Tag Archives: School

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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Fila gives Banksy a run for his money

5 Jun

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I was late to the party when the world-renowned ‘graff-art-i’ father Banksy first hit the scene. But, when I did, I went through the same stages we all did. From ‘is that legal?’ and ‘who is he?’ to ‘what’s he trying to teach us’ and ‘I wish he’d give my house a makeover’, love him or hate him, he’s making statements and hard cash.

So, it’s no surprise that people trying to get in on the action. Remember the masterpiece that was removed from a shop wall in North London? The point is, we’re used to people trying to remove Banksy’s to sell them on. And we know that brands, like Lego, will shamelessly piggyback off his success by making mock-ups. (For those of you new to Prime Time, I love to hate Lego. It’s stepped to its game in recent months and I just can’t keep up). But, we’re not necessarily used to brands adding to an existing piece of his artwork – cue Fila.

To me, Fila is an old school brand. Quite literally, the last time I wore a pair of its kicks was at school. So, I’ve already conjured up an idea that this vigilante brand has nothing to lose by slicing pairs of its trainers in half and strategically placing them at the foot of Banksy’s across London (as if to worship his approach).

But the story doesn’t end there. Here comes the science. Advertising agency GREYGermany used Google Ad Words to lead consumers, searching for answers to what this sporting statement actually meant, to shoe retailer Deichmann.
Nice touch, but I would’ve much preferred a link through to an ‘undercover’ (i.e. subtly branded Fila site) that encourages people to upload their Instagram pictures of the stunt for the chance to win a free pair of trainers.

The key is to convert your audience from interested consumers into brand ambassadors – and get them to tell you the next stage of the story. Who will they influence next? What do they want to see from the brand? What content do they need to share with their friends?

I just don’t believe a shoe shop can offer this because have to work twice as hard to a) assure people they’re involved in Fila’s PR stunt and b) keep people interested in the brand, rather than pushing them to buy.

But, I won’t be too hard on the Fila. It’s a great quick-win for the brand and, judging by the agency’s YouTube video, it has set the path open for others to hijack street art to create a new movement. But, I won’t get too excited until I hear that Banksy’s requested some more shoes for his next piece.

What do you think – is Fila running in the right direction?

Fila gives Banksy a run for his money.

Fila gives Banksy a run for his money.

Centrefold magazine uses Nokia for 10th anniversary issue

15 Mar

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Following the Oscars we know that the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 can take a good photo, but just weeks after that filmie was taken the Nokia Lumia 1020 is already proving its worth.

Let me explain. To celebrate the 10th anniversary of fashion magazine Centrefold, all photos within the special edition have been shot using a Nokia.

This partnership has taken the phone brand to the next level, demonstrating that a Nokia boasts top camera qualities including: precision, depth and class. And the PR the stunt is generating is brilliant too.

Protein, an inspirational media agency, is behind the stunt and it plans to exhibit the unique fashion shots in London next week – which will open up the Nokia brand to an even bigger audience.

But, to sustain campaign momentum, and position itself as the leading camera phone, Nokia could do one of three things:

You can’t go wrong with a comp
Run a social media competition offering the chance for a customer to have professional photos taken on their phone, and run them in an advertorial placed in a fashion magazine, with behind the scenes content. Social media tactics, combined with traditional print media, will ensure the brand generates plenty of ‘OTV’ (opportunities to view).

Don’t worry, be appy
Nokia has created some strong content through its partnership with Centrefold so it should make the most of it by making a photography app for customers to download. Packed with top tips and advice on capturing the best ‘still life’, ‘people’ and ‘landscape’ shots, it can also include basic editing software – beyond Instagram – to help fans enhance their images.

Get on the curriculum
There must be hundreds of photography courses running across the UK, so if you can’t beat them – join them! Encourage and equip lecturers to use Nokias in class to inspire students to think outside the box when it comes to imagery.

So, there you have it. A good idea which could be made great if it is extended.

What do you think? Would you have guessed these were phone shots?

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