Home » Posts tagged 'marketing'

Tag Archives: marketing

Blogs on accessibility

A map of parties to the Convention on the Righ...

A map of parties to the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. Parties in dark green, countries which have signed but not ratified in light green, non-members in grey. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


Disability in business


Jonathan, who has a degenerative spinal condition which means he uses a wheelchair and has carers to assist him, has first hand experience of the challenges faced by people living with disabilities – especially in the business world. “I used to run multi-million pound companies and I’d go with some of my staff into meetings with corporate bank managers and they’d say to my staff, ‘it’s really good of you to bring a service user along’, and I’d say, ‘hang on, I’m the MD –  it’s my money!’


Disability Marketing




Michael Janger has a passionate interest in products and technologies that enable people with disabilities to enjoy a better quality of life, and works with businesses to effectively market and sell these products to the disability market.


Think Inclusive


I think there are two basic assumptions that you need in order support inclusion (in any context)


  1. All human beings are created equal (you know the American way) and deserve to be treated as such.
  2. All human beings have a desire to belong in a community and live, thrive and have a sense of purpose.


The important takeaway…when you assume people want to belong. Then is it our duty as educators, parents, and advocates to figure out how we can make that happen.


Institute of Community Inclusion


For over 40 years, the Institute for Community Inclusion (ICI) has worked to ensure that people with disabilities have the same opportunity to dream big, and make their dreams a fully included, integrated, and welcomed reality. ICI strives to create a world where all people with disabilities are welcome and fully included in valued roles wherever they go, whether a school, workplace, volunteer group, home, or any other part of the community. All of ICI’s efforts stem from one core value: that people with disabilities are more of an expert than anyone else. Therefore, people with disabilities should have the same rights and controls and maintain lives based on their individual preferences, choices, and dreams.


Cerebral Palsy Career Builders




How to deal with the following:


  1. Bias
  2. Presumption
  3. Myth
  4. Skepticism
  5. Prejudice
  6. Discrimination




Is curation a better way to engage the quieter and less active learner online?

Fig.1 Hockney

I’ve nearly always been on the outside looking in, a ‘creative’ on the outside who is commissioned regularly to deliver learning content – historically a great deal of video, interactive DVD and then online.

There was often an interesting difference between projects for internal audiences and how or whether they were well promoted compared to externally commercially sponsored learning that had to attract and retain a large audience. The internal projects got a fraction of the budget to promote it than that spent on producing the thing in the first place – often, by all accounts, the entire budget. This for better where the learning was integrated into the landscape of regular internal communications – the monthly video news magazine being typical.

Looking at it we came to understand that in the UK we are very good at making stuff, but not so good at getting the message out.

We used the ratio  of 5:3:1 to suggest, for example, how £80,000 might be spent on an interactive and online project – say £50,000 on the design, writing, graphics and build, £30,000 to support it over a shelf life of a year or two and £10,000 to publicise.

In North America it went the other way.

Have a neat idea, but keep it simple and sweet – spend far more marketing it and then with audience engagement and from lessons learned improved the product and develop a relationship with the audience so that they keep coming back for more.

If curation is the way forward then the next step will be to draw on my experience as a visitor to countless museums and galleries, houses and castles – from the mishaps of a rainy day to the inspired and repeated visits to museum events. Does this become a journey through your mind? Is it any wonder that people who demonstrate extraordinary feats of recollection do so by pegging images to a journey through a familiar space? Might a way to prepare for an exam to create a temporary exhibition of your own?

Fig. 2. Production stills from a cross-section of training projects written, directed and produced by Jonathan Vernon – on YouTube @JJ27VV

Learning and business advantages in emerging, low-cost, easily applied e-learning tools.

The Gap between theories, tools and readily available learning tools to ‘afford particular learning advantages’. Conole (2007)

It has taken over a decade from the early migration of interactive learning content from DVD to the web to the current ‘every day’ practice of creating e-learning of all types – modules, programmes, courses, qualifications and so on that are as commonplace to business as the annual audit – is e-learning bread and butter to business like accounting and legal advice, or is it the jam (or Marmite) that complements?

The ‘learning advantages’ Conole spoke of in 2007 are the business advantages of 2012 – everyday induction (or ‘on boarding’ as it is called in North America), talent management, product knowledge, skills development, management training, health and safety – you name it. What two decades ago was a linear video, or an not so linear though perfectly valid leaflet, or workbook, with or without a facilitator, is now largely self-regulated e-learning, carefully monitored, with a blended component (a tutorial in tertiary education is a workshop in business)

Littlejohn et al (2008) gave names to some of the emerging tools that are six years on, common place APPS, or software plug-ins that are easily built into a course:

  • Digital assets: a single item, image, video or podcast.
  • Information objects: a structured aggregation of digital assets designed purely to present information.
  • Learning activities: tasks involving interactions with information to attain a specific learning outcome.
  • Learning design: structured sequences of information and learning activities to promote learning.
For the rest of the week I am going to be looking out for everyday examples of the above in business applications. If you can offer some examples please do.


Conole, G.  (2007) ‘Describing learning activities and tools and resources to guide practice’. In H Beetham and R Sharpe (eds) Rethinking pedagogy for a digital age: Designing and delivering e–Learning (2007)

Littlejohn, A., Falconer,I., Mcgill,L.  (2008) Characterising effective eLearning resources

Food for thought

‘As background to our agency business, we believe that there has been a transition from a campaign-driven marketing world to an editorially driven one where brands must develop content for consumers to interact with across social media, internet and mobile properties and to gain earned media exposure as well as to drive e-commerce sales’.

Now apply this to terriary education, both the promotion of an institution and courses and to learning itself.

The TV in our house is redundant; we are forever on. Sometimes we share, though we may watch in our own time and a TV screen, tablet or Smartphone.

The Mortality of ideas

When someone says something that you find profound it sticks with you for life; I was reminded of an invaluable lesson while studying the ‘Creativity, Innovation & Change‘ elective module of The OU MBA (while actually taking the MA in Open & Distance Education).

At a IPA event at the CBI I attended a lecture given by Winston Fletcher in which he talked about how ideas can be killed off by ‘forces’ in and advertising agency and at the client end. He illustrated this with a poster showing a series of light bulbs slowly going out. There was a refrain also that ended:

‘If the client proves refactory, show a picture of their factory.

And should they put on airs and graces, show a picture of their faces’.

Which sums up regional advertisers showing the proud owner of a widget factory standing outside his widget factory, rather than showing off the benefits of the product. 

Once a ‘good idea’ has been hatched, by whatever process, intuitively or through considerable thought and development, the thing can gradually die a death as various departments and stakeholders get their hands on it.

It therefore requires a champion, someone to see it through, who is persuasive and persistent, who can shift from playfulness to power games.

Like Steve Jobs perhaps? (who I have written about extensively in my OU Student Blog).

That or you need someone to do it for you; writers have agents, creatives in advertising have the accounts team.

Use of video in elearning (Part Five)

Anyone in advertising or marketing will be familiar with the Creative Brief; it is an industry standard. I see this run to two or three pages. The copy going to the creative team (copywriter and art director) was meant to be kept to a single page of A4 (this was a JWT). I go along with this. Didn’t Churchill when he was First Lord of the Admiralty send away a lengthy document wanting it back as a single page? I like to quote Jonathan Swift who apologised for writing someone a lengthy letter as he hadn’t the time to write a short one. Like this ‘stream of consciousness’ of mine, it pays to edit, to think through and prioritize your thoughts.

In the context of elearning (indeed everything online), I felt it necessary to add the ‘delivery’ approach as an important creative consideration. I wonder if this team of two: words and visualizer ought to be a team of three that includes the programmer?

All things being equal what makes a piece of learning stand out? Who brings it alive? Who makes it memorable? I think an idea will stick if it hits the proverbial nail on the head, though it risks isolating some. Controversy works too, bland learning like bland advertising is forgettable. Inspirational educators count. There are those whose lectures you want to attend and those who you avoid.

Why not the professional presenter?

In corporate training we hire the likes of Carol Vorderman, Nick Ross and others to present our story; they know how to get a point across. Why can’t the academic stand back and accept the role of author? They still get the credit even if someone else speaks the words.

Ideas Endure

  • They make the learning stick.
  • Produce multiple ideas and present them.
  • Let the audience create and present their own.

Use of video (Part Three)

The skill of a corporate video is to judge what is best for a project, client and their audience. Feedback may offer some insights and industry awards should be a guide too of the quality of what is produced. Courtesy of the internet you get so much more, not only information on the audience, but on viewing patterns and feedback. You can hear what they think in many ways, not least through messaging or a Twitter feed if the content is streamed during a live event, but from social platforms and activities embedded around the content, from a simple ‘rate’ or ‘like’ this to a survey.

Effectiveness is measured as part of the assessment process which is part of the learning design. You want to rest comprehension as part of the learning process, but you also want to know how effect the learning content, of which video is a part, is being. It is an iterative process; you adjust the content as you learn how your audiences respond to the content.

The mortality of ideas. ‘If the client still proves refractory’.

I’ve wanted to quote this for many years.

Winston Fletcher used this with images at an Advertising Association presentation at the CBI in October 1984.

When the client moans and sighs
Make his logo twice the size
If the client still proves refractory
Show a picture of the factory
Only in the gravest cases
Should you show the clients’ faces

Found in ‘Welcome to Optimism’ after several false starts finding the right search terms for Google.

This is another way to look at it:

I was a trainee Rep at JWT.

My merry dance around the world of advertising continues with occasional afternoons mentoring at the School of Communication Arts which I attended in 1987. I kept a daily diary at the time, most days a single sheet of A4 whether I felt like it or not. This was Tuesday 9th October 1984. It was a fortnightly or weekly IPA meeting that attracted graduate account managers from across the London advertising agencies. The diary entry reminds me who I was with, the ads we looked at, where I was and what I got up to. Plenty in fact to bring it all back in considerable detail.

The other quote or image I am looking for was a set of dimming light bulbs to illustrate the ‘Mortality of ideas’ something that threatens and crushes many a great project.

Learning about learning and learning about creativity with The OU

It is intriguing and of value to be covering learning processes from a different angle; there is some overlap.

The MAODE of course offers greater depth, how we learn is its modus operandi.

The weakness of someone else’s conception of learning processes offered in relative isolation is apparent. I am surprised that Engestrom gets no mention as ‘activity systems’ were developed and used in business settings.

Several such models need to be be offered together:

a) to expose a model for what they are, a conception of reality

b) one person’s take, their simplification of something complex.

Tangentially Deguid and John Seeley Brown are brought in so I could search my own blog for 23 points where I have read them before, my knowledge, like coral, growing and firming up in the process. ‘Metaphor’ and ‘analogy’ are discussed, though the only resource offered leaves me befuddled as the concepts are written up in academic business-speak.

I’d like a far broader reading list; rather than three or four chapters offered in the resources book I’d like to see the reassuring long and personal list of the authors, linked by URL to papers that are readily available online. I can see myself Googling authors to see what they have published most recently.

I feel the case is made for external agencies as I don’t see too many of the techniques occurring in large organisations.

As our authors say people quickly acquire the mindset of the organisation they work for, this becomes the default position for solving problems.

Certain functions from advertising to consultancy, web, PR and design are best bought in under competitive tender.

Whilst the case is made for intuition over objective analysis I don’t see the ‘hunch’ outside the privately run business or agency as a means to get an idea through.

Rosabeth Moss Kanter may talk of the ‘Hollywood’ approach to projects, but I don’t see the flexibility or process that has pots of money to invest on ideas that are pitched ‘Hollywood’ style.

I find, at times, I feel as if I am defacing the script from ‘Good Morning Vietnam’ in which an army communications paladin theorizes about what makes a joke in a services radio show whereas the Robin Williams character is intuitively, on a hunch, inventive, engaging and witty. As he is in ‘Dead Poets Society’.

Is creativity therefore meant to educate an organisation, department or person on how to improvise?

And surely such opportunities are only possible where systems, seniority or shortness of contract offers.

%d bloggers like this: