Aurora fashion is best known for its high street brands, including Karen Millen, Oasis and Warehouse, with several hundred stores across the UK.
Aurora's group IT director John Bovill was recently named as one of retail's top 70 movers and shakers by Retail Insider, and the group also received Retail Week's IT team of the year award in June.
I spoke to him about the challenges faced by retailers moving into the multichannel space and the impact of mobile and online technology as a supply and demand chain facilitator, as well as the way Aurora has been working with BT Expedite to develop an innovative integrated store system.
It’s hard to make a living writing online. In general, those who write
for the web are looked down on by their ‘in-print’ counterparts. Despite
the fact that we often speak to larger and more relevant audiences,
there’s still an attitude that web copy is somehow illegitimate, less
Just because someone is writing for a
newspaper, they aren’t automatically any more talented or influential
than a blogger. The lines are blurred; many bloggers being talented
journalists and vice versa.
Indeed, the only real difference is the
matter of accessibility, and it's this factor which has led newspapers to duck
behind paywalls, offer subscription-based apps and ‘unique content’
add-ons as the old media struggle to monetise their sites and avoid
devaluing their content.
The assumption seems to be that online, content
may be king, but it’s still cheap.
In fact, one recent incident shows that some people consider it so
cheap; it isn’t worth paying for at all.
Last week, the Washington Post’s Managing Editor Raju Narisetti sent out
a memo to all of the paper’s employees entitled "responding to readers
via social media" in which he effectively bans reporters, editors and
assorted hangers-on from engaging directly with the Post’s considerable
The memo came after a controversial article implying a
link between homosexuality and mental illness was published in the Post
and rightly lambasted by the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against
Defamation (GLAAD). In the ensuing kerfuffle, a Post editor responded to
critics via the company Twitter account, claiming that the paper was
“trying to represent both sides of the story”.
Whether or not there
actually are two sides to this story is not for me to comment on here,
but the reaction by Narisetti highlights the continuing misunderstanding
and misapplication of social media policy by many large companies.
In the my previous post, I spoke about a single aspect of my work process, and in future installments I'll be looking at other areas where I speak to different audiences. However, by now I’m fairly sure that you’re all getting slightly tired of me
shouting about how great I am , so this time round I thought we’d
take a break and begin looking at some leading social professionals from
Social media tools and initiatives are increasingly
widespread, but their use can vary dramatically from company to company, and while Econsultancy has an interesting business model, it's also fairly unique. By looking at other industries I'm hoping we can uncover how the core principles of social media (Listen. Consider. Respond. - you hadn't forgotten had you?) can be applied to different situations.
A good social media manager needs to be highly adaptable, applying these
tenets to differing business models for a variety of reasons.
To kick things off, I
recently spoke to Tom Webster, Social Media Producer at ITV Digital
Channels about how the broadcast media industry applies social media in
order to engage audiences and promote content on a variety of
The iPad's been around for a while now, and although reviews have generally been positive, their are a few Flash and USB-shaped tweaks that many consumers are clamouring for.
Luckily, every electronics
company worth their salt has decided to ignore Steve Jobs’ recent
disparaging comments and are currently rushing out hundreds of slate
computing options in the hope of slicing off a piece of the
sure-to-be-massive tablet computing pie.
With so many quirkily named
Korean imports doing the rounds, we decided it was time to have a look
through the top options and see how they shape up, and if they could be
responsible for the iPad’s recent poor market performance.
Just in time
for Christmas, here are my top ten alternative tablet options:
Following on from my previous post, it’s time to throw myself to the
wolves and tell you exactly what it is I’m doing all day. Hopefully by
outlining my regular daily routine you’ll begin to see how various
platforms can be used by your social media staff to enhance your
customer’s experience and generate revenue.
Where relevant I’ll try to
post exact figures and ROI, and detail some of the new ideas that have
come from our social outreach recently...
When I’m writing about social media, I always try to hammer home the
importance of transparency: Clear and open communication with clients by
members of staff at all levels.
Unfortunately there are times when this
isn’t appropriate. There are hierarchies of information and
responsibility in any company, which means social media expansion often
requires a clear policy so that anyone with access to social media
(which means everyone) stays on message and doesn’t accidentally destroy
a lovingly crafted campaign with an ill-advised tweet.
In order to roll
out a social program across an entire company, you need to train and
educate across your organization, and a properly honed policy is a good
way to begin.
Here area few quick points to consider when putting
together a general use policy that will help you ensure maximum
engagement and minimum risk.
Social media is an incredibly diverse field: Facebook, Twitter,
LinkedIn, Tumblrs, blogs, forums, Flickr, YouTube and literally hundreds
of other apps, tools and networks, presided over by hundreds more
gurus, ninjas, mavens, managers, engagement specialists. Even the (very)
It’s a young discipline, it’s evolving quickly and new
innovations and methods of integration are arriving on a daily basis.
With all this going on, it can be hard to find someone qualified to run
your social media successfully at a strategic level.
departments are working hard to fill new positions, how exactly do you
decide who is qualified?
Facebook has often claimed that ads with a social context or initiative
byline are generally more effective.
As an example, an ad may contain
information showing how many of a user’s friends ‘like’ a particular
brand, or a question/answer call to action, with users more likely to
click ads that their friends have already tried out.
In order to prove this effectiveness, Facebook has now launched a set of
metrics that measure social engagement for paid ads, showing
advertisers exactly how much value can be gained from including a social
If you deal in online marketing or the media in general, then you'll probably be familiar with The Trump Network, owned by business icon (and face of
the US 'Apprentice' show) Donald Trump.
The Trump Network is currently making a foray into affiliate marketing, pop along to the campaign's homepage and you'll see a short video from
Mr.Trump, explaining how his affiliate program can benefit anyone
financially, up to and including multi-millionaires like himself.
The network itself wasn't what initially caught my eye however. Instead,
what piqued my curiosity was the way in which the network is being
promoted across the Twittersphere.
While there's no reason to assume
that Trump or his company are directly behind it, the Trump Network does
have a number of seemingly automated feeds out there promoting the
business, a practice which indicates a fundamental
misunderstanding of the medium.