Playing Around

A brief update:

There is some key research ongoing in the Ashton x Ashton offices at the moment, involving the effects of gamification on outcomes. So far it seems that a call to action incorporating gaming elements have a positive effect on a broad base, not just self-identified “gamers”.

More details to follow when the survey is complete.

Tidying Up Broken Windows

Perhaps a little behind on the reading list, but a good halfway through Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell, I wanted to make reference to the Broken Windows Theory he promotes. This is in fact the topic that pushed him to create a whole book around epidemiology, inspired by the sudden drop in crime in New York City and a theory to explain it. Instead of focusing on more visible police presence, the idea was to appeal to human nature by essentially tidying up and making mugging, graffiti and other criminal activity out of place. Direct action began on the NYC subway system by removing graffiti from 1984 onwards, removing vandalised wagons from service until they were cleaned up and once one was cleaned making sure it stayed that way.

Apart from deterring criminals from thinking they can take over uncared-for areas of the city this cleaning up also provided a real psychological boost for the residents, the people who just wanted to go about their everyday lives without threat. My favourite part describes how the police force used to let delinquents spend three days finalising their graffiti artworks on train carriages (day one preparing the canvas, day two outlining the “art”, day three adding the colour and details) before arriving with paints and other materials to completely eradicate it. Quite demoralising for the disaffected, but hey.

It made me think about some of the basic practices we put in place for clients when they embark on any project with us. After auditing the existing digital estate, we work together to decide on the essentials and focus on those channels and that content, anything off-message or off-target gets removed and all energy spent on sharpening and optimising the important components. This is a great exercise that leads to a massive simplification and makes conversations about starting a Facebook page much more meaningful – does it fit your marketing strategy, product, audience?

Over 6 months ago now Ashton x Ashton went through a major personal tidying up process, inspired by a joint reading of The Art of Tidying Up, definitely recommended for those of you looking to declutter in any way. Never mind subway carriages and petty crime in New York, do those 5-year-old misshapen socks still make you happy? Get rid. Twenty bin bags later, we were feeling much more streamlined and refined at #Minyhome.

Before You Go on Vacation…

Unfortunately, we are not revealing an exciting new holiday spot, fantastic prices on airfares or unveiling newly discovered cultural delights. We are however giving a brief overview on the benefits of proper planning before getting on the plane.

Here at Ashton x Ashton, we always seek to deliver actionable consultancy. By getting to know you and your business requirements, most importantly your goals and objectives, we can generally map out a clear strategy, a journey to get you there. A comfortable but efficient extension of your own team, we are as interested in your financial goals as your marketing because at the end of the day we have to boost your bottom line.

Once goals are established we present our recommendations. These will be highly targeted to meet your specific objectives, in order that they are measurable and we can all see how effective an approach is, then have the humility and agility to adapt as necessary. The best laid plans cannot remain firm and the more flexibility available the better. All details, down to  the last tweet, should be subject to A/B testing in the real world, optimum results noted and actioned with immediate effect.

Perhaps the most important step in our process though is the foundational audit. To start any activity before this is in place is like going on holiday without researching your destination, who your are travelling with, what kind of cuisine is available. The audit allows us to benchmark against your competitors, find the keywords people are using in your industry and assess your existing digital estate. From this point onwards we can make educated steps in the right direction to optimise existing tactics and recommend new ones.

Continuing the holiday metaphor: if you go to the same resort as last year, you’ll get the same photos. But please, send us a postcard when you get there as we would love to hear from you. And next time we will help you pack your suitcase more effectively.

Spreading Wings

Believed to be on it’s way down, I still like to pander to Google+ on occasion, especially enjoying the great Photos software. Shame it never took off outside the tech geek crowd because the UI, transparency and linking together of all things Google should have had more impact. Possibly the lateness of launch, losing out to ongoing upgrades from Facebook, Twitter and the myriad other startup niche channels.

https://plus.google.com/106202041623540212483/posts/DJbhdUofYux

Hello World!

Ashton & Ashton launches today – born out of experience, created to better serve customer needs in the communication space. The aim is to provide a measurable product that answers and exceeds the brief. This blog will act as a living hub of ideas across business development, sales and marketing plus any other factoids that cross our path in the meantime.

We are an enabler consultancy, often the gateway to a Middle East launch for an external brand. With a long list of reliable partners and suppliers, we take an agnostic approach to rollout as long as the very best job is delivered.

Check out the “about” page for our specialisms, but they are, in no particular order:

  • Digital estate planning
  • Inbound marketing
  • Content and channel strategy
  • Ambassador programming
  • Business development consultancy