Unsung Heros

By The Drum | Administrator

December 14, 2006 | 8 min read

Media Education eye tracking

Media Education

Iain Shaw heads up Media Education, an Edinburgh-based audio visual training and production company, which specialises in using expressive arts with production-based video, audio and new media skills to help organisations, communities and individuals create positive change.

Formed in 1990 by Shaw, the company has seen first-hand the challenges, frustrations and miscommunications faced by individuals as well as corporates in attempting to engage with each other.

The firm, which employs twelve staff, currently works with a wide range of clients including Scottish Business In The Community, Fife Council, HBOS, VisitScotland, Apex Scotland and the City of Edinburgh Council.

The company provides a wide range of bespoke staff training and development programmes, as well as workshops and seminars on the themes of creativity, media and team and individual development. Its latest offering, Corporate Radio, which has been commissioned by VisitScotland, produces talk radio programmes which are made available for staff or customers to listen to get important information.

“We used Corporate Radio to promote our first ever Green Week, raising staff awareness for green issues. It was the perfect solution. It allowed us to create compelling messages through the tone of voice, it fitted well with our green objectives and helped us reach our remote staff who don’t have easy access to the web,” says Siobhan Daly, internal communications manager at VisitScotland.

In order to produce the programmes, a journalist records interviews in person or over the phone, records audio news bulletins and press reviews and then edits the material, checks it with the contributor and then makes it available either through the internet or over the phone, using music, and everything else you might associate with talk radio to help engage listeners.

“The strength of the audio lies at the heart of the communication process,” says Shaw. “You can collect your audience’s reactions, criticisms, concerns or questions via email or on voice mail included in the service. You will then involve your team, managers, external experts or even the CEO to respond to questions or comment on these reactions, creating a real democratic, interactive forum within your organisation.

“With the diversification of the media and the additional platforms for delivery, people now expect to be much more actively involved and we can see many applications for Corporate Radio.”

Insightful Business

Insightful Business was established early in 2005 by managing director Corinne Anderson, who looks to help resolve internal problems within marketing companies and their clients.

The former head of student marketing and customer service at Napier University had been working heavily with Napier on a major project at the University in customer and relationship management.

“I had been developing marketing strategy in home and international recruitment markets for students. However, the customer and relationship management project really was broadening what I wanted to do and I decided that really I needed a bigger challenge for myself,” explains Anderson.

As a result, Anderson formed Insightful Business, which has been going from strength to strength ever since, with companies using the consultancy to examine internal communication problems and looking at solutions which will help overcome them.

Part of the Insightful Business service includes looking at the client’s business and marketing strategy. From there the consultancy will analyse what is not working and, in doing so, use its business coaching skills to work with the team and the individual staff in order to find, not just where the practical problems are, but what is holding the business back at both an organisational and personal level.

The consultancy combines practical skills and underlying motivational factors that may be holding aspects of the business back.

Anderson continues to explain: “Sometimes, in an organisation when you hit a problem, that might be the end of it and you think, ‘well we’ll not do that because we don’t have the skills.’ At times there might be a practical solution or a motivational solution that can get you through that problem. I find that a coaching model really helps break through a lot of sticking points.”

Clients that have undertaken the services of Insightful Business include the Scottish Executive, for which it provided usability research for a website redevelopment, The Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations, charity Deaf Connections, recruitment company Cairns Bond, and Don McKenzie Careers.

Russell Young Marketing

Based just outside of Glasgow, Russell Young Marketing has been quietly, but successfully, operating as a promotions and incentive company since 1999.

The agency has primarily worked with Volkswagen over the years, but has recently been appointed by Audi to undertake a similar incentive scheme.

In his career, Ken Young has gained a great deal of experience in the car sales business and has had a long-standing relationship with Volkswagen.

Explaining the service that Russell Young Marketing provides for its clients, he says; “In terms of Volkswagen, the programme that we run for them, called ‘Extreme Performance’ is an internet communications platform which monitors and rewards dealers through the different elements of their business.

“There are some tactical elements to the business and the promotions vary greatly. However, there is an overall incentive which is based on their final performance with tactical results taken into consideration too.”

Russell Young Marketing also specialises in corporate events and assess which elements of a company need motivation and the best methods of going forward.

Young continues: “We also look at things like best practice, so we encourage companies to submit examples of marketing work that they’ve done off of their own back, or cost savings they have made by coming up with ideas to run their business better.”

One incentive scheme devised by the agency was for client Oki Cumbernauld which saw an all encompassing staff incentive programme across Europe, not simply aimed at motivating the sales team, but allowing those who met their targets, as well as others nominated by their peers, to attend a summer weekend trip abroad.

“If Michael Schumacher’s mechanic doesn’t tighten the wheel nuts up right, then Michael Schumacher’s not going to win the race,” says Young.

“What companies now realise is how important it is that all of their staff members are included and motivated to do the best possible job.

“Nowadays incentive programmes are also targeted at the non-customer side of businesses. Every employee should be included.”

User Vision

Edinburgh-based accessibility consultancy User Vision offers a dedicated service to improve a client’s website, software or product.

User Vision offers the marketing industry something different in that it is able to monitor the usability of websites, looking at emails, banner advertising and TV advertising through eye tracking.

Using this service, the consultancy can assess where the consumer’s attention is focused allowing for the impact of an advert and it’s positioning to be fully assessed.

Emma Kirk, strategic director of User Vision, explains how marketing agencies can benefit from the use of this service: “We can do an awful lot to help agencies improve the work that they are creating for their clients. It can be very difficult to scrutinise your own work, making sure that your most salient points are being communicated accurately.

“You would expect market researcher teams to come in and independently review any advertising campaign that’s been created to see what the test audience thinks. Exactly the same is true of a website. People design websites without actually thinking what their users want. They just get their design and off they go. That can be the most frustrating experience.

Kirk continues: “We can do an awful lot to make sure that what is being designed is optimal, so that the client’s budget is being used effectively and the agency itself gets a lot of insight into, for example, where to place the call to action and where the optimal placement on pages is? In banner advertising, for example, what are people seeing? What executions work best? You can find a lot out from eye tracking technology.”

The consultancy also offers the use of Usability Studios, a research centre which allows clients to observe test sessions, and also focus on group observation.

In 2004, User Vision was awarded Scotland’s Small Business of the Year and the firm is the only user experience consultancy which offers a digital certificate and Trustmark on accessibility.


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