I made the mistake of ordering a reconditioned Mac laptop from this company. The laptop arrived, grubby looking and showing signs of wear. More importantly, it didn’t work. It didn’t even turn on. I have emailed their customer service department twice with no response, as the laptop is supposedly ‘under warranty’ – but what good is a ‘warranty’ if they fail to even respond to emails? Come on discountexperts.com do you not know these reviews show up on search engines?
I’ve been in touch with my cousin today, and want to do my best to help the poor woman in this , quite frankly, distressing situation. Please take a few minutes to listen to the audio file, and read her story.
Emilys Story (Name Changed)
“My heart was dark and empty and I’d built my walls up high, we had been friends a long time and I trusted you. How wrong could I have been?
I slowly allowed you to be more than just a friend, you made me laugh, smile we got on so well and you were always full of compliments.
We slowly progressed to a bit more than friends but things needed to be kept private between me and you I wasn’t ready for another heartbreak. For a time you were happy with that. Until I was having a night out with the girls. Suddenly it had to become public knowledge and on social media. I wasn’t quite ready for that but reluctantly agreed as I know it made you happy. That was it! Everything had to be all over social media, little did I understand at the time i was part of some war…
Over time, you’d begin to laugh in my face telling me that you’d brag about our sex life to your mates and work colleagues. I felt humiliated that people were knowing private intimate details about me.
Days out, holidays birthdays and so on were ruined by your temper tantrums about sex. Your days off had to be spent with me constantly giving you sex otherwise you wouldn’t spend any time with me.
You started video calling me if you noticed my car wasn’t on the drive wanting to know where I was and if I didn’t answer I must have been shagging someone else right?! There were times where even your own kids would say” I don’t know why you bother with him the way he is with you”
You’d have nights out and tell me I have to leave the door unlocked have the kit on (stockings and suspenders were your favourite thing) legs spread and ready for you.
One particular night sticks in my head I was just drifting off to sleep then from nowhere you said” if I ever see you with another mad I’ll slit your throat. And that’s not a threat it’s a promise!”
Over time the sex got worse, you got so rough with me, you were almost twice my weight. You’d be that rough that the tears would fall. You’d stop and say “well I need to smash you” and once the tears had stopped you’d start all over again. The bottom half of my body always had bruises new and old each one a perfect imprint of each of your fingers where you’d squeezed me so hard.
The criticism started about my body, my stomach was too big and I needed to diet but of course there was never any flaws with yours…
Slowly I’d find out that you’d been meeting other women… people would tell me things or messages would come up o. Your phone…. over night all trace of me from your social media had vanished like I was never a part of your life. When you’d turn up at my house demoing dinner and sex your car would be hidden so no one knows you were here. More often than not I’d give into the sex demands to shut you up but you wouldn’t bath for days on end and the smell of you would make me heave.
One ocassion you turned up at my house drunk, kicking things, throwing things , calling me every name under the sun and I ended up wearing the contents of your take away before you fell asleep in my bed and I had the sofa..of course the next morning it never happened and you’d go home the. If I wasn’t going to give you hangover sex
We slowly stopped being seen out together why should we go out if there was going to be no sex when we got home? But when you did take me out you’d drive as fast as you could as you knew it terrified me, then look at me laugh and tell me you love winding me up as you know I’ll f**k better the next time we have sex.
The last time I ever let you have sex with me you were so rough I was praying you’d finish soon as the pain was unbearable but like you always said you had to hang on for as long as possible. That particular night I felt the warm of your spit on me and then laughing. Enough was enough. I felt ashamed, humiliated, degraded and worthless. Again it never happened.
Of course there were occasions that you were nice we’d go out there would be the odd gift here and there but then demand sex for it on the way home or at home.
The only other times you were really nice was when you wanted money out of me. As soon as you’d have it I got the silent treatment or the goal post as to when I’d get it back got moved.
You had me so low at times I often wondered if I wasn’t around anymore you’d finally be happy and I’d have done something right for once. These thoughts soon resolved when I pictured it happening and you laughing about it.
This is just a small part of my story, abuse isn’t always being beaten it comes in many forms, and took me a while to realise what was happening to me.
If you ever find yourself in a position like I was please take the steps to get out and be free. So that you can be happy again and slowly over time learn to love yourself again and heal from it.
No one has the right to hurt anyone in any way physical or emotional! Xxx”
If you, or anyone you know find themselves in this kind of situation, please seek help immediately. Be it from your local GP, local hospital, or call any one of the many helplines available.
For 154 years Brighton General Hospital has been an iconic landmark on the hillside of Elm Grove, with its imposing classical buildings visible from as far as Brighton Railway Station. Opened in 1866 as a city Workhouse, it subsequently served as a Kitchener Hospital for wounded soldiers in WWI, becoming a Municipal Hospital in 1935, run by Brighton Corporation. After the NHS was founded in 1948, Brighton Municipal Hospital eventually became Brighton General Hospital in 1951.
After years of running Brighton General Hospital down and decanting NHS services into (the now severely overdeveloped) Sussex County Hospital and even private clinics around the city at great expense, the Sussex Community NHS Foundation Trust (SCFT) is seeking to sell off a large part of Brighton General site to private developers for the highest price. It claims this is to finance a ‘health hub’ at the bottom of the site, though they are also intending shiny new offices for SCFT headquarters next door to the hub. Figures are currently unknown as to what they would receive for the site v what the new HQ and health hub would cost but it is suspected a sizeable profit would be made.
However even the 11 services still using the Brighton General site would struggle to fit into the proposed ‘hub’, which is also intended to provide a GP service and campaigners argue the plan has not been properly thought through. The Ambulance station has been re-located to new premises by The Keep at the top of Lewes Road, though would need to retain a micro site for a couple of vehicles and interestingly the existing ambulance station piece of land belongs to SECAMS (South East Coast Ambulance Service) so would need to be purchased in order to bring SCFT’s plans to fruition.
Three groups have joined forces to try and stop this public asset being sold off. Sussex Defend the NHS, The Living Rent Campaign and Brighton and Hove Heritage Commission. While they all have differing dreams for the future of the site, on one thing they are agreed. This land is THEIR land. In fact the famous Woody Guthrie song inspired a certain Robb Johnson to pen a protest song for Brighton General. There has also been a recent TV interview with protestors amid several protests at Brighton General site as well as stalls in the city.
There is also a fourth group involved, the Brighton & Hove Housing Coalition.
Apparently a local homeless charity has also approached the council begging for the Brighton General hospital to be turned into a homeless community – which would have represented an apt return to its workhouse roots. Certainly Emmaus has done wonders with the former nunnery in Portslade village turning it into an admirable and full homeless rehabilitation service. However with the pressing issue of the Corona Virus, perhaps the most immediate need is to re-open the disused wards as an emergency isolation unit.
Yes we need social housing, but the city is also desperately short of convalescent, or step-down, beds and has no dementia care unit. Patients needing either service are currently scattered in disparate nursing homes, sometimes in other towns where their friends and families struggle to visit them. Some of these nursing homes are also now closing down, so a low-tech cottage hospital facility would be ideal.
Meanwhile the NHS has already flogged off Bevendean Isolation hospital, Hove General hospital and scandalously, in 2011, the Brighton General Hospital Nurse’s home, a much loved and much needed source of affordable housing for local nurses close to their work (whether that was Brighton General or Sussex County). A feeling is growing that the city cannot afford to lose any more NHS healthcare facilities.
In 1950, the population of Brighton & Hove was 434,948. In 2019 the population of Brighton & Hove is 601,574 (an increase of 166,626 individuals – almost a third) and people are living longer yet hospital provision is going down not up. No one seems to know when the last area health audit was done, but once NHS facilities are gone they are gone. And let it not be forgotten that the overdeveloped Sussex County hospital serves the whole county, not just Brighton and Hove. Moreover it has no green spaces and precious little car parking, making it a difficult site for many patients and visitors. Brighton General Hospital, although on a hill, has plenty of both and each building has a distinctive character. It is already laid out like a ready-made community with safe spaces for people to recuperate or work in. The physical rehabilitation centre even has its own gym. As for the East Brighton Mental Health unit, that is much needed where it is and its patients won’t necessarily want to share a waiting room with physically ill patients all shoehorned into a health hub.
Interestingly when Brighton and Hove Heritage Commission put up their blog post, in Jan 2019 to highlight the architectural and potential community treasures of the site they were contacted within 12 hours by the SCFT and asked to remove it and promised a meeting. This never materialised. It also became evident that council officers were not then being consulted and nor was CAG (Conservation Advisory Group). When a local tour guide tried to arrange walking tours of the site, he was refused for ‘health and safety’ reasons, even though he did regular walking tours of the Woodvale Victorian cemetery up the road with no issues. Ingeniously he simply turned them into indoor virtual tours of Brighton Workhouse, producing an informative and enjoyable history of workhouses in general and Brighton General Hospital’s history in particular, to wide local acclaim. Save Brighton General Group attempted to have a ‘picnic protest’ in the grounds last summer, but this too was nixed.
If a local area health audit were to find that Brighton General is no longer needed as a hospital though, and the site largely became housing, it is worth remembering that high ceilings and picture windows never go out of fashion yet all people get nowadays are eggbox flats with tiny windows and doors they cannot get their furniture through. It also keeps things infinitely more affordable rent or sale-wise to refurbish and retrogreen a heritage property than to demolish and rebuild with some soulless glass and concrete box with a lifespan of only 50 years. We also have a responsibility to future generations to honour the past where we can and keep Brighton special if we are not to end up with a homogenised Luton-on-sea. Ultimately there are other places to live when a city becomes overcrowded and this city already has a major issue with empty and second homes lying empty for large swathes of each year, which only St Ives style measures can address.
So what next for the campaign? Well that would be telling, but none of us are going away including the many NHS staff, past and present, among our ranks who are equally appalled at the prospect of losing Brighton General! We know that SCFT see us as a mere inconvenience to their plans, and we intend to prove them wrong.
Join the mailing list here [email protected] and find out what stalls and events you can join in with or help promote
Write to your MP https://members.parliament.uk/constituencies/
If you are a health historian or land law expert, the Brighton Heritage Commission wishes to hear from you! [email protected]
Finally it should be remembered that the NHS did not pay a penny for Brighton General Hospital or its land when it took it over in 1951, so perhaps SCFT has a moral duty to hand it back to Brighton and Hove City Council (formerly Brighton Corporation) if it is no longer needed as an NHS hospital. At least then it would be easy for the council to afford to convert the heritage buildings into council/social housing, replacing the 20th Century buildings with sympathetic council/social dwellings to complete.
I’m a frequent visitor to Quora, a website where people post questions on anything from how to write a business plan to tips on feeding three-legged lactose intolerant llamas on the island of Bermuda between the months of April and May.
However, a question I came across today was – surprisingly – unrelated to llamas. It centred on SEO, and specifically the difference between attracting ‘paid visitors’ versus organic visitors.
It’s a well known fact that CTR (Click Through Rate) does greatly affect search engine rankings. A good value provider of ‘clicks’ is the California based company SerpClix, which allows you to specify the keyword phrase you want to be ‘known for’, and then you can actually choose the geographical location of your human – yes, human(!) ‘clickers’, which is a bonus, as gone are the days when google can be fooled by a warehouse full of workers in India fervently clicking to boost the rankings of a doll repair shop in Birkenhead.
Here is the Quora question, along with my answer:
A website is like a brochure you’ve spent a lot of time writing and designing, that is left on the floor of your office. If no-one knows it’s there, no-one will look at it. It needs to be put in the hands of the right people who are interested in what it has to say.
So, the answer to your question depends what you mean by ‘paid traffic’. If you’re referring to ads, then in the long term they have no significant effect, and could, in fact, do a great deal of harm if visitors click on your ad leading to your website, and then don’t find what they are looking for, and leave immediately. This increases what is called your ‘bounce rate’. A big no-no for google.
This is like a celibate monk finding your leaflet which turns out to be a small-form Kamasutra – one would imagine that it wouldn’t hold a great deal of interest for him, and would be discarded (to his recycle bin), in haste.
In 2015, Google released something called RankBrain, which is now the most influential ranking factor, based mainly on ‘user’s behaviour signals’- that is how they react with your content, how long they spend on your website, what they click on, and what page they leave from. RankBrain is designed specifically to understand a user’s intent in order for google to serve them the best possible results.
The factors that google takes into account has changed over the years, from on-page content – specifically relevance related to the user search, then it gauged popularity – ie the number of backlinks. In 2011 this changed. Now, the RankBrain algorithm is based on user experience – it is designed specifically to figure out what the user wants. Google wants to provide a good experience, providing exactly (or very close to) what your visitor is searching for.
It therefore looks for ‘trust factors’. It watches every move you make – every single link you click on, how long you spend on a page, etc. It is trying to anticipate the reason for searching. Bounce rate has a negative effect because it signals to RankBrain that a user has had an unsatisfactory experience. You have to show RankBrain that your website is trustworthy enough for google to hand over its visitors.
So, the user behaviour signals being picked up by RankBrain boil down to the fact that sites with more clicks are being pushed higher up the rankings in google. You therefore need high quality user signals to send to google – an increase in clicks, the time spent on your site and reduction of bounce rate shows you are keeping visitors happy and that they are getting what they are looking for. Decipher your user’s intentions, and show google your site belongs at the top. High quality user behaviour sends signals that feeds back to google’s RankBrain which, in turn, does your website enormous good from an SEO point of view.
Google very often carries out ‘split-testing’ – it will take a site from page two, place it on page one for a limited space of time, and if the site fails to attract clicks, it ‘loses’ – and without radical action from the website owner, it will never appear on page one again. Indeed, it may even be pushed to page three. You have to earn your search signals and reduce bounce rate in order to show your site is worthy of a high ranking. It boils down to figuring out what your users want, and working hard to provide it.
There are a number of services, some that employ people to search for your site on google, and are paid to spend a certain amount of time browsing on random pages, exiting by a page you specify. There are other services that perform similar actions using a piece of software which can be installed on Macs, PCs and mobile phones. These services directly influence CTR (Click Through Ratio).
So long as you provide quality content, a user friendly experience, and most importantly, what users are looking for, increasing your CTR through one of these services is a ‘boost’ that many websites could (and arguably should) take advantage of.
Pictured, a llama-like bull terrier looking very happy with his SEO strategy and click through ratio.
I put together this presentation on creativity in public relations and on how to come up with ideas in public relations. A task that is none too easy in many agency environments.
The contents of the slides can be found below:
1. Ways to be Creative Bill Hunt Public Relations
2. First comes strategy, then comes creativity in public relations
• Here is a guide to coming up with ideas, having formed the strategy – here’s a quick reminder of what constitutes strategy… • Strategy is the art/science of formulating, implementing and evaluating cross-functional decisions that enable an organisation to achieve its objectives • A strategy is your plan for how you will get from A to B – how you will achieve the OBJECTIVES • From forming your strategy you are then in a position to come up with a ‘creative platform’ out of which comes your ideas…
3. A taste of things to come:
• What is creativity? • Some myths debunked • The creative process • Brainstorming • Green light thinking • Red light thinking • Obstacles to creativity
4. What is creativity?
• A term widely used – and abused.. often easier to detect than define… • As an individual talent • As a process • As a product • As recognition by others • Arthur Koestler (in 1964) defined it as “two disconnected notions accidentally coming together” • “Disconnected notions” may be the raw material of creating ideas, but it does not automatically equate with generating “creative ideas”…
5. What is more creative? Image of pencil.
6. What is more creative? Image of painting.
7. Defining Creativity: • It could be argued both are equally creative, because they each offer added value in their respective tasks • Professor Morris Stein: “creativity is a process that results in novelty which is accepted as useful, tenable, or satisfying by a significant group of others at some point in time” • When faced with the task of ‘being creative’, we are in a world that is constantly changing (think digital media, guerrilla marketing, iPhone apps, etc)
• What is creativity? • Some myths debunked • The creative process • Brainstorming • Green light thinking • Red light thinking • Obstacles to creativity A taste of things to come Ways to be Creative Bill Hunt Public Relations
8. A Definition for the PR Practitioner:
• PR work creates or manages change. A working definition must therefore contain some form of process and end product “Creativity is the ability each of us has to create something new by bringing together two or more different elements in a new context, in order to provide value to a task.” “A creative task consists of not only originating but also evaluating the added value it contributes. It is not novelty for its own sake, but it must produce some form of value that can be recognised by a third party.”
9. A Context for Creativity: • We don’t have completely ‘free reign’ in PR – the creative platform / tactic must not compromise the brand or organisation values • We all have a level of ‘creativity’ within us • Creativity vs innovation: “Creativity is the thinking process that helps us generate ideas. Innovation is the practical application of such ideas towards meeting the organisation’s objectives in a more effective way.” Professor Simon Majaro, Cranfield School of Management
10. Some Myths Debunked: • Creativity is an incremental process – the Instant Big Idea does not exist • The myth of the left-brain / right brain theory • …but this does help us to categorise: • Convergent thinking – the intellectual ability to logically evaluate, criticise and choose the best idea • Divergent thinking – the ability to think of many original, diverse and elaborate ideas • The myth of ‘lateral thinking’ = creativity – it is the not the same as, or sum of creative thinking, rather a useful tool
11. Title Page: The Creative Process
“What I propose to you is the result of a long time pondering.. this has brought me to the conclusion that the production of ideas is just as definite a process as the production of Fords; that the production of ideas, too runs on an assembly line; that in this production the mind follows an operative technique which can be learned and controlled”. James Webb Young, A Technique for Producing Ideas
13. The Five ‘I’s of the Creative Process: • Information • Incubation • Illumination • Integration • Illustration
14. Information: • There are two elements to this stage of the process: • Posing the right questions • Restate the problem in as many ways as you can • Challenge any assumptions you have made about the problem • …this helps you to define the paradigm you face • And gathering the relevant information to assist with the task in hand • Gather information related to the client and market from as many sources as possible • Consume as much media as possible to know what is current
15. Incubation: “Having by a time of very intense concentration planted the problem in my subconscious, it would germinate underground, until suddenly, the solution emerges with blinding clarity, so that it only remained to write down what had happened, as if in a revelation”. Bertrand Russell, Philosopher
16. Incubation: • Poincaré defines incubation as ‘simply the facilitation of problem-solving by the passage of time’ • Incubation is essentially harnessing your subconscious mind into problem solving • It occurs at a deep subconscious level, but also when what is commonly referred to as ‘daydreaming’ • The incubation phase is often neglected (which is why it pays to send out a brief the day before the brainstorm)
17. Illumination: • The most famous example of illumination, which has since become the symbol of scientific discovery is Archimedes cry of “Eureka!” • Illumination often consists of seeing two previously unrelated items and making a link between them for the task in hand • Illumination often occurs during times of ‘low cortical awareness’ • Psychologists have also identified the ‘alpha state’ – the period while just falling asleep or waking • Make sure you’re always able to record your ideas
18. Integration: • Poincaré highlights a final verification stage, to check out that the idea actually works • Ideas are generated while the creator is working in the integration stage of the creative process • The integration stage involves using the incremental nature of the creative process to develop possibly a completely new creative product • Eg while writing a press release – you might think of a useful alliteration or metaphor, and further ideas will emerge
19. Illustration: • Ideas are often enhanced by the way in which they are presented • Selling the idea is a critical stage – don’t believe that an idea will somehow sell itself • For us working in PR, consider: • Legitimizing the source of the idea • Timing • Translating the idea • Keeping within the brand values • Presenting within the context of a relationship
20. Illustration – Translating the Idea: There are two fundamental approaches in the selling of an idea that are often overlooked • The preferred Thinking Mode • And the personality profile of the decision maker
21. Illustration – Translating the Idea: Preferred Thinking Modes • Visual thinking • People whose thought processes makes pictures in their minds • Thought to be around 35% of the population • Auditory thinking • Used by people who like to listen to the way you say things – the pitch, the pace and intonation • Estimated to be 25% of the population • Kinaesthetic thinking • People who decide on ‘gut instinct’ or hunches • Accounts for the remaining 40% of the population
22. Illustration – Translating the Idea: Personality Profiles • ‘Headline’ types or ‘directors’ • Strong on leadership and control their emotions, likely to be independent, energetic, assertive and lively • Like to be in control and making decisions • ‘Illustration’ types or ‘enthusiasts’ • Strong on leadership but also willing to show emotions • Can be thought of as competitive, dynamic excitable and optimistic
23. Illustration: Translating the Idea: Personality Profiles – continued • ‘Logo’ types or ‘team players’ • Low in leadership skills, but high in showing emotions • Likely to be polite, sensitive, accurate and realistic • ‘Body copy’ types or ‘analysts’ • Low in leadership skills and also control their emotions • Perceived as thoughtful, calm, reliable and steady
24. Illustration – Keeping within brand values: Effective creativity must not compromise the brand values of the organisation or product To guard against an over- protective ‘brand guardian’, use the ‘Inoculation Effect’ By stating a potential negative to the creative idea at the outset, you effectively inoculate the proposals against being evaluated negatively by the recipient
25. Title Page: Green Light Thinking – Creative Technique
26. Green Light Thinking – Introduction: There is no magic wand for coming up with ideas, but there are a number of creative techniques • These techniques, coupled with a knowledge and understanding of the five ‘I’s can aid in the creative process • Rather than trying to learn every technique, think about the process behind each one • Test them out, see which ones you’re comfortable with using – and which are effective
27. THE CREATIVE RANGE: Safe Bet Option Extreme Option • You are not looking for the elusive ‘Big Ideas’, but rather small ideas to fit within the Creative Range • This also helps to suspend judgement because you are not automatically screening every idea, but merely filling in the Creative Range Green Light Thinking – 1. Establish the Creative Range
28. Green Light Thinking: Work backwards from the future • Visualise the end objective and work backwards from that point Create an imaginary person • Possibly based on someone in real life, and ask ‘what would they think about this?’ Snakes and ladders • Uses the incremental nature of creativity to quickly establish an overview of a situation identifying strengths and weaknesses Using a metaphor • People can be persuaded to look at something very familiar in a new way by the metaphor technique
29. Image Page: Green Light Thinking – The Snakes and Ladders Technique: Lack of brand awareness Personality of MD Lack of brand credibility Interesting photography Competitor activity Media apathy Forthcoming events / exhibitions News value of story Limited budget Green Light Thinking – The Snakes & Ladders Technique Credit: Andy Green CIPR, Creativity in Public Relations Fourth Edition, Kogan Page
30. Green Light Thinking: Forced combinations • The Matrix Technique can help practitioners generate 36 ideas in 36 seconds. This can be extended even further by combining elements (see over) Random word technique • Good to use by yourself or in small groups. Very quickly generates a range of new connections leading to either specific ideas or suggestions The checklist (SCAMPER) technique • Alex Osborn, a pioneer of creative thinking, used a checklist of ‘change’ words to compare with the situation at hand
31. Green Light Thinking – An example of forced combinations: Ceremonies Celebrities Location Message Tape-cutting Mayor Front of building New era for company Tree planting Sports celebrity Top of building No change for company Plaque unveiling Managing Director In foyer Landmark for company Gift Oldest employee Unusual part of building Celebration of success Handshake Child In front of city landmark Commitment to customer, etc Prop Showbiz celebrity In front of company sign New products
32. Green Light Thinking: The SCAMPER Technique: • Substitute • Combine • Adapt • Modify (make bigger / smaller) • Put to other uses • Eliminate • Reverse
33. Green Light Thinking: The focusing Method • In contrast to the ‘Creative Range’, this method involves concentrating on the one key element within the situation we are working with Attribute Listing • A great technique for ensuring all possible aspects of problem are examined – it breaks the problem down into smaller and smaller bits to ensure all possible aspects of a problem are examined Paradigm Busting • A method to avoid being ‘bound’ by certain assumptions in our analysis
34. Green Light Thinking: Attribute Listing for an Annual Report The Creative Process: Components Medium Print quality Images Photographs’ subject matter Financial information Binding Existing attributes Print Full colour Throughout Photographs Board members, site locations Stock Exchange minimum Information Stapled, stitched Potential ideas Internet, audio, video, etc Printing in black & white, company colours, etc Line drawings, computer-generated imagery, etc Products in use, customers, etc Breakdown of costs of key products, etc Bound with ribbons, metal bolts in hole- punched pages, etc
35. Green Light Thinking – Attribute Listing for an Annual Report: Chart
36. Green Light Thinking – Paradigm Busting: • Although we rely on many methods of communication in everyday life, in problem-solving situations, we too often rely too heavily on one approach • So try using different types of communication • Visually • Verbally • Numerically • Sequentially • Conceptually • Emotionally
Green Light Thinking – Providing a structure to idea generation: Using Six Hats • Edward de Bono developed the ‘Six Hats’ method, designed to break down the thought process into structured stages: • Information gathering • Idea generation • and Critical evaluation • Each stage is marked by a different coloured ‘hat’. Pictured here as six windows.
37. Green Light Thinking: Edward de Bono’s Six Hats: WHITE HAT: At the outset, focuses on the information needs. RED HAT: Represents fire & warmth of feelings. Think of any emotions, intuitions and feelings about the task & express them. GREY HAT: The stage for caution, risk assessment and criticism, where the emphasis is on what can go wrong YELLOW HAT: Characterised by a logical, positive look at the task and looking in parallel for benefits and values. GREEN HAT : Judgement is suspended and the new creative effort is focused on the search for alternatives and new ideas BLUE HAT: The ‘blue sky’ stage, which aims to establish an overview and seeks to orchestrate the thinking process.
38. Mind Mapping • 1. Start with a drawing to act as a central image (and use a selection of colours) • 2. From the original central image, order your thoughts so that they radiate out in sequence of their importance Highlight keyword in capital letters • 3. Highlight the importance of key thoughts with the thickness of lines • 4. Show further connections between your thoughts be connecting lines to each other, linking and associating ideas with loops and arrows. Use happy and sad faces for positive & negative points. • 5. Help remember by using graphic elements or words relating to the senses where possible
39. Mindmap example – Copyright: Paul Foreman www.mindmapinspiration.com
40. James Webb Young: A Technique for Producing Ideas: • An idea is a ‘new combination’ which establishes a relationship between two apparently unconnected facts • The ability to make new combinations is heightened by an ability to see relationships • He then outlines a process similar to the 5 ‘I’s: • 1. Gathering raw material – specific & general • 2. The mental digestive process • 3. Drop the subject and put it out of your mind • 4. “The idea will appear…” • 5. The cold, gray dawn of the morning after
41. Techniques for Encouraging a Creative State of Mind
The Disney Strategy • A technique inspired by Walt Disney also uses a set of distinct stages to encourage creativity • ‘Dreamer’ stage: visualise a place in front of you to step into – you are free to create without any restraints • ‘Realist’ stage: choose a different place, sift the dreams, organise them and act upon them • ‘Critic’ stage: select a place to be a critic, or to evaluate • Now you have created three places, or states of mind, as ‘anchors’ for a particular thought process, and you can visit and revisit all three places at any time
42. Stand up, Incubation Rest, low-cortical awareness break. After 40 minutes or so in a meeting, simply get everyone to stand up, and do anything different. It can include just looking out the window, playing with Lego, swapping seats, swapping gossip about next-door neighbours, etc. Some great writers testify to the merits of giving yourself a break and a change of activity – from going out for a walk, relaxing in a bath, watching a bull terrier frolic in the snow, to taking exercise. This allows for an Incubation Rest or low-cortical- awareness break, during which further illuminations are likely to emerge.
43. Title Page: Green Light Thinking: Brainstorming
44. Green Light Thinking – Brainstorming: “We tried brainstorming once, but nothing came from it. All we got was a lot of far-out ideas.” A common response to a suggestion for a brainstorming session. An umbrella term to describe the process of ‘being creative’ is ‘brainstorming’. Here it is used to describe a formal group technique to generate new ideas. Pioneered by Alex Osborn in the 1950s in his book Applied Imagination, he suggested it should follow two principles – the deferment of judgement and generating quantity of ideas breeding quality.
45. Green Light Thinking: Brainstorming – Osborn’s Rules: • Brainstormers sit in an informal setting • Brainstormers are encouraged to run wildly intellectually • No one should criticize any one else’s idea • The more unusual or crazy the idea the better • The more suggestions the better • Ideas can be combined and recombined • All brainstormers views are sought • All brainstormers are of equal status • The process of generating ideas should be separate from the process of evaluation
46. Green Light Thinking: Brainstorming – Potential Issues: The process needs someone who ‘owns’ the problem, wants to solve it, and can do something about it. Otherwise it can be a self-indulgent waste of time if the session tackles the wrong kind of problem or is unstructured. Some participants tend to be ‘wall-flowers’, while other ‘talkers’ can completely dominate the process. Pressures to conform, deference and organisational politics can influence the extent that people take part. Despite the ‘rule’ of avoiding negativity, ideas are often evaluated, with discussion switching to arguing the case rather than looking for new insights.
47. Green Light Thinking: A New Structured Brainstorming: A senior manager analyses the brief • Situation: describe task & put it into context, with the key outcome stated as clearly as possible • Problems: raised by the brief that need solving • Objectives: Identify any new issues & add to if needed • Audiences: all groups you need to reach – you can be creative by extending the target groups or being more specific & targeted • Messages: Include ones & the brief & think creatively about any you can add • Channels: communication routes to your audiences • Resources: As well as the budget outlined, is there additional funds for extra creative ideas? • Threats: competitive activity, environmental developments, consequences of inactivity
48. Green Light Thinking: A New Structured Brainstorming: Opportunities: Use specific events or topical issues to add value by linking to it): seasonality – winter / spring / summer / autumn, events – theme weeks, days, sports or political events, commemorations, exhibitions, etc. Topicality – film, television, arts or fashion, VIPs – visits, endorsements or links with an organisation. The local area – cultural strengths / weaknesses. Programme: distill strategy & ideas into a coherent campaign, followed by evaluation – think up benchmarks and measures, working creatively, and ‘illustration’ – What ideas will help to sell the programme?
49. Green Light Thinking: A New Structured Brainstorming: Establish criteria • Use Red Light Thinking to establish criteria for evaluating ideas Devise an initial plan • Draft proposal for action, if you need more ideas, circulate to colleagues before the brainstorming session. They should read asap so as to capitalize on their incubation of ideas
50. Green Light Thinking: A New Way: Structured Brainstorming Brainstorming session • Only at this stage Prepare for a brainstorming session . Grab a flipchart, coloured pens and a set of post-it notes or cards • Appoint a ‘cheerleader’ and ‘scribe’, the cheerleader encouraging outrageous ideas, and the scribe (or recording device) recording them • Use Green Light Thinking to generate ideas, allocating a set amount of time to each section of the draft PR proposal • Work through each section described in stage no.1
51. Green Light Thinking: A New Way: Structured Brainstorming: Brainstorming session / continued. If there are enough people, split them up into groups to tackle specific issues – working independently encourages competitiveness. At the outset, set a strict time limit, and stick to it. Andy Green advises on 25 minutes for an optimum brainstorming session. The next day, the coordinator follows up with all participants to gather any further ideas – again capitalising on the incubation stage. The brainstorming session invariably stimulates new thoughts and ideas after the session.
52. Red Light Thinking • The next stage is judging and evaluating the ideas. Place the criteria (established in stage no.2) alongside the ideas noted. Rather than subjectively evaluating individual ideas, the criteria help to introduce an objective appraisal Establish the plan • Using your strategy, and the relevant ideas, begin to establish the programme. Give everyone who took part in the brainstorm a copy for their feedback The Creative Process Green Light Thinking: A New Way: Structured Brainstorming
53. Green Light Thinking: A New Way: Structured Brainstorming: Gain acceptance • Bring into play the illustration stage of the creative process to gain acceptance from those you need to sell the plan to
54. Green Light Thinking: An Aside – The Nominal Group Technique: The Nominal Group Technique (from the IPR Mind Link): Stage one, generate Ideas; Stage two, share Ideas; stage three, clarify and develop the ideas; stage Four, select the best idea; stage five, check the decision; stage six: confirm or modify the decisions.
55. Ideas that are ‘Made to Stick’• The ‘spectrum of memorability’ – ‘Kidney Heist’ vs unveiling of a company strategy • The six principles of ‘sticky ideas 1. Simplicity 2. Unexpectedness 3. Concreteness 4. Credibility 5. Emotions 6. Stories
56. Red Light Thinking: Evaluating Ideas
57. Red Light Thinking: Evaluating the Ideas – An Introduction• Evaluation of the ideas is often the most critical part • Base Green Light Thinking on creation, being uninhibited in thought and stressing the positive • Red Light Thinking emphasizes judgement, reason, evaluation and where things may or may not work • Red Light Thinking focuses on what makes an idea viable, robust from potential criticism and able to survive in order to do justice to the quality of the original idea • Red Light Thinking also prevents subjective judgements of ideas (“I like that one”, “I don’t like that one”…)
58. Red Light Thinking: Evaluating Ideas – Formal Evaluation Methods: Screening Method 1 • Is the idea compatible with the brand values? • Is the idea compatible with the PR objectives and strategy? • Is it legal? • Can it be developed within a realistic budget and timescales? • Is it likely to provide added value? • Are the commitments and risks acceptable? • Does the idea have novelty or has it been used before? Red Light Thinking: Formal Evaluation Methods
59. Red Light Thinking: Evaluating Ideas – Formal Evaluation Methods: Screening Method 2 • Immediately put into action realistic ideas or themes • Intriguing ideas that are still embryonic but that have potential as a starting point for thinking about at a later stage • No-hopers
60. Red Light Thinking: Evaluating Ideas – Formal Evaluation Methods: Second Stage Screening • More detailed screening is possible • Rate the ideas against a specific range of objectives such as ability to promote a certain message • The criteria should be divided between ‘Essential’ and ‘Desirable’ • rate the elements 1-10 under ‘Essential’ and ‘Desirable’ • From these figures, it is possible to establish a scoring system for the ideas and come up with a solution based on the highest score
61. Red Light Thinking: Evaluating Ideas – Benjamin Franklin’s ‘Prudential Algebra’ Technique: • Divide a sheet of paper into two columns with the word ‘Pro’ at the head of one column and ‘Con’ heading the other “..I put down under the different heads short hints that at different times occur to me, for or against the measure. I endeavor to estimate their respective weights; and where I find two (one on each side) that seem equal, I strike them both out … Thus proceeding, I find at length where the balance lies…I come to decision accordingly.” Benjamin Franklin
62. Red Light Thinking: External Evaluation Red Light Thinking: Evaluating Ideas: • Ask a member of your target audience their opinion • Run ideas past a journalist • Consider who you can develop a ‘beta test’ relationship with • Formal external groups representing members of the target audience • YOU decide
63. Title page: Obstacles to Creativity
64. Obstacles to Creativity and Idea Generation: The nature of the problem • Poor Green Light Thinking in the creative process • Overcoming the fear of looking foolish • An intolerance of ambiguity • A preference for judging ideas rather than generating them • A belief that we are not creative • Use of poor creative problem-solving techniques • Stress • Laziness or lack of effort • Habit (the ‘we’ve always done it this way’ syndrome) • A functional fixation • The ‘early bird’ syndrome
65. Obstacles to Creativity and Idea Generation: • Poor Red Light Thinking in the creative process • Confirmation bias • Lack of motivation • Following the rules excessively • A focus on the downside rather than the quality of an idea • An overreliance on logic • Lack of consultation • Excessive reliance on external resources • Emphasis on doing rather than thinking • Being critical or negative • The insecurities of the expert • Poor management of the creative process
66. Obstacles to Idea Generation – Potential Obstacles in the Creative Process: Stage in Creative Process Potential Obstacles Information – Insufficient information to provide raw material of elements to combine and recombine. Failure to define the problem in an ill-structured situation. Incubation – Not enough time for incubation. Illumination – Poor Green Light thinking skills. – Failure to recognise and record illuminations. Integration – Poor Red Light thinking skills in sifting ideas, analysing their qualities and identifying their added value. – Poor technical and professional skills, which can hamper translation of ideas into reality. – The context may be inappropriate for the idea – an idea may be ahead of its time, or overtaken by events. – Poor organisational skills, resulting in the quality of the ideas not being matched by the calibre of the practical application. Illustration – Poor technical; professional and presentation skills, which can undermine the inherent qualities of the idea. As a result, the concept may fail to gain necessary approval from decision makers.
67. The Creative Individual
1. Be uncomfortable – Change your attitude – Limit the risk – Reframing 2. Be a pig, a mule, and a Zebedee 3. Have a role model and a positive anchor 4. Overflowing your jug – Read as many newspapers as possible – Consume a variety of media – And enjoy a variety of experiences, people, and perspectives 5. Take your hunches for lunch
68. The Creative Individual: 6. Work, work and work 7. Parlez PR 8. See the paradox of situations 9. Speak the language of the positive 10. Keep clear goals in mind
• Having read this presentation, you should be equipped with: • A working definition of creativity • An understanding of the nature of creativity • An awareness of the creative process and how to manage it to optimum effect • Ways of overcoming obstacles that limit your creative abilities • A knowledge of Green Light and Red Light thinking • An appreciation of the ingredients that make up the ‘creative individual’
70. About Bill Hunt
I have spent 25 years in public relations, primarily in large agencies including BCW, Hill & Knowlton Strategies and HAVAS PR. I’ve held the position of Creative and / or Digital Director for HAVAS PR, The Village PR and Catalysis. Past ideas include a 7ft drag queen touring clubs to promote a camera for Nikon, having Helen Fielding write the intro to a press release as ‘Bridget Jones’ and sending Bertie Bassett to Sotheby’s to bid on old box of Liquorice Allsorts. I also suggested shooting branded dwarves into the River Thames to launch a mobile game. That idea went nowhere. I now work in the UK as an independent consultant advising agencies and clients.
71. A Quick Note: I have compiled this presentation having read many books on the subject, but much of the credit must go to Andy Green, and his excellent book ‘Creativity in Public Relations’. To get hold of this PR bible containing all you need to know, please click here, or here to buy the ebook. • If I have used your material without attribution, and would like me to add a reference to your book or article, or publish your article to accompany this presentation, please get in touch with me: bill[at]topdogpr.com
72. Go make some ideas. Then join me at topdogpr.com.
I had a great experience with bulb when I was a customer. But I was absolutely dumbfounded when they handed ‘an outstanding amount’ to a debt collection agency when I moved house, without making any attempt to contact me first.
It turns out there was no amount outstanding – this was 100% bulb’s mistake – as I had provided the final meter readings on the day I moved out (which was the same day the new tenants moved in).
I am disgusted that a company that prides itself on its friendly customer service and jaunty irreverent tone of communication in their marketing should immediately resort to ‘sending in the heavies’ for the paltry sum of £30 without checking their records first, knowing the distress and stress this is likely to cause.
An extremely disappointing experience with a company I held in very high regard – which will, of course, be ruled out as an option as my future energy supplier.
January 22, 2020: Twitter post retweeted a number of times.
January 24, 2020: Still no apology. Disappointment….
…to discover the house I am moving into is currently supplied by bulb energy. I can’t help wondering if they employ a company to monitor their online reputation? If not, I know a great consultant. ONE apology bulb, for f**ck’s sake. Admit it when you slip up.
January 24th pm: Hoorah!
A Reply on Trustpilot
My Original Complaint:
bulb energy's response:
Thanks for you review, I’m so sorry to hear you’ve had a negative experience with us and that this caused you undue stress.
The debt collection cycle is automated and I can absolutely assure you that every attempt will have been made to try and contact you by phone and/or email for a number of weeks before any escalation to a debt collection agency.
Without knowing the particulars of your case though, I’m unable to comment as to whether this mistake was at our end or not. If it was then, please let us know by providing your name, address and a little detail on the matter in an email to [email protected] I’d be most willing to raise a formal complaint for you there, and to work with you towards a resolution proportionate to the scale of the error.
And my email to bulb energy
The address of my supply up until July of this year was xxx xx x x x x x.
28 January 2019 - email from Bulb Energy
Adam M. (Bulb Help)
Jan 28, 17:01 GMT
Thanks so much for getting through to us here. Once again, I wholeheartedly apologise if any debt collection notices have caused you or your family any undue stress.
I’ve had a deep-dive into your account and cannot find any instance of a debt collection notice in your name or tied to your account. Your account closed down on 18/07/19 with a credit balance of £119 which you confirm we refunded back to you shortly after. This brought the account balance to zero so that it could close down definitively.
Your leaving X XXXX XXX XXX on 18/07/19 opens up a blank “occuper account” for the following day. This account sits there ready and waiting to be taken up by whoever replaces you at the address. We have still not heard from whoever replaced you despite receiving notice that this person(s) have switched supply away to another company. And it is for the account that an external debt collection agency was called in – not yours.
We’ll have made several attempts to contact them before escalating this to an external debt collection agency. Most of the time, the new occupant is totally unaware that they inherit the existing supplier at the address. Even if they elected to bring their old supplier with them, there will nearly always be a small overlap where they’re supplied by the incumbent supplier (which would be Bulb in this instance). This may also go some way towards explaining why you received no contact from us directly since this is something we would do a number of times before escalating to an external debt collection agency.
Be that as it may, I cannot emphasise enough that the debt collection notices are not for yourself. Would you be able to confirm whether the notices from the debt collectors LCS were in your name rather than being addressed to “The Occupier”? Could you also kindly confirm whether the notices refer to dates on or after 19th July when you were no longer legally responsible for the energy supply at the address?
Many thanks, please let me know your findings. I really hope this is case of you picking up notices intended for someone else. If it isn’t, I’ll investigate further with the Revenue Assurance Team.
We hope you’re satisfied with this suggestion, but please let us know if you’re not. If we don’t hear back from you within 14 days, we’ll consider the complaint closed.
You can find information regarding our complaints handling process on our website at https://bulb.co.uk/complaints/
If you’d like a second opinion, Citizens Advice (https://www.citizensadvice.
Complete their web form, or call the free consumer helpline on 03454 04 05 06.
28 January 2020, 1811hrs: My Response
I’m delighted to say the issue with Bulb has been sorted. Without boring you with the many emails that went back and forth between Adam and I, it was established that the debt belongs to the new occupants, and Bulb Energy apologised for their mistake, with a goodwill payment of £30.
It was an unfortunate incident all round, with my family unduly distressed that debt collectors would be knocking at their door, the potential impact on my credit rating, and the subsequent raging emails that poor Adam had to endure as a result of their mistake.
I can honestly say we’re all glad that the incident is brought to a close, but whether the incident has made an impact on my credit rating is not something my credit assessing provider is able to tell me.
Despite the lack of definitions in the sector, most brand owners and freelance PR consultants are beginning to take their online presence seriously. There’s little doubt over the power and accelerating popularity of Internet sites that allow consumers to share views and experiences about products and services.
This has accelerated with the growth in Internet usage, and media consumption has shifted to the mobile and the web. The first few search results on google build or destroy brand reputations. I can help you navigate this tricky area.
it’s a Socially-Networked World
“Social computing is not a fad. Nor is it something that will pass you or your company by. Gradually, social computing will impact almost every role, at every kind of company, in all parts of the world.”
Forrester Research, Social Computing – How Networks Erode Institutional Power, and What to do About it
The web has revolutionised the way brands and freelance PR consultants communicate with their audiences.
The modern consumer wields a great deal of power. People are talking constantly about brands on the Internet, and information travels fast. They write about experiences, and search engines then aggregate these opinions.
Conversations are going on about brands on a daily basis. The most powerful and trusted behaviour changer in existence is peer to peer communications. This is why many marketers and brand owners are recognising the value of this form of direct engagement.
Technology and social change have shifted the traditional power-base, taking control away from traditional media owners and placing consumers at the centre.
Participatory web tools and services aggregate information, shifting consumers from being ‘end-users’ to active participants in content, and therefore knowledge creation.
People talk about shared interests, which form a unified collective intelligence that has reorganised the relationship between producers and consumers.
The End of Mass Marketing?
Mass marketing is becoming an outdated concept. Traditional approaches to understanding customers and communicating with them are inadequate to form a relationship with the individualistic, wary and discerning Internet-savvy consumer.
The transition from marketing to collaborating means that the discipline will need to appeal to attitudes and emotions rather than demographics. Social media is incredibly powerful.
Whether you’re looking to raise awareness of your brand or shift negative comments from the first couple of pages of Google, I can help. As a UK freelance PR consultant, I can integrate digital PR strategy into an existing PR campaign, or delivering a standalone social media project.
There are many PR and marketing campaigns that would benefit from a digital strategy to reach new audiences in a more meaningful way. Consumers are looking for a ‘one-to-one’ authentic engagement.
Social media is now a mainstream phenomenon. It allows never seen before opportunities for building brand awareness, reputation management, and product evangelism.
For the first time, brands come alive, from a viral video on YouTube, to a CRM campaign on Twitter. I can advise you how best to listen, respond, and engage with your audience in a whole host of new and exciting ways.
I come up with a digital strategy and work with you on your SEO. I can produce quality video and audio content to help promote you or your brand across diverse media channels.
Your brand is no longer represented only on your website, amplified by blog posts and comments, customer reviews, forums and microblogging. Everyone who works on your business is potentially a brand ambassador – wherever and whoever they’re speaking to.
I help tailor your message, tone of voice, and content to help achieve your desired effect, whoever you’re looking to engage with. I then analyse what’s said that might affect your brand.
There is no editorial compass to substantiate fact from fiction on the Internet. Opinion is sold as objective fact. Due to the replicating nature of the media, the negative views of a vocal minority can easily be mistaken as fact.
We can help you to both address misinformation and inaccuracies, or advise you on the best way to handle your brand detractors.
Social media news releases
Online competitions and promotions
Websites & Blogs
Cost-effective SEO optimised website design and build
Blog strategy, creation and training
Content Creation and seeding
Brand and buzz monitoring
Social media / digital workshops
The Infiltrator Black from Location Clothing
As winter approaches, why not invest in this, Location Clothing’s Infiltrator Black. With the ‘Goggle Hood System’, four outer pockets with zip / stud button closures, water-resistance and orange quilted lining, it will provide extra warmth, it also provides distinctive street styling for trips to your local bank or building society.
Anyone who’s studied philosophy will probably be familiar with the ‘Brain in a vat’ debate.
In a nutshell, a disembodied brain is floating in a vat, inside a scientist’s laboratory. The scientist has arranged that the brain will be stimulated with the same sort of inputs that a normal embodied brain receives.
To do this, the brain is connected to a giant computer simulation of a world.
The simulation determines which inputs the brain receives.
When the brain produces outputs, these are fed back into the simulation. The internal state of the brain is just like that of a normal brain, despite the fact that it lacks a body. From the brain’s point of view, things seem very much as they seem to you and me. How could you know that you’re a brain in a vat? How can you distinguish the illusion from what is real?
Lajos Koltai’s harrowing film Fateless (Sorstalanság) is based on the semi-autobiographical novel of the same title by the Nobel Prize winning author Imre Kertész, who also wrote the screenplay. It is set in 1944, as Hitler’s Final Solution becomes policy throughout Europe.
The film follows the fate of 14 year-old György Köves from Budapest, who finds himself swept up by cataclysmic events beyond his comprehension; experiencing first Auschwitz, followed by Buchenwald and Zeitz concentration camps before returning to a very different home from the one he left behind.
Fateless cleverly explores the contrasts of the unity and brotherhood that developed between inmates of the camps with the sense of alienation that many experienced upon returning home when the war was over.
The film features many poignant scenes that, for me, sets it apart from other Holocaust films. One hypnotic example is a grueling roll call that has the prisoners stood outside for hours on end.
Lajos Koltai: “Kertesz has a phrase in the book about them standing there ‘like wind blowing through a forest’. I wanted these scenes because the difficult thing in the camp was not being beaten up or physically tortured, but the time spent in this place.
I had to realise this by using effects of music [by Ennio Morricone] and movement. I met a Hungarian dancer who specialises in showing the movements of the suffering or dying and I prepared a kind of realistic choreography with him. Morricone composed an ‘anthem of solitude’ for the sequence.”
Inevitably perhaps, the film has been compared to Schindler’s List, but in its favour, it lacks the melodrama. It also lacks the sentimental Hollywood schmaltz of Life is Beautiful. Indeed, it is its un-sentimentality that sets it apart, and for me, makes the film so powerful.
The other strength of the film is that as the viewer is drawn into the narrative, Koltai manages to turn the traditional Holocaust movie ethos on its head by asking not how we react to scenes of such horror, but instead, what it must be like to get so accustomed to such an environment that it becomes what its participants would regard as ‘ordinary’.
The acting throughout is excellent, notably that of Marcell Nagy who plays the lead role of György, who, despite maintaining the stoic belief that ‘there’s nothing too unimaginable to endure’, seems to physically waste away as the film progresses.
The cinematography is also faultless, and Ennio Morricone’s score adds another dimension to an already amazing film. But don’t take my word for it:
“exquisitely modulated and superbly mounted,”- Variety
“an extremely powerful piece of work.” – The Guardian
“I can honestly say it’s one of the most powerful and thought-provoking features I’ve seen this year.” – Time Out
“Lajos Koltai’s film ranks among the best nondocumentary cinematic treatments of the Holocaust yet produced.” – New York Times
“I was completely overwhelmed.”- Nobel Prize winning author Imre Kertész