With last year being the first Father’s Day since Dad passed away, I found it really raw and difficult. I am sure this year will feel the same but by writing this blog I want to celebrate his amazing work and the types of people he helped my sisters and I to become. The difficulties over the last few months have made us miss him even more as we know he would have been one of the people to guide us all through it. Thankfully mum has been his guiding voice and so many times I’ve heard her tell me “You know what your dad would say; when one door closes another door opens.”
There is no doubt that the Coronavirus outbreak has massively disrupted businesses across the UK. To demonstrate new ways of working, but also give back to the industry I love and have spent my life in, I have been hosting regular free webinars.
The Digital Blonde team is just back from three days at the NEC, where we’ve been supporting the William Reed marketing team at the Farm Shop & Deli Show, The National Convenience Show and The Ingredients Show. While there is a lot of hard work, planning and organisation that goes into this work, it’s also a lot of fun getting to meet passionate producers and find out about the latest industry trends. In fact, every year the team comes back with a huge shopping list of things we plan to purchase following all the discoveries we make at the shows. At the top of this year’s list is Mummy Meagz vegan rocky road bars, Natural Umber apple cider vinegar and Tom’s Teas to name a few.
Wow! It literally feels like no time since I was looking ahead to 2017 and what that would bring for the marketing industry. Here I am again, doing our annual sharing of what’s going to be important for those working in marketing to know in 2018.
Now that we’re officially in December and those first advent chocolates have been eaten, we thought it was well and truly acceptable to talk about Christmas. By talking about Christmas, we mean Christmas adverts of course and we’re excited to share our thoughts.
2017 is shaping up to be a busy year for the Digital Blonde team. In addition to working on the PR and social media for some fantastic industry events this year, we’re also pleased to be speaking at several conferences, shows and masterclasses.
If someone told me a year ago, that in February 2017 I would be sat asking questions to a little piece of technology in the corner of my lounge I wouldn’t have believed them. Something else I wouldn’t have believed, is that my children would regularly be asking questions to a gadget whilst getting on with their daily life. This is something that has happened a lot over the last few weeks, since Alexa joined the family. Whether it’s asking about the weather forecast for tomorrow so we can plan our day out or the typical weather in the Himalayas for Hazel’s latest homework project, Alexa has had the answer.
Many of you will know it’s my mission to understand more about how human beings form their emotional relationships with food and eating. This task has seen Digital Blonde conducting numerous psychological surveys, experiments and studies exploring how food and hospitality brands make us feel and how much of a role technology and marketing play in this. Each of these explorations has produced fascinating results, adding pieces to the puzzle that is our emotional connection to food. My latest research project will build on this knowledge, however, it’s something completely different to anything I’ve ever done before.
If there’s two things we love here at Digital Blonde, it’s food and learning, so an opportunity to combine the two in a special food tour of Soho was the perfect team treat. Our tour was ‘naughty and nice’ themed and absolutely packed with new food discoveries. It was a real feast for the senses and the mind.
I’m thrilled to be speaking at Food Vision, which takes place in Cannes, France on 2nd – 4th March. It’s very exciting to be part of an occasion that will bring leaders in the global food, drink and nutrition industries together to discuss the future and share insights. What I’m particularly happy about is the opportunity to discuss a subject I’m incredibly passionate about. My talk ‘Food for the heart’, will look at marketing’s power to form and alter our emotional relationships with food.
I think we can all agree that nowadays we tend to take unrealistic adverts and marketing messages with a pinch of salt. For me personally, nothing turns me off a product or service more than an advert making out of reach claims. I find it just makes me feel cynical towards the product or brand and I certainly don’t take it seriously.
An important part of the working day for many of us is tea. It helps remove the mental cobwebs in the morning and clear the cloudiness of a long afternoon. Tea is the fuel that ignites my creativity and I personally won’t take on any work-related challenge without a cuppa by my side. Whether it’s a challenging brief, a huge report or an enormous research project, a simple cup of tea calms the nerves and readies the mind and body for the workload ahead.
This year marks ten years working in PR for me, which I can’t quite believe. Although PR by its nature is a role which demands that you keep up with trends, cultural changes and technology – it does feel like there’s a huge difference between PR now and ten years ago. This can be said for many other roles and industries today too, it sounds cliché but smartphones, email and social media really have changed things for almost everyone in the last ten years. Perhaps I’m so keen to reflect on this because I’m part of that last generation to remember a time before the internet.
Supporting others is something that the Digital Blonde team is extremely passionate about and each year we choose a charity that, as a group, we’d like to support for the year ahead. It’s fair to say the whole team was extremely shocked when exactly one year ago Nicola’s husband had a heart attack at just 35 years old. At a doctors appointment they were informed that due to Andy’s condition it was extremely like that this would happen again in the next few years. They were also advised it was important to educate their young daughters on the risks they face, as it is believed to be hereditary.
There’s so much talk of diets, detox, lifestyle changes and health plans you can’t forget for one second that it’s January. So as we start another year I’ve been thinking lots about my own eating and exercise habits. This includes the lifestyle of our children as I strongly believe the education we give them whilst they are young will set them up for their future eating decisions. However I can’t ignore the fact that outside influencers also play a massive part in their lifestyle choices as they get older and they are able to make more decisions for themselves. So for my first 2016 blog I’m sharing what I would love happen when it comes to marketing to children in an ‘ideal world’