This is now long overdue, but six months down the line I've finally written my very first blog for BrightLemon.com. As the 'new' Business Development Manager, I thought I'd start by sharing with you all why I wanted to work for BrightLemon in the first place, and provide a brief insight into the digital trends that have my attention in 2015.
There were lots of factors that attracted me to BrightLemon - besides the unusual name! Firstly, the core message of 'creating communities that increase engagement and participation' was one that I though made BrightLemon stand out from every other digital agency.
Of course I was keen to understand what BrightLemon meant with 'communities', as this is a word that has gets bandied about lots by government and major corporations. After some further research it become clear that a BrightLemon community could not be defined in one line, as each was a tailored experience created to encourage users with a shared interests and/or needs to participate and collaborate within a customised online platform. The value BrightLemon bring therefore come through both the understanding of technology (Drupal) combined with a strategic approach to community building. An approach to building websites that was strategic, not techno-centric was a big part of what marked BrightLemon out as being unique.
From an ethical prospective it was refreshing to see that BrightLemon strive to work with organisations who promoted social change, working within charity (Amensty International, Tate), education (Teach First, British Council, CIMA, University of Cambridge) and the public sector (NHS London, UKTI, Department of Education). Deliving deeper into these projects it became clear that each had a purpose (high-level aims) and a desired impact.
What the future holds?
There has never been a more exciting time to work in digital. Websites and apps have been my life for the last three years but here is what is exciting me in 2015:
1) Education, Education, Education
This is not a reference to Tony Blair's 1996 Labour party campaign speech, but instead where I think we will see technology have the biggest impact in 2015.
BrightLemon attended the BETT show at London's Excel back in January and it was clear that technology has already revolutionised education. From tablets in the classroom to tailored online learning experience, the classroom of today is a modern and interactive environment.
It won't only be students who benefit from the alliance between education and technology. In the classroom of tomorrow teachers will be able to track students progress in-real time and also support each other through a more standardised approach to learning.
2) Unsocial media and the rise of bespoke social networks
The 21st century has seen social media usage skyrocket. However Facebook, Twitter and Instagram have not always been used for the greater good. High profile cases of cyber-bullying have dominated the headlines, privacy no longer exist, social media addiction has reduced productivity and a false sense of community has emerged.
The latter point is one that organisations need to consider as billions of pounds is spend on social media each year, but now it's really time to ask - where does this 'investment' go?
It is no longer enough for an organisation to have a Facebook page, as often this just provide a platform for spam and meaningless chat, as opposed to real value added interactions. The options therefore are wither reduce the investing of time and money spent on these platform, look at professional alternatives like Yammer, or create you own online community / social network. By building a tailored online community you can ensure that the right people are using your platform and that the conversations taking place online have a sense of purpose because of the shared context and needs. From a marketing perspective you also want to know that the messages you share online actually reach the relevant stakeholders, as opposed to getting lost in a sea of cat photo's and images of last night's dinner!
3) Social Commerce
Nearly all of world's most popular websites (excluding maybe Google) are social and this now extends to the world of commerce. Amazon already provide product recommendations based upon what others have purchased, travel companies like Booking.com rely on public reviews authenticated through Facebook, and millions of products are shared on traditional social media sites daily. With one-click ordering now the norm on all the big online stores, it is surely a matter of time before other 3rd party system jump on social commerce bandwagon. Watch this space.