At Rise we are truly lucky to be immersed within a community of experts. Each individual has their own talent, opinion and knowledge. We decided that instead of writing what we thought of the world and the industries we all work in, why don’t we ask them?

 

This has part of our series of Q&A style articles that we hope will inspire you, educate you, and or empower you.

 

We had a chat with the lovely Cara Ashford, Business Development Manager for Rolling Rogues about her new position, what a good team looks like and how to take that leap and go for that new career.

 

RISE:  What is your title and what is your role there at Rolling Rogues?

Cara:  My title at the Rolling Rogues is Business Development Manager but as with any small team you rarely just do what is outlined in your title. This week I have been directing some training videos and next week I will probably be making the tea’s! I was bought into the team to drive The Rolling Rogues business forward, searching out opportunities with brands and companies we feel are best aligned with our style of delivery but I will also pull on my marketing and film experience when needed.

 

RISE Do you think the way in which you and others ‘business develop’ has changed dramatically?

Cara:  I hope not, I still believe the best way to business develop is to get in front of people and have a good old conversation face to face. Obviously the technology to do this has changed and made working across distance easier. It now means that we can sit down with companies abroad and not have to jump on a plane but I think ultimately it’s still about the conversation and connection with the client.

 

RISE: When you’ve ever moved jobs, what’s been the big draw for you?

Cara:  When I was younger it used to be the money. If that was the case now then I would be heading straight back to one of my previous sales jobs. I did read somewhere that the hours spent at work in an average lifetime is 90,000 so its no wonder that I have now realised its about the team and also the passion you have for the job you are doing. For me it’s about how that job and environment make me feel. I want to get up every morning and want to go to work, the second that stops happening on a regular basis I will look to move.

 

RISE: You’ve had a hugely successful career with some really interesting roles. Asides from working blinkin’ hard and of course your transferable skills, what other factors have been important in you successfully getting new roles throughout your career?

Cara:  One of the big reasons is I like interviews, I relish the opportunity to speak with someone who works for the company about the role and to get inside the building. You can get a real feel for a company even by sitting in their reception or walking through the office. I also don’t see not getting past the interview stage as a failure. I see them more as a practice for my next one.

I have also had some genuinely great bosses and equally good friends that have let me know about opportunities coming up and there is definitely a ‘right place, right time’ aspect to the roles.

 

RISE:  What makes a team successful in your eyes? I know, this is a biggy…

Cara:  A team is meant to be a set of individuals working together to achieve the same goal. The great teams I have worked in have grown to be really good friends and have supported each other in and out of work. Many of them I am still in contact with. I think a great team is a set of people who are honest with each other, let others share their opinions, champion the growth of each member of the team and also one where every member is happy to pick up the bin and empty it!

 

RISE: What would you look for in a new member of staff or team member?

Cara:  In the Rogues this isn’t my decision to make but I would definitely get the wider team involved, just because I think someone is right doesn’t mean they are a right fit for the team. I would look for someone who looks you in the eye when they speak. Someone who is interested in their health, mentally and physically. A person that has positive energy, honest and has an opinion.

 

RISE:  What advice would you give to someone who is moving career, or fresh out of university that is searching for the perfect opportunity?

Cara:  Do not be afraid to offer to work for a company for a day for free so they can see what you are like and how you fit into the team. At the start of my filming career I walked into a production company and offered to work a day for free, whilst I was there a job came in and they asked me to stay for a further 6 weeks, from then I worked freelance for a number of production companies in London and for the next 2 years I had work – all from a free day.

Pick the top ten companies you want to work for, those you are passionate about, those you can see yourself being a part of. . Tell them you want to work for them and why. Get yourself 10 minutes of their time and put yourself on their radar. There may not be a job for you now but there could be one for you in the future. I think too many people sit and wait for jobs to appear and then apply with a stack of other people. You need to be proactive and find ways to get yourself in front of them.

 

At Rise we are truly lucky to be immersed within a community of experts. Each individual has their own talent, opinion and knowledge. We decided that instead of writing what we thought of the world and the industries we all work in, why don’t we ask them?

This has part of our series of Q&A style articles that we hope will inspire you, educate you, and or empower you. 

In aid of World Youth Skills Day on July 15th we caught up with Mike Ness the owner of MBN Arts to talk about the importance of Creative Learning and what skills kids need to learn in today’s world in order to progress.

 

RISE:  Tell me a bit about yourself and what you do at MBN Arts?

Mike: My background’s in Graphic design, but I’ve always loved the expressive nature of spray painting, so in 2015 I started MBN ARTS. I’ve been blessed to be able to work on a variety of briefs for a diverse range of clients.  I get to provide opportunities to up and coming new local artists and use my passion to support the artistic and emotional development of young people through our workshops. As well as this we do also provide corporate team building which offers companies something a bit different in that aspect.

We try and work within the community as much as we can, and offer opportunities for all that wish to be involved.

 

RISE:  So what made you start the company and want to teach kids these kind of skills?

Mike: Originally, I wanted to start this company to help support and provide an outlet for young (teenage) vulnerable males as I saw how receptive people were to the Urban Arts and Culture, more so than mainstream education.

The only struggle I’ve had with this is money, the people who might benefit the most from these workshops don’t necessarily come from the most affluent background so it’s been great to get these workshops out into the community and schools, and youth organisations, so that everyone can benefit from them.

 

RISE:  What kind of skills do you think kids learn through your workshops & why do you think they are important for their development?

Mike: We don’t necessarily focus on their artistic ability, not saying we don’t want to give them the best opportunity to learn art & design, but we see it as secondary.

I feel nowadays organisations are wanting children to tick certain boxes or have them achieving certain things by a certain time or else they have seen to have failed. We want to support kids to progress in their own way.

The beauty of what we do, especially with the spray painting, is teach receptive transferable skills. They may sound cliché but they really do build confidence, learn social skills, how to work as a team together on projects and how to analyse and reflect on what they have done.

I think it’s important to look at your own work and take criticism or give your point across, so we try to weave those skills into our workshops as in this type of environment they are less likely to jump back or become insular about it. We want to help them build resilience.                                                                                 

RISE: What do you think are important skills for our next generation to learn now?

Mike: I think the soft skills like what I touched upon are necessary.

The UK is very much achievement and progression focused. Maybe learning to remove the external pressure within yourself.  You can see we are under a lot nowadays, especially with the rise in mental health issues. But achievement isn’t always a qualification, sometimes achievement is someone simply turning up.

Giving yourself time to grow, prevent Burnout and be more productive by learning the skill to take a step back, enjoy, experiment, take risks and develop.

 

RISE: What skills do you wish you had been taught when you were a child?

Mike: It is important for us to remember that every kid has a different journey, we all have our own engines, some people are Ferrari’s- they can go really fast and have the control and it works for them, but some people have to plod along and go at their own pace , which is perfect for them, and that’s right. So that’s why we have to tailor these things for people. I’m not sure mainstream education necessarily does this.

I would have liked to be taught that it’s Ok to make mistakes sometimes, I think I would have taken more risks with my artwork and maybe at University.  But I have learnt from that. I’m still learning today!

There are definitely some things that I have had to “unlearn” that don’t align with me. But I guess it is different for everyone.

 

 

RISE: You have a very exciting exhibition coming up “Crossing the Drawbridge” at Highcliffe Castle starting on the 18th July!

Mike: Yes, they hold galleries throughout the year but they wanted to do something a bit different this year and they had seen my work within the community and the workshops I provide and really liked it. They have been great to work in partnership with.

I created the concept of “Historical Heritage meets Current Creatives”. It will show a complete mixture of work from graffiti, sculptures, graphic design and more.  We didn’t necessarily want to just show the stereotypical graffiti or street art, we wanted to showcase our styles that have been influenced by them.

People coming along will definitely see art they won’t have expected to see!

 

RISE: Is there anything else on the horizon at the moment?

Mike: I have just become an accredited provider by the Council, so now I can support a higher number of referred vulnerable young people, from different background and diversities for creative opportunities.

Also soon, I’ll be joining with an organisation to create a mixed medium Art form to offer a space that provides graffiti workshops, break-dancing and music tech classes. It’s all very exciting!

 

 “Crossing the Drawbridge” at Highcliffe Castle will be running from 18th July until the 28th August, and visitors will have the chance to meet the artists throughout the summer who will be working on various projects there. 

All photo’s are courtesy of the MBN Arts Website – www.mbnarts.co.uk

At Rise we are truly lucky to be immersed within a community of experts. Each individual has their own talent, opinion and knowledge. We decided that instead of writing what we thought of the world and the industries we all work in, why don’t we ask them?

 

 

This has part of our series of Q&A style articles that we hope will inspire you, educate you, and or empower you. 

We had a chat with Rebecca Pearl a freelance copywriter. Here we pick up on a few things; messaging, re-branding and being consistent with your content.

 

 

 

RISE: What is your name and role?

Rebecca: Rebecca Perl, Director of Messagelab Communications Ltd.

 

RISE: How long have you been a copywriter for and how did you get into it?

Rebecca: I’ve been a professional writer for 16 years. I started my career as a journalist in Munich, then moved into university comms back in the UK. I started copy-writing seven years ago. It’s the perfect culmination of my previous writing experience and my creative writing degrees.

 

RISE: What kind of clients do you work with?

Rebecca: I choose not to be a specialist copywriter, because I love working with a broad array of clients. I’ve written for universities, global charities, tech start-ups, the automotive industry, financial companies and local businesses. I’ve written about dairy farms, cathedrals, mouth guards, scientific breakthroughs, yoga poses, lawns, divorce, mapping software, tea trays…it’s nothing if not varied! I have to become an expert in whatever I’m writing about at the time, and then it’s onto the next thing.

 

RISE: How did you find moving to Bournemouth and starting your business here? Did you find the community/networking groups helpful?

Rebecca: Bournemouth has been nothing but brilliant to me. I quickly built up a bank of local clients, first from a networking group I attended and then through recommendations. I’m still working with some of those clients now, seven years on.

 

RISE: How has the industry of copy-writing changed with the incredibly fast rise in digital? Have you had to adapt in style and format?

Rebecca: I am doing more and more digital copy-writing – websites, apps, email marketing, blogs, etc. I think that’s true of many copywriters as there is more emphasis on digital and less on print. I have to adapt my style for each job I take on whatever the format, so digital hasn’t really come as a big shock. I just have to make sure that I continue to learn and evolve and not get left behind. This isn’t too difficult; copywriters are naturally curious* people.  *nosey

 

RISE: If you were to give some advice to someone getting into journalism/copy-writing what would it be?

Rebecca: Work hard. Read, read and read some more. It’s the best way to learn and perfect your craft. Get out there and meet people and make your own opportunities.

 

Trying to be everything to everyone does not work anymore and sometimes the service and skill that we would normally deliver in our niche can be affected by the fact that we are trying to provide services that we do not have the expertise for.

 

Could having the right working culture influence the positive growth within businesses and encourage collaboration across the community? Surely that way everyone gets to play to their strengths, and everybody benefits? Most importantly the end users/customers/clients.

We had a chat with Marcus Wincott Marketing Manager at Media Lounge and Chapter Director of Startup Grind Bournemouth all about driving collaboration and where e-commerce fits into that concept.

We will delve into the ideas surrounding nurturing a company culture, owning your ‘own space’ in the market and how you then use the power of social media to back this all up.

The future is bright for collaboration and ecommerce, let’s delve into it with Marcus.

 

Culture – Let The Team Do The Talking

 

We see this word A LOT. As Marcus quite rightly says “I think some people think if you get a ping pong table and some funky wall graphics that’s all you need, that’s your culture nailed, you’ve smashed it.” Perceptions are short lived, your beer fridge isn’t going to help you when your staff are all overworked and unhappy and as a result, the work your agency does is suffering. Culture by definition means “a way of life” not a few fun gimmicks that you can throw in to appear to have an understanding of what people / employees nowadays are looking to get from the work they do.

Your Instagram stories may tell the world one thing, but the hours your staff work can paint an entirely different picture. This can be downfall a for your workforce, leaving them feeling exhausted. Marcus stresses that there can be a change, we just need to move away from rigidness and outdated ideals.  “There was this meritocracy [at a previous agency] applied to staying late, but at Media Lounge we actively encourage staff not to work late because ultimately you have to get the work life balance right and we’re probably not managing our workload properly if we feel we have to work late. Also, you just shouldn’t – it’s not healthy.”

This will look different in every company, but making a culture successful and a team work together is about playing to individual strengths  “When meeting with my team about direction and strategy, I’ll have my own ideas for content and advertising budget and stuff, but I won’t have it formulated because everything has to be discussed with my team because they have to deliver it. I don’t force ideas upon them, but instead let them steer the strategy, change the way they work and be flexible in order to achieve our goals.”

 

How Do We Want To Work, Really Though? 

 

More and more of us are now talking about a better work life balance and having a more Holistic approach to this. However is it really achievable to implement flexible working on a large scale and can every business achieve it?

Marcus sees some positives and negatives in this approach. “Some of the best work we do is when we are all in a room together talking about a project and chipping in which you can’t do if you’re all remote. But for some tech businesses, remote staff works better, some of which don’t even have a HQ.”

Or maybe it needs to be an overhaul about how we work and spend our hours working. “I get it, I think it could be more about bits of remote working, side hustles, and people generally working less hours in a normal job so they have time for all the rest.”

 

 

“I think people still want a baseline salary but increasingly, they also want the flexibility to run a side hustle or a meet up group or something else that they’re passionate about.”

 

 

If we’re going to take this collaborative approach to the next level, maybe this is where we turn to next, where our teams work less hours and pursue passions outside of their 9-5. Could this make for a happier more productive workforce despite less hours in the office? Marcus certainly feels the benefit of this mutual trust between him and his employer and is able to watch his side hustle grow. He is the Chapter Director of Startup Grind Bournemouth which is a series of events for local Entrepreneurs, “Our commitment to the global Startup Grind brand was that we would hold an event every month and since September 2018 we’ve done that. Our only goal is to educate inspire and connect entrepreneurs in our local area to make the startup journey, a less lonely and scary one.”

 

Collaboration In Our Communities 

 

As our community opens up more, and we nurture and support each other’s ideas and smaller business plans, our guards lower and ‘competition’ suddenly becomes less of a threat.

After a few years in London, Marcus reflected on his return to Bournemouth and his surprise at the change. “The extremely active and open meet up an event scene here, just would never have happened 10 years ago. I think the collaborative nature of the digital community here has grown, and it’s because everyone is less guarded now.”

“When I came back from London there was still some of those big names knocking about like BBD, Adido, RedWeb but they were very different, they looked different. They have got their niche and the thing they do and nobody these days claims to do everything.”

The term ‘jack of all trades’ comes to mind but people are not fooled by this anymore. There is a place for’ say yes and learn how to do it when you get there’ but as a strategy this has been proven to fail and these failures do not go unnoticed.

Marcus went on to say that often Media Lounge liaise with agencies that offer similar services, because they know what they’re good at and when a project comes up, if they know they can’t give their 100% they’ll pass it on to the right person or business that can.

“Now times gone on, there is somewhat of a karmic feel to things where kindness and support come back around.”

“The most important thing should be the outcome for the client. Holistically it creates a much better idea of trust.”

 

Online Community And Buying From Those You Trust

 

When we’re pitching to our clients, trust is a key factor in conversion. As we’ve seen the rise in Social Media, Instagram particularly, the term ‘influencers’ is now part of our everyday lingo.

A new feature is on the horizon which we believe could change the face of communities online, making them more authentic. It also opens up the spectrum for the side hustle that is micro influencing.

Individuals within these smaller online communities are now going to be able to purchase directly from their favoured micro influencers posts on Instagram “They are now taking it a step further, so you can now purchase in app. That’s powerful. I think it will make the whole influencer trend more accountable and so-called influencers will have the opportunity to prove the ‘influence’ they have over their communities. Or not.” It’s no surprise that one person having millions of followers and getting paid to post a picture of themselves with a dietary supplement milkshake was going to be short lived. Just like that of a business with a transparent culture, we can see straight through it.

We are hoping this will lead to the rise of powerful and influential micro influencers who are passionate about what they do and have niche, but loyal following. This in turn can be an individual’s side hustle and will help to grow collaboration within our online and offline communities.

At Rise we are truly lucky to be immersed within a community of experts. Each individual has their own talent, opinion and knowledge. We decided that instead of writing what we thought of the world and the industries we all work in, why don’t we ask them?

This has part of our series of Q&A style articles that we hope will inspire you, educate you, and or empower you. 

We spoke with Matt Desmier the Branding Chap who also speaks at conferences and events across the UK and beyond. Here we pick up on a few things; messaging, re-branding and being consistent with your content.

 

RISE: Branding is crucial to the success of a business, it changes the way that customers engage with the company and whether they want to stick around. With this of course comes the task of creating a loyal audience that want to be a part of your brand on an ongoing basis. What brands do you think have got this right and what is the pinching point that made them work so successfully?

 

Matt: The thing with brands — or branding — is that it is a constantly evolving thing. Brands that might be getting it right, right now, may soon get it wrong. Audiences have changed. We’re a fickle bunch. There was a time that once a brand earnt your loyalty, you hung on in there through thick and thin. The same can’t be said anymore. The ones that are getting it right have learnt that it’s a careful balancing act of people and product, promise and purpose, and process and principles.

Globally, right now Nike are leaps and bounds ahead of anyone else. Locally, Jimmy’s Iced Coffee are still killing it.

 

RISE: If a company is looking to ‘re-brand and reinvent itself’ is there any really handy tips or tricks you would suggest before they dive in head first (without giving too much away of course!)?

 

Matt: There’s a process. It’s not rocket science, or even a secret. And it’s not the logo. The logo is the final piece of the puzzle. It’s starts with the product – is it right, is it different, does it work, could it be better? Then look at the people, inside and out, who works there, who buys from you and why? Why do they work there and why do they buy from you? Then you need to think about the purpose, the promise, the processes and the principles…

Your company brand is the point at which the identity you portray, meets the image your audience receives and the reality their experience. You can’t reinvent it, you can only help steer the narrative and to do that you need to know who all the protagonists are.

 

RISE: Messaging is often the tricky bit that companies get really right or really wrong. When you are talking about your company or even you as an individual on your own CV or LinkedIn is there anything in particular that you should keep in mind? How important is consistency with this messaging and is that difficult to keep up?

 

Matt: When it comes to messaging, authenticity and integrity are way more important than consistency. Companies who understand their position, find it easy to be authentic with their messaging. And companies who operate with integrity don’t need to think about consistency because it’s imbued in everything they do.

 

RISE: Outwardly a brand might be bang on, but how do brands make their staff and internal operations live and breathe that brand?

 

Matt: The staff and internal operations ARE the brand. The outward expression of the company brand, the identity, is only half of the story. In fact it’s less than half. A logo is easy. A pithy, well-articulated purpose isn’t too hard to conjure up. But an authentic, well-articulated purpose, delivered with integrity and demonstrated across every experience an audience engages with, is much harder. But should always be the aim.

 

RISE: As an individual looking for a new job what are the tell-tale signs that you would/wouldn’t fit within that particular brand/company that you are going to interview for?

 

Matt: Do your research. We’ve all got a multitude of tools at our disposal, Google, LinkedIn, Glassdoor, friends, family and acquaintances… It’s not that hard to find out whether a businesses’ values meet yours.

 

RISE: Over time we have slowly become a society of wanting to be individual and unique rather than all wanting to buy, wear and show off the same things. Brands have had to adapt to this change in what an individual wants from them; they want to build their own personality rather than just being/wearing the logo. What techniques have brands had to adapt and develop to keep up with this new culture? And do you think that brands have had to relook and assess their companies’ culture and messaging to be able to adopt this new way of appealing to their audiences?

 

Matt: I’m not sure that opening statement is true. The world of luxury doesn’t appear to have suffered too much from societies desire to be seen as individuals. Chloe, Dior, Louis Vuitton, Louboutin, Rolex, Gucci, Ferrari, Porsche… these are still brands people aspire to own and be seen to own. The purpose-driven likes of TOMS and Patagonia have an army of fans who all proudly wear their goods. And with the recent Kaepernick campaign and their support of Serena Williams, Nike have a new legion of obsessives who are keen to be associated with the brand.

That being said, as I said previously, branding is an ever evolving thing. Brands need to be aware that their every move is under scrutiny, that what they do is easily replicable; so it’s super important to have a point of differentiation. That might be why a brand does something. It might be how a brand does something. It’s most likely a mixture of the product, the people, the promise, the purpose, the process and the principles.

 

A huge thank you to Matt for answering all our questions, and should you ever want to connect or chat with him about branding here is the link to his profile!