Emotional transaction at el juego bonito (beautiful game) turnstiles

ImagePicture taken from Jon Rogers Tumblr

Let’s get one thing straight, as a fan the only return on investment we are entitled to from supporting a football club, is an emotional one. Football owes us nothing more than the reciprocation of emotion. We as fans put our money where the heart lies, support that’s inherited through family or support that’s earned from advocation for a new team. A connection we pay for with no promise of a positive outcome. The only thing the beautiful game owes us is the recognition that we exist. And football like other events requires fan participation to make the occasion real.

The recent England V’s Italy world cup game saw 219,637 tweets registered after Daniel Sturridge’s 37th minute equaliser (Porter T, IBT, 2014 online) with an estimated 7.2 million tweets registered globally on Twitter during the game (Watt A, Cambridge News, 2014) #England and #Gerrard hastags being favoured to identify association with the game (Digimind) The emotion’s real and through digital and social platforms the connections real (time) as well.

June 18th saw the football fixtures for England’s domestic leagues being released, my beloved Manchester City have a tough start Several premier league clubs have seen the value a digital strategy can bring as a way to not only engage with the fans and give them an extended experience with the game, through own, affiliated, and fan generated content but build a longer term relationship for the brand with fan and his or her family and friends.

Some great insight can be found on how the likes of Manchester City, Real Madrid, Roma, and Derby County have all been incorporating digital technology into their fan engagement strategies here:

Q&A: Manchester City’s approach to digital marketing
Real Madrid’s head of mobile talks about the club’s mobile strategy
How football clubs engage fans on Instagram
Portsmouth FC digital strategy
Has the beautiful game dropped the ball?

The new season also brings much optimism for some of the clubs lower down the league(s) wanting to make their mark on and off the pitch. It will be very interesting to see how many of them will turn to digital as a way of providing the fans a greater emotive connection with their club by way of the game of football. All too often what happens on the pitch dictates business matters off it. The key will be in how to manage that customer experience gap.

(come on England)

Prospective client website user needs – a doodle

ImageThe digital communications management post graduate course I am currently undertaking through Manchester Metropolitan University has been the best thing I have done for many years. Not only is it developing my knowledge of digital and social media it has had a very positive effect on my mindset when it comes to challenging original thought and ideas. The above is a quick brainstorm regarding what prospective client user needs of an agency website might look like which has impact on design, UX, content, search optimisation and social media

Agility (Agile + Ability)


Best £41.65 + £8.00 VAT I’ve spent.

If there was a word that summed up the recent DPMUK conference it was ‘Agile’  Wikipedia describes Agile development as a methodology that “promotes adaptive planning, evolutionary development and delivery, a time-boxed iterative approach, it is a conceptual framework that promotes foreseen tight interactions throughout the development cycle”


Agile’s notion of rapid and flexible response to changes permeated many of the talks even if the main topic of conversation did not centre on Agile itself, the ability to be both agile in principle and practice was clearly a discipline required to be successful in digital project delivery. For someone like myself who has set a goal on becoming a valuable member of a digital project delivery team this particular insight was much welcomed. Knowing skills and experience from other roles not necessarily within digital project management could be great assets.

Personal highlights from those that spoke included; Brett Harned’s 25 tips to being a a better digital project manager “cheerleading, owning your craft and putting the people and patience into project management” stood out @brettharned http://brettharned.com

Sam Barnes @thesambarnes http://www.thesambarnes.com was able to gleam great client perspective by working with an external agency to redevelop the company website. Why “honesty is often the best policy” understanding each others project processes, being a huggable bear, reporting from day one, wear a smile in meetings and “absolutely do the right the thing”

Suze Howarth @suzehowarth of Numiko made us all feel unfit and out of breath with her great explanation; presenting project management cycle as similar to the recent marathon she ran!  “Knowledge, Communication and Rewards” being key milestones to the success of the overall process. And remember to warm down with an away day or two!

Rob Borley @bobscape of dootrix centred on the impotence of values, culture and community within the agency and that developing and fostering talent was essential to the success of agency and client relationships.

The day finished with a immersive 360 degree performance from the ever green Paul Boag @boagworld opened his digital adaption talk with the shocking revaluation that THE WEB HAS CHANGED STUFF! and went onto ask for our help in breaking mentalities, empowering failure and rebooting business culture. “Educate and lead” Marvellous stuff.

Whether it was ending with Paul or because the event was the first of its kind in the UK, optimism levels were already high in the room, and I left with a feeling I had been privy to a moment in time. It certainly signalled the significance of the DPMUK movement and the acceptance of agile is playing in shaping it’s future.

High Street 2.0


The picture above is of my friend’s shop ‘The White Label Clothing Company’ @WLCManchester a great independent in the Northern Quarter and opposite the iconic Affleck’s Palace. Both a landmark and a bastion for originality and ‘doin it ya self’

Sadly the shop is no more. It closed 12 months ago. To me at least there was nothing quite like it in Manchester. Quirky prints on tees, hoodies, jumpers and canvases. My silk screened Kylie Tee, light blue on white, will always be a guilty pleasure worn under a black suite with crisp white nikes. But then, that’s me and times change.

Around that time other more recognised stores started to have problems and we lost the retailer Game. Since then we’ve had well documented issues from the likes of Jessops and of course HMV.

Has the retail environment changed so drastically over the past 5 years that we are
now seeing the demise of the high street? I think the issue lies in the fact that a physical entity occupies a space that is fast becoming an online experience. It’s estimated that by 2014 they’ll be 1 Billion global smartphone users. We’re fast becoming a mobile economy be it i phone, android or tablet.

Shopping in Britain is a cultural pastime. It’s synonymous with an interactive physical experience. Leaving the house, taking transport to a city or town where you participate in walking a high street or shopping centre with friends, browsing the brands you aspire to and then maybe after a spot of lunch make that all important purchase to be worn at a forthcoming social occasion. It’s human behavior that will never change; we as consumers have in built needs to be admired, wooed and wanted. We like the attention from the assistant (but not too much) and we demand the service that goes along with the buying experience. When we have that item in the bag and leave the shop its like a massive endorphin rush until its time to buy something else.

Digital has come along and interrupted that.

So where are we now 12 months on? How far has that digital interruption stretched and are we still shopping in disrupted times?

You’d have to say yes. I believe the premise of ‘disruption’ is that of change. A paradigm shift to an existing tradition or mindset of which shopping is a way of life. Make no mistake the internet has been the single biggest disruption to our everyday lifes in the last, what, 20 years?

That ‘shift’ has seen more consumers consuming via digital channels. Mobile is fast becoming our choice of destination; more of us prefer online stores to our bricks and mortar counterparts. Customers state they feel more valued (great UX) and with removal of obstacles to purchase (better designed online environments) time spent online is both effective and efficient. You get what you need when you need it.

It’s been well documented that The Portas Review http://bit.ly/16fvTox failed to join the ofline and online dots. Whether that’s through bad advice, ill communication or just a lack of vision? Even Google’s ZMOT http://www.zeromomentoftruth.com/ highlighted a growing behavioural change which some major retailers are still struggling to adapt.

Check out @john_k31 thoughts on ‘Zero Moment of Truth’ http://bit.ly/17h8HcR

And while you’re at it have a glimpse at the recent speech Ebay’s Rob Bassett gave for the Drum’s @thedrum ‘Digital Convergence’ event http://bit.ly/14Ahxm9

With all this advance of technology where does your traditional high street shop fit in with a new consumer shopping psyche?

I have only opinions. I’m sadly no retail savvy analyst that can predict what lies in wait for the second coming of the high street and whether that will be the positive experience we all want for our much loved brands. What I do know is you cannot escape the changing identity of it, be it closed shops, cheap shops or ones that pop up. We’ve got preachers, singers and freestylers all vying for your attention set against a back drop of 2-4-1 and 25% off. It’s very very noisy, very very crowded and very anarchic. Its like shopping in a riot. Not that I’ve done that before and nor would I want to.


On a recent visit to London I made a point of visiting BoxPark in Islington to see one of Manchester’s adopted sons @alanwardle open the very first @anyforty retail offering. What’s interesting about these spaces is the fact they’ve taken the best of the bits of the high street and condensed them into mini bite sized touch points with out the screaming kids, prams and push chairs. We’ve gone back to basics and done what we do best. Giving the customer what they want. Uncluttered distilled sales messages that don’t shout and focus on key elements of place, product and price . Intimate brand touch points that have very personalised stories to tell and memorable relationships to build with their customers.

Financially they are very attractive to their brand owners because of the low risk short term lease options. It’s also a damn good idea as ideas go. A shop in a box perhaps doesn’t seem the most ground breaking but when you put them all together, one next to each other you’ve got a wonderful collection of brands that will always cater for any type of shopper. Those that prefer one brand will automatically come in to contact with one they haven’t necessarily heard of but are keen to explore. What’s also great is that technology is enabling them to keep the cost down. Many of the owners are utilising the applications that allow mobile card payments through mobile and tablet devices. Cash is still very much accepted of course.

It brings life back to parts of towns and cities that had been looking down and disheveled. A community of brands and shop owners that are thinking around the problem and creating a solution that is very much an identity all it’s own making. And you know how much I like identity.

Looking around, most of the brands on offer already had an online presence but from what I can see these sorts of experiments give them a very personal connection to their audiences. Having stepped into the box they control what they can and can’t see and if that’s limited they can connect straight away with the brand owner, i.e. Alan.
There’s a great charm to them and they ooze brand personality and in today’s crowded marketplace, brands that use this to communicate their values well shout louder over the noise.

I’m not saying they are the future because technology is changing how we shop but I’d hate to see our High Street disappear and I think there’s a lot to be gained from a pop up methodology. Adopt, adapt and accentuate the positive. Perhaps even Mary might visit.