Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Amazing dementia lab

I have to post the quickest blog about this ever - this on line lab is just amazing! I like the way it uses a Facebook interaction in a very clever way - try it out and see what I mean. It makes it personal and also gets across a very pertinent message.

If you haven't seen it yet, visit the ARUK Lab www.dementialab.org and then vote for it here in the awwwards!

This is an amazing bit of tech, but more important is the story it tells about dementia research.

Thank you.
Dementia Lab

Thursday, June 06, 2013

Ribbons and letters

6th June is a momentous day - the death of Robert F Kennedy, the birth of David Blunkett, the feast day of Claude the Thaumaturge, and the start of D-Day in Normandy.  (Thank you Wiki for some of these.)

It's an important day for me too. It's my wedding anniversary (though, since becoming single it's significance has waned somewhat) and it's my brother's birthday. I haven't seen my brother for a long time. I don't know where he is or how he is. I don't know, to be honest, if he is alive or dead.

When he first moved to Cornwall about 25 years ago, I would write to him, and phone him sometimes. And in 1991 I became pregnant with our son, Alex, and I wanted to tell him. And I couldn't find him - I didn't know where he lived or where he was working. I wrote to him though, at the address I still had, and sent photographs of his new nephew. When Alex was about a year old, we took a family holiday to Cornwall. We found the address Philip lived at, but there was no answer.

My cousin, Nick, went down to Cornwall (he'd lived there for a while and knew the area well) and did manage to catch up with Phil one day. He told me 'your photos were on his wall'. So he had received my letters. Nick told me that Phil was working in a computer games shop. That was probably just after Melody was born, in 1993. But after that, neither Nick nor I could ever reach Phil.

I tried the Salvation Army - who did know him but he wasn't with them. I tried 'Find your family' websites. I found some very nice Philip Sheppards (one also had a father called Anthony, same as our dad, which was a strange coincidence), but I didn't find my brother.

My brother and I fought as kids, don't all siblings? But as adults we got along pretty good. I don't know why he chose to forget us. But you don't choose your family, do you? So the only choice you have is whether you stay in contact or not. Lots of families fall apart over stupid things - lots of families just drift.  I just miss my brother.

My daughter, Melody, wrote a song for me - and for anyone who has lost touch with a loved one. Here it is. Please share and send to anyone who this may touch.

Happy birthday Phil, wherever you are. This family still think of you.

Wednesday, June 05, 2013

Where is shopping going?

Here's two headlines from the same email which I received from Marketing Magazine:

Amazon eyes international expansion of grocery business


Ocado to launch non-food sites in 'hypermarket' drive

So, are we set for a wonderful combination of increased competition driving down prices? Sadly I don't think so. Each of these two huge brands have very clear ideas of who their target markets are and though I am sure there will be as much theft of consumer as possible between brands, I don't think a price war is imminent. But there will be battles for new audiences - I don't go on to Amazon for my bread, nor to Ocado to buy guitar strings.

More entrants in the market will provide more choice, but I can quickly see a time when a whole new industry arises around on-line grocery shopping - where the fulfilment is a different organisation to the seller.

Picture this, in your town an Ocado, Tesco Direct, Asda (new entrants to home delivery) and an Amazon van all out and about delivering groceries. Wouldn't it be more cost-effective to have one van for the food and small goods? (I'm not talking sofas here.)

We already have 'white van' drivers who deliver for multiple non-food goods, so what about it for  food? It's very possible. You have your huge delivery of fresh broccoli  and you pack and label them according to how many orders you get from the marketers. A 'print on demand' solution for non-branded goods.

And for brands, the challenge will be to ensure their unique selling point is a strong one. That's a challenge they face now - whether it's ketchup or kitchen towel - but my goodness I can see that search optimisation and brand values are going to be a whole new challenge for marketers. How do you get that wonderful 'Bisto family' feeling in a search term? You will have to rely on traditional advertising to build brand values and develop customer loyalty, but will it work in an era when you can simply search 'best gravy mix' and find something just as good, but much cheaper? Marketers live in 'interesting times'. 

We are some way off from all shopping being on line and seeing our beloved (or behated, in some cases) supermarkets closing their doors to the browser, and opening the browser as their doors, but I do see big changes ahead, and soon. These two super-players are simply flexing their muscles ready for the battle ahead.

Picture courtesy of http://www.whichbetter.net/comparison/online-vs-offline-shopping-which-is-better/