The Fetch Blog

Curated reads and events for professionals

Event Review: Business as usual- social media in a laggard B2B sector — September 29, 2012

Event Review: Business as usual- social media in a laggard B2B sector

Community Ambassador Keith McGuinness attended ‘Business as usual: social media in a laggard B2B sector’, part of Social Media Week London’s programme of events. 

What: Business as usual: social media in a laggard B2B sector

When: Thursday 27th September

Where: Offices of Aviva Investors

Organised by: Social Media Week London

For someone who fancies himself as a budding Gordon Gecko, a social media event hosted by an investment firm was too good to turn down.

And while I didn’t leave with any insights into the next big thing in the stock market, I did learn about some really interesting ways B2B social media is being employed in the financial services sector.

The first two case studies explored how social media platforms are being used to engage other players in their respective sectors.

Dawid Konotey- Ahulu introduced us to Mallow Street, a standalone platform dedicated to the pensions sector. Mallow Street’s main objective is to help Dawid’s company Redington establish strong relationships with their clients and it aims to achieve this by offering relevant content and a lively discussion forum. However Dawid emphasised that they also organise regular face to face networking events as they still find this the best way to establish relationships.

The second case study was presented by Andrew Scott of M&G Investments who spoke about Bond Vigilantes, one of the most popular blogs in the financial sector.  ‘Bond Vigilantes’ focuses on the fixed price bond sector and has built up a significant following over the last five years mainly thanks to senior executives at M&G embracing social media. Andrew referred to the blog as a ‘broadcast’ tool that can be used to reinforce their position in the industry rather than an attempt to initiate conversation.

The third presenter was Louisa Hunter of FreshMinds Research. FreshMinds specialise in using social media to monitor brand reputation and conduct consumer and competitor research. Louisa discussed three different types of projects that the company undertake: social media audits, trend spotting and brand benchmarking and how important it is to fully understand your audience before engaging them.

The last presenter was Tony Stewart of our hosts, Aviva Investors. Tony discussed how Aviva have resorted to using a social media platform called Yammer for the company’s internal communications. Yammer allows employees to share all sorts of information such as project updates, news and opinion and HR policies across its global chain of offices. The platform was only launched eighteen months ago but already enjoys 85% engagement amongst its 1,500 employees.

The seminar ended with a lively Q&A session before the attendees adjourned for the customary networking session.

So, summing up, what did you miss? A fascinating insight into some of the innovative ways social media is being used from a B2B perspective in the financial services sector.

About our Ambassador: Keith McGuinness runs digital agency 1Four Media. Connect with him on Twitter @1FourMedia.

Interview: London Local, Chris Bradley —

Interview: London Local, Chris Bradley

This week, community Ambassador Keith McGuinness interviewed Chris Bradley of Publicate.

Name: Chris Bradley
Website: Publicate
Twitter: @Publicate

To start with, can you tell us a bit about your background? 

My first step into digital was with my degree which was product design with engineering and multimedia at Liverpool. After that I kind of took a different path and actually got myself a job in Amsterdam working as a BDM for a large Taiwanese LCD manufacturer. It was a huge company, churning out over 200 million LCD panels a year. I started off working for them on the industrial product range in Europe but after a year or two I focused on the emerging market of Public Information Displays i.e. things like the screens in airports and on the London underground, which was great because I got solid insight into the world of marketing from a big business point of view and experience with developing business strategy in an emerging industry. So I was working in Amsterdam for about four years, before they asked me to go out to their HQ in Taiwan and look at things on a global scale, where I spent the last two years, before I got the idea for and started Publicate.

How did you come up with the idea for Publicate?

The idea for Publicate actually came about with me trying to promote myself in my career through content and what I was finding was that my “message” was fragmented by media type, so videos would be on Youtube, slide decks on Slideshare and so on. So that got me thinking about marketing and how it’s all about telling a story, and that we have all these awesome tools that make it easy to get any kind of media online so why isn’t there somewhere that you can combine all of this media, regardless of its type, into a more relevant and more engaging source of information, and that’s how it got started.

And how does Publicate work? 

The idea behind Publicate is to make it easy to organize and promote your content online. The platform is built around a simple CMS through which you can upload your own content, or collect it from anywhere on the web, in any media format and as your doing so you can also organize the content into relevant collections. So for example, let’s say I have a passion for cooking so I do a little bit of food blogging and I spend time finding cool recipes and food stuff online. What I could do with Publicate is organize all of that content into a more visual and engaging experience for viewers. So I could have a collection called “Awesome Recipes” and within that I could have a collection of “Duck Recipes” and of “The Best British Recipes”, then within each are any number of relevant media, so for “The Best British Recipes” collection I could have content on Heston’s take on cooking the perfect roast dinner– a video of me cooking it, a video of him cooking it, some pictures of what my attempt looks like, some other peoples pictures, the ingredient and preparation list etc.

So the idea is that the value of an individual piece of content is increased when it is combined with other relevant pieces of content and we don’t think that should be limited by type of media.

And obviously all of this is built around social features so the community can engage with your content, share it, comment on it, rate it and also collect it into their own Collections.

Can you give us a sneak preview into what else you’ve got planned for the site? 

For us the focus is helping people to get the most out of content online, content they already have, content they are creating, how they organize it, how they promote it, how they discover it, and ultimately what they can understand from all that in order to improve future content.

On specifics though, we want to get more integrated with the content people are already creating and sharing in their lives right now, so we are looking at creating a personal online library where all of your content automatically collates from various sources as and when you share it and can then be organized and reused later on.

Something else we are looking into is the discovery experience on the site and how we can use the human element of organization to provide a more relevant and contextual discovery path.

But to be honest right now we want to learn more from how the community uses the product and where they see the value so that we can evolve the direction accordingly.

Content curation is still really new, and we feel Publicate is a great tool to make the most out of the tactic from what we understand so far but we are really looking forward to evolving the platform as the community and tactic evolve too.

Who is Publicate for? 

Publicate is for people who have a passion that they want to share in a more focused and engaging way or a passion they want to find good and relevant content around.

So right now we see three main issues getting in the way of people doing both of these better:

  • Content is fragmented by media type
  • The internet is in content overload
  • Finding quality, relevant information is time consuming

So we’ve developed the product as it is now to start addressing these issues and our long term goal is to continually improve the experience from both a sharing and consuming point of view.

So for instance, on content overload, collections enable the community to define the relevance and value of content by combining it with other relevant and valuable information which in turn makes the discovery more focused and topic driven whilst at the same time increasing the chance of discovering quality information as it’s a human process. We’ve also taken the quality aspect a step further and made it possible for the community to rate the content which influences the amount of display space that a piece of content occupies so at a glance the community can quickly discern what the community sees as quality information, something we will be able to improve and refine more and more over time.

Would it be fair to say that Publicate is similar to Pinterest but encompassing a wider range of media? 

I think that is a good explanation to get a quick understanding of the type of platform that Publicate is but actually there are several core functions aside from just the media range that make a big difference.

The first is being able to view an entire collection content as a blog roll and because it can encompass all media types, all of the content within the collection can be viewed and engaged with from a single click, making it a simpler and more informative experience for the viewer.

Another is the level of organization possible, by being able to add a collection into a collection the community has endless organization capability, making it easy to organize the web in a very visual way as well as gaining a more detailed level of relevance and context around each piece of content.

How can the business community make use of Publicate? 

The focus of Publicate is all about content, we’ve designed the platform to put content centre stage, in the way its displayed, how the community can engage with it and how value can be added to it by combining media into relevant collections.

So for businesses and brands this is a very powerful social marketing tool. First and foremost it is a very visual and engaging way to tell their story, allowing them to easily pull together any number and type of media into a single shareable message. It also makes it easy for brands to empower the community by including user generated content into their collections whilst also offering a way for brands to help customers understand more about their products and services by the way the content is organized on the platform.

Another valuable aspect will be the understanding of how the customer organizes and relates the brands content with their own, giving detailed insight into first hand market perception and relevance.

And of course, last but not least is the increased visibility and SEO as the community engages, shares and collects their content.

What I am personally looking forward to seeing from brands is the creative ways in which they will be able to tell their stories and engage the community.

Publicate is a great example of how content curation is becoming increasingly popular, how do you see this practice evolving in the future? 

I think content curation is the evolution of the combination of human’s inherent need to organize and make sense of the world, and the Internet’s amazing ability to connect everyone and everything.

Organizing and making sense of the world is all about making connections i.e. this is connected to this because of this, which is also connected to that, which is relevant to this and so on. The Internet is the best resource for information on the planet so Google has spent 14 years developing an amazing secret sauce algorithm that works out what is relevant to what based on what. The human brain on the other hand has been honing its skills on what is relevant to what for over 200,000 years and Google knows this so since social media has completely taken over our lives, Google has seen that to make its search more relevant and more accurate it needs to tie the results to a human element which is why social interactions now carry weight. Content curation adds a further step to this and actually puts a very manual and very human layer onto organizing the web and by allowing people to actively collect and group information and content, we can create a much more accurate and human map of relevance.

So in the future I would see that content curation, just as social media is doing now, will dramatically impact the way in which we discover information online and that the path of discovery will be influenced by all three elements of algorithm, social media and content curation but as it evolves further the weighting will shift from the algorithm, more on to social media and content curation.

You’re moving to London to expand the business, how important is it to be based here for a digital entrepreneur?

Networking! When I started Publicate I was living in Taiwan, and at the time all the decisions were cost focused so moving in with the folks in North Wales was the logical choice but you don’t realise just how much of difference it makes being around people in your sector and being able to bounce ideas, get opinions and join the conversation.

It’s such a cliché but business really is all about who you know and the relationships you build. Tech is making long distance relationships easier but nothing beats face to face and actually getting to know people on a personal level.

So for me it’s a no brainer, the London tech scene is booming and there is a lot Britain is already doing and can show the world, I just know I need to be a part of that.

Do you have any advice for aspiring digital entrepreneurs reading this? 

The best piece of advice I was ever given was also the simplest. I was at SXSW this year, chatting to Michael Schneider, CEO of Mobile Roadie, and I actually asked him, “what’s the one thing you would advise to someone starting out” and he said – “Just don’t give up”. That really resonated with me because it was at a time when I was the only one in the company, the product development was being outsourced and we had just got a bit of visibility which flopped because we weren’t ready. I was really struggling to see the light at the end of the tunnel but that piece of advice just simplified things for me.

Everyday there are 30 things you need to do that don’t get done but by just focusing on putting your all into everything you do, you find the way forward. And that doesn’t mean steaming ahead on bad decisions because all you need to do is not give up, it’s about maintaining the relentless drive and passion you need in order to find the right path and make the right decisions and by not losing that drive you’ll get there in the end.  After all business is the evolution of an idea into something that people want to pay you money for, it’s not giving up that gets you through the evolution.

About our Ambassador: Keith McGuinness runs digital agency 1Four Media. Connect with him on Twitter @1FourMedia.

Event Review: Technology in Sport — August 25, 2012

Event Review: Technology in Sport

When: Tuesday 22nd August
Where: Goodman Derrick LLP, 10 Bride St, London EC4A 4AD
Organised by: Amoo Venture Capital Advisory as part of their Amoo Booster Series

Having spent most of the last ten years working in the sports industry, an event called ‘Technology in Sport’ was always going to catch my eye.

So I headed to the impressive offices of event hosts Goodman Derrick on a beautiful Tuesday evening, making sure I arrived in time for the informal networking that preceded the event.

The first speaker of the evening was Angus McNab of Opta Sports. Opta Sports provides performance related data, such as passes completed, for a wide range of sports to clients all over the world. Angus gave us an overview of the company’s background as well as an insight into some of the fascinating ways that their data is used, such as by the Monday Night Football team on Sky Sports.

This was followed by an informal pitching competition by three London based start-ups combining technology and sport with the audience voting on the winner.

First up was Howard Kingston of We R Interactive. Howard introduced us to their flagship social game IAmPlayr, which allows the user to assume the identity of a professional footballer. The game tries to reflect real life as closely as possible so you have to make decisions that will affect your success both on and off the pitch! Howard also explained how the company has teamed up with brands including Betfred and Red Bull to monetize the game.

The next presentation was by Eric DeGolier of Vortex Sports Design who spoke about his new cycling product, Bodyrocket. Bodyrocket is a simple piece of kit that can be strapped to a bike to measure aerodynamic drag. This type of technology was previously only available to professional cycling teams with big budgets to spend on wind tunnels but Eric, a former elite cyclist, has come up with a more affordable version of the technology for both amateur and professional cyclists.

The last presentation was by Roman Grigorjev of Revelmob who talked about Guessmate, another social game that will be launched shortly. Guessmate allows users to guess which pictures they have received from friends from only a tiny fraction of the image. Although not strictly a sports product, Roman explained how it could be easily adapted for the sports industry using images of famous sports people.

In the end,Howard and IAmPlayr won by a landslide vote but both Eric and Roman deserve great credit for their presentations also.

Once the presentations finished, the networking continued and it was still warm enough for some attendees to venture out onto the balcony to take in some fantastic views of the city at night.

So, summing up, what did you miss? The chance to learn about some exciting new tech start-ups in the sports industry and to connect with a diverse group with an interest in both the tech and sports sectors.

For information about upcoming events in the Amoo Booster Series, click here.

About our Ambassador: Keith McGuinness is a freelance copywriter based in South West London. Connect with him on Twitter @mcginty312

Top 10 London City Guides — May 15, 2012

Top 10 London City Guides

Pic courtesy of @jeera.

This week, @ThatGirl_Chloe shares her favourite London blogs which cover what’s happening in and around London and offer an alternative view of this great city! If she’s missed any of your favourites, please tweet or email her. Enjoy!

1. Londonist –>

The Londonist has cult following in the blogsphere and has created a real community spirit around their website and Facebook Page, with loads of interesting stories, articles and event listings. A regular feature is Week In Geek, the Weekend Round Up and for when you are cash-strapped (London is expensive!) some ideas of things to do on the cheap.

2. Handpicked London –> Facebook Fan page

With over 80,000 likes on Facebook, Handpicked London is becoming a favourite among Londonites, to get their pick “of London’s most interesting, secret or unusual things”. Also, a little known fact, they also run this site which aggregates interesting blogs and content from other well-known London Blogs (some of which are listed here). Be sure to like their page to find out latest news and events, silly pictures and tidbits.

3. I know this great little place in London –>

Founded by Rich Brown and Rossa Shanks, I know this great little place in London was born out of pure frustration against the rise of restaurant chains and not having a place to share local knowledge and independent discoveries. In their own words, GLP, “is a collection of thoughts on the best in London’s unexpected special little venues and activities”. The community is heavily involved in contributing to the daily listings, and Facebook and Twitter fans are strongly encouraged to make their own suggestions. In fact because they are so committed, GLP managed to secure over £10,000 in investment from their community and fan base, using a crowdfunder campaign to help fund and re-design their new website.

4. Run Riot! –>

One of my favourite ‘What’s On’ guide for alternative nights out in London, which mainly covers East London. Split into several categories featuring Art, Club, Dance, Film, Music, Theatre, Think and the Wild Card, Run Riot! generally has something for everyone. If you are looking for something different, then look here first.

5. InFormed London –>

InFormed London features one event per day, that is not to be missed! They cover everything from jumble sales, film screenings, club nights and theatre reviews. Always fresh and updated daily, I definitely recommend you check back here often. They also run competitions and have an impressive blog roll (which includes some of my fave blogs that I have featured here).

6. LeCool London –>

The ultimate London What’s On Guide which features loads of interesting events and listings in a beautifully designed webzine format. Every week, LeCool London has a varied selection of events from exhibitions, gigs, food, sport, cinema and club night listings. You can also catch up on some London extras by reading their blog which includes London Selected by…The Dead Dolls Club.

7. London Loves Business –>

London Loves Business is a fantastic resource for budding entrepreneurs but also covers London Culture and lifestyle news, as well as upcoming conferences and exhibitions. Well worth the look if you are searching for some in-depth news bites and perhaps even a new career move!

8. Tired of London Tired of Life –>

If you ever find yourself bored, twiddling your thumbs, thinking about what to do on a nice sunny day in London, then check back to this blog. Every day the author features one thing to do in London, with every idea is being different from the last. Get out of the city and visit High Elms Country Park. Make new discoveries, and impress your friends about your insider knowledge!

9. IanVisits –>

A bit of a staple for the London blogosphere, IanVisits is full of fascinating facts, news and events. Continually updated with fresh listings, this blog features a what’s on guide, photo gallery and latest news coverage of testing being carried out on the new cable car route over the 02 Arena.

10. Little Miss Random –>

A recent addition to my ‘London favourites’ bloggers list, is Little Miss Random’s weekly round-up of all sorts of events, clubs nights and venues to visit in London. Every week she writes up her top listings during ‘School nights’ and at the weekend. This week features everything from ‘Dial M for Murdoch’ to Hip Hop Karaoke, and Friday Night Freakshow at The Underbelly. One to be bookmarked!

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