We love a good debate! That’s why we run Round Table events with key commentators from the industry every six months. We explore different topics each time that sit within our four key sectors – Food & Drink, Home & Lifestyle, Travel & Leisure and Tech & Innovation.
Here’s a look at some of our past Round Table events.
This month we held our second Lucre Group Ideas & Insight session looking at the Food & Drink sector. The title was Provenance vs Price: The Future of British Food Post-Brexit. A very relevant topic in the current uncertainty of whether Brexit will be an opportunity or a challenge for food manufacturers, retailers and ultimately, […]Read more >
In April 2016, the Lucre Group hosted its first ever Rich Ideas and Insights (I&I) event, entitled The Impact of Rio, an examination of how the Rio Olympics will impact the Home & Lifestyle, Travel and Food & Drink sectors. As the latest addition to the Lucre family, I&I is about keeping our thinking fresh, […]Read more >
On this page we’ll share what we’ve been thinking, what we’ve seen, what we’re doing and the stuff we just really, really like.
We’ll also keep you updated on our I&I events, when we bring together the best people to talk about the topics you need to know more about.
Food waste has been discussed and debated endlessly in the media in recent years to the point that maybe we’ve become immune to the detail. We know we should reuse our leftovers, consider what we buy and when, understand the difference between best before and use by dates and maybe donate a few cans to people less fortunate than us when we’re at Tesco.
This is great, but we need to understand the true extent to what food is wasted in order for us to buy that lovely Valentine’s Day meal deal or those perfectly straight carrots. WRAP estimated (it’s impossible to predict an exact number) that annual food waste from UK households, hospitality, manufacturing, retail and wholesale sectors is 10 million tonnes – 60% of which could have been avoided. In total, we waste food worth £17 billion a year which creates 20 million tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions.
Ultimately, the agricultural, manufacturing, supply chain and the retailing system we have developed means we produce more food than we need and a large proportion of this gets wasted.
Our food waste habits are costing us money and polluting our environment but equally, we’re seeing people all around us who cannot afford to eat. Elderly people dying from malnourishment, children who may only eat one meal a day and food bank use continuing to rise. 8.4 million UK families are struggling to put food on the table, the equivalent of the whole population of London.
But, there are some real super-heroes who are helping to redress the balance and ensure that surplus food is used as a force for good. There’s innovative NPD that is challenging the category leaders, savvy technology that’s connecting waste with communities and people who are using food waste to create partnerships that drive social empowerment.
In our next Lucre Roundtable event, we are celebrating the Innovative Waste Warriors who are making a difference in the war on waste; the people, the businesses and charities who are using food surplus to innovate, connect and empower. Along the way, we hope to inspire businesses to look at the way they produce food and what they could do differently.
Join us on March 1st at St Luke’s Community Centre in London and hear from some inspirational speakers. Email email@example.com to be added to the guest list.
Delightfully green and with outdoor life at its heart: the city of Vancouver truly captures the essence of British Columbia. The parks, gardens and forests in and around Vancouver are so plentiful that you could easily spend a whole week exploring, but I have selected my five favourite activities from a recent visit, to give you a taster of this refreshing outdoor life in as little as a few days.
Cycling in Stanley Park
Stanley Park is the jewel of Vancouver, so if you are only visiting for a short break, place it at the top of your list! The best way to explore is on two wheels around the seawall surrounding the park, which offers incredible views of Vancouver’s skyline. The seawall is around 6 miles long and should take roughly an hour, including a few stops to take pictures too (tip: the area near the Marina/ Vancouver Rowing Club has the best views of the skyline).
Devonian Harbour Park is a great place to begin as it’s within a stone’s throw from most of the bike rental shops on Denman Street and there are a handful of picturesque waterfront restaurants to refresh after a cycle ride. Other activities in the park include the open-air swimming pool overlooking the water and Vancouver Aquarium.
English Bay Beach
Situated just Southwest of Stanley Park, English Bay beach is a beautiful place to relax on a sunny day.
The beach offers a nice selection of summer activities including volleyball courts, kayaking, swimming and the Cactus Club Café. It is also a good place to spot local wildlife and watch the stunning sunsets.
Lynn Canyon Park
The scenic Lynn Canyon Park makes a fantastic day trip from Vancouver, where you can really immerse yourself in forestland, crystal clear rivers and emerald pools. The park also boasts a suspension footbridge leading over the river. The best part is, it’s completely free! Vancouver has one other suspension bridge nearby (Capilano Suspension Bridge), but this costs $39.95 to use, making Lynn Canyon Park all the more appealing.
The journey itself is another reason why this is such an enjoyable day trip. You can catch the Sea Bus from Waterfront Station (for the same price as normal buses) over to West Vancouver. The Sea Bus offers a fabulous view of Vancouver’s skyline on the return trip, so make sure to keep your camera ready!
Vancouver’s Chinatown is the second largest in North America and is most certainly worth a visit. Begin your explorations on W Pender Street and enter Chinatown through the famous gates. Take in the fascinating scenes of locals shopping at speciality grocery stores selling unusual Chinese vegetables, herbs and spices unknown to many and browse in the Chinese Gift stores for keepsakes. The Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden (578 Carrall Street) provides a tranquil oasis in the middle of a busy, bustling district and transports you back in time to 15th Century China.
I am a big fan of Dim Sum, so I was quick to hunt down the restaurant which claims to serve up some of the best: New Town Bakery (148 E Pender Street). And it did not disappoint! I recommend the Char Sui Steamed Pork Buns and one of their renowned egg custard tarts to finish.Read >
That’s a wrap. The first of February is within touching distance; so close you can hear the sizzle of bacon coming in over the horizon. Toast some bread, slop on the Heinz, take a bite and, just like that, Veganuary is done and dusted for another year. Only, it’s not so simple. Sure, the new year cleanse is coming to an official end, but the clamour for a meat-free-month is suggestive of the direction in which our longer-term eating habits are travelling. Perhaps, a vegan diet is for life, not just post-Christmas.
Whatever the reasons for getting involved in veganism (ethical, health, Instagram…), and whether it’s dabbling or dedication, there’s no doubting that people are giving it a go. And not just in January. Statistics published by the Vegan Society show that the number of vegans in Britain ballooned by more than 360% between 2006 and 2016, making it the country’s fastest growing lifestyle movement. Add in a hoard of part-timers and a popular hashtag – #Veganuary2018 has been used 21,359 and counting on Instagram – and it’s no wonder that brands are taking notice, and action.
From major restaurant chains adding to their vegan options to innovative product development, the last few months have seen numerous initiatives aimed at the growing vegan audience. Pizza Express, Zizzi and Carluccio’s are among the biggest restaurant groups to have substantially expanded their vegan offerings and it would appear that supermarkets are following suit, with the likes of Tesco and Asda announcing new vegan ranges. Where once there was KFC riding the wave of a mock clean eating burger, there are now brands furiously developing meat and dairy free alternatives. Ben & Jerry’s are among the most recognisable names leading the NPD charge, although perhaps the biggest headline grabber will be the vegan ‘bleeding’ burger, which has been announced by Moving Mountains.
With an estimated 52,000 participants this year, initiatives such as Veganuary offer impactful short-term publicity for veganism but the aforementioned developments hint at a longer-term commitment from influential companies too. The tightrope currently being walked is that between a trend and a fad. We all witnessed the mess made by the Clean Eating brigade, where pseudo-science and marketing fueled opportunism was exposed and dismantled. There have been missteps here, too, such as the short-lived Marks and Spencer’s cauliflower steaks, but, assuming that brands find the balance between relevance and exploitation, there’s little question that there’s a lucrative market here and that veganism will live long beyond Veganuary.Read >
The topic of environmental sustainability has been a widely reported theme of late, and plastic waste has been at the centre of the controversy.
Marks and Spencer’s sparked much of the recent conversation, with the sale of their ‘cauliflower steak’, which came under fire not only for the cost but also the excessive packaging. The UK Government have already pledged to ban all avoidable plastic waste by 2042.
Going plastic free and making more of an effort to become sustainable is a lifestyle decision that more people are moving towards – but do we really have much choice?
As consumers, we have a responsibility to be considerate about what we buy and how we buy it. Although the food and drink sector is the obvious perpetrator which immediately springs to mind, plastic containers are everywhere we turn.
Some products can be costlier and less convenient, but if you’re dedicated to cutting plastic out of your life, it can be achievable. Buying fruit and vegetables from your local market or farm shop for example, ridding the necessity for the plastic tray and wrapping, is an obvious step. But have you ever considered products such as shampoo? Certain products don’t practically lend themselves to alternative packaging options, making it difficult to be a consumer dedicated to the cause.
These issues and the recent controversy asks the question of businesses to consider how they operate for the good of the environment. It is also becoming an increasing consideration of consumers, with brands trying to cut through the noise in a dense market.
Iceland became the first business to announce their commitment to becoming plastic free, with a vow to eliminate or at least drastically reduce the plastic packaging of its own-label products in the next five years. This is bound to be a trend that will spread across industries, with many other businesses adopting a different mentality towards sustainability and packaging.
Although the questions over sustainability can be a challenge for businesses, it also presents an opportunity, providing brands commit to the change proactively and embrace the need for change.
I for one can’t wait to see the developments in packaging that businesses adopt to meet the changing needs and demands of the typical consumer.
Leading PR and content agency, The Lucre Group, has today announced its latest account; The Cake Crew.
The company is the UK’s largest independent manufacturer of private label cupcakes and is known for producing and supplying own-label cakes to major multiple retailers and discounters. The Lucre Group is supporting the business on the launch of its first branded cupcake range, Beautifully Crafted, which is a range of premium, hand-finished cupcakes.
Appointed on retainer to help build The Cake Crew brands across consumer media, trade and digital channels, Lucre’s work aligns directly to the business plan, targeting the core retail sectors of convenience, travel, food service, multiple and independents.
From sampling, video and social media management, through to influencer and media relations, the Lucre team will ensure that Beautifully Crafted is known and loved by cupcake fans across the UK.
Bill Smith-Coats, Business Development Director at The Cake Crew said: “Having worked with Lucre in the past, they were my go-to for this piece of work. I’ve always been impressed with their creativity, tenacity and knowledge for the food sector. We have big plans for The Cake Crew and Lucre is the perfect partner to help us deliver our consumer and trade plans effectively.”
Tamarind Wilson-Flint, Lucre co-owner and Director added: “Aside from the fact that their cakes look and taste gorgeous, this latest win is a great addition to our Lucre Food & Drink portfolio. From pies and vegan cheese to restaurants and bars, our experience in second-to-none and the fact that we have worked with Bill in the past is testimony to the quality of our work. We can’t wait to introduce the brand and help ensure it becomes a household name in the coming months.”Read >
Discard deep-fried grasshoppers, step away from the burger, the brunch bubble has burst people, but you Avocado, you can stay!!
Would you like an Instagram optimisation kit with your table for four? What the devil is Japanese Dude Food? Tried fish cooked in vinegar? By the end of 2018, you’ll know all the answers to these questions and more if food trend experts are to be believed.
According to the restaurant consultancy company Baum+Whiteman and as we’ve previously reported, Filipino food is where it’s at this year. Luto, chef Mary San Pablo’s London supper club, is most definitely worth trying – paksiw na isda (fish cooked in vinegar) pork belly Adobo and cuttlefish Pallabok with strawberries, lemon and avocado for dessert, what’s not to love? Filipino street food experts BBQ Dreams in London (@bbqdreamz) and Manila Munchies in Birmingham (@ManilaMunchies) are all riding the Filipino fast train to food heaven too.
2018 will be the year of the old bird. 100-day-old chickens (most commercial chickens are slaughtered at 60 days) or gamy cockerels will be viewed as the ‘Pengest Munch’ (thanks, the Chicken Connoisseur). Try HG Walters or The Ginger Pig – both are extraordinary butchers, with fans such as The River Café, Nigella, Gordon and Jamie!
Sayonara, sushi; hello, Japanese “dude food”. Think deep-fried chicken karaage, agedashi tofu and grilled yakitori chicken skewers. Sosharu, Jason Atherton’s restaurant is leading the Japanese “pub grub” charge, lesser mortals are sure to follow. According to the Sterling-Rice Group’s Culinary Trends 2018 report Asian-inspired breakfasts such as jianbing – Chinese crepes smothered with hoisin sauce and filled with egg, are about to land in the UK too. Feeling some Hawaiian flavours? Then poke bowls are for you. Big in America last year, this ‘sushi without the fuss’ is customisable, healthy, delicious and most importantly, an Instagram favourite.
Restaurants including Dirty Bones in Kensington are introducing Instagram optimisation kits (tripods, wide-angle lenses, phone chargers) to help diners snap the heck out of their three courses. However, at the other end of the scale, more are banning phones outright – don’t try and post from St John’s Dining Room, Locanda Locatelli or the Chelsea Arts Club.
Sales of fermented foods show no sign of slowing, as we all feel the benefits of eating more natural probiotics. Though off-the-shelf, little bottles of milky coloured liquid are convenient, they’re not the best source of natural probiotics – fermented or pickled cabbage is. Kimchi is exactly that, hailing from Korea and sauerkraut or kraut juice is pulped pickled German cabbage. In the US, whole supermarket aisles are devoted to spicy kimchi shots and tangy sauerkraut juice. Sounds too healthy? Try a Pickleback instead (whisky with a pickle juice chaser).
Along with this cornucopia of culinary delights, 2018 will also see a rise in Veganism. We welcome wonky veg and we’ll be eating this wonky veg root to tip. We’ll be partial to sip on booze-free bevvies as mocktail mania takes hold. Tacos will be raising their game; breakfast tacos, chocolate tacos, sushi tacos and shaved jicama tacos stuffed with pokē. It’s endless.
Though one of our least favourite food trends is gourmet food for pre-schoolers – we’re all for our little ones eating well, but Fois Gras for four-year-olds? That doesn’t rock our world!Read >
Now that Christmas trees are brightening up homes around the country (Christmas tree syndrome aside), we’ve been thinking about how adding some greenery to your living space can benefit your health.
From snake plants to bonsai trees, cacti to English Ivy, house plants are the perfect room filler, adding that little bit of much needed ‘Zen’. Roll your eyes at thinking this is just another hipster trend, (succulents anyone?), they actually have some pretty impressive health benefits! So, as a New Year’s resolution, here are the top reasons why you should grow your greens as well as eating them:
1) They work as natural air purifiers: Cleansing the air from toxic chemicals including formaldehyde and benzene, which are commonly found in cigarettes and paint, plants work as some of the best natural air purifiers around.
2) They can help fight colds: Believe it or not, due to their effect of increasing humidity levels and decreasing dust (always handy), indoor plants have been shown to reduce cold-related illnesses by over 30 percent!
3) They reduce stress levels: Experts from the Royal Horticultural Society state that ‘bringing the outdoors inside’ can help reduce stress and actually improve your mood, with their study finding the calming presence of plants to also increase productivity and even help hospital patients tolerate pain better.
4) They help you to sleep better: Aloe Vera, Gardenia, Lavender and Jasmine are just a handful of the plants found to help soothe the body and mind, leading to a better, easier night’s sleep.
5) Last but not least, they help you work better too. Studies show that working around plants can improve your concentration, memory and productivity. In fact, according to a University of Michigan study, being “under the influence of plants” can increase memory retention up to 20 percent. So, whether you’re cramming in some deadline work, catching up on emails, or revising for a big test – make sure to surround yourself with as much greenery as you can.Read >
The Jackson Five, high fives and McDonald’s Chicken Selects, it’s a simple fact that all good things come in fives. That’s exactly why we’ve made this simple infographic with five things you need to about one of the fastest growing social media platforms, Instagram.
Every month, 16.7 million people in the UK log on to double tap their favourite pictures and videos, with this number set to rise to 18.7 million by 2021. On average brand profiles post around 5 times a week, but if you’ve got a story to tell don’t be afraid to post more than this using Instagram’s popular stories feature.
Instagram is a brilliant place to showcase your brand and products to a huge audience of receptive consumers. According to Instagram, 80% of accounts follow a brand, so maybe 2018 is the year to ensure they’re following your brand!
Instagram is also renowned for being a platform where users are partial to sharing what they’ve had for their dinner. Data revealed by Instagram suggests that 66% of users want to visit a restaurant after seeing a friend post about it on Instagram, highlighting how influential the platform is, especially in the restaurant and hospitality industry.
With Instagram set to grow in 2018, will you be growing with it?Read >
Christmas, a time of goodwill and great advertising, is here again and for retailers across the UK it’s time to unleash the year’s biggest media spend.
Like the glow of twinkling lights and the first chill in the air, awaiting the launch of John Lewis’ campaign has become synonymous with the start of the festive season. But have this year’s biggest retailers left us feeling merry enough to march straight to the nearest till register?
The answer – most likely yes, but campaigns for Christmas 2017 have not been without controversy. From racist remarks in response to Tesco’s ad to Amazon’s attempt to steal Santa’s limelight, it’s been a bumpy ride for brands facing up to the often angry mob that resides on social media.
My personal favourite ad features the lovable Paddington Bear. Thank you, Marks and Spencer, for giving us bags of Christmas cheer. Move over Moz the Monster, for me Christmas this year is entwined with the marmalade-loving movie legend, as he helps to deliver a sack of stolen presents.
But far from the silver screen, or even TV sets, for brands and their borrowed film stars, scoring PR success comes from making an impact digitally and racking up views on mobile devices. PR Week reported the Marks and Spencer film had an impressive two million views in just four hours on the brand’s Facebook page. The campaign has been supported with a #LoveTheBear hashtag complete with a unique paw print emoji and social media monitoring tool Brandwatch reported 97 per cent of social media mentions were positive.
To date, one week after its first release, the ad has achieved more than 5.6 million views on its YouTube channel.
Treat yourself to a little seasonal magic, courtesy of Marks and Spencer:Read >
We’ve all heard the stats, online videos will account for more than 80% of all consumer internet traffic by 2020.
But when we are told that videos on Facebook have to get to the point within 3 seconds in order to keep the viewer engaged, how do we compete with all the other moving traffic on our social feeds?
Here at Rich, we’ve come up with five simple tips to follow when creating content, in order to make your videos as Facebook friendly as possible;
Craft a descriptive title and post. In order to get the viewer to play and watch your video, you need to ensure that the post is to the point and summarises exactly what the content includes.
Make each second count. The first frame should hold inviting, captivating content to ensure your video grabs and holds the viewers’ attention.
Subtitles are a good thing. With most people now watching and consuming video via their mobile phones and 85% of videos being watched without sound, you can still get your key messages across via the power of subtitles.
Experiment with different types of video content. Facebook Live encompass a new way of sharing content and also ranks higher on Facebook algorithms.
Encourage clients to invest that little bit extra and it will go a long way. Boosting your video from as little as £200 can see vast differences in likes, shares and engagement.
We’ve heard it all before. First, the lecture came from our parents, then we had it from our teachers and now it appears that academics are getting in on the act, too. You know what they say, ‘mothers know best’ and as much as it pains me to say it, they might just be right.
It’s been a hotly debated topic in the world of food, but recent, research published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology has found that skipping our morning meal may be linked to poorer cardiovascular health. Scientists are suggesting that breakfast is, in fact, the most important meal of the day – but just how true is it?
No doubt we’ve all been there (I know I certainly have) – we’d rather have that extra five minutes in bed or we’re so focused on finishing a piece of work then before we know it, the whole morning has passed by.
However, the study suggests that those who miss their morning meal compared to those who enjoy a hearty breakfast, are at a greater risk of developing stages of atherosclerosis earlier in life. In other words, suffer from a build-up of fat in their arteries.
Though it appears that it’s not actually skipping breakfast that’s the problem but more what it causes us to eat after, it indicates more about our lifestyle than anything else. Skipping breakfast disrupts our internal body clock, causing us to eat more calories at unusual times of the day. We turn to things such as snacks or excessive eating around lunchtime to counter-act the meal missed earlier that day. But what if we were to indulge in a full English, seven days a week – would that really be better for us than having nothing at all? It’s safe to say I’m dubious, but, if in the interest of science it means I need to treat myself to some hearty breakfasts, I’m all for it.
So, next time you’re too tired to drag yourself out of bed that five minutes earlier in the morning, just stop and think, because it seems our parents might have been right all along – breakfast truly is the key meal of the day.Read >
Ever sat and typed a tweet, then realised you’re roughly three paragraphs over the 140-character limit, then spent 20 minutes performing mental gymnastics in order to share your opinion of the Great British Bake Off with the world. Well those days could soon be a distant memory, as Twitter have announced they’re trialling increasing the famous 140-character limit to 280. The internet as ever has reacted, so we thought we’d share some of our favourites…
Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey announced the move on Twitter…
This is a small change, but a big move for us. 140 was an arbitrary choice based on the 160 character SMS limit. Proud of how thoughtful the team has been in solving a real problem people have when trying to tweet. And at the same time maintaining our brevity, speed, and essence! https://t.co/TuHj51MsTu
— jack (@jack) September 26, 2017
Not long after, Twitter user @brianrbarone was on hand to cut his tweet down to size!
— Brian Barone (@brianrbarone) September 26, 2017
American chat show host Ellen DeGeneres got in on the fun with a tweet of her own.
— Ellen DeGeneres (@TheEllenShow) September 27, 2017
Not content with the reasoning Twitter gave for the trial, @Punchayati has his own theory.
— Aakash (@PUNchayati) September 27, 2017
@DontforgetJames tweeted what we’re all thinking!
Does twitter actually know it's users? You don't need #280characters to say 'look at this dog' or 'look at my butt'
— James W.B. (@dontforgetjames) September 27, 2017
What’s a Twitter storm without a good meme though?
Twitter: Users want to be able to edit tweets
— Dom Stirling (@domstirling12) September 26, 2017
Whatever the Twittersphere think of this move, we’re all waiting with bated breath to see how Twitter addict Donald Trump will utilise the extra 140 characters.Read >
Many of us will admit that even in life’s most precious moments, we just can’t put down our phones. This is probably most relevant when on holiday and we find that while we should be soaking up the culture and relaxing, we’re instead snapping away for Instagram content, checking emails and scrolling through our social feeds.
But contrary to popular belief, phones aren’t the enemy when it comes to travel. In fact, the travel-hungry among us are realising that apps can actually improve the experience and can be useful to ensure that you make the most of your trip. A recent study by Amadeus found that 45% of travellers have used an app to help them plan travel, 61% of business traveller’s check-in to their flight via a mobile app and 70% of travellers use a social app to share and relive their experiences.
There seems to be an app for every stage of travel, from choosing where to go to booking, right through to apps that are full of inspiration for while you are there. You can easily access unmissable sights, the best cafés and restaurants and exciting things to do in the place you are visiting, all with a swipe through your phone.
Apps such as SkyScanner, CityMaps2Go, Citymapper and PackPoint will help you to plan, pack and tour your way around the globe with ease. So, don’t put down your phone when it comes to travel; embrace the benefit of having the world at your fingertips and enrich your trip with some handy travel tech.Read >
With summer so nearly over, we find ourselves now looking to our next summer holiday (seems miles away, doesn’t it?). We almost always take a break to get that much deserved time out to relax and reset, but don’t let the chilly days and darker evenings be the reason to put you off your next travel adventure.
The travel industry has seen a huge rise in the great ‘staycation’. Isabel Choat of The Guardian puts it down to Brexit as Visit Britain reported that there was a 10% increase in bookings in the UK and there doesn’t seem to be any signs of it slowing down.
Holidays aren’t just for summer, so take a little inspiration from us when it comes to picking your next getaway this autumn.
The classic city break is a brilliant way to relax because, believe it or not, you’re still getting away from it all. A change of scenery from what might feel like the humdrum of your everyday will be welcomed as there’s no better feeling than being able to get lost in the streets of a brand new city. The idea of museums and sightseeing might seem boring to some but up close it’s brilliant to feel submerged in the beauty and history of a location. You don’t even have to travel abroad to cities such as Amsterdam, Paris or Berlin – go for something on your doorstep like our very own capital, London or historic cities such as York and Bath.
It might not feel like bikini weather when it hits September in the UK, but that still doesn’t rule out a beach break. You might have to add some layers but a nostalgic trip to the seaside with a long walk on the beach is the perfect way to spend some ‘you’ time – you’d be surprised by some of the sands and seas we’ve got on our coastline. What’s more, with many beaches allowing dogs during these seasons, you can take your furry friends with you too (and save some money!)
Need we say more? A day trip or a full blow-out, spa breaks are a must. Throwing on a fluffy gown and slippers puts you straight into relaxation mode – just ignore the Wi-Fi and switch your phone off for a purely blissful experience. With so many last-minute offers around, it’s easy to book and takes minimal planning, making it a no-brainer option. Taking advantage of the spa facilities and treating yourself to a massage or treatment, you can’t get more ‘zen’ than this.
It’s September. Let that sink in. Schools are back, bars across the country are now advertising their Christmas party offerings and knowing the UK, the weather will get inexplicably better for a week, then nose dive into autumnal rain and wind. So with this in mind, let’s take a look back at August and pretend that we’re not nearly three quarters of the way through the year.
Why August I hear you say? Well, back in August Facebook announced exciting new changes to its newsfeed algorithm that could have a huge impact on the online activity of businesses and the media. Alongside Facebook’s regular promise to eliminate ‘fake news’, they have also committed to favour stories and links that lead to mobile optimised sites with a quick loading time.
In a post to Facebook’s Newsroom, engineers Jiayi Wen and Shengbo Guo highlighted that “as many as 40 percent of website visitors abandon a site after three seconds of delay.” So wave goodbye to those fake news click bait articles leading you to a website seemingly created by Tim Berners-Lee at the birth of the internet, back when Mark Zuckerburg was just a twinkle in his father’s eye.
But how does this change effect business and media? Most businesses will have a mobile optimised website, but for those that don’t, it’s time to play catch up. Social media plays a key role in the reputation of a brand or business, and having your content pushed further down the newsfeed or simply not being served to users because of a poor website won’t help build that reputation any time soon.
Media may also need to re-evaluate their social strategy. Enter Facebook’s Instant Articles. The cynic in me might think that Facebook’s change in algorithm based on the speed a website and the push on their own platform that hosts articles may have been carefully planned, but I’m sure it’s just a coincidence.
One of the major benefits of hosting content on Instant Articles is a faster load time, which should garner higher organic reach with the new algorithm. If load time impacts the reach of a post, it makes sense that publishers host their content on Facebook. The platform, which has been around for about two years, hasn’t attracted many publishers due to the fact they don’t make the same money they would by simply driving people to their website. So are we about to see more Daily Mail articles hosted directly on Facebook?
What all of this shows it the power of Facebook. One simple change to their algorithm means that business and media need to amend their digital approach, whether that be a simple tweak to optimise their site or rethink their strategy for online revenue. The new algorithm will begin to kick in this month, so watch this space. And by space, I mean Instant Articles. You could be getting a lot of your news from there in the coming months.Read >
Are you one to pull your phone out to pay contactless or flick your wrist at every opportunity to make a payment that little bit faster (and cooler)?
Mashable’s latest report might not be a surprise to you if so – a KFC in Hangzhou, China is testing a new facial recognition payment system. So if you needed an excuse to get your post-Saturday night chicken fix without having to scramble around for your card, you could be in luck.
‘Smile to Pay’ is the brainchild of Alipay (by Alibaba Group), a popular online and mobile payment platform which scans the payees face once they’re ready to complete their order. The security conscious among you (that’s also me) can rest easy with this technology though – a “live-ness detection algorithm” is inbuilt to combat fraud and the 3D camera seems pretty darn accurate with recognition, too. It couldn’t even be fooled by heavy makeup and pink hair and could still pick the correct face out of a crowd.
If you’ve ever watched Black Mirror, it’s seeming that all this kind of technological genius is coming true – your looks really do pay.Read >
Although having missed the boat to being ‘beach body ready’ with a flight to Greece looming and still the not-so-proud owner of a little excess baggage around the middle, there is no better time than now to start making small steps to a slightly more active lifestyle (or so I’ve heard). One of the issues with this, other than creating elaborate excuses to avoid the gym, is that for many people a desk job limits the ability to keep active throughout the day, with the exception of running to the shop at lunch or chasing down the ice cream van. However there is hope by the way of an article on Greatist, posted back in 2014 but recently brought to my attention thanks to Twitter – Deskercise! 33 Smart Ways to Exercise at Work
Although I didn’t manage to get through all 33, here are a few that have already started paying dividends, whether it’s for overall health improvement or just for office hilarity:
The celebratory split squat jumps
The idea behind this is that every time there is a celebration, you do a split squat jump. For those new to the move, it’s basically steading your feet and getting into a split-leg position, lowering into a lunge and then jumping up with celebratory force. Finding an excuse to do it was tricky at first but I quickly came to realise that even the offer of a Jaffa cake was enough, which hopefully balances out the calorie intake to some degree.
The Mover and Shaker
Although my days of dancing the night away are for the most part behind me, the odd jig can often still manifest with the right song, so the idea of a quick bout of desk dancing was entirely possible. Yes, my colleagues did begin by looking on with concern at the impromptu moves, however, it is quickly contagious. 80s Movie Hits playlist on Spotify was a great source of desk dance inspiration, FYI.
The Shoulder Shrug
This is as simple as it sounds – raise your shoulders up to your ears in a shrug motion, with a five-second hold. It says not to do this in a board meeting but I would also suggest a warning to your colleagues if you plan to shrug and perhaps don’t do it in front of your boss. In the midst of asking you an important question, a shrug probably isn’t the best response.
For more deskercise inspiration go to https://greatist.com/fitness/deskercise-33-ways-exercise-work and big thanks to the writer, Emily Milam for the inspiration.
The way in which we choose to travel has changed significantly over the past few years. Millennials are living in the moment and want it all. The majority can’t afford a mortgage so their money goes on travel and living life to the full. If it doesn’t look good on Instagram, it’s a no-go, and if you don’t Snapchat it, you basically weren’t there. However, we need to travel mindfully and respect the locals to be able to sustain this ‘go anywhere, anytime’ lifestyle. Here are three travel trends we can get on board with.
Little and often
Gone are the days of the two-week exodus to the Costa Del Sol. Who wants to spend their annual leave in one go and endure months tied to their desk until next year’s holiday comes around? Recent research revealed that ‘little and often’ is how millennials take their holidays. Budget flights and accommodation around the world have opened up a multitude of options for ticking off bucket lists quickly and efficiently. This, in theory, should ease the crowding in the traditional Brits abroad hotspots as we look to new and less crowded destinations. Why ever not opt for a weekend in Iceland in April, a hop over to France in June, a staycation in August (because who wants to share air space with packs of screaming kids?) followed by a ‘big’ five day holiday with pals in September (the best month of the year to go on holiday)? Oh, and don’t forget a cheeky Christmas market break in December. We want a bit of everything. Sue Us!
If it’s not ‘grammable’, it’s not worth the schlep. Recent research by our client Superbreak recently found that one in three of us have booked to visit a destination after seeing it on Instagram. And it’s not just millennials who are led by their smart phones to destinations new – 16% of people aged 65 plus have also booked at least one holiday after seeing photos on the social media platform. Capturing an array of perfect pictures whilst away has become the ultimate must-do. Taking, editing and sharing of snaps on Instagram takes up an equivalent of two days 19 hours and 12 minutes of our annual leave allowance each year!
Perhaps a by-product of travel habits no. 1 and 2 (we blame the weather), tourist boards around Europe are dealing with a huge backlash from locals complaining that tourism is ruining their cities. Hotspots like Barcelona, Rome and Dubrovnik have seen anti-tourism marches taking place this week to protest against overcrowding, inflation and unruly visitors getting drunk and peeing in the street. Locals are (understandably) very angry; they can’t sleep for the Airbnb parties going on around them, they can’t afford their local café anymore and in the worst-case scenarios, some are being displaced as their apartments are sold off to build luxury tourist apartments. While speaking at the World Tourism Forum in Lucerne, Amsterdam’s head of marketing revealed that the city does not want more people to visit but they want to increase the quality of visitors – “we want people who are interested in the city, not who want it as a backdrop for a party”. Cue the need to channel a new wave of discreet, mindful tourism, whereby we still have fun, enjoy ourselves, but we respect the locals and their way of life and don’t act like total douche bags!Read >
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