Digital audits are sexy

I think everyone in communications probably had a double-take when they read this headline and are now shaking their head in disbelief. But, like many other things in life, a digital audit is a necessary process to carry out in order to progress to greater things. Like doing your laundry and cleaning your fingernails. From a brand perspective, it is an essential way to keep your online reputation in check and forms the foundation for a forward-looking strategy.

Ideally carried out in-depth on a quarterly basis, but usually undertaken by a new agency to provide clear starting points for all parties to work from, an proper dig should inform a company exactly where they stand in terms of efficacy of message but also what people are saying about them. Are they having any influence on their target market, and if not what/who is? A decent audit often throws up relevant competition as well as examples of effective campaigns that have “moved the needle”.

A great article I just read on the topic, courtesy of Econsultancy, covers off most of the key points here, but perhaps the most important thing to note is this: audits aren’t really sexy at all, that’s why you need a third party to do your dirty work and tell you what needs fixing, conveniently removed from any potential internal politics.


Where Does Your Loyalty Lie?

My house could easily be sponsored by one of two major global brands, littered as it is with a variety of black, white and space grey coloured objects named either Ektorp, Hemnes, iPhone or MacBook Pro. My wife and I are loyal to certain brands because they suit our lives, are dependable and are not unduly extreme on our budgets. But what about below the surface? Are we as brand loyal for more technical concerns, with what matters under the hood?

I’m focusing specifically on cloud storage and the associated features for this series of blog posts as am currently testing and reviewing the following services in some kind of transitional parallel:

  1. Google Drive – including Docs and Photos
  2. Dropbox
  3. Microsoft Office and OneDrive
  4. Apple’s iServices

These are in no particular order of preference but each plays or has played a significant role in my personal and professional life during the last few years.

Since buying my very first personal computer upon graduating (yes, it was a while ago, my first email address was my university matriculation number instead of an actual name), I have been an Apple Fan and seethed briefly every time I have been given a Windows machine with every subsequent career move. Only now whilst consulting do I have in my own control the power to choose OS X over whatever confusing flavour of Windows is slapped onto an inferior laptop. Even that first iBook screamed quality and stability, loaded with my entire music and photo collection onto the pre-iPod iterations of iTunes and iPhoto on my two-year sojourn in the Land of the Rising Sun.

I still recall how, in 2001, the pristine white machine had no space for a floppy drive and I had to rely on something entirely unheard of and unused at the time – a USB memory stick. This ingenious device allowed me to share files with PCs easily but wasn’t cheap; you could switch GB for GBP in those days, storage for currency, but all I remember thinking was: “This is more than 40 floppy disks!” with a big grin on my newly-graduated face. Nearly 15 years later and I am about to drill into the nitty gritty of cloud storage, where a terabyte costs “only” $10 a month or thereabouts – oh the times they have a-changed.

Next post: Google Drive

Image courtesy of Kazu End via Stocksnap

Fleshing Out The Best Mix For You

Although here in the Middle East, things tend to quieten down on most fronts during the holy month of Ramadan, here at Ashton & Ashton we have been busy pulling together an increasingly useful capability set for you. What we have noticed has been lacking from previous project experience we have striven to plug those gaps and essentially have the resources ready as they are required so each brief is answered exactly and efficiently.

Clear, practical strategic planning to achieve your business objectives is the paramount reason we exist, so we added a brain trained at one of the world’s leading business schools; one of our directors studied at ESSEC Business School in Paris and recently attained an Executive MBA in Strategy & Management of International Business.

Quality, well-priced digital production facilities have been hard to lay a hand on of late too. Whether we ultimately decide on Facebook Connect video experiences, mobile applications or all manner of other immersive creative solutions, we have the answer. From a team with experience delivering for Yahoo, Nissan, Kawasaki to name a few if we brief it they can produce it, enhancing the broader content strategies.

Additionally last week I struck up a working relationship with a team that deliver all manner of social media CRM solutions. This answers directly a number of previous clients who were looking for that magic bullet that converts Facebook followers into sales. The tools and resources at your disposal from this team mean that the journey from increasing your Facebook fanbase then converting them into engaged brand advocates that continue down the funnel to perform whatever action you define is a smooth and enjoyable journey. Gold dust.

Just in case a launch event of some description was needed, we will shortly be finalising with a hardworking team who regularly work with mass or niche, luxury brands alike and have the knack of booking the perfect talent to attend. Think Tori Amos or Lenny Kravitz.

Get in touch immediately so we can start shaping your communication architecture at the earliest.