Posts Tagged ‘Sales’

Note how I’ve changed the title from Team Scotland Blog to Team Five Peaks Challenge? I think we can all now officially say that we were a 46 person strong team that undertook this challenge on Friday. Not the seven from Scotland or however many from all the other centres.

I’m lucky in that I already know quite a few people from Manchester, Leeds and Newcastle – but it was great to finally put faces to the names of a number of others from around the group I hadn’t had the privilege of meeting yet. I’m sure I’m not the only one who took this great positive away from Wasdale Head campsite.

APART that is, from my colleague and friend, James Stephens’ who may very well be cursing me for my lack of help! Not only did I pitch up an hour late and laugh at him and everyone else being like drowned rats from putting the tents up in the rain – I also got up and buggered off 2hrs before him and left him to take down the tent by himself… again, in the pissing rain! Sorry James… pint on it’s way to you soon, I promise!

I’m not going to dwell too much on the ins and outs of the challenge itself, as it’s covered in far better detail elsewhere… I’d rather concentrate on the feats of mental strength and camaraderie that people showed on the day and talk about that – as these to me were the real challenges that some had to overcome.

So let’s start with dinner on Thursday night. I got thrown in at the deep end to a group of 4. Imagine me, Helen Walledge, Jamie Griffiths and Callum Marks trying to make haute cuisine from some pasta, dolmio sauce, frankfurter sausages, sweetcorn and a tin of mushrooms (in brine). In Scotland we would use a certain word to describe the result of our hard work…


IMG_2016 IMG_2017 IMG_2018 Ummm






It got to the stage (particularly after we had wedged a tin open with a pen knife) that Jamie and I were seriously beginning to hatch a plan to kill, skin and slow boil one of the little lambs that were gamboling so playfully nearby. But we decided against it – but only because Helen is a vegetarian. Damn you.

I have to single Helen out for praise as without her I wouldn’t have made it through the challenge. She made my lunch rolls you see. And mighty fine ham and cheese rolls they were too. I was so impressed with her roll making ability, that I even offered to share my hot (tepid) chocolate with her at the top of Scafell pike, and anyone that knows me… knows that I don’t like to share! Thanks Helen 🙂

Next up is Gemma Mainprize. We found ourselves bizarrely whistling and singing the McDonald’s theme tune more than once throughout the day – not entirely sure how this came about – but at one point… going down the third peak, it stopped me from going every so slightly mental. So, durra da da da! I’m lovin’ it Gemma!

I also have to mention the kind soul (whom I cannot remember) who came to my aid with painkillers somewhere between the 2nd and 3rd peaks. Those that don’t know, I’ve had a number of issues with my knee in the past and it can give me some real pain on occasion. I didn’t have any painkillers, and the UTD team weren’t allowed to hand out – so thank you for passing them to me. Probably couldn’t have finished the challenge without them. I have a feeling it was Dan or Alex in the digital team – but as I spent most of the day staring at their footwear I’m not entirely sure. Help me track down the kind soul!

Speaking of the digital team. It was great to meet you all. Dan and Alex – you guys were helpful for the motivation of keeping up – I’m sorry we only got to finally chat in detail in the pub later! Kat… well, it was all going so swimmingly until you beat me at an arm wrestle… I’m not so sure I want to talk to you anymore… sniff. Ha!

But, before I finally say well done to my own team I want to finally name check a few of the guys who made a significant impression on me at the challenge due to their determination and sense of adventure. In no particular order:

Charley Dwyer, Julie Hainsworth, Linda Bailey, Steve Dunbobbin and Michael McIntyre.

You guys in particular inspired me throughout the day. What grit. What determination and well – what a feat! I single you guys out in particular as I know some of you weren’t sure even if you could complete the challenge at certain stages – so I’m so ridiculously proud of you all for doing it.

When it comes to Michael, I’m singling him out because the sod had been pretending he was tired all day – but was in fact keeping a bit in reserve to make sure he crossed the line first in a sprint finish. Hope the cramp wasn’t too bad in the end Michael. And I’m sure you took a huge amount of satisfaction out of pipping Hitler (sorry, Dan) to the finish!

Well done to LP, James, Gerry, Karen and Rob for overcoming the adversity of the challenge and completing it – a huge well done from me.

Last, but not least. Alison McDonald. Poor Aldo. My jumper and shoulder is still wet from all the tears we had at the end when she crossed the line. Her knees were shot, her legs were shot, her emotions were shot. But she went and bloody did it you know. And I think everyone, particularly our own Ewen Cameron should be praising her for a monumentous feat of achievement. To say she’ll be feeling a sense of achievement at this is a massive understatement.

I’ll leave you with some pictures of the challenge and sign off with the fact that, as of this morning, we raised an impressive £11,344.80 for Duchenne Now – an amazing charity, one of which I’d love to fundraise for again.

BUT YOU CAN STILL HELP! Donate via or text RSSC plus your donation to 70070 (i,e. RSSC £10)

You guys. All forty six of you, are absolutely amazing. I wish I could talk about all of you who pushed your own personal boundaries, but I tried to set a 1000 word limit and have already failed! Thank you so much to Laura Mather for coordinating this to make such a great trip for everyone. And also to you, Michael, Rob, LP and Tom from London for making such an entertaining trip back to the campsite from the pub on Friday night!






Two days to go.

Team Scotland are having a great week of preparation. We’re covering off a few hundred miles this last week or two – some have been in London at the Sony’s, some are going to St. Andrew’s for a conference, others have spent time in Wales at the boocamp. Problem is we’ve all been driving, train-ing, plane-ing and taxi-ing. In my case I’ve even been on board (in my head) the Starship Enterprise. It was an entertaining mission which was abruptly finished by my alarm clock on Monday morning. Gah.

Aldo hasn’t written anything since the 6th May

She’s obviously thinking we’ll forget to bundle her into the back of the car for travelling down. I can assure you Alison… we won’t forget. Your dulcet tones on the news report on the way into work in the morning is enough to remind everyone that we need to fold you up and put you in the back.

I’m far from convinced that I’m not going to get a text from LP at some point to say she contracted some form of jungle fever, maybe ebola, whilst in London and of course – the hospital won’t be allowing her out until at least Saturday.

Karen. Haven’t seen her in a while – think maybe she’s navigating her way up K2 as we speak. She’s got all the gear – including a bright orange whistle. Rumour has it she found that whilst on a boozy night out at Gatecrashers in Sheffield. Nice. Is that still there? No? What about Paris? Many a good night had in Sheffield!

Rob’s been coming to work with a bag and weights on his back for practice – I’m hoping he doesn’t accidentally cement his feet to his driveway when leaving to come to work on Thursday morning.

James is the organised one and he’ll be there with bells on. Well he’d better be or myself and Rob will have nowhere to stay and will be kipping in the back of the truck. Might pin a GPS unit to his shirt tomorrow so I can find him at all times.

Gerry will need to be told that it’s not going to be practical for him to be carrying his camera around making a 2hr long documentary about the RSL 5 Peaks Challenge for 2 reasons. A. No one will want to watch it and B. No one will want to watch it.

I’m more organised than I’ve ever been – off to a conference tomorrow and thursday am in St. Andrews- so I’ve had to pack all my gear up tomorrow and load it in the car as I’m leaving tonight!What’s the betting I’ll forget something crucial? Like my hiking shoes… or maybe my bag. I’ve even been to Frankie & Benny’s with Ross Williamson at lunchtime today, I’m right into my training me.

Also like to give a shout out to my chums in Yorkshire who have been doing their bit for the fundraising and been updating us all with some good photo’s and tales of car washing, getting boots sunk in mud and walking 20 miles in a day – well done. Looking forward to catching up with you. Looking forward to seeing my NE pals as well when they come along – if anyone wants to cooperate in the spirit of friendship and teamwork then feel free to give them a wee donation to the cause – I’ve just chucked them a tenner 🙂 

Finally – again – just in case you didn’t know. Team Scotland BATTERED their target last week to join the ranks of London, the Midlands and Wales.


HOWEVER. Being a market analyst – remember I’m eagle eyed. I know who has and hasn’t donated and if you don’t want to run the risk of some scotch bonnets in your tea next time, then feel free to stick a fiver down for the cause: OR text RSSC50 plus your donation to 70070 e.g RSSC50 £10 – if we can’t get to £1400 and help our buddies out I’ll be most disappointed. Please please please help this great cause – if you want to know what it means to some people just look at our page – we had a donation of £100 from someone who lives with Duchenne every day… just because we chose that as a charity. It’s a horrible illness and we are all collectively making the most remarkable of differences to these kids.

Look forward to seeing you all on Thursday, but in the meantime… like and share the hell out of this blog and have a click and follow for:

Steve Dunbobbin:
harley Dwyer:

And any others that you have the time or inclination to read.

Thanks so much 🙂

ABC Figures (Actual change on last certificate)


Daily Record                      (ABC July 2012): 275,526                                (-5,939)

Sunday Mail                       (ABC July 2012): 312,042                                (-6,525)

Scottish Sun                       (ABC July 2012): 297,123                                (-14,015)

Evening Times                  (ABC Jan-Jul 2012): 49,942                             (-3,154)

The Herald                         (ABC May-Jul 2012): 44,445                           (-691)

Sunday Herald                  (ABC May-Jul 2012): 26,187                          (-1710)

Scotsman                            (ABC July 2012): 34,127                                  (-1,800)

Scotland on Sunday        (ABC July 2012): 41,492                                  (-6,733)

Evening News                    (ABC Jan-Jun 2012): 35,611                           (-1,639)

Yes… I know the title is Boak-Worthy. However… having been asked to have a look to find some information on how radio works with online; I stumbled across a goldmine of interesting nuggets that could help you in your quest for business 🙂

The 13 reasons blog below may look a little long, but is worth 5 minutes of your time… even just to confirm how knowledgeable you already are on the market!

As you all know, the digital, mobile and social media world is becoming more and more important as time goes on. Every business, big or small, should be embracing these changes. Do you have discussions like this with your clients? Are they aware that Radio is an amazing driver for social media and digital retail? Do they realise that what they do on the airwaves can have a big impact on how they are perceived in the digital marketplace?

Did you know:

At any given time, 20% of internet users are listening to radio at the same time?                                    

57% of people interviewed claim to have checked things out on the internet after just hearing about them on the radio?

Source:RAB / Other Lines of Enquiry

13 Reasons Why Using Social Media For Business is Non Negotiable!

Is there ever a time when having a social media presence is an option? The simple answer is no, in this day and age as a business you can’t afford NOT to leverage social media. Here are 13 Reasons why using social media for business is not negotiable.

1. Social proof

Consumers are more and more savvy about who and where they purchase products from and people will take the time to research online before making a purchase. By having a social media presence that is both engaging and engaged it helps reassure clients that your business is reputable and can be trusted.

2.Humanizes your brand

Copying and pasting marketing lingo into social media just doesn’t work. You have less space to do it and the environment is completely different. Social media gives your business the opportunity to reach out and actually connect with your audience. No Stuffy corporate policies. Real one to one relationships.

3. Builds Your Sphere of influence

Your sphere of influence is the people in and around your brand that you interact with. There will always be key people of influence in your niche so spend some time getting to know them, watch and learn how they engage their audience and then start engaging with them. When you manage to develop a relationship with these key people of influence it impacts on your sphere of influence, people will see it and this too will help build your credibility online.

4. Your competition is using it.

Your industry or niche is represented on Facebook and Twitter. It is. If you don’t believe me go to Google and do a search for: “Your niche” + “Facebook” and see what comes up.

  • In 2011 Emarketer estimated that Facebook’s revenue from advertising was $3.8 billion and that could be $5.2 billion in 2012.
  • Emarketer also said that almost 40% of small businesses that sell on Facebook say it is their sole sales channel.

Companies are paying a lot of money to advertise and grow their brands in social media. That suggests that using social media for business is working. If you aren’t already, then you should be.

5. Your target audience is using it.

Think of Facebook as a shopping centre, where people are living a virtual social life, being present in this mall is one of the smartest moves you can make for your small business. The old saying goes that, “numbers don’t lie” so here are the official statistics from Facebook about usage.


  • We had 845 million monthly active users at the end of December 2011.
  • Approximately 80% of our monthly active users are outside the U.S. and Canada.
  • We had 483 million daily active users on average in December 2011.
  • We had more than 425 million monthly active users who used Facebook mobile products in December 2011.
  • Facebook is available in more than 70 languages


Of course these numbers are for Facebook only and don’t include any of the other social media sites which have hundreds of millions more of users. What would it mean to your business if you had 8 new customers? That is less than one millionth of the percentage of users on Facebook. Yes, there are certain pitfalls you need to ignore when using small business social media marketing but surely it is worth trying.

6. Google counts social sharing when ranking.

The whole concept of the internet is a web. If you think of a web there are many layers or paths to a single point. The more paths, called links, to this single point the more authoritative, or stronger the point becomes. When many different people on social media refer to your content, your website, your articles, or your video it means that those individual people find your content useful, entertaining, informative or all of the above. When this happens the search engines pay attention and in return use this as a factor to provide better search engine placement for your content.

7. Provides great brand exposure

If your brand can really embrace the nature of social media, through providing great content and engaging and interacting with your audience in a manner that leads to building a great community that people want to be involved with, then your brand will get a great boost.

8. It’s the next generation of Word of mouth marketing

What better way to interact with new potential clients than via people who have already experienced what your brand has to offer? When your social media presence starts to generate conversation and reactions such as; likes, shares, tweets, pins or whatever else it maybe then you get their approval. This social recommendation is visible to that persons individual following and acts as a great gateway for their friends or family to get to know more about your brand.

9. Social Media Networking sites have high Page Rank

Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn have high Page Rank. This means that in terms of the search engines like Google and Bing that they carry authority and therefore get good rank in search results. Having a well optimized social media profile on Facebook or LinkedIn can help you command search result places for your brand name or search terms related to your business, providing more ways for clients to get in contact with you.

10. Provides Transparency

Social media is an open book. If someone likes you then great, everyone can see it. If someone doesn’t like you and mentions something negative about your brand or experience then this too is available to the community. Many successful businesses that leverage social media use this as an advantage to show how switched on they are by replying and finding a resolution and closing that loop. This shows to the watching community that your business has integrity and values interaction, criticism and debate and more importantly knows how to deal with it.

11. Opens Up Conversation

The users of your brand or experience are the best people to learn from when it comes to making things better. By invoking questions about the usability of your experience you will get an understanding as to what clients are looking for. You will also be able to gauge how to improve things in the future. Social media for small business success is truly about listening as opposed to marketing! Conversations act like a magnet; when one starts people prick up their ears and take notice. This can have a knock on effect where more and more people jump into the conversation. This could help to get your content and brand spread wide and far.

12. Aids Customer Service

Many businesses face the same questions time and time again when it comes to customer service. Use your social media outlets to answer those questions. By doing it this way you can highlight to your community that you are available but also get other people within the community to provide answers and support to new members who have perhaps experienced the same issues themselves.

13. Brand Exposure

Everybody wants to expose their brand to a larger audience. The more targeted people who are aware of your brand, the greater the chance you have of turning those into leads, paying clients and brand advocates. In conclusion, using social media for business today is as important as learning how to use email for business 15 years ago. We need to embrace social media; the possibilities it brings and the challenges it presents in order to remain profitable and, most importantly, relevant in an ever increasing social world.

Comments? Disagreements? Anything to add? Comment here or on twitter @Real_SmoothScot