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From the Blog

How to create the best user journey for your customers

15th April 2019
If you have ever spoken to a web designer about their job, you may have found yourself drowning in technical jargon such as ‘flowchart, user flow, user journey, wireframes, and UI.’ These terms can be hard to grasp, and are often ignored when assessing priorities when it comes to designing a new website. When building a new website for the first time, most professionals focus on two primary goals: Does my website look good? Does it function?   Developing a flowchart and wireframing can seem unnecessary at first glance. This could not be further from the truth. Insights into the user journey, and a well thought out user interface is vital for every website, from a small start up with two pages to a £30K ecommerce platform. It allows you to guide your customers and achieve your business goals much more effectively. So what exactly is a ‘user flow’ and what does it mean for the user journey? A user flow can be compared to a dance mat. One step to the right, one to the left, turn around – and suddenly you’re moving. You don’t need to be an experienced dancer to make the correct movements because you are guided every step of the way. The user flow works in a similar way, guiding the user journey in a simple and straightforward way, leaving little room for error. This is usually visualised in a flow chart. The user flow sets out the exact journey each user takes, from the homepage, to a service page, and finally to the contact form you want them to fill in. What are the benefits of developing a user flow? If you start your process by developing a user flow you will find yourself reaping the benefits of this, as you continue to work on your website. It makes a difference in a variety of ways including: 1. It unites your team When working with stakeholders, designers and developers, it can often be difficult to see eye to eye on the direction you wish to take your website. Having a visual representation that is easy to read and understand for all, can create unity, All parties can agree on the user journey and the objectives and priorities within the site to promote mutual understanding. 2. It informs the design Wireframes and prototypes should be based on a clear understanding of the user journey and user experience. Once a designer knows the exact user flow, they can make informed decisions on the overall layout, highlighting the areas you want the user to click. 3. It helps you win your customer’s loyalty Kofi Senaya from Clearbridge Mobile, a mobile app development agency, says that “mapping out the customer journey is an effective way to understand what turns a viewer into a long-term, loyal customer”. Giving thought to your user journey prior to designing and developing your site allows you to delve into the behaviour of your customers and create a website that feels intuitive to them.

8 things we learnt about managing a crisis response at SL/CED

3rd April 2019
On a bright and early morning, a number of people from local businesses joined us at The Bond for our latest SL/CED seminar ‘How to manage a crisis response’ on Friday 22nd March. Our SL/CED events are a series of seminars designed to give marketing advice in small, easy-to-digest chunks. We’ve previously ran events on marketing messages, social media, and websites, but this time we wanted to focus on more of a business issue – managing a crisis response. We wanted to discuss how to deal with a crisis response in this digital age we live in. We invited guest speakers, from a law firm and cyber company to help us explore this scenario. Chris Woods and Vishvas Nayi from CyberQ Group, an award-winning cyber security company, brought their knowledge of how a cyber breach can happen and what businesses need to do when it does happen. Chris Recker from international law firm, Trowers & Hamlins, provided insight on the legal playbook and what the legal requirements are when a breach happens. Managing Director at Digital Glue and PR expert, Javan Bramhall, discussed what communication strategies you need to have in place during and post crisis. If you couldn’t make it, here are some of the key takeaways from the seminar. 1. When a crisis happens, it’s not just a cyber or IT problem – it’s a business problem! When a crisis breaks it’s not one thing, it’s not just an IT problem, or a legal problem, it’s a multi team, discipline effort. If a cyber-attack happens, it’s not just cyber security problem, cyber security is one element you need to consider when you have a breach. It’s important to have your security, legal and communications teams all working together. 2. Know your threat actors and their motivations Every attack begins with a person and every person has a motivation. If a breach happens, remember, it’s a person behind that attack. Attackers have different motivations. Here are some of the most common threat actors and motivations: Hacktivists Hacktivists are passionate about a belief such as the environment, poaching, capitalism, etc, when they breach you, they let you know. They tend to go after your social media accounts and websites. They want to get their message seen, so when they go after you and they want you to know why. Cyber Criminals Cybercriminals is a billion-dollar industry, this is highly skilled team of individuals working closely together to compromise organisations and it’s not just targeting banks – it’s targeting intellectual property. For an example, a company is working with a big hedge fund, one of the hedge funds has been comprised and you obtain a spreadsheet of everything they are going to invest in the next three years. How much is that information worth? Potentially millions or even billions. Cyber criminals are after intellectual property, just like this, because this gives them the advantage. Insider Threat An insider threat is when an ex-employee or current employee has access to your data,

How to respond to a PR Crisis

22nd March 2019
A business crisis is not a new phenomenon. It’s been happening since businesses have been getting things wrong and making mistakes. So basically, as long as there have been people in business… As such, crisis communications and crisis PR is not new. The principles I’m going to talk about below could be applied across almost any type of crisis and reputation management scenario. What is new, is the causes of many of these crises, their prevalence, and the speed in which a crisis can escalate. Managing communication and PR in a crisis I’ll begin by saying that each crisis is unique, and will require its own response. However, the principles of crisis communication can be applied across most scenarios. In addition, the size of each crisis is different and therefore the scale of your response and your communication needs to be relative to that. For example, don’t take a full page advert in the national press if you’ve got 300 customers affected by a small data issue. Things Not to do Don’t panic! First and foremost, panic doesn’t help anyone. If you panic, your communication is very often rushed and clumsy. When Talk Talk suffered a cyber attack in 2015, from an external perspective at least there was a definite sense of panic. TV interviews were given which exaggerated the scale of the issue, and this actually caused greater stress to customers. Don’t bury your head in the sand If you have a genuine issue, it’s very unlikely to just go away! You need to address the issue head on and deal with it. What should you do in crisis communications? Own it The first thing to do is to take ownership. This can be challenging and can feel difficult, because if you’ve been the subject of a malicious cyber-attack it might not feel like your fault. However, there are very few quicker ways to erode trust in you and your business than not taking responsibility. From a communication perspective we use the three A’s: Acknowledge You need to begin by acknowledging that the crisis has happened/is happening. This begins the whole communication process, because you’re letting people know that there’s something not right. Accept Accept responsibility. Whether you’ve been attacked by an external source, or an internal mistake has caused the crisis, you must accept full responsibility for dealing with the issues that arise from it and protect your customers’ data at all costs. At this stage, you need to work with your lawyers to ensure that the wording of your communication doesn’t prejudice anything unnecessarily in future, as well as making it clear that you see it as your responsibility to address the issue. Apologise There are very few things which can diffuse situations than a genuine apology. It isn’t the only thing, but by saying sorry early and categorically, you show that you care and that you want to fix the issue. Saying sorry goes a long way. Communicate quickly If you give a crisis the opportunity

The Great Egg Smash

20th March 2019
My husband Javan, is running the London Marathon on 28th April 2019 to raise money for Birmingham St Mary’s Hospice.  Birmingham St Mary’s Hospice is special to Javan and I because of the way they looked after my whole family when my Dad was diagnosed with a brain tumour. From the moment Dad was transferred to the hospice, nothing was too hard. Their whole purpose is to make sure patients are made comfortable and believe whatever can be done to help them should be done.  In fact, Birmingham St Mary’s Hospice cared for my Dad so well he actually initially started getting better! This is just one of many examples of how the hospice goes above and beyond.  One evening some friends came to visit Dad.  They said hello and asked Dad if he would like a drink, Dad replied “Gin and Tonic Please.”  The friends looked a bit puzzled but thought well why not, so off they went to the shop over the road and bought a bottle of gin and some tonic. On returning, while sat enjoying their drinks, a nurse walked in. A quick scramble to hide the evidence ensued.  The nurse asked Dad “What are you drinking?” Dad replied ‘Gin and Tonic’, slightly sheepish looks were exchanged by the friends.  The nurse commented ‘well that isn’t right’ and walked out.  She returned a few minutes later with a glass of ice … Birmingham St Mary’s hospice has an inpatient unit, a day centre and a hospice at home team. With this team they reach 400 patients a day. Birmingham St Mary’s hospice costs over £8 million a year to run of which more than 50% is generated through fundraising.  Any money we can raise will really help people using the hospice and their families. However, we aren’t just asking for money! We are offering the chance of a lifetime. Cadburys kindly donated a giant chocolate egg (it weighs 7 stone) to the hospice to help raise money. Javan and I purchased the egg from the hospice and we are now using it to raise more money. We are selling raffle tickets, the lucky winner will be the person who actually gets to smash the egg. The Great Egg Break will take place at 10.30 on 10th April.  Please come along to watch.  Once the egg is smashed there will be an opportunity for people to purchase some of the chocolate for a donation to Birmingham St Mary’s Hospice. You can make a donation to be entered into the raffle here: https://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/javan-bramhall