4 trends you need to know about driving growth in 2017

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As companies begin to think more like their customers, and ideas spread across industries faster, it’s important to be aware that consumers are actively comparing and contrasting business performance when making a decision on where to spend their money. With today’s consumer now looking for control and convenience over their time, money and space companies will be challenged to react to market trends quickly and effectively. In this post, I’ve identified 4 areas that we see playing an important role in defining company strategy in 2017. This is based on findings of a white paper produced by White Space agency.

  1. New pricing and ownership models

 

Thanks to Spotify, Netflix and Zipcar who took this ownership model mainstream we are now able to purchase products that were expensive, or used infrequently on a need to want basis. Research has also shown that this of particular attraction to millennial consumers who have less space and money and can see the benefits to removing the burden of ownership. There is also a growing trend in subscription services that provide us with the basics, including; coffee, razor blades and underwear, which saves the consumer time and offers that all important convenience factor. Where it is possible to offer this kind of service companies will be able to maintain value to the customer, and nurture long-term relationships with individuals. Despite the expense of changing pricing models for an established company, I believe it’s worthwhile for companies looking to determine whether products should be marketed and sold as a service, or promote the value of ownership as identify.

 

  1. Energy Storage

 

Fully expect to see lots of changes in the area of renewable and energy storage this year. This shift comes as policy changes to the feed-in-tariff and a fall in the price of renewable energy below the level of oil and gas, contributing to the reduction in the installation of renewables throughout the UK. This being the case you may see those type of companies switch sales strategies and seek alternative revenue streams once Ofgem sets clear guidelines for ‘energy generation’ going forward. The reduction in price to energy storage has opened doors for businesses operating in this space to tackle the issue of whether energy storage units are appropriate for them, or if there is an opportunity to lease additional storage space to the National Grid to enable them to reduce peak demand.

 

  1. Customer Service Automation

 

The power of good customer service will give businesses the power to increase acquisition, retention and encourage brand loyalty. As mentioned earlier the high expectations of today’s consumer now demands an easy, effective and emotive service at their convenience. And with companies like Amazon and Uber leading the way on change, it’s not how well established you are, but how well you adopt new technologies that allow for easy and effective customer service. This means stripping back those long and complicated menu systems and replacing it with voice recognition software that can help people get where they need to go quicker.

Companies who can capitalise on this trend and look for data and ways to problem-solve in real-time, linking up different channels, through one seamless approach will reap great rewards.

 

  1. New Payment Methods

 

Don’t expect to see new technology go viral, but there is good reason to believe there will be improvements in the way payments are currently taken, and opportunities for gathering additional consumer rich data that will provide useful insight to companies looking to strengthen internal analytics functions, and be better prepared. It’s thought that this year will be one of rapid innovation, marked by increasingly sophisticated payment-based data and biometric payments.  For example, you can now confirm your identity by looking at your eyes through a camera on a mobile phone – a technology developed by ‘EyeVerify’ and already being used by early adopters such as Mastercard and Atom Bank. With these targeted payment technology options available, suppliers and retailers can now plan on how they will use the data collected from these streams to improve and add value to the customer experience and be different.

 

Conclusion
As the boundaries between different types of companies become blurred, and the consumer draws comparison from companies across sectors with keywords such as speed and convenience drawing their attention. It’s vital for the established companies including supermarkets, utilities providers and those in the financial sector to identify the trends and take action on market demands to avoid the risk of being left behind.

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Boost your business with Facebook review

Last week, I had the privilege of attending an afternoon event with Facebook & Instagram on how to boost your business using Facebook and Instagram, so I thought I’d share a few snapshots and thoughts that stood out from the day.

We had some free coffee! Big thank you to the the lovely guys over a @pactcoffee and the Instagram team for that. There was cake too! I may eaten a few of those.. cringe! Oh well, back to the gym on Monday! 🙂


We heard from Olly Sewell, SMB manager for Facebook UK and Ireland. 

Tanya Beckett did a fabulous job hosting the event and below are three of the entrepreneurs that gave testimony of their success using Facebook. I thought Tricia Cusden was by far the most interesting story on the panel with her make up brand Look Fabulous Forever.

They also gave delegates the opportunity to screen print an Instagram photo of their choice. I choose to have my own brand logo, Frame Your World, which is a new range of inspiring lifestyle products that I am launching this summer.


So I know I’ve rambled on about my experience of the event itself, but from a business perspective it really is the best way to go with advertising and connecting to your target market.

I am particularly impressed by the developments of Instagram as the iconic vintage logo has now been officially facebooked! Yes, grammar police I just did that. With a new white background and a brand new logo, which doesn’t seem to have hit it off with the majority of those attend the event the powers that be defended the move as important to fit in with the Facebook brand. Fair enough! I think change is a process and we will all love the new logo in no time. I’ve got used to it already! I did however find myself reminiscing to the moment I first used Instagram and the Polaroid background that showcased my instant snaps. Ah how times have changed…

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I was rather expected by the mention of rolling out an analytical side to Instagram for business as the relatively new ad platform continues to get into its stride. Instagram is by far one of the hottest channels right now with 400 million active users.

As you all know this is my favourite channel, but incase you need another reason to be on Instagram than its connected to the market leader of social networking. A pictures speaks a 1000 words, and is a universal language. Isn’t that something? I think so.

3 top tips on producing creative content for Instagram

1. Build your content with stories and facts in mind – people remember these things.

2. Be consistent – branded content over time my brand will build. Make sure you have a clear direction, colour scheme, theme and purpose behind every post you publish.

3. Thumpstopping content – when people are sliding through make a quick impact to catch people’s eye. Research from MIT suggest that you have 3 seconds to capture people’s attention, so don’t wait till the end of your add to present the diamond to your customer. Our culture is changing once again, so it’s time to get clear the etch a sketch board and start thinking mobile.

If you need some more reasons, then check out my last post on 3 reasons why you should be on Instagram.

I honestly believe that if you want to be savvy in building and growing your business then you really should consider testify out the Facebook or Instagram ad’s. Besides the menial fact that Facebook ad targeting has a reach of 6.5 billion every month. It’s one of the most targeted and cost efficient way to reach your customer in a very noisy marketplace.

3 quick tips on getting started with Facebook Ad Manager

1. Know your goal – what do you want to get from it? Be aware that a share is much more valuable than a like, and content that is mobile friendly and video will have the greatest reach and impact.

2. Know your audience – you need to know specifics of your target market to get the most out of your campaign

3. Set aside some time aside and log onto Blueprint – Facebook have provided a great resource for help you no matter what level you are starting from that will fully equip you with what you need to know about creating ads.

Vine or Instagram? That is today’s question.

1. Vine

After deleting my account in back in 2013, I have to thank Vine Celebrity Nash Gier and his cute little sister Sky Lynn for re-introducing me to Vine year. It wasn’t really grabbing my attention back then, but since rediscovering my passion for film and video content in particular I have fallen in love once again.

It’s so much fun, and make you can make your own mini films. The app allows you to hit pause at any time, which gives flexibility in shooting over a longer period of time, location, or with various groups of people. It’s pretty impressive, and as some may call it the modern film. The rise of digital media has challenged generations ability to focus for any length of time. You have to be creative with this channel, and only get 6 seconds to dazzle your audience, but if it’s right for you’re audience and you do it right like Ford, then you’re sure to reap great benefits (providing you sow valuable content).

Here’s one I made earlier:

 

Now I’m not sure if I like it more than You Tube, (I’ve recently started posting some videos on the 2nd largest search engine last month), but I highly recommend it as a strategic component in your social media strategy for 2015. Last year I mentioned that video was huge, and this year fast and shareable video content is even bigger.

2. Instagram

I feel like this is the one that flew under the radar. I am obsessed with this channel, and despite some concerned post Facebook take over, I feel they have kept true to the apps original feel and function without running over it with a Facebook stamp and like button. I use my Instagram like a diary of moments and captures that I love to refer to as Kodak moments. It’s the perfect balance between the old and the new. I used to own a Polaroid camera, and loved taking instant snaps of random trees’s birthday cake, and pretty much anything I could point and snap.

I’ve just recently upgraded to a DSLR, which is awesome – I feel all professional holding it; but I don’t pretend to be an expert. If you look at my Instagram you’ll see lots of food, and outdoor pics mostly.

As a business it’s a great way to show personality and engage with the consumer if you are a visual product or service. Ford have done a great job in keeping their Instagram content unique and a one off. It may take a little more work doing things this way, but it will be an investment worth having. Don’t be afraid to be normal. Use the filters, do all the things you would do if posting on your own social media channels.

When I say do ‘all’ things, this is assuming you keep a somewhat professional approach to posting on your own platforms.

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#socialmedia #businesstalk #ThrowbackThursday #inmyopinion

3 reasons to use Periscope

Have you tried Periscope yet? If not, why not? I love it. It’s the hottest new platform from Twitter. You don’t need to wait for that big break on TV or film any longer. Just download the app, connect it up to your Twitter account, and tell the world what you see!

I almost shrugged this channel, and snapchat off. Even though I could see it was trending, it just felt like a hassle. Generally, you create a few seconds of content that disappears within a few seconds (or 24hours if on Periscope). At first I failed to see the point of it, but actually there is… it’s about connection. Connecting with an audience on ground level, at real time. It’s an incredible opportunity for business to get personal with their customer. So why haven’t we seen more companies on Periscope and taking advantage of this fantastic opportunity?

I believe part of the problem is that people want to see BIG return, for little input. Whilst I understand that on a business level you want to see a return for the time and effort you put in, social media should be viewed as a long term strategy, with short term goals.

The other reason is that now we have other channels including Snapchat and Facebook live providing similar more convenient options accessible options. Although all three of these platforms bring something different to the table

So has Periscope missed the boat? I don’t think so, for the right company and reason there is still opportunity to be had for those not scared to venture out of their comfort zone.

It’s a great way to do a live Q & A giving brands control over questions they want to answer, and adding another dimension to the relationship or community you are trying to build.

3 ideas for using Periscope for:

  1. Live Q & A
  2. Interesting facts
  3. 5 minute couch talk
  4. Training and teaching workshops

 

 

#businesstalk #socialmedia #justathought #myopinion

 

How many does it take to change a light bulb?

In the light of a new season, where one leader leaves us, and many more are faced with the challenge to rise up; I write to share the thought that it is possible for anyone to be a world changer.

No matter your race, colour, or creed. Wherever life may find you today, at whatever station you may find yourself; and even if you feel like the world is crumbling under your feet and that you don’t feel adequate enough. Yes… even then. It is possible.

As the world comes together in memory of this great leader, notice how Richard Branson, Oprah and many other history makers are found in one place, in one picture, at the same time; and yet each individual has brought something unique, special and of their own mark to the place we like to call, Earth. As important as it is for us to stand up in a room and shine bright the light that each of us has within, it is equally important that we can stand together united as one that we may see and BE the change in this world for this generation, and the generations to come.

To live only for ourself, our company, or money and self gain is, in my opinion, to live shortsighted in life; but to use the gifts, talents, and diverse skills that each of us have is to accomplish the dream in our hearts – is to do something great. I pray that our dreams don’t just fulfil something for our sake. Instead, I pray that they are attached to something bigger than ourselves, and full of purpose. If we only help one life in some small way, then let it be with the best of our efforts.

I believe we are all born with lights on the inside of us that are bursting to light up the world. When we feel happy and fulfilled we are a beacon to those around us. Some have lost their light along the seemingly tough journey of life. Many feel broken, hurt, and without strength to get back up. We can be that strength for someone today. No matter how insignificant it may seem to you, a warm smile can go a long way. It may take more than a smile to change someones life. It may take many smiles, and time spent chatting, or practically meeting a need somehow…but It only takes one person to change a light bulb, and it only takes one light bulb to light a room.

Ponder, and plan

I am so excited about the future; as we bring 2013 to a close and push into a new year, I’m already thinking about what kind of things I would like to see in my life, in 2014. I wonder if you’ve started thinking about next year, or if you are currently focussed on the current project, or moment in time. Whilst it’s good to be able to live in the present, I also believe it’s good to have one eye on your dream, and be working daily towards achieving success in both. 

There is so much opportunity, but living in London it’s easy to become consumed with ‘chasing ones tail’ so to speak, and filling time with everything and anything. I’m now learning to spot the trend and excuses that have kept me from fulfilling some of my goals, and I’m glad to be sharing this thought with you today that will hopefully help you avoid similar pitt holes. 

1. Never dwell on the past – simply learn from your mistakes, and make the adjustments. If you’ve taken something on that has overwhelmed you, or hasn’t turned out quite as you expected, then see it as a learning curve and move on. 

The greatest failure is the one who experiences a fall, but never gets back up. 

2. Live with your purpose in mind – It’s way too easy to become consumed by all kinds of useless facts. Living with your dream, or vision in mind, I believe, is the key to achieving.

“A man without a vision is a man without a future. A man without a future will always return to his past.”

3. Value time – This links in with the previous to points, but I find that I need to be reminded of this often. We have enough time to do what we need to do, but we also have ample opportunity to get distracted and to waste the time that we have. It’s important to take time to think about what we’re spending our time on, who with, and where it’s leading us. 

Time is a currency that we can’t exchange, so spend it wisely.

Looking for work and Haagen-Dazs Ice Cream

From one explorer, to another… that’s you. Yes, you.

I would like to share with you the coolness that is Adam Pacitti. Now I don’t know Adam, but I’ve stumbled across a few of his stories tonight, on the BIG SURF and thought it would be only right that I blog about the genius he is.

One of the many great things about the culture we are now engrossed in is that opportunities are there for anyone who’s ready. Yes, dressed, willing, wants – to anyone who so desires!

I know too well the desperado tune of being unemployed, and in truth I’ve pipped to that very song on more than one occasion in my 28 years of living. Anyway, what makes Adam so fantastic is that he DID something about it! He didn’t just sit back with his thumb in his mouth crying ‘it’s all their fault.’

The key to finding work today is to be creative, irrespective of the industry or role you dare to play. Even better get busy helping someone else. I think this deserves some serious food for thought, so I’m off to ponder my POA, on my couch, with my Haggen-Dazs ice cream and HOT cup of tea, on Valentines Day.

And whilst we’re on the subject, any publishing, film or creative company out there in need of a damm good writer; social media guru, leader, speaker, idea generator and above average top chick, then get in touch today! 😉

Find out more about me, by clicking HERE.

#HAPPYVALENTINESDAY

Who’s Adam?

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