You are currently browsing the monthly archive for March 2009.

 

We’ve had a number of requests recently to update our video “From the Mouths of Great Leaders” to include a quote from President Obama.

When we put the original video together  we had an internal poll right here in the office, where members of staff and guests had their chance to choose their 5 favourite quotes from 50 different leaders.  This time we thought we’d extend the poll to the rest of the world.

So choose your favourite Obama quote from the list above and the victorious quote will end up in the next version of the video, which we’ll post right here.

The polls close 31/03/09 so make your vote count.

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chair crossing road

Somebody didn’t just dump this chair outside our office, instead they carefully placed it beside the road as if it wanted to cross to the other side.

Fly tipping or social comment?  You decide.

model helicopter

Take a look at the above image.  What do you see?  You may think you see a model when actually it’s a real image of a helicopter rescue crew taken from a short film which documents a sea rescue rehearsal.  

The whole film is shot to create the illusion of model photography, a technique that is becoming more and more popular these days and is now starting to trickle through to advertising.  What’s really interesting for me is the twist on the story this technique gives the viewer, it turns something which should be quite traumatic into something quite farcical.  Check out the part where the fisherman falls in the sea and is battered around by the crashing waves.

There is always another side to every coin and this charming little film reminded me of that.

You can see the full film here.

Let me paint you a picture. Imagine holding a typed document in your hand which someone has given you.  Now imagine your frustration when you realise a part of it needs changing and you don’t have the original computer file in order to do that. What if there was a way of magically transferring that piece of paper into an editable Word document?

I had an inspirational moment yesterday when Neil popped in to see me to ask if we had any way of converting a scanned image of a document (essentially a Word printout that had been scanned in), into something that could be edited.

My initial reaction was to say no as we don’t have any OCR (optical character recognition), technology here but then it struck me.  Surely there must be a web site that can do it for me if I just send them the picture?  As it turns out there were lots and many of them are free.

I used a site called OCR Terminal and the results were incredible.  Not only did it read all the text correctly, it also put it in exactly the right place.  Even more incredible the original document had diagrams embedded into it and these were also transferred to the new editable document, in exactly the right place.  Neil was a very happy customer.

The site does require you to sign up but that is a small price to pay for 30 pages of conversion for free every day.

Design-Detail

As we move into times when it is harder to win work then we must work harder than ever on our design, the look, the feel. All sales professionals know this. They know that first impressions count, that ‘looking the part matters’ and that body language is the most powerful kind of interpersonal communication.

And yet do all our materials match that. Do they make the best first impression? Do they really look better than all our competitors?

I’m sure this matters. As does retaining your detail and rigour during the project itself to ensure a first class delivery.

As an aside I am betting that the recession will see an end to the glossy style of minimalist reflective design that has dominated for the past 3 years. I think we will see more detail and curves in a time of uncertainty.

Seth makes an interesting point here around unemployment and what you do with all that spare time.  We can’t avoid it, redundancies are happening and if you are unfortunate enough to be one of those people how do you become more than just another statistic?

Seth talks about freelancers with more time on their hands but what about people who were actually employed by somebody, what do they do?

The effect of being made redundant is harsh and  can be incredibly debilitating.  For years of your life someone or something has given you something to do for at least 7 hours of the day, now if you don’t motivate yourself nobody is going to find another job for you.

Is finding a job full time work in itself?  It can be, initially at least but then gaps start to appear in the day and you find yourself watching TV shows you wouldn’t normally know even existed.  This is wasted time, time we’ve never had before and time we don’t automatically know how to use so it is easy to unknowingly treat it as leisure time.

Seth suggests to the freelancers to increase their reputation and visibility.  As a former employee you may not even have a reputation outside of your own workplace so maybe it is time you began to build one.  What are you good at?  Think about both in and out of the workplace.  Think about anything and everything.  

For example maybe you were employed as an accountant and maybe you are an expert in a piece of accounting software such as Sage.  It’s time to promote this ability by helping others and offering support on the most popular forums.  Start a Sage for Dummies blog where you give simple plain advice every day.  Talk to your local newspaper about writing a tax column.  After as little as a year doing this your reputation and visibility will be so high you could probably start your own business and the best thing is your customer base will be already waiting – they are your fans, followers and readers with whom you have built the utmost confidence.

Alternatively maybe you have an interest outside of work that could turn a profit if you put your mind to it.  That star seller rating you earned by accident on eBay could give you a head start on becoming a reseller for a product or range of products or maybe your love of the kitchen could give you a good base for a culinary qualification or even starting your own bistro.  Believe it or not you don’t even need a store front to do such a thing, a local couple here in Bournemouth run a successful ding venture whereby people pay to be their dinner guests in their own home.

It is time to think on your feet.  Next time you find yourself sitting in the void find a way to fill it.  It could just turn things around.

Twitter has been around for a few years now and I have to admit it isn’t something I have really been bothered about.  Things might be about to change for me after I read this article over at TechCrunch.

You see Twitter is like your Facebook profile status comment gone mad.  Twitter users constantly tweet, they always have something to say about what is going on in their day.  This could be anything from how they are feeling right this very second to complaining or complimenting a service or product they just received.

Until today I hadn’t realised Twitter was searchable via its own search engine.  For your product marketers this could be gold dust as you can find out inside info on what your customers think of not just your products but also competitors products.  Your campaign can then be immediately tailored to suit.

It also give companies direct communication with people who actively complain when they receive a bad product or service but only complain indirectly.  It is an opportunity to rectify the wrongs.

The possibilities could be endless.  

You may even see a Marton House Twitter appearing here soon as it would give myself or the other people who write on this blog the chance to keep the readers updated when we aren’t able to write a full post.  Something which I for one feel bad about, particularly if we are away on a film shoot for more than a few days.

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