allocating people to do the right tasks, I have learned how to keep motivating people to contribute to the business and followed Jobber (2010)guidelines in nurturing an innovative organisational culture. I have sent the clear message of the importance on constant innovation, displayed my positive attitudes to all pet projects and concepts and accepted failures. This is out of my expectation and yet would be very useful in managing and innovating people in any circumstances.

This module offers me a great opportunity to put my theory into practice. I had a bachelor degree in marketing and advertising but never really worked in a real creative agency (and came fresh from undergraduate degree). In this module, we had to bare risks and demonstrate our own skills to make the business work (and earn money!) Therefore, we are solely responsible for our success (or failures). I have applied my knowledge in search marketing, branding and advertising strategy planning into the development of Ukreate. This certainly has given me a solid experience in my own field as well as in starting-up a business. Through the eight months’ of work/interactions, I have learned from my team members. There are people with finance, graphic design, film-making and music background in my team (truly creative and diverse!) I have gained a better knowledge of these creative industries and developed my finance literacy, design and editing skills. This has been practical and useful for my future goal of owning and directing an advertising agency.

Networking

Networking capabilities are fundamental nowadays and can be a way to access and leverage resources (people, money, information). Going to exhibitions like the ‘TENT London’ and Frieze Art Fair broadened my horizons to the art world (especially the high art) and helped me to become more aware of what is going on in this arts and design industry. Participating at trade fairs could help one or the business to promote and understand the marketplace better. Networking has been crucial in relationship marketing and there is an equivalent saying in Chinese culture, which we termed it as ‘guanxi’ (Geddie et al, 2005 and Snow, 2007). Using the example of interacting with the artists/creators at trade shows and art fairs this year, contacts gained on LinkedIn were proved to be invaluable. Contacts with more experienced people are always an advantage and can help to redirect you in scenarios you have not thought of.  All of the networking events I have attended this year have further strengthened my communication skills through numerous presentations and face-to-face client services.

Conclusion and future goal

Experiencing what is it like to be an entrepreneur is probably the most valuable lesson that I have learned from in this design thinking and entrepreneurship module. Starting up a student enterprise through the support of Young Enterprise has given me the opportunity to develop my leadership and management skills and further strengthened my organisational and communication skills. Moreover, I expanded my network through attending conferences and trade fairs. Now, I have connected to people from the outside business world (especially within the creative industries) and got a better knowledge on how to increase online traffic and appearance utilizing different social media. Lastly, since I have developed my interests in blogging, I have started another blog recently about how marketing, advertising and branding and how these have influenced our daily life and hopefully, it will be getting more popularity and become one of the effective marketing tool for my future business.

Click here to follow my new blog and feel free to comment!

Presentation to Dragons for Young Enterprise

As part of the coursework, we had to turn a new/creative idea into a real business and run it throughout the two semesters. I have to say, it is very challenging yet interesting! I really enjoyed working with my team and  appreciate everyone’s contribution for creating the brand Ukreate. Towards the end of the module, we had to give presentations to judges from the Young Enterprise and show them what we have done for our ‘business’ for the year. Young Enterprise is the largest business and enterprise education charity in the UK which encourages and helps young people to learn about entrepreneurship.

During the presentation, we explained our brand/product uniqueness, marketing and advertising campaigns, risks and challenges and profit & loss/sales figures (of course! its business!) We showed our short video advert which sums up what we are selling and who are we targeting to the judges. And we also made some props/stands to display our actual products and posters to make it more engaging and lively. The evening was amazing for two reasons :  positive feedback from the judges and  a chance for networking with the judges (people from finance, technology and design industries).

Below is the video advert of our brand, enjoy!

What can IPA do for you?

<p><a href=”http://vimeo.com/17190039″>The IPA in three minutes</a> from <a href=”http://vimeo.com/theipa”>The IPA</a> on <a href=”http://vimeo.com”>Vimeo</a&gt;.</p>

This video shows what and how IPA work and help you to get started and build your business related to marketing and advertising field. It offers legal support and resources advice for your media/communications/marketing/advertising agencies. Also, if you are currently looking for grad schemes and updates in the industry, you should definitely register for an account NOW!

Next leader in social media? (2)

I have been always wondering what will happen in the future advertising and marketing? In fact this is also one of the main reasons why I am attending this MA Advertising and Creative course. Lots of critics have been predicting the death of paper and questioning the importance and roles of traditional media. It seems that everything is going online and the fact that you are actively involved in any social media will leave you in an advanced position, which others term as ‘online presence’ or ‘networking’.

LinkedIn, which offers professional networks for business contacts, will launch two new functions for companies who have followers on it, both of which will be of great interest to marketers and advertisers: ‘Targeted Updates’ and ‘Follower Statistics.’ ‘Target Updates’ allows the company to segment its followers based on their position, geography and years of experience etc. ‘Follower Statistics’ act as a dashboard for analysing its effectiveness on the company’s updates. Initially, only a few big companies will be using the new products: AT&T, Samsung Mobile, Dell and Microsoft.  However, the new functions will be rolled out systemwide in the coming months.

Whilst LinkedIn is improving its media efficiency and creating closer ties with its audience  internally, it should also take a look at the outside market environment and build a stronger brand with external help or collaboration. BranchOut – a social network that help people getting recommendations and job opportunities, was started two years ago. It ran as a facebook at first and already has 25 million users, which puts it on a similar growth ramp to Instagram (a social network that focused on sharing photos, which was recently acquired by Facebook at £1 billion). Marketers and business insiders predict this move potentially increase the brand and stock value of both Instagram and Facebook. Although 25 million users now might look small to 150 million users on LinkedIn, Branchout might get be a big hit with the help of  Facebook (which has got more than 850 million audience and formed based on closer personal contacts). In short, if Facebook buys out Branchout, it will be a huge threat to LinkedIn.

 

Read more on LinkedIn rolls out and Branchout-New startup beat LinkedIn

Search marketing

Brands nowadays should understand the role that ‘search’ should play in marketing and integrate with the other marketing mix. Since people are increasingly moving online (not only the digital natives/young generation), brand and marketers have to study how people are interacting online and budget the online marketing/advertising spend depending on its objectives (eg. high online appearance, conversations, visits…)

EMarketer released data in February that shows that online ad spend will exceed print ad spend for the first time in 2012.

Due to the fact that ranking in top positions on generic search terms has a large brand impact, the spending on search marketing (including both pay-per-click and search engine optimisation) will continue to rise. But how do you take your SEO to the next level? How to use the data in customer relationship management?

From some marketing magazine articles and blogs online, I realised there’s new analysing system called visitor intelligence to help maximising your SEO efforts. Visitor intelligence allows you to proactively collect visitor information from the search data you are capturing at the time visitors come to your site. Information you can later use for analysis, segmentation, and prioritization of your visitors and leads. This includes more than the basic information you are likely to have in your core search analytics systems, such as source, campaign, and landing page traversed. In this way, you can consistently determine the quality of your website’s visitors and leads. You can scan, review, and segment that traffic. So you can know what your customers are demanding and their drivers, and from then prioritise the leads to attract! To sum up, combining the SEO and visitor intelligence can give you insights on what is influential/attracting consumers, what keywords are driving the most profitable consumers and what to invest in the future.

Next leader in social media? (1)

According to Experian Hitwise report, the following are the top 6 most visited social media sites in the US (which doesn’t include visits from smartphones/tablets)

  • 1. Facebook: 7 billion
  • 2. Twitter: 182 million
  • 3. Pinterest: 104 million
  • 4. LinkedIn: 86 million
  • 5. Tagged: 72 million
  • 6. Google+: 61 million

Pinterest boasted 104 million total visits in March, and is now the third most popular social media platform behind Twitter and Facebook in the US. From an article in Forbes, women are responsible for the success based on the fact that 97% of the Pinterest users are women! Forbes found out 4 reasons that Pinterest is more superior than Facebook when targeting, esp women. First, its simple and delightful with the visuals/pictures than words (like reading a magazine with pictures and videos!). Second, its easy for brands and marketers to follow groups and understand consumers’ interests with a more open setting/interface. Third, its more chill-out and enjoyable without constant updates of news feeds (status, photos…). Lastly, brands can try different ways to advertise or promote by holding creative campaigns through pinboards function and sharing with followers.

So if your brand is targeting at women and young generation who like to share their interests and lives, you should start browsing Pinterest and get connected with your potential customers!

Film premier feedback

Last friday, we had a feedback section reflecting on what we have learned or felt about this creative economy course and followed by a film premier showing video adverts of all of our businesses.

In the one hour feedback section, each of us had to speak for 90s and say what they have gained from this design thinking/business module. Most shared the importance of acceptance/adaptiveness when they have to work in groups with new people with different backgrounds and over half of the class said they were more encouraged and active in using different social media (including me).

Out of the ten groups in the film premier shown,I think the one from ‘words images & dates’ is the most professional. First, because the music is original (custom made) to the advert and it flows really well with the situations and people in it, soft and emotional. Second, the camera ‘shooting/clicking’ sound shows that its products is about images and the good quality of their calendar images. Third, without using a narrative voice, I easily understood what they are selling, which is great. However, there is one thing could have been improved. They should have added their business pages/websites or details on how the audience can find more information and buy at the end, before the casting slide.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rC8mDDw8VSA (Words images& dates)

The second link that I post here below is the advert of our product: Ukreate phonecase/card case. The music in the advert conveys the message of young and fun, animations and graphics were drawn and selected to suit the usage imagery and shows the physical attributes: multifunctional and customization fo our product. We have no narrative voice but the feedback we have got was we have go too many words going around and they lost abit of  the focus on our products. And we have the same problem as the one mentioned above, we forgot to put our facebook business page or where the audience could find us! We had our brand name in it but no contact details!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5laKzgRlAec   (Ukreate)

Ultimately, the role of advertising is to create the brand awareness and sell!

First Trade Fair

There is a first time for everything and this time is the first time to be participating at a trade fair and the first sale(s) made for our brand UKREATE!

We were asked to form into groups and start up a new business with a new product/service, supported by Kingston University and the Young Enterprise. It is difficult enough to think of a new product and create awareness and sales , not to mention gaining wide popularity. This is why we didn’t choose to develop a new service which needs more time to build consumer confidence and reputation, on top of technical issues. After a few months of re-devloping ideas and prototyping, a multifunctional phone/card case is our final product.

This is suitable for college students, young professionals, fashionable who leads a busy and vibrant lifestyle and creative! It’s an all-in-one case with card sleeves and phone pocket for someone who doesnt want a mess in their bags. A wide range of colourful fabrics and styles to choose from and best of all, u can customize it to your own taste with extra buttons,patterns, decorations:) This is why our brand is called UKREATE! You create your own case! All these benefits enabled us to appeal to our target audience who are creative and want something unique (all handmade not mass produced!)
The Kingston University Trade Fair on 1st March was the debut of our product and the first time to show the real final products to our consumers. The event was invaluable because we could know more about how consumers think of our products and network with other participating booths/brands. After a few hours of explaining our brand concepts and selling our products, we made the most sales at the fair and won the BEST PRODUCT prize by Young Enterprise! This is an incredible encouragement to our brand/group and will be our future promotional reference!
Stay tuned for what will happen for the next trade fair on 22nd March and visit our facebook page UKREATE  on http://www.facebook.com/ukreate
An video advert of our product will be posted here soon!

What shapes your taste?

Designer is a planner with aesthetic sense’ by Bruno Munari. Do you agree? And if so, do you think you are constantly influenced by the things/environment around you?

The design museum is now exhibiting Sir Terence Conran’s design and his impact on contemporary British way of life, as a celebration to his 80th birthday. It’s named as ‘ The Way We Live Now’, probably because of his great influence in the UK, which are evident from the shops and restaurants he owned (i.e. Habitat, Quaglino’s, Blubird….) and his contribution to the regeneration of the Shad Thames/Tower Bridge area in London. The exhibition showcases Conran’s design works from the post war austerity until now, which displays his inspirations through different periods. Here are some pictures that I have taken from the exhibition:

Apart from the Conran’s exhibition, I went upstairs and found another interesting exhibition featuring new and talented designers, selected from a wide range of design/art areas. This is the 4th time for this annual programme which supports young designers at their early stage of career by providing guidance and space for their exhibitions. Out of the four works on reinvention/alternative use of metal plates, replicating home-made chip board, mysterious clock and craftsmanship-to-mass production system on furnitures,  I am particularly amazed by the one by Hye-Yeon Park. Its a clock (fuelled by electricity) which will only show the real time when you walk close enough in front of the clock and it flips back to black plates or other patterns (planned random mechanics!) when you walk away. I like the concept that it makes you forget about the real time when you’re relaxing at weekends! It’s fun, cool and practical! What can you ask for more for a furniture/art decoration?

Below is a short clip of the 4 designers explaining their concepts of work and some behind-the-scenes. Enjoy 🙂

Designers in Residence Jan 2012

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