Friday, 25 November 2016

Bristol wins, Douglas McWilliams was right, and why Exeter isn't quite it!

Bristol recognised as the fourth most inspiring City in the World ahead of London, New York and Paris. Take a moment to allow that to sink in. 
A lot of chat has gone on recently about Exeter's potential to achieve and get world recognition for great things. Part of that debate is about how to attract and keep skilled folk, particularly techie's in the city. Many organisations are scratching their heads. Sometimes together and sometimes alone to try and answer this question. In his book the Flat White Economy Douglas McWilliams lays out criteria based on economic data, to create the potential for tech City growth to happen. What surprises me is that some of the key criteria are mostly ignored. This is particularly noticeable here in Exeter. The criteria that attract and keeps techies in a given place include a large element of fun. Yes thats right, fun. Bristol won its award based not on it's ability to provide jobs or cheap housing. It won because it is fun, and has a large and active creative community. Who are recognisable in many cases on the World cultural scene. 
check out the criteria

 Where is Exeter's Banksy, Tricky, Roni Size or Massive Attack? (even these examples are out of date). Where are the cultural centres that would allow such creative talents to flourish? For all it's glitzy shopping arcades Exeter does not have even one 'cool' venue. Or even a decent hangout. The wealthy populate the few places in Exeter that are worth a visit. Not the struggling creatives. Even live music venues have  decreased. The few that remain are overcrowded.  Come on Exeter if you want to attract and keep skilled tech staff and other workers you need to be a lot more Bristol. That means creating serious cultural centres. Cool work hubs for artists and musicians. Theatres, galleries, multiple venues for new bands and much much more. The best things happen where strange worlds collide. Where 'not the usual suspects' meet and discuss and create. Right now in Exeter the same old people are talking to themselves and each other. Then patting themselves on their collective backs. This will change nothing! Exeter needs to be less superficial and much more inspiring. Check out the awards criteria in the link below.
Bristol Award
The Criteria: Here

Sunday, 6 November 2016

Make your messages stick

Clunk click every trip! You've been Tangoed... A quick Google will throw out many more memorable phrases, mostly, but not all used in advertising.If you're pitching or presenting, trying to galvanise an audience to support you or at least sit up and listen then a cool strap line or message is a must. When I pitched the startup weekend I chose 'one big beautiful map' as my line and I got the audience to repeat it back to me. It worked, I got chosen to form a team for the weekend and a great bunch of people got on board.

So how to create a great message?

I love the idea put forward by Martin Turner Chart (Communications micro-strategies, chartered Handbook, CIPR 2015. Chapter 11) he suggests you use the acronym:ICE COLD 
Based on Advertising Standards Authority research 2002 Messages Should be:

  • Informative - people like to hear and act on things that make them more informed
  • Clever - people act and like messages that are clever in an entertaining sense
  • Enter popular culture -  messages that enter daily use multiply their effectiveness (daily use – clunk click)
Chart adds to this:

  • Crisp -  eye takes in 18 letters in one go, the ear is attuned to rhythmic phrases
  • Obviously true -  the message should not need explanation or defence
  • Linger in the mind -  memorable
  • Decisive -  they lead the audience to complete the outcome

Three clear messages in the pitch are the max that people can take in.
I like this because it encourages creativity and allows me to create something memorable and easily repeated. Don't forget clunk click every trip, the future is orange and you can Google it!