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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! 

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.

Honing in on iBeacons

In the last few years we have certainly learned that hype and natter don’t necessarily mean that new technology will take off – just take a look at Google Glass which is “resting” as of earlier this year after a tidal wave of disappointment and unenthused reviews.

If you’re not part of the conversation however, you can’t expect to be in the know, and if you’re not in the know then you’ll soon be using yesterday’s technology. We’re hearing a lot of noise recently about iBeacons and thought we’d add our two-cents for those unaware of the potential of Beacon technology – our team makes up several of just 40,000 devs tapping into it.

iBeacons are certainly nothing new, Apple has been using them in store since 2013 with their Apple Store app. What is new however is the understanding around what they can do for businesses, and the technology to support increased functionality.

What are iBeacons?
An iBeacon is a small, wireless sensor capable of broadcasting signals which your smartphone can read. Your device then produces content via an app offering a contextually richer experience, whatever that may be.

iBeacons are powered by coin battery and have built in antennas, running on BLE (Bluetooth Smart) technology. They are highly sensitive devices, monitoring location, temperature and motion, and work on any iOS 7.0 device onwards, as well as Android.

How can it change user experience?
Retailers are the primary example used to demonstrate the use of iBeacons to offer a richer experience to customers.

Imagine walking down the street and being pulled (reluctantly of course) into your favourite shoe shop by a push notification via the brand’s app which tells you there’s 10% off selected items today only. Based on your previous online purchases and perusing, with help from the beacons your smartphone can direct you to the stand which stocks your preferred style of shoe.

Not impressed yet? Well, stand there too long – perhaps it’s the shade or the shape you’re not quite sold on – and the beacon could instruct your app to offer you an additional 10% off since you’re clearly umming and ahhing. What’s more you could even pay for the shoes without waiting at a till, without even pulling out your wallet or purse.

From events to directions, the limits of iBeacons are nowhere in sight currently. The technology could single-handedly erase the need for audio guides in museums, internal maps, and welcome information packs as you enter an event.

The video below shows a brilliant example of using beacons to aid hard-sighted people to navigate busy or potentially hazardous environments:

Even in the last 12 months, battery life has been extended from 2 to 3 years, showing the pace at which this technology is advancing to meet future demand. Whether this demand materialises remains to be seen, however with names such as Macy’s, Virgin and Nivea all exploring the uses of iBeacons, we’re glad we’re on the iBeacon radar.