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What will machine learning, AI and/or advanced data science mean for innovators over the next 10 years? The expert panel share their insights into the advancements being made within businesses using AI.

The panel further touch upon areas we are likely to see AI applied in the future, which includes the optimisation of businesses that work in hyper-competitive markets and the development of new tools that disrupt IT usage in corporate environments.

Crowd have recently launched a new digital platform for our clients GigRealm.

The way live music events are managed is outdated and relies on a lot of word of mouth and manual management meaning that it can be difficult for new artists to get gigs and payments can be late.

GigRealm is a unique platform that exists to support both artists and those organising gigs. Artists can showcase their work and those organising one-off events like weddings or multiple events (such as pubs and clubs) find the artists to play.

It is a well thought through idea that makes event management simpler and easier with the automation of gig contracts and the streamlining of post-event invoicing and payments for artists.

With Crowd building GigRealm’s platform to pair artists with venues, we were briefed in 2020 to further the business model and expand the focus to include corporate entities. This includes venues owned as part of a chain. Once developed, this increased the audience and the market potential of the site.

To allow chains to get involved with the venues, an approval system was created, starting with tier 1 – head office, tier 2 – regional managers and finally tier 3 – the venues themselves. This system creates a reliable workflow for everyone involved.

Additionally, a custom hosted bank mandate form was created to allow seamless payments by BACS, as well as card, directly from the website via Stripe. Automatic weekly invoicing was also included to allow corporate finance departments to view consolidated payments in one PDF generated invoice which they can then always refer back to.

We have not found any other platforms which encompass both a fully integrated payments system, used by the venues to pay artists and the logic required for our client.

This original business concept required an immense level of unique coding for our web development team. It resulted in some of the most advanced integrations they have tackled yet, into a multitude of third-party APIs and systems.

With GigRealm launched and already in use by artists and venues, we’re certain that many successful events will be held thanks to the system and undiscovered artists may find themselves on the road to stardom!

If you need help turning your big idea into reality, get in touch!

 

Data is a broad area for discussion. Whether you use apps, website analytics or a CRM system, you’re either knowingly or unknowingly relying on data in some capacity for your business.

In this part of the innovation discussion, the panel cover data source, data usage, data purpose and diversity and most importantly, the use of data in gaining insights.

Online events have enjoyed a massive increase in popularity over the past two years, as a consequence of international covid-19 lockdowns and restrictions on international travel.

Many big brands, individuals, artists and performers all tried hosting online events, in a bid to help keep their industries alive and keep us connected to the world outside of our homes.

As the world returns to normal, the benefits of holding online events have been retained, but there is still the need for people to get together – hence the hybrid event format which maximises the number of people you can reach with your event.

Add a solid data collection strategy and business leads are there for you to work for months!

Read more about the benefits of hybrid events in part one of this article.

Currently, 34% of event organisers expect to invest more in hybrid events in the next few years and Crowd are ahead of the curve.

Introducing hybrid events

Hybrid events are events that use a combination of offline and online platforms, with both elements of in-person and digital techniques. The mix of the two means it can be adapted for the audience and the company for an optimal experience.

Being described as ‘a physical meeting in which an online audience also participates’ both the physical as well as the online audience can come together and participate in the same experience or content. The audience can partake from different locations – their own home for example, at the same time as the natural flow of watching an in-person meeting rather than hosts talking individually on zoom calls.

So how can a company make the best of both worlds?

To host a hybrid event, start with activities such as interviews, panel discussions and tours whilst recording it all. Link the recordings to an online digital event for ticket holders to join and on this platform, from the comfort of their own home, they can gain access to the content of all the activities filmed. This is a great way to collect data from potential leads.

These uploaded videos can be created both offline and online. Having this exclusive video content will encourage the people at the event to also visit online. Filming and recording your event also means you can repurpose and reshare digital content for future use.

As well as pre-recorded videos, live streaming the events is also very effective and it doesn’t have to be difficult to do. Create a professional set-up with good quality cameras and mics for effective footage that keeps the audience engaged.

Once your live stream is set up, consider simulcasting. Simulcasting is when you simultaneously broadcast onto various platforms, such as Twitch, YouTube, Facebook, or with Crowd’s online events platform, GoDigitalExpo. This is exactly what Crowd has recently done for Trina Solar.

Overall, hybrid events are part of the future and are here to stay. They are the best of both worlds and have something that will work for everyone. With their proof of engagements, audience reach and environmental benefits over normal events, hybrid events will grow in popularity.

Why not speak to us to find out how to take your event to the next level.

Colin Parnell, the Founder and Director of Centre VR joins the innovation discussion to provide an overview of the work being carried out to educate the community in Bournemouth on virtual reality.

Centre VR runs an educational programme, working with local schools, colleges and universities, bringing people into the futuristic world of VR, offering insight into the potential of VR and encouraging those interested to pursue a career in the industry.

Getting into the creative flow can be magical. You get lost in your work, forgetting all sense of time. Whether brainstorming ideas or writing content, it’s great to visit that space. The one where your creative juices flow.

But getting started can be challenging.

Creatives dread the silent room or the blank page. The part where you can’t seem to write anything down or think of an idea. And when you do, it’s just gibberish. The infamous writer’s block, as people call it – or the creative block. It’s that place where no creative wants to find themselves. But when we break down the creative process, we can find that writer’s block – in itself – is a myth.

The world requires those that generate ideas to do so consistently, keeping businesses alive and evolving. Copywriters show up each day to write new and compelling content for their clients without fail. Creative Directors come up with leading propositions and big ideas at the drop of the hat. Which makes us wonder – how?

The answer is pretty simple. It’s perseverance.

As Cambridge Dictionary’s 2021 Word Of The Year, perseverance is defined as a “continued effort to do or achieve something, even when this is difficult or takes a long time.”

So persevere through the silence.

Since the beginning of time, we’ve been storytellers. From cave paintings to myths and legends, passed down from generation to generation. We’re raised to follow the hero’s journey of recognising his or her faults, going through a catharsis and coming out better on the other side.

As humans, we’re trained to seek elements that make up a compelling narrative. In the modern-day, stories are everywhere we look. It’s in every genre of book, every Netflix show and every extensive Facebook post. Deep down, we’re all experts on what makes a good story.

Because of this, we’re able to transfer this inherent knowledge to brand storytelling and corporate writing.

If you were to take creative writing classes, you’d be encouraged to let your thoughts run free and to write whatever comes to mind. Apply this same teaching to painting, or brainstorming. It may be a waffling mess, and it might not all be good. We’re guaranteed that most of what we generate initially will be bad – almost every time.

But just like any learning experience, as we progress and keep at it, we become better. Being a creative person requires practice at the craft every day. Use it or lose it. Whether we’re aiming to improve on a particular tone of voice or chasing down a thought that we think has the potential to be ground breaking, it needs to be practised to be perfected.

And so we need to keep thinking. Talking. Writing.

But as with anything, it doesn’t stay that simple.

The blank page might be a myth, but that doesn’t stop it from intimidating us. Tapping into our creative space can be daunting, and a lonely activity. But it can also be collaborative. A great example is bouncing ideas off others. Sometimes all it takes is a different perspective – a fresh view on the topic – where a single word or phrase uttered sparks an idea.

And so we run with it.

They say there is no such thing as an original idea; we’re all influenced by something. But take two unoriginal ideas and bring them together – and you might have something magical.

For businesses, connecting devices and machinery to the internet brings a whole new dimension to how a business operates. Internet connectivity can supercharge the services a business offers to its customers.

During this segment of the innovation discussion, our panellists look at why a company might want to connect their devices and machinery to the internet, and what benefits could accrue.

Crowd runs Hybrid Digital and In-Person Event for Global Solar Power Brand, Trina Solar

Online and hybrid events are becoming increasingly popular and beneficial for brands when it comes to generating brand awareness, new leads and business.

Trina Solar, a global leader in the solar industry, approached Crowd Amsterdam with the challenge of creating an immersive event experience for its audience during its participation in Europe’s largest Solar industry trade fair, Intersolar Europe, in Munich. The brand has participated in Intersolar Europe for many years with great success, but with reduced on-site capacity and due to the COVID-related travel restrictions, Trina Solar sought to reach its audience through a digital campaign that mimicked the experience of being at the fair for those who could not attend in-person. This is where Crowd came in.

Through research into the industry and discussions with Trina Solar on their key requirements, we proposed a digital campaign that would combine high-value video content and strategic messaging to be released on a new microsite, Trina Solar Live, during the days of the trade show. The microsite would function as the digital booth for Trina Solar Live at Intersolar, Munich, where those who register can access content as well as speak one-to-one with the Trina Solar sales team. Equally important, we would run strategic social media posts on key channels like LinkedIn to build traffic towards the site and lead to data-capturing through registrations.

In the weeks up to the event, we created video recordings of panels conducted on Zoom with the C-suite leaders of the Solar Industry. Moreover, during the event, the team from the Amsterdam studio captured 20+ hours of footage on site, including live streams and collaborative videos with the client’s key partners. Email newsletters, social media teasers, previews and reminders drove traffic to these high-value pieces of content that could all be accessed on the Trina Solar Live platform after registration.

In total, our campaign was able to bring the client 140+ extremely high quality leads, with 90K+ impressions on social media. The Trina Solar Live platform, which now hosts content featuring 15+ top solar energy brands in Europe and globally, also positions our client as the leader in the field and the go-to name for all things solar power. The process of creating content on-site also drew significant positive attention to Trina Solar from both partners and new clients.

Crowd’s digital expertise and the Trina Solar Live platform not only gained results for Trina Solar at Intersolar Europe, but promises to continue to bring the client returns on this investment. Even as travel becomes possible in the future, the power of such hybrid campaigns will remain in place.

If you’d like to talk to us about running your events, please get in touch with your local office.

 

Crowd Commit To The Climate Pledge

Crowd are working towards halving our carbon emissions by 2022, to being a zero carbon emission business by 2025. Joining thousands of other businesses, we have committed to the pledge with SME Climate hub.

Like other businesses taking the pledge, we need to consider many aspects of our business and how we can improve, and using the tools and resources on the SME website will help us.

We have started by measuring our emissions, developing a climate strategy, reducing our own emissions and the emissions in our value chain.

What is Net Zero?

Net Zero means that you are putting no more carbon into the atmosphere than you are taking out of it, so we will need to consider our workspaces, our travel, communications and technical infrastructure and see how we can improve.

Becoming A B Corp

In addition, Crowd are continuing with our B Corp application as part of our ongoing work to become a sustainable company. As part of that process, we have looked carefully at the way we work, our partners and service providers and who we work with.

Working in a sustainable way is important for the health of the planet and our international team as a whole, so making this commitment will ensure a happy and productive working atmosphere for Crowd’s team both existing and new.

A New Engagement With Retail Giants – Sedar Global

With the world gradually returning to normalcy and businesses flourishing, Crowd is eager to announce its new business venture with Sedar Global for the next three years.

Who is Sedar Global, and how are Crowd helping them?

Sedar Global is currently present in ten countries, with 22 outlets in the Middle East, offering the region the highest quality, long-lasting, and fashionable home solutions. Sedar Global’s product range varies from curtains and foldable doors to designer pillows and wallpapers, making them a one-stop-shop for innovative and chic decor for more than 125 years.

Their mission is simple; providing customers with a clear, consistent, and high-quality end-to-end immersive retail experience that will leave them feeling at ease and taken care of.

With Sedar Global undergoing a brand transformation earlier in 2020, challenges became apparent with communicating their new brand offering that would connect and resonate with new audience segments. Crowd were brought on to conduct a deep social media competitor audit to better understand the landscape and market. We then gathered these learnings and insights to redefine a tailored social strategy that would amplify Sedar Global’s core values and reposition them as the region’s leading trendy home decor retailer across the GCC.

Our love of all things digital and the latest trends has allowed us to collaborate closely to build a whole new approach for their social media and spread the word through organic posts and paid campaigns with newly designed and colourful content.

Crowd will also be managing all of Sedar Global’s paid social campaigns, helping drive brand awareness, increase site traffic, online conversions and store footfall.

We are eager about what the future holds and how this partnership will grow.

Crowd Relaunches Luxury Shopify Store For Longmire

Crowd have recently relaunched a new Shopify store for a luxury brand.

Longmire is an independent, high-end British jeweller specialising exclusively in cufflinks of exceptional quality and timeless style. The brand began in 1979 when Paul Longmire was wandering through St. James in London and discovered a cufflink in a shop window. He fell in love with the cufflink so much that he decided to buy the shop and reopened it under his own name. The rest as they say is history.

Like many businesses that have had to adjust through the pandemic, Longmire realised the importance of digital marketing, and the potential of reaching a global audience. Crowd was briefed to redesign and launch its new e-commerce website built in Shopify, and develop a creative proposition to help boost awareness and sales at home and abroad.

The key inspiration behind our creative approach was to position Longmire cufflinks as highly collectable items, on par with fine art, antiques and wine. Crowd also added the word ‘London’ to Longmire’s logo to emphasise the brand’s rich heritage to a global market eager to buy into authentic British brands.

To showcase Longmire’s exquisite cufflinks and collectability, Crowd wrote and produced a brand video. High level photography and videography displayed each item at its very best, and will form the basis of a cut-through social media campaign to ensure Longmire’s legacy continues into the 21st century.

If you’d like to speak to us about giving your online business a boost, get in touch.

Local agency Crowd have been featured on the UK Creative Industries Council’s ‘Ones to Watch’ list! This is a list of the top 100 companies which are selected through a rigorous application process to be part of the annual showcase of innovative, UK-based, companies. CIC’s CreaTech web portal is to exhibit B2B and B2C businesses that show innovation and creativity.

To make it to the list, your idea and company must impress the panel of industry judges on; Surprise, Purpose, Disruption, Opportunity for global collaboration/cross-sectoral impact and Commercial impact. Crowd are one of the 9 selected established businesses. 

Their new online conference platform, GoDigital Expo, has made the cut. Due to the national lockdown, many businesses had to quickly adapt, changing how they originally led their face to face meetings. Experience and technical knowledge of virtual events was instantly needed in order for businesses to survive. Along came GoDigital Expo!

As an ambassador for UK creativity, being seen as a CIC CreaTech One to Watch 2021 provides Crowd with greater authority as a global spokesperson for the UK. The award would not only boost their own potential to secure new business, but would help open the door for other UK agencies looking to export their creativity.