Font of the week: Gotham

Gotham is a family of geometric sans-serif digital typefaces designed by American type designer Tobias Frere-Jones in 2000. Gotham's letterforms are inspired by a form of architectural signage that achieved popularity in the mid-twentieth century, and are especially popular throughout New York City.
Since creation, Gotham has been highly visible due to its appearance in many notable places, including a large amount of campaign material created for Barack Obama's 2008 presidential campaign, as well as the cornerstone of the One World Trade Center, the tower to be built on the site of the former World Trade Center in New York.The Gotham font was initially commissioned by GQ magazine, whose editors wanted to display a sans-serif with a "geometric structure" that would look "masculine, new, and fresh" for their magazine. Although the magazine was initially considering a series of fonts that either looked like techno CD covers or were more traditional like Futura, they agreed that they needed something "that was going to be very fresh and very established to have a sort of credible voice to it," according to Jonathan Hoefler.
Frere-Jones' inspiration for the typeface came from time spent walking block-by-block through Manhattan with a camera to find source material, and he based the font on the lettering seen in older buildings, especially the sign on the Eighth Avenue facade of the Port Authority Bus Terminal. "I suppose there's a hidden personal agenda in the design," Frere-Jones said, "to preserve those old pieces of New York that could be wiped out before they're appreciated. Having grown up here, I was always fond of the 'old' New York and its lettering."
The lettering that inspired this typeface originated from the style of 1920s era sans-serifs like Futura, where "Type, like architecture, like the organization of society itself, was to be reduced to its bare, efficient essentials, rid of undesirable, local or ethnic elements." This theme was found frequently in Depression-era type in both North America and Europe, particularly Germany.[4] This simplification of type is characterized by Frere-Jones as "not the kind of letter a type designer would make. It's the kind of letter an engineer would make. It was born outside the type design in some other world and has a very distinct flavor from that."
Reviews of Gotham focus on its identity as something both American and specific to New York City. According to David Dunlap of The New York Times, Gotham "deliberately evokes the blocky no-nonsense, unselfconscious architectural lettering that dominated the [New York] streetscape from the 1930's through the 1960's."Andrew Romano of Newsweek concurs. "Unlike other sans serif typefaces, it's not German, it's not French, it's not Swiss," he said. "It's very American."
According to Frere-Jones, Gotham wouldn't have happened without the GQ commission. "The humanist and the geometric ... had already been thoroughly staked out and developed by past designers. I didn't think anything new could have been found there, but luckily for me (and the client), I was mistaken."


Movember: Day 21

I've been growing this thing for 21 days now - doesn't appear to have grown much since last week. And, drum roll, have decided to ditch the side burns. The itch like hell. What has surprised me is how much grooming a moustache needs - I always thought the whole point was that you just didn't shave.
To find our more read earlier posting here. Slight improvement on the previous week - see below:


Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish.

This is a prepared text of the Commencement address delivered by Steve Jobs, CEO of Apple Computer and of Pixar Animation Studios, on June 12, 2005. The reason I reproduce it here is because I went to my daughter's school prize giving where she won the trophies for French and English (she is a clever girl - and, no it dosen't come from me). However, they had a guest speaker at the event to inspire the kids as they entered adulthood and tell them what they should strive for.
It was disappointing! Basically, she just told everyone how fantastic she was - for no reason I could discern - and the entire speech sounded like a recital of every self-help book over the past 20 years. I asked my daugher if I was being too cynical and she said no. She thought the best speech she had heard to students was by Apple's Steve Jobs. I think I agree. It applies to undergraduates, graduates, you and me, and people at the end of the line. Here it is:

I am honored to be with you today at your commencement from one of the finest universities in the world. I never graduated from college. Truth be told, this is the closest I've ever gotten to a college graduation. Today I want to tell you three stories from my life. That's it. No big deal. Just three stories.
The first story is about connecting the dots.
I dropped out of Reed College after the first 6 months, but then stayed around as a drop-in for another 18 months or so before I really quit. So why did I drop out?
It started before I was born. My biological mother was a young, unwed college graduate student, and she decided to put me up for adoption. She felt very strongly that I should be adopted by college graduates, so everything was all set for me to be adopted at birth by a lawyer and his wife. Except that when I popped out they decided at the last minute that they really wanted a girl. So my parents, who were on a waiting list, got a call in the middle of the night asking: "We have an unexpected baby boy; do you want him?" They said: "Of course." My biological mother later found out that my mother had never graduated from college and that my father had never graduated from high school. She refused to sign the final adoption papers. She only relented a few months later when my parents promised that I would someday go to college.
And 17 years later I did go to college. But I naively chose a college that was almost as expensive as Stanford, and all of my working-class parents' savings were being spent on my college tuition. After six months, I couldn't see the value in it. I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life and no idea how college was going to help me figure it out. And here I was spending all of the money my parents had saved their entire life. So I decided to drop out and trust that it would all work out OK. It was pretty scary at the time, but looking back it was one of the best decisions I ever made. The minute I dropped out I could stop taking the required classes that didn't interest me, and begin dropping in on the ones that looked interesting.
It wasn't all romantic. I didn't have a dorm room, so I slept on the floor in friends' rooms, I returned coke bottles for the 5¢ deposits to buy food with, and I would walk the 7 miles across town every Sunday night to get one good meal a week at the Hare Krishna temple. I loved it. And much of what I stumbled into by following my curiosity and intuition turned out to be priceless later on. Let me give you one example:
Reed College at that time offered perhaps the best calligraphy instruction in the country. Throughout the campus every poster, every label on every drawer, was beautifully hand calligraphed. Because I had dropped out and didn't have to take the normal classes, I decided to take a calligraphy class to learn how to do this. I learned about serif and san serif typefaces, about varying the amount of space between different letter combinations, about what makes great typography great. It was beautiful, historical, artistically subtle in a way that science can't capture, and I found it fascinating.
None of this had even a hope of any practical application in my life. But ten years later, when we were designing the first Macintosh computer, it all came back to me. And we designed it all into the Mac. It was the first computer with beautiful typography. If I had never dropped in on that single course in college, the Mac would have never had multiple typefaces or proportionally spaced fonts. And since Windows just copied the Mac, it's likely that no personal computer would have them. If I had never dropped out, I would have never dropped in on this calligraphy class, and personal computers might not have the wonderful typography that they do. Of course it was impossible to connect the dots looking forward when I was in college. But it was very, very clear looking backwards ten years later.
Again, you can't connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something — your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. This approach has never let me down, and it has made all the difference in my life.
My second story is about love and loss.
I was lucky - I found what I loved to do early in life. Woz and I started Apple in my parents garage when I was 20. We worked hard, and in 10 years Apple had grown from just the two of us in a garage into a $2 billion company with over 4000 employees. We had just released our finest creation — the Macintosh — a year earlier, and I had just turned 30. And then I got fired. How can you get fired from a company you started? Well, as Apple grew we hired someone who I thought was very talented to run the company with me, and for the first year or so things went well. But then our visions of the future began to diverge and eventually we had a falling out. When we did, our Board of Directors sided with him. So at 30 I was out. And very publicly out. What had been the focus of my entire adult life was gone, and it was devastating.
I really didn't know what to do for a few months. I felt that I had let the previous generation of entrepreneurs down - that I had dropped the baton as it was being passed to me. I met with David Packard and Bob Noyce and tried to apologize for screwing up so badly. I was a very public failure, and I even thought about running away from the valley. But something slowly began to dawn on me — I still loved what I did. The turn of events at Apple had not changed that one bit. I had been rejected, but I was still in love. And so I decided to start over.
I didn't see it then, but it turned out that getting fired from Apple was the best thing that could have ever happened to me. The heaviness of being successful was replaced by the lightness of being a beginner again, less sure about everything. It freed me to enter one of the most creative periods of my life.
During the next five years, I started a company named NeXT, another company named Pixar, and fell in love with an amazing woman who would become my wife. Pixar went on to create the worlds first computer animated feature film, Toy Story, and is now the most successful animation studio in the world. In a remarkable turn of events, Apple bought NeXT, I returned to Apple, and the technology we developed at NeXT is at the heart of Apple's current renaissance. And Laurene and I have a wonderful family together.
I'm pretty sure none of this would have happened if I hadn't been fired from Apple. It was awful tasting medicine, but I guess the patient needed it. Sometimes life hits you in the head with a brick. Don't lose faith. I'm convinced that the only thing that kept me going was that I loved what I did. You've got to find what you love. And that is as true for your work as it is for your lovers. Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven't found it yet, keep looking. Don't settle. As with all matters of the heart, you'll know when you find it. And, like any great relationship, it just gets better and better as the years roll on. So keep looking until you find it. Don't settle.
My third story is about death.
When I was 17, I read a quote that went something like: "If you live each day as if it was your last, someday you'll most certainly be right." It made an impression on me, and since then, for the past 33 years, I have looked in the mirror every morning and asked myself: "If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?" And whenever the answer has been "No" for too many days in a row, I know I need to change something.
Remembering that I'll be dead soon is the most important tool I've ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life. Because almost everything — all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure - these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important. Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart.
About a year ago I was diagnosed with cancer. I had a scan at 7:30 in the morning, and it clearly showed a tumor on my pancreas. I didn't even know what a pancreas was. The doctors told me this was almost certainly a type of cancer that is incurable, and that I should expect to live no longer than three to six months. My doctor advised me to go home and get my affairs in order, which is doctor's code for prepare to die. It means to try to tell your kids everything you thought you'd have the next 10 years to tell them in just a few months. It means to make sure everything is buttoned up so that it will be as easy as possible for your family. It means to say your goodbyes.
I lived with that diagnosis all day. Later that evening I had a biopsy, where they stuck an endoscope down my throat, through my stomach and into my intestines, put a needle into my pancreas and got a few cells from the tumor. I was sedated, but my wife, who was there, told me that when they viewed the cells under a microscope the doctors started crying because it turned out to be a very rare form of pancreatic cancer that is curable with surgery. I had the surgery and I'm fine now.
This was the closest I've been to facing death, and I hope it's the closest I get for a few more decades. Having lived through it, I can now say this to you with a bit more certainty than when death was a useful but purely intellectual concept:
No one wants to die. Even people who want to go to heaven don't want to die to get there. And yet death is the destination we all share. No one has ever escaped it. And that is as it should be, because Death is very likely the single best invention of Life. It is Life's change agent. It clears out the old to make way for the new. Right now the new is you, but someday not too long from now, you will gradually become the old and be cleared away. Sorry to be so dramatic, but it is quite true.
Your time is limited, so don't waste it living someone else's life. Don't be trapped by dogma — which is living with the results of other people's thinking. Don't let the noise of others' opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.
When I was young, there was an amazing publication called The Whole Earth Catalog, which was one of the bibles of my generation. It was created by a fellow named Stewart Brand not far from here in Menlo Park, and he brought it to life with his poetic touch. This was in the late 1960's, before personal computers and desktop publishing, so it was all made with typewriters, scissors, and polaroid cameras. It was sort of like Google in paperback form, 35 years before Google came along: it was idealistic, and overflowing with neat tools and great notions.
Stewart and his team put out several issues of The Whole Earth Catalog, and then when it had run its course, they put out a final issue. It was the mid-1970s, and I was your age. On the back cover of their final issue was a photograph of an early morning country road, the kind you might find yourself hitchhiking on if you were so adventurous. Beneath it were the words: "Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish." It was their farewell message as they signed off. Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish. And I have always wished that for myself. And now, as you graduate to begin anew, I wish that for you.
Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish.
Thank you all very much.

Movember: Day 14

To find our more read earlier posting here. Slight improvement on the previous week - see below:


Hirsute pursuits

I’ve donated my face to Movember and for the rest of the month will be growing a luxuriant moustache for charity. I’m going for the full mutton chops too! I started on November 1.
Movember (the month formerly known as November) is a moustache growing charity event held during November each year that raises funds and awareness for a number of male-related charities including the Prostate Cancer Charity and the Institute of Cancer Research.
During November each year, Movember is responsible for the sprouting of moustaches on thousands of men’s faces in the UK and around the world. The aim of which is to raise vital funds and awareness for men’s health. On Movember 1st, guys register at with a clean-shaven face and then for the rest of the month, these selfless and generous men, known as Mo Bros, groom, trim and wax their way into the annals of fine moustachery.
Supported by the women in their lives, Mo Sistas, Movember Mo Bros raise funds by seeking out sponsorship for their Mo-growing efforts. You can support me (who is pictured here on November 1 with his starter stubble) on my Movember web page here.
Mo Bros effectively become walking, talking billboards for the 30 days of November and through their actions and words raise awareness by prompting private and public conversation around the often ignored issue of men’s health. The funds raised in the UK support the number one and two male specific cancers - prostate and testicular cancer.
The funds raised are directed to programmes run directly by Movember and our men’s health partners, The Prostate Cancer Charity and the Institute of Cancer Research. Together, these channels work together to ensure that Movember funds are supporting a broad range of innovative, world-class programmes in line with our strategic goals in the areas of awareness and education, survivorship and research.
Here's me after 7 days:

 Cheer up Mate!


Why infrographics work

The Value of Data Visualization from Column Five on Vimeo.


Font of the Week: Mishka

Time to get back on the Cluetrain

It’s always good to step back and look at what you’re doing in your business. It’s so easy to get bogged down in the minutia - chasing new business, drafting proposals, billing chasing invoices... you know the rest.
So recently I have gone back to basics and revisited the Cluetrain Manifesto - which is now 12 years old.
For those of you who don’t know the Cluetrain Manifesto is a set of 95 theses for all businesses operating within the newly-connected marketplace that was the internet. The ideas put forward within the manifesto aim to examine the impact of the Internet on both markets (consumers) and organisations. In addition, as both consumers and organisations are able to use the Internet and Intranets to establish a previously unavailable level of communication both within and between these two groups, the manifesto suggests that changes will be required from organisations as they respond to the new marketplace environment.
The manifesto was written in 1999 by Rick Levine, Christopher Locke, Doc Searls, and David Weinberger. A printed publication which elaborated on the manifesto was published in 2000 by Perseus Books under the same name.
The authors assert that the Internet is unlike the ordinary media used in mass marketing as it enables people to have "human to human" conversations, which have the potential to transform traditional business practices radically.
The book and website both challenge what the manifesto calls outmoded, 20th-century thinking about business in light of the emergence of the Web, clearly listing "95 theses", as a reference to Martin Luther's manifesto which heralded the start of the Protestant Reformation.
The term "cluetrain" stems from the following unattributed quote: "The clue train stopped there four times a day for ten years and they never took delivery."
So, offering some food for thought, here is the entire 95 thesis which form the basis of the Cluetrain Manifesto:

1.   Markets are conversations.
2.   Markets consist of human beings, not demographic sectors.
3.   Conversations among human beings sound human. They are conducted in a human voice.
4.   Whether delivering information, opinions, perspectives, dissenting arguments or humorous asides, the human voice is typically open, natural, uncontrived.
5.   People recognize each other as such from the sound of this voice.
6.   The Internet is enabling conversations among human beings that were simply not possible in the era of mass media.
7.   Hyperlinks subvert hierarchy.
8.   In both internetworked markets and among intranetworked employees, people are speaking to each other in a powerful new way.
9.   These networked conversations are enabling powerful new forms of social organization and knowledge exchange to emerge.
10.  As a result, markets are getting smarter, more informed, more organized. Participation in a networked market changes people fundamentally.
11.    People in networked markets have figured out that they get far better information and support from one another than from vendors. So much for corporate rhetoric about adding value to commoditized products.
12.    There are no secrets. The networked market knows more than companies do about their own products. And whether the news is good or bad, they tell everyone.
13.    What's happening to markets is also happening among employees. A metaphysical construct called "The Company" is the only thing standing between the two.
14.    Corporations do not speak in the same voice as these new networked conversations. To their intended online audiences, companies sound hollow, flat, literally inhuman.
15.    In just a few more years, the current homogenized "voice" of business - the sound of mission statements and brochures - will seem as contrived and artificial as the language of the 18th century French court.
16.    Already, companies that speak in the language of the pitch, the dog-and-pony show, are no longer speaking to anyone.
17.    Companies that assume online markets are the same markets that used to watch their ads on television are kidding themselves.
18.    Companies that don't realize their markets are now networked person-to-person, getting smarter as a result and deeply joined in conversation are missing their best opportunity.
19.    Companies can now communicate with their markets directly. If they blow it, it could be their last chance.
20.    Companies need to realize their markets are often laughing. At them.
21.    Companies need to lighten up and take themselves less seriously. They need to get a sense of humor.
22.    Getting a sense of humor does not mean putting some jokes on the corporate web site. Rather, it requires big values, a little humility, straight talk, and a genuine point of view.
23.    Companies attempting to "position" themselves need to take a position. Optimally, it should relate to something their market actually cares about.
24.    Bombastic boasts: "We are positioned to become the preeminent provider of XYZ" - do not constitute a position.
25.    Companies need to come down from their Ivory Towers and talk to the people with whom they hope to create relationships.
26.    Public Relations does not relate to the public. Companies are deeply afraid of their markets.
27.    By speaking in language that is distant, uninviting, arrogant, they build walls to keep markets at bay.
28.    Most marketing programs are based on the fear that the market might see what's really going on inside the company.
29.    Elvis said it best: "We can't go on together with suspicious minds."
30.    Brand loyalty is the corporate version of going steady, but the breakup is inevitable - and coming fast. Because they are networked, smart markets are able to renegotiate relationships with blinding speed.
31.    Networked markets can change suppliers overnight. Networked knowledge workers can change employers over lunch. Your own "downsizing initiatives" taught us to ask the question: "Loyalty? What's that?"
32.    Smart markets will find suppliers who speak their own language.
33.    Learning to speak with a human voice is not a parlor trick. It can't be "picked up" at some tony conference.
34.    To speak with a human voice, companies must share the concerns of their communities.
35.    But first, they must belong to a community.
36.    Companies must ask themselves where their corporate cultures end.
37.    If their cultures end before the community begins, they will have no market.
38.    Human communities are based on discourse - on human speech about human concerns.
39.    The community of discourse is the market.
40.    Companies that do not belong to a community of discourse will die.
41.    Companies make a religion of security, but this is largely a red herring. Most are protecting less against competitors than against their own market and workforce.
42.    As with networked markets, people are also talking to each other directly inside the company- and not just about rules and regulations, boardroom directives, bottom lines.
43.    Such conversations are taking place today on corporate intranets. But only when the conditions are right.
44.    Companies typically install intranets top-down to distribute HR policies and other corporate information that workers are doing their best to ignore.
45.    Intranets naturally tend to route around boredom. The best are built bottom-up by engaged individuals cooperating to construct something far more valuable: an intranetworked corporate conversation.
46.    A healthy intranet organizes workers in many meanings of the word. Its effect is more radical than the agenda of any union.
47.    While this scares companies witless, they also depend heavily on open intranets to generate and share critical knowledge. They need to resist the urge to "improve" or control these networked conversations.
48.    When corporate intranets are not constrained by fear and legalistic rules, the type of conversation they encourage sounds remarkably like the conversation of the networked marketplace.
49.    Org charts worked in an older economy where plans could be fully understood from atop steep management pyramids and detailed work orders could be handed down from on high.
50.    Today, the org chart is hyperlinked, not hierarchical. Respect for hands-on knowledge wins over respect for abstract authority.
51.    Command-and-control management styles both derive from and reinforce bureaucracy, power tripping and an overall culture of paranoia.
52.    Paranoia kills conversation. That's its point. But lack of open conversation kills companies.
53.    There are two conversations going on. One inside the company. One with the market.
54.    In most cases, neither conversation is going very well. Almost invariably, the cause of failure can be traced to obsolete notions of command and control.
55.    As policy, these notions are poisonous. As tools, they are broken. Command and control are met with hostility by intranetworked knowledge workers and generate distrust in internetworked markets.
56.    These two conversations want to talk to each other. They are speaking the same language. They recognize each other's voices.
57.    Smart companies will get out of the way and help the inevitable to happen sooner.
58.    If willingness to get out of the way is taken as a measure of IQ, then very few companies have yet wised up.
59.    However subliminally at the moment, millions of people now online perceive companies as little more than quaint legal fictions that are actively preventing these conversations from intersecting.
60.    This is suicidal. Markets want to talk to companies.
61.    Sadly, the part of the company a networked market wants to talk to is usually hidden behind a smokescreen of hucksterism, of language that rings false - and often is.
62.    Markets do not want to talk to flacks and hucksters. They want to participate in the conversations going on behind the corporate firewall.
63.    De-cloaking, getting personal: We are those markets. We want to talk to you.
64.    We want access to your corporate information, to your plans and strategies, your best thinking, your genuine knowledge. We will not settle for the 4-color brochure, for web sites chock-a-block with eye candy but lacking any substance.
65.    We're also the workers who make your companies go. We want to talk to customers directly in our own voices, not in platitudes written into a script.
66.    As markets, as workers, both of us are sick to death of getting our information by remote control. Why do we need faceless annual reports and third-hand market research studies to introduce us to each other?
67.    As markets, as workers, we wonder why you're not listening. You seem to be speaking a different language.
68.    The inflated self-important jargon you sling around - in the press, at your conferences - what's that got to do with us?
69.    Maybe you're impressing your investors. Maybe you're impressing Wall Street. You're not impressing us.
70.    If you don't impress us, your investors are going to take a bath. Don't they understand this? If they did, they wouldn't let you talk that way.
71.    Your tired notions of "the market" make our eyes glaze over. We don't recognize ourselves in your projections - perhaps because we know we're already elsewhere.
72.    We like this new marketplace much better. In fact, we are creating it.
73.    You're invited, but it's our world. Take your shoes off at the door. If you want to barter with us, get down off that camel!

74.    We are immune to advertising. Just forget it.

75.    If you want us to talk to you, tell us something. Make it something interesting for a change.

76.    We've got some ideas for you too: some new tools we need, some better service. Stuff we'd be willing to pay for. Got a minute?
77.    You're too busy "doing business" to answer our email? Oh gosh, sorry, gee, we'll come back later. Maybe.
78.    You want us to pay? We want you to pay attention.
79.    We want you to drop your trip, come out of your neurotic self-involvement, join the party.
80.    Don't worry, you can still make money. That is, as long as it's not the only thing on your mind.
81.    Have you noticed that, in itself, money is kind of one-dimensional and boring? What else can we talk about?
82.    Your product broke. Why? We'd like to ask the guy who made it. Your corporate strategy makes no sense. We'd like to have a chat with your CEO. What do you mean she's not in?
83.    We want you to take 50 million of us as seriously as you take one reporter from The Wall Street Journal.
84.    We know some people from your company. They're pretty cool online. Do you have any more like that you're hiding? Can they come out and play?
85.    When we have questions we turn to each other for answers. If you didn't have such a tight rein on "your people" maybe they'd be among the people we'd turn to.
86.    When we're not busy being your "target market," many of us are your people. We'd rather be talking to friends online than watching the clock. That would get your name around better than your entire million dollar web site. But you tell us speaking to the market is Marketing's job.
87.    We'd like it if you got what's going on here. That'd be real nice. But it would be a big mistake to think we're holding our breath.
88.    We have better things to do than worry about whether you'll change in time to get our business. Business is only a part of our lives. It seems to be all of yours. Think about it: who needs whom?
89.    We have real power and we know it. If you don't quite see the light, some other outfit will come along that's more attentive, more interesting, more fun to play with.
90.    Even at its worst, our newfound conversation is more interesting than most trade shows, more entertaining than any TV sitcom, and certainly more true-to-life than the corporate web sites we've been seeing.
91.    Our allegiance is to ourselves—our friends, our new allies and acquaintances, even our sparring partners. Companies that have no part in this world, also have no future.
92.    Companies are spending billions of dollars on Y2K. Why can't they hear this market timebomb ticking? The stakes are even higher.
93.    We're both inside companies and outside them. The boundaries that separate our conversations look like the Berlin Wall today, but they're really just an annoyance. We know they're coming down. We're going to work from both sides to take them down.
94.    To traditional corporations, networked conversations may appear confused, may sound confusing. But we are organizing faster than they are. We have better tools, more new ideas, no rules to slow us down.
95.    We are waking up and linking to each other. We are watching. But we are not waiting.


Font of the week: Tundra

What will your digital legacy be?

Recently, a business acquaintance sadly passed away. He was as fit as a fiddle and, at 46, was a regular footballer and cyclist. A no-nonsense northerner - he will be sadly missed.
Meanwhile, a couple of years ago a friend of my son died in tragic circumstances in the River Wharf, just 19 years old. While this saddens me what also intrigues me is that they have both left a poignant legacy of their life on line. Indeed, the young man’s Facebook page became a touching tribute to his life as people left posts remembering him at his best and mourning his loss.
My business contact too, remains online through his Linkedin and Facebook profile - he even dabbled in Twitter. We all know that we will leave the world one day - it is inevitable. But do we know what will happen to our online lives when we spiral off this mortal coil? We will continue to exists somewhere in the digital work on Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, Flickr, Hotmail, Gmail and Yahoo.
So what happens then? Will we leave a digital inheritance to our children - asking them to curate our former online existence? Or will be consigned to some digital limbo or Valhalla? It’s the same for companies - when a company dies (goes into receivership or is taken over) what happens to its digital legacy. Will it just sit a server somewhere until it finally goes for recycling?
However, some platforms are now offering to memorialise profiles. Facebook gives an option to memorialise a dead person’s profile, removing certain sensitive information and with privacy firewalls that only confirmed friends can see the profile.
A family member or friend has to fill out a brief form and provide proof of death of the user like an obituary. On Twitter, they close the account and help family members recover public Tweets from the account after they provide them with the following with key details such an email address and username.
However, you can plan for a digital afterlife through a number of websites such as World Without Me, which lets you create assets of all your digital information like login credentials and other sensitive documents in one safe and secure place. Another site is 1,000Memories, a web service that helps digitally honor the memory of a loved one, which recently announced that it had closed a $2.5m of funding. In the absence of meaningful state or federal regulation regarding post-mortem rights in cyberspace, a so-called digital death industry is booming. Sites like DataInherit, a "Swiss bank for data," have tens of thousands of users in 100-plus countries. MemoryOf, which allows survivors to build tribute pages, is approaching the 100,000-memorial mark. What do you think? Are you planning for your digital death?


Font of the Week: Vanilla Shake


Font of the Week: Ardoise


Lost dog on Facebook

As a communications tool social networks never cease to surprise me. With Facebook recently announcing its major game change, which is covered in much better detail here by Neville Hobson, the possibilities for connecting are growing significantly.
Meanwhile, it’s the little things that inspire me and the ingenious ways people are now using it… like looking for a lost dog.
Poor Mr Wilson, a Jack Russell terrier, went missing on September 15, when his owner took him out for a walk. Like any worried dog owner she printed out posters and pinned them up around her village in Lincolnshire.
She also had the inspired idea of setting up a Facebook page for the errant Mr Wilson. The page has already generated many followers and was novel enough to grab the attention of local radio and media generating further coverage of the dog’s plight.
Sadly Mr Wilson has not been found BUT at least people are still talking about him and, as a result, still looking for him.


Font of the Week: Phaeton

Google+ moves in on Facebook. Discuss

Google and Facebook trotted out a variety of new social networking features in back-to-back announcements yesterday, underscoring their intensifying competition between the two.
Google integrated its flagship search engine into Google+ social network and expanded its "Hangouts" video-chat feature to allow mobile use and broadcasting.
The company said on its official blog its Hangouts feature - where up to nine people can link up and chat with a user on video - will be available on camera equipped smartphones powered by its own Android software.
And a user can now host an online broadcast with this feature -- recording a session and broadcasting it live for public access online. Black Eyed Peas front man will host the first Hangout on Air on today.
Meanwhile, Facebook is introducing a new "ticker" on its users' home pages, providing real-time notifications of what friends are doing on the service. Facebook also revamped the service's main news feed to flag important items for Facebook users who have not logged on for a few days. It also changed the way photos are displayed on the site, increasing the size of pictures that appear in a users' news feed.
Google did not say how many people had signed up for Google+ so far, but confirmed the social network was now open to all, whereas previously it had been invitation-only. Analysts estimate upward of 25 million users have joined Google+ since its inception.
We’ve been playing with Google+ for a while but have struggled to see the benefits so far, largely because there are so few people playing around in it.
The jury’s still out on whether Google+ can seriously challenge Facebook but that could all change with extra Google juice.
Check out the video from LifeHacker.


Friday fun from Letterheady

All courtesy of Letterheady


Great gigs you should have attended in Liverpool

You forget what a great asset Eric's was to the Liverpool music scene....


Baskerville: Font of the week

Baskerville, designed in 1754, is most known for its crisp edges, high contrast and generous proportions. The typeface was heavily influenced by the processes of the Birmingham-bred John Baskerville, a master type-founder and printer, who owed much of his career to his beginnings. As a servant in a clergyman’s house, it was his employer that discovered his penmanship talents and sent him to learn writing. Baskerville was illiterate but became very interested in calligraphy, and practised handwriting and inscription that was later echoed in strokes and embellishments in his printed typeface.


Know your coffee


I love infographics and typefaces

Given that this is the case I am going to do a regular review of the best typefaces and infographics on the web - so we start with just a brief periodic table of typefaces in... er... an info graphic. Enjoy! For the record my favourite typeface at the moment is Rockwell.


Twitter - the new graffiti

From my mate Andy: With the ability to freely express ourselves, almost instantaneously, through social media, does this new facility undermine one of the oldest forms of offline social media – graffiti?
Also, is social media the ultimate form of defining your urbanity – in all senses of the word? Can we measure this repercussion of the impact of social media – is there less graffiti around?
In my creativity and innovation teachings I do see graffiti and Twitter as both forms of creative expression. If you think about why do people write graffiti? I suspect it is motivated by:A need to express a response, an idea to a situation

  • An outlet for rage, boredom or despondency
  • Adding to or responding to other graffiti
  • Marking out some territorial space for you or your allegiance
  • Demonstrating your allegiance as well as your wit, humour or insight – your urbanity
  • An expression, for some, of their artistic ability
I was inspired by the topic after coming across a piece of graffiti from ancient Pompeii, which read: Wall! I wonder that you haven’t fallen down in ruin, when you have to support all the boredom of your inscribers.
My experience of graffiti falls far short of the elegance, the urbanity, of the Pompeii piece. Perhaps, it was in higher education, the loos at the library in Swansea University – I had to make some use of the building’s facilities! – whose graffiti I most recall.
A Welsh nationalists call to hit the English with: Don’t flush the toilet -  England needs the water and an answer from someone presumably from Albion with the rejoinder: Don’t flush the toilet – Wales needs the sh*t raised a smile. (In hindsight it is not particularly funny, but demonstrates the power of context and immediacy in giving cultural value to something – which doesn’t bode well for the longetivity of much social media content.)
And perhaps my all-time favourite of a plea from another student in 1980 facing the prospect of leaving the safe world of university life: But I don’t want to be an Asst. Area manager for Sainsbury’s to which another wag added: But what else is a BscEcon good for! - which you need to have been at Swansea for, to appreciate the significance.
Of course, no review of my life – and the graffiti it has witnessed – would not be complete without acknowledging the universal words scratched on the metal casing of all Durex machines in men’s bogs across the land: This chewing gum tastes awful. And next to the kite mark with its guarantee of quality, the words: So, was the Titanic!
The question remains, is there less graffiti about – whether it is the toilet cubicles of university libraries, or in everyday life?
My anecdotal evidence is yes. And we have not just witnessed a decline in volume but also, graffiti is reflecting underlying dynamics in changing trends.
It is now in two camps: premium, whether in its ultimate form is a work of art by Banksy or your neighbourhood street artist, or has become more basic and commoditised, with either just cheap or common statements of just a football team name.
The word ‘urbanity’ does not just mean being charming or considerate, but also of being of an urban area. Is graffiti and now social media an ultimate expression of ‘urbanity’- of living a life in an urban context?
What’s your view? Is there less graffiti about? And what has been the impact of social media?


Blogging for Business: Top Ten Tips

We manage a number of blogs on behalf of many clients. Indeed, for some clients we manage all their social media communications from micro-sites, to blogs, to Twitter, Facebook and Linkedin.
Too often though many companies fail to understand the purpose of a blog and how it is different from their corporate website. Many company blogs are just bland reproductions of the existing website. There is often no personality on display just a grey suit which uses and officious tone announcing the play-by-play updates of company news that invites no interaction with the reader, which is probably the customer or supplier.
With this in mind we’ve been thinking about what makes a good corporate blog. So, inevitably, here are our top ten tips for successful corporate blogs.

Set Your Guidelines
When creating a blog you must be able to define the value that it’s bringing to the reader. Your need to clearly define the focused theme that your team will follow. Choose a blog name and theme that fits well with your company’s expertise, but don’t be afraid to branch out into a larger space. Your blog should provide pertinent information for consumers interested in your area of business.
Once you’ve chosen an area to cover, create a set of editorial guidelines that your bloggers can follow. At GREEN we produce a number of guidelines on social media for a wide range of clients which clearly states the objectives of the blogs and the do’s and don’ts. This stops any abuse and helps the company avoid any potential controversy.
For instance at LINPAC Packaging they blog about, well, packaging and plastics. And not just about what they are doing internally on a new product release but offering some though leadership on the debate raging around packaging. The theme is specific enough for readers to understand what they may find, but it is such a broad topic, that almost limitless posts are possible.

Choose a Blogging Team
Not everyone can write - at least not in a manner that draws in the reader. More crucially, not everyone wants to write and many positively avoid it. So choose individuals that are knowledgeable and comfortable writing about the areas you would like to cover. Some companies prefer to elect an editor or group of editors to have a final look at all blog posts, while other companies allow their bloggers to publish directly. We prefer the later - if the guidelines are clear you should trust the people your working with.

Dress Down
If your website is the suited and booted face of your company, then your blog is your Dress Down Friday look. A blog is a place to let down your corporate hair and get to know your customers. Think of it as a conversation between people, not between a brand and one person. In order to have a conversation, you need two people - a blogger and a reader.
Give your corporate bloggers the freedom to be themselves. Encourage them to have their own personalities and writing styles. This type of diversity is more representative of your company than any monotonous tone that you could manufacture on your own.

Avoid PR and Marketing
Might seem like strange advice coming from a company that specialises in public relations and marketing but the insight, knowledge and expertise that a blog can impart is far more useful than any PR pitch that you could post. Stay away from trying to selling and marketing - you can do that on your website or in deadwood media publications.

Take it on the chin
Many organizations run scared off social media in the belief that some people (and their will be some people) will just use it as an opportunity to say bad things about you. But they would probably be mean about your anyway with its through social media or in a pub conversation.
Accept that you will have detractors but make a point of welcoming criticism and using it as an opportunity for providing feedback and improvement.

Outline Your Comment Policy
Open up your blog for full feedback, you will get a variety of comments - postivie, complimentary, hateful, and spam. Be prepared for everything and create a comment policy that your team can follow. GREEN’s comment policy is set out below:
Commenting on Greenblog
It is our policy to review all comments before publishing them, partly to reduce the possibility of spam comments and partly to ensure comments are in line with our list of blogger ethics below:

  • We will tell the truth. We will acknowledge and correct any mistakes promptly.
  • We will not delete comments unless they are spam, off-topic, or defamatory.
  • We will reply to comments when appropriate as promptly as possible.
  • We will link to online references and original source materials directly.
  • We will disagree with other opinions respectfully.

Get Social
Use share tools, such as Facebook, Twitter and Digg.  Share tools allow your users to pass along your content and that’s a great way of creating brand ambassadors. We use a simple addthis button to make sharing easier.
Also, integrate you blog into other social media platroms by creating profiles across social networks that your readers and customers are active on. Facebook and Twitter are a good start, and YouTube is a must for video-sharing. When you post on your blog, announce the new post on your social networks and ask for your readers’ opinions on the subject.

Promote Your Blog
Just as you would promote any other company initiative, get the word out about your blog.  Share the URL on your website, social networks, business cards, e-mails, and advertisements.
Without promotion, building an audience can be difficult. Get behind the quality work that your team is putting into the blog and promote away.

Monitor and Feedback
One way to get a pulse on your blog and its effects on the community is to monitor mentions and feedback. Set up Google Alerts for your brand, blog name and any keywords that might be relevant.
At GREEN we use a number of programmes to monitor what our clients are saying online and what is being said about them.

Track Everything
Make sure your web analytics tools are switched on. We generally integrate Google Analytics into any blog we are managing. This tells us how much traffic the blog is receiving, where it’s coming from, where the referral websites are and which posts are being read the most.
Armed with this data we can then tweak future posts to ensure that we are getting the tone and content right.
Are missing anything? Leave a comment and let us know...


Eddie Stobart and stealth branding

Eddie Stobart
The death of Eddie Stobart highlighted one of the UK’s most idiosyncratic brands. A medium-sized haulage company essentially offering the same product as its competitors became a much-revered British institution. But how? And why?
So, why does its name and reputation shine brighter?
What lessons are there for your word of mouth, PR, marketing and brand communications from the story of Eddie Stobart?
1. Distinctive visibility. In an age of limited budgets the need for what I call ‘Self-vertising’ is paramount. What ways can you use your own channels, your own imprint on how you connect with the outside world?
Eddie Stobart ensured there was a consistent brand image for his vehicles. Yet, lots of other haulage companies have consistent brand livery.
Eddie however, was blessed with innate great branding. The very name Eddie Stobart is distinct, memorable, unusual, without being too far difficult to comprehend or label, or be categorized and discarded as ‘foreign’
It is not that people are xenophobic, but memorable names have to be instantly filed away in our minds. The ‘Eddie Stobart’ name had the right balance to ensure it would stick out, create what we call ‘dissonance’, without being too outlandish.
This quality is what I call ‘Distinctive Visibility’. I came across a psychological test where you were asked to count the number of people in a street scene. Curiously, your brain paradoxically does not count those workmen wearing high visibility clothing. In spite of their ‘visibility’ they failed to make a distinctive impression.
What ways can your brand be both visible and distinctive?

2. Likeability - one of the most potent factors in branding success and indeed, life itself is what I call the ‘Likeability Factor’; do people like you, particularly on first impression. What if Mr Stobart had called his firm ‘Edward Stobart’ would it have been so effective.
The inherent informality of ‘Eddie’ was reinforced by giving his trucks girls’ names, a variation on the tradition of naming steam engines. By naming them, it humanised the trucks. People saw them not as ugly vehicles but more like a character in a children’s story, a toy, a bit of fun.
While you cannot fake, long-term likeability, it is possible to cultivate and nurture likeable features and characteristics for your brand.

3. Connectivity - the root core of any successful communication is creating a bridge between you and your target audience. Everyone, especially small children, can relate to a truck with a girl’s name. You can then relate back from that shared experience to how you feel about the brand as a whole.
Connectivity was extended with developments such as the Eddie Spotters Club (with its 25,000 members). The club was created in response to consumer demand rather than as a result of a marketing master plan. Initial enquiries from would-be fans were initially just sent a duplicated list of names. Again, this offers compelling evidence of the sheer innate brand quality of the ‘Eddie Stobart’ name.

4. Vibrancy - it seems there are sufficient Eddie Stobart trucks to be seen on a regular basis, but not enough to make them a boring, ubiquitous sight. A healthy brand relationship needs to have a good level of inter-action: not too much, nor too little.

5. Short Step engagement - to be an Eddie Spotter all you had to do was see a truck on the road. It did not require elaborate procedures; it was an easy-to-do. A web site with a range of merchandise catered for the more dedicated aficionados.
Eddie Spotting became a way of enlivening an otherwise dull motorway journey. Te distraction is welcomed, you are not having to distract from a rival, competing interest. What quiet or dull moments could provide opportunities for your brand to engage with your fans?

6. Conversation value - spotting an Eddie Stobart truck gives you an opportunity to impress your fellow traveller by being the first to spot as well as the cue for a conversation about your shared ‘Eddie experiences’. What talking points do you offer your fans?

7. Brand mystery. Curiously, despite being one of the best known names in the country Eddie Stobart himself was uncharismatic, shy, and kept himself out of the public spotlight.

This ‘invisibility’ actually enhanced the ‘Eddie Stobart’ brand; if you knew more about him as a person there is the danger of then being able to pigeon-hole, categorize him, his class, regional accent – and, if you liked him or not.
Keeping Mr Stobart out of the equation let people create their own sum, their image of the persona they would like ‘Eddie Stobart’ to be; invariably, this will be a positive, likeable image.
In the same way that the formula for Coca Cola is allegedly a secret, what Brand Mystery do you tantalise your world with?
GREEN Communications can you help you maximise the impact of your brand. We can provide your business with the best brand story to support its success. Get in touch now for a free informal Brand audit.


Wakefield's first PechaKucha Night

We had a fantastic evening at the first ever PechaKucha Night in Wakefield on Thursday.
For those who have not experienced a PechaKucha - it is a simple presentation format where you show 20 images, each for 20 seconds. The images forward automatically and you talk along to the images.
The presentation format was devised by Astrid Klein and Mark Dytham of Klein Dytham architecture. So, why this format ? Because architects talk too much! Give a microphone and some images to an architect - or most creative people for that matter - and they'll go on forever! Give powerpoint to anyone else and they have the same problem.
PechaKucha Nights are informal and fun gatherings where creative people get together and share their ideas, works, thoughts, holiday snaps - just about anything really, in the PechaKucha 20x20 format.
Most cities - not just Tokyo - have virtually no public spaces where people can show and share their work in relaxed way. If you have just graduated from college and finished your first project in the real world - where can you show it? It probably won't get into a magazine, you don't have enough photos for a gallery show or a lecture - but PechaKucha 20x20 is the perfect platform to show and share your work.
Wakefield’s first PechaKucha was held and hosted at The Art House and supported by GREEN Communications and The Hepworth Wakefield.
We had several great presentations from:
Jane Walton - on the definition of entrepreneurialism and social enterprise.
Brian Lewis - on creating a conversation through art. I spent a happy five minutes sat on the floor with Brian looking at his 'tarot cards' and creating a narrative on what I saw. Both Brian and I were a bit perplexed that a in a room full of creatives no one came over to find our what two middle aged men where doing sitting on the floor and talking about pictures!
Bob Clayden - great presentation on pin-hole cameras and a planned event next month on building your own pin-hole camera and creating works of art.
Paul Airy - this local artist did an excellent and thoughtful presentation on his forthcoming exhibition: One Word At A Time.
Victoria Lucas and Richard Wheater - two other Wakefield artists who work in light and glass did a great presentation on their latest project - Twelve Months of Neon Love which can be seen from the East Coast Mainline as you arrive at Wakefield Westgate station.
PechaKucha Night Wakefield was a great event - more updates later but be sure to attend as a presenter or as a member of the audience.


Journalism vs Churnalism

A new website launched today which seeks to name and shame journalists and publications caught recycling press releases.
Now we are no strangers to cut and paste journalism and I was probably guilty of in the past if I am honest when, as a journalist, I came a worthy piece of news wrapped up in an elegantly written press release.
In truth, at GREEN we are manned by many former journalists so most of our press releases are written in the manner would expect the journalist to write them for their particular publication. has been launched by the Media Standards Trust and takes up the baton from Guardian journalist Nick Davies - who popularised the term Churnalism, for journalism which is little more than re-writing press releases, in his 2008 book Flat Earth News.
The site invites people to paste press releases into it, then compares the press release with news stories published online to reveal how much is apparently cut and pasted by the journalist.
Examples this morning include a press release from Asda stating that families are now £8 a week better off than a year ago, which was apparently 89 per cent cut and pasted into a story appearing on Mail Online.
Media Standards Trust Director Martin Moore said: "News organisations can now be much more transparent about the sources of their articles, but most of them still aren’t. Hiding the connection between PR and news is not in the interests of the public. Hopefully will nudge them to be more open about their use of PR material.
"Even with press releases that are clearly in the public interest - medical breakthroughs, government announcements, school closures, and perhaps even this website launch - it is still better that articles are transparent about their sources.
"Maybe will also encourage more original journalism. Exposing unoriginal churn may help slow the steep decline in the amount of original reporting that we’ve seen in the last few years."
That’s all very good but I suppose you have to pose the question if the story is good enough in a press release then right-minded journalists will use. If they have any doubts the first rule is always go back to the source and challenge the content
Full disclosure: This story was based on a press release from the Media Standards Trust and other coverage on various websites.


Howard Carter on DEET

Our friend Howard Carter at incognito offers some insight into the issues surrounding DEET insect repellent and how mosquitoes are becoming increasingly resistant to this toxin.

How social are you? Fancy a pint?

Social media has transformed the internet in the past five years but many companies still struggle to embrace it. I was recently invited by iGaming Business Magazine to write an article offering a simple strategy for managing your digital profile. Here it is:

Let’s imagine you’re in the pub having a conversation with your best mate about your local football team’s dismal standing in the league table.
Someone else in the bar, a stranger, is eavesdropping. He is a fellow fan and commiserates with you about the teams failings - so he joins in your conversation about the team’s bad management. The landlady behind the bar chips in her views. And the old bloke sat at his usual table holds forth about the team’s poor defence. Everyone enjoys a conversation.
Now let’s imagine you’re online on your Facebook account having the same conversation with a bunch of people who have become friends with you because you’re all interested in the same football team. You’ve never met them in real life but you have a shared interest that you wish to talk about - and there are thousands of you.
As a definition of social media - such as websites like Facebook, Linkedin, blogs, Twitter, YouTube, Flickr, Plaxo, FourSquare and the emerging mobile applications - the term ‘conversation’ neatly sums up what social media is. It is an ongoing digital dialogue which is having a huge impact on people’s personal lives but also on businesses too.
Now imagine the conversation around your brand - whether you are a game developer, operator, distributor or manufacturer - and consider what people are saying about your company. Are you listening? Are you engaged? Are you adding to the conversation? No? I thought not. Most businesses don’t bother and they are missing a huge marketing opportunity.
Some people love your company and brand and are talking about it in glowing terms but you are not talking to them. Others really don’t like you and are telling others why they hate you but you are not talking to them. Are you?
If you’re not in the conversation, you’re not engaged. If you’re not engaged you’re not in game and your brand can be trashed. Meanwhile, in failing to engage with social media your company’s ranking on the search engines will be significantly curtailed as social media is now one of the main influencers in search engine optimisation.
Let’s look at the statistics. If Facebook was a country it would be the third most populated ahead of the United States - only China and India are bigger.  More than 500 billion minutes are spent on Facebook every month and 25 million items of content - links, blogs, photos, videos, news - are posted there every month. One third of 18 to 34 years check their Facebook account after they wake up.
Twenty four hours of video content is uploaded on to YouTube every minute and two billion YouTube videos viewed every day - this is rising sequentially. Meanwhile, more than four billion images are hosted on Flickr. Elsewhere, 95 per cent of companies use Linkedin to identify and attract new staff and there are more than 27 million tweets per day on Twitter.
Are they talking about you? Possibly. Are your talking to them? Probably not.
Social media is not a revolution. It has evolved as people have adapted to the internet and moulded it into a media which suits their needs and desires but business has been slow to embrace the opportunities of social media. And curiously, the gaming sector - which should be the most digitally enabled - is failing miserably.
Major companies now recognise the importance of social media as a communications and marketing medium. Scores of business-to-consumer brands now how thousands and in some cases, millions of followers on their Facebook and Twitter sites and are happily talking with their customers, addressing criticism and accepting praise.
Any company considering this powerful new marketing tool must use it as part of the overall marketing strategy of the business. For instance, why bother with a blog or Twitter account if you do not have a link to them on your corporate website?
For any marketing manager in the games sector considering a social media footprint the most simple strategy is: Follow, Create and then Engage.
Follow: seek the online community which is talking about your company online. They might be customers, employees, suppliers and competitors. Understand what they are saying about your company - their likes and dislikes. There are simple  tools on the web to seek out your community - either using Google or more specialist social media search sites like
Create: Establish a personality and tone of voice for your brand and create an social media profile which might include a blog, Twitter, Linkedin and Facebook page.
Engage: Join in the conversation through your blog and other social media websites. Follow people in your field, those who are talking about you and engage with them. You will quickly begin to establish a community who you will engage with.
Not everyone will be a fan. There will always be detractors but at least you are now part of the conversation and can address any issues as and when they arise.
As a marketing tool social media is the most potent tool in your possession and can significantly improve how you communicate with your customers - covering all areas from sales promotion to crisis management. Meanwhile, it will do wonders for your search engine optimisation significantly improving your company’s digital footprint.


It's Burn's Night Tonight!

Ian, left, with best mate Andy Grant

Six lessons from The King's Speech

The Oscar-tipped The King’s Speech is a great film but also highlights valuable lessons for communicators - with its story centred on the relationship between King George VI and his unorthodox speech therapist Lionel Logue and how together, they achieve extraordinary results.
Here are six lessons for communications consultants from The King’s Speech:
1 Work as a partnership of equals. The best results come from two sides, aligning themselves to their common interests to achieve their goal. At the very beginning of their relationship the consultant recognised that deference should not get in the way of addressing their common task, and insisted he should be called ‘Lionel’ rather than Mr Logue, and in turn, he should call the King by his affectionate pet name of ‘Bertie’. By working as equal partners it helps to create optimum synergies. If it were an equation it would read: 1+1= 3.
2 The consultant needs to insist the working relationship is on their professional terms. In addition to getting his client to use Christian names, the consultant was equally insistent that the training had to be done at his premises and on a daily, not weekly basis.
3 Be brave and be prepared to walk away. At the outset Logue took a high risk strategy of ‘take it or leave it’ in offering his services to the future King. He stood to lose this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. Yet, he recognised how he might get over the first hurdle but ultimately would fail if he did not stand by his professional principles. How often do consultants fail to heed the early warning signs of potential problems with their clients and remain afraid to take the tough decision if necessary?
4 Look for causes rather than addressing the symptoms. Rather than address the evident manifestations of the King’s speech impediment Logue examined for deeper root causes to the King’s ailment. By doing this, in spite of initial client opposition, he could make a real difference. The client is not always right. Sometimes they may shy away from real causes of a problem.
5 Accept sometimes you have to say ‘sorry’ and on occasions you may need to make up. The film portrays the disagreements between the client and consultant and how they row and fall out. They could have easily stubbornly gone their separate ways. The recognition of the value each brought to the other overcome personal pride. Inevitably, in any dynamic client/consultant relationship there will be up’s and down’s. The best relationships are bigger than the disagreements which may sometimes upset them.
6 Be there for the critical times. When King George had to make his epic war-time speeches rallying the nation in its darkest hour, Logue was there at his side, ensuring in the most important times for his client he was at hand.
You too can enjoy the success of Lionel Logue. You may not have a King as a client, but they will hopefully respect you royally.


What really motivates us...

The Power of Time

Really good appraisal of where we are now with how we order our lives...


Ross is using his skills to find a job

s it’s often said that if you can sell yourself you can sell anything, so we were delighted to see our chum Ross Brown taking up the challenge by - using the tools of his trade to find a new job.
For 10 years, Ross has been self-employed, working with clients and agencies to provide them both with expertise in digital marketing. From initial strategy and planning through to production and delivery, Ross’s work encompasses all aspects of digital marketing - from web sites to email campaigns, search engine optimisation to audio & video production.
Now he’s utilising this expertise to promote himself, using both traditional and digital marketing techniques, to find a new job.
And he’s offering a reward of £250 to whoever can help him find his dream role.
"I’m missing working with a team on a regular basis and the buzz you get in an office environment, he says. "For me, it’s the role that’s important, not the title on the business card. I want a job where I can make a real impression, perhaps helping a business to grow whilst delivering high-quality work."
As a former journalist and PR manager, Ross is well-placed to take advantage of the boom in social media, planning and delivering campaigns using marketing channels such as Twitter, Facebook and blogs to allow a company to communicate directly with its customers.
But he’s using this expertise to his own advantage for the first time.
Commenting on his campaign, Ross says: "Since the millennium, I’ve worked with clients and agencies large & small, combining my expertise in marketing, technology and business to deliver cost-effective and high-quality digital solutions.
I’ve enjoyed the time I’ve spent in self-employment but the time is right for me both professionally and personally to return to full-time employment - and using the marketing tools I specialise in seems like the best way to find the perfect job."
He adds: "Most people in my line of work either deal with clients, or deal with programming and development. Because of my experience in self-employment, not only can I speak to clients in a language they understand - explaining the business benefits of a digital strategy - but I can also speak to the development team and ensure that the finished product is both technically-proficient and meets the client’s requirements.”
Ross is using his blog at to record the progress of what he’s calling "Operation Job", using his social media marketing skills to promote himself through his business and personal networks.