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Gotta Catch ‘Em All!

Working in digital marketing, I spend a lot of time online, particularly on social media and clickbait-y websites such as Reddit, Buzzfeed and the Metro (and my Mum told me I’d never ‘get a job sitting on Facebook all day’) checking out what’s new and interesting in the world. Over the past few days, the online world has been buzzing with discussion about the internet’s latest and greatest phenomenon, the Pokémon Go app.

Despite having only just been released on UK shores, it has taken the country by storm and after being told that my colleague Laura spent ‘all weekend walking round in fields catching Pokémon’ I was sold. I downloaded it to my own phone and set about on my merry quest to become a Pokémon Master.

Downloading the app found me creating an avatar of myself, and setting out around my area, waving my phone in the air as I searched for Pokémon to appear on my radar, much like the picture below.

Whilst I was out catching Pokémon, I encountered several other people doing the same thing on their phones. The majority of players appeared to be teenage boys, but there was also an adult couple, and a family with young children, all looking to catch ‘em all. While it’s not unusual to see people on their phones while out and about, it is refreshing to see young people actively engaging with the area they live in, (even if it is to catch a Pikachu) rather than just trudging their way from point A – B.

The success of Pokémon Go has been enormous, and deservedly so. In only a week or so since its release the tangible benefits have been obvious. Not only is it getting a couch potato generation off their sofas and into the great outdoors (thank goodness it’s been so sunny), but it’s been reported to have helped people with depression, encouraged new friendships and even stopped a robbery!

This retake on a 1990’s game has marked a new era of modern gaming, and while I am sceptical about how interested people will be in such pursuits during the cold winter months, I for one am very happy wandering around Milton Keynes looking for Pokemon in the sunshine.

Regardless of the weather though, you mustn’t forget – you gotta catch ‘em all! 

The Brexit shockwave and how house builders will be hit

Brexit has undeniably had an impact on the value of the pound and the FTSE; whether or not the impact is going to felt long term is yet to be seen. The shock referendum result has certainly taken the markets by surprise.

House builders and property funds have been one of the worst hit, with some reporting as much as 18% coming off their value, a scary prospect for any business. We saw the impact this had in 2005, with house completion rates falling and land banking becoming the norm, developers waiting for a sunnier day.

With the nation’s housing crisis being at the forefront of the political agenda, at least until Brexit came along, it is unlikely the government will risk completion rates falling. People need homes and they need to be affordable.

The likely consequence will be government reducing, yet again, the period by which houses need to be built out. In the short term at least, this will have the consequence of reducing house builders profits, hardly welcome news to the housing industry. 

While minimising risk has always been important, it is never going to have been more so over the coming months and potentially years. Appeals, at any level, are now a cost that both house builders and local authorities are going to want to avoid more than ever.   

It is now more than ever, that house builders should be investing in PR and community engagement to support them through the planning process. By spending money on working with, rather than despite of, the community, applications are more likely to be approved at committee and the risk of costly appeals reduced.

Interdirect celebrates win at Biztech BrightSparc awards


Full service marketing agency Interdirect was delighted to scoop the coveted Best B2C Technology Innovation accolade at yesterday’s annual Biztech BrightSparc Awards.

The award recognises Interdirect’s digital way-finding and website project for the newly redeveloped Grand Central shopping centre. The application was commissioned by via a joint venture between Birmingham City Council and Network Rail and its “enormous potential” of it was noted by the judges.

Held at the StadiumMK the Biztech BrightSparc Awards celebrates technology innovation in the Milton Keynes region.  “We’re extremely proud to have won this award", said Nicholas Mann, Interdirect's managing director and owner. “To be recognised as an innovative business in our region is a fantastic achievement but this award also acknowledges the skill and expertise of our digital development team.”

In conjunction with Birmingham City Council and Network Rail, Interdirect developed a digital way-finding platform incorporating state-of-the-art touchscreen technology with a sleek and dynamic web design for the Grand Central shopping centre. Heralded as one of 2015’s most important architectural launches it was essential that the shopping centre featured a new brand identity with the latest in digital technology to harness a new customer base.

“We were impressed by the great success of this digital wayfinding and web project.” Commented an awarding judge. “The solution required a significant level of technological excellence and flexibility to be built into the project – which Interdirect delivered.”

Since its launch in October 2015 the website has been accessed by almost half a million users to date and in April alone 1,500 touchscreens sessions helped visitors find their way.

SEO & PPC Targeting by Emoji: is this the future?

As if we hadn’t written about our vision of an emoji-based future enough, Google and Twitter have gone ahead and stepped one pace closer to our predictions.

Earlier this month Twitter announced that marketers will be able to target users based on the emoji they use when tweeting. This will include tweets, retweets or responses to tweets with that emoji in. In addition, it was revealed last month that you can now perform a small number of searches in Google by using emoji. Crazy, right?

Emoji have become so integrated in our ways of communication that the laugh-cry emoji was actually named Word of the Year by Oxford Dictionaries in November 2015, with the floating heart kiss as a close runner up.  Caspar Grathwohl, the president of Oxford Dictionaries, has said that; “Emojis have come to embody a core aspect of living in a digital world that is visually driven, emotionally expressive, and obsessively immediate”. When we consider the frequency of their use (more than 110 billion emoji have been posted in tweets since 2014), these steps forward are hardly surprising at all.

So just what could we expect to see in terms of ads based on the emoji we use? Tim Peterson at Marketing Land joked that he’s waiting on an ad for Charmin toilet tissue after using the poop emoji, while frankly I’m more interested in a click-to-order ad after using the pizza slice emoji!

When you consider the range of emoji on offer (most of them rarely used), you start to comprehend just how far this could go – imagine hailing a taxi within seconds of posting a tweet using the yellow cab emoji?

For the moment, marketers looking to use this Twitter targeting will have to purchase their ads through AdParlor, Amobee, HYFN, Perion, SocialCode or 4C, but we anticipate this will be fully integrated into Twitter in no time at all.

Moving on to Google, again this development is in relative infancy. The results are simple, to say the least, however the move is a clear one. Entering the cat emoji in the search bar brings up thousands of images of cute kittens; whilst entering the Lady Liberty’s head emoji brings up images of the Big Apple, etc. etc. (can you guess how many minutes of my time were spent enraptured?).

As these trends develop, we wonder if they will further encourage the use of emoji to replace the written word. What do you think? Leave us your thoughts in the comments box below!

ID Loves: Skittles' Give the Rainbow Campaign

I think it’s fair to say that over the past week, England has been a rather gloomy place. There’s a post-Brexit haze of doubt and insecurity cast over Westminster, England have come crashing out of Euro 2016 in a shocking defeat by Iceland and Game of Thrones is all wrapped up for another season. Oh, and it’s STILL RAINING.

In amongst all this doom and gloom came a shining beacon of hope and positivity (or should I say rainbow?) in the form of London’s annual Pride Festival - a glorious, technicolour celebration of love, diversity and acceptance for the UK’s LGBT+ community. This year’s theme was called #nofilter, a rallying call to the LGBT+ community, encouraging them to ‘stand proud, show us your authentic-selves and celebrate authenticity. Live life with #nofilter.’

While many brands choose to show their support by bedecking themselves in a rainbow-hued version of their logo for the event, Skittles stood out by doing completely the opposite, and stripped all colour from their usual rainbow-themed branding.

Skittles claimed that on Pride weekend ‘only one rainbow deserves to be the centre of attention’ and as an act of solidarity, relinquished all colour from special Pride-edition packaging, and stood out from the crowd on a monochrome float in the Pride Parade. The accompanying social media campaign used an animated version of the advert and went viral using the hashtag #onerainbow

We love adam&eveDDB’s campaign for Skittles, as it celebrates LGBT+ pride in a fun, irreverent and memorable way, and injected a much needed dose of happiness and love into an otherwise gloomy week.

Interdirect Launches New Tourism Website for Telford and Wrekin Council

Interdirect have just proudly launched the new Discover Telford website for Telford and Wrekin Council. The website, developed with the Destination Programme Team and FRA Associates, was designed to promote the destination and its assets, as well as complimenting marketing objectives.

The website was built using Interdirect’s custom built CMS SiteMachine, and is fully responsive, offering optimum viewing and usability to visitors on any device. Combined with a touch screen way-finding solution, the CMS will function as a way to populate locally positioned totems that will offer information to visitors already in the region.

Our tried and tested Discovery process ensured we were able to identify and fully understand the target audience. We used this insight to build user journeys and wireframes based on how we envisaged the website being used.  The primary target audiences were:

  • Day Visitors – Every year 80% of visitors to the borough are day visitors. With the new website, Telford aim to increase visitor numbers and encourage repeat visits and overnight stays
  • Stay visitors – They want to encourage more visitors to stay overnight in the borough – Telford and Wrekin are home to numerous hotels and B&Bs in the region which have great potential
  • Business visitors – These visitors bring great spending potential per visit when attending conferences and events. There is potential for these visitors to convert from doing business in the borough to returning for leisure purposes
  • Local residents – Working cross-council the Destination Programme Team will ensure that the local audience is also increasingly aware of the place that they live, play and work in and become active ambassadors of the destination
  • Local Economy – For the businesses that rely on tourism to generate revenue and growth, the new website would need to act as portal for promotion. Getting support from this group ensures that content on the website is current and useful

The new website is structured according to user type and allows users to position themselves against the relevant content. The layout has been specifically design to support users in finding the information they want whilst inspiring them with content they may not have expected or considered prior to visiting the website.

The Discover section allows visitors to find attractions, activities and things to do in Telford and the surrounding areas. These can all be filtered by category selection with listing details.

The Visit section gives users more details about Telford and the local surrounding areas such as Newport, Ironbridge and Wellington.

The Stay section is a hotel search and filter function that allows users to find the perfect accommodation for their overnight visit to Telford. From camping to 4* hotels, there is something for everyone.

The Meet is the section dedicated to business users. Here they can find venues for meeting spaces, plan an event, and organise a business visit.

The website also includes a blog and list of news articles that keeps the information current and up to date, benefitting both users and Telford’s SEO strategy.

The Visitor Economy Forum is the latest in developments for the website and Interdirect are building an advertising platform along with an admin area for local businesses to create company listings. These business profiles will populate the Stay, Discover and Meet sections of the website, with the idea being that the local economy buys into the promotion of the region and helps to boost tourism through user-generated content.

Interdirect have created a dynamic website that is visually engaging and uses the latest technology to present information in a way that is smart and intuitive. Interdirect looks forward to the continued work with Charlotte Cain and the Destination Programme Team at Telford and Wrekin council.

Click here to visit the Discover Telford website.