Archive for the Uncategorized Category

QR Codes: Where can users really benefit?

Posted in Uncategorized on May 3, 2011 by wisdomlondon

QR codes might be attracting a lot of attention as the bridge between mobile and content, but so far, where it it being done well?

With a few exceptions, QR codes have yet to hit the consumer mainstream (beyond the tech-savvy) and in many cases seem a little, well, try hard. I suspect that many brands using QR codes out of “look at us” vanity rather than to make a meaningful connection with customers.

It’s a fine line between differentiation and irrelevance.

As with all emerging technologies, it’s only really useful where it genuinely adds value to the user, rather than being forced upon them as the next big thing.

So it’s time to even the balance – QR codes should benefit both sides of the marketing coin.

I’ve been considering where both the brand and the consumer can benefit the most. Here are where I see distinct possibilities for that crucial value-add:

Where data-rich context is needed NOW

Ever walked past a for sale board outside an amazing house and wondered what the asking price is, how big it is and whether the garden is bigger than a postage stamp? Enter QR code. QR stands for “Quick Response”, after all. To be able to capture that data on your phone there and then has to be better than faffing about with badly optimised sites on a mobile phone. Estate agents, take note.

Where I don’t want to take that bit of paper, thank you

Leaflets, flyers and even petitions being proffered when I’m on the move get little attention from me, even if I think they might be interesting. I just don’t want paper! But offer me a QR code so that I can access that information in my own time on my own device, and you’ll have my attention.

Where advertising can take on a whole new meaning

Mobile and contextual advertising are a fact and we’ll see more of it, but the ultimate opt-in, and therefore buy-in, is where I can see an ad and respond to it meaningfully. So a QR code that takes me where I need to go and tells me what I need to know about a product is the ultimate. A boon for advertisers – can lower costs significantly (page spend, design) and vital data about consumer reactions can be attained.  But this should be used thoughtfully, as Yush Kalia points out. QR codes are already used in advertising, as we’ve seen, but it’s where it can do something that a print ad cannot do that we will see a compulsion to engage.

Ultimately, QR codes need to be introduced and used judiciously – consumers are still sceptical about their worth, relevance and even how to use them. Yet as smartphones become the norm, here’s a chance to use them well and add value – not vanity. And they most likely will enter the mainstream in time – and we may be surprised to see how their application developed.  In Japan (where QR codes are widely used) they are even used in cemeteries to add additional information to graves and unite mourners.

We might be some way from that example, but its clear that the key to QR code effectiveness for marketers will be in providing relevance, convenience and value.

Kate Spiers is director at Wisdom London, a creative communications consultancy.

News: Ballou PR Teams Up With Wisdom London to Enhance Social Media Expertise

Posted in Uncategorized on February 3, 2011 by wisdomlondon

London, UK – 3rd February 2011; Ballou PR and Wisdom London are joining forces to form a partnership that will bring social media firmly into the Ballou PR offering. The move is a response to indicators that businesses, and in particular Ballou PR’s client base of high growth, innovative start-ups, need a more rounded offering when it comes to PR. Wisdom London will work with Ballou PR to seamlessly embed social media into its way of doing business, as well as integrating the medium with Ballou’s traditional offers.

Founded in Paris by Colette Ballou in 2003, Ballou PR has offices in the UK at TechHub, New York and has recently opened an office in Silicon Valley. Its clients include Facebook, Bluwan, Bambuser and Working in partnership, Ballou PR and Wisdom London will now offer a full range of services, straddling PR and social media, including message development, content and channel strategy, media relations, influencer outreach, advocacy, community building and engagement, individual profile building and strategic communications.  Recent work in partnership includes social media-led PR for Conversocial, a social media management tool.

“PR is constantly evolving and changing, and we know that the agency landscape will look verydifferent in a few years,” says Vanessa McDonald, MD, Ballou PR. “We believe that with a strong social media ethic embedded in our business and offerings, we will be better placed than ever to help our clients make an impact and to support their business objectives during the critical start-up period and beyond.”

“Ballou PR and Wisdom London share the viewpoint that every business needs to develop a social mindset to truly harness and benefit from evolving technologies in the communications space,” says Kate Spiers, Director, Wisdom London. “Social media is not simply a marketing channel to be managed by a specific individual; at its best, it runs a seam throughout an entire organisation and our joint approach will be very much aimed at helping our clients achieve this.  PR is an excellent entry point for businesses to start to adopt social media channels, particularly when integrated within a solid, coherent strategy”.

For more information about how Wisdom London and Ballou PR can help you with a connected social PR programme, contact Kate Spiers here.

Your Legal Questions Answered:Copyright, Defamation and CAP Code

Posted in social media, Social Media Policy, Uncategorized with tags , , , , on November 29, 2010 by wisdomlondon

Forewarned is forearmed!

It’s becoming increasingly clear that organisations who engage in social media activity MUST have not only a strategy, but policy and guidelines in place, to limit the grey area when it comes to accountability and to enable employees to actively and effectively engage (whether on behalf of the organisation or otherwise) within the context of clear parameters and recognised standards. Inevitably, legal implications must be considered.

I’m delighted to introduce Ashley Hurst, Associate at Olswang LLP, to answer some of your questions on social media use and legal implications:

@jeffpullinger asked:  Can you save other peoples public tweets to a database on your own server with out permission?

Ashley Hurst: The starting point here is that the copyright in a tweet is retained by the author or, if published by an employee in the course of his/her employment, by the employer. Whilst Twitter ensures in its terms and conditions that it is granted a very wide licence to use tweets for its own purposes, that licence does not extent to use of the tweets by other Twitter users. The question is then what the user does with the tweet. For example, if used purely for the purposes of criticism or review, for private study, or for educational purposes, this will not be an infringement of copyright. However, commercial use of tweets without consent, for example for promotional purposes, may be an infringement. The practical reality is that many Twitter users will be only too happy to have their tweets retweeted and so the risk of being sued for copyright infringement will often be very low, although the safe bet is to obtain consent from the relevant Twitter user.

amoyal asked: Can I be liable for erroneous Tweets? (factually incorrect)

Ashley Hurst: There is no legal liability for innocently making false statements which are not defamatory. However, if the false statement is also defamatory of a person or company (i.e. it lowers their reputation in the eyes of the ordinary reader), the tweeter could be liable for defamation. See for example the recent case of Cairns v Modi, where the former international cricketer Chris Cairns is suing Lalit Modi for a defamatory tweet which allegedly accused Cairns of match-fixing (see my post on Reputation Online ). If the false statement is made intentionally or without any regard for the truth or falsity of it, the maker of the statement may also be liable for malicious falsehood, which is similar to defamation except that there is no need to show that the statement is defamatory. This cause of action is often used where malicious false statements are made about products.

@charliesaidthat said: I would love to know more about the ASA/CAP March 2011 regs implications for employees that blog.

Ashley Hurst: The big change with the new CAP code provisions (which take effect from 1 March 2011) is that they will apply to “non-paid for” advertising and marketing communications. The CAP Code already covers online advertising and marketing by email, texts, pop-ups and banner ads, and viral campaigns.  However, it will now cover advertising and marketing on company websites and through social media such as on Twitter and Facebook where the purpose of the communication is to sell something.

This means that all official tweets and other forms of non-paid for online advertising and marketing will need to be checked carefully for accuracy.  In particular, from 1 March 2011, marketing communications on company websites or through social media must not: (1) falsely claim or imply that the marketer is a consumer; (2) make claims about products and services which cannot be objectively substantiated; (3) mislead consumers by exaggerating the benefits or qualities of products or services; (4) make misleading statements about price, for example by omitting delivery charges; (5) mislead as to the availability of products or services; (6) make inaccurate or misleading comparisons with other products or services; (7) cause harm and offence; or (8) fail to provide key information of origin when selling over the internet (e.g. the address of the seller).

One of the difficulties for PRs will be in determining when PR campaigns may be construed as advertising or marketing campaigns. Whereas as this is usually an easy distinction to make for traditional forms of advertising and marketing, it may be more difficult where, for example, the company’s Twitter feed is used to promote a new product. See the ASA’s website for more details and the proposed amendments to the Code.

@charliesaidthat also said:  I would also ask about UGC and the implications/risks of moderating content (I assume this makes you a publisher and liable?)

Ashley Hurst: A company which hosts third party material on its website (for example, a discussion forum) will be potentially liable as a publisher of that material, including for defamation and infringement of copyright. However, the hosting company will normally have a defence where it did not previously know about the unlawful material and acted quickly to remove it once on notice of it. This is known as “innocent dissemination” and is what gives rise to the dilemma that if companies moderate (whether before or after publication), they improve the content of the website but risk losing this defence. Companies therefore need to conduct a risk assessment as to the benefits of moderating. It is often more important for companies to maintain the integrity of their websites and control the content of their forums than to entirely remove the risk of liability for third-party content. Moderation, together with an effective complaints and take-down procedure, can often be enough to remove most of the risk of being sued.

More questions?  Let us know!

Want to know more about developing social media strategy, corporate policy and usage guidelines?  Get in touch with or call on 07540 970 225 for a chat and initial advice.

With huge thanks to Ashley Hurst and Olswang LLP.

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Posted in Uncategorized on October 25, 2010 by wisdomlondon

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The Ugly Truth

Posted in brand, creativity, marketing strategy, Uncategorized, wisdom with tags , , , on July 20, 2010 by wisdomlondon

Posted by Jill Ruthenberg

Have you seen it?

I watched this movie a little while ago. It’s about a romantically challenged morning television presenter, Abby Richter being forced to work with chauvinistic, tell-it-like-it-is host of the TV segment ‘The Ugly Truth’, Mike Chadway (played by the man with the beautiful Scottish accent Gerard Butler) in an attempt to boost ratings. Oddly enough, Chadway promises to help Abby with her love life in exchange for her cooperation at work. He coaches her through some awkward and amusing situations, staying true to his way of stating the ‘ugly truth’, with some surprising results.

Two words of wisdom that Mike shared with Abby have stayed with me. I’m not going to repeat them word for word but let’s just say that the first gem went something along the lines of: ‘If you don’t want to love yourself, why would you expect anyone else to?’

And the second, a conversation between the two which I have also slightly altered:

Mike: You’re all about comfort and efficiency!
Abby: What’s wrong with comfort and efficiency?
Mike: Well nothing, except no one wants to [visit] it.

His advice is all about making yourself appealing, accessible, and relevant to the opposite sex, but I think it can be applied to the way businesses come across to their customers online.  Here are two gems:

Ugly Truth #1: People like people who like themselves.

I’m talking about your website and blog. If you don’t show your site some love, can you really expect others to?

Take a look at your site. What does it say about your brand?

The initial online experience is the single most powerful predictor of whether your prospect becomes a customer. As it is true in first impressions, in a matter of seconds your site projects your organisation’s core values, segment visitors, and initiates an online experience between you and potential customers. Ask yourself, why should people come to your site? Does it reflect the company’s unique values and benefits? What separates us from competitors? Are we telling our story and demonstrating our distinction? Are we showing expertise and delivering long-term value?

Show your site some love, work at it. Refine your message. It’s all about the perception of value, a perception that you shape.

Ugly Truth #2: People are attracted to attractive people.

This is more like Ugly Truth #1a. Visual appeal is more often than not the determining factor that keeps people coming back to your website. If you want your customers to keep coming back, you have to make your site engaging, visually pleasing, and relevant. Include some personality, have some fun. It’s like stepping into a pound store compared to stepping into Selfridges or Liberty. What sort of image do you want to portray?

Take a quick survey, get someone from your target audience or even a child (they can be oh so honest) to understand how users respond to your site as it currently is. Ask for 3 words to describe their thoughts on the company from looking at your website.

Once you have those words, encourage a brief explanation for each so you can unearth some insights. If the 3 words aren’t ideal, ask for some suggestions on how you might improve. You now have 3 ways you can tailor the online experience your site offers to the needs of your customers and potential customers.

Here are 2 of my personal favourite examples:

Effektive Design Studio

As an independent graphic design & communication company, they’ve got the best designed website I’ve seen (and designed by them of course. I’m sold).

Three words: Seamless, inspiring, and design-led.

Innocent Drinks

Seller of really tasty fruit smoothies, ‘thickies’, orange juice and veg pots this quirky organisation set the standard.

Three words: Fresh, fun and well, innocent.

Jill Ruthenberg is currently an intern at Wisdom London.

How To Get Twitter-Fitter

Posted in social media, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , on July 15, 2010 by wisdomlondon

Following our post yesterday on the Balanced Twitter Diet, we were inspired to supplement it with a quick plan to help you get Twitter-fitter!

Here’s what we think will give you the equivalent of a Twitter six-pack over time:

15 minutes per day: Cardio

Actively and energetically engage on Twitter (don’t forget your balanced diet of RTs, comment and conversation!) until mildly out of breath.  If you feel like you can do a little more each day, go ahead, but don’t burn out… Rest-days are recommended.

30  minutes per week: Weights

Let’s build up some endurance: Review Twitter stats for your feed and identify where you can improve, aiming to add a little more weight each week. Proactively seek out relevant content to share, questions to ask and seek inspiration. Maybe join a Twitter chat, to add some variety to your regime and work on all of your Twitter muscle groups.

30 minutes every 2 weeks: Stretch ‘n’ tone

Streamline and stretch a little bit further at least every 2 weeks. Check who’s following you, follow back where appropriate, explore who else your followers follow and get inspiration for new people to connect with, cull follows who annoy/don’t engage/are irrelevant.

15 minutes per week: Cool down

Be sure to end your Twitter week properly with a #followfriday list of tweeps you think your followers would like. Don’t skip it!

Kate Spiers is founder of Wisdom London and feels a strange affinity with Sue Sylvester at times like these.

Wisdom London’s World Cup Triumph

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , on May 26, 2010 by wisdomlondon

London, Monday 24 May: Football fever reached the glitterati today, as Wisdom London unveiled their 2010 World Cup Planner in good, old-fashioned poster format.  In a shock move, newly-transferred Wisdom London designer Ellie Gibson cast aside her Mac and reached for her art pens, bringing hand-drawn love to this modern masterpiece.


As Wisdom-lovers across the country dug out their blu-tac and proudly displayed their World Cup Planner on their office walls, it was clear that football is indeed coming home.  The sound of referee whistles and gasps of admiration were audible up to the length of a football pitch away.

Beautiful game

Wisdom London manager Kate Spiers told our reporters of the story behind this triumph of football-related artistry. “We knew we had to play a good game this season” she admitted. “We thought a lot about strategy, formation and performance – and it’s paid off.  The team did a great job.  Their commitment was amazing.  This really is the beautiful game”.


And as fifty lucky footie fans reach for their marker pens in anticipation of that first kick-off, it is clear that this young, creative squad has the dedication and imagination to go far.


“We won’t stop here,” vowed Spiers last night. “We have plenty more moves up our sleeves and we won’t take our eye off the ball.”

Want one? Email and we’ll email you a copy!

Friday afternoon musings: Great brand names

Posted in Uncategorized on April 9, 2010 by wisdomlondon

Was thinking about brand names as I shuffled down Oxford Street just now and there are some that are simply genius.  For example:

Dave: A brave move – TV channel named after the bloke in the pub you play darts with (or, indeed, my dad) that is “the home of witty banter”. And it is.  Dave delivers.  More please.  I’d like to see: Sophie (“the home of food porn in a totally vintage way”) and Bob (“the home of DIY and telling it like it is”).

American Apparel: There’s a certain pride inspired by the slightly formal phrasing, and evokes US cool into the bargain.  Plus, a bit of well-judged alliteration is pleasing.

Wagamama: Who gives a monkey’s what it means, at least we can say it, and it rolls off the tongue too.  Brilliant that it’s now part of our urban lexicon and we can even give it a pet name too “lunch at Wags”

And hats off to my personal faves: The Duke of Uke (which does indeed sell ukuleles) and the crepe van on Earlham Street called “Full of Crepe”.  Priceless.