Tag Archives: birminghamuk

360 Links for 15 March

Marketing: Social networking explained

For all those that think online marketers should badger all their friends and followers with company messages and not try to engage with people in the way networking was designed for, should watch this video by Perry Belcher.

Creative Design: Innovative business card design

Apologies for the whack of comments on the page but below them all are some fantastic designs that show the more creative way to get people to remember your business.

Social Media: Skittles social media gaffe

I was going to case study this faux pas but came across this post and thought this was an easier way of achieving the same goal. I do think it is worth mentioning that transparency is the cornerstone of Social Media and by taking down their twitter feed, Skittles broke that rule.

Social Media: How to restaurants should use Social Media

Need I say much more. Great case study from a really switched on company.

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Filed under Big Cat Social, Design, Marketing

The Birmingham Big City Plan: Digital Challenge

Please try and make change the scenery between the Bullring and Digbeth

Please try and change the scenery between the Bullring and Digbeth

The Big City Plan is set to reshape the way we see Birmingham, through its economic, social and environmental future over the next 20 years.

The Birmingham Big City Plan: Digital Challenge gives you the chance to show how you want to reshape and revitalise the city centre.

The challenge is to show how you think Birmingham should develop over the next 20 years through photography and film. The photo/film you take could be an idea for the whole city or even just a local area, and the more imaginative the idea, the better. Maybe you feel Birmingham would benefit from more communal areas, better public transport, it could be anything you want it to be.

Every entry is welcome, and at any level, whether youre a professional or purely just love to be creative. There is no particular image/video quality needed so you can use a Digital SLR right down to your own mobile phone.

The closing date for this competition is 20 April 2009. For more details on categories and how to enter, please follow the links. Be sure to read the competition rules fully before entering.

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Filed under Big Cat Group, Big Cat Social, Big News

Is PR a crime?

PR provides the living for hundreds of thousands of people in the UK, and pumps in billions of pounds into our ailing economy. It plays a key role in providing new business and sales for almost every company in almost every country in the world.

We all have our wages paid by a company that generates sales by effective PR and marketing. Money made by good marketing and PR gets channeled back into the economy through wages, tax, investments etc, speeding up the great wheel of the economy. So why is it still such a stigmatised industry?

The obvious suggestion would be the disconcerting thought that a company is impeding on our freedom of thought, as well we should find it disconcerting. We all enjoy the illusion of free will and it is uncomfortable to know how much our thoughts and decisions are influenced, by big companies particularly as PR is considered more subliminal than straight up advertising. Also the quaint insistence of a lot of PR professional to bandwagon jump and moonlight is a source of great annoyance to others.

PR is often considered part of the great capitalist beast that carries the attitude of ‘that’s the way it is now, get used to it’, ‘as long as it makes us money, what’s the problem’, and that’s fair enough but I would consider that PR has a lot of genuine benefits for the public at large. The public would never be aware of of their favourite band’s nearby gig, if they didn’t read about it in a platform designed to sell editions and sell tickets. We wouldn’t be aware of products that may benefit us without an effective marketing strategy that reaches its target audience. It is easy to forget, just because someone is trying to sell you something, doesn’t mean what they are selling is of no benefit to you.

Maybe I’m wrong or biased or completely missing the point so I would be very interested to hear people’s thoughts. Are there other reasons why we are treated with such suspicion? are we treated with suspicion? Answers on a post card or at the bottom of this post in the convenient comment box below.

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‘Secret Wars’ art battle comes to The Rainbow

monsterposh_320_260x320Please welcome yet another guest blogger, the beautiful and lovely, Jason Hannon.

Much like the cult classic, Fight Club, ‘Secret Wars’ battles are set up and promoted through word of mouth (Although you are allowed to tell people about it).

Artists are given the task of creating their own unique illustrations within a certain time frame; there is no preparation time, there is no time to think, it is purely to create there and then.

This creative battle network grows bigger by the day, every month or so they add more battle locations while new and exciting artists enter the frame.

According to the Secret Wars website, “Secret Wars is on a global mission to turn live art into a recognised sport.”
The Semi final for this years Secret Wars happens in Birmingham’s prime location for creativity, Digbeth.
If anyone fancies taking a look, it takes place in The Rainbow Pub in Digbeth on the 21st of February, This SATURDAY, starting at 9 o’clock. I think this just shows how diverse a city Birmingham is that it can host an event like this.

I have added a cool link to showcase what they actually do in Secret Wars from the 2008 final, which also took place in Birmingham.

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Filed under Big News, Design

Big City Plan needs a Big City Philosophy

I, and many others, attended the Big City Plan meeting at the Council House last night to hear about the Council’s and the public’s ideas for the City. Before I go any further, I think it is worth mentioning that allowing citizens the chance to influence how their city should grow is a very encouraging thing for the Council to practise.

After Philip Singleton’s talk about the City Plan, the great unhosed mob of civvies filed into their groups to discuss problems and solutions while staff wrote down all the thoughts culminating in 3 main points that would presented back to the council.

To give my own point a plug, I feel strongly that physical communications must be set up between the BullRing and The Custard Factory because if you didn’t know what was down in Digbeth you would never go down, simply because the adjoining walk is not a particularly inviting one.

But by far the best idea, I thought, came from John Mostyn (or at least his team) that the Big City Plan needs a philosophy that we can then act upon. One of the problems Birmingham has had in its regeneration is a lack of cohesion and common thread between the seperate areas of regeneration as well as a lack of sympathy with the culture of independent marketers and establishments. Personally, I think the city should base its philosophy around the independent creative community creating visual arts centres and helping the community have a national platform to show off the city’s talent. On a slightly bigger scale, I also think a international landmark would be a great way to turns eyes on to Birmingham.

Once a philosophy is agreed upon, it would become significantly easier to decide on architecture, angle, what people to target for population growth, amenities and cultural hotspots. Lets hope Mike Whitby and his crew don’t let us down at the final hurdle by ignoring his citizens, particularly with regards to the Big City Philosophy.

Big hello to everyone who attended by the way.

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Filed under Big Business, Big Cat Group, Big Cat Social, Digbeth

The importance of being social

'The terror of the ladies'

'The terror of the ladies'

Every economist and accountant worth his/her salt that I have spoken to / badgered / pestered / stalked recently have all given the same tip for businesses looking to survive the crunch; LOOK AFTER YOUR EXISTING CLIENTS/CUSTOMERS.

As I have mentioned in a previous post, recession is a poor practise cleanser and punishes anyone who executes poor business and customer relations. This is where I feel social media comes in. The beauty of social media is that it is an honest forum where any cynical posting gets sniffed out and ignored almost instantly. The point is that you simply communicate, nothing special nothing salesy, just like you would if you were talking to someone in a pub. This means businesses can take off their suits and talk to the online community in the manner the system was set up for.

Blogs give companies a chance to talk about whatever they like, safe in the knowledge that the only people who will read it will be people who want to read it. Consumer companies can tweet directly to their audience without having to sell them anything, just chat about matters of the day. It is all about finding the right community. There are so many communities on the web that you will always be able to find people that are interested in what you say and you interested in what they say. 

Sadly, most financial directors won’t see the point in such time consuming activities which don’t directly sell a product to the masses, but something we forget in this country is the need to keep customers happy at all times and at whatever cost.

The importance of customer service can be summed up thus: Near where I used to live were two pubs, one had a Sky TV, pool table, gambling machines, conservatory and dart board – the other played crap music at a low volume. One pub was rammed day and night, 7 days a week, the other only had a slow and steady small customer base. Guess which one had the better customer service.

Social media, simply put, can help charities, businesses, local governments and organisations communicate with their audience in a way no other medium allows them to do. Only two rules: Share and be honest.


Filed under Big Business, Big Cat Group, Big Cat Social

Has Twitter reached it’s Tipping Point?

Please welcome Big Cat Group’s first guest blogger, our very own Mister Daniel Webb.

twitterprofile_oct17@Wossy and @stephenfry discussing the marvels of Twitter on ‘Friday Night with Jonathan Ross’,@chrisdjmoyles informing the nation on @schofe’s regular updates from ‘This Morning’, and @barackobama stating to just a few billion people that Twitter is the future.

Has Twitter finally tipped? The Tipping Point refers to the idea popularised by Malcolm Gladwell in his ground-breaking mass socio-analytical 2000 book ’The Tipping Point’. Gladwell defines the Tipping Point as “the moment of critical mass, the threshold, the boiling point”. It is the idea that messages and products can be as contagious as a virus, that an epidemic can be sparked by word of mouth.

Another concept outlined by Gladwell is that if these products are to tip, it will require a set of people with particularly refined social skills to start the epidemic:

‘Mavens’ are those who are constantly giving away information for free, they want to help you. In a typical Twitter tweet, ‘Mavens’ are the twitterers who scour the internet in search for messages or links which he/ she thinks his/her followers will find interesting and useful.

A ‘Connector’ (those who have a hugely ranging social network linking any and everyone), will be following the Maven, will receive the link and retweet the message. They will more than likely take the message on and offline to tell friends and acquaintances.

Of these friend and acquaintances, one is most likely to be a ‘Salesman’ (a persuader, those with exceptional skills of negotiation who can make anyone agree with them) will take that message and relay it to as many people as possible in the hope that word of mouth can take it further.

Jonathan Ross, Stephen Fry, Philip Scofield, Fearne Cotton, Britney Spears and of course, Barack Obama are just a few of the Twitter ‘Salesmen’. They are all in positions to expose the initial concept of Twitter to billions who have never heard of it. Twitter is undergoing, and will continue to undergo huge increases in traffic and new memberships.

The question is does Twitter have the ‘Stickiness Factor’? Is the concept memorable enough for people to continue using it? If more people are using Twitter, will businesses and large organisations be able to successful capitalise on this huge arena in which to spread advertising messages and potentially improve customer service?

Is O2’s Twitter on the right track? Time will surely tell…

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Filed under Big Cat Social, Big Questions, Marketing, PR