Author Archive » Jason
On 4th of March 2014, I went to prison. A category C prison for what they call “white collar crime”.
I joined ten other leaders from Business in the Community (BITC) member companies on the Prince of Wales’ “Seeing is Believing” visit organized by BITC to Brixton Prison. I learned how employment holds the key to reducing the £11bn annual cost of re-offending in the UK, we met and listened to prisoners and we explored how business could be part of the solution.
As the economy emerges from recession, many businesses are finding it more difficult to recruit talented and enthusiastic people to help drive their growth. For digital marketing, hiring and retaining talent has never gone away and will probably remain a challenge for years to come.
In my experience, there is no shortage of people who want a job, the challenge for a digital agency is finding the right people. In our hiring at SiteVisibility we look for people who can either bring experience to our team or who share our values, and ideally both. Those values are to be Innovative, to have an (positive!) Impact in all we do, to Involve others within team and to Inspire others with your work.
As a member of the BITC SouthEast Leadership team, I wondered whether I might find someone at Brixton Prison who shares our Values.
Consider these facts from BITC:
- There are 85,000 people in prison in the UK today. Only 43 of these people will never be released, meaning that 99.95% of the prison population will need to resettle back into the community.
- 17% of the UK population between the ages of 18 and 52 has a criminal conviction more serious than a driving offence.
- Currently more than one in five employment benefit claimants have a criminal conviction.
- 60% of short-term prisoners re-offend within a year of release.
- Re-offending costs UK approximately £11bn per year
- Employment reduces the likelihood of re-offending by up to 50%.
Now I went to Brixton Prison with a reasonably open mind, I like new experiences and was pretty sure I would learn something. We met some of the prisoners at the famous Clink restaurant and the Bad Boys Bakery which was set up by Gordon Ramsay in 2012, two innovative and entrepreneurial ways to give offenders the valuable work experience and confidence which is necessary to get a job in the outside world.
I admit I felt it unlikely that we could actually employ an ex offender, what would our customers think? What would my team think? What would our shareholders think? What would my wife and family think? What would you think? After all, we have to work hard to earn the Trust of those important stakeholders and hiring an ex-convict has risk written all over it. I was however open to being persuaded. Would you be?
We met and talked to a number of prisoners and I can confirm they looked just like you and I. James was a Project Manager and Steve was a Finance Manager in the City, Carl is a dad of 4 kids “working away from home for 6 months”. I’m told the 10 foot thick Victorian walls of HMP Brixton also house a former Partner of a well known UK management consultancy. The stories we heard were of making a mistake, paying for it with freedom and being very aware that the chances of getting a job were now slim, with a criminal record. To many, that will sadly mean a continued life of crime. But they had hope. We were told with passion, that if someone gave them a chance, their loyalty would be bought forever. All of us wanted to be optimistic but the lingering doubts were undeniable.
Then we travelled to the centre of Brixton to visit the St Giles Trust who showed how their volunteers help to open up work opportunities and support ex-offenders back into employment and society. We met some seriously charming and inspiring people here, obviously the pick of the bunch but all showing an apparently genuine desire to find respectful work. One said he has turned his back on the former flash lifestyle afforded by his £4k per week “business” and would do anything to earn an honest £8 an hour. If only someone would give him a chance. Would you? By now I was thinking about it.
This week is Responsible Business Week, have a think about what social issues you could help solve locally, it may take you out of your comfort zone and you may change someone’s life.
One thing we can all do today is support the BITC “Ban the Box” campaign; to give people a second chance by removing the tick box from application forms that asks about criminal convictions.
Responsible Business Week aims to inspire and equip businesses to do more to meet the world’s most pressing challenges. In doing so, they will unlock innovation and opportunity and demonstrate the positive impact of business in society. – See more here
On May 7th 2014, Peter Field, Lord Lieutenant of East Sussex supported by myself will be hosting the next of the Prince’s “Seeing is Believing” visits to Brighton.
The Prince’s Seeing is Believing is a national programme delivered by the charity Business in the
Community. The programme provides insight into the issues most relevant to communities and business throughout the UK. Since its launch in 1990, over 500 top business leaders participate every year. Through a series of unique visits delivered by Business in the Community, the programme aims to challenge, inspire and engage top business leaders. For more information, visit our website: http://www.bitc.org.uk/programmes/princes-seeing-believing
SiteVisibility are delighted to welcome Gerry White to the team as our new Technical SEO Director. Having worked in the digital field for the past 15 years Gerry has a wealth of experience which he is eager to share with the team.
After graduating from Sheffield Hallam, Gerry went on to design and develop ecommerce websites before making the move into the optimisation field. Since then, he has worked with a variety of clients, ranging from the Government, the BBC, McDonalds and Weight Watchers.
Gerry is now excited to get stuck in at SiteVisibility, and work with like-minded people who are passionate about delivering a creative approach.
For Gerry, the best thing about working in the digital field is that you are constantly learning.
He says; ‘You can never know it, every element of digital marketing is constantly evolving, and it requires you to learn forevermore.’
And the team need not worry about getting into difficulty during their lunch hour dips in the sea – Gerry is also a fully qualified rescue diver!
SiteVisibility are delighted to welcome Filippo Milano to the team as our resident PPC Executive. Filippo has worked with SiteVisibility for a few months now as an intern in our London office and has made the move to become a permanent member of the Brighton team. Filippo explained “After many years working within Food and Interiors-Design sector as Accountant and Sales, a short experience with ApuliaLand, a tourism project, and completing studies in Marketing and Communication in Italy, I’ve decided to move to the UK to improve my English and definitely to improve my Digital skills.”
I joined this new Team because I’ve always been fascinated by the Marketing World and, because I love challenges, SiteVisibility was a great first step.
In my free time I love playing football, running, gym and cooking.
Last week I had the privilege of celebrating with the NSPCC Brighton Business Board at its annual “Business Spotlight” event which took place at Donatello’s restaurant in Brighton. SiteVisibility is a founder member of the NSPCC Brighton Business Board whose aim is to engage local businesses and their employees with the work of NSPCC in order to help fund services which benefit local children and their parents. Read on
Felice joins the SiteVisibility team as the new Digital Content Account Director with over 10 years experience working within communication and engagement both in house and agency side. Felice is passionate about all things digital and how companies can leverage this to create meaningful engagement opportunities with their audiences.
Felice started her career working in the public sector and then moved onto the NHS where she focussed on engagement and public health campaigns, including the hugely successful F.A.S.T campaign in partnership with the Stroke Association. More recently, Felice has worked with commercial companies both local and national but remains committed to socially focussed projects and CSR.
As a self-professed geek, Felice’s out of work time is often spent blogging or tinkering with websites. But when not glued to a computer screen, Felice can be found trekking the countryside with her four legged friend or engaging in her favourite pastime Roller Derby. Look out for her skating past you on Hove seafront!
Tristam has 10 years’ digital marketing experience spanning from ecommerce through to higher education in both b2b and b2c environments. Tristam’s experience includes brand creation, content strategy, web development, mobile optimisation, user testing and customer profiling, as well as CRM and acquisition strategies. Tristam has managed successful campaigns meeting goals through PPC, SEO, Social media.
Tristam has a passion for data analysis and insights as he believes data should always drive decisions.
His favourite aspect of digital marketing is that it is ever evolving which means keeping at the forefront with strategies and campaigns to meet the user’s needs.
Dane has over four years’ experience in Search Engine Marketing before joining the SiteVisibility Team. Dane grew up in Zimbabwe, before moving to the United Kingdom for university where he studied Sports and Exercise Science BSc (Hons) at the University of Chichester while working part time in digital marketing.
After graduation he moved to Hove and worked at iCrossing in Brighton in the Digital Promotion team within Natural Search. At iCrossing Dane worked on online strategies for well-known brands such as Value Retail, Virgin Atlantic, Barclays, Compare The Market, Speedo and LA Fitness. The job itself covered creating content and events, campaign management all within clients budget control. Planning & communicating bespoke strategies and solutions while building, maintaining client and third party online relationships. This was done through leveraging PR tactics and ideas for the benefit of natural search by analysing SEO related metrics and back link profiles.
Dane chose SiteVisibility for many reasons. The main reason was our 2014 strategy we will be offering clients. Dane felt the need to move to a smaller and personable boutique agency while still being based down by the sea. His favourite thing about digital marketing is the nature of the industry. This dynamic industry lends itself to creative thinking and finding cutting edge approaches which are scalable for campaigns.
In his free time, Dane attends the gym regularly and often partakes in outdoor activities like charity skydiving. In addition, he has combined his passion for sport with the digital world by creating his own Fitness Blog (Fitness Fan.co.uk).
Like all internet-based companies, digital agencies such as ours “get” social media. We see it as a key part of our marketing mix and we encourage all our clients to do likewise. All of our team are encouraged to use Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn etc during their working day, but should we insist they separate their work personas from their private ones?
The way we all behave and act at work is guided by our company’s values, contracts and policies and, ultimately, Employment Law. In addition, all businesses should have a policy to cover social networking, setting out when social media can be used at work and defining employees’ responsibilities regarding the company’s reputation and intellectual property, both while they are at work and in their private lives.
Digital agencies, however, have a further problem in that employees use social media at work on behalf of both the company and, sometimes, its clients. Who “owns” these accounts, who is responsible for them, who has access to them and what happens when employees leave? Read on
SiteVisibility has been busy in 2012; we’ve grown our customer base, published more SEO and Social Media case studies showing huge RoI for our customers, attracted more top Search talent into the SiteVisibility team, the Internet Marketing Podcast has reached 1 million downloads, BrightonSEO exceeded 1000 delegates for the first time and now we’ve opened up our office in England’s 2nd largest City.
SiteVisibilityKeane is a joint venture with one of the UK’s top creative marketing agencies, Keane Brands whose HQ is in Birmingham. The new venture combines the “digital brains” of SiteVisibility with the “beauty” offering of Keane Brands to provide a full suite of digital services to businesses in the Midlands and in particular to manufacturers and leisure sector operators.
The UK Search Marketing sector has a great reputation around the world for leadership and innovation as well as quality. Yet in the midst of a financial meltdown, I believe that a good old fashioned quality service will not go out of fashion.
But what underpins a reputation for quality, especially in the world of Search Marketing? When you “lift the hood” off your Search Agency, what is it that drives the consistency of service and reliability of results? Why is it so hard to find a quality assured Search Marketing service in the UK? What justifies a reputation for being a “leading search marketing agency”? The most employees? The highest revenue? The most profitable? The loudest marketing? Or the most satisfied customers?