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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

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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

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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.

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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…

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What tech would you take on a desert island?

Angelica from the Adjust Media team tells us what she’d take on a desert island and why….

There are many things I’d take on a desert island with me. For pleasure, I’d take George Clooney, for intellectual stimulation, Freud or Alain de Boton, for sustenance I’d bring a smoothie machine and for everything in between, I’d take the apps on my iPad.

Angelica & Her iPad

There is no doubt in my mind that the iPad is the best invention of our time; you’re about as likely to find one of the Adjust Media team out without one as Miley Cyrus in public without make-up on. But why? For me, app technology and the possibilities that have sprung from their creation, have completely changed our social landscape; how we interact with each other, with brands, with the world, is evolving. This tiny thing, wrought from metal and plastic, seemingly so innocuous, has the power to revolutionize how the whole world speaks; it’s made the world smaller, chattier and much, much more exciting.

The app world has opened up inconceivable possibilities; everything, from contactless payment to calorie counting, has been thought and processed into this tiny functionality. There are news apps to keep our dinner party conversation flowing as smoothly as the Pinot Grigio; one can flick between The Independent, The Guardian, Prospect, Grazia, Heat and, if you’re anything like me, pull out the right one for the right audience (Starbucks is a place for the latter, the Metropolitan Line in rush hour for the former). There are apps to make train journeys more enjoyable – pet horses we can nurture and feed on our phones, frogs with silly voices for gimmicky birthday messages, car racing games to allow us to live out our Lewis Hamilton fantasy. There are apps to make our lives more productive – to do lists, shopping lists, reminders, calendars. One of my favourite apps, Lemon, allows you to scan invoices and create spreadsheets about how much money you’re spending on what each month. I never even knew I had a penchant for buying exotic fruit.

And it’s not just time with ourselves that is improved. Apps brings companies and brands closer to their consumer; mobile banking, online shopping, train tickets, flight bookings – everything seems so much easier, so much more within reach. And if services aren’t better, it’s not like there aren’t places to shout about it – with 900m users on Facebook, 500m on Twitter and 150m on LinkedIn, the tablet computer has created a myriad of open spaces for public and consumer dialogue. So not only can companies speak to us through apps, but, we, the consumer, can speak right back at them.

And of course all this technology, I think, has imbued the modern city-dweller with a sense of adventure; it’s emboldened us as living, breathing humans, willing to seize new experiences and opportunities. Perhaps it’s consumer psychology, but thanks to social media, voucher websites, online reviews and listings, our lives are richer. We’re more willing to try that new restaurant in Soho, the pop-up in Shoreditch or the random art gallery in Bristol – call it safety in numbers, but, somehow, the public annunciation of culture has made us seize it. The emerging world is presented to us, on screen, in perfect LCD resolution and we seem to be saying yes, yes to seizing the day, yes to consuming life, yes to experience, enjoyment and excitement.

So what would I take on a desert island? Well, once the novelty of George Clooney’s perfectly-rounded derriere has faded, I’d want to stay in touch with the world – its stories, its trends, its tastes. And the only place you can get all of that, and a pet horse called Sparkles is on the iPad… Which is why Adjust love developing apps for clients, because we’re not just buying into a new product, we’re forging our way into a whole new world.