I am a User – Show me your goods!

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Marketing Week Live 2014 certainly opened my eyes to a lot of innovative and exciting ideas which are being utilised and developed in the Marketing Industry – particularly in Digital Marketing. The most valuable knowledge I picked up from the event was the sheer importance of Digital Marketing. Although it is problematic to claim that ‘gone are the days of traditional Marketing’, it was clear from the stands and talks at the exhibition, that Digital Marketing is the market to market. Companies who do not jump on the digital band-wagon are being left behind! Bastien Schupp, VP of Marketing at Nissan Motor Co. Ltd, gave an interesting insight into Marketing in the Automotive Industry. He spoke about how despite the high quality vehicles which some car companies were manufacturing, they failed to thrive as their Marketing strategies were not as innovative as their industry. James Cherkoff, Course Director at CIM, highlighted the importance of the ‘User Experience’. As a result of our progressive world, the user experience is ever-changing. It is the role for Marketing folk to ensure that they adapt their content to keep up with its stride, whilst ensuring that the user continues to get the best experience – both on and offline.

It is as simple as this.

It is the role of a Company to ensure that the transition from traditional to content Marketing is seamless. The user’s needs have not changed, however the means to those needs have. Companies need to demonstrate that they are able to provide users with both a reliable and innovative experience.

Now that is ‘Content’ Marketing (Mind the pun).

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‘No Pain, No Gain’ – It’s not just a physical thing!

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A decade ago (that’s scary to say), I was more than happy to scoff on burgers, pizzas and chips at lunch time with not a care in the world. Participating in netball a few times a week was all the exercise I needed apparently (ah youth!). Unfortunately, gone are the days where you can eat like a pig, yet look like an athlete. Nowadays, maintaining a healthy lifestyle doesn’t include an hour of group activities, followed by a chicken burger and chips! However, I’ve come to the conclusion that a healthy lifestyle isn’t just about your diet and fitness. The concept can be transferred to all aspects of life: Education. Jobs. Relationships.

It’s all about a lifestyle change…

Basic characteristics required to maintain your physical wellbeing include: Perseverance – to run that mile further, despite the pain, because you know your fitness levels will improve in the long run; Determination – to lose that extra five pounds in an attempt to reach your target weight; and Discipline – choosing to say ‘no’ to the appetising cake and opt for the healthier apple instead.

So how about adopting these principles to other parts of our life?

Discipline yourself – When it’s a few days before a major deadline, don’t go out and get hammered. Keep that end result in mind and give it a final push!

Be Determined – Although the rejections are coming in thick and fast, don’t be disheartened! Keep applying for those jobs and putting yourself out there because, as the Lottery slogan goes – you have to be in it to win it!

Keep persevering – There will always be difficult times in a relationship – that’s what life’s about. Overcoming these instances is what helps us grow as individuals, and as a couple.  When you reach those inevitable obstacles, work together to surpass them as it will only strengthen your relationship!

When we’re physically training ourselves, we say ‘no pain, no gain’, to push ourselves that little bit further. If we apply this psychology to all aspects of our life, we’ll see those same results. The next time that ‘pain’ kicks in, be disciplined, determined and persevere – you might just see the ‘gains’…

Social Networking – The Panoptic Prison?

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Why do we choose to write blogs; update our Facebook statuses; post tweets etc? Is it because we are trying to portray our views and ideas to our peers, or is it the views and ideas which we want others to believe are ours? This concept of putting our ideas out there to be publicly scrutinised is centuries old! Let me give you an example. Eighteenth Century Poet Jean Jacques Rousseau wrote his autobiography ‘Confessions‘ with the view to ‘…display to [his] kind a portrait in every way true to [his] nature, the man [he] shall portray will be [himself]’ (Rousseau, 1953: 77). Rousseau believed that the man whom he portrayed himself to be in his autobiography was a true reflection of himself. Similarly, by sharing information about ourselves via Social Networking, we’re under the illusion that we’re sharing our personalities with the world: our likes, our dislikes, our interests, our general viewpoints. However, if we thought no one was reading and watching what we put out there, would our likes, dislikes, interests and viewpoints change? Whilst at university, I came across a concept and theory which I believe are perfectly applicable to this question. In 1787, Jeremy Bentham came up with the idea of the Panopticon. This circular structure acted as a prison, in which the detained were completely visible at all times owing to the central tower of the structure being able to see within each cell. Although the inmates did not know if they were being watched, they knew they could be seen. Theorist Michael Foucault was very interested with this idea of the ‘omnipresence of the inspector’ (Bentham, 1995). The idea of ever-presence, without ever being seen. Foucault described the Panoptic design as a way ‘…to alter behaviour’ (Foucault, 1977: 203). The ‘observed’, believing themselves to be constantly under surveillance, would change their behaviour to whatever they wished the observer to view them as. We have to ask ourselves, are we simply inmates whose views and ideas are manipulated by the Panoptic effect of Social Networking? Knowing that there is a possibility that our views will be judged when we put them out there, can we honestly say that the ‘self’ we portray is not modified to get the effect which we desire?

 

– Bentham, Jeremy. (1995) The Panopticon Writings. Ed. Miran Bozovic. London: Verso.

– Foucault, Michael (1977). Discipline and Punish – The Birth of the Prison. London: Penguin Books.

– Rousseau, Jean-Jacques. (1953). Confessions. London: Penguin

 

The experience of inexperience – it’s a ‘chicken and egg’ situation

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When the majority of us leave university, we have a hopeful (and somewhat naive) belief in our minds that our dream job is going to fall right on our lap – or thereabouts! We’re all aware of the bleak job market but we know we have the skills to tackle whatever is thrown our way. We’ve all experienced the horror of writer’s block a day before a major deadline and complete cluelessness whilst surrounded by mountains of books, with not the foggiest idea of what we’re doing! We believe that these ‘experiences’ should grant us a so-called ‘fast-track’ onto the career-ladder. However, like all those before us, reality soon hits. We realise that, although we’ve had an experience, it may not necessarily be the experience which our potential employers are looking for. Time and time again, we’re bombarded with that same, relentless message: ‘Experience required’. This constant reminder of our inexperience can leave us feeling disheartened as our experience is considered inadequate. This is when I think it’s important to remember the mystery of ‘The chicken and the egg’. Everything starts somewhere. Although we may not be aware of when our inexperience will become an experience, it’s important that we do not neglect the experiences we already have as we have all got to start somewhere…

Life (and love) is a rollercoaster…

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In my eyes there was never a truer word spoken. Those who enjoy rollercoaster rides thrive off the fear, thrill and adrenaline rush of all of those unknown twists and turns and that feeling of excitement when you feel as though your whole world has been flipped upside down. It’s the perfect metaphor for life… and more importantly, LOVE! You board the ride, unbeknownst of the journey which lies ahead. Family and friends, your ideological safety harnesses, attempt to protect you the best they can. And then the ride begins. There’s a few bumps along the way. Your first day at school. The uncomfortable jerks and jolts of puberty. As the ride continues, you see yourself approach a steep ascent which makes your heart race and your hair stand on edge all at once – This is your first love. As you climb higher, you fall deeper, until you reach the absolute peak where you feel as though you are on top of the world. You remain there for a few moments which feel like a blissful eternity. And then – out of nowhere – you’re plummeting faster and deeper than you ever thought possible. You’re met with countless loops as your whole world is turning upside down. Then the tracks begin to even out and you see a straight and clear future ahead. It’s a calmness which feels like a necessity after the emotional ride from which you thought you’d never recover. However, even though you still feel nauseous from the entire experience, you know you’ll do it all over again for those moments on top of the world.