@Hollycbrookes nah decided against in the end thought the weather was going to be shit! Actually looks quite nice tho innit! 🌞🌞🌞
@danielwcooper hi is it possible to get a contact number to speak to you. I have some news that I would like to share with you.
Home, holiday, family and Scotland beckons...bliss!
This week, Virgin Galactic took to the skies in a test flight over the Mojave desert. Speed’s Chairman, Will Whitehorn joined the Virgin Group in 1987 and was made President of Virgin Galactic in 2004, so he will know more about what that test flight would have meant for the Galactic team than many, as well as what it’s like to work with one of the world’s most well known entrepreneurs, Richard Branson.
So I caught up with Will earlier today to get his views on the flight, the ‘Branson’ effect and what a strong brand reputation can do for businesses.
1. What do you think of the first Virgin Galactic test flight?
It was incredible. It was like witnessing seven years work take flight and I am hugely excited about what this will mean for the project.
2. What did Sir Richard Branson teach you?
Once all the questions you raise have been thoroughly thought out, don’t take no for an answer in business or in life. Don’t be afraid of trying new things in the face of possible failure but know when to stop if things don’t materialise. Think about the consequences of your actions and never say anything you wouldn’t say in a court of law. Finally, reputation is everything and worth protecting.
3. What is your perception of Virgin’s brand evolution?
Virgin now has the power to cross to a variety of corporate structures and operates on the basis of branded private equity. It has evolved into a globally recognised brand associated with entrepreneurialism, competition, value, quality, innovation and a sense of fun.
4. How can branding give an organisation competitive leverage?
When launching a new product, a recognised brand can spend around 10% less than other brands on marketing IF the brand lives up to its reputation. So based on this, reputation can be the key component between success and failure, and in order to craft such a strong reputation, you must engage consistently and honestly with your customers, especially through the bad times, to instil faith and remove uncertainty.
5. Virgin is a very innovative and ambitious brand, how do you think that has influenced other brands?
As long as innovation and ambition is at the heart of business growth and survival, teamed with a defined view of ownership and management to support the business clearly, the opportunities are limitless. Red Bull’s bravery does have some similar cross-over in the Virgin brand style and I admire their brand building and record-breaking stunts. We can admire other brands in dealing with their own market conditions. For example, Apple has remained at the forefront of a tempestuous IT industry, leveraging itself by being resilient and determined.
Gamification: the process of using game design and theory to make ‘something’ more engaging and fun. It’s been heralded as one of the biggest trends to watch out for in a number of industries, from tech to communications, healthcare and education.
I’ve seen and read some fantastic theories of where gamification, could be pretty powerful. One that’s stuck in my mind is the gamification of aftercare for patients who are undergoing some sort of rehabilitation.
Clinicians develop an app that rewards a patient each time they log the completion of their prescribed exercises. While that’s partly motivating, what’s really powerful is the feedback the patient then receives which shows the benefit the exercises are having on the healing process (imagine a life bar in a game, then imagine that life bar relates to the condition of a hip replacement). There are similar models where challenges and feedback have been developed and rolled out in education and workplace motivation schemes.
But how about the use of gamification by brands looking for better audience engagement? Tonight I’m taking part in #commschat, a weekly Twitter chat that looks at all aspects of communications, and the focus this evening is on gamification.
Slapping a game-like environment on top of generally dull content isn’t going to work, but other brands have benefitted from gamification, just think of the McDonalds Monopoly activity. So what ingredients do brands need in order to use gamification to their benefit? Or is all this an example of how comms pros have spotted a trend elsewhere and tried to make it fit for their profession with little reward
Join in tonight, 8-9pm GMT via #commschat
Some light reading below!
Speed Communications today announced that it has been appointed by Costcutter Supermarkets Group as its retained corporate PR agency. The appointment began in February ahead of the major strategic partnership alliance with Palmer & Harvey that Costcutter Supermarkets Group announced to its members on March 13th. Speed’s corporate team handled all external communications around the announcement.
That deal has been recognised by press and analysts as the most significant shake-up of the UK convenience retail sector in years. It sees Costcutter Supermarkets Group and Palmer & Harvey set up a joint venture Buying Company with unrivalled £5bn negotiating power; the transfer of Palmer & Harvey’s 800 Mace, Your Store and Supershop convenience stores to Costcutter Supermarket Group making it the second largest symbol group retailer with over 2,500 stores; and the signing of an eight year distribution contract with Palmer & Harvey.
Moving forward, Speed’s corporate team, reporting into Simon Brown, Costcutter Supermarkets Group’s PR and Communications Manager, will be playing a key role in communicating the benefits of the deal to members and supporting the group’s strategic growth initiatives. This will include a brand engagement programme which will involve Speed’s consumer team.
Simon Brown said: “As a symbol group retailer in a growth sector that is facing significant competitive pressures, we needed an agency that understood the challenges of communicating with multiple stakeholders. Communicating the value we bring to our independent retailer members and their customers, not just now but as the benefits of our strategic partnership with Palmer & Harvey begin to be felt, is something we trust Speed to deliver. They have already aptly demonstrated this and we look forward to continuing to work closely with the team at Speed.”
Scott McLean, joint managing director of Speed and head of the agency’s corporate team, said: “This is the most significant move within the £34bn convenience retail sector in quite some time and it has been received well by Costcutter Supermarkets Group’s 1,700 existing independent retailer members, as well as the 800 Mace, Your Store and Supershop independent retailers who will be joining Costcutter Supermarkets Group. Supporting this strategic shake-up of the convenience sector is a fascinating challenge which Speed is well suited to deliver through our corporate and consumer teams.”