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2016 Highlights so far at ID

 

2016 has already been a year we Brits won’t forget, whether it’s because of Brexit, Bowie, or bowing out in the Euros to Iceland. It’s not all doom and gloom however – as eternal optimists we know that good news is brimming, if you take time to look beneath the front pages. 


As well as the many jaw-dropping moments which have occupied the headlines, there have been many which have caused us to break out in a smile – and we’re only half way through the year!


Our list of top 10 moments in 2016 includes:


1.    Launches – in the space of the last 6 months we’ve launched some truly ground-breaking websites for organisations such as Telford & Wrekin Council, Allen & Son and Willen Hospice. With more great websites in the pipeline, we think 2016 will go down as a year when we really pushed ourselves to follow our creative visions to the max.


2.    New additions – in June our Senior PR Account Manager Anne brought little Lucas Walsh into the great wide world, and into our offices just a few weeks ago to introduce himself!


3.    Awards – we were delighted to win the ‘Best B2C Technology Innovation’ accolade at the BrightSparc awards, for our website for Grand Central in Birmingham which was launched in September of last year.


4.    Community – early in the year Interdirect became an honorary Member of MK College’s Partners’ Programme, demonstrating our commitment to the college as a hub of mainstream as well as professional learning and networking. We look forward to all that this partnership has to offer to the city!


5.    Recruitment – ID has expanded in 2016 and taken on some fabulous new talent! We’ve welcomed Jake Hall, our New Business Development Manager, Emma Mullings who joined our team of Account Managers, and Alice Jenkins as Senior PR Account Manager alongside Anne.

 

6.    Charity – we’ve always been key supporters of local initiatives and love an excuse to don fancy dress and do some good for the community. Our latest charity project was just this weekend, taking part in the Midnight Moo midnight walk, when we rose over our target of £250!


7.    Wins – we’ve taken on some fantastic new clients so far in 2016, including Bedfordia Group, Webb Hotels & Travel and Tarmac, as well as doing more for our existing clients.


8.    Ringing bells – Senior PR Account Manager Alice got married and went from a Bramall to a Jenkins! The sight of her decorated desk isn’t one we will soon forget…


9.    Expansion – in June we launched a new website promoting SiteLite, our innovative and affordable ‘off-the-shelf’ web design services. Bridging the gap between websites you build yourself and a bespoke site (with a price point to match), we’re on a mission to help small businesses in MK and surrounding areas.

 

10.    Events – in March we helped organise and produce the biggest and best MKBAA so far! More than 550 of Milton Keynes’ finest business people attended to see 14 awards handed out to local businesses by compere Debra Stephenson. Bring on MKBAA 2017!


As you can see, it’s been quite a year so far! We wonder what the next 4 months have in store…

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! 

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.

Email and Social Media - does it have to be a battle?

If you think about how much time you spend online on an average work day, I would wager a bet that a good 25% of your time is spent on emails and social media. Scrolling through a newsfeed of engagements, baby photos and stalking your ex on Facebook doesn’t necessarily make for a productive working day, but we all do it.


In a battle to vie for consumers attentions, mail and social media have long been seen to compete with one another. Think Apple vs. Samsung, McDonalds vs. Burger King, Lannisters vs. Starks and you’ll get an idea of the rivalry.


Email has been known to outperform social media when it comes to conversions but social media is a diverse landscape, which makes for engaging content. We don’t think you should have to focus your marketing efforts to one particular channel though, why not combine your efforts for maximum impact to boost your ROI?


We love this awesome infographic from DotMailer, which gives you some great ideas on how to combine your email and social strategies.

 

15 Reasons We #LoveMK

This month will mark the 4th #LoveMK day since Destination MK, the official tourism organisation for Milton Keynes, started the trend in 2012. As key supporters of the city’s past, present and future, on Thursday 28th April we – alongside hundreds of others – will aim to set social media alight with quirky depictions of the hashtag, causing our great city to start trending.


#LoveMK Day aims to celebrate MK in all its glory, promoting the city as a great destination for businesses, as well as for leisure, sports and entertainment. It’s certainly a place people take great pride in, evident from the sense of community and potential.


As professionals and residents of Milton Keynes we may be slightly biased, but we think that this great city has everything to offer and more, whether you’re into country walks, skydiving, fine dining, fantastic shopping, or the arts.


Here are the top 15 reasons we all #LoveMK!

  1. Development sits comfortably next to greenery, with parks, green spaces and lakes nestled amongst the estates and business areas.
  2. There’s ALWAYS something going on, from festivals to family fun days, marathons, concerts, sporting events to live music and theatre.
  3. Travel for 5 minutes and you feel like you’re in the deepest countryside.
  4. … And indeed you are! There are so many beautiful rural villages just a stone’s throw away.
  5. MK is connected, with high speed transport to London, Birmingham, Manchester and Glasgow. We’re also just 30 miles from the m25, and the m1 runs through the eastern edge of the city.
  6. With 130 roundabouts – that’s almost 4 per square mile! – it’s easy to see why MK is often called Roundabout City, but the running joke doesn’t detract from the grid system’s practicality. Sure, we might never know precisely which roundabout we’re on, but we love how easy it makes driving.
  7. That same grid system has helped to mould out communities, each with its own village feel.
  8. MK behaves like a city, but doesn’t feel like one. We attribute that to its confidence and vibrancy!
  9. Innovation is what we do, and when we bend our minds to something we really trail blaze, from SmartCities to driverless pods and much more.
  10. Even the less common sports are embraced, from wakeboarding to skiing, go-carting, skydiving and biking in the Woburn woods.
  11. You never have to cross a road if on foot or on a bicycle, since the city really encourages cleaner and more active modes of transport.
  12. It’s so clean!
  13. The canal that runs through the heart of the city is fantastic for biking, walking, jogging or just a great place to meet.
  14. Our many parks – from Ouzel Valley to Caldecotte, Willen, Furzton and Campbell Park.
  15. Milton Keynes has such a “can do” attitude, apparent in both businesses and local communities.


Keep an eye out for how we’re going to celebrate #LoveMK day ID style on social media on the 28th April!

ID Loves: Facebook Reactions

Following our emojis opinion post last month from MD, Nicholas Mann, we were pleased to see the launch of the much anticipated Facebook Reactions last week.


The new Facebook emoji reactions are the next step forward to the hugely popular ‘like’ button, meaning your friends can now like, love, laugh, be wowed, saddened or angered by your posts. The plan to build reactions was conceived over a year ago, and there has been much discussion during that time about a ‘dislike’ button, which due to the negativity associated with it, didn’t make it onto the final portfolio of reactions.


With the developed world’s (almost) universal adoption of smartphones, the emoji continues to grow rapidly in popularity, hence Facebook’s move to follow the trend that is quickly taking over the way we communicate digitally.


So why these six emojis? Facebook says it had lots of options to choose from, but these were the six that best represented the comments that people regularly make to posts on Facebook. They are universally recognised, meaning that there is no requirement for translation or further explanation in different languages.


The reactions are for all posts, including group and business accounts, and there is no way to block a reaction. The new feature is expected to see further development in the future, depending on feedback from users, but for now it is an exciting step forward that many are looking forward to embracing.


We want to know what you think of Facebook’s new reactions – let us know using the new feature on our Facebook page at www.facebook.com/interdirect.