Archive for the ‘Third sector’ Category

MMU’s digital marketing mavens make their mark

Monday, September 27th, 2010 by Jon Clements


It’s back to school today for some of the digital and social media marketing mavens of the future.

And, at Manchester Metropolitan University (MMU), the students are embarking on digital projects that will plunge them into the world of the blog; stretching their online skills while keeping one eye on the real-life jobs they’ll eventually be occupying.

For the first time, MMU undergraduates – operating as virtual agencies – will have to submit their digital marketing strategy for a live project as a blog post on a platform of their choice. But the assessment doesn’t stop there – it also requires the use of key words, tags and a linking strategy that will affect their blog’s eventual search rankings.

If universities are going to beat the perennial employer complaint about graduates not having transferable skills, this is certainly the way to go about it.

Brendan Keegan, senior lecturer in digital marketing at MMU, tells PR Media Blog: “The digital marketing industry is demanding and the students need to be up-to-date on it.” That’s why he and David Edmundson-Bird, MMU’S principal lecturer in digital communications are constantly looking for ways to keep the digital marketing and communications course fresh and relevant to the demands of the world beyond the lecture theatre.

The fact that both Keegan and Edmundson-Bird have been part of that world has got to be a good thing for today’s student body.

Keegan, a full-time MMU lecturer since January this year, taught to high school level in Ireland and Manchester before getting involved in web design, media sales and viral marketing campaigns. His first foray into online community building came with a project to help UK-wide town managers share knowledge, which included a LinkedIn group and a ghost-written blog to maintain the flow of interaction among the group.

He says: “We wanted to inspire engagement, discussion and create a digital footprint that would encourage new members to join. The ultimate aim was to gain a ‘return on involvement’ for members and it did this by increasing activity and crossing over into offline events.”

The digital lessons he learned outside academia have influenced Keegan’s aspiration to dispatch MMU’s digital marketing students with real skills for the real world: “The specific roles are now out there and our graduates need to be not only highly aware of a rapidly changing sector but also highly employable.”

Active MMU initiatives such as Search School and ProDevDay are all about bringing students face to face with the job opportunities on offer from Manchester’s digital and marketing community.

So what next? Keegan: “Digital branding is more important than ever before and social media is consistently growing – I don’t think we’re going back; it’s evolutionary.”

*MMU and online marketing company, PushOn, have collaborated on a new piece of research, Digital Directions: How Business Decision Makers in the North West use the Internet. Download it free of charge.

About Jon Clements

Jon Clements is a Chartered PR consultant specialising in B2B PR, corporate and marketing communications and is the founder of Metamorphic PR. Connect at: JonClements ''

Amnesty right on time with social media

Friday, March 6th, 2009 by Jon Clements


From 1.10pm today, Amnesty International showed what social media can do to propogate awareness of and support for a critical cause.

Its 1:10 campaign – based on the statistic that one-in-ten UK women are raped or subject to violence each year – asked Twitter users (along with MySpace and Facebook folk) to replace their avatar with the above logo and, at 1.10pm, update their status message to reflect the main one-in-ten campaign message and pass on the web site URL.

It’s a simple idea, but one that is memorable and easy for the social media audience to get behind and share (seeing as that’s what they do best!).

About Jon Clements

Jon Clements is a Chartered PR consultant specialising in B2B PR, corporate and marketing communications and is the founder of Metamorphic PR. Connect at: JonClements ''

Charity Begins at Home…or ‘Home Page’?

Tuesday, March 3rd, 2009 by Steve Taylor

A ‘guest post’ from Steve Taylor, Director of Marketing & Communications at Sue Ryder Care.

Amid the ballyhoo of financial melt down in the city, pay freezes, job losses in the private sector and the prospect of a long-haul to recovery, it’s hardly surprising that so many marketing and communications people are seeking solace in the ether. The answer, my friend, is blowing through cyberspace…or so we are led to believe.

Not surprisingly one group seeking digital redemption for the likely downturn in income is the Third Sector which covers voluntary organisations, charities, the broad scope of not-for-profit organisations and social enterprises, of which there are anything up to 300,000 in the UK alone.

The potential for online marketing and ‘stakeholder engagement’ (don’t we professionals just love making up phrases for keeping in touch with people?) is now buzzing round the charity sector. Marketing strategies are being ‘realigned’ to take account of the ‘changing needs and attitudes of the online constituency’ and to encourage people to engage with charities in differing ways.

While a modest number of charities, both large and small, have been using their web pages to interact with supporters for some time and, particularly, to campaign for their cause, the bulk of the rest are late-comers. And herein lies the problem: There is a danger of the perception from board level that the bright young things in the IT/Comms team will provide a plug-and-play, quick fix (or is that click fix?) via the likes Facebook, MySpace and Twitter.

Clearly there are opportunities to use social networking platforms to broaden the delivery of any organisation, but they must be integrated into the overall marketing and communications activities. One cannot replace the other and they must be allowed to work in their own, unique ‘new media’ way if they are to derive a mutuality of benefit.

The great thing is that by truly understanding the communication channel and working in the context of the medium, you can begin to see the advantages as a supplementary route to supporters. Taking traditional, tried-and-tested activities and simply placing them online won’t work.

Times are tough for charities and generating cash is critical to survival . However the value of support is now also being gauged increasingly in terms of number of hours of volunteering, professional advice, pro bono contributions and the breadth and depth of networks. It is through online contact, by building these digital constituencies and integrating them with other marketing and communications activities that many charities will weather the recession.

The potential to effect changes in attitudes and behaviours towards charities is huge and many more charities will develop their online offerings as the more cost-effective solution to traditional routes. The classic pathway of raising awareness, generating interest, creating desire with a clear call-to-action action still applies and remains a decent enough framework for planning.

Does it work? Just take a look at the trail of excellent support generated on Twitter by Bletchley Park for instance to see how you can engage a large group for no cost. That’s another ‘code’ they’ve cracked.