Wednesday, December 21, 2011

A year in Digital Marketing

The snow may have melted away but the festive feeling has definitely arrived in my work's office!

Having started my new role as Digital Marketing Executive in early September, I've been kept busy with a long list of website designs and redesigns; numerous clients seeking the benefits of our Search Marketing and email marketing campaigns, and social media pages designed and tailored to our clients’ needs. Not to mention the numerous events I have attended throughout Scotland!

And in the world of digital marketing, 2012 saw the good, the bad and the ugly:

In addition to significant improvements in its Analytics and changes in Adwords, perhaps the biggest event in marketing this year was Google’s highly anticipated launch of Google+ which was hailed as the biggest contender to the Facebook throne. Initial reactions were positive with users flocking to add people to their inner circles, but after a delayed Business Pages launch, momentum seems to have dropped somewhat and 2012 will tell if Google+ can live up to the hype.

Perhaps the most well known and well respected marketer in the world, Apple’s Steve Jobs this year passed away leaving behind a legacy of products which have defined a generation. The news shook the global community, Jobs having revolutionized how we live, work and play through technology. His biography has just been announced as Amazon’s most popular selling book of 2011.

Whilst Smartphones from Apple and Android soared in sales throughout the year, Blackberry – having been popular due to its reliability and security – lost major customer loyalty when its systems shut down for a week in numerous countries across the globe. Meanwhile Adobe Flash succumbed to the power of Apple by ceasing all development of mobile versions of Flash.

After introducing promoted tweets, Twitter established itself as a major advertising platform as it increasingly saw its popularity sky-rocket. Twitter’s popularity was never more evident than its part in the various political protests and the coining of “Hurricane Bawbag” during Scotland’s stormy weather in early December.

And after a turbulent year of ever-increasing user base but backlash from users regarding interface changes and rumours of planting negative press on rival Google, Facebook neatly tied up the year with the mostly well-received launch of Facebook Timeline.

2011 was a hectic year - for 6 months I remained in my role working in Fashion PR at Mary Portas' creative marketing agency before I decided to return to the homeland. Upon my return, I saw myself returning to Topshop as a Visual Merchandiser and Brand manager temporarily until I landed myself a coveted role in Digital Marketing. Phew.

Bring on 2012.

Kat x

Monday, November 28, 2011

House of Harlow 1960 (wishlist)

For those of you who are not familiar with House of Harlow 1960, let me introduce you.

The brand launched in 2009 with Nicole Richie as it's creative force. You'd be forgiven for thinking that here was yet another rich, famous fashionista who on a whim decided to create a fashion brand, but that's where you'd be wrong. Like Victoria Beckham and the Olsen twins (with The Row), Nicole had long established herself as a firm favourite on the best-dressed pages and with Designers alike before proving that she could be a natural force behind the driving seat of her very own fashion brand too.

Nicole's love and influence of costume dressing and finding inspiration in the exotic and bohemian has always shown through her personal style choices, and with House of Harlow 1960, her style stamp is all over her collections.

In particular I have fallen head over heels (pardon the pun) for HoH 1960's AW11 shoes. As a patriot of black and anything a bit scruffy or rocky, black killer heels and bondage straps (refer to any AW11 checklist) are naturally a thing that appeal to me. But so too are the leopard print heels which wouldn't usually be my first point of call but in small doses are quite fantastic. Certainly they are in this case; those leopard print platforms and wedges have the ability to take a casual lbd or skinny jeans and transform them into an outfit fit for the life of a Hollywood glamazon!
I have selected my most coveted AW11 shoes from the collection as well as a fabulous McQueen-esque bag and some select jewellery because they are just so unbelievably wonderful! Each item you can imagine Nicole wearing herself, and the collection as a whole is trend driven and considered, yet individual and sends a bold message: that Nicole Richie has come a long way since the days of the Simple Life and the proof is in the collection.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

YouTube social media revamp

After Business Review USA recently leaked intended Youtube redesigns, YouTube has taken matters into its own hands with a design roll-out that shows a Social Network (and predominantly Google+) inspired revamp.

YouTube is allowing users to preview the intended redesigned site which shows a distinct move towards integrating Google+ and Facebook, with sharing tabs on a prominent profile sidebar. The inclusion of Google+ is unsurprising given that YouTube is Google owned, however the Facebook link-up might be seen as a tactical move on Google’s part. The Facebook tab will allow users to link their Facebook profiles to YouTube, personally recommending videos to those in their friend networks and more importantly, exposing Facebook’s mammoth community to YouTube’s integration with Google+. The move is something that viewers, marketers and advertisers alike will ultimately see huge benefits from with personalised trending videos appearing on the YouTube homepage, and Google+ undoubtedly sees the opportunity in using YouTube as a platform to encroach upon Facebook’s 800 million active users.

The redesigns also come at a time when YouTube has made some significant deals with both big-name brands - most notably allowing the streaming of Disney movies - and also users: The company recently announced it’s participation in a revenue-sharing deal with users who post popular viral videos. Having developed an algorithm which it believes will predict which videos will go viral, the scheme will see YouTube contacting its posters with advertising opportunities for their page.

As officially the second largest search engine in the world (after Google itself), these moves by YouTube point towards an even more engaging and enhanced social media experience whilst aiming to propel Google+ further into Facebook’s market. As with the recent addition of its Google+ Business Pages, Google seem set on using all their assets – including YouTube - to provide a worthy contender against Facebook to the Social Media throne.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Steps forward in Social Media consumer engagement

Perhaps a mile-stone in Social Media, today marks the first time that TV media behemoth the X Factor (USA) has given its public voters an alternative to calling or texting for their favourite musical act on the show: After an initial reluctant approach towards Twitter, media mogul and X Factor producer Simon Cowell has since declared, “the only powerful people on TV are the people on Twitter and Facebook.”

Twitter has invested in this new technological advancement (which sees voters submitting vote via Direct Messaging) and at this stage is reluctant to reveal whether the move is likely to be profitable. The hope however, is that the financial benefits in the future are worth the initial investment.

But what does the X Factor USA aim to achieve through a partnership with Twitter? As Mr Cowell professed himself, “it’s like having millions of producers working with you” in regards to the immediate feedback the show constantly receives, searchable via the Twitter’s own search function. The method could also be a way of obtaining more meaningful information around voters. From Twitter’s perspective, the move signifies a change “from focusing just on engagement” to getting into the creative fabric of shows, letting the audience help change the outcome.

So what does this mean for the future of social media within the infrastructure of brands? Recent research by Constant Contact has found that consumers who engage with brands on Twitter and Facebook are year-on-year increasingly more likely to invest in that brands products, and it’s not just media companies and retailers – social media is influencing everything from politics to the way our services are provided. Companies have to reassess how they communicate now that their customers have a voice: a voice that can ultimately make or break them.

It was recently revealed that US President Barack Obama will be returning to the use of social media channels for his 2012 presidential campaign. Obama famously embraced the power of Facebook and Twitter throughout his 2008 campaign, which ultimately saw him being voted president. This time free blogging site Tumblr has been harnessed with an aim at encouraging voters to interact and share campaign stories. Time will tell if his previous campaign’s success can be repeated, but Obama’s digital marketing strategy of the 2008 election famously spawned many other international politicians into following in his footsteps.

Yet despite social media’s continued success stories and more companies than ever apparently embracing the digital age, there is still a worrying lack of response to the individual customer. Information in social media travels fast, and it is crucial that companies don’t attempt to attempt to overly-control communication in a social media context. Similarly, simply issuing content isn’t enough anymore: Customers are looking to be heard and acknowledged.

Socialbakers is a company who measure and analyse company responses within social media and its findings worryingly show that on Facebook, companies respond to just 5% of customer enquiries on average. More media focused brands however seem to be continuing to pioneer the new way of engaging with customers in an effort to achieve valuable and compelling customer experiences.

Coca Cola have recently made the bold move to no longer rely on traditional ad agencies for their creative ideas. Instead, the global soft drinks brand will be adopting a “crowd-sourcing” approach whereby their feedback and ideas all come via their Facebook and Twitter fans. (Incidentally Coca Cola’s Facebook page is now ran by two genuine brand fans who decided they could do a better job at representing Coca Cola than Coca Cola itself. Coca Cola agreed.)

In an effort to shape the creativity of its portfolio of brands, Coca Cola has realised the potential in allowing consumers to produce the content they want to see, giving the customer a voice and actually listening to what their fans and followers have to say.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

A McQueen Halloween

Even after the untimely passing of their namesake, Alexander McQueen continues to grow under the leadership of Sarah Burton and still has the ability to wow me. Here, a short film by Parisian director Babette Pauthier showcases their Fall/Winter scarf collection. The scarves flow and mutate in a mirrored symmetry, with skull print and sinister musical undertones sitting perfectly with the soft flow of silk and more delicate shapes. Who knew scarves could be so captivating?

Coincidently, I went as a skeleton for Halloween last night having painted a full skeleton onto my black catsuit from Halloweens past as Katwoman. Unfortunately I have no shots of the catsuit, but here's my skull!

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Lunch With An Old Bag 2011

Last week, as a volunteer for the Prince's Trust, I worked at a fabulous event held at the very grand Prestonfield House in Edinburgh: Lunch With An Old Bag 2011.

The event - currently in it's third year - brings together 50 of Scotland's most high profile ladies who each host a table of 10, enjoy a beautiful lunch and fabulous entertainment (this year in the form of singer Russell Watson) and bid on some of the most sought after handbags of the season. Luxury design houses, designers and celebrities donated a selection of bags which were auctioned to the highest bidders in aid of the Prince's Trust who are aiming to change the stereotype of disadvantaged young people.
Yours truly was asked to style the bags on stage, sell raffle tickets then prepare the designer bags for auction. I then also somehow ended up on stage "modeling" the bags as they were being auctioned. See below for me (in a fetching red Prince's Trust t-shirt) and a fabulous Prada bowling bag.
Images Copyright of Alan Simpson

Monday, September 12, 2011

Luxury Fashion & Social Media

The words Luxury and Exclusivity are often considered synonymous. As luxury brands increasingly feel more pressure to conquer marketing online, how do they remain desirable in a medium that is open to the masses?

It is widely perceived that the web isn’t a luxury market and brands face the dilemma of either embracing social media or being left behind. As people spend more money online, in order to make profit luxury brands must find a way to engage these consumers.

The biggest challenge that faces luxury brands when approaching social media is that luxury implies exclusivity and therefore the product shouldn’t be accessible to everyone. Social media sites make it more challenging to selectively choose whom to interact with. Furthermore, some brands are hesitant to try new marketing techniques, which might be risky to their established brand image. If done incorrectly, they risk ruining their brand reputation and diminishing the perception of affluence.

The solution for the luxury sector is to embrace social media: Just as product can be desirable and exclusive, so websites can be.

Burberry is a fantastic example of a brand who have created their own online community. Rather than shun Facebook and Twitter because of their mass audiences, Burberry has embraced them.

Burberry’s Facebook page boasts over 7 million followers, and the face of the brand’s new ‘Body’ fragrance (and fashion ‘It girl’ of the moment) Rosie Huntington-Whitely appears in a short video to thank fans for the achievement. The page introduces new content, which keep the consumer engaged in the brand and lusting for the product. Whilst remaining exclusive, the brand offers a mass audience the chance to be part of their brand in the same way that a new fragrance does.

Their Twitter page similarly offers snapshots into the world of Burberry with Creative Director Christopher Bailey even taking over the account during Fashion Weeks.

But significantly on top of this, Burberry launched its ArtOfTheTrench internet community, allowing those who sign up to comment, favourite and – if their image is selected - even share their own real-life shots of them in the famous Burberry trench. Bailey even commissioned The Sartorialist’s Scott Schuman to launch the site in a tactical move which would appeal to young internet-savvy fashion fans. Through this site and the younger audience appeal of a renowned fashion blogger, Burberry give their users another outlet that is more refined than the larger social media sites open to the masses.

Other luxury brands have also embraced social media to fantastic effect. Jimmy Choo started an Internet frenzy by launching a “Shoe Treasure Hunt” in London via location-based social networking website Foursquare, whilst Tiffany & Co. and Chanel were quick to realize the potential of iPhone applications which interact with Facebook.

Whilst some hold back attempting to guard their brand identity of desirability, most luxury brands are increasingly realising the need to focus on creating unique online experiences. Social media is a tool that any brand can ill afford not to be involved with. Acknowledging that exposing your brand to consumers through social networks is the only way to engage today’s customers consistently.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Vogue's Fashion Night Out

So I wasn't at Vogue's Fashion Night Out this year because I am no longer living in London but here's me "papped" by a fashion blogger outside Selfridges from last year's Night Out.

(Hareem pants (Next) and aviator jackets (A|wear) were all the rage. Also wearing Chanel necklace and bag, and Clarks Originals desert wedges.)
Hope all my London friends had a great time this year!

Nike: Back for the Future

Remember how space-age the idea of having self-lacing Nike sneaks seemed in BTTF? Well we are now well and truly in the future and apparently they're not that space-aged. Nike have produced a pair which were relatively simple to make and the limited stock will go up for auction with all proceeds go to Michael J. Fox Parkinson Disease Foundation. Awesome.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Monday, August 15, 2011

Scottish designers lead the way in designing social change

I recently wrote an article for Please find here, or read below.

A new breed of designer is emerging in Scotland. In the midst of public sector cuts they are showcasing the value of giving local citizens a voice. But how can design tools and methods be used to create a positive social change?

As part of the legislative programme of the Conservative – Liberal Democrat coalition agreement, the 'Big Society' proclamation declared its intention “to create a climate that empowers local people and communities, building a big society that will take power away from the politicians and give it to the people.”

However, service designers in the UK have already been impressively pioneering such a movement for some years and are leading discussions with both the government and general public alike in how to implement creative action which can transform our daily experiences with public services.

Most people think of designers as creating tangible products such as chairs, a dress or packaging. Instead service designers challenge the role of design within the public sector by placing design thinking at the heart of the service process.

Recent Scottish design graduates Sarah Drummond and Lauren Currie are not only part of this new movement towards a social conscience, but are firmly in the driver’s seat in Scotland (and indeed internationally) in their quest to change attitudes to the way we experience public services.
“Our job is not only to understand what is going on inside people’s heads, but to find ways of getting that thinking out into the world," said the duo.

Together they have formed Snook, a social innovation outfit with a determined ambition to change the lives of the people of Scotland. Within its first two years, Glasgow based Snook has expanded to create three additional roles within their permanent team and have attracted a host of clients ranging from the Scottish Government to the National Museums of Scotland looking for their skills in transforming how people view and interact with their services.

The concept of designing a service is a difficult one to translate. How does one communicate an experience or for that matter design a new one? Designers such as Snook see their skills as easily translatable and perfect tools for the new and evolving discipline, which might otherwise be considered intangible. Using design techniques, they work closely with people to visualize and communicate aspects of their lives, their ideas and opinions, and they do so with an infallible enthusiasm and empathy for the people and communities they aim to help.

“Snook love working with people to improve the things that determine the quality of their life – Education, Health, Welfare and Social Care – and giving people the opportunity to take more control over these services.”

One such example of Snook’s design application is – an online feedback tool for the interaction between police and public. Currently being piloted in Tayside, its success in improving communication between Tayside police and its public looks set to result in the initiative being applied on a national scale.

Start-up companies such as Snook are proof that as the political landscape in Scotland continues to change, a growing number are pushing the boundaries of how public services could look in the future.

On 22nd September in Edinburgh, the Guardian newspaper sponsors the first Public Services Summit for Scotland. The summit is a significant step in recognizing that public services need to be re-examined and re-worked to deliver better people experiences. Design might just be the answer in doing this.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

American Apparel let you in their L.A. Factory

Well, they let you get an insight of what they do there. But it's a clever marketing technique. Click on the windows of our factory to see what goes on in that department: You too can be a part of our world.

Monday, August 8, 2011

The Rock star and the Fashionista

For decades there has been a distinct correlation between fashion icons and rock stars (think Jerry Hall & Mick Jagger). In more recent years, there seems to be a resurgence of the musician man-candy on the arm of our favourite style icons.

Here's my pick of our favourite trend-setting rock ‘n’ roll couples:

Kate Moss & Jamie Hince (of The Kills).Recently married Kate and Jamie couldn’t be more suited for one another. Kate has been romantically linked with a whole host of musicians over the years and lists Primal Scream singer Bobby Gillespie as one of her closest friends. Dueting with Primal Scream and starring in a White Stripes video have all added to her “indie” credentials (not to mention her relationship with Johnny Depp back in the day and the father of her daughter Lily is Dazed & Confused founding editor Jefferson Hack).

The supermodel’s previous tumultuous relationship with Pete Doherty seemed to put Kate’s head in a spin, but it looks like Kate has finally found “the one”.

Katy Perry & Russell BrandOkay so not strictly rock stars but between Russell’s previous lifestyle and Katy’s music, they certainly tick the Sex, Drugs and Rock and Roll boxes. Add both stars’ ability to set fashion trends and you have the perfect fashion-rock duo.

Prior to meeting Russell, Katy had had a bumpy relationship with hip hop star Travis McCoy of Gym Class Heroes, whilst lothario Russell was an admitted sex addict who played the field.

The recovering drug and sex addict comedian and the 'I kissed a girl' singer have been happily married since last October.

Kate Hudson & Matt Belamy (of Muse)
Not to be outshined by the Beckhams, the A-List couple recently announced the arrival of their new baby son Bingham "Bing" Hawn Bellamy. (Yes, you read correctly.) Matt and baby Bingham will now be Hollywood royalty with Kate's parents mum Goldie Hawn and stepdad Kurt Russell.

The new parents got engaged in April following a year-long whirlwind romance.

Kate has a son to previously husband Black Crowes singer Chris Robinson. Since their divorce in 2007, Kate has been romantically linked to a whole host of male stars the one that stuck was (again) a lead singer in a rock band. The role that kick-started her career was that of a rock groupie (sorry, “band-aid”) in Almost Famous.

Alexa Chung and Alex Turner (of Arctic Monkeys).The model-turned-TV presenter had previously been linked with members of The Lost Prophets, The Horrors and Klaxons before hooking up with Arctic Monkeys frontman Alex in 2007.

The ultra-cool couple are often spotted in their natural habitat of music festivals wearing complimentary laid-back chic outfits. Alexa even starred in an Arctic Monkeys music video.

Unfortunately, rumours are abound that the pair have split up. Photographed in May mid a less than enthusiastic kiss, the two haven’t been spotted together since - not even at Glastonbury despite them both being in attendance.

Keira Knightley & James Righton (of Klaxons)

Having split from long-term boyfriend actor Rupert Friend, Keira’s heart seemed to be broken until friend Alexa Chung introduced Kiera to Klaxons keyboarder James.

In just a couple of months the two have been spotted unable to keep their hands off of each other and look set to become the new fashion/indie power couple.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Tula AW11

For a while there, there seemed to be a slight backlash against the 'It' bag. And perhaps rightly so midst a global recession. But brands this season seem to be taking a more nostalgic look back to the classics in order to provide us with 'It' bags which will last us year-in, year-out.

Still not got £2000 to throw away? Enter Tula, a British handbag company who make the most beautifully crafted handbags in classic styles and at affordable high street prices. With a heritage of over 35 years, their AW11 collection looks back in time and relives the classic functionality and lady like glamour of the 50’s and early 60’s. Think in-the-style-of icons (who are having a bit of a revival at the moment) such as Jackie Onassis and Grace Kelly.

Here's my pick of my favourites from their AW11 collection, which are all about quality and structured shapes in a gorgeous Autumnal colour palette:
Metallics have long been a favourite of mine given that I'm still a bit of a rock fan at heart so to see the glam 70s back in trend warms my heart. This'll go nicely with my leather leggings thank you!
Small cross body bags have had a huge resurgence recently on the arms of everyone from Alexa to la Moss. This one's a gorgeous colour and finished off in ostrich skin, another key trend for handbags in Autumn/Winter along with snake skin.
AW11 Lady Dior anyone? Loving the Alexander McQueen/Jimmy Choo/Mui Mui leopard print pony hair going around at the moment.
The pouch bag - So very glad it's back for AW11 as I have a couple that have been stored away in my wardrobe for some time.
Very classic Hermes. I'm in love with this lady-like look in edgy patent black!

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Style Crush on Karen Gillian

I have always been a lover of red hair and delicate, ghostly features. My sister has these enviable colourings but views it as a restriction. Au contraire ma soeur, there so much to work with!

Karen Gillian, ex-model (surprise, surprise), rocks the vintage indie girl look whilst having her own distinct style on the red carpet. I could have went on and on with the selection. Much like her enviable legs:

Sunday, July 31, 2011


Top 5 wishlist for August

Some achievable, some not-so achievable:

Topshop 'Psychic' black studded ankle boots £110
Chanel 'Boy' bag in white (and/or red) £1525
Tina Lilienthal silver skull and arrow necklace £66Barbour flyweight tartan beadnell jacket £179.95
Topshop honey glossy faux fur cossack hat £22