Tag Archives: element

How Decoded is on a mission to make everyone feel comfortable with coding

6 Sep

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I don’t tend to make a habit of being in Central London before 9am on a Saturday, but I chose to break my own rules as part of my quest on learning how to code.

International technology school Decoded has generated a bit of a buzz in recent months. From Brand Republic‘s Editor in Chief Danny Rogers giving it a thumbs up to founder Kathryn Parsons ‘selling it’ in Stylist, my colleague and I were eager to check it out. On a Saturday. Have I mentioned that already?

Wooed by the appeal of a continental breakfast, we made our way there. But, on the way, I made a mental note of what I wanted to get out of the day. After all, at more than £400 a pop (and that’s just the weekend rate), Decoded needs to deliver results.

So, how did it do?

1) I’ll be able to read code well enough to understand when, and where, there is a problem within the text
Going through the fundamental principles of HTML, CSS and Java Script, in theory I should be able to read and write in code. It helped that Decoded’s system underlined errors in red, but going forward this is a case of practice makes perfect. If I keep at it, and focus just as much on the coding – opposed to just the visuals – it won’t be long before I’m fluent.

2) I’ll be able to simplify the fundamentals in order to make recommendations or flag issues to clients
The demonstrators did a great job of breaking the complex content down for us. And, like the above, if I can truly understand the basics then I’ll be well-equipped to explain it to others. But, in the meantime, I can always rely on Decoded’s follow-up resources pack to ensure I become a savvy wordsmith.

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3) I’ll get to know what elements generate the best call to actions and how to input these into my projects
Because this is a starter course, we didn’t delve into techniques that manipulate websites to increase engagement, interaction or sales etc.

Instead, we spent the day working on an app that allowed customers to check-in from a single geographical location, in order to collect rewards. That in itself was definitely more than I bargained for – teaching me the ‘not so subtle’ differences between the front and back end of websites.

4) I’ll be able to code an aspect of the projects I work on without simply rewriting existing templates
Yes and no. Using the foundations of coding, technically I can create content from scratch. But, whether I could do this within my company’s house style is yet to be tested. We remained very much in the safe territory of Decoded’s web design editing system. And, after nine hours of intense learning, I was grateful for that.

Overall, I was highly impressed by the professionalism of the course. It was relaxed and informal, but very effective. It’s definitely empowered me to carry on pushing myself to learn new things. After all, I can’t have primary school pupils showing me up in a few years time now that coding is on the curriculum.

Having these skills now will help a budding brand storyteller like myself profit in the future.

And, I must admit, it felt darn good to be sat around a big table carving out a digital masterpiece on a MacBook Air.
Very New York.

Have you been ‘Decoded’? What did you make of it?

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DVD release has people running for their mums

14 Jun

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Hotel chains are definitely upping their game when it comes to PR stunts and marketing campaigns.

It was only last week that I blogged about Ibis’ bunny room and now Holiday Inn has caught my eye.

Holiday Inn Camden partnered with Universal Pictures’new thriller Mama and transformed one of its rooms into terrifying horror experience –
to celebrate its DVD release.

Open for one week only – free to selected guests that booked in advance – the #SurviveMAMA experience promises to ‘shake the public’s nerve and resilience’, throwing guests into key moments and elements of the film.

I salute Fever PR and AtmosFEAR! for putting this together. Now I’m only guessing, but coming up with innovative campaigns to promote DVDs – where the twist or special effects from the film have already been seen – must be tricky with a capital ‘T’. Not only is this experience-led activity attention grabbing, but it also generates unique content.

Clever content is a PR’s best friend when engaging with journalists, giving them another reason and angle to write about the film. The stunt also looks like it was very well executed with authentic props, costumes and scare actors. The video resembles an after hours trip to London Dungeons and I’m pretty sure if I’d gone along I’d have had an accident. But, I’ve never been a fan of scaring myself for fun!

The campaign has generated lots of blog coverage in phase one – inviting consumers to apply for free tickets – but post-event write ups are more difficult to find. I’ve spotted an article on the Daily Express – which might be an exclusive. Besides chasing national coverage, if I was Fever I’d have partnered with the likes of Shortlist and Total Film for additional in-depth features.

But, social media is a different story. Twitter is buzzing with different mentions of the campaign, so with a tight digital evaluation process Fever will deliver an incredible reach for its client – while impressing Holiday Inn (a brand currently missing from its portfolio).

Wise move. Brilliant idea. Great campaign.

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