How to create a workplace built on trust


Dare Conference has been going for three years but this is the first year I’ve been able to attend. It seems unique among conferences in that it focuses on collaborative business culture from a digital/ geek standpoint. Founder Jonathan Kahn used to be a web designer, but he grew frustrated at the disconnect between espoused workplace values and the reality – and set up DareConf to bridge that gap.

The first thing about DareConf is that it’s great for networking (in the best sense of the word): getting the chance to connect with like-minded people on a deeper level than you might do at a purely speaker-focused event.

The conference is a mix of presenter-led talks and interactive workshops (like the one above). The excellent talks – where four people (Rifa Thorpe-Tracey, Laura Morgan, Penny Walker and Holly Burns) spoke about overcoming their own problems at work – set the tone for the interactive sessions.
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Will Hayward of Dazed: his plea to move beyond "content" fell on deaf ears

3 key trends from Social Media Week 2015

There was a hint of rebellion bubbling under at last week’s Social Media Week London. But despite Will Hayward of Dazed (above) kicking off the conference with a fabulous call to arms – wanting all of us to turn off our ‘content pipelines’ and start doing something more interesting instead, most sessions reverted to business as usual, focusing on brand-building tips and tactics.

Here are my top three takeaways from the week:

1. Short-form visual content is overtaking the written word: the most popular ‘word’ online in 2014 was the heart emoji (Twitter’s Tariq Slim). Twitter reported a massive rise in short-form content (Periscope, stop motion Vines and gifs). Jonathan Davies from Buzzfeed noted the same, citing animated Vines and gifs. Ed Couchman from Facebook has seen a huge rise in emoji, stickers and photos. By 2018, he says, 9/10 pieces of Facebook content will be video.
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Using mobile phones in Haiti after the earthquake

10 must-see events at #SMWLDN 2015

I’m reporting live from Social Media Week London again this year – covering the official event stream from the conference HQ in Holborn. So don’t worry if you don’t have a conference pass, just follow the #SMWLDN hashtag (or @JemimaG) on Twitter. There are also loads of unofficial (and free) events happening round town.

This year’s theme is Upwardly Mobile: The Rise of The Connected Class. The key question is how can all humans achieve more in a connected world? Fabulous question, but you might be disappointed looking down the schedule trying to find sessions that attempt to answer it. These ten get my vote:

1. Definitely Not Content Tues 15 Sept, 9am: Will Hayward spoke last year. He’s really good. This time he’s talking about the cultural significance of the social web and why why we should all aim higher than “content” marketing.
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Vacancy by Lauren Mitchell

5 things I learnt as an Airbnb Host

For the last six years, we’ve used Airbnb regularly for holiday accommodation. This summer, we decided to take the plunge and put our own property up on Airbnb for rent.

I like the idea of the sharing economy. And I like any organisation that supposedly puts community and social connections at the heart of its business model. So, was the Airbnb hosting experience all it’s cracked up to be? Here’s what I learnt:

1. It’s surprisingly easy

Airbnb has a lovely website. The images are beautiful, the navigation’s clean, and the interface is refreshingly simple and (third party) advertising-free. It costs nothing to “list your space” – and you can do it at the click of a button. Airbnb will even send round a free professional photographer to make your home look extra nice.

It all feels relatively safe and easy – if you’re anything like me, you might give it a try, just to see what happens…
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Beauty and the (social) beast: why do salons struggle to get social media marketing right?

Spa Accents by Karl Cossio

According to latest research from Habia (the government appointed sector skills body), seventy per cent of UK beauty salons use some sort of ICT in running their business. The vast majority of salons who use a computer use it for their company website (77 per cent), for Facebook (73 per cent) and/ or for Twitter (27 per cent).

Marketing and promotion skills are cited as the number one priority in terms of skills business owners would like their staff to have (68 per cent of business owners), but most salons don’t have any kind of training plan or a training budget. I’m taking a wild guess they don’t have a social media strategy either.

I took a sample of ten independent beauty salons and used Brandwatch to track how they performed on social media over one month. The salons are spread across the UK so aren’t directly competing with each other – but I wanted to get a UK-wide feel for best practice – to find who has the best share of voice on social, if you like.

Here’s what I found…

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Thinking Digital: back to the future

Back in the mid 1990s I used to go to an all night (weekend?) party called Coalesce. There were lots of nice people and loads of deeply meaningful conversations. And ridiculous ones. About life, the universe and everything. There was probably a bit of chemical enhancement going on. Twenty years on, tech entrepreneur turned curator Herb Kim has done something quite amazing. He’s channelled that essence of nineties rave into a conference.

Thinking Digital is a heady mix of music, lights, optimism, existential conversations and meaningful coincidences. A homespun feast of analogue humanity meets digital possibility. The conference is now in its eighth year and it’s a celebration of the polymath. The speakers are all great connectors – communicators who can explain quantum physics or data visualisation with ease. They entertain with complexity.

You don’t have to be clever, you just have to be up for it.

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Uber puts digital first

Why digital transformation is a must for every business

Game-changing companies Airbnb and Uber don’t own anything other than their online communities – and the data those communities generate. But Airbnb and Uber are worth billions. And they’ve blown traditional business models out of the water in the sectors in which they operate.

This was the key point made by digital expert Dion Hinchcliffe at the Enterprise 2.0 Summit in London recently: “I hear people say ‘Oh, we’re not a technology company, so we’re not riding the technology wave’,” said Hinchcliffe. “But that’s no longer an excuse!”

“Whatever your sector, your business model is under threat from digital,” said David Terrar, the summit producer. “We’re seeing three massive trends happening at once: cloud, social and mobile. The unprecedented access to data, connectivity and the speed at which new products and services can be delivered mean goal posts are shifting fast.”
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Mission Accomplished by Anthony Quintano

Nonprofits: the good, the bad and the ugly

As I mentioned in the last post, social media for nonprofits should be like shooting fish in a barrel: “Bingo!” every time. We all love to get behind a good cause – the problem these days is exactly which cause to choose.

Campaigns like the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge (above) went viral due to a number of factors: a great visual stunt, celebrity support, timing (it was August 2014 – the height of summer in most English-speaking countries).

But for most nonprofits, success is not so much about making one massive splash then receding from public view – it’s more like the drip-drip of a constant current: having a place in the public consciousness, year in, year out.
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Washing line by Victor U

Does every brand need a social purpose?

Charities and activists do well on social media for a reason – people want to share their stories. Cause-related content hits that sweet spot between emotional trigger, topicality and our need for self-validation. We are what we share – and asking friends to sign a petition to save dolphins maybe says something nicer about us than inviting them to join yet another branded corporate campaign.

After a wave of corporate and institutional scandals, 2015 is being seen as the year brands must focus on building trust. Social purpose – and the communication of that purpose – is key.

Does every brand need a social purpose? Maybe not – but all brands need a story to tell. Consumers love to share stories about social good – but marketers beware: the panopticon of social media sees and hears everything. If your social purpose story is not embedded throughout the business, if it’s not watertight, you’ll end up with Egg McMuffin on your face.
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Orla Kiely x Uniqlo (via @wishwishwish)

Influencer marketing – or good old fashioned PR?

In the olden days, or at least as long ago as 2005, the formula was simple: send out a press release to journalists and follow up with a phone call. Play it right and you’d see your client’s name in print. Timing and context were essential, plus the strength of your story, and the depth of your relationship with the journalist.

What’s changed? Very little actually. A good story presented to the right person at the right time will still be passed on, but the mechanism of presentation is completely different.

We no longer deal in press releases, but in the essence of an idea. And the “right” person is no longer necessarily a journalist, he or she is just as likely to be a blogger, a vlogger, a Viner or a Pinner. Or something else entirely. Or a mixture of things.
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