Tuesday, 28 February 2012

10 Yetis PR Agency Launches ASocialMediaAgency

10 Yetis PR Agency has announced that it has decided to launch ‘A Social Media Agency’. This is as a direct result of the volume of enquiries it was receiving for social media campaigns to run either individually or alongside public relations campaigns.

With a proven track record in social media, the agency felt it was time to have a team dedicated exclusively to managing social media accounts and to deliver results-driven social campaigns.

10 Yetis, the consumer and tech public relations agency based in Gloucestershire, has announced that it is launching A Social Media Agency (www.ASocialMediaAgency.co.uk). The new sister agency will focus on six main areas: social media strategy, social media training and management, social media tools and technical support, online reputation management, social media advertising and social media for search engine optimisation.

10 Yetis PR Agency, www.10Yetis.co.uk, has several success stories when it comes to social media, including successful campaigns for clients like gaming marketplace Playr2.com and multi-lingual social network Badoo.com. Aiming to improve their client’s campaigns, 10 Yetis understand that conversation is key.

The launch of ASocialMediaAgency will be the latest addition to the company’s current portfolio of services, which includes video content through The Online Video Company and PR services through 10 Yetis itself. ASocialMediaAgency will be based at the 10 Yetis PR offices in the heart of the South West.

Andy Barr, founder of ASocialMediaAgency.co.uk and head of Yeti, had the following to say about the launch: “Social media has played a big part in client campaigns for a number of years now and with the increasing demand for social media services, we felt it was the right time to launch A Social Media Agency, for existing and new clients.

"We are doing things differently in comparison to many social media agencies work and believe talking about ‘return on investment’ from media shouldn’t be a dirty word. Social media campaigns have to be about more than conversation and our team know how to deliver results.”

This ROI focused strategy has seen A Social Media Agency quickly win a number of accounts, resulting in the appointment of Laura Edwards as a dedicated social media account manager. Speaking about her appointment, Laura said:

“It’s exciting to be working with 10 Yetis and the launch of A Social Media Agency; the company’s ethos perfectly aligns with my own on how businesses should be using social media. Now brands have established themselves online, it’s time to implement a social media strategy that really makes a difference to your businesses bottom line.”

Laura previously worked as a freelance social media consultant working with a number of PR agencies on their client’s social media campaigns. She has worked with brands like Jockey Club Racecourse, Gloucester Rugby Club and ITV.

(EDITOR: I have always found 10 Yetis to be a very good PR firm to work with from my perspective as a journalist and I have no reason to doubt that their commitment to A Social Media Agency will be every bit as strong and effective.)

Bruntwood performs well in a tough climate

The latest financial results for family-owned commercial office space company Bruntwood show that it has managed to perform well, despite the difficult economic conditions of recent years.

The results, which represent the financial year ending September 2011, highlight that the company's fixed assets were up by 2 per cent to £966m, while its net worth had increased to £318m – a rise of 2.5 per cent. Despite a slight fall in turnover, to £99m, profit before tax had also improved by 1 per cent to reach £11.2m.

Chris Oglesby, Bruntwood’s Chief Executive, said: "The economic climate continues to be tough and we have had to work hard, as a team, to deliver these results. We are continuing to focus on our customers in the current marketplace to ensure they have the services, flexibility and competitively priced accommodation that they need."

The family-owned property company provides a range of office options for businesses, including long-term commercial suite rental and retail space hire. It also offers virtual office space and meeting room facilities for businesses which don't need additional space on a daily basis.

Serviced offices are very popular, as they allow companies to operate in a flexible manner in unpredictable circumstances. For example, a business which has just started trading, or an existing organisation which is not sure of its upcoming office space requirements, can choose to rent extra space for as little as one month. Their occupation in the building can then be extended if required, providing a valuable option during times of financial uncertainty.

Bruntwood owns in excess of 100 properties throughout the north and the Midlands, chiefly focused around Manchester, Liverpool, Leeds and Birmingham. Many of its buildings feature everything from function rooms to training rooms.

Mr Oglesby added: "Through the recent economic turbulence, our main focus has been on driving value in our existing portfolio. Looking forward we are keen to grow in the science and technology sector in Manchester as well as to continue to develop our business in Leeds, Birmingham and Liverpool."


Monday, 27 February 2012

Hays reports tunnel vision trapping workers and hindering growth

The Hays Career Outlook Survey has revealed workers are being trapped in career silos because they don't believe they can cross sector or industry boundaries, according to new data from the Hays Career Outlook Survey. The survey also highlights that employers in both sectors are often unable to recognise the transferable skills that might help them identify potential candidates who are capable of supporting their growth plans.

The survey reveals the vast majority of employers believe that previous experience in the same sector is important. Whilst only just over a third (38%) of public sector employers say previous public sector experience is important, over half (56%) of employers in the private sector deem previous private sector experience to be important in potential candidates. 

15% of private sector employers say that experience in commercial work is an essential competence of any prospective candidate. Over half of private sector employers (51%) say a lack of direct experience would prevent them from hiring someone from the public sector, while over a third (39%) cite a lack of transferable skills.

Charles Logan, Director at Hays, said: "These findings highlight that workers believe they cannot move between sectors and that employers aren't always able to understand or give credence to transferable skills. By over-emphasising the value of previous same-sector experience, employers could be missing out on talented people and motivated workers. It is particularly concerning in industries where there is a shortage of skilled professionals and employers may need to consider candidates who have the necessary competencies but may not at first glance be the perfect match."

Public sector workers confessed they also struggle to move into different areas of the public sector, although this is disputed by their employers. Over three-quarters (78%) of candidates say it is difficult or impossible, and 75% say they have not been encouraged to consider this as an option despite the job cuts. However, 62% of public sector employers say they have encouraged workers to look elsewhere in the sector, either through official training routes like secondments or through the application process itself. Over half (51%) cite a lack of transferable skills as the main reason why they would not hire someone from another part of the public sector.

The survey also shows the career destinations of UK workers. Around a third of private (33%) and public (35%) sector workers would prefer to continue their careers in a mix of the two sectors and not restrict their career options. Over a third (36%) of public sector employers say people in their organisation view the private sector as a more attractive career option, and private sector workers report that people are keen to stay in the commercial world when they move on. However, the vast majority (81%) of public sector workers say they are quite or very well-equipped for a career in the private sector.


Business Stream Engages Employees with Cloud Policy and Process Management

Cloud App facilitates company-wide policy and process communication for Scottish Water subsidiary.

Xactium has announced that Business Stream has implemented Policy and Process Manager, a cloud-based policy management solution, developed and delivered on the leading cloud computing platform.

Following the successful roll out of Xactium’s risk management application in 2010, Business Stream have adopted the policy and process management solution across their entire company.

Business Stream can now manage policies and processes across the business to ensure their 200 employees have comprehensive understanding of the latest policies, regulations and internal processes. The internet-based application supports the full policy and process review cycle, including creation, review, approval, distribution, and tracking of employee acceptance and understanding via online questionnaires.

The flexibility of the platform means that the solution can be readily extended to support other compliance initiatives such as managing compliance reporting requests.

“The application will ensure that our policy and process management processes are firmly embedded within our organization to ensure full compliance and best practice across the company” says Paula Louchart, IT solutions manager at Business Stream.

Andy Evans, MD of Xactium says: “Policy and Process Manager is a key part of our GRC suite, and integrates fully with our Risk Manager application. Cloud-based policy management ensures all stakeholders are only ever a click away from the latest compliance information. It also leverages the latest user interface and social tools to better engage employees. We’re delighted that Business Stream is now gaining the benefits of a 360 degree view of the policies and procedures, enabling them to minimise their risks and efficiently run their business.”

Xactium Policy and Process Manager offers customers a centralised database for policy and process creation and management. Policies and processes can be tracked from creation through to user acceptance, enabling organizations to demonstrate compliance and ensuring a consistent understanding of how internal processes are implemented. Corporate objectives and work instructions can be mapped to policies and processes for corporate alignment. Unique policy and process compliance surveys and custom reporting provide assurance of employee understanding.

Join Xactium’s cloud-based Policy and Process Management webinar on the 6th March for more information, including a live demo. Register your seat now at: www.xactium.com/policy-manager-webinar.

A wholly-owned subsidiary of Scottish Water, Business Stream has been formed as an arms-length company with its own board and independent management team. Its goal is to provide a first class service for business customers and respond to the challenge of other established utility companies entering the new, competitive market which opened on 1 April 2008.

The Business Stream website can be found at www.business-stream.co.uk

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Sunday, 26 February 2012

Accolades For PrismaStar at the Econsultancy Marketing Awards

Last night, February 23rd 2012, in the glittering surrounding of The Hilton Park Lane, London, PrismaStar was a finalist in the Innovation In Multichannel Marketing category, at the Econsultancy Innovation Awards 2012, for its PrismaStar Selector product.

PrismaStar made it all the way through to the final shortlist in an incredibly strong field that included the likes of Coventry University, House of Fraser, Majestic Wine and Google Inc, from a global field of 450 candidates.

“Our clients are telling us that The PrismaStar Selector is making a significant difference to their businesses and it’s great to achieve recognition from the industry for this,” said PrismaStar’s COO/MD, Jonathan Horden. “Coming this far reflects the remarkable results we’ve achieved for our clients and how we have contributed to the eCommerce industry. We were just edged out in the final, but for a young company like us to be compared to a giant like Google is incredible. We will continue to aim to offer our client’s customers the best possible retail experience both online and in-store.”

The PrismaStar Selector is a revolutionary new shopping interface that can be used by retailers on their websites, in-store as touchscreen POS/Kiosk, and on consumer mobile phones. It’s proprietary algorithms suggest products in a way that best fits what the shopper is looking for. The Selector enables retailers to offer their customers a unique shopping experience that will increase engagement, improve conversion and deliver measurable ROI. In summary, The PrismaStar Selector helps customers make better, faster decisions resulting in satisfied customers leading to increased customer lifetime value.

Deploying the solution has resulted in a strong increase in conversion rates and basket sizes for PrismaStar’s clients and higher levels of satisfaction amongst consumers.

The awards are judged by a panel of industry experts, including the Executive Director of the Direct Marketing Association and Group Director of Coca-Cola Worldwide Interactive Marketing, to find the ideas that have broken boundaries and set new paradigms in Digital Marketing.

“Innovation is the Rocket Fuel of Digital Marketing,” said Econsultancy’s Laura Wall, “PrismaStar have shown that a good idea, well-executed that bucks the trends in a field, can be a complete game-changer. They may well have changed multi-channel shopping permanently. It is perfectly aligned with our principles of not just improving on what’s out there already, but of finding a new solution to a problem.”

The announcement completes an incredible 12 months of industry recognition for the PrismaStar team. PrismaStar started off being selected for WebMission11, a highly prestigious trade mission to San Francisco for the UK’s best tech firms sponsored by the UK’s Technology & Strategy Board. The firm has gone on to win the prestigious ‘Longhorn Category’ at the White Bull Awards and ‘Best Site Innovation’ at the 2011 eCommerce Awards for Excellence. Prior to this they were shortlisted for the ‘Best Third Party Affiliate’ award at the A4u Awards in 2010.

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Start Out In Overseas Property Investment From Just £4,000

'Experience property ownership' has been developed with Barrasford & Bird Worldwide to give first time buyers more confidence and protection when looking to get into the overseas property market.

Experience ownership means investors actually have bricks and mortar fractional ownership providing five star properties at a low entry price. For example until March 1st, this can be purchased at our French Château de la Cazine from just £4,000.

UK property prices are still near their lowest, but high mortgage deposits and strict qualifying criteria makes the UK property market still very difficult for first time investors to get into. With an opportunity to purchase a slice of French property from £4,000, overseas Experience Ownership with Barrasford & Bird Worldwide couldn't be easier and achievable.

In return of investment, purchasers will become part-owners in their development of choice. The investments works at either you staying in your property free of charge for one week every year, or, place your week into the rental pool and generate a guaranteed annual return. The rental guarantee/ personal usage option will remain in effect for ten years.

Easy payment terms are available allowing owners to spread the cost of their investment over a twelve month period, interest free for only a small amount each month.

Generating the high returns you would expect from a traditional purchase, coupled with a guaranteed entry strategy- this unique opportunity means you can begin to use your property or generate returns from year one.

"The perfect opportunity for a first time investor and an essential addition to any successful property portfolio," said Robin Barrasford, Developer.

"We currently have access to a number of experience ownership properties through Barrasford & Bird Worldwide. Full and fractional ownership options are also available at our Resorts."

Visit www.bandbw.co.uk  or call 0800 1 303 101.

(EDITOR: That's Business recommends seeking expert legal advice before making any investment decisions.)

Getting Connected - Rural Areas Are Still Losing Out

The boundaries between work and home are becoming increasingly blurred. The growth of home working has been one of the most marked features of workforce change in recent years, and with more people wanting to be contactable 24 hours a day it is essential that a home has the best communication technology possible.

David Hill of the Savills Country House Consultancy department, who advises on the owning and running of country houses and estates explains the options available: "A basic internet connection runs through a telephone line and connection speeds can vary from below 1 Megabit per second (Mbps) to 6Mbps. Satellite and mobile phone connections are available but limited to approximately 2Mbps. Cable can provide broadband speeds up to 25Mbps but a fibre-optic broadband connection supplies up to 150Mbps."

"The EU has set up a fund to get broadband to rural areas where the market is failing. The Government has launched a Broadband Strategy with £530 million fund in the UK. It has some punchy targets which include delivering Superfast broadband to 90% of the population and minimum of 2Mbps connection to the remainder by 2015. "Superfast" is broadband with speeds exceeding 24mbps."

"Many rural areas are still struggling with connections as low as 0.2Mbps, they are losing out on efficient internet connections; cable is expensive to install especially where there is some distance to the nearest exchange and urban areas are still taking priority due to the volume of users in a close proximity."

"As part of the Government Broadband Strategy Fund there is a £20 million Rural Community Broadband Fund available through DEFRA to enable communities to get together and bring in superfast broadband. This is a competitive fund and the setup is extremely complex, involving a great deal of time and financial commitment from the whole community"

It is worth reviewing the location of the closest superfast broadband exchange and investigating how this can be linked in to. Satellite and other wireless technologies mean that it is not necessary to dig cables to the front door but some are not so reliable."

David adds: "The CLA has called on the Government to ensure that every rural business and household can have access to a broadband connection of at least five Mbps, bringing rural areas with inadequate broadband up to speed and therefore enabling more people to successfully work from home and operate in rural businesses."


Thursday, 23 February 2012

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Fasthosts urges small firms to work more closely with their tech suppliers

Fasthosts has revealed that 48 per cent of firms regularly make substantial purchases of new technology without being certain they fully need them.

According to the new research from the UK web hosting provider, data from 788 UK small firms found a huge divide in terms of success with using technology in the workplace. For 1 in 3 firms, implementing new business technology such as smartphones, notepads and computer software, has failed to improve efficiencies. 

Only 1 in 4 SMEs seeks advice from an IT professional. Furthermore, only 1 in 10 firms disappointed with a piece of technology has gone back to their technology supplier or IT advisor to ask for help. The study concludes that it is vital for businesses to plan technology investments properly, working with suppliers to ensure the correct systems are purchased to address the required needs. Firms can save money by evaluating their needs earlier in the process.

Fasthosts' 'Business Technology Audit' found that too many firms today struggle with the way they buy and use technology for their work. Whilst the vast majority are upbeat about technology, many find success with new technology items to be rather hit-or-miss.

A total of 35 per cent admit that their latest technology purchases have either led them to work longer hours or failed to impact their work efficiencies. Furthermore, only 41 per cent of respondents believe that staff find using technology to be enjoyable, and 1 in 5 firms employ staff who are frightened of receiving new technology. Some 48 per cent have indeed achieved more efficient or 'smarter working' through their use of technology.

Stephen Holford, Marketing Director, Fasthosts Internet Ltd, commented: "Busy business owners can struggle to find the time and advice needed to ensure all technology investments are well placed. A lacks approach to researching technology in relation to their needs can lead firms to waste money on solutions that simply do not perform”.

Alarmingly, only 11 per cent of UK small firms review whether a technology has worked well after every new piece is introduced. Only 1 in 10 disappointed with the impact a technology has made, has addressed this with either the supplier or IT advisor who provided it. Surprisingly, only 1 in 4 firms seek the advice of an IT professional before they make substantial investments in technology, a worrying trend which shows businesses should work with their suppliers before purchase to ensure they buy the right solution.

Holford added: "It is vital to plan technology investments properly, working with suppliers to ensure the correct systems are purchased to address the required needs. Knowledge is often the key, so contact suppliers to ask for advice, guidelines, case studies or examples of best-practice usage before an investment and on an on-going basis”.


Wednesday, 22 February 2012

Postal prices UP, Docmail prices DOWN. Find out how you can benefit

At a time when Royal Mail are announcing record postal prices, it's getting harder for organisations who need to communicate by post. Docmail can help businesses beat the Royal Mail price rises by offering a quick, simple no-frills solution.

Docmail, the revolutionary print and post service, are pleased to announce the new Docmail Mono, its own black and white postcard service at the amazing no-frills price of 23p (plus VAT) for A6 and 24p (plus VAT) for A5! That includes printing, personalisation AND postage.

This is much lower than the cost of franking a letter and even more so when compared with a Second Class stamp!

To strike a balance between high quality and low cost, simplicity and effectiveness – Docmail Mono can’t be beaten. Simple, clean, black-only print - we think it’s unrivalled value.

And best of all, the entire service is done at the click of a mouse. Docmail is a win-win situation for organisations that are looking to save money on their postage and free up staff time for core duties.

And while the cost is low, the quality remains high, with Docmail’s large and standard size postcards produced from 250gsm silk paper, with print and delivery from industry leader CFH Total Document Management.

Mono postcards are the latest extension of the Docmail service from CFH. Docmail has been offering its customers the benefits of a high-quality hybrid mail service since 2008.

Docmail allows users to design, print and post their mailings securely and quickly. Existing users access Docmail Mono via their normal login. New customers just visit www.cfhdocmail.com

Dave Broadway, managing director of CFH Total Document Management, says: “Royal Mail has announced it wants to put up the price of a second class stamp in April to 55p – that’s a rise of more than 50%.

“Everyone’s counting the pennies at the moment and for companies who rely on an cost effective postal service, this Docmail Mono postcard service is going to offer massive savings.

“We’re really excited by it. The combination of our online service and our forward-thinking approach means we’re never going to stop offering better and better value postal solutions at a time when everything else seems to be getting more and more expensive.”

Planview Advances Project Performance in Global Services Companies with Services Resource Management

Planview® is extending the benefits of portfolio management with a new focus on service-driven organisations. Global organisations with complex service offerings are maximising revenue and margins by using the Planview Enterprise® solution for Services Resource Planning (SRP). From quote to cash, the solution improves project performance and manages resources throughout the services delivery lifecycle.

The Challenge
Many leading global service-driven organisations spanning IT and product development services, clinical research and technical consulting have no way to get a comprehensive view of resource demand to maximise and manage the utilisation of their team. They rely on spreadsheets, manual processes, endless conference calls and other ad hoc means of determining and responding to customer demand.

Historically, Professional Services Automation (PSA) software has been used as an end-to-end solution for mid-size consulting organisations. However, PSA solutions fall short in larger, globally dispersed deployments because of their lack of depth in forecasting, reporting and integration ability. SRP solutions provide the rich feature-set needed to run complex, global and resource-driven services organisations.

Key pain points for global service-driven organisations include:
• Managing demand with a lack of insight in upcoming projects
• Optimising utilisation across virtual, geographically dispersed teams
• Analysis of projects to improve revenue forecasting

“SRP provides critical business functions not found in PSA solutions, and is much better suited for organisations that have a project-centric business model,” said Michael Fauscette, group vice president of Software Business Solutions, IDC. “These solutions address the complexity of how an organisation delivers value, manages costs, directs critical resources and generates profitability. From a strategic standpoint with SRP, instead of reacting to changing business dynamics after the fact, companies can plan ahead for what their organisations need based on demand.”

Leading Companies Select Planview
Companies such as Pennsylvania-based SunGard Financial Systems, one of the world’s leading software and technology services companies, selected Planview Enterprise for its SRP solution in its Global Services group. Serving more than 25,000 customers in 70 countries, SunGard provides software and processing solutions for financial services, education and the public sector.

“The implementation of Planview Enterprise for resource planning is quickly delivering results. We are able to get a good look into resource utilisation – in the present and over time. It’s significantly improved our forecasting process. We’re able to turnaround forecasts and other information within an hour, versus the three to four days it used to take,” said Christina Bray, Senior Manager, Global Excellence, SunGard. “With the visibility provided by Planview Enterprise, we’ve been able to raise the bar on responsiveness to market conditions.”

“When people are your business, it’s critical to make sure the right people are working on the right things in the right location at the right time,” said Louise Allen, vice president of product management, Planview. “To be competitive and responsive to a market, world-class resource planning is more than nice to have; it’s a must-have.”

For more information on SRP, watch The Missing Perspective: A Resource View for Service Driven Organisations , a webcast featuring Allen, of Planview, and Margo Visitacion, vice president and principal analyst, Forrester Research.

About Planview
Planview helps enterprises drive innovation, become more agile and efficient, and improve their business performance. For more than 20 years, leading organizations have been making better decisions using our solutions to optimize the planning and execution of their business strategy. As the market leader in portfolio management, we combine a passion for customer success with a commitment to innovation and thought leadership. Throughout the enterprise, our customers use portfolio management to capitalize on business opportunities and thrive in a dynamic, global economy.

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Tuesday, 21 February 2012

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Light in the gloom for financial service firms?

At a time when the financial services industry is seeking answers to issues of consumer trust and business performance, it is noteworthy that a financial company has come out on top in the design industry’s premier awards. Legal & General has walked off with the Grand Prix in the DBA’s Design Effectiveness Awards, judged exclusively by senior marketers and notable for being the only award scheme that uses commercial data as a key judging criterion.

After a 5 year internal and external branding and revitalisation process overseen by specialist branding agency Smith & Milton (www.smithandmilton.com), Legal & General saw its 2010 operating profits increase by a cross-company average of 12%, its market share grow by 2.9% in the same period and its share price rise 65% - four times faster than the sector – in the year to July 2011.

After hundreds of staff and customer interviews, workshops, focus groups and online research, a single-minded customer focus was organized and made real under one central thought, ‘Every Day Matters’. This over-riding thought was used to guide the actions of company staff, their interactions with each other and with stakeholders and customers, both internally and externally.

The sheer size and scale of the undertaking belies the common criticism that financial services branding owes more to style than substance. Legal & General’s 6000 staff, from CEO Tim Breedon down to the company’s graduate placements, were all part of a sophisticated 2 year employee engagement programme across 5 company locations covering each of the insurance, investment and savings businesses – all very different in terms of organisation, processes and culture.

Advocacy and brand attraction measures were up 15% in 2009 and 16% in 2010, while the company’s employee engagement scores were the highest ever recorded.

With the branding strategy working operationally and validated commercially, Legal & General has just announced its intention to run its first TV advertising for 15 years, bringing Every Day Matters to a wider consumer audience through agency Inferno.

Ben Mott, Business Director at Smith & Milton, said, “The incredible success of the Every Day Matters work is down to a serious commitment to the cause on the part of the client, and unwavering support from the whole team at Smith & Milton – a true reflection of what a client/agency partnership can achieve when it shares a mutual ambition. The DBA's recognition of the importance of commercial impact fits perfectly with our own aspirations for our clients' brands and, ultimately, their businesses."

Richard Nunn, Group Brand and Web Director at Legal & General, said, “You've created tremendous properties in Every Day Matters and the visual identity that is delivering an ever-increasing snowball effect internally. This will set the right context and tone for deeper engagement with our teams, help our quest to build a world class marketing community and finally, when we externalize Every Day Matters later this year.”

Founded in 1980, Smith & Milton (www.smithandmilton.com) is recognised as one of the UK's leading brand and communications companies. The company’s experience has been gained from working with leading brand owners, including Warburtons, Legal & General, CBRE, AXA, Travelex, Asprey and the NHS.

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My Workwear - Online UK company enjoys growth and secures Vimto International contract

Shropshire based My Workwear have enjoyed a successful past twelve months, despite the difficulties faced by the tough economic climate. Manufacturing has been a hard hit sector, making the companies growth all the more impressive. In an era where price has become key and margins have been squeezed, it is encouraging to hear such news.

Established in 1984, the family run business has seen many changes in the industry and survived all manner of challenges including recessions, fierce competition and even a fire! Perhaps the biggest battle for the British workwear industry has come from overseas garment manufacturing at a price structure unsustainable in the UK.

Having enjoyed 46% growth for the last financial year, the [work clothes supplier can credit these figures to a key change of focus beginning in 2005. Director, James Worthington explains ‘We recognised the potential of the internet earlier than most, as we knew identifying new routes to market was essential for the business to prosper’. The online operation has now become the most significant area of growth and turnover for the corporate clothing supplier.

Winning a contract to supply Vimto International with their polo shirts and tabards, has added to a positive outlook for the company and demonstrates a high level of diversity, essential for survival why trading remains challenging. The business now deals with large corporate accounts, whilst still offering ‘no minimum’ orders to smaller clients and sole traders via their website.

An embroidery service, offering a one week turnaround on personalised logos, enables the company to cater for all the clothing needs of business, via a ‘one stop shop’ approach. Free delivery on orders over £99 and a competitive online pricing policy have also helped towards a high level of customer satisfaction and conversion.

Along with growth has come an ever expanding range of products. These include: high visibility jackets, safety boots, work uniforms, corporate suits and even workwear for children. Long term relationships have also been built with all the main brands including Fruit Of The Loom, Gildan, Dickies, Portwest and Uneek.

Despite the diversity of client base and products, My Workwear understand the importance of customer satisfaction. Repeat orders are cited by the company as key to growth and a sign of high levels of service. Often, larger more corporate sized firms find satisfying a wide range of clients tough, but this is an area family business’s excel in. It can be argued nobody cares like a family owner.

For details call 01952 585881 or visit www.myworkwear.co.uk

Monday, 20 February 2012

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Umbrella Company Tarpon Offer An Ultimate Employment Solution To All Contractors

Tarpon, an umbrella company specialising in contractor tax efficiency, offer what it describes as a robust business model that it is strong enough to handle any employment and legislative issues. Due to Tarpon’s due diligence they have always worked towards offering their employees a genuine employment solution, whilst remaining best in class within the umbrella industry.

By offering unrivalled contractor services, Tarpon provide the following benefits for all it's contractors:

~ Employing contractors on a full time (35 hour) permanent employment contract (Not a zero / minimum hours contract like alternative providers)

~ Providing both statutory and additional employment benefits in an appropriate manner (When contractors go on holiday, Tarpon provide a payroll as normal)

~ Providing a market leading pension to contractors (Through Standard Life)

~ Making available a comprehensive expenses policy (HMRC approved)

~ NOT charging fees to simply be employed but sharing the profits generated per contract

~ Providing 4 week notice periods if and when contractors choose to leave

~ Giving contractors access to in house tax specialists, accountants, marketers to assist with their personal career plans

This is one of the reasons why Tarpon did not need to amend any part of its operating procedures to accommodate the recent Agency Workers Regulations (AWR) legislation which came into force in October 2011. This is also why so many agencies in 2011 chose to work with Tarpon as a “safe pair of hands”.

A spokesperson from Tarpon comments: “We understand the complexities involved when dealing with tax and HMRC compliance and are proud to be able to provide contractors and agencies with useful advice surrounding potential employment law and tax challenges.”

Discover what your take home pay will be with Tarpon by using their online contractor salary calculator. Or speak to one of their experts, by calling 0800 434 6402 within the UK.

Tarpon is an umbrella company specialising in contractor tax efficiency, enabling contractors to maximise their income and streamline their admin.

Tarpon UK Ltd,
Unit 12,
Tivoli House,
Wigmore Park Centre,
LU2 9XG,
tel: 0800 434 6402

Website: www.tarpon-uk.com

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Sunday, 19 February 2012

Struggling with crippling rents? Good news! You have a retail champion!

Britain’s struggling High Street shops have been thrown a lifeline with a new way of reducing crippling rents.

A retail champion is saving companies around 50% a year in charges so they can carry on trading and landlords don’t have to board up stores.

Financial experts believe the shopping landscape could be obliterated as rising rent reviews and poor sales force shop-owners to hand back the keys.

But an organisation is rescuing firms from the brink by negotiating new rent deals that give hope for landlords and the shops that are vital to national recovery.

“Everyone knew there was a lot of pain out there on the High Street but up until last year there wasn’t much blood. Now it is starting to flow,” said David Abramson, Managing Director of Rent Reform Ltd.

“Up to half of all shop rents are overpriced because they are held in long-term leases with upward-only reviews which make no allowance for the challenging economic climate. Firms are coming out of five-year terms and finding their rents going up just at the time they need the most help.

“Landlords don’t want properties empty so it is a question of finding a reasonable path so that our High Streets can keep going. We need retail to thrive to drive the economic recovery.”

Rent Reform has been deluged with retail giants and smaller shopkeepers keen to lower their costs and carry on trading as more High Street shops are boarded up.

“There needs to be a national review of the lease structure,” he added.

“Landlords are out of touch with the financial climate if they fail to grasp the simple fact that there is no longer as much money in the kitty for rents as there used to be. Without realistic reviews of rent rates we will see increasing numbers of High Streets die."

Rent Reform has negotiated rent savings for High Street chains, La Tasca, Subway and Walmsleys as well as a string of small businesses.

“We save businesses in the short term between 40-60%. It might just be for a few years and the landlord doesn’t have to suffer long term but it gives struggling firms room to breathe.”

Many retailers are simply unaware they can renegotiate rental agreements through third party experts and so are losing thousands of pounds in unnecessary costs as a result, claimed Rent Reform.

High Street fortunes have been devastated by the recession with lingerie retailer La Senza, the Peacocks chain and nostalgia gift retailer Past Times the latest firms to bite the dust and 30,000 retail jobs are estimated to be under threat in 2012.

Simon Wilkinson, chief executive of the Oxford-based La Tasca restaurant chain, said Rent Reform had protected the future of some of his outlets.

Aroma oriental restaurants saved £300,000 from its rent roll with 25 per cent reductions across three of its six sites.

“These are tough times and they allowed me to keep them going,” said owner Colin Aroma. “I employ 200 plus people and without Rent Reform we would have probably had to shut three restaurants putting 60 to 70 people out of a job.”


Saturday, 18 February 2012

UK Company Supports Local Retailers Moving To Internet Shops

Today saw the announcement that up to fourteen retail shops closed every day in 2011 as shoppers move to internet buying. Bracknell based Insight Group, a specialist website provider, has responded to this by offering a free copy of its WebMaker website builder product to every tenth purchaser.

WebMaker SHOP costs just £17 a month for a comprehensive website solution that enables retailers to sell their products and services online, with full support for PayPal transactions as standard.

“As retailers see their high street locations getting less traffic, more and more of them are looking to move to the web,” said Mark Robson, partner at Insight. “Our WebMaker solution makes it simple to move shop sales to the internet quickly.

"We’ve also made sure that the price is very affordable so that at a time when retailers are seeing a drop in customers and revenue, they can capitalise on the internet and boost their sales quickly.”

WebMaker SHOP comes complete with everything a retailer needs to get online, including hosting, website design, unlimited pages, website name registration, 100 email addresses, full e-commerce system and massive storage at 10Gb to hold all a retailer’s product information. Insight also offers a free 30-day trial of a live system.

Retailers can find out more by visiting WebMaker website builder website.

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Thursday, 16 February 2012

Brands Adopting a Dual Approach of On-site & Social Media Marketing Will Develop The Strongest Customer Relationships, Says Punch Communications

Brand marketers that are evolving their approach to develop a strategy that encompasses engaging content on both their own-brand website and social media, stand to develop the strongest possible relationship with their customers, according to integrated social media, PR and SEO agency, Punch Communications. (EDITOR: And Punch Communications know what they are talking about, having received many relevant, useful and well-written press releases from them, over the years.)

Whilst customer relationships clearly work differently in the two environments, the strategy of adopting both as complementary presences allow a brand to engage in two distinct models – firstly reacting to customer interest via the brand site and secondly to thoughtfully participate in a customer's experience when they are already engaging with social media. By engaging through social media, the brand benefits from the provision of relevant customer information and illustrates increased transparency, flexibility and the desire to understand their customers.

In the UK for example, Facebook is the most popular social network as it has twice as many users as YouTube, 17 times more than Twitter and is the second most visited website in the country, behind Google. Therefore, it is the marketing channel that provides businesses with the greatest opportunity to reach out directly to consumers in what has rapidly become somewhat of a natural habitat for thousands.

Whilst many brands are now strengthening their customer relationships through social media, many have yet to take advantage of the opportunity, through focussing on broadcasting content to users, rather than engaging them in dialogue.

Marketing strategies can no longer rely on audiences returning to a brand time and again and Clinton Cards is one such B2C business that is rapidly developing its social media strategy alongside its website communications. The UK’s leading high street greeting card retailer recognises that the more choice of touch points offered to a consumer and the varied communication techniques that each one brings, the greater the chance for a sustained relationship.

Pete Goold, managing director of Punch Communications, said: “When Facebook users are visiting the site many millions of times each day,  B2C brands should be asking themselves if they are participating with those consumers as effectively as possible, in order to engage their interests and further their relationship. Sadly, so many are not fulfilling their potential to reach out, start on-going dialogues and create highly engaged social networking communities in order to further brand awareness and loyalty.”

By using the top 100 retail websites as a sample group, Hitwise found that each brand’s Facebook fan equated to an additional 20 website visits (over a 12 month period). This illustrates that if brands successfully participate in the space in which their audience already convenes, as well as through their brand website, there are plenty of rewards to be reaped; in the UK alone, 500 million hours are spent on Facebook each month.

Pete added: “There is little doubt that one-size fits all approach is no longer a sufficiently sophisticated strategy for digital marketing. Where brands are able to meaningfully participate in social media experiences, rather than simply push messages out, social communities tend to respond extremely favourably, resulting in disproportionately high positivity and loyalty. In short, it’s simply about going back to the old marketing truism of tailoring the message to the individual, which remains universally beneficial and is now more possible than ever before.”

For more information on Punch Communications’ integrated approach to social network activity and to see what it can offer your business compared to other social media agencies, visit www.punchcomms.com. Also, if you’re looking for social media, SEO or PR jobs, visit the Punch website to review the positions that are currently available.

To join in the conversation with Punch on Facebook, Twitter or Google plus, visit facebook.com/PunchCommunications, twitter.com/punchcomms and gplusnick/punchcomms.

Statistics courtesy of Experian Hitwise, 2 February - http://weblogs.hitwise.com/james-murray/2012/02/10_things_yo...

Tuesday, 14 February 2012

Endsleigh Insurance offers advice to landlords to avoid burst pipes

The current cold weather has led to problems for landlords with unoccupied vacant properties. As the thaw sets in Endsleigh Insurance is advising landlords to take precautions against water damage caused by leaking pipes and frost damaged water tanks.

Alex Stutchbury of Endsleigh Insurance explains; “The problem is the recent deep chill on the back of the already cold seasonal weather. As temperatures start to rise again and frozen pipework thaws out, any damage caused will start to leak. If the leak isn’t found quickly it can easily lead to significant damage, and in an unoccupied property it’s not inconceivable that a leak could go unnoticed for several days or longer.”

Endsleigh offers insurance policies for landlords that include cover for periods when their property is unoccupied. However, it claims that not all policies offered to landlords offer the kind of cover for unoccupied properties that the current cold weather demands, and the same issue applies to private householders whose homes are currently unoccupied.

As a result the company has issued some advice to help protect empty residential properties and ensure that appropriate insurance cover is in place.

Unoccupied & Vacant Homes - 7 ways to protect your property

1. Watch out for ‘Flee Cover’
When insuring a property that is vacant you may hear the term Flee Cover. This means that the insurer has decided to give you a minimal cover while the house being unoccupied. The policy is usually limited and covers damage for fire, lightning and explosion. Many owners of unoccupied properties will therefore find they are NOT covered for water damage or vandalism.

2. Keep the heating on
During this cold weather it is essential that central heating is kept on at a low level to avoid water freezing in pipes. Endsleigh recommends setting thermostats to 13 degrees centigrade and running the system for a few hours at night and again during the day.

3. Clear your gutters
Make sure gutters are clear from any obstruction as this will avoid damp and water penetration problems. It will also make guttering last longer and help you find and repair broken gutters, down pipes and brackets.

4. Invest in decent locks
This will help reduce insurance premiums and make it easier to find the full cover against burglary and vandalism that your property needs. Five lever mortise deadlocks and window locks on all accessible windows is recommended by most insurers.

5. Check the property regularly
Regular visits will deter criminals who may be watching the property, and will also mean that you find leaks, break-ins, vandalism and other damage before the problem escalates. Also remember that most insurers have terms on their policies requiring this.

6. Keep in touch with neighbours
As you neighbours to keep an eye on the property and make sure they have your contact details. Do your bit by maintaining the property’s appearance, for example cutting the grass, clearing rubbish. Your neighbours might be able to contact you in event of emergency, especially if a problem occurs at night.

7. Regularly check and update your insurance policy
Make sure you have adequate insurance and that your policy is up to date. Always insure your property with a cover adequate for the time it is unoccupied, and remember that most standard insurers only cover between 30 and 60 days ‘unoccupancy’.

Specialist insurers can offer covers for all major risks, protecting you properly in case of the worst happens. When arranging your insurance, make sure you check all the cover options available to you. Saving a few pounds on insurance premiums by taking minimal cover could end up costing you dear this winter.

Endsleigh is an independent intermediary specialising in the provision of insurance and financial products for career people.

The team have access to the leading insurers and lenders in the UK market, offering comprehensive advice on all areas of financial planning. Along with offering advice on financial protection, investments and retirement planning, Endsleigh also has dedicated mortgage and corporate advisers.

For information on unoccupied property insurance http://www.endsleigh.co.uk/Home/Pages/unoccupied-property-in...
Endsleigh Insurance on Twitter http://www.twitter.com/Endsleigh
Endsleigh on Facebook http://www.facebook.com/endsleigh

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Monday, 13 February 2012

Deanston Cooper Launches New Website Promoting Job Opportunities In The Construction, Renewable Energy and Environmental Sectors

Deanston Cooper Limited has launched its new specialist website (www.deanstoncooper.com) which caters for candidates and clients in the following sectors – Construction Jobs, Renewable Energy Jobs and Environmental Jobs.

The website has been designed to complement the extensive range of career management and recruitment services which Deanston Cooper currently offer and should prove to be a comprehensive point of reference for clients and candidates. It is highly informative with an easy to navigate format which ensures that every visitor can find what they want quickly and easily.

From a candidates perspective the site is designed to be user friendly and intuitive in use. It benefits from a custom built “Smart Job Search” function which allows candidates to find the exact type of vacancy that they are looking for. They can also register their interest to be contacted by a Consultant who will put together an individual recruitment plan which will allow them to achieve their career goals. Deanston Cooper’s Consultants are all experts in their chosen sectors and pride themselves in being able to use their vast network of contacts to place candidates in many unadvertised off market positions.

The site has an in depth Career Toolkit full of relevant information in relation to Writing a CV, Interview Skills, Presentation Skills and Career Planning. It is also fully integrated with social media such as LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook allowing friends to easily share jobs which may be of interest.

From a recruiters perspective the most unique aspect of the site is the ability to post vacancies free of charge with applications being emailed directly to their inbox. In order to give clients a wider potential audience for job postings, the new website has also developed a talent finder network in partnership with some of the most popular and best known generalist job boards. This talent finder network means that when a job is posted on the website it will also automatically be posted onto a number of other job boards and social media platforms including Facebook, Indeed, LinkedIn, Workhound and Twitter. Deanston Cooper believes that the cost free feature will prove to be an invaluable tool for clients in light of the current financial climate.

Company Russell McCaig said: "The development of the new website which caters specifically for job opportunities in the construction, renewable energy and environmental sectors was primarily driven by feedback from candidates and clients.

"They specified their desire for a specialist site that catered for their exact employment and career requirements. Indeed, we worked with a number of them throughout the development process to ensure that the finished website was to the standard that they required. The initial feedback has been extremely positive in terms of the websites content, functionality and ease of use. From Deanston Cooper’s perspective it gave us a great opportunity to increase our profile whilst helping to stimulate the stagnant UK recruitment market by attracting more suitably experienced candidates for our clients and promoting more relevant job opportunities to our candidates."

Construction Jobs
The Construction Jobs area of the site
(http://www.deanstoncooper.com/sectors/construction-jobs) is wholly devoted to recruitment in the construction sector. Deanston Cooper specialises in construction recruitment providing the latest building jobs, civil engineering jobs, surveying jobs, water jobs, site manager jobs, structural engineering jobs and CAD jobs.

Environmental Jobs
The Environmental Jobs area of the site (http://www.deanstoncooper.com/sectors/environment-jobs) is wholly devoted to recruitment in the environmental sector. Deanston Cooper specialises in environmental recruitment providing the latest ecology jobs, planning jobs, environmental impact assessment jobs, earth science jobs, GIS jobs, geotechnical jobs and landscape architecture jobs.

Renewable Energy Jobs
The Renewable Energy Jobs area of the site (http://www.deanstoncooper.com/sectors/renewable-energy-jobs) is wholly devoted to recruitment in the construction sector. Deanston Cooper specialises in renewable energy recruitment providing the latest wind jobs, hydro jobs, wave jobs, offshore wind jobs, tidal jobs, solar jobs, biomass jobs and energy from waste jobs.

Deanston Cooper is a market leading consultancy providing recruitment and career management services to the Construction, Renewable Energy and Environmental sectors throughout the UK.

The company was started through a strong belief that even in today’s overcrowded marketplace there was an opportunity for a different type of consultancy. One that operates with honesty and integrity, whilst having the knowledge, skills and credibility to guarantee success. For clients this means being able to attract, recruit, retain and develop the best possible talent. For candidates it’s making sure their next career move is the right move.

The company’s Mission Statement is quite simply:  “Determined to be different”

Website: www.deanstoncooper.com

The cost of disagreement? Special comment article by Alan Jones

Alan Jones, a partner at Averta Employment Lawyers, comments on the recent resignation of Fabio Capello as England Manager, its parallels in UK industry and how the law deals with such events.

It is not often the decisions made by a manager of the England football team raise some interesting legal questions, but Fabio Capello’s recent decision to resign has managed to do so. From the little we know about the matter, it seems that his decision was voluntary, although the FA says they did not try and persuade Mr Capello to change his mind. So what are his reasons and how does it fit into the legal context?

Again, without too much hard fact, the implication is that Mr Capello objected to the decision made by the FA that John Terry should not be captain of the England football team at Euro 2012. It is not clear whether or not Mr Capello was consulted before this decision, but it is quite clear that he disagreed with it. He, perhaps understandably, appears to have taken the view that John Terry is “innocent until proved guilty”, whilst the FA have taken the equally understandable perspective that the football team can do without the distraction of a potential trial on alleged racist behaviour. Both arguments are reasonable, so where does that leave Fabio Capello from a legal perspective?

It seems – and I must emphasise the facts are not that clear – that Mr Capello not only disagreed with the decision of the FA, but may well have felt that his position was undermined by their failure to include him in the decision making process. He may well have felt that that made his position untenable, that there was an element of “public humiliation” in not involving him, and that he had to leave. He may well have a claim for the unexpired period of his contract, and that could end up costing the FA a great deal of money.

In industry, this situation does not usually attract such interest, but it is by no means uncommon. If you liken the position of England Football Manager to that of chief executive of a company, his or her position might become impossible if there is a fundamental disagreement between them and the Board of Directors.

It is not unknown for a Chairman of a company to publicly disagree with the CEO, who may feel that he has no alternative but to leave. Furthermore, reaching decisions behind the CEO’s back, and without consultation with the CEO, would be seen as undermining his position within the company, and he or she would also have the right to resign and claim breach of contract. That said, it is unusual to find a CEO or MD of a company on a contract worth £6 million, so any claim for compensation arising from the constructive dismissal, is likely to be limited to a years’ pay or less, coupled with arguments between the parties about bonus, share options, incentive plans and other additional benefits.

Of course an everyday constructive dismissal lacks the excitement of the football world, and gives rise to far less speculation as to who will be the perfect replacement.

(That's Business would like to than Alan Jones and Averta for allowing us to carry this important expert comment on this subject.)

Sunday, 12 February 2012

Retailers advised to keep their premises a bit cooler

Footlocker thermal image
Retailers are using ‘thermal pleasure’ to entice chilly shoppers with roasting in-store temperatures and their doors wide open, according to research from business price comparison service Make It Cheaper.

Even in freezing conditions just one-in-20 shops along London’s Oxford Street has its doors closed to stop heat escaping, with their temperatures - recorded using a thermal imaging camera - reaching 24.1 degrees C (Russell & Bromley, Footlocker and Global Luggage – see table below).

However, Loughborough University’s Professor Ken Parsons, who researches the body’s response to heat, says: “Heating above 20 C is not necessary and can be uncomfortable. One of the reasons for keeping shops at high temperatures is the ‘thermal pleasure’ felt when moving from a cold to a warm environment. So when a shopper moves from cold to warm there is a rapid change in skin temperature and it feels welcoming. However soon after entering the shop in outdoor clothing, the shopper will be too hot and suffer discomfort.”

Jonathan Elliott, managing director of Make It Cheaper, commented: “Hot shops may be welcoming but can also be pretty annoying when you’re dressed up for the Arctic. What sense does it make if the owners are simply burning a hole in their pockets as well as the ozone layer? So hats off to those operating with a sensible thermostat and closed door policy.”

Oxford Street shops with their doors closed include department stores - such as M&S, Debenhams, John Lewis and House of Fraser - as well as a handful of smaller retailers such as Watches of Switzerland.

A study conducted by Cambridge University in 2010 calculated that retailers could reduce their energy consumption by up to 50% simply by keeping doors closed. It also concluded that the number of visitors that a shop receives is not affected by having its doors closed. On this basis, the 300 shops on Oxford Street would save an average of £15,000 a year per shop if the shut their doors (as the same applies in Summer with air-conditioning). That’s a combined total of £4.5m for the whole street.

Professor Parsons added: “Retailers clearly do not want to restrict access to their shops but maybe it is time to give guidance to all retailers on requirements to avoid wasting energy in this way. Mechanisms such as revolving doors are effective at reducing energy waste.”

Established in 2007, Make It Cheaper is the number one destination for businesses to get a better deal on their utilities and other services. Based in Central London with 110 staff, the self-styled ‘saving experts for business’ receive more enquiries and arrange more new contracts than any other business price comparison service.

These include the business customers of major domestic price comparison services with whom Make It Cheaper has partnerships, as well as many trade associations and charity membership organisations. Acting on behalf of all these customers with total impartiality and free-of-charge, Make It Cheaper offers year-on-year savings across a range of products including: business energy, telecoms, insurance and merchant services (chip & pin).

By switching suppliers or helping to renegotiate deals with existing ones, it will typically save over 30% of costs - as well as a considerable amount of time that its customers can then spend on running their businesses. Make It Cheaper is currently ranked 39th in the Sunday Times Fast Track 100.

* http://www.closethedoor.org.uk/images/misc/basarir_presentat...

In-Store Temperatures Recorded on Oxford Street & Regent Street – Thursday 9th Feb


• 24.1 Footlocker
• 24.1 Global Luggage
• 24.1 Russell & Bromley
• 24.0 Hackett
• 23.9 Skechers
• 23.8 Jane Norman
• 23.5 Zara
• 23.5 Ernest Jones
• 23.5 Guess
• 23.4 Aldo
• 23.3 Scottish Collection
• 23.3 Dorothy Perkins
• 23.1 La Senza
• 22.9 TM Lewin
• 22.8 Mango
• 22.7 Ecco
• 22.5 Muji
• 22.5 Moss Bros
• 22.4 H&M
• 22.3 Intimissimi
• 22.2 Monsoon
• 22.2 Phones4U
• 22.1 Clinton Cards
• 22.1 H.Samuel
• 22.1 Office
• 22.1 Global
• 22.1 Virgin Media
• 22.1 Mamas & Papas
• 22.0 Next
• 22.0 Carphone Warehouse
• 22.0 Tmobile
• 21.9 Vodafone
• 21.8 Superdrug
• 21.8 GNC
• 21.7 Phones4U
• 21.7 Clarks
• 21.7 The Body Shop
• 21.6 Soccer Scene
• 21.6 Game
• 21.4 Swarovski
• 21.4 Perfume
• 21.4 Tommy Hilfiger
• 21.3 Russell & Bromley
• 21.3 River Island
• 21.3 Boots
• 21.3 Karen Millen
• 21.3 Folli Follie
• 21.2 Vodafone
• 21.2 Uniqlo
• 21.2 Clarks
• 21.1 AVERAGE
• 21.1 Sunglasses Hut
• 21.1 Samsung
• 21.1 Esprit
• 21.0 Evans
• 21.0 French Connection
• 21.0 Niketown
• 21.0 United Colours of Benetton
• 20.8 Whittard
• 20.8 Officers Club
• 20.8 Furla
• 20.7 Moss
• 20.7 The Body Shop
• 20.7 Zara
• 20.7 Miss Selfridge
• 20.7 Sony
• 20.5 Lacoste
• 20.3 Boots
• 20.3 Clarks
• 20.3 Calvin Klein
• 20.2 Boots
• 20.2 Tenzenis
• 20.1 Next
• 20.1 Schuh
• 20.0 Claires
• 20.0 Disney
• 19.9 Massimo Dutti
• 19.9 Thorntons
• 19.9 Jane Norman
• 19.7 Accesorize
• 19.7 Swatch
• 19.7 H.Samuel
• 19.6 BHS
• 19.6 Holland & Barrett
• 19.6 Specsavers
• 19.6 Jessops
• 19.6 Zara
• 19.6 Levis
• 19.5 Aldo
• 19.2 Primark
• 19.2 Monsoon
• 19.2 Boss
• 18.8 TM Lewin
• 18.7 River Island
• 18.7 Apple
• 18.1 Timberland
• 18.0 Ann Summers
• 17.9 Gant
• 17.5 3 Store
• 17.4 Uniqlo
• 16.8 TM Lewin

Wednesday, 8 February 2012

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Mark Your Calendar – Tuesday 27th March 2012 WORKINGMUMS LIVE EXHIBITION

Workingmums.co.uk is holding its second flexible careers fair: Workingmums Live, on Tuesday 27th March 2012 at the Business Design Centre in Islington. It’s a unique event on everything related to flexible working, giving working parents the opportunity to:

* Meet with family friendly employers face to face including: H&M, Santander, John Lewis, Hobbs,
Coca Cola Enterprises, Thames Valley Police and Everything Everywhere
* Hear from mother of three and BBC presenter: Joanna Gosling who has just written, Simply Wonderwoman
* Find flexible job opportunities
* Get advice on being self employed, starting a business or setting up a franchise
* Improve their CV and brush up on interview techniques
* Get advice on retraining from the experts
* Meet with franchisors including Creation Station and Bright & Beautiful, and find out about self-employment opportunities with businesses including Stella&Dot, Avon and me&i
* Attend informative seminars on everything from flexible working legislation to tax credits and how to run your own business
* Find out about childcare options and business funding

The first exhibition, held on 8th March 2011 (International Women’s Day) was a success with over 1,400 people attending the event.

Venue: Business Design Centre, Islington, London.

Time: 9am – 4pm

Nearest Tube Station: Angel

The event is free for all attendees, and little ones are more than welcome – they have changing stations and crèche facilities.

To register, please visit http://www.workingmumslive.co.uk/london

If you are interested in exhibiting at the event, or taking part in some way, please click here, call us on 020 8432 6094 or email live@workingmums.co.uk.

Monday, 6 February 2012

Berkshire Allocated £10.876 Million to Boost Economic Growth

The Thames Valley Berkshire Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) is delighted to announce that Berkshire has been allocated £10,876,292 million from the government’s Growing Places Fund. The new funding comes from an overall £500 million distributed to local enterprise partnerships across England to help boost economic growth and unlock barriers to building the infrastructure needed that will enable the creation of jobs and homes. This reinforces the confidence of the Government in the ability of LEPs to foster and promote business growth.

Thames Valley Berkshire LEP will manage the fund for Berkshire. Discussions are already underway with stakeholders to identify how best to use this funding for the region. Funding will be allocated to a range of projects designed to facilitate economic growth, boost job creation and local infrastructure, with the aim of providing a return on investment that can be re-invested locally. Final decisions on which schemes will receive financial support from the Fund will be taken by the Forum. This is a 20-member decision making body that governs the LEP.

Thames Valley LEP is business led and is working in collaboration with the community sector, education, businesses and local authorities across the region to:

• Address infrastructure requirements such as rail, road and other transport links and promote the delivery of housing and other developments
• Improve the communications infrastructure, in particular the availability of superfast broadband services
• Respond to innovative and creative projects which improve employability and close the skills gap to ensure that Berkshire has a ‘work-ready’ workforce

The objective is to ensure Thames Valley Berkshire remains the most enterprising area in the country maintaining it’s competitive edge on the global platform. By promoting employment and skills and ensuring the delivery of the infrastructure required to support economic growth, TVB LEP believes Berkshire is the best place to live, work and an attractive place to do business.

Steve Lamb, Chair of Thames Valley Berkshire Local Enterprise Partnership (TVB LEP) and senior director at Oracle comments: “This injection of funds will help us to be more innovative, productive and attractive for business as we focus on building the infrastructure and businesses that will sustain the area for the next 30 years.

"The Growing Places Fund will certainly help us to make capital infrastructure investments. We are looking to create a balanced portfolio where housing schemes, transport and other infrastructure projects will all be considered. We will provide a small proportion of the fund to develop innovative and creative projects that stimulate economic growth or promote employment.”

TVB LEP is business led and made up of key leaders across the business, education, the voluntary and community sector and six unitary authority areas of: Bracknell Forest, Reading, Slough, West Berkshire, Windsor, and Maidenhead, and Wokingham. For more details of the membership of TVB LEP please visit the website www.thamesvalleyberkshire.co.uk.

Organisations interested in bidding for funds should contact Deborah Wharton or Richard Tyndall on 01628 796020. You can download a full briefing and FAQs document on Growing Places Fund via the website.

Virgin Money launches two new savings products

Virgin Money has announced the addition of two new accounts to its growing range of savings products. The new Virgin Fixed Rate Bond and Virgin Fixed Rate Cash ISA both offer competitive rates and the accounts are available in Northern Rock branches, online, by post and over the telephone. Interest rates are the same through all distribution channels and ISA customers receive the same great rates as those with a non-ISA account.

The Virgin Fixed Rate Bond offers customers a fixed rate of 3.00% for one year (issue 1) and 3.30% for three years (issue 2). It is a simple, straightforward, fixed rate savings account, available through Northern Rock branches, online or by post. Customers choosing to receive their interest monthly receive the same AER as those receiving annual interest.

The Virgin Fixed Rate Cash ISA offers customers a rate of 3.00% for one year (issue 1) and 3.30% for three years (issue 2) respectively. This matches the rate available for a non-ISA savings account and savers also benefit from the tax-efficiency of the ISA wrapper. These accounts are also available across all Northern Rock channels, and allow transfers in from existing ISAs. Customers can withdraw subject to a charge equivalent to 60 and 120 days loss of interest respectively.

These Virgin Money branded accounts are personal deposit accounts with Northern Rock plc. The Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS) provides protection to customers with these accounts under Northern Rock plc's existing FSCS membership up to a maximum of £85,000 per person. The £85,000 limit relates to a customer's combined deposits with Northern Rock plc under the Northern Rock brand or Virgin Money brand names.

Pete Wood, Head of Savings Products said: "We saw a great response from customers to the first Virgin Money savings accounts we launched in January. Following this I am delighted to announce the addition of a new fixed rate bond and a fixed rate cash ISA account to our range. These products are designed to be simple, fair and transparent."

More information on the savings range is available at www.northernrock.co.uk/savings.

Tips for home-workers from Endsleigh Insurance

The current job market is encouraging many people, especially working mums, to try self-employed life for the first time. Endsleigh Insurance provides tips for people setting up their own businesses.

Kate Jenner Commercial Team Manager of http://www.endsleigh.co.uk/ commented: “We’re getting more and more enquiries from people setting up in business on their own for the first time. The internet has made it easier and cheaper for people to trade, but so many are naïve about how to go about it.”

Top 5 tips

1. Benefit from business accounts
It may not seem like a priority if you’re not expecting to make much money initially, but it’s important to separate your personal and business finances – also there are free gifts and other benefits to enjoy.

All the main high street banks will be competing for your business and will offer all manner of perks and gifts to get you to bank with them. When you are starting off on your own, every little helps.

At the same time, get your mobile phone transferred to a business account. Welcome improved customer service and special deals that only apply to business users! Moving your mobile phone to a business account can be a great money saver. You might be able to combine with a broadband package and often benefit from attractive phone upgrades as well as free calls between business users.

2. Put all “sundries” through the company account
“Working from home” can mean sitting at a computer, or driving around your local community, either way you are going to clock up a lot of payments for small items.

This can mean paying for tea bags, buying a new computer keyboard, or simply stocking up on pens! Make sure you get a VAT receipt for all payments as it all stacks up.

3. Use your social networks to market yourself as cheaply as possible
Advertising in the local paper, or online, might be necessary to get yourself started, but there’s nothing like using your network of friends, family and former business contacts to find work.

This isn’t the time to be bashful – make sure everyone knows about your new business by updating your LinkedIn profile and sending out messages through Facebook and Twitter.

4. Join relevant groups & organisations
Is there a union or organisation that covers your particular sector? Joining up can reap huge rewards, by offering you discounted training and advertising opportunities, as well as widening your network of contacts.

As well as official bodies, look out for collectives that work with people like you. There are lots of excellent organisations representing your focus or network, working mums, local business forums for example. Or if you are a blogger you will find a number of groups to join.

5. Protect yourself
Whatever service or product you are selling, you are liable for its safety, accuracy and general adherence to the law. Whatever your line of business, whether a beautician, writer or plumber you will need cover for Business and Office Equipment, Stock, Business Travel, Revenue Protection, Tools and Goods in Transit.

Endsleigh strongly recommended that sole traders and the self-employed ask an advisor about Public Liability insurance costs and benefits for their sector.

Endsleigh is an independent intermediary specialising in the provision of insurance and financial products for career people.

The team have access to the leading insurers and lenders in the UK market, offering comprehensive advice on all areas of financial planning. Along with offering advice on financial protection, investments and retirement planning, Endsleigh also has dedicated mortgage and corporate advisers.

Endsleigh online http://www.endsleigh.co.uk
Endsleigh Insurance on Twitter http://www.twitter.com/Endsleigh
Endsleigh Press Office on Twitter http://twitter.com/EndsleighPR
Endsleigh on Facebook http://www.facebook.com/endsleigh

Thursday, 2 February 2012

EPOS Software Leader, Total Retail Control Ltd., Selected as HRVision Distributor for UK & Ireland Retail Solutions Market

Retail Integrity Testing offered by TRC
Integrity Testing Software will Help Ireland and UK Retailers Stop Employee Theft.

Employee theft is not something that any business wants to think about. But sadly, it can be a reality. And all retailers need to be able to deal with the problem before it becomes a problem.

HRVision Ltd., is pleased to announce the appointment of Total Retail Control Ltd. as their distributor for the Ireland and UK retail market. A leader in retail epos solutions, TRC will be offering HRVision's highly accurate and cost effective integrity testing software, SavvyIntegrity to complement the TRC Ltd. current retail solutions product suite.

"In the retail segment where employee theft is an especially crucial issue, TRC recognises the need to offer our clients innovative technologies that can effectively aid retailers in identifying dishonest candidates before they become employees," says Gavin Peacock, CEO, TRC.

SavvyIntegrity is HRVision’s revolutionary SaaS tool for the recruiting or loss-prevention division of an organization. It has high sensitivity to theft and fraud and lets recruiters identify potentially dishonest candidates before they become employees. Utilising proven and patented technology, the SavvyIntegrity system extends recruiters' ability to immediately identify the level of integrity of candidates.

“Having established a reputation for providing excellence in retail and hospitality solutions to a wide variety of clients across Ireland and the UK, TRC is keen on delivering the most advanced retail intelligence solutions to solve real-world retail challenges,” says Gavin Peacock, CEO, TRC. "As a comprehensive retail solutions provider, we are pleased to partner with a company known around the globe for their highly predictive tools in the field of employee assessment".

Sandy Erez, Director of Business Development, HRVision adds, "TRC customers can now accurately screen potential candidates without the cost and complexity associated with lengthy intensive screening. The 20-minute web-based test can be a game changer for TRC’s wide base of client retailers, who are unaware that such technologies exist. Retailers would be surprised to know that these technologies are user friendly and affordable."

Retail solutions empowered by TRC deliver the best retail intelligence to grow your retail operation. TRC retail insights help managing retail staff, managing retail suppliers, controlling retail cash, managing retail customers and managing your retail stock to boost your bottom line.

Total Retail Control (TRC) was launched in 1991 and over the past 21 years, the company has established a reputation for providing excellence in retail and hospitality solutions to a wide variety of clients across Ireland and the UK.  For more information about Total Retail Control, please visit: www.trcepos.ie or email sales@trcepos.ie.

Established in 1997, HRVision, is a leading provider of highly sophisticated employee assessment solutions software for organizations seeking a highly accurate and cost effective recruitment solutions suitable to the workplace environment and its diversity demands.

Seeking to address key challenges faced by organizations to perform cost effective but highly qualified mass recruitment, HRVision has created a suite of empiric employee assessment software solutions (Savvy Recruiter, SavvyIntegrity, SavvyExpert, SavvyCompetencies) that revolutionizes the way recruitment is done. Empowered by this breakthrough technology that hit the market in 2005, the HRVision solution has since proven its ability to significantly improve performance and reduce turnover for organizations worldwide.

Headquartered in Israel, HRVision has sold over 500,000 SavvyRecruiter Assessment and Integrity software tests worldwide, with sales channels in Brazil, UK, Holland, South Africa Israel, and Mexico. Available in 9 languages, HRVision's fully integrated, internet-based system utilizes sophisticated technology on a user friendly, multimedia testing and reporting platform making it the most advanced employee assessment system in the world. For more information please visit: http://www.hrvision.com/products-and-solutions/Integrity/.

That's Technology: Insight Completes Acquisition of Inmac

That's Technology: Insight Completes Acquisition of Inmac: Insight has announced that it has successfully completed the acquisition of Frankfurt-ba...

BrocklebankPenn says: "Avoid video marketing at your peril!"

Innovative agency BrocklebankPenn says video has moved from an expensive ‘nice to have’ to pivotal in persuading customers to buy.

BrocklebankPenn has reported a sea change in the role of video within ad and marketing campaigns. Craig Penn, Founder and Director of Strategy & Planning at BrocklebankPenn states; “As online marketing becomes an ever larger slice of the marketing mix, with online ad spend now overtaking TV as the UK’s largest media (source: IAB), so we are seeing a huge interest from brands to give video greater prominence within campaigns.”
A recent study from Experian Hitwise reports that visits to online video sites were up 36% in the UK last year, and Digital TV Research says that online advertising spend is set to reach £60.6bn by 2016 (almost double what it was in 2010), all of which supports the empirical findings from BrocklebankPenn.

In an article published today, Craig Penn explains how video is becoming the pivotal element in both the Zero Moment – the point at which the consumer starts researching a new purchase – and the Last Ten Feet, when they are in store (or on the website) with credit card in hand ready to make the purchase.

Penn continues, “Nine times out of ten, consumers buy one of the brands that they found when they first started looking. If a brand is not there at the beginning of the search, they are very unlikely to be selected after all the research, product reviews, customer comments and friends’ opinions have been digested. Video has become the media of choice for consumers, and now that Google counts video as part of its ‘relevance’ metrics, making it an important element of SEO, brands who avoid video do so at their peril.’’

What IS BrocklebankPenn?
A team of highly experienced individuals with diverse marketing backgrounds yet shared values, including serial entrepreneur Gary Brine. BrocklebankPenn was founded to ensure that clients always get direct, honest dialogue with the key people driving each project.

The executive team at BrocklebankPenn has together more than 100 years of client and agency experience. Whether working on a comprehensive international marketing strategy or delivering a multi-channel tactical campaign, BrocklebankPenn brings the same ‘big agency’ processes, standards and capacity while holding onto the small agency adaptability, responsiveness and nimbleness.

One Brand World
No matter where customers see, hear, discuss or touch a brand, it must leave an immediate and lasting impression. BrocklebankPenn understands that every form of media has a relevant part to play, and all must come together to build confidence, drive awareness, open engagement, answer any questions, entertain, help and of course sell product/service.

From the Zero Moment when a consumer first starts looking and researching a new purchase, to the Last Ten Feet, when they make a decision about what and where to buy, BrocklebankPenn builds campaigns that will engage with the customer at every touch point.

From Zero to Ten, the customer sees the brand all at once – it’s what BrocklebankPenn call a One Brand World.

For more information and inspiration please visit: www.brocklebankpenn.com