Creative industries represent a vital segment of the UK economy, contributing to the growth of local economies (Mateos-Garcia et al., 2018) and the country’s competitive advantage (HM Government, 2018). In 2018, the creative industries comprised 6.2% of the economy of the United Kingdom in terms of employment (DCMS, 2019) and 5.8% in terms of gross value added (GVA) (DCMS, 2020). Additionally, the creative industries are fast growing – employment in the creative industries grew by 30.6% over the period 2011 to 2018, while the GVA in real terms increased by 43.2% since 2010 (DCMS, 2020). Creative industries tend to be innovative (Bird et al., 2020) and can be highly productive, although they constitute a diverse sector of the economy embracing a wide range of productivity levels (see Section 2 below). Currently, the creative industries, and arts, humanities and social sciences more generally, are ineligible for R&D tax policy support in the United Kingdom (Bakhshi, Breckon and Puttick, 2021). This report explores the potential of R&D tax policy to support the creative industries.
For my 4th blog in 5 years, I have decided to move away from writing about my learnings from the corporate sector and instead write a personal reflection on my encounter with mental health.
I have been on this planet for half a century now and have experienced highs and lows both in my personal and official life. Growing up in India, in school when we came across classmates who did not do well or did not understand simple things or failed – we just called them ‘stupid’ or ‘dumb’. We did not have any awareness of learning disabilities or mental health. The first time I learnt about ‘dyslexia’ was from a Bollywood movie called ‘Taare Zameen Par’ (Stars on the ground, 2007).
Then, I met with a huge personal tragedy in 2011 which made me leave India and move to England. It was here that I learnt about various learning disabilities and about mental health. This was also the time when back home in India, there were discussions about mental health and some famous Bollywood stars started talking about their own personal experiences with depression.
This is when realisation dawned on me that I myself had experienced issues with mental health but not having any awareness and not knowing the symptoms, had just plodded on with my life. However, there were indications which I had overlooked like severe weight loss and alopecia leading up to my departure for England in 2012. I joined University of York to read for a PhD and forgot my troubles as there was a very strong collegiate life and a very strong social network. After 16 years of corporate life, it was difficult to get back to studying but the atmosphere was very conducive with the support from my college, colleagues, supervisory team and the friends I made.
In the last year of my PhD, I secured a full-time job and moved to Staffordshire University at Stoke. The first 5 months were consumed with the new job, understanding my role, impending PhD viva and subsequent corrections. Just after submitting my PhD corrections, post-PhD blues or depression hit me. While, I had great colleagues, they went home to their families after work, and I would come back to an empty flat. I lost 1.5 stones in the space of 2 months. Finally, after 4-5 months, I decided to seek professional help.
However, in all of this, I did not lose focus at work. I had literally restarted my career at age 46 in HE and gave it my all. Slowly, I made friends in Stoke and travelled quite a bit. Along with the professional help I received and the support of family and friends, old and new, I became mentally stronger.
The World Health Organisation (WHO, 2022) has stated that depression is one of the main causes of disability. However, there are still many countries which still do not recognise mental health and people suffering from it may face different types of discrimination. Today, globally mental health ranks second in health concerns having overtaken cancer (Ipsos, 2022; ).
In UK alone, 1 in 6 adults suffers from depression (Pindar, 2022; ). NHS stats (July 2022) state that 1.61 million people have been in contact for mental health services.
While organisations have focussed on employee mental health, workplaces have seen an increase by 81% post pandemic (MHFA 2022; ). However, most of the action is reactive rather than being proactive. MFHA further states that UK employers spend almost £56billion per annum on mental health.
Just last month in October 2002, we celebrated World Mental Health Day.
However, just celebration alone will not help the cause. If you feel that someone may be suffering from any kind of mental health or you yourself may be feeling the blue, please remember:
We are now offering again the opportunity for a student placement to assist you with your digital marketing needs. This placement is credited as part of their course MSc in Digital Marketing Management
To get our Masters students ready for the industry we have two modules:
Digital Marketing Strategy in Practice (Jan to April 2023)
This module will prepare a tri-partite agreement between the student, the academic staff and the organisation as to the focus of the project. During this time the student and the organisation will develop the working relationship and the student will receive access to the data and systems needed to carry out the initial assessment
First, the student will assess the existing marketing practice (using analytics, comparison against four competitors, best practice in the sector and discussion with the organisation as to what they are trying to achieve).
From the evidence strategic options will be prepared and discussed with the organisation and the strategy agreed for the placement. Finally, consideration will be given as to how to make the project sustainable (so that it can continue after the student leaves).
Once there is agreement the tripartite form is completed and signed. This work carried out between January to April 2023.
The Digital Marketing Work Placement
A credited work experience (600 hours) to deliver the project with the organisation concerned. (April to August 2023).
The project can be in any type of organisation e.g. private sector, public sector, charity or a university. It is not essential for the work project activity to take place at the premises – many of the projects have been remotely delivered due to COVID.
Here is the link to profiles of this year’s students. Please contact them direct to start a conversation. If you have any other issues please contact either Prof Jon Fairburn or Dr Muddasar Khwaja (emails below with other documents)
Frequently asked questions (FAQs)
We’re not sure what we’re doing with our marketing can you help? You are very suited to a placement. The student will first review your activity and then in discussion with you provide you with options depending on what your needs are.
What is digital marketing? Digital marketing covers a very wide rage of techniques to both get your messages out and to get customers to engage with you. From website design , SEO optimisation, content creation (including podcasts, films and blogs), email marketing, social media, PPC campaigns and more – digital marketing is so much more than just social media. In fact we have found that in general in recent years social media has been quite a way down the list of effective strategic approaches that organisations can take to develop thier digital marketing.
We need someone to set up and run some social media accounts? This has been a common request but so often it is based on very little. What are you trying to achieve? Which social media channel matches the personas of your customers? What is the size of your marketing budget for paid adverts on these channels? Most social media channels have been tightened so organic growth can be very small without a budget.
We’re a B2B business can you help? Yes, B2B often requires a different approach to a B2C organisation. B2B organisations are often sitting on unused assets.
What resources will the placement need? A line manager who can respond to updates and proposed work to give feedback. To provide a recommendation on Linkedin at the end of a satisfactorily completed project.
Will we need to pay for the placement? We have had paid and unpaid placements on the course (the workplacement is credited). Placements that are paid are likely to have access to a wider range of possible students. Some companies have paid a stiped for satisfactory completion of the project. We would expect any organisation to pay for any transport costs and meal allowance if working on site.
Before joining Staffordshire University she served as a lecturer at the University of Central Lancashire teaching on a variety of, research, subject specific (tourism, hospitality and events industry based), enterprise and management modules to a range of students undertaking their foundation, undergraduate and post graduate qualifications.
Amanda has also lectured in the field of tourism, hospitality and events management in several international destinations including Cambodia and Poland and has also been a visiting scholar and block taught in China at Chongxing University and Xiamen University
Amanda has an extensive commercial background and has experience of the operational side of the industry. Amanda first graduated with an art degree and was an artist for several years, progressing from this she became a client manager helping to build and maintain relationships, and then as an event organiser – planning, organising and delivering numerous art events both nationally and internationally. Amanda firmly believes that we need to preserve the best of our culture and nature for generations to come.
Separate to lecturing, Amanda is a joint CEO and major shareholder of a building environmental controls company that specialises in reducing carbon footprints via environmentally friendly energy management systems in commercial buildings.
Email Marketing is still considered one of the most influential and dominating digital marketing methods (Paulo et al., 2022). In a transformational world, it has often been predicted that email would be the declining digital marketing technique used to communicate with customers. But time after time email is still empowering our customers (Hartemo, 2016) and will continue to do so. In this practical blog, I have provided you with some insights that may just change the way that you manage your email marketing.
In a study conducted by the Digital Marketing Institute, interviewing 200+ global marketing leaders, they found that email marketing regularly stands out for its versatility and flexibility to market almost any product in any industry (Ripton, 2022). Additionally, in 2020, email was found to bring an average of 35% ROI to businesses using it as a form of communication for their audience (Statista, 2020).
Since emerging, email marketing has been an early adopter of innovative digital capabilities. Automation introduced an efficient concept built of predefined rules, personalisation and trigger functionalities, that allowed marketers more time for productivity, avoiding reactive intervention (Mailchimp, 2021). It could be said though that success is based on effective usage. Econsultancy’s annual Email Marketing Industry Census suggests that whilst return on investment is most successful via email marketing, 33% of participants considered their automation skills as ineffective (Murphy, 2018).
In 2021, we saw an increase in marketers using emojis in email content and subject lines. This arguably soon became careless, forgetting the structured readability guidelines (Content Design London, 2020). Similarly, GIFs should be used in the right way to ensure clear context, short load time and expression of brand values (Mullen, 2022).
These findings have shown that it may not be the type of digital marketing methods that you are using, but how you are using those opportunities. Here are 5 top tips to consider to stay competitive when creating an effective email marketing approach.
1 Flexibility First
Stay nimble to the changes that take place. Digital marketing can be a test and development process, so ensure that within your planning, you allow for flexibility, moving with internal and external change. Marketing is heavily influenced by the events within the wider business operations, tune in to that and allow it to shape clarity in your messaging.
If you would benefit from a structure to support this, consider the use of SOSTAC (Smith, 2022) to encourage the strategic stages to be present within your planning.
2 The Customer Counts
Before you are tempted to click that send button, ask yourself, is my message answering the customer’s question? No digital marketing activity will be successful if you don’t first have a clear understanding of your target audience (Vaughan, 2022). Explore who you are trying to sell to, investigating their Wants, Needs, and Desires. You may even want to understand their values and what they deem as important when they are choosing to invest in a brand.
3 Objective Outlook
Remember the end game. What are you trying to achieve? If we do not know what we are trying to achieve, how will we know how to measure success? For tactical support in creating effective objectives, try the 5S model. Providing a systematic approach to setting objectives will ensure that success can be understood.
4 Adaptable Aesthetics
The big question here is, where is your customer consuming their digital content? Put yourself in their shoes and imagine them going about their everyday – what do you see? Based on trends, they are likely to be a part of the 67.1% of the global population accessing information on a mobile device (We Are Social, 2022). Your mobile marketing strategy has never been more important, so ensure that your chosen email platform allows for responsive design.
5 Rule, Review and Refine
Your final task is to be fluid. Understanding your email marketing effectiveness will ensure that you are aware of the success factors and techniques which are encouraging interaction from your audience. Build in regular AB testing, and review periods and ensure that you listen to your customers and refine your approach to suit their needs.
Content Design London, . (2020) Emojis, Readability Guidelines. Available at: https://readabilityguidelines.co.uk/images/emojis/ (Accessed: November 4, 2022).
Hartemo, M. (2016) “Email marketing in the era of the empowered consumer,” Journal of Research in Interactive Marketing, 10(3), pp. 212–230. Available at: https://doi.org/10.1108/jrim-06-2015-0040.
Mailchimp, . (2021) What is email automation? A beginner’s guide, Mailchimp Marketing Library. Available at: https://mailchimp.com/en-gb/marketing-glossary/email-automation/ (Accessed: November 4, 2022).
Mullen, A. (2022) Email marketing trends in 2022: Examining design, privacy and process, Econsultancy. Available at: https://econsultancy.com/email-marketing-trends-in-2022-examining-design-privacy-and-process/ (Accessed: November 4, 2022).
Murphy, D. (2018) “Silver bullet or Millstone? A review of success factors for implementation of marketing automation,” Cogent Business & Management, 5(1), p. 1546416. Available at: https://doi.org/10.1080/23311975.2018.1546416.
Neil Patel, . (2021) A beginner’s guide to A/B testing: Email campaigns that convert, Neil Patel. Available at: https://neilpatel.com/blog/ab-testing-email-campaigns/ (Accessed: November 4, 2022).
Paulo, M., Miguéis, V.L. and Pereira, I. (2022) “Leveraging email marketing: Using the subject line to anticipate the open rate,” Expert Systems with Applications, 207, p. 117974. Available at: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.eswa.2022.117974.
Ripton, J. (2022) Why email marketing is still crucial in 2022, DigitalMarketer. Digital Marketer. Available at: https://www.digitalmarketer.com/blog/email-marketing-in-2022/ (Accessed: November 4, 2022).
Smith, P.R. (2022) SOSTAC® official site, PR Smith Marketing. Available at: https://prsmith.org/sostac/ (Accessed: November 4, 2022).
Statista, S. (2020) Roi of e-mail marketing in the UK 2020, Statista. Available at: https://www.statista.com/statistics/283067/return-on-investment-roi-for-email-marketing-in-the-uk/ (Accessed: November 4, 2022).
Vaughan, P. (2022) How to create detailed buyer personas for your business [free persona template], HubSpot Blog. HubSpot. Available at: https://blog.hubspot.com/marketing/buyer-persona-research (Accessed: November 4, 2022).
We Are Social, . (2022) Digital 2022: Another Year of bumper growth, We Are Social UK. Available at: https://wearesocial.com/uk/blog/2022/01/digital-2022-another-year-of-bumper-growth-2/ (Accessed: November 4, 2022).
Despite the lag in the uptake of the scheme due to the pandemic, student numbers have started to pick up significantly and we see a shift in postgraduate numbers from Pakistan, India, Sri Lanka and other countries. The undergraduate enrolment went up by almost 24.1% from the year 2016/17 and only about 5% from 2019/20 and postgraduate about 13.08% from 2019/20.
The postgraduate increase is mainly because the route is more beneficial because of a shorter time frame to completion compared the undergraduate route. Furthermore, many students prefer to get an undergraduate degree from their own country and then add more value through an international postgraduate degree.
The implications of this influx of international students could be many. On the one hand it would boost the financial benefit for the universities post pandemic . In addition, it will create more employment opportunities at the universities as the student numbers cannot be managed with existing staff. The labour market will benefit as well from the part time work being offered by these students to cater to their living costs. The value addition for the UK economy as planned by the reopening of the Post study work visa regime would be a qualified workforce which would not only contribute but also fill the gap which was created in the workforce post Brexit.
The government needs to ensure that the scheme runs for a few years as cutting it short may result in a negative impact as was the case when the scheme was abolished in 2012.
Given the current cost of living crisis, and as most of these international students have to face significant visa and other costs with their move to the UK. Only time will tell whether the full benefit of the scheme is captured.
Ali Wasim teaches a number of courses in the business school including the Apprenticeship programs CMDA and ODMA.
In the last few years I have been working with colleagues in the University and Citizens Advice North Staffordshire and Stoke on Trent (CANSS) on the causes, experiences and actions against poverty in Stoke on Trent. Early 2022 we produced a study on the cost-of-living crisis and we found that austerity through benefit and public services cuts has been a major cause of increasing poverty. Before the COVID-19 crisis, Stoke-on-Trent was the 14th most deprived district in England (out of 317 districts) and possessed one of the highest rates of people on low pay and with low skills. In 2016, the Money Advice Service ranked Stoke-on-Trent as the 12th in terms of numbers of people in excessive debt. We found that food banks in the district have been overwhelmed with people unable to meet basic living costs.
The recent changes (September 2022) to the fiscal policies involving tax cuts will do little to help, and will in fact intensify poverty. Government cost of living support for benefit claimants (around £650 for UC and ESA claimants) will be nowhere near what is required even to ‘make ends meet.’ It seems that the Government are hell bent in punishing the poor as Kwasi Kwarteng, the Chancellor of the Exchequer is promising more benefit cuts. Work is not a route out of poverty as the Government claims as two-thirds (68%) of working-age adults in poverty live in a household where at least one adult is in work.”
Instead, they are implementing a tougher claimant regime through the plans to impose benefit sanctions as part of the ‘Way to Work’ initiative to move people quicker off benefits into work.
The time allowed for jobseekers to move to their preferred job is being reduced. Anyone deemed non-compliant will face sanctions and reduced income. Already there has been a quadrupling in the rate of benefit sanctions in Stoke since before the pandemic.
Furthermore there is no guarantee that benefit increases will be in line with inflation leading increasing housing and health poverty. The health of people in Stoke-on-Trent is generally worse than the England average. According to Public Health England, Stoke-on-Trent is one of the 20% most deprived districts/unitary authorities in England and about 24% (12,660) children live in low-income families. Life expectancy for both men and women is lower than the England average.
Victoria Canning from Bristol University and Steve Toombs (Open University) claim that the Government’s policies are the equivalent of social murder. This is due to the excess deaths caused by poverty. They define social murder as “the outcome of deliberate policies that facilitate social, economic and political oppression, and which lead to untimely and ultimately avoidable and preventable deaths. While corporations and wealthy elites will benefit substantively from the decisions made in the mini-budget, some at the bottom of the increasingly disparate economy in Britain will lose their lives as a result.”
David Etherington is Professor of Local and Regional Economic Development in the School of Justice, Security and Sustainability, Staffordshire University. David has been researching welfare reform, poverty and employment relations, including a comparative study of the UK and Danish welfare models. Some of his research has been published in a book in 2020 Austerity, Welfare and Work: Exploring Politics, Geographies and Inequalities, Bristol, Policy Press
During the last two decades, social media and review sites have provided opportunities to city councils, heritage, and tourism destinations to co-create value with citizens and tourists. The online channels facilitate the sharing of information and experiences using different types of content such as texts, photos, videos.
The high level of interactivity and reach of social media platforms may play a critical role in the city branding of Stoke-on-Trent taking into consideration the extensive increase in 1) number of users, (2) content generation and (3) content consumption during the last few years.
The city’s destinations and citizens generated content on social media platforms may influence the city branding which may have a positive impact on the long term societal and economic indicators. As residents of Stoke-on-Trent, we can influence visitors or investors attitude toward the city by collectively engage with social media accounts of its destinations, heritage places, visitor attractions, city centre, businesses, and many others.
The participation and involvement in Stoke-on-Trent city branding may seem complex, and as citizens, we might think that we need to be experts in content creation, photo shooting or video editing to support the city brand image. In fact, we can play a valuable role without being social media or technology experts by following the three steps formula (1) Awareness, (2) Engagement and (3) Co-creation.
Table 1. Percentage of the city population following the official visit the city social media accounts
Total number of followers on the official visit the city account on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram
Percentage of followers from the total population
The second step is to engage with the content of these accounts. Engagement behaviors include liking, commenting, and sharing the content. Previous studies have shown that engagement will increase visibility including reach and views that enhance awareness, and most importantly Stoke-on-Trent brand equity, image, word of mouth and loyalty. Further, this step may include rating and reviewing the destinations’ pages on Google or other review sites such as tripadvisor.co.uk. Much research highlighted the importance of these reviews during visitors search for information and before decision-making.
Table 2 highlights that the official visitor’s website of Stoke-on-Trent ‘Visit Stoke’ is effectively performing for the number of organic traffic per month. Further, the number of searches for Stoke on Trent on TripAdvisor is higher than other cities. However, the number of Stoke-on-Trent hashtags on social media platforms is an area for development, and this can be improved by following the third step for city branding.
Estimated monthly organic traffic to official tourism site
Estimated search traffic on TripAdvisor per month
The third step is to co-create content with the destinations, heritage, museums, and visitor attractions at Stoke-on-Trent. This step includes visiting these places and creating content such as images, videos or texts highlighting your experience and feelings, followed by sharing the content on your personal social media platforms while tagging the place and mentioning the related hashtags such as #stokeontrent #stoke #MyStokeStory #wearestoke #visitMAC #Smithfieldtoke #potteriesmuseum #LoveStoke #WhatsOnStoke #PoweringUpStoke #StokeIsOnTheUp #welovestoke. Further, you can develop a specific social media page or blog dedicated to showcase the best places to visit in Stoke-on-Trent including all the news, events and activities that may happen during the year. A good example is the Instagram named @welovestoke or the news and media page named @Babababoon.
During the last week of September, and during the welcome week at Staffordshire University, we have used the #stokeontrent along other Hashtags on Twitter. The photo below of the word frequency explains how we have influenced the #stokeontrent including the activities happening around the city and the Twitter accounts that they are using or re-tweeting with the #stokeontrent. For example, words such as students, amazing, appealing and Hashtags such as #staffsexperience and #proudtobestaffs were combined frequently with #stokeontrent. This is an example of a strategic use of Hashtags and how it may be beneficial for the city branding when it is searched online.
During the same week, the Twitter accounts in the figure below have used the #stokeontrent frequently. This represents an opportunity for other citizens to join and use the #stokeontrent strategically enhancing the reputation and supporting the vision of the City Council to transform the city into one of the region’s most important cultural destinations.
She is currently undertaking her PhD in business and management at the University of Wolverhampton, focusing on the use of critical diversity management studies to understand inequalities in leadership positions.
Her research was recognized by the European Academy of Management (EURAM) Doctoral Colloquium 2022 in Switzerland as her PhD project was shortlisted for the responsible research award and for the best paper award. Similarly, her work on the power of business elites in UK biomedical firms was accepted at the European Group of Organisation Studies (EGOS) in Vienna in 2022. She is a published co-author on subjects associated with sustainability, leadership, and entrepreneurship in peer-reviewed journals such as Journal of Sustainability.
She holds an MBA with distinction and PGCert in academic practice from the University of Wolverhampton and she is a member of the Chartered Management Institute (CMI). She is recognised as Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (FHEA) and possesses three years of teaching experience in further and higher education in the UK. Prior to starting her career in academia, she was an environmental engineer with more than four years’ experience in leading environmental consultancy projects in the public and private sector.
Her specialist knowledge has enabled her to participate in a consultancy project to understand businesses in Walsall and their approach to Diversity and Inclusion practices in the workplace from employee and employer’s perspectives. Working as a research assistant, the project was commissioned by Walsall for All and DWP and is managed by the Black Country Chamber of Commerce in conjunction with its partner the University of Wolverhampton. Further to that, she has also helped in developing a grant proposal that was submitted to the Newton fund titled ‘Green Recovery of the Women Workforce in Tourism After Covid-19 Outbreak: The Case of Turkey’.
She holds Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in International Business from the University of Bradford, United Kingdom. She possesses five years of corporate experience and extensive experience teaching Business and Management modules. She is working with the Akwa Ibom State Ministry of Education, Nigeria to design Ibibio language teaching materials for Schools.
Before joining Staffordshire University, she has served in an academic position at Global Banking School, University of Law, Nottingham Trent University and University of Bradford. She is a member of British Academy of Management (BAM) and Academy of International Business (AIB).
She has presented her research in international and national conferences. She is a proficient user of NVIVO. Her interdisciplinary research interests are internalisation strategy, cross-cultural studies, knowledge transfer, alliances, and joint venture in the African context and emerging market.