5 Minutes With...

5 mins with Sam from Skdlr

 

Sam from Skdlr came into the Adjust Media office today to discuss his business

Sam from Skdlr
Sam from Skdlr

 

Tell us a little bit about yourself and Skdlr?

My name Samuel Des Baux – Chances are you just pronounced my surname wrong ;) . I’m that person that if someone asks me why, I’ll say why not. Skdlr pronounced Scheduler is a business event platform providing resources, tips and advice.

Give us the Skdlr story so far?

I started Skdlr in 2012 after realising it was hard to find credible source for event’s for advice, tips and particularly for the youth market. We have had a high interest throughout immediate networks and events we have attended. At the minute we are building the foundations and supporting business functions to get ready to produce our final full solution.

Why is there a need for Skdlr?

Skdlr will provide a one stop solution for business event hosts from the initial idea and planning to execution. Many SME’s lack the resources and skills to plan, schedule and host events. Many of our features are still in the concept stage and are awaiting development which is what will really define what we are about so watch this space!

Is there any single obstacle to Skdlr’s progress?

Nope, I wouldn’t say there is a single obstacle, although there are contributing factors which we will have to overcome.

What is your daily routine like?

My daily routine changes regularly, some nights I will be working through until early hours of the morning, other nights I will be out.

Is this your first business?

Nope, Skdlr is my second business. My first business was domain & email hosting which I started during College.

What is your favourite app?

Hmm this is a tricky one. Its got to be Microsoft One Note, yes boring I know but without I’m not sure what I would do. I take notes on the move on my iPad, iPhone, Netbook and having them all synced across all of my devices is peace of mind!

What is the best invention of the 21st century?

Going to go for something practical, got to be the iPhone, not sure what I would do without it.

Any last words, what’s on the cards for Sam and Skdlr in the near future?

Keeping progressing on what we are doing, redefining the business and creating our mark in the market.

 

Adjust Asks...

Is twitter the new battleground?

The Pope

The Pope, as seen on twitter

If religion was part of the Star Wars trilogy, this one might be called the Pope Fights Back. But this time it’s sassy; the most unlikely candidates all over the world are starting to use social media to fight their battles – the followers are their armies, the 140 characters their artillery, and the @ mention their grenade – and things are getting heated. Atheism already has a sexy enough face, what with Ricky Gervais (@rickygervais) and spellchecker (@GSpellchecker), but can the Pope’s use of Twitter give a facelift to the seemingly craggy, decrepit face of religious dogmatism?

Science vs. religion: it’s a debate of the ages and it’s just gone viral. And as there’s no white flag in sight for either sides, Twitter is fast becoming a platform for one of history’s greatest conflicts. But where does it end? It’s a fight unlikely to ever be resolved, so us loyal tweeties will seemingly forever be witness to the arguments and passages between the non-believers and his holiness. Arguably, it was always just a matter of  time before civilization’s greatest battle went viral. I wonder if the Pope has LinkedIn too.

What does this reinforce for us about twitter?

The unique power of social media to start conversations, to spark debate, to name and shame celebrities, is something the world has never seen before. Social media is, must be, a company’s first foray into belief. Some things are meant to go together; social media and emerging brands, peanut butter and jelly, and although faith may not always agree with science, in this case, it seems to be a match as perfect as Mark Corrigan and Jez. Join the debate: @Pontifex

Adjust Asks...

What’s the importance of technology in building communication for youngsters?

Since social media exploded, getting noticed, finding customers and targeting users has become more accessible than ever.

Technology and sites like Twitter, LinkedIn and About Me have helped employers and employees to connect and in turn have made communicating and promoting yourself not only quicker, but more creative.

Take me for example. How’d I get this gig? A busy student, part-time copywriter and now social intern for an up and coming company like Adjust Media… I cheekily corrected the director’s grammar in a tweet, sent a comical and informative email that somehow was impressive enough for them to want to meet with me.  Though in between this fun stream of communication was a lot of hard work… Therefore I would say the best thing we can do is be knowledgeable about the best platforms to sell ourselves and then do it to within an inch of our lives.

So – whilst you still have time, before the imminent drowning in a sea of dissertation proposals, unfair deadlines and ridiculous group work commitments- get on your computer and make yourself known. It’s mostly common sense, for example saying  “I’m a hard worker, a fun team member with an endless supply of topical memes and a firm grasp on what makes a great cup of tea” is great. Not only that, it’s fun, makes light of stereotypical post-grad and internship job roles (tea making, sadly) and shows an interest in the internet (mention of memes).

This however, is not that great “Efficient team member, hard worker, thrives on stress, works well in a team”. Agreed, all the points are excellent, but anyone can say that.  We as students, me included still think the way to write about ourselves is in an easy-to-read format. And yes I suppose it is – if you’re applying for a job in your local Wilkinson’s – however it won’t wash with creative marketers. Of course the points are all positive and demonstrate your opinion of yourself, but writing them in that straight forward, boring and informative manner is not enough to get you noticed as a potential sterling member of an agency. Creativity is key. Be diverse, be brave and use examples of these traits in action. You won’t get anywhere with the same sentence structure you used in your application for that Matalan Christmas temp Job.

Lucy

Adjust Asks...

How can brands appeal young to people?

Lynx image for brands blog post

How can brands appeal young to people? This is an age-old question. But perhaps one that is important now than ever. For me, a brands ability to attract and entice young people is key to gaining a following; to seduce the young is to introduce the old. It is through the younger generations that friends, parents, grandparents learn of trends – and with technology moving on faster than Simon Cowell’s hair-line receding, this question should be the highest priority for any aspirational brand. But how, exactly, can a brand appeal to young people? The one word I would give to a company trying to entice youngsters? Subtlety.

Why do brands struggle?

Blame Ricky Gervais, Peep Show, the Expenses Scandal or the aggressively blatant marketing of probiotic products, but our generation is more cynical than most. We can see when a brand is trying to be ‘young’. Luring us in with false promises of exceptional service, life-changing technology and ‘the next big thing’… Every beauty product will make us young, every yogurt-drink is ‘friendly’. Every smoothie life-giving and every deodorant ‘intelligent’. We’ve heard it all and we see past it. We have become hardened to the Lexicon of ‘Brands’.

Successful brands

Which is why marketing campaigns that run on a touch of British jaded, self-awareness are those that get our attention most. Take Lynx, it used the fact that fragrances previously had promised ridiculously hyperbolic things to its consumer, the ability to turn your average pre-pubescent spotty boy into a regular Robert Pattinson. They play with expectation in a way that made us smile, and reach for the can. And that’s why the Lynx campaigns have and do work. They play on mutually-shared knowledge and they make fun of themselves. See, we young people don’t like brands that take themselves too seriously. Some of the most notable marketing campaigns of recent years use self-irony. ‘Not just any meal, this is an M and S meal’. Did M and S mean that the food was unlike any others? Yes, they did. And how did they tell you? In a way that was so blantantly obvious, so shamefully self-congratulatory, that you couldn’t help but love them. And heck, they do make a really damn good chocolate fondant…

Conclusions

So perhaps the modern brand, to really attract a young crowd, needs to think outside the box. They must start utilising self-aware taglines and ad campaigns that don’t treat us like your average easy-to-please consumer and marketing campaigns that catch our imagination by making us smile. To make this work, a brand needs to stay on top of trends. Understand what is on the lips and ears of the young. S they too can remain like Lynx: self-aware, self-promotional and smelling faintly of tomorrow.

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Startups | Why student startups generate great value for investors?

According to NACUE three quarters of young people would like to run their own business. Similarly, the biggest concern to almost all of them is being able to fund their project. Banks don’t want to lend to businesses, particularly those that are run by younger people. The government startup loans are a good step, but with mounting tuition fees, students don’t want to be potentially liable years down the line. This is a real problem. Equity provides a solution, though sourcing investors is still tricky. Up and Funding provides the following reasons why student startups can be a great bet for any investor’s portfolio and has the potential to generate the most value:

1. Lower valuation startups:

Young people are far more likely to give a realistic valuation. They know theydon’t have the track record of someone and the price will reflect this. While obviously a young person could be more of a risk, the potential upside is clear.

2. Money going where it is supposed to:

Speaking to many Angel Investors the story is always the same. Lots of the time funding is sought simply to keep the Directors in a manner they are accustomed to, on a salary similar to what they were paid before. Student startups rarely if ever pay themselves unless their company has started to make money. You can be sure that your browser investment is properly utilised.

3. Student startups have Low overheads:

In addition to the salary aspect mentioned earlier, by there very nature student startups are built from the bottom up. Many businesses start with high sunk costs of office space in a prime location with utility bills and are spendthrift. Student startups by their very nature are bottom up (think Facebook was created in a university dorm). Many universities also provide excellent ‘enterprise hubs’, effectively free office space with all the services a startup could need.

4. Access to fantastic, inexpensive and talented students:

University campuses are full of the brightest sparks in the country. We already have many examples of unpaid internships. While we never would advocate unpaid work, imagine the costs relative to hiring experience through a recruitment agency to accessing flexible students, even more so if it’s an idea they would really want to get involved in.

5. Social enterprise aspect:

Investing in startups is not all about the bottom line return, most angel investors cite the immensely rewarding nature of investing in people as well as businesses.

6. Tax Breaks for startups:

While this is not exclusive to student startups, investors seem to be generally unaware of the tax breaks open to them. Through the government’s Seed Enterprise Investment Scheme (SEIS), investors can claim up to 78% of their initial investment back, and even more if the company defaults. With this scheme, startup investing isn’t the risk that it used to be!

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Copy | Are you writing compelling copy for your business?

The reach of compelling Copy, or written content, is often understated. If copy does not present an organisation in the same manner as its multimedia, you might as well not have bothered. Simply put, an organisation should present a consistent message. Copy is a key instrument in doing so, a tool that ties together written content, design and digital media. This underlies a key aspect of business presentation – the aesthetic should never hold primacy over the message.

Here you will find Adjust Media’s take on Copywriting; our 5 step guide to producing effective written Web, Advertising and Marketing content.

Step 1: Being an expert on your chosen topic before you write your copy

Be informed. If you want to sell a product or advertise a product your copy must resonate with the market. The marketer must hold and intimate sufficient knowledge about his product to enable him to effectively sell to the consumer. So, whether it is an App business, a Web service or a consumer product you must completely immerse yourself within the service; use it, talk to friends about it, research its origins and production methods. Only then will you find the right angle from which to sell the product.

For example, Joseph Sugarman, a successful American copywriter, did away with prior marketing techniques, in researching a watch. By highlighting the laser technology in producing the watch as a primary focus and fully understanding his product and the market, he was able to innovate with his copy.

2. Identifying and researching your customers

It is intrinsic to the success of your copy, that you understand your target market – how they think, what they like and most importantly what they respond to. How do you capture their interest, demand their loyalty and appeal to them in their own language? People respond to companies as they do people, customers seek out relationships with brands with which they can relate.

3. Put pen to paper:

Writer’s block is a much-maligned condition and plagues many copywriters. You could spend hours aggressing over that first line, when, in fact, it is far more beneficial just to get started, make mindmaps or even draw images. Don’t let your creative capacity be lessened by the desire for a pithy sentence or over-complicated grammar. Just get your ideas down first and come back to arrange them later.

4. Get your opening sentence read!

It is very easy to miss the point of your first line. This is your hook, without which any hope of the consumer reading or interacting with your piece is lost. It is very easy to get caught up with the beautiful design or the layout but if the first line doesn’t get read, the design, the layout and the photos aren’t doing their job.

 5. Compel the consumer to keep reading…

This is known as the slippery slide – your readers have to be so compelled to read the content you give them, that they cannot stop reading. Each paragraph or statement must captivate them enough to read from one to the next. This somewhat negates arguments regarding the relative advantages of short or long passages of copy, the content you provide needs only be as long or as short as it needs to be to hold the reader’s attention. Thus, the slippery slide.

Conclusions

Bearing all this in mind, it is important however to remain focused on the purpose of compelling copy, as Sugarman writes, “to cause a person to exchange his or her hard-earned money for a product or service”. The marketer must then match up the demands of the customer and his hard-earned income, with the copywriter and his hard-planned copy.

5 Minutes With...

5 mins with Charles from Works Out of The Box

We caught up with Charles from Works Out of The Box to find out what he’s up to and what the future holds.

 

5 Mins with Charles from Works Out of the Box
5 Mins with Charles from Works Out of the Box

 

Tell us a little bit about yourself and Works Out of the Box

My name is Charles Rivett-Carnac, I’m currently at Sussex University studying Business and Marketing. I run an electronics retail company called Works Out of The Box which I started at 16 and…. I’m 6ft 6”.

How did Works Out of The Box start?

I started by selling my electronics under the business and brand name Laserware, but it came to a point this year where I had to register as a limited company – so I started Works Out of The Box Ltd, which retails Laserware-branded electronics. When I was 16 I started importing laser pointers, and from then on I just enjoyed importing various gadgets from Hong Kong and China. I always used to do my own website and coding but it has now got to the point where my time is best spent focusing on the importing side of the business – it made sense to outsource my website and branding needs to Adjust Media.

How is it juggling University and your businesses?

Not easy. With target shooting and musical commitments to also juggle, it’s usually University work that becomes the lower priority. Why study business when you can run a business? I was happy to gain a 2.1 this year, but I think it’ll be harder to keep up in my final year.

What tips would you give someone wanting to start their own retail business?

Pick products to sell that promise a good margin, taking into account taxes and VAT – don’t pick something just because you like the product. My two most disastrous and costly importing decisions were two products that I really loved, but I didn’t think about the figures properly. Also remember that, unlike services where completed jobs can be forgotten about, you’re under moral and legal obligations to give at least a year warranty. Finally, risk only as much as you can afford to lose. Ebay is a great place to start small and grow quickly.

What’s the biggest obstacle you’ve come up against starting and running your businesses?

Umm… My first big order to China, where I had to trust someone 5000 miles away with the majority of my savings in the hope that he will send back products. And preferably the products would work.

What does the future hold for Works Out of The Box and yourself?

The aim is to get Laserware products into as many shops as possible and distribute them effectively through Works Out of The Box. My future, however, depends somewhat on the success of the business in the next eight months. I’m hoping that the business will prove to be scalable and I will carry it on as a full time job after university. Adjust Media will hopefully help me find new markets and customers through social media along the way, and this could prove vital to my survival.

What’s your favourite app?

I’m currently an HTC man so my choice is limited, but it’s got to be Auto Trader, makes sense as a petrol head…

Best invention of the 21st century?

I’ll take a gamble and say the Raspberry Pi, in the hope that turns out to be incredibly popular and hugely significant.

What is your favourite product you have ever sold?

Xenon torches. Huge flashlights that are nearly quadruple the power of a car headlight. Spy Camera Alarm Clocks were also a highlight.

What’s your favourite chocolate?

I’m not a massive chocolate person, but it has to be Cadbury’s.

Any last words?

If you’re an entrepreneurial student or graduate and you’ve got an idea, go for it. You’re at a time where you can afford to go bankrupt – low living costs, no family to support, no mortgage. Once you’re roped into a big organisation, you may never get the chance to do so again.

 

5 Minutes With...

Warren from Adjust Media

We caught up with the Head Coder at Adjust Media on a cheeky break in the office to find out about his love of coding and his how he got involved with the company.

Adjust Media | 5 mins with Warren

How did you get involved in Adjust Media?

Chris heard about me on the grapevine… He asked me to do a bit of work and I guess he was hooked – after that I was invited onto the Adjust Media team.

What do you do at Adjust Media?

In a nutshell, I make the websites work – I take the designs and bring them to life.

Describe what a working day looks like for you

Long. I like to work in blocks so I don’t lose focus, which often means that I’m working into the early hours of the morning finishing a website or app. I’ll normally just sit down with my Mac with the projects open and spend all day tweaking something in one whilst coding part of another. I don’t usually make a plan because my priorities with Adjust Media will often change so I just see what happens each day.

What are you studying at uni?

Maths. Most people cringe when I tell them this but I’m not ashamed. Much.

Is your line of work frustrating? 

All the work with Adjust Media is so varied and whilst this stops me getting bored, it makes it quite challenging as well. There’s so many different things that a client can ask for meaning that one project doesn’t always give me experience that will help with the next.

Do people judge you for being a tech geek?

Hey I’m not a geek! I just enjoy what I do. I don’t judge football fans…. Much. People don’t really know my capabilities. They’re always surprised when they hear about my work. I just enjoy what I do.

What’s the most complex thing you’ve built with Adjust Media?

I’m afraid if I told you that I’d have to kill you…

What was the first website you ever made?

Everyone starts out with the “Hello World” (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hello_world_program) website.

What websites do you particularly like?

Your World of Text (http://www.yourworldoftext.com/home/). It’s just the simplest website you could think of and I get far too much enjoyment out of it.

What’s the best invention of the 21st century?

Beyond a shadow of a doubt, the iPhone. 2 years: it’s my longest relationship and I couldn’t live without it.

What one website do you use on a daily basis?

Wikipedia – the fountain of all modern knowledge. I remember when I was at school when I had to labouriously go through books to find information, now I can just type in a world and ive got so much information at my fingertips.

How would you describe your relationship with the rest of the Adjust Media team?

This question’s too gay to answer

What hobbies do you have when not coding?

Origami and adding to my impressive collection of blazers.

If you could have one last meal what would it consist of?

Steak. Medium rare. Side order of chips and onion rings. Now please.

What tips would you give an aspiring website coder? 

Just jump in. You can make some great websites just in notepad – every website we make I write from scratch and you can do just the same. Try Notepad++ for Windows (http://notepad-plus-plus.org/) or TextWrangler for Mac (http://www.barebones.com/products/TextWrangler/).

Computers: Macbook pro or macbook air? 

Since I’ve just splashed out on my brand new MacBook Pro, I guess that answers that question!

5 Minutes With...

Christian from Mytees

Adjust Media caught up with professional rugby player and director of trendy t-shirt brand Mytees to find out all about juggling two careers, and the direction of the young brand…

 

Christian from Mytees

Christian from Mytees

Tell us a little bit about yourself

My name is Christian Lewis-Pratt. After I schooled I jumped straight into a career in professional rugby. I currently play my rugby for England 7s and with my brother I have launched Mytees this year!

How did Mytees start?

The idea of Mytees surfaced over a year ago whilst on holiday in Portugal with my brother. We are both naturally very interested in fashion and were simply talking about pipeline dreams. We came to a couple of conclusions surrounding our fashion and what we both like to wear. 1. We both have 2/3 ‘go to’ tees in our wardrobe. These are the tees that if we wanted to look good and feel confident, we would naturally put on. 2. We choose these tees because of they way they fit; tight where you want them, loose where you don’t. 3. These tees were limited in design. Mainly plain with a few simple touches that made the tee pop.

What’s the idea behind Mytees? 

We both wanted to start wearing something a little more expressive, but whilst maintaining the core values of a ‘go to’ tee. The concept we developed is designed to allow any wearer to put on a tee and make a personal metaphorical statement, whilst wearing a simple piece of clothing. The personal possessive value of the word ‘my’ does that.

How is it juggling a sporting career and Mytees?

Thus far it hasn’t been too much of a problem. Running the company with my brother, who works different hours to me, means we can juggle the load easily. However with the growth of the company we are having to be more and more organized. I guess if mytees was my primary focus, the companies growth may be faster, but I am learning to effectively work at the two.

Describe your daily routine

I am in training camp Monday-Wednesday, where I stay in a hotel in Teddington and train from 2/3 times a day, alongside team meetings and various other activites. Friday and Saturday I train mainly in my own time, using the facilities available to me at Twickenham Stadium. It is outside of camp that I can put more focus on the development of Mytees.

What tips would you give someone wanting to start their own business?

Develop a solid idea. Build a well structured plan before going through with anything. Think about how you want to be seen as a company. Where you see your business going. And most importantly, have faith that you will be successful…….im still holding huge faith in my business, start small but aim big!

What’s the biggest obstacle you’ve come up against starting a business?

Neither me or my brother have ever studied business, or worked in the area. We have had a couple of naïve moments that have cost us at times. Money! We are a self-funded company, and the only funds we have to work with is the money made on sales. That’s difficult to do with all the start up costs of a new company!

What’s the biggest sacrifice you’ve made for the company?

Mmmmmm, haven’t really had to make huge sacrifices yet. Hopefully have that to come. The amount of money I’ve spent probably!

How would you describe mytees style in 3 words?

Clean Street Wear

What’s your finest rugby moment? Your finest business moment?

Rugby; At the Wellington, New Zealand 7s, hearing 40,000 people sing Wonderwall after scoring a try v Samoa. Crazy cool moment. Gave me chills.

Business; first time someone that I don’t know bought a tee shirt that I designed.

Where do you see yourself in 10 years

L.A.??

What’s your favourite app?

Im a Blackberry man.

Best invention of the 21st century?

Social media – fbook, twitter etc

What your most prized clothing item? Or antem you couldn’t live without?

So hard! My entire shoe collection.

What’s the future of the brand – where would you like to see it next?

Expand the brand. Get our new line in, and start selling in shops.

Any last words?

The dream is to have a ‘mystore’, selling all branches of clothing and other ideas that I don’t want to reveal!

Adjust Asks...

Is social media bad for society’s health?

There is very little that social media cannot do…

Social Media can tell you what’s happening in the world. What companies to like, where the latest pop-up is and what you should, and shouldn’t do with a blowtorch. In fact, the only thing social media can’t do is make you a cup of tea, but someone in China is probably working on that as we type. But all this comes at a price. As the potential of social media grows, so, too, does its ability to corrode at the very fabric of our world. Social media; help or hindrance to society?

Social media, with its ability to tag, like and mention, has created a new generation of self-awareness. Where our every action is watched, not only by ourselves, but by the cyber-world. The awareness of the world’s gaze propels us towards a more exaggerated and favourable version of ourselves online. According to Psychologies Magazine, there is a condition called ‘E-Personalities’, in which we create a false online personality: supposedly, we devise an alter-ego on sites, a cooler, more eccentric, bolder version of ourselves, that, in reality, we can’t live up to. Hence our real personality pales next to our Facebook one. I, for one, am a lot paler in real life than on Facebook (but that’s largely due to fake tan), but I’m glad to say that I’m hilarious in real life too.

The Guardian recently published that there was a proven correlation between your number of Facebook friends and your tendency towards Narcisstic Personality Behaviour. The more friends, the more likely you are towards things like self-absorption, vanity, superiority, and exhibitionistic tendencies. My grandmother was recently hijacked by Bath Rugby Club, marched around the town by blue-painted half-naked boys like some kind of Mahi ritual, all part of a Facebook prank – point proven. So basically, if you already have the tendency to spend a bit longer than normal doing your hair in the morning, or the majority of your photos have a hidden elbow in them from where you have tried to disguise the fact you are taken a photo of yourself, before social media, you’re in trouble now.

And it isn’t just social media sites that control our daily behavior. If one looks at the platforms we use to adapt the content of our posts, applications like Instagram, where all photos are given that wonderfully kooky, homemade feel, straight out of 1960s Brighton Beach postcard, the link between post and desired effect is clear. It isn’t enough to post a photo of your dinner online (if you actually think about it, that in itself is odd enough), it must have the Instagrammed, hipster-sheen of something you’d find at Heston’s own dining table. We need to make our lives stand out, but, the irony is, the way in which we go about doing this means that in fact, we’re all exactly the same. Wouldn’t it be refereshing if just once you saw a photo that hadn’t been Instagrammed – now that really would be unique…

So Social Media comes at a price…

But, then again, would we change it? I for one would not like to imagine a world where I couldn’t write, tweet, post and blog about every daily event and expect the world to read it. We must be extra vigilant about how our online activity affects our real-life world, however, and question who, exactly, is controlling our posting. But, heck, if the world wants to see a photo of my dinner in black and white perfection, then see it they shall…