Tag Archives: work

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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The Barbour shop spruces up with a lick of paint

5 Apr

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Despite the smog, I rocked up to work yesterday morning in my SLB (Summer Liddesdale Barbour) which is something that I bought just before every high street store decided to introduce them. Not that I’m bitter or anything.

But now fans are being given the chance to up their game by adding a spark of colour to their wardrobes, thanks to Barbour’s partnership with Pantone.

To celebrate its S/S 2014 collection, Barbour has created a film, with the help of four bloggers, to showcase the British brand’s love affair with colour.

And it’s giving fans a chance to win items from the colourful collection by taking part in a photo competition.

For a company that sticks out in our minds for (probably) using old men on wearing flat caps and wellington boots with a Labrador by their side promote its range, this approach is youthful, fashionable and fun without trying too hard.

The fashion and lifestyle bloggers – who have more than 158,000 followers combined – share what inspires them on an easy-to-use microsite – which gives users the option to browse the collection; enter a competition; and view the latest entries.

To open up a 120 year-old brand like Barbour to a new generation naturally – peer to peer marketing was key. The sophisticated bloggers are aspirational without being show-offs. These are ‘everyday’ creative people who can appreciate the quality of the brand and they’re encouraging others to do the same – and I believe them:

· Niran & AdamYing & Yang
· Steve Booker Steve Booker
· CatTake Courage
· Carin OlssonParis In Four Months

I know I’m biased. I’ve already bought into the Barbour club. But, this campaign works on both levels. It validates my previous decision and prompts me to buy again.

The video launches on the site on Monday and it’ll be interesting to see how the competition takes off and how it transforms potential consumers into future customers.

But, it already has subtly on its side. The #BarbourPantone concept is shareable without being showy – down to the fact that Barbour’s felt secure enough to create a digital campaign around its brand without over-talking about its brand (Barbour appears just seven times on the microsite homepage and one of those is the hashtag).

Jolly good!

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Taco Bell calls on fans for mystery competition

21 Mar

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Does anyone else think brand promotions have become a bit stale? I don’t need another pen, loyalty cards get lost and I delete discount emails without a second thought. But, I wouldn’t turn my back on a free phone. Thanks Taco Bell.

To celebrate the restaurant chain’s move into the breakfast market next week, Taco Bell has sent fans free phones (Samsung to be precise.It gets around doesn’t it?) that include instructions for consumers to take part in missions to win prizes. In fact, the missions are so secretive there’s little information on how it works.

What I do know is that social media is a key trigger for the campaign. Upon accepting the mission – by turning the device on – they’re asked to submit their Twitter and Instagram handles and post images for the chance to win anything from a branded air freshener and pajamas to gift cards and a trip to the Pacific. But I’d be no good at this competition. My phone is always on silent – but Taco Bell’s phones were sent to fans with a note stating that it could ring at any time – so it should be kept with them at all times, even while they sleep.

Fans should be made aware that it pays to think outside of the box. Points are awarded based on each photo’s creativity, originality, whether it links with the promotion theme and the Taco Bell brand.

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This is a brilliant campaign because it transforms fans into ambassadors, driving them to promote the breakfast offering in a fresh way, generating content while reaching millions of potential customers. It’s so good it should be its PR mission statement.

The phones went live yesterday so the fun has only just begun. We’re bound to see lots of photos stamped with the #breakfastphone hashtag over the next week when the breakfast offer launches next Thursday in the US.

What do you think? Is Taco Bell too
hungry to make its morning menu work?

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