This was far from a vintage year for Glastonbury - none of the headline sets were really up to previous memorable performances. There was little musical or stage show innovation here, and nothing too much to write home about. Florence and the Machine on the first night was just like every other performance we have seen of theirs, Kanye was too minimalist, a little disjointed and woefully out of tune on the Bohemian Rhapsody Kanye-Oke, and The Who looked somewhat tired.
Headline sets are supposed to be things of wonder which reveal depths of musical richness not witnessed before, or a proper show with surprise superstar cameos, pyrotechnics and Hollywood-level production values. Of everything I saw, I enjoyed Mark Ronson’s, Pharrell’s and Lionel Richie’s sets the best, all 3 were packed with moments of pure listening pleasure - and Pharrell’s new track ’Freedom’ went over amazingly well for something so new. Nothing though came close to personal all-time highlight - the Radiohead headline set from 1997. I thought that last year’s performers and performances were by-and-large preferable to this year’s lot - bar a few notable exceptions.
Yet the BBC digital coverage goes from strength to strength though, and the actual live iPlayer broadcast was pretty flawless this year. The major innovation was the new ’Timeline Navigation Bar’ which allowed you to rewind the stream to watch earlier sets - something that YouTube has been doing for years for their Coachella coverage. The BBC innovation is that the the relevant slots are named on the timeline and you can simply click on a band name to be taken to the start of that set - versus YouTube’s Coachella where you need to kind of guess and then manually adjust backwards or forwards.
The BBC Glastonbury site is still generally poor for social media, and switching the stream between stages was clunky - while for YouTube’s Coachella you just have a tabbed menu to switch across - so still plenty of room for improvement on the BBC side.
If the YouTube Coachella interface had the band names superimposed on the timeline tracker (like the BBC) it would be the perfect live-streaming experience. YouTube already has the edge with a longer timespan timeline, better switching between stages /acts, and better ’what&
I am often asked for advice on writing promotional mailings - targeted emails to be specific. I have long thought that there must be some simple formula to refer people to, and for such purposes, I have come up with the following H.O.P.P.A. acronym:
H = Hook
This is really your email subject or title, and should consist of an appealing offer or contain a promise of some degree of enlightenment if the recipient reads further. Many professional people receive 100’s of emails each day, so you have to project something which stands out and seems worthy of their time.
O = Occasion
With hundreds of emails received, they obviously need to be prioritised in some fashion - messages with near due dates usually take priority. Which is why it’s important to include some degree of urgency / time limit / immediacy into your body copy, frame it as an event - or else the email may never be prioritised to be read or dealt with.
P = Personalisation
I pretty much delete immediately anything which is not addressed to me personally. ’Dear Stefan’ or ’Hello Stefan’ is the absolute minimum. If I see ’Dear Member’ or similar - it’s straight in the bin. It’s also best practice to have the email be signed off by a real person - it’s much friendlier to know who you are dealing with, and being able to look them up on LinkedIn or other social media sites.
P = Persuasion
Once you’ve hooked someone in with an enticing offer, you need to back up that offer with sound rationale - it needs to contain just the pertinent details and be quick to the point (inverted pyramid) ... naturally drawing the reader towards the actionable part of the mailing. Too little text looks insubstantial, and too much simply won’t be read - normally 2-3 short paragraphs are optimal.
A = Action
All proper marketing assets must have an actionable function - that is to say a singular call-to-action. Even if it is just ’contact me personally for further insights and information’. You should offer multiple contact options so that the recipients can get back you via their preferred means. As I mentioned above, some sort of event / briefing with a near due date increases the importance of your mailing. The more singular your purpose,
Upon recently advising my older brother on marketing strategy, I realised the obvious parallels with military planning - in terms of how you set objectives, gather intelligence, select targets and deploy assets with laser-guided precision. I advocate the scientific approach to marketing which simply means following up measurable objectives with progress reports and final analysis.
Here follows the analogy:
The starting point is of course setting the goals and defining the aims of the campaign - what are you trying to achieve and how do you know when you have reached those objectives.
This is what you are intending to aim your cross-hairs at, or specifically the ’target audience’ in marketing terms. For the mission to be succesfull you need to know exactly whom you are targeting, their motivations, movements, and key modes of behaviour.
You need to know your targets really well to have a good chance of success. Some further field work or research may be necessary to supply the full operations intelligence you need in order to precisely calibrate your plan of attack.
Field of Engagement
Where will you most reliably encounter your targets and where can you strike with the most impact. In marketing we need to know where our targets gather in significant numbers - whether this is on certain websites, membership associations, publications or communities, TV spots or even passing by placements of certain billboard ads.
Joint Strike Force
To strike with full force and achieve maximum penetration as it were, you probably need a multi-level approach. In military operations you may combine air, sea and land forces to hit the target with the best chance of success. For marketing you need to use typically more than one channel too - be it direct mail / email, banner advertising, editorial, sponsorship, call-backs and otherwise. You need to maximise your likely contact points and multiply the ’opportunities to view’ - for in order to achieve any degree of lasting effect requires multiple impacts.
Assets & Ordnance
Your weapons of mass distraction are your marketing materials - ad copy, literature and other forms of promotion. Each asset has a different purpose and is suited to a particular task
’New and improved’, ’Transformative’, ’This changes everything’, ’Younger and more supple’... These are several phrases that are more likely to make us sit up and listen, some slightly tired now and over-used, but others which are still successful in hammering home a definitive competitive advantage for those that make use of them. Yet there are still far too many copywriters that do not take benefit from setting themselves a Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP) Framework when composing their functional prose.
At Affino we always encourage our Clients to create a full Brand Profile, where they list the various Brand Values, Keywords and Phrases that the company / product / brand stands for. Much like with SEO work - where there should be a degree of repetition and reinforcement, so should be the case with marketing communications - that is to say you use component words and phrases repetitively to drive home a positive association for your potential, intended and current customers.
It’s an advanced form of word association and context. The idea is that positive words or words which inspire positive values, will help your consumers develop a positive image of your company. The aim is to steer wholly clear of any negative words, as consumers focus on differnt things, and may grasp the wrong meaning, may recall the negative rather than the postitive, or simply just see the words in isolation and wrongly associate them with your brand.
Affino’s current positional strapline is ’Collaboration. Solution. Success.’ - in effect encapsulating what we do and what our ’offer’ as such is to our customers.
In our articles and communications, we frequently mention current hot potatoes - ’Unified Platform’, ’Complete digital front-end solution’, ’Seamless customer journeys’ and ’Single customer views’. We also talk significantly about digital business transformation, evolution and innovation. We also touch on improving commercial activities and generating new sources of revenue. All these form a positive image of what we are about and connect those positive actions and activities directly with our brand and our work.
There’s another significant element that needs to be mentioned too - which is
There are some who still aren’t fully au fait with the different types of advertising available, so we will start with a brief introduction before explaining the merits of each. Anyone who has bid for Google AdWords will have some degree of understanding of the basics of Programmatic Advertising. Even though Google AdWords is not exactly display advertising, rather text-only search results advertising, it is still the same basic automated mechanic which gives advertisers / media buyers direct access to buy ad-space. In traditional advertising you have the clients negotiating with their agency / media buying teams, who in turn deal with people working for an ad sales department of a publication / broadcaster / digital property. Programmatic Advertising in effect cuts out all / most of the middlemen and additional commissions allocations and gives those wanting to advertise direct access to the ad-buying process, in theory at more favourable rates too.
In the above visual, I have pictured the most advanced form of Programmatic Advertising - where a signed-in ad-buyer can see the ad slots available on-site and bid for whichever ones are deemed positionally and topically appropriate. With this most advanced version, a would-be advertiser can buy a slot and upload their artwork through a fully-automated process. In most cases though there is a separation between ad-buying and slot allocation. A lot of Programmatic Advertising is very much about Real-time Bidding (RTB), which should be familiar to users of eBay - where you have several buyers bidding to get the best slots / positions available to them. Depending on how the automation works, ad-buyers can buy the placement slot outright, or secure a priority / first-view placement on the rotation, and those who pay less appear further down the rotation. In most cases of Programmatic Advertising there is usually some degree of human involvement needed, even if it is just to approve the artwork for suitability for display.
If you look again at the visual, then you can see that the News Article in the bottom left hand corner has a ’----- Sponsored Article -----’ label appearing underneath it, which is currently considered best practice for displaying / identifying Native Advertising. For Native Advertising, think Advertorials of old - often articles which have been written by the
The above visual demonstrates the impact of Cookie blocking on a typical commercial website; all 3rd party services on the referenced site have been blocked by a privacy tool like Ghostery, meaning:
No Registration / Sign Ups
No Social Sharing
No Native Ads
No Analytics or Tracking
No Lead Generation
These are just some of the services that are typically rendered via 3rd party cookies, and all of these can be blocked by privacy tools
We’ve been talking about Cookie Armageddon for over a year now, and its impact and influence is finally nearing its rapid growth phase. A recent Economist article estimates that 200 million users already use some form of Ad Blocker or Privacy Protector Tool. This means that for many publishers, advertising and other commercial revenues have been impacted by as much as a 20% annual reduction, and this will obviously escalate exponentially when Apple’s new Safari browser (9.0) is soon launched with its own cookie-blocking extensions:
Our CEO Markus called this one several months ago - warning publishers then that certain platform owners - with Apple the most likely, would build Privacy options into their application platforms and browsers. As Flash advertising falls away also for similar reasons, publishers have a pressing need to know what options are still available to them for deriving revenues on mobile and online.
Affino has long been preparing publishers for the onset of ’Cookie Armageddon’, including co-hosting breakfast briefings at the PPA. If you missed the March briefing, you can catch up by reading the summary PDF: Here
If you need further information on any of these subjects, our CCO Jonathan Collins would be delighted to give you a recap, with additional insights. You can contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org or on +44 (0
I have been writing for several years now about the need for retailers to fully integrate their online / digital and in-store services - i.e. evolve a properly joined-up service solution. Most high street retailers still maintain several different disparate inventories - physical stores, online and outlet for instance. This usually means that there is typically no correlation between what you search for on your desktop or mobile and what is available in-store. It usually means that you receive some kind of marketing mailer or social alert - announcing new goods, which you click through to view on the website, but when you physically get to the store they are either not stocked locally, not arrived yet, or already sold out - in your chosen size, colour or otherwise. I am beyond frustrated with so many of my in-store retail experiences. Shop service has markedly dwindled for me these past 10 years, most noticeably at M&S which used to be the bastion of good service. My local Waitrose is now where I get the most consistently good service, while I find John Lewis not quite as good as is used to be and service can be inconsistent.
I have lost count of the number of times I have been told in-store that something I was after was ’not-in-stock’. Fair enough, and understandable, but what is not understandable is that you typically get no follow-on - so OK, it is not in stock - is it back in soon? Available somewhere else? Are there like-for-like alternatives? Only once in these last 12 months have I received what I would have thought should be standard service - and this was at T.M. Lewin on Jermyn Street. I had started out at their Strand store - which is where their website directed me to go for the item in question. The Strand store staff told me ’not-available-in-store’ and said I should check out their flagship store on Jermyn Street. Here I was met with courteous and well-considered service, as it quickly transpired that the item I wanted was only available ’online’. The lady shop-assistant swiftly retrieved an iPad and walked me through the whole ordering process for next day delivery - all beautifully and efficiently done, and exactly as I would expect in this day and age.
Yet how many times have I had to eke out, bit-by-bit any kind of service in-store - having to cajole and prompt a shop assistant
A big part of our daily operation involves design - designing logos, icons, screens, applications, infographics and interfaces. We spend many hours browsing through image, video, sound and font libraries - all in pursuit of the best possible results. The trickiest thing about design though is the language of communication and reference, maintaining objectivity and overcoming the challenges of singular perspective and personal bias. There is a subjective component to design for sure, but we try to reduce its impact to the minimum, so that the end results can be properly weighed up and judged by all.
When I worked in advertising, I quickly realised the importance of a good brief - this is essential for efficient management of resources, reducing wastage and actually achieving the right result. For each design task, there are a thousand different paths that can be taken, but only a few will yield the optimal outcome. This is proper ’applied design’ which I often term as ’results-oriented-design’. Another of my essential lessons from advertising is that every marketing asset / deliverable should have a measurable function - usually some sort of call to action / call and response.
The difficulty most people have with design is threefold - consolidating and organising their ideas coherently; separating their own subjectivity and bias out of the mix - so that they can tackle the brief wholly objectively and from their customers’ perspective; and thirdly - how best to communicate requirements clearly and without obfuscation (confusion!) ... which leads me nicely into automotive, cake and housing analogies.
Automobiles, Cakes and Houses
Before you design anything, you really need a clear idea of exactly what you are looking to achieve with the design. In advertising, we often used car analogies, and I will explain some of those approaches here. First we will talk about cakes! - think of the design brief as being a collection of ingredients which you need to bake your metaphorical cake - however, unless you know what kind of cake you are aiming to bake - i.e. have a proper recipe, a list of disparate ingredients on their own simply cannot work - you need the recipe first before you start mixing up the ingredients or the results will be less than palatable.
There has already been a bit of a backlash from advertisers who rightly bemoan that their paid-for-services are now being superseded by another source. In some ways I am entirely in favour of this, as I detest interruptive / interstitial advertising, and would much rather have everything served up on a Native Advertising / Advertorial basis via sponsored articles - which in many ways these are.
The hidden impact of all of this is what it’s doing to the customers’ Data allowances. Most users of 4G are typically on some sort of Data Plan - as am I. I have never been happy that advertisers use up my Data Plan by uploading their unsolicited content and eating away at my allocation - there is a real cost to me for all this loading up of advertising. With Facebook pre-loading content, this is yet more of the same. I would love to know the exact algorithms applied, as Facebook Instant Articles is in effect loading up a load of potentially unsolicited content into your browser or app - much of which you will never choose to access. You are in effect paying a storage / penalty fee for items you might not know or care about - and might never access.
What is slightly more insidious is that this is going directly against Net Neutrality by giving preference to a small number of content providers. You end up with a 2-speed system by the back door - where some content takes the pre-loading express route, while other content is relegated to secondary level. It may just be me, but I seem to have noticed that some images and videos in my Facebook newsfeed are not loading up as quickly as they used to - conceivably because some other content is being pre-loaded preferentially in the background. By specifically discriminating in the preferences of the delivery
There’s been much in the media recently about the relative merits of the Responsive Design approach versus creating platform-specific Apps. Firstly, it goes without saying that a great number of Apps get their input / database feed from a master website of some description. For many companies, the best strategy would be a mix of both of the aforementioned formats. Yet here we will line up the pros and cons of each to help you figure out which overall approach may be strongest for you:
IMMEDIATE - customers can connect with you instantly
MORE REACH - anyone can access your content, on any device, without any special preparation or significant requirements
MORE SEAMLESS - customer is using variations of the exact same interface and exactly the same content on all devices
MORE CONNECTED - Customer can easily switch access points and link from newsletters, emails and alerts - which don’t typically link into Apps
MORE UNIFORM - It’s the exact same framework and content for every customer
BETTER SEO - first Google and now the Bing search engine gives preference to mobile-optimised sites
INSTANT UPDATES - new features, functionality and updates immediately rolled-out and available to all
SINGLE CUSTOMER VIEW - customers and business owners alike both get singular overview interface which unifies all activities for all users
MORE SOCIAL / MORE SHARED - all users can interact and collaborate directly - regardless of what device or platform they subscribe to
MORE CHOICES, MORE USER INFLUENCE - customers can choose a variety of browsers and utility plugins to aid and improve experience on their own terms, versus Apps - where the device platform and developers totally control the environment
BEST FIT APPROACH - responsive experience cannot be optimised for each device like an App can
BROWSER VAGARIES - some municipalities, libraries and government deparments still running very old versions of Windows and IE, many customers using Privacy Tools and Ad Blockers, which can curtail and impact on specific services and total experience
OPTIMAL EXPERIENCE - customer experience optimised for and on each device
MORE CONTROL OVER ENVIRONMENT - you can assert higher functional control over how the App works and looks
A number of our customers are having to face up to the paradigm shift of the transition towards mobile - a recent study by Pew Research reveals that almost 80% of the top fifty news sites are seeing more traffic on mobile devices than desktop. Many of those used to writing for traditional print media are finding the switch to digital formats somewhat tricky - particularly those who don’t have a history of writing for tabloids. It’s no secret that BuzzFeed is the master of mobile content - in terms of reach, monetisation and social sharing, and their format of short listicles with clickbaiting titles is certainly a winning combination. You of course don’t need to copy BuzzFeed entirely to be successful, though there are obviously a number of lessons that can be learnt from them.
You need to stand out and have immediate appeal - this means finding ways to differentiate yourself from competing media - without appearing crass or overly irreverent q.v. Editorial Tone of Voice. We know that readers have an increasingly short attention span, so you have a limited time to catch their attentions. You need to find unique and interesting angles which distinguish you clearly from the competition. Use of video and smart, cleverly selected photography is key as both can give you a critical advantage / edge.
Editorial Tone of Voice
With the added competition a global media markeplace brings - it has never been more important to have a distinct personality. In order to encourage comments and debate you can no longer really report news wholly neutrally - you need to take a position. Taking a position on a news article or feature encourages support / disagreement and debate - which is exactly what you want. The more your article is commented on and shared, the bigger your impact and reach. You don’t need to be overly sensationalist in your headlines, but you cannot afford to be neutral and bland either. You should also use the byline to reinforce / mitigate the nature of your headline. The future success of your media business will be all about ’tone’.
Inverted Pyramid / Digest / Short-form
All journalists should be familiar with the inverted pyramid format - that it to say - including all the key facts at the very top of the
Within a week of Google announcing that you would be able to order food delivery from search results, Twitter announces a collaboration with Domino’s - where customers can order Pizza by tweeting a specific pizza emoji. It’s not quite as dazzling as it sounds, as it really only allows frequent customers to re-order their standard / default order. Compared to going through the usual 5-6 step checkout though it’s one slick shortcut.
Google’s service is a collaboration (currently US only) with Seamless, Grubhub, Eat24, Delivery.com, BeyondMenu and MyPizza.com. The mechanic is that someone who searches for one of the participating restaurants gets an additional option in the search results to ’Place an order’ - this then routes via one of those restaurant delivery services and clicks on through to the order menu.
As all consumer psychologists will tell you - speed is always of the essence, as the longer you give your customers to think about things, the more likely they are to change their minds. People often walk away from a store or checkout if some complication, incidental or other delay arises. The quicker you can transition a consumer desire into a purchase, then the higher the conversion rate will be.
This also feeds more into wearable devices with more restrictive real estate, and where consumers would not have the patience for a multi-step process. The quicker and easier you can accomplish something, the more likely that is to work as a service. I look forward to seeing more advances on this front in the near future. I use Google and Wikipedia several times a day, and for them to find new ways to fund their free services is a fair exchange for me ...
Affino is looking to grow its Projects Team further to handle an expanding workload. We are seeking to hire 2 new permanent members of staff - dedicated and self-motivated, disciplined individuals who work well as part of a dynamic team, but can also operate independently. The Affino Team / A-Team is a closely knit collaborative unit even though we are a distributed company and all members work largely from home. The team dynamic is vital to the success of the company, so the successful candidates must possess the right skill-set, as well as get on really well with all their colleagues. We communicate regularly, using tools like Skype, and so good written and verbal communication skills are essential. Affino works at the cutting-edge of Internet / Mobile Business Technology, delivering global, class-leading and multiple-award-wining social commerce / business platforms / vertical industry hub websites.
The two roles we are currently seeking to fill are as follows:
Project Manager Requirements
Affino requires a Project Manager to join their dynamic team. Working from home the ideal candidate should have the drive and motivation to work alone as well as integrate daily with Affino’s friendly team and clients
Education and Skills Requirements
Prince 2 and Agile / Scrum
3 + Years Project / Programme Management or Business Analyst Experience
Software Project Management and Business Analyst with Mobile / Ecommerce / Social / Integration
Remote Working / Outsourcing Experience
Provide relevant certificates of education/qualifications
Must have excellent verbal and written communication skills
Ability to work well as part of a team and be motivated to work independently
Desire to learn new things
Be open and friendly
Manage project plans and allocate tasks to the development team
Partake in, and contribute towards the management team responsibilities, meetings and agendas, including: weekly project meeting, business plans, training events, PR events
Assist Account Managers with creating requirements plans based on existing and upcoming Affino functionality
Manage Quality Assurance on projects; ensuring that the functionality is fully tested and that bugs are resolved within agreed time-frames
Ensure highest level of product quality within our
A great part of a website’s everyday operation and every digital project is the process of managing change. Change Management is a discipline in its own right, yet aspects of it encroach on all projects and daily interactions on the web. A Change Request Process for instance is an essential operation for ensuring a project stays true to its original scope and specification. All project managers are familiar with scope creep - when a client tries to institute last-minute changes which were not included in the signed-off specs or costings.
More significantly there is a huge process in managing introduced changes. Most humans are just very set in their ways, and many feel affronted when confronted with innovations and iterations. We always warn our own clients to be wary of the ’Vocal Minority’. This is the group that vehemently and vociferously protests any sort of advancement, however good those changes may in fact be for them. The Internet often brings out the worst in people, and the most seemingly mild-mannered turn actively hostile and vitriolic with no obvious provocation.
When we worked with BBC Worldwide several years ago on the UKTV Style website, we worked with a sample of existing users to improve the experience of the message boards. The combined committee instituted a number of obvious improvements, and all involved were happy with the outcome. Yet when those changes went on general release there were vociferous protests from a small minority of users. The producer got a little unnerved by the scathing critique and re-introduced the previous version, only to be met with an even larger barrage of protests from the hitherto ’Silent Majority’- who had in fact been very happy with the changes.
You will always have trouble-makers, agitators and disrupters - particularly as your business grows in size. Once you reach a certain tipping point, you typically incur the wrath of one of these verbally offensive individuals. We ourselves have not been immune to unwarranted hostility from certain quarters. It is always a question of how to diffuse the situation and move it along in an equitable manner - often requiring some significant mitigation.
I have set out the following guidelines to help cope with such difficult situations:
This year’s Star Wars Day most likely heralds the biggest year in Star Wars since 1977. Expectations are at fever pitch for the next instalment in the franchise - ’Episode VII The Force Awakens’. There’s already mass hysteria over possible plotlines, reunions, revolutions and revelations, especially which is the latest addition to the Jedi ranks? The newest trailer should not leave any Star Wars fans in doubt that they will be royally entertained:
While we wait for the movie’s December release date, we can get stuck into its predecessors via the latest imminent console game offering - ’Star Wars Battlefront’. This allows you to immerse yourself in all the best remembered fight sequences - whether in space or on the ground - in ice or lush tropical rainforests populated with tiny teddy bears!:
Lego has also pulled the rabit out of the hat with a number of exclusive new sets - many of which will be specially available in-store today. I will likely pop across to the Lego Store at Westfield to see what’s what. Here is a preview of some of which may be available.
Following on from Saturday’s Comic Book Day, I’m already a little overwhelmed by comic book stores, having spent some not inconsiderable time in queues on that day. I may though make one more sweep today to see what Star Wars treats they have on offer - Forbidden Planet always has an amazing selection. As the film is not released until December though, I’m not entirely sure what movie tie-ins will be available right now. Perhaps Star Wars / Disney has honed its act now, as we’re still waiting for a number of the Guardians of the Galaxy toys to appear since last year.
Star Wars Day though is not really about consumerism, it’s more about thinking kindly towards and of accepting your fellow human - however alien their ways or appearance may seem to you. Regardless of your faith or religious beliefs, there is a quite evident lifeforce of some description, a common consciousness that truly unites as all ...
You may recall my delight at visiting this year’s Super London Comic Convention, and my declaring this the year of the comic! Every year something different takes my focus of attention. Two years ago it was blu-rays, last year it was grownup Lego, and this year I have become obsessed again with comics - strictly speaking Graphic Novels or Serialised Art. I have found a new level of admiration for the level of detail and process that goes into creating a typical comic book. In particular the skill of the colourist. A typical comic requires input from the following creative roles:
Author / Creator / Narrator
Illustrator / Line Artist / Penciller
On occasion, a comic may be produced by just one or two individuals, but usually there are more involved, and for some collaborations up to a dozen. Most don’t realise how much impact the colourist can have on the final version of the art - I encourage you to look up the work of Peter Steigerwald, Ula Mos and Nei Ruffino. A great example of Ula’s work can be found in the Dark Shaman illustration below, line art by Mike Krome:
Favourite Comic Publishers
Here follows a list of my favourite imprints, I have excluded behemoths DC and Marvel, although DC is represented via its more independent imprints Vertigo and Wildstorm - in truth I buy very little from the mainstream publishers ...
Following on swiftly from Cookie Armageddon, publishers have another recent development to be wary of. Last Tuesday, Google once more modified its search algorithm, this time to give preference to sites which were deemed to be more ’Mobile-Friendly’. The new changes favour mobile-optimised sites, such that they will now appear higher up the search results rankings. By contrast, sites which are not mobile-friendly - will drop down the leaderboard.
Affino has long held to a mobile-first approach to digital business and this very much supports that direction. There’s already been reports that some of the bigger publishers have been affected by the new changes, particularly Reddit. Google has produced its own ’Mobile-Friendly Test Tool’ - where you can enter your site URL to see how Google rates it.
Responsive-design websites have been increasingly prevalent of late, and no doubt this will further accelerate the adoption of that format. I don’t believe any publisher can ignore this paradigm shift, as not reacting to it will undoubtedly impact on business. Google is still by far and away the most dominant search engine, and most publishing companies are to a degree reliant on attracting traffic from and via Google.
There’s also an obvious first-mover advantage in this where the properly optimised mobile-friendly sites can win over some of the high-ground previously held by seemingly unassailable publishing giants. This partial reset on proceedings allows formerly lesser competitors to get a bigger slice of search engine traffic ...
Affino worked with IMRG on the naming and brand origination. Following a multi-step process, it was finally concluded that ’Peermap’ was the strongest candidate - in terms of relevant meaning, values conveyed, overall utility and domain availability.
The Peermap brand represents an automated benchmarking system for online retailers. It allows you to track key online sales metrics and MAP your performance against your sector PEERS, including:
Average order values
Device type - PC | tablet | smartphone
’Peermap’ can be used as a proper noun, as well as a verb and adjective. You can Peermap your site and have it be Peermapped as it were.
Designer Mark Foster supplied a number of logo ident types, and the waveform type was felt to beautifully reflect the performance graph peaks of the actual application (example above) as well as an abstract letter form for PM. The logo typeface snapped in to place pretty obviously too. The colourway of the previous website was adhered to, but the website was wholly revamped in line with the new branding and more streamlined messages:
We also completed a promotional flyer for Peermap, as follows:
The flyer puts across the key purpose and benefits of Peermap in the simplest terms. The call to action is Free Registration with an added incentive of free lifetime access to benchmarking for the first 100 retailers who register.
This is the first time in a while I won’t be getting up early on the 3rd Saturday in April. As a long-term loyal music fan and vinyl fanatic, I’ve usually been queueing up with the best of them - outside Phonica on Poland Street from about 08:00 onwards. In fact this is the first year that Record Store Day (RSD) has had a little bit of backlash - particularly from the smaller independent labels. I have noticed myself that the RSD releases have been increasingly major label re-issues and re-presses and special / re-packaged editions - like coloured vinyl or picture discs. In the last couple of years the biggest sellers were a picture disc of Kate Bush’s Running up that Hill, and Ray Parker Junior’s Ghostbusters - the former containing a proper new remix, the latter just a repackaging job really.
Vinyl sales now stand at more than 2 million units per annum - the highest in over a decade, which is a struggle with so few pressing plants still in action. As a vinyl buyer, the delays in releases have become quite commonplace as the larger labels are hogging up too much of the production capacity with their re-issues and re-presses. I have a feeling that a big part of the vinyl sales growth is caused by middle aged men trying to recapture their youth and replace their vinyl collections which they were forced to abandon when they got into their first proper relationships / marriage. Now in their middle years and facing existential quandaries about where they ended up, they think back to a time of more joy and endless possibilities.
So the smaller labels are being somewhat squeezed out at the pressing plants, but most importantly, the quality of releases on RSD (Record Store Day) is dwindling. These used to be much more unique versions of songs, new or unreleased material and special collaborations and new and unusual remixes. The vast majority now though is increasingly just more of the same old stuff that those who have collected through the years (like myself) still have in their collections.
Being only half-English, I have never been comfortable with waiting over-long in line, in fact I quite loath queueing, but will occasionally do so for something truly worthwhile. Last year I was number 20 in the queue at Phonica but still a number of the releases I wanted had been sold out already by the time I got to the
When people think of CRM, most people’s first obvious association is with a separate CRM solution like Salesforce. In Affino, the CRM is the core of a Unified Digital Business Platform - which means it is an integral part in the heart of your business solution and therefore core to the business itself. Affino channels all of a business’s key activities through a single unified platform. Whatever the benefits of utilising a CRM therefore, these are exponentially increased by deploying something like Affino. The trickiest part for most CRMs is integrating them with the the way you work, writing and maintaing APIs and data flows between your different business solutions. Having all of this in Affino gives you more of everything you need with far less overheads, and a much lower cost of doing business altogether.
I’ve extracted 10 of the key benefits realised by Affino:
Affino delivers CRM, CMS, DAM, Ecommerce, Messaging, Social, Sales & Marketing Automation and Analytics all through the same seamless solution. All elements feed into each other automatically and without effort, giving you an extremely powerful, centralised tool-set with options in every direction.
As I touched on in the introduction, using a stand-alone CRM - i.e. one that needs to be integrated with your other solutions, you spend all your time and resources establishing and maintaining connectivity. As everything in Affino is built together, you can spend your time and resources in being entrepreneurial and evolving your business rather than just maintaining it.
Before they moved to Affino, many of our customers used to spend all their time de-duping databases and consolidating their different data streams, each coming from a separate solution. With Affino, everything is seamless, holistic, universal, and above everything - clear and precise, users are wholly unique and there is no unnecessary duplication of form or function.
Only when you have all your business’s activities routed through the one system (Affino) can you have complete oversight and control over that business. If your solution consists mainly of dozens of disparate integrated technologies, you’re always just a short step / one spontaneous system update away from