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.

 

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!

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.

 

Clare Groombridge

Owner & Founder of South Coast Social 

 

 

We asked the fantastically knowledgeable Clare Groombridge a little bit about social media now, the freedom it’s given companies and what works best for who.

 

 

Rise: Social Media has grown exponentially over the past couple of years, what would you say have been the highlights and best things to come off the back of this?

 

Clare: I would say the opportunities for brands to engage and interact with their audience. As social media has evolved, so has the need for brands to become more clever with their social media marketing and ‘think outside the box’ to attract valuable followers.  Consumers are definitely increasingly social media savvy, so businesses need to follow suit or get left behind.

 

Rise: Being a part of social media has given companies more free reign on where, when and what they can post. Do you think this freedom has given smaller companies a chance that they wouldn’t have had if all marketing and advertising was still just in print?

 

Clare: Oh 100%!! We work with small businesses who exclusively market and sell through social media. It’s ALL about engagement and being part of a conversation – brands can’t just say ‘here we are! buy our stuff!’ in the same way they used to via print or TV – that just doesn’t cut it any more. It’s given incredible opportunities for those businesses who capitalised on the opportunities social media can offer.

 

Rise: In terms of job roles, there are lots of jobs that exist now because of social media that ten years ago did not exist. What do you think is next in terms of new jobs roles in the social media industry?

 

Clare: Definitely! (our business, for example!) We’ve seen a huge rise in Influencers (e.g. those who make their vlogging / blogging life their full time career – yes, it definitely is a thing!) However, with growing industry concern about authenticity, even this niche is constantly adapting. The huge rise of social media advertising, especially on Facebook has led to dedicated Social Media Advertising Specialist roles, often working hand in hand with a Content Creation Specialist and Data Analyst.

 

Rise: How as an individual can you prepare yourself for the future of the social media revolution, is there any training or platforms for useful information moving forwards?

 

Clare: I think if you’re using social media in your role, try and stay up to date with the latest developments by reading good social media blogs such as Hootsuite, Social Media Today (or, you know, our company blog!). Facebook offers free training for Business users including their advertising platform which could be invaluable if you haven’t had much experience.

 

Rise: What is the best social media platforms to use or does this depend on the sector you work in? For example if you run a creative agency what would be the best platform? Or as an insurance company where would be best to post?

 

Clare: We have a mantra we always roll out to our clients – ‘pick your networks wisely and do them well’! Rather than specifically your sector, it depends where your audience is, and what you want to achieve from your social media networks – is it website traffic, brand awareness, follower growth…

We work with niche, luxury brands that simply have an Instagram profile and we ensure this is beautifully crafted with stunning, impactful imagery and carefully constructed captions. However, if you’re a B2B business, LinkedIn might be the perfect place to be to engage with supplier and potential clients. Whatever you choose, if you’re going to manage your social media profiles in-house, ensure you have the time to post frequent, relevant content.

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

Marcus Wincott – Media Lounge

 

We asked Marcus Wincott from Media Lounge a little bit about e-commerce, technology and upcoming trends as well as some advice for those interested in getting into industry.

 

 

 

Rise: Thank you so much for being a part of this Marcus. I want to kick off with a bit of an open ended question and ask how has the world of e-commerce changed over the past few years?

Marcus: The biggest challenge for online retailers over the last few years has been offering a service that the typical online shopper has now come to expect. As shoppers, our expectations in terms of delivery, returns, personalisation, payment methods and communication have been set by the giants of eCommerce like Amazon and offering a comparable service or a unique differentiator can be difficult. Advancements in payment methods and personalisation of content and product recommendations have been key in the last few years and will continue to play a very important role in the success of online retail stores.

 

Rise: Have recent additions to apps like Instagram shopping made a huge difference in the way that people consume?

Marcus: Although the addition of buyable pins on Pinterest, Facebook marketplace and Instagram shopping functionality are interesting and will undoubtably work for some merchants, I’m not sure how big the direct impact on sales will be. As an industry we design for ‘mobile first’ as a rule but the fact is that the majority of online purchases still take place on a desktop device so mobile-heavy platforms like Instagram will have less of an impact on buying habits than we perhaps think.

Having said that, it’s well known that over 80% of smartphone users turn to their device to help them make a product decision, either in store on online so the impact on the entire journey to purchase is undeniable, it’s just whether that impact is easily measurable.

 

Rise: As an experience shopping and buying has become much more personalised and easy. How do you see the future of e-commerce panning out, how can we go further than paying for something with our fingerprint/facial recognition?

Marcus: Until new technology is developed that allows us to pay in other ways, I don’t think this will be the biggest area of change in the coming years although widespread merchant adoption of things like Apple, Android and Amazon payment methods is still to come. I think payment options rather than methods are still changing at quite a rate and ‘pay later’  and ‘split payment’  options will become more widespread with solutions like Klarna facilitating an Amazon-style, one click payment method across thousands of websites.

Personalisation of site content as well as product recommendations will continue to improve and eventually each user visiting an eCommerce store will get a completely different experience based on their personal circumstances, browsing history and buying habits.

 

Rise: There are many different types of e-commerce platforms, could you please give me a few examples and why it is that so many types have been developed?

Marcus: There are many different eCommerce platforms out there and put simply, this is to serve the needs of the merchant. An online retail startup would typically use a platform like Shopify or WooCommerce (WordPress) because of their ease of use and lower cost of entry. As a merchant grows, their requirements will change in order to service their customers and these platforms may no longer be fit for purpose. A larger retailer may turn to an enterprise solution such as Magento (Adobe), Hybris (SAP) or Demandware (Salesforce) as they offer scalability in terms of both order volume and site functionality. For example, a business retailing across multiple countries in multiple languages and currencies would not be suitable for a platform like Shopify.

 

Rise: If you were to give advice to someone that was looking to get into the eCommerce industry, what first steps should they take?

Marcus: Working in eCommerce from an agency perspective is as fast moving as it is interesting so the best piece of advice I can give to someone interested in taking their first steps not this industry is to constantly research and monitor the marketplace for new design trends, developing technology and best practices. It’s the only way to stay ahead of the competition and more importantly, add value and remain relevant to you clients.

One word of caution though, the noise about new technology can sometimes be distracting so always do your own evaluation and ideally, real-world testing before recommending a course of action for your clients. We’re lucky at Media Lounge to run our own successful eCommerce store so we have a ready made testing bed and it has proven invaluable over the years.

 

A huge thank you Marcus for giving us his time and knowledge about the world of eCommerce. We also delved into the topic of the importance of being unique, have a read here.