Blaugust Day 28: Immersive Emotional Television Technology

Back in around 2012 I went to an event at BBC MediaCityUK, which showcased various upcoming technologies the the BBC was working on. One of those which at the time seemed extremely ‘out there’ was that they were trying to find a way to track people’s reactions to television in real time, particularly their levels of attention and emotional engagement. This would not only allow them to get real time feedback on how viewers reacted to content, they might then be able to individually tailor content to viewers according to their interests and reactions.

So when I read this article about an app called Cinemmerse, which tracks heart rate and emotion via smart watches, I realised that we had suddenly reached the level of technology to make that possible.

Image from

The writer of the article didn’t seem convinced that film and television creators would actually be interested in that kind of feedback, but clearly companies have already already seen the potential. The Royal Shakespeare Company are currently using heart rate monitors as part of focus grouping for their current production of Titus Andronicus, which is an interesting idea as it’s an exceptionally gruesome production (although totally brilliant – I went to see it in the cinema earlier this month). This is allowing them to gauge the difference in reaction between the live audience and those watching cinema broadcasts. They’ll be releasing the results in November, and I’m very much looking forward to seeing if they discover some really interesting results.


Blaugust Day 27: Pinterest for Business Notes Part Two

These are more notes from the Highbrow course – Pinterest for Business. Reminder that this is another pre-written post as I’m still away until the 30th!

Setting up with Pinterest 

  • Have a fairly wide range of content for your Pinterest account- to attract a wider audience – but keeping within your niche/topic. 
  • Create several boards – to divide up your products and your other content such as blogs. 
  • Make sure that the images on your own website work for pins size/style wise, to encourage people to pin it themselves.
  • The course reminds you to be sure to set up your profile properly – basically as far as I’m concerned, you need to make sure your brand is really clear and recognisable as well as consistent, especially once your content gets shared across other boards. 
  • The course also mentions keywords and making sure that when you search keywords relating to your product, you come up. I would recommend doing some research on competitor’s keywords too, to see what they use.

Blaugust Day 26: VR Immersion doesn’t work for me

So VR gaming is most definitely a thing now. There’s no shortage of games being developed, and systems being worked on. Yet in spite that this, it still feels very much like a niche product. 

Previously this was definitely down to poor, overly-expensive technology. But now the price of VR is getting more affordable, and there are numerous options of system available.

So I began wondering what other barriers there might be to using VR in gaming, and I realised someone based on my own gaming experience.

Not everyone wants an immersive experience in gaming.

Sometimes, I might be really into a game, and totally focussed on it. Sometimes I’ve got a video or livestream on a second screen and I’m focussing on both those things. Sometimes I might be messing around in a game on and off, while doing something totally different on my PC or device. 

In fact, the more I write about this, the less appealing VR gaming seems, at least to me!

Blaugust Day 25: Notes from Digital Marketing Stategy Video

I started out by watching a YouTube video: How to Develop a Digital Marketing Stategy and making a few notes from it – these are just from the beginning of it, so I’ll hopefully have more in the near future.

We don’t get digital yet

From surveys, it turns out that only 9% of digital marketers are confident at what they do. It’s a shockingly low percentage, but not surprising. It’s a fast moving world, and a lot of marketing is still trial and error, still anecdotal results. In many ways, it hasn’t moved on from the pre-digital age of print marketing (which we all still do) where the result of leaflet or poster or newspaper ad could be not just unknown but unknowable.

Traditional format brands struggle online 

In contrast, individuals with a social media can have a huge impact – the presenter calls these micro-influencers, which is something I’ve written about before.

Blaugust Day 24: Email Marketing Notes Part Three

This is the end of this particular Highbrow course (part one and part two can be found here and here.) After I did the second blog, I needed to write a little more and make this the first pre-written, scheduled post to cover my time away from 24-30 August. So, the next few posts will also be pre-written, and I’ll be back on the evening of 30 Aug with a topic written that day. 
So onto the notes!

Email Personalisation 

Personalising your email is great, but this goes beyond just putting people’s names in the ‘Dear so-and-so’ bit – although you should absolutely be doing that!

Testing has shown that using the name of a person instead of just using the company name hugely improve open rates, though success can depend on the company and it may be be something to A/B test.

Goals and Analysis

It’s important to constantly look at how your emails are doing – and not just the positive metrics like open and click-through rate. Bounce rates will give you an idea of whether or not the email info in your database is still good, and unsubscribe will tell you if you are keeping a regular readership, or if people are giving up on you quickly.

Blaugust Day 23: #Hashtag10 

So here’s a cool day to mark with a little blog post, since we’re talking about social media – It’s been ten years since Twitter originally began using hashtags to allow people to search and get connected. Hashtags have become such a ubiquitous part of our culture since then.

Here’s the official tweet from official Twitter, also featuring the first ever hashtagged tweet and suggestions that it be used for ‘groups’, clearly a term borrowed from the then already established Facebook, before Twitter had the chance to develop it’s own terminology.

Blaugust Day 22: Building an E-newsletter

In my day to day job, a lot of what I do involves helping to build marketing emails and newsletters.

In fact, I’ve recently been doing an email marketing course, and there’s notes about that in previous posts (and at least one upcoming one.) I enjoy making email newsletters, and I’ve actually just been finishing up one for Manchester Canoe Club (their first one ever, it’s a fun side-project). So I decided to do a little post on email newsletters. Obviously there’s no shortage of info and articles from experts on how to do it well and I’m absolutely still learning some things, but here are a few thoughts.

  • Keep it simple – both in design and in clear information. Most people spend less than a minute looking at an email, especially with the sheer number that most of us get these days. So while it’s nice to have lots of cool designs,
  • As a general rule, I like to build my newsletters – Title, text on one side, picture on the other (going to underneath or above the text on vertical mobile screens). It’s probably a cliche but I’m also a fan of alternating the picture and text in each row moving down, it can look a little stilted otherwise.
  • White space (in moderation) is nice. Crowded is bad. Keep colours to your brand, or keep them neutral.
  • A snappy title is important, but if this is your monthly newsletter, there might be something to be said for keeping consistency, especially if it’s to an audience that you also market to. Quirky titles might work as part of your brand, or they might be better off saved for a special occasion.
  • Lots of links shows that your website/social media etc. is content rich.
  • The best times to send are Tuesday – Friday. A lot of people don’t check their emails at the weekend.

As I mentioned above, there’s no shortage of resources for email building, and this won’t apply to everyone, it’s just a little list based on personal experience.