Environmental health inequalities in Europe Second assessment report. World Health Organization.

Disadvantaged groups are amongst those most affected by environmental hazards contributing to health inequalities and deaths across Europe. This is according to a new international report published by the World Health Organization (WHO).

Prof Jon Fairburn was part of the international team of experts coordinated by Dr Matthias Braubach and Marco Martuzzi at WHO Europe who helped to produce the report.

This report follows on from the Sixth Ministerial Conference on Environment and Health and the signing of that agreement also known as the Ostrava Declaration (2017). This commits governments to work towards tackling inequalities and vulnerabilities.

Here’s a short film of the main points from the report

The report provides evidence for 19 different indicators covering the broad categories of urban areas, basic services, housing, working conditions and injuries.

Jon Fairburn was also involved with the creation of the first assessment report from 2012 which you can find here.

If you are interested in this subject you can also follow his twitter feed @ProfJonFairburn on twitter he also has a specific air quality list. You can find his other publications in this area on our eprints system and he also has a google scholar profile.

Attending 25th SPRU PhD Forum: “Global challenges, local contexts: Reconciling theory and practice in Science, Technology and Innovation”

Ema Talam, PhD Student in Economics at Staffordshire University


On May 16 and 17 this year, I had a privilege to attend 25 Science Policy Research Unit (SPRU) PhD Forum. The Forum was organised by the Science Policy Research Unit (SPRU) of the University of Sussex, which is world-renowned research centre around the areas of science, technology and innovation policy. The work of SPRU is diverse, including: economics of innovation and industrial policy; science, politics and decision making; sustainable development; energy; and technology and innovation management.

The 25th edition of the PhD Forum, which started back in 1994, was organised around the theme: “Global challenges, local contexts: Reconciling theory and practice in Science, Technology and Innovation”. The programme of two-day conference included 14 panel sessions with total of 30 presentations by PhD researchers from all over the world; keynote speeches and plenary panel sessions; and plenty of networking opportunities. The full programme of the Forum can be found here.

On the second day of the Forum, in Panel 11: “R&D Innovation Policy and Centres of Excellence”, I presented my own research titled: “Evaluating the effectiveness of R&D tax credits: Critique of the user cost approach”, which was very well received. The paper I presented – still work in progress – looks into two distinct approaches to evaluation of the effectiveness of R&D tax credits, and specifically, critically appraises one of the approaches: the user cost approach. The full abstract of my paper can be found on the link provided above. The 25th SPRU Forum was an excellent and an invaluable opportunity to present and get feedback on my research; learn about the ongoing, diverse and very relevant research in the fields of science, technology and innovation; and to meet and network with other scholars working in the field.

Why Google analytics can be so important to a business

Andrew Rizvi, MSc Digital Marketing Management Student


Google Analytics has become one of the most important marketing tools, if not the most necessary. It allows campaigns to be measured in real time, compare data of previous results and offers so much more to a business in terms of metrics.

Being one of the most powerful tools out there for being able to analyse traffic on your website. It gives you a vast amount of information on metrics, that helps monitor what visitors of the website are looking for and how they are getting to the site. This helps companies put all the information together in hope of increasing conversion rates and therefore sales margins.

This is a list of the important data Google Analytics provides for its users:

  • Where in the world the visitors are coming from – very important if targeting a specific audience and can be crucial if using STP marketing strategy aimed towards a certain target market
  • How visitors found the website – this is very important for determining which of your efforts are paying off. It shows if visitors found the site directly, through advertisement from other outlets and also even search engines. This is helped by a UTM code that you can then attach to a custom URL in order to track a campaign name, medium and source. This enables Google Analytics to help see where searchers came from as well as what campaigns directed to. This can then be implemented into using Google AdWords to take it a step further in order to increase website traffic and conversions.
  • Which keywords were used by visitors in the search engines to get to the website – this is very crucial for SEO. This knowledge allows you to see, which keywords people are searching for to get to your site and then be able to use that to incorporate into your chosen website. This enables for companies to use that information to benefit themselves on search engines for brand awareness.

This helps you make decisions based on data. This can then help justify spending more on your advertising, discover where you should be advertising, and even determine what types of content you need to be putting out there.

Google Analytics categorising data into ABCs:

  • Acquisition
  • Behaviour
  • Conversions

Acquisition

This allows you to use this information to see how your traffic arrives at the site through different marketing channels. That can also be helped by the use of a UTM code that you can attach to a custom URL. This, in turn, helps a business see where it should best place its marketing resources in order to use demographics, Geographic’s and physiographic segmentations to define its target market.

This diagram shows important data right up front — the number of sessions, the bounce rate of those and their conversions for the businesses most effective channels. It also shows how your top channels are performing and which ones would need to be changed to help production.

Behaviour

In Google Analytics each section has an overview page that covers its features such as behaviour flow, site content, site speed, site search and many more. This is also another crucial aspect for a user, as it allows a potential business to go see what can be improved on the site. This will then help a business understand where its potential conversion rates are falling and therefore go about to improve them, to turn them into customers by looking for patterns and usage rates.

It also gives you a bigger insight into the depth of the metrics in the ‘overview’ page on behaviour also:

  • Page views — is the total number of pages viewed during the selected time period. The important thing to understand is that a user may visit multiple pages on your site and each of those visits would count as separate.
  • Unique page views — This metric only measures the number of unique page views you receive. This will not count a user visiting multiple times, only his original visit.
  • Average time on page — It shows the average amount of time users spend viewing a page on your site.
  • Bounce rate — The percentage of single page-visits that didn’t lead to another page visit.
  • Exit percentage — The exit percentage shows how often users exit from a page or set of pages when they view the page(s). Exit % is often confused with bounce rate, but they’re not the same.

All of the above can drastically help businesses, not just in terms of production of the site and where it needs improvement. But also, the impact changes can have immediate and the percentage of increase can be seen via this tool.

Conversions This allows for tracking of what actions a visitor would take on your site and takes action you care about and converts to a customer. That action could be through filling out a form, completing a purchase, or by simply showing a high level of engagement with your site. This can be very useful in determining what is successful when measuring which traffic sources result in conversions. This is why Google Analytics predeceasing factors are so important, as people who engage regularly are more likely to interact than a first-time visitor. This is why the overall impact of the use of Google Analytics can be so profound to businesses, due to the fact it offers clear metrics to justify reasoning of spending resources to improve customer satisfaction and conversions.

However nothing is perfect.

In order to understand all the intricacies of the Google Analytic tool, you need to learn it. The issue with that is that the information is sometimes hard to find, may be confusing, and overwhelming. If business users traffic is high then that comes with its own complications, as the price is roughly £117,000. This is an astronomical price for potentially a small to medium enterprise, despite this allowing for better in-depth accuracy in metrics. There could be a layer of options between the free and premium for a company or other options entirely like Adobe to find its niche with capital, which in turn will help provide optimum results via conversion rates if used correctly.

Why should a business use it? Google Analytics allows you to track a vast amount of important metrics, covering all aspects, as well as being able to access it on multiple devices. It Also monitors the effectiveness of your online marketing strategies, user experience, device functionality and the to link between other Google products. The statistics show you what is working well and what isn’t. Once you have identified any issues your site may have, you can create a solution. Google Analytics gathers information needed to improve a website and make it the best it can be and therefore help a business reach its potential.

Improving Engagement with Accessible Social Media

Nicholas Heywood, MSc Digital Marketing Management


Creating accessible social media content can not only increase your engagement but also include an audience often overlooked: people with disabilities. Whether your goal is to increase online traffic to your business, social media, or blog, inclusion is the best approach. Accessibility goes beyond considering physical constraints, it’s actually a lot more sophisticated than that.

Why Accessible Social Media Is Important

Image Description: Infographics demonstrating the information discussed in this section and a data table estimating how many people in millions have specific disabilities, including 1.6 million blind people in the UK. End of Image Description.
Department of Work & Pensions, 2019; Office of National Statistics, 2018; CAP Survey, 2016; GOV.UK, 2014.

Take a moment to think about how content engages you: is it something you see or read? Does a deal sound good to you? Unfortunately, some audiences can’t see/hear the attraction behind it and need to be engaged another way to include them. The UK alone has over 13.5 million people with declared disabilities, beyond a fifth of our growing population.

The Office of National Statistics find that 80% of disabled adults use the internet frequently, increasing every year. The 2016 Click-Away Pound Survey suggests that 71% of participants (approximately 4 million) disengage with inaccessible websites or content. A new CAP Survey is in progress while the current results certainly emphasise the importance of online accessibility for engagement.

Marketers and businesses failing to meet this increasing demand for accessible content risk a gradual decline in engagement and revenue. The Business Disability Forum quotes a credible but outdated total spending power of people with disabilities as £80 billion per year. However, a recent government press release states a much higher total of £249 billion per year.

Improving Content Accessibility

Image Description: Explanation of how alternate text is used, using a red dress on sale as an example to describe features such as length and neckline. End of Image Description.
Sources: Twitter and Instagram

Ofcom reports confirm a large majority of visually-impaired people actively use mobile devices. Alternative Text describes images aloud through screen readers if a description is included, and is available on TwitterInstagram and Facebook. The latter includes automatic alternative text for recognisable objects within the image, indicating further AI use in social media marketing.

AI is becoming an integral part in social media’s evolution by contributing to complex tasks such as collecting and analysing big data. Accessibility expert Matt King believes AI will contribute to removing the barriers of disabilities in the not-too-distant future. Until this is feasible, we need to fill that gap by making our content as accessible as possible.

Describe the image and any included text with clear and concise language. Remember: your description becomes their eyes and key parts of your content could be missed without this.

Include Captions

Image Description: A visual summary of the points discussed in this section. End of Image Description
Mobile Marketing Magazine, 2018; LinkedIn, 2017; Instapage, 2018; Tubular Labs, 2018 y

Video content is in high global demand that continuously engages and grows on social media. Captioned videos include viewers deaf/hard-of-hearing or watching without sound and can aid translation in other countries. Including a transcript can improve your Video SEO ranking and keyword search results by indexing its contents to contextualise it. You can create transcripts for any language/accent with ease by using tools such as Voice Typing in Google Docs.

Up to 85% of Facebook users allegedly watch videos without sound in recent years. Studies provide credibility by suggesting that captioned videos gain 40% engagement and 12% of Instapage viewers turned their sound on during a silent test. The ideal approach is to design video content to work with and without sound to avoid excluding blind audiences too.

You can caption videos through video editing suites like Adobe Premiere Pro or even Notepad to create subtitle files to use on YouTube, Facebook, and LinkedIn. Online tools like Kapwing and Facebook or YouTube captioning tools can reduce time and costs if you’re on a tight budget/deadline. Twitter and Instagram currently lack more accessible ways to add captions without using third party software.

Challenges Facing Content Creators

Business Attitudes Towards Accessibility

Image Description: Infographics demonstrating the information discussed in this section, including belief that 1 in 5 of us are disabled if not more. End of Image Description.
Sources: Department of Work & Pensions, 2019; Office of National Statistics, 2018; CAP Survey, 2016; GOV.UK, 2019

Creating accessible content will contribute to additional hours from your team’s budget and you may need to negotiate a budget increase. This could be tricky because not all businesses are comfortable increasing budgets and may fail to understand the importance. Using what you’ve learned from this could help provide justification for the budget increase.

Understanding the importance of accessibility remains a grey area for most businesses, and your input could fill that gap. Almost half the British public don’t know how many disabled people there are in the UK, but you do now.

Another angle to consider is that lacking accessibility gives competitors an advantage because disabled customers may opt for companies that do. The spending power mentioned before demonstrates the potential financial loss if this is ignored and how providing it would give a better competitive edge.

Scheduling & Posting Accessible Social Media Content

Image Description: A visual of how Buffer, Hootsuite, and Loomly do and don't support alternative text. Only Twitter is supported on Buffer and Hootsuite. End of Image Description.
Sources: Twitter, Instagram, Buffer, Hootsuite, Loomly

Accessible content is not just down to the content creators and budget limitations. It’s also down to the capabilities of the tools and resources they use to publish it.

Post scheduling tools may save time, but some of these tools do not come with Alternative Text. Posts may require a manual upload in some cases, supporting the argument that distributing engaging content takes time to perfect. Upon close analysis: Buffer and Hootsuite offer alternative text for Twitter but not Instagram yet, while Loomly doesn’t.

This wouldn’t be as much of an obstacle for content creators if Twitter and Instagram had independent post Schedule functions like Facebook. Although Facebook’s is not flawless since alternative text can only be provided after publishing the post.

Growing social networks among younger audiences like Tik Tok pose their own challenges of distributing accessible content. Despite claims to enable everyone to be a creator, there are currently no accessibility settings and limited features to be inclusive. This sparks concern of whether future emerging social networks will understand the importance of accessibility and include it.


A “No Deal” or “WTO” Brexit: How much will it cost you? And why?

By Geoff Pugh, Professor of Applied Economics

The pro-Brexit Daily Telegraph has made a case, based on serious evidence, for a “No Deal” or WTO Brexit. Yet at least some of its articles acknowledge that this Brexit outcome will impose substantial costs on UK business, arising from “the initial trauma of an exit on WTO terms” (Ambrose Evans-Pritchard, 3rd Apr 2019). Below, I offer a “back of the envelope” indication of how large these costs are likely to be for typical individuals and families. I use the Daily Telegraph’s judgement on the likely costs, because these are least likely to be exaggerated. Most other sources suggest higher costs. 

My point of departure is an article by Allister Heath: “It’s a complete myth that a no-deal Brexit would cripple the British economy” (the Telegraph, 6th March 2019). Mr Heath claims on the basis of serious, although somewhat selective, evidence that “a so-called no-deal … would probably cost just 1-2 per cent of GDP”. We can agree that this might not “cripple the British Economy”. However, two per cent of Britain’s GDP in 2018 amounts to somewhat more than £42 billion or a little over £1,200 for every member of the working age population.

This is calculated as follows (all the data is easily accessible from the Office of National Statistics website):

  • UK Gross Domestic Product in 2018 (at market
    prices): £2,114,627 million (i.e. somewhat more than £2 trillion);
  • Two percent of UK GDP in 2018: £42,292,540,000
    (a little over £42 billion)
  • UK working age population in 2018: 34,300,000
    (somewhat more than 34 million)
  • Cost per member of the UK’s working age population:
    £1,233

For a family with two wage earners then, a cost in each year of around £2,500. Even if we accept Mr Heath’s lower bound of one per cent of GDP, this still greatly exceeds even the highest estimates of Britain’s net contribution to the EU. It is getting on for half of total UK annual public expenditure on education.

This does not mean that the typical wage earner will suddenly lose more than a £1,000. What these calculations indicate is that over time – possibly over many years – the typical wage earner will be more than £1,000 a year worse off than he or she would otherwise be. If the economy is booming, growing at, say, 2.5% or 3% each year, then the cost of Brexit will hardly be noticeable as collective and individual prosperity continues to increase. Conversely, if the economy were to stagnate, or move into recession, then the costs imposed by Brexit will be burdensome, especially for the least well off.

Typically, the economic costs of administering large policy shocks take rapid effect whereas benefits (if any) accrue only after many years and are uncertain. Hence, even in the most favourable scenario, Mr Heath’s claimed reduction of “1-2 per cent of GDP” in our individual and collective prosperity will recur for many years. Over five to 10 years, these cumulatively enormous costs will translate into business failures, continued downward pressure on wages, lost jobs and homes, and additional stress on the public finances, prolonging austerity.

How might Brexit yield benefits in the long run? It is hard to be definite. On the one hand, administering a huge shock to an institution, firm or whole economy might prepare the way for radical reform and renewal. This is what Nigel Lawson hopes for:  “Brexit gives us a chance to finish the Thatcher revolution” (Financial Times, September 2nd 2016). This perspective is shared by many of the more hard-line proponents of Brexit, for whom the EU is an obstacle to thoroughgoing deregulation liberalisation and globalisation. On the other hand, shocks imposed by poor policy choices can destabilise institutions, firms or whole economies. This can lead to stagnation and relative decline in the long run (even absolute decline in extreme cases).

Much of the debate has centred on trade. Few on either side would dispute that the UK’s future economic well-being is greatly dependent on the ability of its firms to export goods and services. Yet, there are few reasons to believe that the effects of a “No Deal” or WTO Brexit will yield trade benefits sufficiently substantial to offset the almost certain losses detailed above. These are some of the points to consider.

  1. Many of the most productive firms in the UK, and especially in the West Midlands, both export to the EU and form integral parts of supply chains based in different EU member countries rather than having a purely national base. Cross-border trade friction will thus not only restrict direct exports but also disrupt such supply chains. This will damage many of our most productive firms, which are those most capable of paying high wages and generating new jobs. Indirectly, the whole economy will be damaged.
  2. Membership of the EU and its Customs Union is not what stops us exporting more to emerging markets. Germany not only exports hugely more to China than does the UK but even exports more to India (in spite of our inherited advantages). The barriers to UK firms exporting are to be found at home rather than with the EU.
  3. The UK on its own is unlikely to be able to strike more favourable trade deals than those negotiated by the EU.
    1. The US, for the first time since 1945, has both Congress and a President sceptical of free trade. President Trump’s “America first” policy does not bode well. As for the “special relationship”, this is unlikely to survive the loss of our (considerable) influence as a leading member of the EU.
    2. A Sovereign but economically medium-size UK is unlikely to exercise the same bargaining strength as the economically (very) large EU.
  4. Potential trade partners either account for too small a proportion of our trade to make much difference (most Commonwealth countries) or are not well disposed towards the UK (Russia; China – the Chinese have long memories when it comes to national humiliation). Even if favourable trade deals could be struck with other countries, impossibly large proportionate increases in trade would be required to offset the loss of trade with the EU. (This is a matter of arithmetic rather than of economic analysis.)

Other long-term effects are foreseeably negative. (i) Adverse impact on the financial sector will reduce the tax base, reducing both the scope for ending austerity and government’s ability to finance much-needed public investment. (ii) An end to the free movement of labour will damage firms dependent on certain types of highly skilled labour as well as other firms dependent on the unskilled end of the labour market. And (iii) the exclusion of UK researchers from EU research funding will damage our national science base and, hence, reduce innovation and growth in science-based industries.

In conclusion, a “No Deal” or “WTO” Brexit will almost certainly impose substantial economic costs while the claimed benefits are either speculative or predictably small. 

Professor Geoffrey Pugh, Professor of Applied Economics, Staffordshire Business School (personal capacity); 20-05-2019

The Role of Social Media In Harnessing The Full Potential of Customers

Adjaou Mohamed Adesola, MSc Digital Marketing student


Today, harnessing the power of social media is a must, if you want to expand your business. It is by no surprise that engaging with your followers on social media is essential to your business success. By paying attention to what is being shared offers modern businesses with a plethora of market research data. According to We Are Social, the number of internet and social media users stands at 4.021 billion and 3.196 million respectively, a number which represents a 13% increase yearly.

Image Source: Beboom

While the opportunities to capitalize on social media remains abundant, the true success comes from meeting the consumers’ expectations and moving beyond mere participation.

In order to leverage the power of social media to meet consumer’s expectation, a business needs a strong social program and a sturdy foundation to build upon. Thus, it is critical for businesses to first consider their brand positioning.

Brand position refers to how you make prospective consumers make sense of your business. When you position your firm, you begin to stand for something-something, which is unique and useful. So how do you position yourself?

  1. Through Research: Before you craft any marketing plan, you need to understand the market in which your business operates. How do your clients perceive you? Who are you competitors? What opportunities exist in the market? All these allow you to distinguish yourself from other.
  2. Specialization: After research, analyze the data and understand your strengths and weaknesses. Is there something your firm can offer better than others? Specialization can help you gain more margins and develop a loyal clientele base.
  3. Differentiation: You can set yourself apart through proprietary process or tools. Often, a client will be loyal to a businesses that satisfy their needs. It begins by offering good customer care and responding to customer inquiries. Besides, having a presence online gives you a mileage above others.

Discussed below are some of the most important social media platforms and how businesses can use them to target customer needs.

Facebook

With over 2 billion users monthly, Facebook provides businesses with matchless opportunity to reach virtually anyone anywhere. Data from Pew Research Center indicates that women tend to use Facebook more often than men, while the core age is 18-29 years. Facebook is ideal for all marketing your business marketing needs. Additionally, video or image marketing attracts more viewership than generic text.

Additionally, it is not just enough to have a Facebook account or page. Having an account is a hotbed for users to voice an issue or problem. According to Conversocial, 88% of customers are unlikely to make a purchase from a company that leaves questions on social media unanswered. As a business, therefore, consider this: According to Edison Research, 47% of those surveyed said that Facebook, out of all other social networks had the greatest impact on their purchase behavior. Despite the merits, Facebook is prone to easy duplication, since your competitor can pause as fans to gain access to your content, and your photos may end up in other places you have not approved.

The rise of video Live has been around for a while. Nonetheless, its popularity across Facebook has made it a critical opportunity for marketers in 2019. The interactivity of Facebook Live Video makes it easy for brands to engage with their audience and strengthen the relationship between the brands and its followers. In addition, the authenticity of Live Video helps build trust and loyalty with a brand. Although beneficial, there are certain risks technical complexities that you have to deal with as firm. Today, every firm should move from text first approach to a visual first approach since it creates long lasting impression and effect on consumers.

In addition, today Facebook uses augmented reality for messenger. Thus, firms can now integrate AR into their Messenger experience, besides, they can use integrate chat bots on Messenger app to help handle client queries in real time. The main merit of using AR is the inspiration purchasing decision, which are intertwined. Hence clients don’t have to travel to your brick and mortar office, but rather open their cameras and try the product while on the go.

Image Source: Imfnd

Instagram

Currently, Instagram boast of over 500 million monthly active subscribers. Besides, it commands one of the peak audience engagement rates. Despite the good stats, it is not ideal for every industry. Instagram is ideal for fashion, beauty and travel or businesses that offer visual products. In order to get engage your customer you must have clear and appealing pictures, although it is prone to loss of copyright ownership.

Today, businesses can enjoy the use of Instagram story shopping. This feature helps clients create mental perception about a product, thus, making it easy for purchase decision making. Most businesses face challenges of parody accounts when it comes to Instagram marketing. The future of Instagram lies on stories.

Image Source: Imfnd

Twitter

With over 328 million active users monthly, Twitter has revolutionized the world of breaking news. Besides, it offers unparalleled access for users to connect with both mainstream and niche brand influencers. Additionally, Twitter itself says that 80% of their users are millennia’s. It is a leading platform for Newspapers and Newsrooms to engage with their audience. Nonetheless, to get much out of Twitter the speed of your response and how you engage with your consumers is essential. Although effective, Twitter does not have an edit button, hence, it requires one to be very keen when posting information on the platform. Moving forward, Twitter has announced they are working on an edit button, which will make work much easier. Twitter requires good timing and when this is missed your tweet will not have an impact.

Image Source: Social Report

Conclusion

For businesses, creating and utilizing social media helps empower your brand to gain visibility. Social media provides a platform to engage with your clients. Besides, it is an effective way increase your sales through meeting and exceeding customers’ expectations. Nonetheless, pairing human mastery with the right social media tool is ideal for gaining success and meeting consumers’ needs.

Twitter:
@AdjaouMohamed 

LinkedIn: https://t.co/rAg1jZKEzi

Some Recent Activities by Staffordshire Business School Students

Dr Tolu Olarewaju, Lecturer


It is a really exciting time to be studying at Staffordshire Business School. Staffordshire Business School is at the heart of an ambitious and vibrant institution with one of the most ambitious agendas in Higher Education in the United Kingdom, Staffordshire University. Recently, our students have been extremely busy. I have highlighted some examples to showcase some of the activities they have been engaged in.

Enterprise

The first activity relates to enterprise activities by our students who were at the prestigious Hult Prize Regional Finals in London this year. The Hult Prize is an annual, year-long competition that crowd-sources ideas from students around the world after challenging them to solve a pressing social issue around topics such as food security, water access, energy, and education. The challenge this year was on how best to tackle the Youth Unemployment Crises and below is a write up from one of our students:

Staffordshire Business School, Staffordshire University Students at Hult Prize Regional Finals 2019

“The experience was amazing overall and has yet to truly finish as I look toward the wild card option. I would recommend anyone to partake in the Hult Prize especially if you have never presented outside of a classroom. It also helps you to understand the standards that are expected inside the working world. That being said my team would not have been able to achieve so much without the support lectures of the business school. I would like to thank Dr Tolulope Olarewaju for his guidance and advice as everything he predicted would happen, happened and we were ready for it. I would also like to thank Dr Bharati Singh for her feedback on our presentation style and finally the Business School Senior Management Team for taking the time to give us useful feedback on the contents of our pitch.” – Marlone Judith (MSc International Business Management).

Staffordshire Business School Students with other Contestants at Hult Prize Regional Finals 2019

Innovation and Business

Our MBA students have also been busy working on business ideas. Recently, they pitched an innovative games console idea that is set to take the business world by storm. Don’t forget, Staffordshire Business School launched the UK’s first Esports degree. This synergy between business and entertainment is truly remarkable and is one to be watched as the Avengers Endgame has showed.

Staffordshire Business School MBA Students after a Business Pitch on Game Consoles.

Potluck

Of course one gets tired after such high minded intellectual and business pursuits. It is only natural that fatigue sets in and when that happens, we like to recharge our batteries by engaging in informal activities. Recently, we engaged in a potluck and asked students to bring food items from their home countries. Staffordshire Business School has a vibrant international community and the food on offer was both varied and delicious – yum.

Staffordshire Business School Potluck

There are a lot of interesting courses available if you are thinking of joining us. Take a look at our undergraduate and postgraduate courses. There are also part-time courses for those who want to top-up their business management qualifications or for beginners.

How to Use TikTok to Fuel Your Content

Xinyu Zhang, MSc Digital Marketing Management student


TikTok is the music original social software that can shoot short videos. The software, which was launched in September 2016 in China, It also introduced international markets a year later. It is a quick video community dedicated to young people. Users can use this software to select songs, shoot short videos of music, and form their content. Unlike most video apps, TikTok has no “play” or “pause” button. Once you open the app, a video starts playing immediately. You can scroll through a bottomless feed of 15-second videos, just like how you scroll through pictures on Instagram. As the world’s most downloaded iPhone app, TikTok has been downloaded about 80 million times in the United States and has been downloaded nearly 800 million times worldwide. It is worth mentioning that these figures do not include users of Android in China.

Statistic from TechNews.

Why is it an excellent opportunity to post your content on TikTok?

Where are the people, where is the market? According to San Francisco-based research company Sensor Tower in 2018 ,YouTube, Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat are lower than TikTok in downloads of the Apple Store and Google Play. As we all know, Facebook and Twitter also have recommendation mechanisms. However, their recommendation mechanism is more based on the interpersonal circle between followers, that is, through “the interest of the people I care about is my interest” to expand the attention network continuously.

The content distribution mode of TikTok is “de-centralisation”: the algorithm can more accurately recommend the content that users will be interested in according to the user’s behaviour. To a certain extent, the search for the target customer is reduced, and the algorithm automatically finds people who are interested in your content. This is an article about how the TikTok platform algorithm works.

Content quality is an essential item for the positive project

Create your account

First, you need to create an account and create a name. Also, you will need to add a profile. It’s a good idea to fill out your other social accounts or use email here so potential customers can contact you.

Content curation

In the early stage of operation, if you want to increase followers quickly, you can choose the topic that suits the public’s taste, such as entertainment, Funny and other aspects of video production. After the topic is established, the direction of creation is obvious. However, the content must be the same. For example, if you are a singer but often publish some kinds of food, you will mislead consumers and lose some followers. If you are not satisfied with 15 seconds of content, you can accumulate 1000 followers, and the official will give you 45 seconds.

How to get the most out of your content?

Original content

TikTok’s review recommendation mechanism is low in originality and content quality. It is not recommended now, but the review mechanism is always improving. To better support the creation of original content, users can relatively maintain the original content. Besides, it is also contradictory to the content being carried. It is a waste of time to pay attention to the video publication.

Keywords and soundtrack

When the video is created well, the keyword and the soundtrack should be selected. The first is to choose the keyword according to the nature of the content. If it is the imitation class, the keyword of the original video can be directly selected. Then, the soundtrack chooses the hottest music or chooses according to the content. These two types of operations are mainly to make the content have better recommendations and attract the attention of users. You can also use the hashtag to promote your video to a wide audience. You can get more “Like” by leaving various hashtags under the video.

Skilled use of technology

TikTok’s information flow advertising is integrated with UGC. It can not only freely jump to the landing page and brand’s home page but also support consumers to participate in advertising’s likes, comments and forwarding. Interactive features can be seen clearly. To open the screen on the platform or to open an account for information flow advertisements, the brand has edited its own TVC into a screen and directly posted it to the TikTok. As a result, a relatively simple and convenient operation routine is formed. However, most brands of advertisements are more likely to fall into a solidified mode and forget to make full use of the properties of the platform. Indeed, the platform’s unique transition, magic mirror, rhythm, and other elements can not only make the brand image more stereoscopic but also increase memory points.

Best time to upload a video

Do you know how many people use TikTok during what period?

Xixin analysed the number of 22,000 TikTok data and concluded that the periods “after lunch (1 pm) and after work (6 pm)” are the favourite moments of fans to click ‘Like’. The average ‘Like’ number is except for 5am because a star has posted a video that makes a significant difference.

At the same time, in December 2018 Facebook also launched an app called Lasso to compete with TikTok. To get more customer traffic, you can not only use TikTok to post short video content but also post videos to Lasso, Instagram Stories and Snapchat, etc. You can grow your business with powerful, easy-to-use and affordable video hosting platform. For example, through Wipster, the most important views, duration and engagement data will be brought back from the publishing platform to let you know the effect of the video content.

The reason I recommend TikTok to promote your content is that I think TikTok is responsive to future digital trends, and consumers will no longer want to receive public and unique information driven by various platforms. Instead, consumers want the media platform to provide them with valuable information that is particularly relevant to them.

Why Traditional Marketing Is Dying But May Never Go Away

Andrew Rizvi, MSc Digital Marketing Management Student


Traditional advertising might finally be dying right before our very eyes. But despite various claims of traditional advertising going away forever, it’s still managed to stick around as a viable marketing medium, and there are even proponents who argue that traditional advertising will never go away. 

To begin with, when comparing digital to traditional advertising, some recent statistics show that, in 2017, digital ad spend jumped to £186 billion worldwide (41% of the market), as opposed to TV ads that reached only 35% of the market. Moreover, digital ad spend will keep growing steadily in the next few years and is expected to reach 50% of the market by 2020. This is due to digital advertising offering non-interruptive content and a constant stream of new concepts such as social commerce, compared to traditional and being able to measure their success via analytic tools, rather than not being able to measure the impact and therefore control growth of their audience.

However, there are a few reasons as to why digital advertisement will never be able to completely replace traditional advertisement and here are a few facts that must be considered despite its deficiency’s in comparison: 

  • People are still watching TV, listening to the radio, and reading newspapers massively 
  • Traditional marketing targets wider audiences and builds trust, as it is here for quite some time 
  • People don’t like aggressive digital ads. HubSpot says that 91% of people say ads are more intrusive today than two years ago. And, as a result, the number of users worldwide downloading Adblocker Plus has reached 300 million in 2016, costing publishers more than £17 billion.  
  • Not all digital ads are targeted. In one of his posts, Mark Ritson describes online ads as “Google’s highly stupid and imprecise advertising” and that’s true. People don’t install adblockers because they want to get rid of all ads. They want to eliminate those that have nothing to do with them. The HubSpot’s report mentioned above claims that 77% of consumers would rather filter their ads than completely block them. 

Traditional Content Is Only Temporary 

Unlike online content, traditional content is only temporary. Consumers cannot search for magazines, newspapers and TV shows once they have been published or finished airing. Whereas, internet content is forever and is a constant stream of marketing. All blogs posted and social media content will still be accessible for many years later, for as long as the servers are up. This allows for a company to maintain its presence and gather feedback for campaigns simultaneously, compared to traditional forms of marketing and therefore maintain customer relations post-purchase. Despite digital consumers becoming smarter towards what they want to see in their ads and therefore making all levels of the customer journey important, not just the pre and purchasing stage.

Traditional Marketing Is Not Targeted   

Traditional marketing more often then not involves producing content for the masses. However, they are not able to speak to a specific audience and have the reach of the internet. Now, digital marketing allows marketers to target a specific market with accuracy. For example, with the use of email marketing, digital marketers can also personalize their emails to the recipient, and track the actions of the recipient after these emails are sent using digital analytic tools such as ConvertKit and OptinMonster to optimise customer engagement.

Traditional Marketing Is Hard to Track  

The old format of traditional marketing doesn’t allow marketers to track their progress and their marketing returns from a particular channel. For example, they are not able to analyse the increase or decrease in revenue from an advertisement in a shopping mall. Whereas, digital marketing allows you to analyse the return on investment for an ad on a platform. This would then help to learn from experiences, to then put into future digital campaigns. That information can be now gained from multiple digital tools such as Google Analytics and Hotjar, that allow for campaigns to have been monitored by stats and figures constantly.  

There are many factors as to why traditional marketing has gradually declined in popularity in use, as explained above over the past decade and the constant introduction of new digital tools. With next generations millennials becoming to increasingly distrust traditional forms of advertising, digital marketing has become more accessible and trustworthy and in contrast others a constant stream of interaction. With traditional advertisement spending and effectiveness seemingly on an endless downwards trajectory companies are adapting and finding ways of cost- effective marketing tools, with constant updates in technology allowing for development. Instead of traditional ads dying, they are evolving. 

In a nutshell, the only way for brands to survive in this evolving digital environment is to adapt to the changes and start implementing digital marketing strategies using analytic tool to measure success. This is because spending a vast amount of resources on traditional marketing, without having the metrics to back up how successful the campaign isn’t enough anymore with the forever changing landscape of marketing. 

Why Implement A Sustainable Supply Chain

Marzena Reszka, Lecturer, Staffordshire Business School


Operating ethically and operating profitably are no longer mutually exclusive concepts. Leading companies are “walking the walk,” balancing the goal of achieving profitability with gaining social and environmental advantages.

Companies stuck in a mind-set of “what’s the minimum I need to do” are missing out on opportunities to use ethical business practices as an integral part of what makes them unique.

Achieving responsible and profitable supply chains is about gaining a triple advantage creating a clear business case for organisations, as well as benefits for the environment and society. Those focused on this “triple advantage” it supply chain operations can increase competitiveness through increased revenue and brand reputation while decreasing cost and risk.

To sustain competitiveness, companies need to recalibrate their strategies towards ethical behaviour—moving from a focus on compliance to differentiation. Companies engaged in responsible supply chain efforts often refer to their “license to operate.” That implies they’ve established trust with local governments and society by complying with regulations and establishing health and safety programs that give them tacit permission to do business.

Managing supply chains in a sustainable manner can help businesses in not only reducing their total carbon footprint, but also in optimising their end-to-end operations to achieve:

  • Improved credibility, visibility and brand reputation
  • Improved access to markets
  • Greater operational effectiveness leading to cost savings and profitability

A sustainable supply chain should involve the incorporation of socio-cultural, environmental and economically viable practices placed into the full life-cycle of the supply chain. The full life-cycle of the supply chain means all the steps from product design and development, to selection of appropriate materials, manufacturing, packaging, transportation, storage, supply, consumption, and recycling.

Free tool for Purchasing and Supply Chain Management:

https://www.oncampus.de/weiterbildung/mooc/perfect?lang=en

Most research has focused on environmental aspects of manufacturing, while other aspects of sustainability or the challenges for the service sector are largely ignored. Yet SSC is particularly important for tour operators, as the product depends on the activities of suppliers such as accommodation, transport and activities. Therefore, tour operators’ contribution to sustainable tourism will be more effective through the definition and implementation of policies that acknowledge responsibility for the impacts of suppliers.

Across tourism supply chains, research has suggested that the process of implementing sustainable practices is most challenging in the area of transport, and most straight forward in accommodation. Attempt to generate sustainability at the scale of a destination need the combined efforts of the widest partnership of stakeholders.

It is therefore important, when supporting and connecting to a local destination, for businesses to have a strong grasp of the whole holiday experience and the type of advice that will be useful for customers. Each destination has its specific setting, but a general summary of links looks like this:

© 2003 Richard Tapper, Environment Business & Development Group

The Benefits

So why might a business wish to apply a sustainable tourism supply approach – what are the principal benefits?

All supply chains can be optimised using sustainable practices. Sustainability in the supply chain encapsulates a number of different priorities:

  • Environmental stewardship
  • Conservation of resources
  • Reduction of carbon footprint
  • Financial savings and viability
  • Social responsibility

Managing supply chains in a sustainable manner can help businesses in not only reducing their total carbon footprint, but also in optimising their end-to-end operations to achieve:

  • Improved credibility, visibility and brand reputation
  • Improved access to markets
  • Greater operational effectiveness leading to cost savings and profitability

We have created a free online tool to help you develop. Our training tool was developed by and with the tourism industry. This free online training covers 11 modules to complete with short quizzes at the end of each module. This tool helps you to design your own strategy in relation to your individual business needs.  All you need is an internet connection.

Click here to register and start your free online training today:  http://smartour.dcnet.eu/


Reference

Accenture Consulting (2017). Walking the Walk Driving competitiveness Through Ethical Supply Chains.
[Online] Available from: www.accenture.com

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